Commentaries on Mark

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For more great commentaries on Mark, be sure to check:
Commentaries on All the Four Gospels, The Life & Times of ChristNew Testament Commentaries & 
Whole Bible Commentaries.

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Order of Contents

The Best Commentaries  6
Commentaries  18
Early Church  1
Jewish Background to  1
On Mark Generally  4
The First 2/3 of Mark  1

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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.

Jones (1865-1942) was an evangelical Welsh congregationalist minister.  Here are many of his works.

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Intermediate

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

Lindsay (1843–1914) was a historian and a professor in the Free Church of Scotland.  See his portrait.

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

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Advanced

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

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Commentaries on Mark

1500’s

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

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Simple, Practical & Devotional

1800’s

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

Luckock, Herbert – Footprints of the Son of Man as Traced by St. Mark, being Eighty Portions for Private Study, Family Reading and Instructions in Church  1893  430 pp.

“A suggestive, devotional commentary of real merit.”  – Cyril J. Barber

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1900’s

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

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Intermediate

1800’s

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

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1900’s

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.

English (also see here) was a learned, American religious author and dispensationalist (not recommended).

“A comprehensive exposition emphasizing the ‘Servant of Jehovah’ concept as found in this Gospel.”  – Cyril J. Barber

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Advanced, Liberal

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

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The Early Church on Mark

ed. Oden, Thomas – Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: Mark  Buy

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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. 

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On Mark Generally

Robertson, A.T.

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.

‘The Teaching of Jesus in Mark’s Gospel’  9 pp.

Stonehouse, Ned – The Witness of Matthew and Mark to Christ  Buy  1944

Stonehouse was an early Westminster Seminary professor.

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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

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Related Pages

Bible Commentaries

Whole Bible Commentaries

Old Testament Commentaries

New Testament Commentaries