Mark (Saint)

National Association of Christian Ministers Summary Series


Mark, also known as John Mark, was an important figure in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. He is traditionally believed to be the author of the Gospel of Mark, one of the four canonical Gospels, and is closely associated with the apostle Peter and the apostle Paul.


1. Early Life and Family:

Mark’s full name was John Mark. He was born in Jerusalem, and his mother’s name was Mary (Acts 12:12). It is believed that their home in Jerusalem served as a meeting place for early Christians.


2. Ministry with Jesus:

Mark’s Gospel does not record any direct interactions between him and Jesus during Jesus’ earthly ministry. However, it is widely believed that Mark likely came into contact with Jesus during his ministry in Jerusalem and later became acquainted with the apostles.


3. Missionary Journey with Paul and Barnabas:

Mark is prominently mentioned in the book of Acts for his involvement in the missionary journeys of the apostle Paul and Barnabas. During their first missionary journey, Mark traveled with them as an assistant (Acts 12:25). However, for reasons not explicitly stated in the Scriptures, Mark departed from them and returned to Jerusalem before they completed the journey (Acts 13:13).


4. Rejoining Paul and Barnabas:

When Paul and Barnabas decided to embark on their second missionary journey, Barnabas wanted to take Mark along again. However, Paul objected, feeling that Mark had deserted them on their previous journey. This disagreement led to a split between Paul and Barnabas, with Barnabas taking Mark with him to Cyprus, while Paul chose Silas as his companion (Acts 15:36-40).


5. Reconciliation with Paul:

Despite the disagreement, Mark’s later life shows evidence of reconciliation with Paul. In his letters, Paul speaks positively about Mark, indicating that he became a valuable and trusted companion in his ministry (Colossians 4:10; Philemon 1:24; 2 Timothy 4:11).


6. Writing the Gospel of Mark:

Traditionally attributed to John Mark, the Gospel of Mark is believed to have been written in Rome or Alexandria between AD 50 and AD 70. Mark’s Gospel is the shortest of the four canonical Gospels and is known for its vivid and fast-paced narrative of Jesus’ life and ministry.


7. Legacy and Death:

Mark’s ministry and writings left a lasting impact on the early Christian Church. He is remembered as a faithful companion and disciple of both Peter and Paul. According to tradition, Mark eventually traveled to Alexandria, where he continued to spread the Christian faith. He is considered the founder of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Alexandria.

Mark’s death is not explicitly recorded in the New Testament. However, ancient Christian traditions hold that he was martyred in Alexandria, Egypt, around AD 68 during the reign of Nero.

Throughout the New Testament, Mark’s life serves as a reminder of God’s grace and the potential for growth and redemption in a believer’s journey.