In reading the Book of Mark, I try to keep in mind one major aspect of Bible observation methods; who is speaking to whom. I try to keep that in mind from two perspectives:
- Who is (John ) Mark writing to as the author sharing with an intended audience?
- Who is speaking in the biblical text and who is it directed to as a listening audience?
And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. Mark 8:31 (NKJV)
Who is the them who He began to teach? The disciples of Jesus? The Twelve? The multitudes and the disciples? Who is them in this context?
Then, after you find them, go to the passage that reads: When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. (v. 34). We now have a full view of who He (being Jesus) is talking to at the end of the chapter. Read it so that it can be understood.
No amount of theological school or seminary will ever wipe out such fundamental study practices like this. It should be seen as necessary for basic Bible study to be conducted in such a manner to gain an understanding of what is actually happening within the text and who is actually involved, not who is assumed to be involved in it.
As we enter into chapter 9 of Mark, let us continue to keep our eyes attentive to what we read in the text. See who is involved and how so. Otherwise, we may start making some errors in interpreting what occurs from verse to verse, even in a straightforward biblical book like Mark.