Week 45: Mark and James

Prepare these questions for Sunday, February 16, 2014.

The book of Mark is one of the four books that make up the Gospels (Matthew, Luke, and John are the others) that tell the story of the life and death of Jesus. Although the text does not state an author, it is traditionally thought to be a man named Mark who knew and recorded Peter's eyewitness account of following Jesus. Most of the stories found in Mark can also be found in other Gospels.

1. Most of Mark focuses on the concept of Jesus's identity. Read the text imagining that you were an eyewitness to these events. Who would you say Jesus is?

2. Choose one or two events and compare it to the same event recorded in Matthew. What is similar? What is different? Why might two different people have slightly different language or details when recording the same event?

3. Verses 1:16-18 and 12:29-31 have almost identical counterparts in the book of Matthew. Why would these verses be repeated and what impact does that have on your understanding of the Bible?

The book of James is thought to have been written by James, the brother of Jesus. James, like most of us would be, was uncertain about his brother's message at first, but became a leader in the early church and gave practical advice. These messages are written for those who already follow Christ and are uncertain about how to live out their faith in their daily lives. James says that while good deeds do not make God love you more, it is still your responsibility to offer love and kindness to those around you in honor of the gift of salvation that you have received.

4. What does James say about trials and tribulations in our lives? How can you apply that concept to your own life?

5. What does Chapter 3 say about the tongue (what we say and how we say it)? How is that relevant to our modern world and your life in particular?

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