Creating a Gospel

Preparing to teach in Mark, I was struck by this quote about the origins of the gospel.  That is not the message of the gospel, (i.e., the good news of Jesus Christ) but the genre of literature known as “gospel.”

One might be tempted to mimic the early church and wonder why one should bother with Mark at all. Those who do not consider the gospel an inferior extract of Matthew and/or Luke may well find Mark’s significance to lie almost entirely in his supplying to these more verbose evangelists the basic raw material of their own gospels. On this view, Mark’s significance could be considered mainly historical: he was the first to compose a gospel, the first to set forth an account of the ministry of Jesus in this peculiar and largely unparalleled genre.

But that accomplishment in itself should not be underrated. Mark is the creator of the gospel in its literary form—an interweaving of biographical and kerygmatic themes that perfectly conveys the sense of meaning of that unique figure in human history, Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God. Furthermore, by tying the significance of Jesus for the church so tightly to a specific series of historical occurrences in Palestine in the the third decade of the first century, Mark has ensured that the church, if it is to be true to its canonical documents, never abandons the real humanity of the Christ whom it worships. By reminding Christians that their salvation depends on the death and resurrection of Christ, Mark has inextricably tied Christian faith to the reality of historical events.

– D.A. Carson and Dougles J. Moo,
An Introduction to the New Testament

Amazing to think such a young man created such an amazing book when no such book had been written before.  Amazing grace of a sovereign God!

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