This post continues working through the exercises I have been giving my class at Calvary Bible Church. For more information on this class, click here.
For links to the class materials, including updated class notes, see these:
- Class Notes (updated today)
- Daily Bible Study Worksheet
- BibleGateway (for other translations to compare): http://biblegateway.com
The rest of Mark 1 can be a puzzling section for finding the paragraph seams. There are geographic and chronological markers throughout the remainder of Mark 1, but each one of these is followed by a story where Jesus (a) moves to a new place (Mark 1:21, 29, 35, 39) (b) casts out demons or heals somebody (Mark 1:23-25, 31, 34, 39, 41), (c) either teaches or talks about teaching (1:21, 38, 39) with verses 29-37 being an exception, (d) has the word spread about him (v. 28, 33, 37,45) , even though Jesus tried to suppress it (v. 25, 34, 38, 44). So, these common threads temp us to link these sections altogether in one large paragraph.
While it is true that Mark grouped these incidents and told us about them as part of a larger theme, each episode has enough markers to call for separating them into different paragraphs. Therefore, I have established Mark 1:21-28 as the paragraph for this week based on the following reasons:
- A clear change in subject matter. Although it is true that Jesus casts out a demon in this section (v. 25) and the one that follows (v. 34), there is a major difference between the two sections. In verses 21-28 the focus us really on Jesus’ teaching (v. 21, 22, 27), while in verses 28ff Jesus is not reported to be teaching at all. In fact, Jesus’ speaking ministry is not referenced again until verse 38. So, verses 21-28 have Jesus’ teaching as the subject while verses 29ff move on to the subject of Jesus’ healing.
- A change of physical location. In verse 21 Jesus enters the town of Capernaum and goes to synagogue on Saturday. In verse 29, he leaves the synagogue to go to Peter and Andrew’s home. While their home was in Capernaum, the scene change from synagogue to home suggests that Mark is introducing a new topic.
- There is NO chronological change until verse 32, so that element is lacking.
- The NIV’s editors indicate a change in paragraph by putting a new heading over verses 29-34.
- The three theological elements are all present in verses 21-28. Christ is actually revealed to be God in verse 24 and his authority is an issue throughout so that satisfies the “revelation of God” element. Human depravity is also present in the demon-possessed man (v. 23), so that element is present. Finally, Jesus graciously redeems the man from demon-possession (v. 25) revealing himself to be the authority over evil so God’s grace is present in those ways.
For these reasons, I am studying verses 21-28 as my paragraph for this week.