Order of Contents
The Best Commentaries 6
Early Church 1
Jewish Background to 1
On Mark Generally 4
The First 2/3 of Mark 1
The Best Commentaries on Mark
Simple, Practical & Devotional
Glover, Richard – A Teacher’s Commentary on the Gospel of Mark 1884
See the review by Rev. Nick Batzig of the same author’s work on Matthew, and the attendant excerpt.
Jones, John Daniel – Commentary on Mark: a Devotional Commentary Buy d. 1942 722 pp.
Alexander, J.A. – Commentary on the Gospel of Mark 1864 480 pp.
Alexander (1809-60) was a presbyterian, a justly renowned old Princeton scholar, a linguist, an eloquent preacher and a first-rate exegete.
*** “Alexander expounds Mark as an independent record, and does not constantly tell us to ‘see Matthew and Luke.’ Hence the book is complete in itself, and the author’s learning and care have made it invaluable.” – Spurgeon
Lindsay, Thomas – The Gospel According to St. Mark, with Introduction, Notes, and Maps 1893
Morison, James – A Practical Commentary on the Gospel According to St. Mark n.d. 560 pp.
Morrison was initially a Scottish, United Secession minister, though gradually became more unorthodox with his years. The label ‘Morisonianism’ became applied to his thought and followers. His exegetical works, though, on Matthew and Mark are valuable.
*** “A deeply learned work; we know of none more thorough. Differing as we do from this author’s theology, we nevertheless set a high price upon this production.” – Spurgeon
“A very full, devotional treatment. The overall strength of this exposition far outweighs its syntactical deficiencies.” – Cyril J. Barber
Swete, Henry B. – Commentary on Mark, the Greek Text with Introduction, Notes and Indices 1913 560 pp.
Swete was a liberal, English, Biblical scholar.
“Long regarded as one of the finest exegetical treatments available. Not as up-to-date as Vincent, but more conservative and should be consulted.” – Cyril J. Barber
“…dull and stodgy, in spite of its thorough scholarship…” – D.A. Carson
Commentaries on Mark
Marlorat, Augustin – A Catholic and Ecclesiastical Exposition of the Holy Gospel after St. Mark and Luke, gathered out of all the singular and approved divines, which the Lord has given to his church ToC 1583
Marlorat (1506-1562) was reformed. His commentaries are particularly valuable as they are compendiums of block quotes from some of the best reformed divines of his day on the passages of that particular Biblical book. See here for an excerpt from his commentary on John.
On his commentary on Matthew: ** – “Marlorate was an eminent French reformer, preacher and martyr. His commentaries contain the cream of the older writers, and are in much esteem, but are very rare. He wrote on the whole New Testament, but we have in English only the Gospels [2-3 John] and Jude [and Revelation 1 & 13].” – Spurgeon
Simple, Practical & Devotional
Boddington, Gracilla – Practical Commentary on Mark in Simple and Familiar Language 1863
** “The different paragraphs are treated under most suggestive headings, which are the most useful parts of the book. Infant baptism is far too prominent; but the little work is likely to be very helpful.” – Spurgeon
“A suggestive, devotional commentary of real merit.” – Cyril J. Barber
Jacobus, Jr., Melancthon – A Commentary on the Gospel of Mark 1915 280 pp. in The Bible for Home and School
This Jacobus (1855–1937) was the son of Melancthon Jacobus Sr. (1816–1876), was was a graduate of old Princeton Seminary (1881), a minister, and a professor at his alma mater and at Hartford Theological Seminary.
Morgan, G. Campbell – The Gospel According to Mark 1927 350 pp. 30 sermons as originally preached
“Emphasizes the concept of ‘service’ as the key to understanding this Gospel, and provides a fast-moving chronological exposition. Morgan’s works should be in every preacher’s library.” – Cyril J. Barber
Scroggie, William G. – The Gospel of Mark Buy n.d.
“A rich rewarding devotional exposition.” – Cyril J. Barber
Godwin, John H. – The Gospel according to St. Mark: a New Translation with Notes and Doctrinal Lessons 1869
** “We like the brief doctrinal lessons, which are rather a new feature. They will serve admirably well as sermon-hints. The notes and translation are really good.” – Spurgeon
Goodwin, Harvey – A Commentary on the Gospel of St. Mark 1860
** “Contains much very helpful comment. Produced in connection with the Cambridge Working Men’s College.”
Schaff, Philip & Matthew Riddle – The Gospel of Mark in A Popular Commentary on the New Testament 1879
The commentary is good enough, but could be better: it lacks spiritual profundity and fervor. Schaff (1819–1893), the famed Church historian and N.T. scholar, came from a German-Reformed background, though was also the lead proponent of the High-Church Mercersburg Theology. Riddle (1836–1916) was of a Dutch Reformed background and had a similar professorial and literary career.
Watson, Richard – Exposition of Matthew and Mark 1833
** “Arminian views crop up at every opportunity. The notes are meant to elucidate difficulties in the text, and frequently do so.” – Spurgeon
Allen, Willoughby Charles – The Gospel According to St. Mark, with Introduction and Notes 1915 240 pp. in The Oxford Church Biblical Commentary
Allen was an Anglican and Oxford scholar.
“Particularly strong on the Aramaic background of the Gospel.” – Cyril J. Barber
Cole, Robert – The Gospel According to St. Mark Buy 1st ed. 1961 in Tyndale New Testament Commentaries
“Combines exegesis with exposition and provides a provocative, evangelical study of Mark’s gospel.” – Cyril J. Barber
English, Eugene Schuyler – Studies in the Gospel According to Mark Buy 1943 516 pp.
“A comprehensive exposition emphasizing the ‘Servant of Jehovah’ concept as found in this Gospel.” – Cyril J. Barber
Hort, F.J.A. – Expository and Exegetical Studies, including the Gospel According to Mark Buy Reprinted by Klock & Klock.
Hort was an Irish-born, liberal, Cambridge Bible scholar.
Plummer, Alfred – The Gospel According to St. Mark 1920 275 pp. Reprinted by Baker in the Thornapple Commentary series
Plummer (1841–1926) was a Church of England clergyman, biblical scholar and a liberal.
Cranfield, C.E.B. – The Gospel According to St. Mark Buy 1963 in Cambridge Greek Testament Commentaries
According to D.A. Carson, this is one of ‘the best five all-purpose commentaries on Mark’, it is ‘of the highest academic standard’, has ‘an attractive warmth’, though ‘[William] Lane is slightly more conservative’, and it ‘was first published before the impact of redaction-critical studies on Mark’ and ‘the new literary criticism’.
“A valuable exegetical study.” – Cyril J. Barber
Taylor, Vincent – The Gospel According to St. Mark: the Greek Text with Introduction, Notes and Indexes Buy 1963
D.A. Carson: “Taylor’s was the first major commentary on Mark in English to utilize a restrained form-criticism.”
“A very full commentary with a detailed discussion of all the critical problems, and a complete resume of all the conflicting points of view.” – Cyril J. Barber
The Early Church on Mark
ed. Oden, Thomas – Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: Mark Buy
Jewish Background to the Book of Mark
Lightfoot, John – A Commentary on Mark from the Talmud and Hebraica mid-1600’s
Lightfoot was a reformed divine and Hebraicist who was invited to the Westminster Assembly. He mined the Jewish writings for anything and everything that may be of help in understanding the New Testament. Here are his results. This is the only work of its kind in English; the scholarly, more complete work (vol. 1, Mt; vol. 2, Mk-Jn) that has improved, in some ways, upon Lightfoot, done in the early 1900’s by H. Strack and P. Billerbeck, has still not been translated out of the German.
If one is interested in seeing the results of the use of the Jewish writings in relation to the gospel accounts, see Edersheim’s Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, who thoroughly makes use of them from his encyclopedic knowledge of the Jewish writings from his orthodox Jewish upbringing his life’s work as a scholar.
On Mark Generally
Studies in Mark’s Gospel 1919 134 pp.
Robertson (1863-1934) was a reformed Southern Baptist professor who “taught more than 6,000 students, and was one of the most prominent New Testament Greek scholars, teachers, and authors of his time.” – The back-flap
“Three chapters deal with John Mark as a person, along with the date of the Gospel and with its relation to Matthew and Luke. Four chapters discuss the person and work of Christ in miracles, parables, teaching, and preaching as described by Mark. The others trace Peter’s influence and treat some special problems in the Gospel. This book is the work of a man who knew the language of scholarship but spoke to the mind and heart of the average Christian.” – The back-flap
“…Does not follow a verse-by-verse exposition, but deals with introductory problems before discussing such items as miracles, parables, the teaching of Christ, Aramaic and Latin terms, and the disputed ending of the Gospel.” – Cyril J. Barber
Making Good in the Ministry: a Sketch of John Mark 1918 184 pp.
Stonehouse, Ned – The Witness of Matthew and Mark to Christ Buy 1944
Stonehouse was an early Westminster Seminary professor.
The First 2/3 of Mark
Petter, George – A Learned, Pious, and Practical Commentary, upon the Gospel According to St. Mark, chs. 1-11 ToC 1661
** “Mr. J.C. Ryle says of this work: ‘For laborious investigation of the meaning of every word, for patient discussion of every question bearing on the text, for fullness of matter, for real thoughtfulness, and for continued practical application, there is no work on St. Mark which, in my opinion, bears comparison with Petter’s. Like Goliath’s sword, there is nothing like it.’ We have found far less fresh thought in it than we expected, and think it rather tedious reading.” – Spurgeon