John Mark: Evangelist and Missionary

john mark

Mistakes are effective teachers. Their consequences have a way of making lessons painfully clear. But those who learn from their mistakes are likely to develop wisdom John Mark was a good learner who just needed some time and encouragement.

Mark was eager to do the right thing, but he had trouble staying with a task. In his Gospel, Mark mentions a young man (probably referring to himself) who fled is such fear during Jesus’ arrest that he left his clothes behind. This redundancy to run was to reappear later when Paul and Barnabas took him as their assistant on their first missionary journey. At their second stop, Mark left them and returned to Jerusalem. It was a decision Paul did not easily accept. In preparing for their second journey two years later, Barnabas again suggested Mark as a traveling companion, but Paul flatly refused. As a result, the team was divided. Barnabas took Mark with him, and Paul chose Silas. Barnabas was patient with Mark, and the young man repaid his investment. Paul and Mark were later reunited, and the older apostle became a close friend of the young disciple.

Mark was a valuable companion to three early Christian leaders – Barnabas, Paul, and Peter. The material in Mark’s Gospel seems to have come mostly from Peter. Mark’s role as a serving assistant allowed him to be an observer. He learned Peter’s accounts of the years with Jesus over and over, and he was one of the first to put Jesus’ life in writing.

Barnabas played a key role in Mark’s life. He stood beside the young man despite his failure, giving him patient encouragement. Mark challenges us to learn from our mistakes and appreciate the patience of others. Is there a Barnabas in your life you need to thank for his or her encouragement to you?

The ESV Study Bible, Large Print edition features the content of the award-winning ESV Study Bible with a highly readable, large-print type. Extensive study notes, charts, maps, and articles make this study Bible a valuable resource for serious readers, students, and teachers of God’s Word.

Strengths and Accomplishments

  • Wrote the Gospel of Mark
  • He and his mother provided their home as one of the main meeting places for the Christians in Jerusalem.
  • Persisted beyond his youthful mistakes
  • Was an assistant and traveling companion to three of the greatest early missionaries

Weaknesses and Mistakes

  • Probably the nameless young man described in the Gospel of Mark who fled in panic when Jesus was arrested
  • Left Paul and Barnabas for unknown reasons during the first missionary journey

Lessons From His Life

  • Personal maturity usually comes from a combination of time and mistakes
  • Mistakes are not usually as important as what can be learned from them
  • Effective living is not measured as much by what we accomplish as by what we overcome in order to accomplish it
  • Encouragement can change a person’s life

Vital Statistics for John Mark

  • Where: Jerusalem
  • Occupations: Missionary-in-training, Gospel writer, traveling companion
  • Relatives: Mother: Mary. Cousin: Barnabas
  • Contemporaries: Paul, Peter, Timothy, Luke, Silas

Key Verse for John Mark

“Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry” (Paul writing in 2 Timothy 4:11)

John Mark’s story is told in Acts 12:23-13:13 and 15:36-39. He is also mentioned in Colossians 4:10; 2 Timothy 4:11; Philemon 24; 1 Peter 5:13.

Scripture Study Resources

ESV Study BibleStudy Bibles give you a deeper understanding of God’s Word with tools for life application like commentary, maps, charts, concordance, and study notes. Search our popular translations- NIV, ESV, NKJV, KJV and more!

Believer’s Bible Commentary: Second Edition – A Bible commentary is a written, systematic series of explanations and interpretations of Scripture. Commentaries often analyze or expound on individual books of the Bible, chapter by chapter and verse by verse. Some commentary works provide analysis of the whole of Scripture.

The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible – The best concordance for word study! This exclusive new edition of a legendary classic puts generations of biblical research at your fingertips. A valuable tool for pastors, teachers, and students of the Bible. 

Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words – This classic word study resource allows you to study the meaning of biblical words in the original languages without spending years learning Greek or Hebrew. A great resource for students, seasoned pastors, and anyone who enjoys biblical word studies–even if they have little to no formal training in Hebrew or Greek.

Halley’s Bible Handbook – The beloved and classic Bible companion has been thoroughly updated, while retaining its time-honored features and Dr. Halley’s highly personal style, to offer even greater clarity, insight, and usefulness.

Click here to print or download the scripture character study “John Mark: Evangelist & Missionary


scriptures for today