Pillar New Testament Commentary: The Gospel According to Mark
Category: Commentaries

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  • Named by Preaching Magazine as Year's Best Books For Preachers - 2006
  • Greek vocabulary and verb tenses are regularly discussed
  • Designed both for serious students and for general readers of the Bible
  • Commentaries are exegetical in nature, but with an intent to aiding expositors

Product Details

The general acceptance of Markan priority in the nineteenth century directed unprecedented attention on the Gospel of Mark from both academy and church. No longer was the second Gospel viewed as an inferior abridgment of Matthew; rather, its author was seen as the first to write the story of Jesus in the form of a Gospel, which became the primary influence on the subsequent Gospels of Matthew and Luke.

Scholarship on the Gospel of Mark today shows no sign of abating. Yet commentaries on Mark have not kept pace with the wealth of scholarly studies, articles, and monographs. This work by James R. Edwards is a welcome addition in filling this gap. Edwards has devoted three decades to the study of Mark and has endeavored to locate the second Gospel fully within the historical and social conditions of first-century Palestine as they are known through extrabiblical literature, inscriptions, and archaeology. Features unique to this commentary include clear discussions of terms like "scribe," "tax collector," "Sanhedrin," and "levirate marriage" - terms that, though familiar to many readers of the Bible, are often inadequately understood. Additionally, Edwards explores the Gospel's literary features, including Mark's use of the "sandwich" technique as well as of imagistic motifs and irony. Edwards proposes a new paradigm for interpreting the difficult "Little Apocalypse" of chapter 13, and he argues for a new understanding of Mark's controversial ending. These are only the starting points of the commentary, however. The Gospel of Mark was a product of the earliest Christian community, and it remains a document whose primary message is for the church, even today. The central aim of Edwards's work is to interpret the Gospel of Mark according to its theological intentions and purposes, especially as they relate to the life and ministry of Jesus and the call to faith and discipleship.

About the Series
The Pillar New Testament Commentary, designed for serious readers of the Bible, seeks above all to make clear the meaning of the text of Scripture as we have it. Writers of the PNTC volumes interact with the most important, informed contemporary debate yet avoid undue technical detail. Their ideal is a blend of rigorous exegesis and exposition, scholarship and pastoral sensitivity, with an eye alert both to biblical theology and to the contemporary relevance of the Bible.

While the New International Version is the translation of choice for the English text, Pillar authors base their exposition on the Greek New Testament. They are deeply committed to a fresh wrestling with the text, using every means at their disposal to "loosen the Bible from its pages" to help readers understand what the text says and how to apply it to life today.

Underlying the approach of this series is the fact that God stands over us rather than we in judgment of him. When God speaks to us in his Word, those who profess to know him must respond with reverence, a certain fear, a holy joy, and a questing obedience. These attitudes are reflected in the profoundly Christian stance of the PNTC authors toward the text. With these values in place, the Pillar commentaries will continue to be warmly welcomed by pastors, teachers, and students everywhere.

About the Author
James R. Edwards is professor of religion at Whitworth College, Spokane, Washington. He is also an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and a contributing editor of Christianity Today. His other books include The Layman's Overview of the Bible, The Divine Intruder: When God Breaks into Your Life, and the volume on Romans in the New International Biblical Commentary series.


James Edwards’s new, careful study of the earliest Gospel brings together his interest in and ongoing research regarding Mark’s work. He does so in a way that will have a broad appeal to a wide audience, including both the academic community and the service of pastors and teachers. This is an excellent piece of applied research and rigorous study.
Ralph P. Martin