Many people think that the Book of Mark is an abridged version of Matthew and Luke, and as such, it’s usually not their favorite. But instead of Mark being a Cliff Notes, Bible historians think that Mark was the first Gospel to be written and that Matthew and Luke used the writings of Mark as a source when they wrote their Gospels.
Unlike the other Gospels, the Book of Mark is short and was to be “performed” orally and heard in a group setting in a single sitting. As you read the Book of Mark, ideally in one sitting (it only takes about an hour and a half), think of it as the Apostle Peter telling you his eyewitness stories of Jesus. He is so eager to tell you the stories that it feels as if the whole story of Jesus happened in about two weeks’ time. Mark probably heard Peter tell the stories many times and wrote it down so others could learn and tell the same story.
Look for the continuing theme of Jesus, as a Servant, working miracles, teaching and then finally giving his life on the cross (key text: Mark 10:45). We know the identity of Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God from the first verse, but note how the characters in the story notice, disregard, accept, trust, reject or are hostile to Jesus. What made the difference? Mark 8:29: “But what about you – who do you say that I am?”