Michael A. Turton's
Historical Commentary on the Gospel of Mark
Index Page


This website contains a complete verse-by-verse commentary on the Gospel of Mark, focusing on the historicity of people, places, events, and sayings in the world of the Gospel of Mark. Where pertinent, useful, or just plain interesting, additional information is given.

Each chapter is structured in the following manner:
  • the verses under discussion (from the Revised Standard Version, RSV), found at the head of each pericope (table in two columns at the beginning);
  • notes on the individual verses that contain remarks relevant to historicity (pink/gray border);
  • a reflection on the historicity of events in the form of a historical commentary after each pericope (gray area);
  • and, at the end, an excursus, or article, on a topic of interest for that chapter or the Gospel of Mark, that is meant to argue, inform, or stimulate (pink area).
I have also written several articles to accompany the Commentary. Enjoy the short Introduction, or go directly to Chapter 1 of the Commentary. To understand the methods used in assessing and evaluating the Gospel of Mark, see my discussion of the methodology behind the Commentary. A list of the Gospel of Mark by pericopes is given below. If you are searching for a particular item, try the Topical Index. A list of references is also available. My What's New page contains info on recent changes and additions to the website.

Good luck! If you have questions or comments, feel free to contact me. If you're interested in whys and wherefores, see A Note from the Author below. Everything on this website is copyright by me, but feel free to use if proper attribution is made.

Recently this commentary was thoroughly reviewed by my good friend Jacob Aliet, who did a great job. That review is on the website: Jacob Aliet's review.


to the Gospel of Mark

Introduction Author of Mark
Date of Composition Place of Composition
Sources of Mark Interpreting Mark

Historical Commentary on the Gospel of Mark
Chapter 1 Chapter 9
Chapter 2 Chapter 10
Chapter 3 Chapter 11
Chapter 4 Chapter 12
Chapter 5 Chapter 13
Chapter 6 Chapter 14
Chapter 7 Chapter 15
Chapter 8 Chapter 16

Methodology of the Commentary Topical Index List of References

Historical Commentary on the Gospel of Mark
Pericope Index

Chapter 1

Mk 1:1-8 John the Baptist announces the coming of Jesus
Mk 1:9-11 John baptizes Jesus
Mk 1:12-13
Satan tempts Jesus in the wilderness
Mk 1:14-20 Jesus calls disciples Peter, Andrew, James, and John
Mk 1:21-28 Jesus exorcises demons in a synagogue in Galilee
Mk 1:29-39
Jesus heals Peter's mother-in-law
Mk 1:40-45
Jesus heals a leper
Excursus The Chiastic Structures of Mark (go here for annotated version; here for a .jpg of the annotated version. The latter has more comments).

Chapter 2

Mk 2:1-12 Jesus heals a paralytic lowered through a roof
Mk 2:13-17 Jesus calls Levi the tax collector
Mk 2:18-22 Bridegroom saying
Mk 2:23-28 Conflict with Pharisees about plucking grain on the Sabbath
Excursus Markan Interreferences

Chapter 3

Mk 3:1-6  Jesus heals a withered arm in a synagogue
Mk 3:7-12 Crowds follow Jesus
Mk 3:13-19 Jesus appoints the Twelve
Mk 3:20-30 A house divided, a strong man bound
Mk 3:31-35 Who is my family?
Excursus Mark-Q Overlaps

Chapter 4

Mk 4:1-20 Parable of the Sower
Mk 4:21-25 Sayings about the Lamp
Mk 4:26-29
The kingdom is like seed scattered....
Mk 4:30-34 The Parable of the Mustard Seed
Mk 4:35-41 Jesus stills a storm. 
Are the Miracles Historical?
Chapter 5
Mk 5:1-20 Jesus heals the Gerasene Demoniac
Mk 5:21-43 Jesus raises Jairus' daughter and heals the bleeding woman
Excursus Literary Structures in Mark

Chapter 6

Mk 6:1-6 Jesus is rejected at home
Mk 6:7-13 Jesus sends out Apostles
Mk 6:14-29
Herod executes John the Baptist
Mk 6:30-44 The first feeding, of the 5000
Mk 6:45-56 Jesus walks on water
Excursus Mark without Bethsaida

Chapter 7
Mk 7:1-23 Pharisees criticize Jesus for eating with unwashed hands
Mk 7:24-30 Jesus heals the daughter of the Syro-Phoenician Woman
Mk 7:31-37 A man with stammering and deafness healed
Excursus Is Mark Prophecy Fufilled or History Created?

Chapter 8
Mk 8:1-13 The second feeding miracle, of 4000
Mk 8:14-21 Beware leaven of Herod and Pharisees
Mk 8:22-26 Jesus heals a blind man, who sees men like trees walking
Mk 8:27-33 Jesus makes first Passion prediction; "Get thee behind me, Satan!"
Mk 8:34-38 Jesus says you must deny yourself and take up cross to follow him
Excursus What is the Historical Yield of the Gospel of Mark?

Chapter 9

Mk 9:1-13 Jesus is transfigured on a mountain with Moses and Elijah
Mk 9:14-29 Jesus heals an epileptic that the disciples failed to heal
Mk 9:30-37 Jesus makes his second Passion prediction
Mk 9:38-41 Whoever is not with me is against me....
Mk 9:42-50 If your hand offends you, cut it off; salted with fire
Excursus Was Mark Meant to be Performed?

Chapter 10

Mk 10:1-12 Teachings on divorce
Mk 10:13-16 Kingdom belongs to children
Mk 10:17-31 The rich getting into heaven is like a camel.....
Mk 10:32-34 Jesus makes his third Passion prediction
Mk 10:35-45 James and John want to be at Jesus' right hand
Mk 10:46-52 Healing of blind Bar-Timaeus the beggar
Excursus Did the Writer of Mark Know the Pauline Letters?

Chapter 11

Mk 11:1-11 Jesus enters Jerusalem as Messiah
Mk 11:12-14 Jesus curses the fig tree
Mk 11:15-19 Jesus cleanses the Temple
Mk 11:20-25 Fig tree redux
Mk 11:27-33 Source of Jesus' authority?  John's baptism from God?
Excursus The Temple-Focused Gospel of Mark

Chapter 12

Mk 12:1-12 Parable of the Tenants
Mk 12:13-17 Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's
Mk 12:18-27 Sadducees ask about marriage after resurrection
Mk 12:28-34 Which is greatest commandment?
Mk 12:35-44 A poor widow gives everything to Temple
Excursus Mark and the Gospel of Thomas
Chapter 13
Mk 13:1-31 Jesus predicts the fall of Temple and the coming tribulation
Mk 13:32-37 Parable of the Watcher
Excursus Community and Geography in the Gospel of Mark
Chapter 14

Mk 14:1-11 Jesus is anointed, Judas betrays Jesus
Mk 14:12-25 Last Supper
Mk 14:26-31 Jesus predicts Peter's betrayal
Mk 14:32-42 Garden of Gethsemane
Mk 14:43-52 Jesus is arrested
Mk 14:53-65 Jesus is tried before the Sanhedrin
Mk 14:66-72 Peter denies Jesus three times
Excursus Who is the Naked Young Man of Mark 14:51-52?

Chapter 15

Mk 15:1-15 Jesus is tried before Pilate
Mk 15:16-20 Jesus is mocked by the Roman soldiers
Mk 15:21-32 Jesus is crucified
Mk 15:33-39 Jesus dies
Mk 15:40-41 Women watch Jesus' death from afar
Mk 15:42-47 Joseph of Arimathea buries Jesus
Excursus An Additional Argument for Markan Priority
Chapter 16 Mk 16:1-8 Women find tomb empty
Excursus The Missing Ending of Mark

A Note from the Author Contact the Author