Commentary Recommendations & Resources: Gospel of Mark

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Willard Swartley – Israel’s Scripture Traditions and the Synoptic Gospels: Story Shaping Story
This book makes a lot of theological connections between major Old Testament themes and the Synoptics. This has proven very useful in my studies especially in regard to the theology of the synoptics through the lens of Judaism.

David Rhodes – Mark as Story
This is a must read on Mark. Rhodes explains theological use of location/geography, the flow and structure of the text, etc in a way that really illuminates the text in areas that many commentaries miss. You will no longer see mountains the same in the Gospels or Jesus’ audience the same depending on his geography.

Sharyn Dowd – Reading Mark
This is very similar to Rhodes. I think Rhodes may be a notch above this book if I had to recommend just one but you will find this book helpful in setting up the context of Mark and the flow of the book.

Craig Blomberg – Historical Reliability of the Gospels (2nd ed)
Unlike his Historical Reliability of the Gospel of John, this book doesn’t run through the Gospels chapter by chapter. This book tackles the textual issues people have brought up against the gospels as a whole. Blomberg spends some time explaining various forms of criticism of scripture and then applies that to the Gospels.

David Wenham – The Parables of Jesus
Wenham’s volume in the “Jesus Library” groups the parables around various themes putting like parables from across the Gospels together into similar groups. This allows you to study individual parables and/or study a parable in relation to similar parables.

Klyne Snodgrass – Stories with Intent
You will not find a more thorough book on the parables than this one. This goes into everything from parallel teachings of the Rabbis to other cultures, etc. You will probably find this book to be overkill but it will also give you information no one else provides.

Ben Witherington – Women in the Ministry of Jesus
Both Witherington and the next book by Bauckham go into great length about the women of the Gospels. Witherington starts off with a few chapters about women and culture in the first century and then goes into specific women. Bauckham starts off in the Old Testament to give the roots of the New Testament thinking on women in the gospels and then goes to specific women mentioned in the four gospels.

Richard Bauckham – Gospel Women: Studies of the Named Women in the Gospels
See the entry above on Witherington


Allen Black – Gospel of Mark (College Press)

Mark from a Restoration Movement perspective. These commentaries are useful for preaching, teaching and Bible study. They are good for all skill levels from beginner up to more advanced study.

David Garland “Mark: NIV Application Commentary

As the title says, these are meant for preachers and teachers as this series is intended to be practical. There are sections of the commentary geared specifically to making contemporary application. You might expect that to make these a bit too basic but these still give a good balance of scholarship with every day life. If I had to buy one set of commentaries for a church library, this would be the set. If I had to buy one set of commentaries for personal study it would be the New International Commentary on the Old/New Testament (NICOT & NICNT).

Morna Hooker – The Gospel According to Saint Mark (Black’s NT Commentary)

William Lane – The Gospel of Mark (NICNT)

Pheme Perkins – The Gospel of Mark: Introduction, Commentary and Reflections (New Interpreter’s Vol 8)

Ben Witherington – The Gospel of Mark: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary

Tom Wright – Mark for Everyone

A very basic and easy to understand commentary that still retains the most essential information you need to know to understand the Gospel of Mark. I typically like to study with Wright and Witherington to combine the broad general message (Wright’s For Everyone Series) with the more detailed nuances of the text (Witherington).

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