The Gospel of Mark is one of the best places to start when it comes to reading the Bible. It’s short, full of energy and overdosed on excitement. It clearly presents Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, and gives a simple picture of what it means for us to follow him. At the same time, it’s a book that we want to keep coming back to again and again throughout our Christian life so that we can be reminded time and again of who Jesus is and what it means to follow him. With that in mind, I want to introduce you to a book that I think will help both the first-time and veteran reader of Mark’s biography of Jesus be impressed by our amazing Lord.
Way back in 2005, Englishmen Nigel Beynon and Andrew Sach wrote a helpful little book called: Dig Deeper! Tools to unearth the Bible’s treasure. That book was pitched as a sort of ‘tool box’ stuffed to the brim with simple principles for understanding any passage in the Bible. In simple and clear language it shows why things like context, structure, author’s purpose and genre matter, and how they help us to understand what God is teaching us through his word. Here’s an endorsement from the late John Chapman: “This book is a first-class tool kit to help in the reading and understanding of the Bible…for every Christian to hear the voice of God.”
In 2010 Dig Even Deeper: Unearthing Old Testament Treasure appeared. Using the book of Exodus as a worked example, this second book puts the tools introduced in the previous book into practice.
Now, in 2015, Dig Deeper into the Gospels: Coming Face to Face with Jesus in Mark by Andrew Sach and Tim Hiorns, brings an exciting new instalment to this line of ‘getting-down-tobusiness’ commentaries. Like the worked example based on Exodus in the previous book, this book takes us through the entirety of Mark’s Gospel, helping us to see in the most simple terms what Mark is all about.
Here’s 5 reasons why I think this is a must have book:
1. It’s so easy to read. The authors use humour, diagrams, tables and plain English to make their point.
2. It’s simple without being simplistic. Make no mistake: this is a meaty book. It grapples with the Scriptures and helps us engage with the Bible in a profound way. But you don’t feel like you’ve got indigestion after reading it…
3. It teaches you how to read the Bible for yourself. This book is essentially a commentary on Mark’s Gospel. Unlike other commentaries, it doesn’t leave me feeling like only an expert can read and understand the Bible. It shows me how to do it for myself and leaves me feeling like I really can read, understand and apply it for myself!
4. I’ve just mentioned this above, but it’s worth repeating – this book does what I wish so many other commentaries would do and deals with the ‘so what?’ factor of the Scriptures. That is, this book teaches us how to apply what we read in a way that flows directly from what we are reading in the text of Mark’s Gospel. The application clearly comes from the passage,
and I see how I can do the same thing for myself. I meet Jesus, and I know how he wants me to respond to him.
5. The chapters are generally between 8-10 pages long. It’s comprehensive but concise. I’ve been using it in my own quiet times as I’m going back through Mark for the second time this term and it has really helped to bring it home.
You don’t need to have read the first book in the series to understand what the authors are talking about, so don’t worry about that. Why not order a copy of this book today and revisit Mark with your own personal tutors and be amazed by our Lord Jesus?