Our publishing friends at The Good Book Company have a great mission strapline – “Opening up the Bible” – and they’ve produced a whole range of resources aimed at exactly that. One of their titles is the ‘Pray, Prepare, Preach’ series which, for many years, has been helping pastors and Bible teachers all over the world to rightly handle the Word of God and rightly approach preaching it. One of the earliest and best loved guides in the series is the title on Mark’s Gospel.
Three years ago in Kisumu I spent three days with a group of pastors, from a wide range of denominations, looking together at Mark’s Gospel. The first day we looked at what Mark is all about (the gospel!) and the importance of ‘context’ – i.e. reading it through as a story, seeing how it fits together and being aware of what happens before and after different incidents. The second day we worked really hard in groups on different passages trying to find the Big Point of the passage. The third day we continued working on the text and started to think about application and how we could actually preach the gospel effectively from the passage.
At the end of the last day together each group presented their Big Point and how they might preach it to their congregations. Then each participant was given a copy of the Preaching Mark guide. We turned in these guides to the passages we had been working on the last three days and there was an audible gasp and then laughing and then clapping. The ‘Main Point’ given by Phil Crowter for each of the passages we had looked at was the same, almost exactly to the word, as the ones the groups had come up with! It was a wonderful demonstration of the fact that the meaning of the Bible is stable. It’s not just a matter of personal interpretation. People thousands of miles apart in different cultures can both look carefully at the Bible and, with knees on the floor and noses in the text, find the same thing.
“This book is a reliable guide on the emphases of Mark’s Gospel: Who Jesus is and Why He came. It is written in easily understandable English with down-to-earth applications. May the Lord be pleased to use this material to change many lives.” (Emmanuel Egbunu, Archbishop of Lokoja, Nigeria)
Preaching Mark is available from iServe Africa Bookstore either in 2 books (Mark 1-8 and Mark 9-16) for 200 KES each or as one book covering the whole of Mark for 400 KES. A Preaching Job guide is also available. Each guide follows a very straightforward and each to use pattern: