Week Five: How to do a Chapter Analysis of Mark 7-9

Mark 8 reveals the suffering to come.

Welcome to Week Five in How To Study the Bible series! (To begin the series click here.)

As you explore Mark 7-9, you will…
1) learn how to do a chapter anaylsis

2) learn how to use Bible commentaries

3) observe the shift in Jesus’ ministry and his preparation of the disciples for the road to Calvary

Review of Week Four: Inductive Bible Study of Mark 5 & 6

First, you learned how to do inductive Bible study of making observations, doing interpretation, and pondering through application. You explored online Bible dictionaries and maps. Love the maps!!

Second, you learned how Jesus healed many people as he continued on his primary purpose of preaching the gospel message of repentance and salvation. Among the observations you may have made:

  • The chapter has five sections (Jesus in his hometown 6:1-6; Sending out the disciples 6:7-12; John the Baptist’s beheading 6:13-29; Jesus feeds 5,000 6:31-44; and Jesus walks on water 6:45-56)
  • Jesus was a carpenter (6:3). His father was probably a carpenter also because occupations (and tools) typically passed down through the family.
  • Jesus encouraged the disciples to exercise their faith. He wanted them to rely on God for their needs…including food and clothing while they traveled. To pack only one tunic (their under-garment) required such dependence (6:9).

Application of Mark 6. Faith is difficult for our human mind and heart. Period. Although the disciples saw Jesus deliver people from demonic activity, raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead, healed many people, and fed a crowd of more than 5,000 … they were still shocked that Jesus could walk on water and calm the storm. They did NOT get it (Mark 6:52). …hmm…kind of helps me sympathize why it’s difficult for us today to have faith to move mountains and heal the nations…

Another musical application. Interested in a music video application from this chapter?? Click over to KJ-52’s song called Five Two! KJ-52 is a Christian rap artist. His name confused people so he wrote a song to explain. His name reflects on the same motives of the little boy in Mark 6. He humbly gave all he had (five loaves and two fish) to Jesus and KJ describes the same regarding his own talents. And, the Lord multiplied both efforts!

How to do a Chapter Analysis

Lord, You are awesome is all of your ways! We delight in your Word and in your many provisions. Guide us now as we embark on a journey into your Scriptures. We ask for your presence and your Holy Spirit’s inspiration. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Let’s turn now to Mark 7-9 using chapter analyses. You will be delighted with the ease of this study tool! Last week’s inductive Bible study technique offers valuable step-by-step guidance to mine the depths of Scripture. You do, however, need to allot time and concentration.

A chapter analysis constructs an overview of a passage of scripture.

The plan…
1) Read the chapter
2) Summarize the chapter in a title
3) Make an outline of the chapter
4) List key words and themes
5) Re-read the chapter in another translation
6) Use a Bible Commentary to provide insights
7) Apply the chapter’s lessons to your life

Using Bible Commentaries

Commentaries provide interpretations of Scripture passages. If you have a “Study Bible” (such as the NIV Study Bible), you already have a commentary folded into your Bible. Their study notes clarify passages by adding cultural notes, scholars’ interpretations, and application insights. CAUTION: Do not spend more time in the notes than in the Scripture!

Commentaries have been around nearly as long as the Scriptures have been in existence. Interpretations of many authors and editorial boards fill millions of pages of opinions and agendas. Abundant commentary options line the shelves of bookstores. Be sure to read the Preface to know the theological background of the authors before you buy.

Commentaries are also accessible online. The most common is the scholarly Matthew Henry Commentary. Originally written in 1706, multiple versions exist…including some that are re-written in modern English. Other online options include valuable insights available only a few keystrokes away!

Two excellent online sources of study notes include: Biblios and Bible Study Tools. Both sites have numerous commentaries available to readers.

Chapter Analysis of Mark 8

1) Read Mark 8. This link is to the NIV translation.

2) Give the chapter a title. I chose: The Reveal of the Messiah’s Identity

3) Make an outline of the chapter. Be as thorough as you’d like. Use bullets or complete sentences. It is up to you! This is for your reference and not English class. But do include references to the verses. CAUTION: Do not make interpretations yet…just making literary observations right now.

I. Jesus feeds crowd of 4,000 plus (Mark 8:1-13)
A. Conversation with disciples
B. Multiplies fish and loaves (again!)
C. Departed from Dalmanutha
D. Pharisees testing Jesus… he sighed deeply
II. Jesus warns about yeast of Pharisees (Mark 8:14-21)
A. Glimpse of disciples struggling to understand
B. Jesus has to remind the disciples of feeding the crowds
III. Jesus heals the blind man (Mark 8:22-26)
A. People bring blind man to Jesus
B. Jesus leads blind man out of town and heals him (he spits...twice??)
IV. Peter declares Jesus the Christ (Mark 8:27-30)
V. Jesus foretells his death (Mark 8:31-9:1)
A. Tells disciples he will suffer
B. Peter says “No!” and Jesus rebukes him
C. All followers need to deny oneself

4) List key words and themes. Add question marks in the margins next to verses that are unclear.

    • Key words and themes: authority, blind, the cross
    • Questions: Why did Jesus have to touch the man twice (Mark 8:25)? What does it mean to “take up the cross” (Mark 8:34)?

5) Re-read the chapter in at least one additional translation. Try Mark 8 in The Message paraphrase. (Please do click over and read it now….I’ll wait…)

6) Use a Bible commentary to add clarification.

To answer my questions from #4 above, I used Biblios. At their site, click through to Mark 8:25 using the drop down menu on the top left side of the page. Now click on the light blue “Comment” tab. You are now in the rich land of commentaries and study notes!! Oh, the reading you can do!!

Back to my question about Jesus touching the blind man twice… Scholars note that this is the only time Jesus does this. They all agree that this passage is included to portray our own journey to faith. It symbolizes our progressive understanding of spiritual things. Ahhh…! I get it now! This passage is the link between the many passages of Jesus actions (both teaching and healing) and Peter’s declaration of Jesus as the Christ. Peter’s eyes are now opened!

7)  Apply the promises or commands of this chapter to your life.

One application for me is the reminder that this faith journey is indeed a progressive one. Spiritual transformation to reflect Christ in me is a long and windy path. Yet along the path, Jesus walks beside me and is integral in opening the eyes of my heart and mind.

Interested in one more music video application?? Check out Christian rap artist, Toby Mac and friends, inspired by Mark 8:35-38 in Lose My Soul.

Your Turn

Do a chapter analysis of Mark 7 and Mark 9.

Share your insights in the comments below or send me an email! It’s a huge blessing to learn from one another!

<<Week Four: Inductive Bible Study of Mark 5 and 6

Week Six: How to do a Verse Study and a Word Study>>

Posted by Sharon R. Hoover

Photo Credit: abcdz2000 via photopin cc


About Sharon R Hoover

Serving the church for over twenty years in discipleship and mission ministries, I've walked alongside many people travelling and exploring the journey of faith. Add in my own crazy path and I hope my writing will offer glimpses of life worth sharing.
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One Response to Week Five: How to do a Chapter Analysis of Mark 7-9

  1. Pingback: Week Six (A): How to do a Verse Study of Mark 10:45 | a Journal of Missional Living

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