The Gospel according to Mark:
Section-by-Section Outlines

by Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.

For a brief outline of the whole Gospel, click here.  For webpages on related topics, click the words hyperlinked below.

The Structure and Contents of the Gospel's Beginning (Mark 1:1-45)

Introduction of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (1:1-15):

Some Typical Events in Jesus' Ministry (1:16-45):
A Comparison of Mark 1 and Parallel Episodes in the other Gospels:
Pericope Mark Matthew Luke John
Literary Introduction v. 1 1:1 1:1-4 1:1-18
     [Infancy Narratives] [ch. 1-2] [ch. 1-2]
John the Baptist preaches in the wilderness vv. 2-8 3:1-6, 7-12 3:1-6, 7-20 1:19-23, 24-28
Jesus is baptized by John in the Jordan river vv. 9-11 3:13-17 3:21-22, 23-38 [1:29-34]
Jesus is tested by Satan in the wilderness vv. 12-13 4:1-2, 3-11 4:1-2, 3-13
Jesus preaches the Good News in Galilee vv. 14-15 4:12-17 4:14-15, 16-30
Jesus calls his first four disciples vv. 16-20 4:18-22 [5:1-11] [1:35-51]
Jesus exorcizes an unclean spirit at Capernaum vv. 21-28 4:31-37
     [Sermon on the Mount] [ch. 5-7] [cf. 6:17-49]
Jesus heals Simon's Mother-in-law vv. 29-31 [8:14-15] 4:38-39
Jesus heals and exorcizes many others vv. 32-34 [8:16-17] 4:40-41
Jesus prays; then preaches beyond Capernaum vv. 35-39 4:23-25 4:42-44
Jesus cleanses a leper vv. 40-45 [8:1-4] 5:12-16

A Cycle of Five "Conflict Stories" (Mark 2:1—3:6)

Mark seems to have intentionally grouped these five conflict stories together near the beginning of his Gospel. Note how each story ends with one or two brief sayings of Jesus, which seem to express the main point of the story. Note also how the conflict builds from one story to the next, culminating in the plot to kill Jesus in 3:6. 

Mark Pericope Title Who Objects? Against Whom? About What?
2:1-12 Healing a Paralytic scribes among themselves forgiving/ blaspheming
Jesus' Saying:  "the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins" (2:10).
2:13-17 Calling Levi, a Tax Collector scribes of the Pharisees Jesus' disciples eating with tax collectors and sinners
Jesus' Sayings: "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick" (2:17a);
                            "I have come to call not the righteous but sinners" (2:17b).
2:18-22 About Fasting people Jesus disciples not fasting
Jesus' Sayings: "The wedding guests cannot fast while the bridegroom is with them." (2:19-20);
                            "No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak." (2:21-22).
2:23-28 Plucking Grain on the Sabbath Pharisees Jesus breaking the sabbath
Jesus' Sayings: "The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath" (2:27);
                            "so the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath" (2:28).
3:1-6 Restoring a Man's Withered Hand Jesus "them" (Pharisees & Herodians) healing on the sabbath
Jesus' Question: "Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to kill?" (3:4).

Jesus' Early Ministry: Training the Twelve Disciples (Mark 3:7—6:6a)

Jesus Interacts with Crowds and Opponents, Disciples and Family (3:7-35)

Jesus Teaches the Crowds and the Disciples with Enigmatic Parables (4:1-34) Jesus Shows His Power in Words and Mighty Deeds (4:35—6:6a)
Jesus' Expanded Ministry: Sending Out the Twelve Apostles (Mark 6:6b—8:21)
Mark's Central Section: "On the Way" to Jerusalem (Mark 8:22—10:52)

Jesus Journeys from Bethsaida and Caesarea Philippi to Jericho and Jerusalem (built around three Passion predictions, each of which is followed by the misunderstanding of one or more of the disciples, and further teaching by Jesus about the requirements of true discipleship):

[Transition/preface: 8:14-21 - The "blindness" of the disciples!]
8:22-26 - The Two-Stage Restoration of Sight to a Blind Person at Bethsaida, north of the Sea of Galilee

8:27-30 - Peter's Confession near Caesarea Philippi: "You are the Christ"; but Jesus orders them "not to tell anyone about him"

8:31 - First Passion Prediction (Son of Man must suffer, be rejected, be killed, and rise after three days)
8:32-33 - Peter misunderstands and "rebukes" Jesus, who "rebukes" Peter in return
8:34–9:1 - Jesus teaches: "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves, take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake and for the sake of the gospel will save it."

9:2-30 - Transfiguration; Coming of Elijah; Exorcism of an Epileptic Spirit

9:31-32 - Second Passion Prediction (Son of Man will be betrayed, be killed, but rise after three days)
9:33-34 - All the disciples misunderstand, arguing who among them was the greatest
9:35-50 - Jesus teaches: "Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all."

10:1-31 - Teaching on Divorce; Blessing of Children; the Rich Man

10:32-34 - Third Passion Prediction (Son of Man will be handed over, condemned to death, mocked, spat upon, scourged, put to death, but will rise after three days)
10:35-40 - James and John misunderstand, asking for the seats of honor when Jesus is in "glory"
10:41-45 - Jesus teaches: "Whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."

10:46-52 - The Immediate Restoration of Sight to Blind Bartimaeus outside of Jericho, on the way to Jerusalem

Contrasting Mark’s Two Stories of Jesus Healing Blind People:

Mark 8:22-26

Mark 10:46-52

22 – Intro: Blind man at Bethsaida, Request to touch

46 – Intro: Jesus leaving Jericho, Blind beggar Bartimaeus

23 – Jesus touches the man’s eyes (with spittle)

47 – Bartimaeus cries out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy”

24 – The man can see unclearly (trees walking?)

48a – People rebuke and try to silence him

25a – Jesus touches the man’s eyes again

48b – Bartimaeus cries again, “Son of David, have mercy”

25b – The man’s sight is restored; he sees clearly

49-50 – Jesus stops & calls him; Bartimaeus approaches Jesus

26 – Jesus sends the man home (not into the village)    

51 – Dialogue: “What do you want?” – “Lord, I want to see!”


52 – “Go, your faith has saved you”;  Bartimaeus follows Jesus

Jesus' Final Week in Jerusalem (Mark 11:1—13:37)

The Entry into Jerusalem and the Cleansing of the Temple (11:1-33)

Further Controversies with the Jerusalem Authorities (12:1-44)

The Eschatological Discourse (13:1-37)

The Passion, Death, and Burial of Jesus (Mark 14:1—15:47)
The Resurrection of Jesus (Mark 16:1-8; and 16:9-20, added later)

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This page was last updated on February 11, 2015
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