Mark Strauss has provided another winner in the ZECNT series. As with other volumes in the series, scholarly information is provided for the studious pastor. As it turns out, I imagine scholars will love it too. Mr. Strauss writes as one in love with the Gospel of Mark. To me, that is often the most important element in producing a successful commentary.
His Introduction of Mark really provokes the reader’s understanding of what the Gospel of Mark seeks to accomplish. As is a key focus with this series, he begins by explaining Mark’s story of Jesus. In describing Mark’s fast-paced story, he says, “this is a gospel narrative on steroids!” He explains that Jesus is both the mighty Messiah and the Son of God. He sees the book of Mark as having two distinct halves, which includes the time where the people were amazed at Christ followed by a time of opposition. He traces out the suffering servant motif with good effect too. Next, he explains Mark’s place in scholarly history, and well defines the various criticisms that have been in vogue over the years. He sees narrative criticism as the most significant of our day and then includes a section explaining his approach in this commentary. He says it is “eclectic, drawing insights from historical-critical, social-scientific, and narrative methodologies”.
He goes on to discuss genre, authorship, audience, and date with conservative conclusions in each. I enjoyed it even more when he got into occasion and purpose and brought out what was, in my view, some of the most interesting features of Mark. In literary features, he discusses Mark’s structure and a few other unique details that I found extremely helpful.
The commentary proper is in the fine ZECNT style that I’m growing to appreciate more each day. He puts each passage and literary context, provides a main idea, explains the structure, provides an outline, and then jumps into detailed explanatory commentary of the text. Though Greek words are used in the text, the English words are nearby and are easy to follow. In both the Introduction and in the commentary itself, this volume is theologically rich.
I recently had the privilege to review the volume on John in this same series and am amazed by the consistent quality. When it comes to an up-to-date, quality exegetical commentary, these volumes cannot be beat. I give this book the highest recommendation!
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.