Mark (born Yohanan), son of Mary, was probably born in Jerusalem around AD 10. He acquired the surname Marcus, perhaps at birth, and lived with his mother in Jerusalem[1]. He would meet and be discipled by Peter shortly before the apostle left Jerusalem to work among the diaspora of the Jews.

After being recruited by his cousin Barnabas, he would accompany Paul during his first missionary journey. After briefly leaving the mission field, he joined Barnabas planting churches on the island of Cyprus[2].

Internal evidence and tradition indicate that John Mark wrote the concise Gospel that bears his name. In this account, he tells of Jesus as the miracle-working teacher who, though the Jewish Messiah[3], appealed to all God-fearing citizens of the Roman empire.

Biography Edit

John Mark (Gr: Iohannes Markos) was probably born in Roman occupied Jerusalem, Judea Province, in the early first century AD (c. AD 10). His mother bore the popular Jewish name of Myriam (Gr: Marian). That he was given a Roman surname may indicate a family of influence, but probably not a Roman father. Young "Yohanan" lived with his mother[1], leaving the impression that his father had already died by the time his mother became a follower of Jesus Christ.

The first probable appearance of Mark was as the young man bearing a water pitcher that the disciples followed to find the "upper room" for the "last supper."[4] Later that same day 'a certain young man' would run away naked, having had his bed clothes ripped off by soldiers who had captured Jesus.[5]

As the new sect of "the Nazarene" grew in and around his home, Mark was most certainly affected in some way. The Apostles Peter, James and John were actively evangelizing the Jews in the Holy City of their ancient religion. For a while the young church was growing larger day by day, but the Jewish leadership rose up against it, leading to the execution of James. The place of refuge was the spacious home of his mother Mary.

At some point during this time, Mark became a believer, probably under Peter's ministry in Jerusalem. Years later, after Saul of Tarsus had been called to be an Apostle, Mark would meet Peter and other apostles in Jerusalem.[6] On the advice of Barnabas, Paul had agreed to take the young man along on the first mission to the Roman province of Asia. For some reason, Mark left the team at Perga, Pamphylia, to return to Jerusalem[7]. Probably as a result of this, Paul refused to bring him along on the next trip, leading Barnabas to form a new team to evangelize Cyprus[2].

Later, after working in Cyprus, Mark makes his way back to Peter, then in the Jewish community in the town of Babylon. It was probably there that Mark would begin writing his gospel. After a time, most probably traveling by way of Judea to Ephesus, Mark would join Timothy in Ephesus, from where he would be sent to Rome to assist Paul in his last days[8]. One of the things he brought with him was "the books," one of which may have been that which would bear his name[9].


  1. 1.0 1.1 Acts 12:12
  2. 2.0 2.1 Acts 15:37-39
  3. Mark 1:1
  4. Mark 14:13
  5. Mark 14:51–52
  6. Acts 12:5
  7. Acts 13:14
  8. 2 Timothy 4:11
  9. 2 Tim. 4:13