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Using This Study Guide

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This study guide consists of 11 Lessons covering the gospel of Mark. Since Mark consists of 16 chapters, we will need to cover more than one chapter in most of the lessons. If you cannot do the entire lesson one week, please read the Bible passage covered by the lesson.

The Basic Study

Each Lesson includes core questions covering the passage narrative. These core questions will take you through the process of inductive Bible study—observation, interpretation, and application. The Inductive process is the best way to study the Bible. The process is more easily understood in the context of answering these questions:

  • What does the passage say? (Observation: what’s actually there) Discover the Facts questions are the observation questions in this study.
  • What does it mean? (Interpretation: the author’s intended meaning, leading to what it means for us today)
  • How does this apply to me today? (Application: making it personal) Heartbreak to Hope questions are the application questions in this study. These questions will lead you to introspection and application of a specific truth to your life.

Study Enhancements

To aid in proper interpretation and application of the study, five additional study aids are located where appropriate in the Lesson:

  • Historical Insights
  • Scriptural Insights
  • From the Greek/Hebrew (definitions of Greek or Hebrew words)
  • Focus on the Meaning
  • Think About It (thoughtful reflection)

Bible Basics

The Bible is one book containing a collection of 66 books combined together for our benefit. It is divided into two main parts: Old Testament and New Testament.

The Old Testament tells the story of the beginning of the world and God’s promises to mankind given through the nation of Israel. All the stories and messages in the Old Testament lead up to Jesus Christ’s coming to the earth.

The New Testament tells the story of Jesus Christ, the early Christians, and God’s promises to all those who believe in Jesus. You can think of the Old Testament as “before Christ” and the New Testament as “after Christ.”

Each book of the Bible is divided into chapters and verses within those chapters to make it easier to study. Verses are like line numbers. Not in the original writings. Bible references include the book name, chapter number and verse number(s). For example, Mark 12:28 refers to the New Testament book of Mark, the 12th chapter, and verse 28 within that 12th chapter. Printed Bibles have a “Table of Contents” in the front to help you locate books by page number. Bible apps for your phone or tablet also have a contents list by book and chapter.

We will be mostly in the New Testament. It was originally written in Greek. We primarily used the NIV® (New International Version) in the preparation of these Lessons. I recommend that you use one of the more direct English translations of the Bible for your personal study (i.e., NIV, ESV, NAS, NET, NKJ). The NLT (New Living Translation) and the MSG (The Message) versions use modern everyday language to illustrate what a passage is saying and can help you to understand difficult passages. You can find all these translations in most Bible Apps or online at various websites such as biblegateway.com and Bible.com.

This study capitalizes certain pronouns referring to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit—He, Him, His, Himself—just to make the reading of the study information less confusing. Some Bible translations likewise capitalize those pronouns referring to God; others do not. It is simply a matter of preference, not a requirement.

New Testament Summary

The New Testament opens with the births of John (the Baptist) and Jesus. About 30 years later, John challenged the Jews to indicate their repentance (turning from sin and toward God) by submitting to water baptism—a familiar Old Testament practice used for repentance as well as when a Gentile (non-Jew) converted to Judaism (to be washed clean of idolatry).

Jesus, God’s incarnate Son, publicly showed the world what God is like and taught His perfect ways for 3 – 3½ years. After preparing 12 disciples to continue Christ’s earthly work, He died voluntarily on a cross for mankind’s sin, rose from the dead, and returned to heaven.

The account of Jesus’s earthly life is recorded in 4 books known as the Gospels (the biblical books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John named after the compiler of each account).

After Jesus’s return to heaven, the followers of Christ were then empowered by the Holy Spirit and spread God’s salvation message among the Jews, a number of whom believed in Christ. The apostle Paul and others carried the good news to the Gentiles during 3 missionary journeys (much of this recorded in the book of Acts).

Paul wrote 13 New Testament letters to churches & individuals (Romans through Philemon). The section in our Bible from Hebrews to Jude contains 8 additional letters penned by five men, including two apostles (Peter and John) and two of Jesus’s half-brothers (James and Jude). The author of Hebrews is unknown.

The apostle John also recorded Revelation, a summary of God’s final plan for our world. The

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