Evangelistic Study of Mark

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We are about to implement a better plan to increase the number of one-on-one Bible studies we are engaging in as a congregation. In doing so we are needing material to pull this off. So I have started writing an inductive study of Mark and it is really pretty exciting stuff. What I mean by inductive is, the case is being built for who Jesus is based on certain evidence in the narrative along the way. This culminates with Peter’s confession of Christ in Mark 8. Basically, the study isn’t going to assume people believe that but walk them through the build up of the evidence so that when we get to Mark 8 (lesson 3) people are on board and their faith is beginning to take root so they can believe what Peter believes. I think this is such an important approach because we can no longer assume people know anything. You really do have to start from scratch with people and work them to the solutions. I will let you know how it turns out!

Here are some of the evidences that will come up through the discussion of the narrative in the Bible study:

  • Authority of Jesus based on his miracles, his teachings, and the testimony of others about him (including John the Baptist, God and God’s Spirit in Mark 1).
  • The mission of Jesus and his disciples against the “strong man” (Satan) of Mark 3:27 and how that theme runs through much of what Jesus does and teaches in Mark.
  • Death and resurrection predictions and fulfillment

Any more you would add?

0 Responses

  1. Matt, a resource you might want to check out (if you have not already done so) is Richard V. Peace, Conversion in the New Testament: Paul and the Twelve (William B. Eerdmans, 1999). He works through how the gospel of Mark is a paradigm for one kind of evangelism (the slow and steady) and Paul is the paradigm for the sudden conversive experience. Reading his work on Mark really opened my eyes to the manner in which Mark may have been written (I am not saying he is 100% correct), but it has helped me see how the conversion of the 12 occured over a lengthy time frame and how the gospel of Mark was written to help others in this journey toward discipleship.

    P.S. I would really enjoy knowing how your study comes out. This is something I would be very interested in using myself.

    1. Thanks for the heads up. I am usually looking for more resources on whatever it is I am doing but on this one I am already very swamped in books. What is more, I am trying to make this more entry level for people who don’t really know anything. It is interesting that we try to get people to conversion in an hour. Sometimes we feel like even a couple weeks of study is too long! My wife and I are currently studying with a couple that we studied through the whole book of Luke before he was baptized. It was about 15 or more weeks of study. We didn’t stop there. We are now about half way done with Acts because we know there is more to it than just being baptized. Anyway, I appreciate the longer process of discipling. I would wonder, though, if Paul’s process wasn’t longer than that book may let on. I haven’t read it, just based on your comment. I think God was getting Paul ready for that moment and ready for his mission years, even decades before he encountered Christ on the road to Damascus.

    2. Matt, the distinction Dr. Peace makes is that in modern evangelism the emphasis seems to fall along the Pauline “blinding light from above” event in which a person makes a radical decision within a very short time period. He points out that some people do have this experience (but we might say that God has been working on them for years as well), but the majority of conversions occur along the lines of the 12 disciples – after fits and starts and some big steps forward and some big steps back. He does not discount the “bolt from the blue,” as we might even add the Ethiopian eunuch to the list, but he wants to stress the long term growth and change model – exactly what you are doing. I mentioned his book because I believe you would find in his work a very sympathetic voice. Dr. Peace is the professor of evangelism at Fuller, and has written numerous books for small group studies.

  2. This is great. I’m currently working through a study very similar in the Gospel of John. We are using it in Neighborhood Bible Studies.

    The approach is helpful in a few ways:

    1. You are right that we have to start with the basics with people.
    2. People do not know their Bible so it makes it more comfortable when you are walking through a book with them.
    3. It ensures that we are focusing on people committing to Jesus.

  3. Sounds like a great approach. I’ve used Mark’s Gospel when studying with people who know little or nothing about Jesus. Interested in reading more about what you’re doing.

    1. I will have more info on this in the next two weeks or so. I am hoping to have it all done before the Tulsa workshop. It has nothing to do with Tulsa, just my goal.

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