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Mark's gospel has a rapid pace, an excellent starting point for people new to the faith or simply exploring the possibility. Mark does not engage in long essays. Jesus does not make many long speeches. The stories themselves are compact. I tell students that it is like a flavorful sauce. Skilled cooks make rich sauces by the art of reduction. A broth may be simmered till it is reduced by half, then some wine is added and reduced. Finally cream is stirred in and reduced enough to cling to a spoon. In the same way, Mark extracts the essence of Jesus's story and tells it in small flavor components which add up to a rich experience. When we study the gospel, we separate each story as a component, and then tease out the flavor elements by repeated readings. Our skill in teasing out the elements is enhanced when we read what other gospel students have learned. Sometimes we compare what they say with what we see for ourselves, and decide that they made a mistake. That is okay. The key to successful study, transforming study, is to submit consciously to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. In the end, the importance of our study is not the ability to recite verses or reel off the content of a dozen commentaries. The importance lies in one thing: how each student draws close to Christ and how each student is changed by that experience. Nobody should read from the gospel and go away without being changed in some way by the Christ who is the center of the message. It is possible to study the Bible as an intellectual exercise, but God has prepared and preserved the Bible for his work of transformation, not for curriculum.

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1 Sarah R = "The gospel of Mark was written to a primarily Roman, Gentile (non-Jewish) audience. Therefore it was not as important to them to hear about Jesus' Jewishness or how He fulfilled the Jewish prophecies of the coming Messiah (as with Matthew's gospel). They did not value story-telling as the Jewish culture did (as with John's gospel). Mark wrote considering his audience, who appreciated to the point, direct teaching, and focusing on Jesus' authority as the Son of God.See Introduction to Mark for more information."
2 Sarah R = "In addition to repeated readings, we can utilize alternative versions and Bible aides like a Greek-English interlinear text, a concordance, a Bible dictionary, or a good commentary, to enhance our study."
3 Sarah R = "The Bible is unlike any other book ever written. It is the Word of God. "For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12). When we read the Bible, we should not read it like any other book. We should read it in humble adoration, knowing that we are reading the very words of God."