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Study Notes

  • "A Prophet Without Honor" Reflection Questions on Mark 6:1–13

    By Chris May February 23, 2020 Gospel of Mark: On the Way

    1. Mark has some interesting bookends that are worth highlighting.
      Read verses 1-6 and 53-56.  Compare and contrast the 2 incidents.
      Visit to Nazareth (and surrounding villages) vs. Visit to Gennesaret (and surrounding villages)
      What is the most vivid contrast?
      Why do you think Jesus could only do a few healings in his home town?
    2. Reread the Nazareth account. How would you describe the response of the crowd as they listen to Jesus teach in their synagogue? 
      Is this crowd’s response evident today? In what ways? 
      Mark records that Jesus is amazed by the lack of faith of his neighbors. It’s the only time in this gospel where Mark uses this verb for Jesus. Would that we could be like the centurion (recorded in Matthew 8:10) who amazed Jesus by his faith, not his lack of it!! 
      Do you think faith could be one of Jesus’ love languages? Why or why not? 
      Is there any situation in your life right now where you could amaze Jesus with your faith? Remember faith is a gift from God so feel free to ask God for it!
    3. “Read verses 7-13 and verse 30, which seem to be another pair of bookends.  Why do you think Mark puts this incident right after the account of the discouraging time in Nazareth?
      What strikes you about Jesus’ instructions to the disciples as he sends them out for the first time without him?
      Why do you think he asks them to travel so simply?
  • "Religionless Christianity" Reflection Questions on Mark 7:1–30

    By Chris May February 16, 2020 Gospel of Mark: On the Way

    1. Let’s consider 7:1-23 as a block.  Read these verses and sum them up in your own words.
      What is Jesus’ complaint against the Pharisees?  
      Can you think of ways those in Bible believing churches today behave like these Pharisees of old?
      Can you think of ways in your own life where you value human religious tradition over God’s Word?
      Is there anything you want to do about what you just wrote?
      Reread verses 14 and 15.  In what ways are Jesus’ words both comforting and challenging?
    2. Now read verses 20-23.  What is your response to Jesus’ words?
    3. Jesus gives us quite a list of evil thoughts (some translations say “intentions.”). Check a dictionary if you are unsure of a word’s meaning. Note that in the Bible, folly is often presented as the opposite of wisdom and wisdom is not a synonym for being smart, but for living God’s way.
    4. You may think you are off the hook for some of these evil thoughts/intentions, such as murder or adultery, but remember Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount: if you’re angry with your brother or sister you are liable for judgment and if you look lustfully at another you have committed adultery in your heart. Spend some time sitting with Jesus, holding this list out to him, remembering that he already knows your heart. What are your thoughts and emotions as you wait on him?
  • “When Pigs Don’t Fly” Reflection Questions on Mark 5:1–20

    By Pat Chen January 26, 2020 Gospel of Mark: On the Way

    1. In reading verses 1–20, what details do you notice?  What emotions are displayed? Is anything surprising to you?
    2. We are given no other reason why Jesus makes this boat trip with his disciples other than the healing of this man, who seems about as unlikely a candidate for a Jew to visit as anybody could be. Commentator Bock points out that the man is unclean in three areas: demons, death (he lived in a graveyard), and pigs nearby. Also, he is a Gentile, a people group with whom good Jews were not supposed to associate. One could also point out that the man is dangerously strong and not very peaceable! Yet Jesus seems to be particularly seeking him out. What does this tell you about our Lord and Savior?
      What do you think about the dialogue between Jesus and the demons?
      Do you think the demons get what they what? Why or why not?
    3. When the people come to investigate, they find a man clothed and in his right mind and a lot of dead pigs. What do they focus on? Why?
      What is their response to Jesus? Why do you think they respond as they do?
      What do you focus on as you read this story? Why?
  • “Spiritual Power” Reflection Questions on Mark 3:13–34

    By Pat Chen January 19, 2020 Gospel of Mark: On the Way

    1. Who are the disciples to whom Jesus gives nicknames? Why do you think he does this? (Note that Peter comes from the Greek word petros, which means “rock.”) For some help with this check out Matthew 16:18, Mark 10:35–37 and Luke 9:51–56.
    2. Read verses 20–30, where Jesus returns to where the crowds can find him. How and why do the teachers of the law object to Jesus? How does Jesus counter these objections? How would you describe his attitude?
    3. Now we come to the final passage in the chapter. Reread verses 31-35 and then reread verses 20 and 21. Both sections concern Jesus’ family and Mark uses them as bookends around the blaspheming passage. Why do you think he does this? What point is Jesus making about family here? If you doubt Jesus was a good son, check out John 19:25–27, Jesus’ words to his mother as he was dying an excruciating death on the cross.
  • “Secrets of the Kingdom” Reflection Questions on Mark 4

    By Pat Chen January 19, 2020 Gospel of Mark: On the Way

    1. Verses 1–34 is the longest teaching section by Jesus that Mark has given us so far. All of it is parables except for the explanation of the sower parable. Reread these verses and see if you can come up with your own definition of parable based on these verses.
    2. Read verses 10–12. Note that Jesus is not just addressing the disciples. (The Scripture he quotes to them is from Isaiah 6:9,10.) What is your response to Jesus’ statement? Why?
      Do these 3 quotations from commentators help you to understand these puzzling verses a bit better? Record your thoughts.
    3. Now read the parable of the sower, putting yourself in the place of the one sowing. What are you seeing? What are your thoughts and emotions? Did you notice anything surprising about the farmer’s behavior? There are four kinds of soil in the parable but ultimately only two responses. What are they?
  • "What In The World?" Reflection Questions on Mark 2:1–12

    By Kris Perkins January 12, 2020 Gospel of Mark: On the Way

    1. Up to this point, the people view Jesus as a teacher with authority (see 1:27), yet Jesus never refers to himself as a rabbi. In chapter 2, we hear Jesus call himself Son of Man twice (10, 28). Reread verses 1–12, probably one of the most familiar of the events in Jesus’ life. Ask yourself, “What is startling?” And what do you learn about Jesus here?


    2. You see in this passage a controversy which will reoccur throughout this gospel climaxing in Mark 14. Put this controversy in your own words.


    3. The roof referred to in this narrative was probably a flat one made of sticks and mud, reached by an outside stair case. This may have been the house in which Jesus was living. Why do you think Jesus views making a hole in it as an act of faith and not an act of vandalism?  And what do you make of verse 5? "When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son your sins are forgiven.”


  • “Finally, Some Good News!” Reflecton Questions on Mark 1:1–20

    By Pat Chen January 5, 2020 Gospel of Mark: On the Way

    1. What does Jesus proclaim in Mark 1:14-15? Though you cannot tell from the NIV translation, this is the third use of the word ‘proclaim’ in in just fourteen verses. John proclaims a baptism of repentance in v. 4 and then proclaims in v. 7 that Jesus is more powerful and worthy than he is.
    2. What do you think Mark wants us to notice by his triple use of “proclaim”?
    3. We will be seeing that a wide range of people, from his friends, the disciples, to his enemies in the religious elite, find it difficult to accept Jesus as the Messiah and Servant King. How do you feel about following Jesus with purpose to unexpected places?
  • Session 1: 1 Samuel 1

    By Gordon Hugenberger February 2, 2014 Samuel Series

    When 1 and 2 Samuel was originally written in Hebrew, it was a single book, or more accurately, a single work written on a single scroll of papyrus or leather, which was probably about 26 feet long. This is close to the normal maximum length for a scroll. Books, with pages, were invented only toward the end of the 1st century AD and came into common use a couple of centuries later. The division of Samuel into two parts took place in the 2nd century BC, when it was translated into Greek. The early Greek translation of the Old Testament is called the Septuagint (a word related to the Greek word for “seventy,” which reflects a tradition that this translation was the work of seventy scholars).