Review: A Theology of Mark’s Gospel

26263482David E. Garland needs no introduction. He is Dean and Holder of The Charles J. and Eleanor McLerran Delancey Chair of the Dean and Professor of Christian Scriptures at George W. Truett Seminary Baylor University. Garland is the author of numerous books and articles, including numerous highly acclaimed commentaries, and the New Testament editor of The Expositor’s Bible Commentary.  Most recently, Garland has produced this landmark volume on the theology of the Second Gospel as part of Zondervan’s Biblical Theology of the New Testament (BTNT) series.

A Theology of Mark’s Gospel: Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God is the fourth volume in the projected eight-volume BTNT series. Like the other volumes in the series, A Theology of Mark’s Gospel seeks to (1) survey recent scholarship and the state of research, (2) provide a treatment of relevant introductory issues, (3) present a thematic commentary that follows the overall flow of the narrative, (4) discuss important individual themes, and (5) interact with the relationship between the gospel of Mark and the rest of the New Testament and the Bible.

A Theology of Mark’s Gospel opens and Garland immediately orients the reader for the study ahead. Having written two successful commentaries on the Gospel of Mark already, Garland is well-positioned to survey the recent trends of Markan scholarship, and provides a helpful starting point and framework for the less familiar reader. Following the brief orientation, Garland carries the conversation forward and tackles traditional introductory issues such as authorship, provenance and date, audience, etc. Each of these topics are treated with judicious detail and thoroughly documented throughout.

After the introductory material is set as a foundation, Garland guides the reader through the Gospel of Mark and provides a literary reading of the narrative. Garland is extremely helpful here and shows that he is well-acquainted with the Second Gospel. The remainder of the volume seeks to address various theological themes and topics within the Gospel of Mark. The highpoints are numerous, but there are several that would suffice the purchase price of the volume alone. Three such examples would be Garland’s examination of the Christological titles, Mark’s eschatology, and a lengthy discussion on discipleship and missions.

I have been a fan of the BTNT series since the initial volume was released in 2009. Not only does the BTNT series bridge a much-needed gap on the bookshelf by providing a thorough investigation of a given book through the lenses of biblical theology, but the series is intentionally designed for easy reference and usability. It is within this marriage between scholarship and usability that Garland has provided the reader a volume that is sure to shine brightly in an ever-growing market of Markan material. Each topic is well-documented and discussed, the chapters open with a thoroughly distilled bibliography, and everything addressed in the volume is easily discoverable within the detailed table of contents.

 A Theology of Mark’s Gospel: Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God by David E. Garland offers the reader and up-to-date and in-depth discussion of the Second Gospel. From the introductory orientation to the detailed dialogue of the disputed passages at the close of the Gospel, and the various theological themes in between, Garland has provided a superb volume that is sure to be received with open arms by many. While it would be difficult to pick a favorite volume from within the BTNT series, if pressed, Garland would be at the top of the list. It will be off my bookshelf with much frequency.


I received a review copy of these books in exchange for and honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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