John Mark (son of Mary)

Referenced in the Bible:

Acts 12:23-13:13

Acts 15:36-39

Colossians 4:10

2 Timothy 4:11

1 Peter 5:13.

Key Verse: 

Acts 15:37-40
Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. (NIV)

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

1 Peter 5:13
She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark. (NIV)

1.0 Introduction:[1] (By Jack Zavada).

John Mark – Author of the Gospel of Mark, Evangelist and Companion of Paul

John Mark, writer of the Gospel of Mark, also served as a companion to the Apostle Paul in his missionary work and later assisted Peter in Rome.

Three names appear in the New Testament for this early Christian: John Mark, his Jewish and Roman names; Mark; and John.  The King James Bible calls him Marcus.

Tradition holds that Mark was present when Jesus Christ was arrested on the Mount of Olives.  In his Gospel, Mark says:

A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus.  When they seized him, he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.

Mark 14:51-52, NIV

Because that incident is not mentioned in the three other Gospels, scholars believe Mark was referring to himself.

John Mark first appears by name in the book of Acts.  Peter had been thrown in prison by Herod Antipas, who was persecuting the early church.  In answer to the church’s prayers, an angel came to Peter and helped him escape.  Peter hurried to the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where many of the church members were praying.

Paul made his first missionary journey to Cyprus, accompanied by Barnabas and Mark.  When they sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, Mark left them and returned to Jerusalem.  No explanation is given for his departure, and Bible scholars have been speculating ever since.

Some think Mark may have become homesick.  Others say he might have been ill from malaria or some other disease.  A popular theory is that Mark was simply afraid of all the hardships that lay ahead.  Regardless of the reason, Mark’s behavior soured him with Paul, who refused to take him on his second trip.  Barnabas, who had recommended his young cousin Mark in the first place, still had faith in him and took him back to Cyprus, while Paul took Silas instead.

Over time, Paul changed his mind and forgave Mark.  In 2 Timothy 4:11, Paul says, “Only Luke is with me.  Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.” (NIV)

The last mention of Mark occurs in 1 Peter 5:13, where Peter calls Mark his “son,” no doubt a sentimental reference because Mark had been so helpful to him.

Mark’s Gospel, the earliest account of Jesus’ life, may have been told to him by Peter when the two spent so much time together.  It is widely accepted that Mark’s Gospel was also a source for the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.


Mark wrote the Gospel of Mark, a short, action-packed account of the life and mission of Jesus.  He also helped Paul, Barnabas, and Peter in building and strengthening the early Christian church.

According to Coptic tradition, John Mark is the founder of the Coptic Church in Egypt. Copts believe Mark was tied to a horse and dragged to his death by a mob of pagans on Easter, 68 A.D., in Alexandria. Copts count him as the first of their chain of 118 patriarchs (popes).


John Mark had a servant’s heart.  He was humble enough to assist Paul, Barnabas, and Peter, not worrying about credit.  Mark also displayed good writing skills and attention to detail in writing his Gospel.


We don’t know why Mark deserted Paul and Barnabas at Perga.  Whatever the shortcoming was, it disappointed Paul.

Life Lessons:

Forgiveness is possible.  So are second chances.  Paul forgave Mark and gave him a chance to prove his worth.  Peter was so taken with Mark he considered him like a son.  When we make a mistake in life, with God’s help we can recover and go on to achieve great things.




Missionary, Gospel writer.



3.0 Who was John Mark in the Bible?[2]

John Mark, often just called Mark, is the author of the gospel of Mark. He was a believer in the early church mentioned directly only the book of Acts. John Mark is first mentioned as the son of a woman named Mary (Acts 12:12), whose house was being used as a place for believers to gather and pray. Later, Mark is mentioned as a companion of Barnabas and Paul during their travels together (Acts 12:25). John Mark was also Barnabas’ cousin (Colossians 4:10).

John Mark was a helper on Paul and Barnabas’ first missionary journey (Acts 13:5). However, he did not stay through the whole trip. John Mark deserted Paul and Barnabas in Pamphylia and left the work (Acts 15:38). The Bible does not say why Mark deserted, but his departure came right after a mostly fruitless time in Cyprus (Acts 13:4–12). Only one conversion is recorded in Cyprus, but there had been strong demonic opposition. It’s likely that the young John Mark was discouraged at the hardness of the way and decided to return to the comforts of home.

Some time later, after Paul and Barnabas had returned from their first journey, Paul expressed a desire to go back to the brothers in the cities they had previously visited to see how everyone was doing (Acts 15:36). Barnabas agreed, apparently upon the provision that they take John Mark with them. Paul refused to have Mark on the trip, however, citing Mark’s previous desertion. Paul thought it best not to have a quitter with them; they needed someone more dependable. Paul and Barnabas had a “sharp disagreement” about John Mark (verse 39) and wound up separating from each other and going on separate journeys. Barnabas took John Mark with him to Cyprus, and Paul took Silas with him through Syria and Cilicia to encourage the believers in the churches in those areas (Acts 15:39–41).

Barnabas, the “son of encouragement” (Acts 4:36), desired to forgive John Mark’s failure and to give him another chance. Paul took the more rational view: pioneering missionary work requires dedication, resolve, and endurance. Paul saw John Mark as a risk to their mission. Luke, the writer of Acts, does not take sides or present either Paul or Barnabas as being in the right. He simply records the facts. It’s worth noting that, in the end, two groups of missionaries were sent out—twice as many missionaries were spreading the gospel.

John Mark sails off to Cyprus with his cousin Barnabas, but that is not the end of his story. Years later, he is with Paul, who calls him a “fellow worker” (Philemon 1:24). And near the end of Paul’s life, Paul sends a request to Timothy from a Roman prison: “Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry” (2 Timothy 4:11). Obviously, John Mark had matured through the years and had become a faithful servant of the Lord. Paul recognized his progress and considered him a valuable companion.

John Mark wrote the gospel that bears his name sometime between AD 55 and 59. There could be a veiled reference to John Mark in Mark 14:51–52. In that passage a young man, roused from sleep on the night that Jesus was arrested, attempts to follow the Lord, and the mob who had Jesus in custody attempts to seize him. The young man escapes and flees into the night. The fact that this incident is only recorded in Mark’s gospel—and the fact that the young man is anonymous—has led some scholars to surmise that the fleeing young man is actually John Mark.









Mother –  Mary
Cousin –  Barnabas


1.0) Source: (By Jack Zavada)

2.0) Source:

3.0) Source:

4.0) Source:

5.0) Source: | Tittle: “A Guide to Key Events, Characters and Themes of the Bible”

Related: Biblical Overviews List of Key Old Testament Characters


1 (By Jack Zavada).

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