Study Notes and Personal Bible Study Activities

for the Gospel of Mark


“As compared with Matthew, Mark emphasizes the deeds of Jesus. The deeds of Jesus are by no means isolated from His words; the word is Jesus' instrument in His deeds too; He speaks, and it is done...But [in the Gospel of Mark] it is chiefly by His works that Jesus is marked as the Proclaimer and the Bringer of the almighty grace of the kingdom of God...the Son of God in whom man can believe.1


Mark: Chapters 1-4

“The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the Gospel.” Note that ‘repent’ and ‘believe’ are Gospel/creative commands. Unlike the law’s ‘do’ and ‘don’t do’, these Gospel commands not only say ‘do’, they move us and enable us to do.

Many then, and today, come to Jesus for physical healing and other temporal ‘blessings.’ What blessing does he especially love to give and why can he give it? (Mark 2:1-12) Rejoice in that miracle and the healing you have in it. Covered in His forgiveness, what are some ways you can get up and walk – for God?

“Follow me,” Jesus said to Levi, also known as St. Matthew. That same invitation has come to us and enabled us to be His disciples.  How are you going to follow Jesus today?  Ponder this devotion: “Through it All.”

Notice how Jesus enjoys fellowship with sinners, not by sharing in their wickedness but by giving them pardon for the past and His power for their future. Keeping in mind our own sinfulness, how might we follow Jesus’ example?

In the parable of the sower and his seed, Jesus is emphasizing the importance of God’s Word in creating life and producing meaningful living. God’s Spirit has led you to His Word today. Thank Him for His grace and pray that His Word may produce its desired fruits in your life.


Mark: Chapters 5-9

The book of Mark presents the power of the Word and the power of the One who proclaims it. Standing in awe of His might, what specific action can you take to do what He told the man freed from the demons to do: “Go home to your friends and tell how much the Lord has done for you and how He has had mercy on you.”

Note well how people in faith approach Jesus for the impossible. See how He does the impossible for them. Where in your life or in the life of those you know could you, or they, use this encouragement?

Listen to the song “Weak Made Strong.”

God’s Son and His followers experience continued opposition. Jesus marveled at the unbelief of the citizens of His hometown. He prepared the disciples for the opposition they would face.  Consider how Jesus prepares you, as He did the disciples, to live in this dark and broken world. Pray this liturgy from “Every Moment Holy.”

Think about traditions or customs, that in and of themselves are not wrong, but may have become elevated to a position in which they do not belong. Ask God for clarity and strength to live according to His will.

Jesus cares for three different physical needs. Note how he deals with each differently, but always with the same love! A good lesson for us as we deal with different situations – one size does not always fit all.

We have to admit that at times we have been a ‘faithless generation.’ Therefore, we too must join a distraught father in saying, “I believe; help my unbelief.” Listen to the song “Jesus, I Believe”.


Mark : Chapters 9-13

The disciples didn’t understand Jesus when he again tells of his death. Let’s not join them in the mistake of being afraid to ask Him to clarify the truth for us when we don’t understand.

Mark 10:32-52 records the beginning of the most strenuous walk ever made.  What attitude do you see in Jesus about that walk?  How does His attitude contrast with that of His disciples in this chapter?  In what sense is the cry of the blind man of Jericho our cry every day? 

Jesus accomplished His task and conquered our enemies through His perfect obedience expressed in voluntary humility.  How typical of His life is His entrance into Jerusalem on His mission?  Although humble, how do you see His authority and power in Chapter 11? 

The religious leaders are all about authority – they want authority and reject Christ’s authority.  What did they refuse to see?  The visible “church” in Jesus’ day did not bear fruit.  To the extent the visible “church” today contradicts or neglects Christ, it too is fruitless.  What is the Lord looking for from you personally and from us together?  How will He receive what He desires? 

The scribe’s confession of faith in Mark 12:33 receives commendation from Jesus.  What important truth about our daily lives does it express?  Mull over these reflections.

What should be the spiritual and emotional impact of Jesus’ words in the opening verses of chapter 13 upon His people?  (See Philippians 4:4-7 for a partial answer.)


Mark: Chapters 13-16

Jesus speaks vividly about the days in which we are living – what should be the impact of His words? Look at this sermon “Stand in God’s Word” (Trinity Lutheran Church, Temple, TX – WELS).

As you read of the costly gift given to the One who would give the greatest gift, ask yourself what “fragrance” you can offer Him – then do it!  As you read of Judas and hear from Jesus – Who is obviously in charge of everything?

In Mark 14:22-52, both Peter and Jesus faced a time of testing – contrast their preparations for it.  See the different results.  Verse 62 can be a reminder for us and a warning for others to receive Jesus as Savior before you meet Him as Judge. 

In Mark 15:1-47, the horrors Christ suffered for us reach their depths.  Notice however the patience, endurance, and faithfulness of our Savior! 

Christ’s Resurrection, the most important event in time, has an impact for eternity!  Our Savior lives!  We are redeemed!  How can you share this news with the world?

Listen to this song: “Man of Sorrows.”

1Concordia Self-Study Commentary, page 44.