This volume is written for anyone who--for whatever reason--is drawn to the New Testament. It is also for those who are not so drawn, for it is written out of the conviction that good readers need to be formed. Anyone can read the Bible; no particular level of education is required, but readers need to learn what to look for in stories that may seem distant and strange. The long tradition of reading the Scriptures in the church is not the enemy in such an enterprise, but audiences change, and the Bible must be heard and wrestled with in each new situation.
This volume focuses on the Gospel according to Mark, probably the first of the four Gospels to be written. It has received the least attention of the four in the history of the church. The explosion of Markan scholarship in the last decades tells a fascinating story that is not the focus of this study but informs it. The result of intense engagement with Mark within and outside the academic community has not achieved a meeting of the minds. Mark’s Gospel does not easily yield its secrets. It is the case, however, that conversing about Mark has been enormously interesting and productive for the church as well as the academy. This volume is written to open readers to its remarkable story. Where engagement will finally lead remains as unpredictable and as promising as the Gospel itself.