Commentaries on Mark

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More commentaries on Mark:
Commentaries on All the Four Gospels, Life & Times of Christ, Whole New Testament Commentaries & Whole Bible Commentaries




Life & Times of Christ
Events in Christ’s Life
Bible Characters in Gospels



Order of Contents

Best  6
Commentaries  18
Early & Medieval  12+
Jewish Background  1
Mark Generally  4
Chapters  2



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.



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



Bland, Miles – Annotations on the Historical Books of the New Testament Designed for Use of Students at the University and Candidates for Holy Orders, vol. 2, St. Mark’s Gospel  (Cambridge, 1828)

Bland (1786-1867) was an English cleric and mathematician.

“A compilation from the best old authors.” – Howard Malcom

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 & Ecclesiastical Exposition of the Holy Gospel after St. Mark & Luke, Gathered out of all the Singular & Approved Divines, which the Lord has given to his Church  (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 & 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 & Instructions in Church  (1893)  430 pp.

“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 & 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

Ferguson, Sinclair – Understanding the Gospel  (Kingsway Publications, 1989)  310 pp.  ToC




Godwin, John H. – The Gospel according to St. Mark: a New Translation with Notes & 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 & 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 & 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 Mark: an Introduction & Commentary  in Tyndale New Testament Commentaries  (1961; 1989)

“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  (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


Advanced, Liberal

Hort, F.J.A. – The Gospel According to St. Mark: the Greek Text Edited with Introduction & Notes for the Use of Schools  (Cambridge University Press, 1907)  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  in Cambridge Greek Testament Commentaries  (Cambridge University Press, 1959)  490 pp.  ToC

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 & Indexes  (London: Macmillan, 1955)  715 pp.  ToC  Reprinted in Baker’s Thornapple Commentaries

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


Ford, James – The Gospels, Illustrated (Chiefly in the Doctrinal & Moral Sense) from Ancient & Modern Authors, vol. 2 (Mk)  (London: Masters, 1864)  no ToC

***  “Those who wish to see what the Fathers said upon the Gospels, and to read the choicest sayings of the early Anglican bishops, cannot do better than consult Ford, who has made a very rich collection.  Some of the extracts do not materially illustrate the text, but they are all worth reading.”

Dunwell, Francis Henry – The Four Gospels, as Interpreted by the Early Church…  (London: Clowes, 1876)  931 pp.  no ToC  Fathers

ed. Oden, Thomas – Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: Mark  Pre  Buy  (IVP Academic, 1998)  270 pp.  ToC



Tatian – The Earliest Life of Christ… being the Diatessaron of Tatian (c. 160 AD), with a Historical & Critical Introduction, Notes & Appendix by J. Hamlyn Hill  (1894)  400 pp.

Tatian (120-180 AD) was a Syrian Christian writer.  This was his attempt at a harmony of the Gospels.

Ambrosiaster – ‘Questions & Answers on the Gospel of Mark’  (chs. 1-3, 6-8, 14-16)  at Patristic Bible Commentary

Ambrosiaster (fl. 366-384)

Jerome – Homilies 75-84 (chs. 1, 5, 8-9, 11, 13-14)  ToC  in The Homilies of St. Jerome, vol. 2 (Homilies 60-96)  trans. Marie Liguori Ewald  in The Fathers of the Church  Pre  (Catholic University of America Press, 1966), pp. 121-94

Jerome (c. 342–347 – 420)



Sermons 94A-97  ToC  in Sermons III/4 (94A-147A) on the New Testament  trans. Edmund Hill  in The Works of Saint Augustine: a Translation for the 21st Century  (Hyde Park, NY: 1990), pp. 19-39

Augustine (354–430)

Sermons on Selected Lessons of the New Testament by S. Augustine  in A Library of Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church  (Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1839), sermons 45-47, pp. 365-79  ToC

Sermon 45, on Mk. 8:1-9
Sermon 46, on Mk. 8:34
Sermon 47, on Mk. 13:32

Mark Gospel Harmony  at Patristic Bible Commentary



The Medieval Church on Mark


Various – The Catena in Marcum: A Byzantine Anthology of Early Commentary on Mark  trans. William R.S. Lamb  in Texts & Editions for New Testament Study  Pre  (Brill, 2012)  479 pp.  ToC



Gregory the Great

Forty Gospel Homilies  ed. David Hurst  Ref  (Cistercian Publications, 1990)  389 pp.

Homilies on Mark 16:1-7, 14-20  at Patristic Bible Commentary

The First Commentary on Mark: an Annotated Translation  trans. Michael Cahill  Pre  (NY: Oxford University Press, 1998)  150 pp.  ToC

This anonymous commentary likely dates from the first half of the 600’s.  It was thought to have been written by Jerome before the Renaissance.

Bede – Homilies on the Gospels: bk. 1 (Advent to Lent), bk. 2 (Lent to Dedication of Church)  Ref 12  (Cistercian Publications, 1991)

Bede (672/3 – 735)

Dionysius Syrus – Exposition upon the Gospel of St. Mark  in A Clear & Learned Explication of the History of our Blessed Savior Jesus Christ, Taken out of Above Thirty Greek, Syriac, & Other Oriental Authors, by Way of Catena  (Dublin [1695])

Dionysius Syrus (d. 1171), or Jacob Bar-Salibi, was an Assyrian metropolitan bishop and the best-known and most prolific writer in the Syriac Orthodox Church of the twelfth century.

Hildegard of Bingen – Homilies on the Gospels  trans. Beverly M. Kienzle  Pre  (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2011)  210 pp.  ToC

Hildegard (c. 1098 – 1179)

Aquinas, Thomas – Golden Chain (Catena Aurea): Mark

Gregorius the Syriac – On the Four Gospels  in A Clear & Learned Explication of the History of our Blessed Savior Jesus Christ, Taken out of Above Thirty Greek, Syriac, and Other Oriental Authors, by Way of Catena  (Dublin [1695])

Gregory Bar Hebraeus (1226–1286) was a Chief bishop of Persia of the Syriac Orthodox Church in the 13th century.  He is noted for his works concerning philosophy, poetry, language, history, and theology; he has been called “one of the most learned and versatile men from the Syriac Orthodox Church.”



Jewish Background to the Book of Mark

Lightfoot, John

A Commentary on Mark from the Talmud & 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.

A Chorographical Decad: Searching into Some Places of the Land of Israel, those especially whereof Mention is made in St. Mark  in Works, ed. Pitman (London, 1823), vol. 10, pp. 187-274  ToC



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 & Mark to Christ  Buy  (1944)

Stonehouse was an early Westminster Seminary professor.



On Chapters in Mark


On Chapters 1-11


Petter, George – A Learned, Pious & Practical Commentary upon the Gospel According to St. Mark, chs. 1-11  (1661)  884 pp.  ToC

**  “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



On Chapters 1-2

Gouge, William – Exposition of Mark 1:25-34 & 2:1-10, 13-14  in An Exposition on the whole Fifth Chapter of John’s Gospel, also Notes on other Choice Places of Scripture  (London: 1630)

Gouge was an English puritan and Westminster divine.




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Whole Bible Commentaries

Old Testament Commentaries

New Testament Commentaries