John Mark Encyclopedia


Mark, or "John, whose surname was Mark", as he is called in Acts 12:12; 12:25; 15:37, was a servant of Christ and a New Testament writer. When we first read of John Mark, we find that his mother, Mary, opened her home up for a prayer meeting. Later in the same chapter, we find that Paul and Barnabas took John Mark with them on the first missionary journey. However, part way along the journey (when they reached the coast of Asia Minor), John Mark abandoned Paul and Barnabas. On account of this, Paul refused to take John Mark on the second missionary journey; "But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work" (Acts 15:38). Barnabas disagreed with Paul, and the two servants were separated over the issue. Barnabas took Mark with him, and Paul took Silas. Evidently Mark was restored from his previous failures, and used in broader service (Col. 4:10). Mark was later used to write the gospel of Mark, which fittingly presents Christ as the Perfect Servant. Being shepherded by Peter may have had something to do with Mark's restoration (1 Pet. 5:13). In his second epistle to Timothy, Paul could say, "Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry" (2 Tim. 4:11). Mark is a testament to the fact that failures don't necessarily mean the end of our usefulness for Christ. Perhaps Mark was timid (like Timothy), but more likely his failure was publicly known, and so Paul "ordered" the Colossians to receive Mark if he visited Colosse.