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English Bible Dictionary

Mark the Evangelist

 

One of the evangelists, and probable author of the Gospel bearing his name. (Marcus was his Latin surname. His Jewish name was John, which is the same as Johanan (the grace of God). We can almost trace the steps whereby the former became his prevalent name in the Church. "John, whose surname was Mark" in (Acts 12:12,25; 15:37) becomes "John" alone in (Acts 13:5,13) "Mark" in (Acts 15:39) and thenceforward there is no change. (Colossians 4:10); Phlm 1:24; 2Tim 4:11 The evangelist was the son of a certain Mary, a Jewish matron of some position who dwelt in Jerusalem, (Acts 12:12) and was probably born of a Hellenistic family in that city. of his father we know nothing; but we do know that the future evangelist was cousin of Barnabas of Cyprus, the great friend of St. Paul. His mother would seem to have been intimately acquainted with St. Peter, and it was to her house, as to a familiar home, that the apostle repaired, A.D. 44, after his deliverance from prison (Acts 12:12) This fact accounts for St. Mark's intimate acquaintance with that apostle, to whom also he probably owed his conversion, for St. Peter calls him his son. (1 Peter 5:13) We hear of him for the first time in Acts 15:25 where we find him accompanying and Barnabas on their return from Jerusalem to Antioch, A.D. 45. He next comes before us on the occasion of the earliest missionary journey of the same apostles, A.D. 48, when he joined them as their "minister." (Acts 13:8) With them he visited Cyprus; but at Perga in Pamphylia, (Acts 13:13) when they were about to enter upon the more arduous part of their mission, he left them, and, for some unexplained reason, returned to Jerusalem to his mother and his home, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. Notwithstanding this, we find him at Paul's side during that apostle's first imprisonment at Rome, A.D. 61-63, and he Is acknowledged by him as one of his few fellow laborers who had been a "comfort" to him during the weary hours of his imprisonment. (Colossians 4:10,11); Phle 1:24 We next have traces of him in (1 Peter 5:13) "The church that is in Babylon... saluteth you, and so doth Marcus my son." From this we infer that he joined his spiritual father, the great friend of his mother, at Babylon, then and for same hundred years afterward one of the chief seats of Jewish culture. From Babylon he would seem to have returned to Asia Minor; for during his second imprisonment A.D. 68 St. Paul, writing to Timothy charges him to bring Mark with him to me, on the ground that he was "profitable to him For the ministry." (2 Timothy 4:11) From this point we gain no further information from the New Testament respecting the evangelist. It is most probable, however that he did join the apostle at Rome whither also St. Peter would seem to have proceeded, and suffered martyrdom with St. Paul. After the death of these two great pillars of the Church; ecclesiastical tradition affirms that St. Mark visited Egypt, founded the church of Alexandria, and died by martyrdom: Condensed from Cambridge Bible for Schools: ED.)

 

* See also: The Four Evangelists: Matthew, Luke, John - The Four Gospels: Gospel of Matthew - Gospel of Mark - Gospel of Luke - Gospel of John.

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