Remembering Mark

26 Oct

I was listening to someone recently who was explaining that he thought part of the purpose behind writing of the gospel of Mark was to write in such a way that people could easily remember or even memorize it.

I don’t know.

Probably. It makes sense seeing as the early church didn’t have access to Bibles the way we do and that they weren’t as literate a society from what I understand.

He pointed out though some of the ways that he thought Mark went about helping make his gospel easier to remember which I thought were at the very least interesting.

One of the techniques, something called chiasm or in his words “mirror links.”

He divides Mark up into six sections and in each of the sections he highlights a series of eight incidents, which he thinks all contain these mirror links or chiasms for ease of memory. I’m not reviewing or really offering commentary because I haven’t thought about it very deeply, but take Mark 4 through 6:6.

He broke it down into four parables and four miracles and tried to point out what he thougth were the mirror links.

First parable, the sowers. Different responses to Jesus’ word.

Final story, Jesus in his hometown preaching. Different responses to Jesus’ word. Most people rejecting, few small people believing.

Second story, Jesus goes into the house and talks to his disciples and reveals what he was really saying in the parables.

Next to last story, Jesus heals Jairus daughter. He goes to the house, people laugh at what he has to say, then he and just a few others go into the inner room and they are able to see His true power as he raises the little girl from the dead.

Next parable, nothing hidden except to be revealed.

Other story in there with Jairus’ daughter, Jesus healing the unclean woman. You remember how she tried to hide herself from Jesus after touching the hem of his garment, and he brought her out. Nothing hidden that won’t be revealed?

Next parable, kingdom of God like the man who casts seed upon the soil and goes to bed at night and gets up by day and the seed sprouts and grows.

Story before the healing of the woman, Jesus casting the demon out of the man into the pigs. Apparently one of the details Mark records in that story that the others don’t is the fact that the demoniac was constantly night and day in the tombs and in the mountains crying out and gashing himself with stones.

That’s only other time Mark uses that phrase night and day in his gospel.

The idea for the speaker being I guess that while Satan is oppressing human beings night and day, God at the same time even though it is hard to see, is building his kingdom night and day.

Final parable, the small mustard seed growing into something huge.

First story, the disciples with like small insignificant faith, their faith growing by the end. (Problem with that one though is that Jesus questions whether they actually have faith at the end.)

I’m not sure I’m sold on all the details of that particular scheme.  It does seem a little intricate. But it is fun. I’ll admit that.  And you know, I think he is really on to something when it comes to helping people remember the gospel of Mark.  If you have time and want to work at memorizing the gospel of Mark you might want to check out his work for yourself, it’s called The Mark Experiment.

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