Book Review: Mark: He Taught Them As One Who Had Authority

I know two posts in one day, shocking but having a toddler who keeps you up at all hours of the day and night gives you time to blog and read books.  The following is my review of R.C. Sproul’s commentary on the book of Mark.

Mark: He Taught Them As One Who Had Authority, written by R.C. Sproul and published by Reformation Trust Publishing, is part of the St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary Series.  This is the fifth volume in the series, all brilliantly written by Dr. Sproul.  There are many different kinds of commentaries written in different ways and to a variety of different contexts, some are written with the laymen in mind, some with the Bible Student, some with the Pastor.  This commentary seeks to bridge the audience gap between Pastor and laymen.

Unlike many commentaries Mark is not highly technical; it is an adaptation of a series of sermons Dr. Sproul taught to his congregation.  Yet despite not addressing highly technical issues, Mark does address issues in the text if they would be applicable to a pastor preaching to a congregation, or to anyone reading through the Gospel of Mark.  For example, in the treatment of Mark 16:9-18, Dr. Sproul, who holds to a long ending of Mark, magnificently addresses this textual issue without getting into a long discussion on its usage and reliability while keeping the reader transfixed on the inerrancy and infallibility of scripture.  He concludes his three paragraph treatment of this potential issue by writing “In any case, the doctrines that are found in this passage are consistent with what is taught throughout the New Testament. Thus, we can read and study it with confidence and profit.” Dr. Sproul is highly skilled at taking scholarly issues and making them accessible to anyone.  This is what Mark is so easily readable.

Since the audience that Mark is intended for is laymen as well as the Pastor; it can be used for devotional reading and as a aid to pastors looking for practical application on the text.  This dual approach makes Mark one of only a handful of expositional commentaries, which are unabashedly reformed in theology yet have extremely insightful application without getting bogged down in technical discussions of exegesis about the Greek text.

If one was looking for a weakness of this commentary is in its breadth, if you are a Bible student looking for a resource to write a treatment of the text they will want to use another resource.  Also if you are a pastor looking for a resource to preach from the Gospel of Mark this treatment of said Gospel will need to be paired with a commentary which deals with a few more of the technical details of the text.  But if you are a Sunday school teacher, small group leader, etc., or intended to use this commentary for personal devotions, Mark is the prefect resource for your needs.

With all of that said Mark by R.C. Sproul is a wonderful commentary on the Gospel of Mark if one wants to use this commentary as it was meant to be used, which is a wonderful expositional treatment of the text intended to give the reader understanding and insight into Gospel while teaching them how to live a life for Christ that they have been called to.

This book was provided to me free of charge from Reformation Trust Publishing in exchange for an unbiased, honest review.

Mark: A St. Andrews Expositional Commentary
© 2011 by R.C. Sproul
Publisher: Reformation Trust
Page Count: 424 Pages
ISBN-13: 9781567692655

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