A friend and I were starting to read the Bible together. He has been around church a lot, but he hasn’t been around the Bible a lot. So I said, “read Mark and we’ll talk.”
It’s often where I suggest people start. “The Gospel According to St Mark,” usually shortened to Mark, is the shortest of the four Gospels. It has the most miracles per square verse. It has parables and short versions of Jesus’s sermons. It’s a great read.
My friend was caught. He said, “I started to read all the stories about Jesus and I started to wonder where this was all leading. So I peeked at the end.”
I laughed with delight. He got the picture. He saw for the first time that the Gospels are stories that are going somewhere. They have moral applications and sermon notes. There are lessons and theology. But this is also the good news of Jesus Christ, a story of incarnation, of God putting on a body and walking around.
It’s a thought-provoking premise, the story of Jesus, explored with different emphases by four authors. We can find ourselves intrigued when we quit trying to say “and here’s what it means” for awhile and instead say, “I wonder what’s going to happen next?” When we use our biography reading style rather that our “8 ways to have a good life” style, we change how we process the text, and how it processes us.
I’m curious. Have you ever been captivated by a storyline in the Bible? I’m even more curious. Have you ever read through Mark without the headings, just watching the story unfold?
There’s a weekend in front of us. Read Mark from a translation written in the last two centuries. Let me know if you jump to the end, too.