The Wiersbe Bible Study Series: Mark: Serving Others as You Walk with the Master Servant

The Wiersbe Bible Study Series: Mark: Serving Others as You Walk with the Master Servant

by Warren W. Wiersbe


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780781408431
Publisher: David C Cook
Publication date: 02/01/2013
Series: Wiersbe Bible Study Series
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 940,431
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe is an internationally known Bible teacher and the former pastor of The Moody Church in Chicago. Dr. Wiersbe has written more than 160 books, including the popular “BE” series of Bible commentaries. He and his wife, Betty, live in Lincoln, Nebraska.

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Serving Others as you Walk with the Master Servant

By Warren W. Wiersbe

David C. Cook

Copyright © 2013 Warren W. Wiersbe
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4347-0552-5


Lesson 1

The Servant

(MARK 1)

Before you begin ...

Pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal truth and wisdom as you go through this lesson.

Read Mark 1. This lesson references chapter 1 in Be Diligent. It will be helpful for you to have your Bible and a copy of the commentary available as you work through this lesson.

Getting Started

From the Commentary

"The gospel is neither a discussion nor a debate," said Dr. Paul S. Rees. "It is an announcement!"

Mark wasted no time giving that announcement, for it is found in the opening words of his book. Matthew, who wrote primarily for the Jews, opened his book with a genealogy. After all, he had to prove to his readers that Jesus Christ is indeed the rightful Heir to David's throne.

Since Luke focused mainly on the sympathetic ministry of the Son of Man, he devoted the early chapters of his book to a record of the Savior's birth. Luke emphasized Christ's humanity, for he knew that his Greek readers would identify with the perfect Babe who grew up to be the perfect Man.

John's gospel begins with a statement about eternity. Why? Because John wrote to prove to the whole world that Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the Son of God (John 20:31). The subject of John's gospel is the deity of Christ, but the object of his gospel is to encourage his readers to believe on this Savior and receive the gift of eternal life.

Be Diligent, page 17

1. Mark wrote his gospel for the Romans. How did the Romans differ from the audiences Matthew, Luke, and John intended to read their gospels? What announcement did Mark proclaim in his opening sentence? What key words stand out to you in that sentence that will likely be important later? The theme of Mark's gospel is "Jesus Christ the Servant." What sorts of readers would you expect to be interested in that theme?

More to Consider: Read Mark 10:45. How does this verse speak to the core of Mark's message?

2. Choose one verse or phrase from Mark 1 that stands out to you. This could be something you're intrigued by, something that makes you uncomfortable, something that puzzles you, something that resonates with you, or just something you want to examine further. Write that here.

Going Deeper

From the Commentary

The fact that Mark wrote with the Romans in mind helps us understand his style and approach. The emphasis in this gospel is on activity. Mark describes Jesus as He busily moves from place to place and meets the physical and spiritual needs of all kinds of people. One of Mark's favorite words is "straightway," meaning "immediately." He uses it forty-one times. Mark does not record many of our Lord's sermons because his emphasis is on what Jesus did rather than what Jesus said. He reveals Jesus as God's Servant, sent to minister to suffering people and to die for the sins of the world.

Be Diligent, page 18

3. What effect do you think Mark's focus on "activity" has in chapter 1? What impression of Jesus comes across? Why did Mark omit a genealogy or an account of Jesus' birth? Why might those stories be less important to a Roman audience than to a Jewish one?

From the Commentary

John Mark, the author of this gospel, states boldly that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. It is likely that Mark was an eyewitness of some of the events that he wrote about. He lived in Jerusalem with his mother, Mary, and their home was a meeting place for believers in the city (Acts 12:1–19). Several scholars believe that Mark was the young man described in Mark 14:51–52. Since Peter called Mark "my son" (1 Peter 5:13), it is probable that it was Peter who led Mark to faith in Jesus Christ. Church tradition states that Mark was "Peter's interpreter," so that the gospel of Mark reflects the personal experiences and witness of Simon Peter.

Be Diligent, page 18

4. Why is it important that the author of this gospel was an eyewitness to some of the events he recorded? The word gospel means "good news." What would the "good news" have been to the Romans reading Mark's book?

From Today's World

The gospel writers each had a target audience in mind. Matthew wrote to the Jews. Mark wrote to the Romans. If you look at churches in the modern age, you find a similar kind of customization in the approach they take. Some might be focused on reaching seekers. Some are dedicated to building leaders out of seasoned believers. Some reach out to the inner city, and others speak the language of the suburbs.

5. Why is it helpful for a church to tailor its approach to sharing the gospel? What are the benefits of narrowing your focus? What are the dangers?

From the Commentary

In his ongoing commentary on witnesses to Jesus the Servant, Mark cites two quotations from the Old Testament prophets, Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3 (note also Ex. 23:20). The words messenger and voice refer to John the Baptist, the prophet God sent to prepare the way for His Son (Matt. 3; Luke 3:1–18; John 1:19–34). In ancient times, before a king visited any part of his realm, a messenger was sent before him to prepare the way. This included both repairing the roads and preparing the people. By calling the nation to repentance, John the Baptist prepared the way for the Lord Jesus Christ. Isaiah and Malachi join voices in declaring that Jesus Christ is the Lord, Jehovah God.

Jesus called John the Baptist the greatest of the prophets (Matt. 11:1–15). In his dress, manner of life, and message of repentance, John identified with Elijah (2 Kings 1:8; Mal. 4:5; Matt. 17:10–13; and note Luke 1:13–17). The "wilderness" where John ministered is the rugged wasteland along the western shore of the Dead Sea. John was telling the people symbolically that they were in a "spiritual wilderness" far worse than the physical wilderness that their ancestors had endured for forty years. John called the people to leave their spiritual wilderness, trust their "Joshua" (Jesus), and enter into their inheritance.

Be Diligent, page 19

6. Why was it important for Mark to include prophets in his list of witnesses to Jesus? What sort of king did John the Baptist prepare people to expect? How did he prepare them? How might the idea of "messengers" have resonated with the Romans?

From the Commentary

We expect a servant to be under authority and to take orders, but God's Servant exercises authority and gives orders—even to demons—and His orders are obeyed. Mark describes three scenes that reveal our Lord's authority as the Servant of God.

The first scene involves Jesus' temptation (Mark 1:12–13). Mark does not give as full an account of the temptation as do Matthew (4:1–11) and Luke (4:1–13), but Mark adds some vivid details that the others omit. The Spirit "driveth him" into the wilderness. Mark used this strong word eleven times to describe the casting out of demons. The New American Standard Version has it impelled, and the New International Version translates it sent. It does not suggest that our Lord was either unwilling or afraid to face Satan. Rather, it is Mark's way of showing the intensity of the experience. No time was spent basking in the glory of the heavenly voice or the presence of the heavenly dove. The Servant had a task to perform and He immediately went to do it.

In concise form, Mark presents us with two symbolic pictures. Our Lord's forty days in the wilderness remind us of Israel's forty years in the wilderness. Israel failed when they were tested, but our Lord succeeded victoriously. Having triumphed over the enemy, Jesus could now go forth and call a new people who would enter into their spiritual inheritance. Since the name Jesus is the Greek form of "Joshua," we can see the parallel.

The second picture is that of the "last Adam" (1 Cor. 15:45). The first Adam was tested in a beautiful Garden and failed, but Jesus was tempted in a dangerous wilderness and won the victory. Adam lost his "dominion" over creation because of his sin (Gen. 1:28; Ps. 8), but in Christ, that dominion has been restored for all who trust Him (Heb. 2:6–8). Jesus was with the wild beasts and they did not harm Him. He gave a demonstration of that future time of peace and righteousness, when the Lord shall return and establish His kingdom (Isa. 11:9; 35:9). Indeed, He is a Servant with authority!

Be Diligent, pages 20–21

7. Review Mark 1:12–28. How does the temptation scene reveal Jesus' authority? Why was it important for Mark to establish Jesus' authority? How might this approach to revealing Jesus' character have resonated with Mark's audience?

From the Commentary

The second scene that reveals Jesus' authority involves His preaching (Mark 1:14–22). If ever a man spoke God's truth with authority, it was Jesus Christ (see Matt. 7:28–29). It has been said that the scribes spoke from authorities but that Jesus spoke with authority. Mark was not recording here the beginning of our Lord's ministry, since He had already ministered in other places (John 1:35—4:4). He is telling us why Jesus left Judea and came to Galilee: Herod had arrested John the Baptist, and wisdom dictated that Jesus relocate. By the way, it was during this journey that Jesus talked with the Samaritan woman (John 4:1–45).

Be Diligent, page 21

8. What is the difference between speaking with authority and speaking from authority? What was Jesus' main message (Mark 1:15)? How would you put it into your own words? (See also John 3:1–7.)

More to Consider: Jesus preached that people should repent (change their minds) and believe. (See Acts 20:21.) But He also taught that repentance alone was not enough. What does repentance without faith become? (See Matt. 27:3–5; 2 Cor. 7:8–10.)

From the Commentary

The third scene that reveals Jesus' authority involves His command (Mark 1:23–28). We wonder how many synagogue services that man had attended without revealing that he was demonized. It took the presence of the Son of God to expose the demon, and Jesus not only exposed him, but He also commanded him to keep quiet about His identity and to depart from the man. The Savior did not want, nor did He need, the assistance of Satan and his army to tell people who He was (see Acts 16:16–24).

The demon certainly knew exactly who Jesus was (see Acts 19:13–17) and that he had nothing in common with Him. The demon's use of plural pronouns shows how closely he was identified with the man through whom he was speaking. The demon clearly identified Christ's humanity ("Jesus of Nazareth") as well as His deity ("the Holy One of God"). He also confessed great fear that Jesus might judge him and send him to the pit.

Be Diligent, page 24

9. Why is it significant that the demon knew who Jesus was? What's the difference between knowing who Jesus is and knowing Him? (See James 2:19.)

From the Commentary

Two miracles of healing are described in Mark 1:29–45, both of which reveal the compassion of the Savior for those in need. In fact, so great was His love for the needy that the Savior ministered to great crowds of people after the Sabbath had ended, when it was lawful for them to come for help. It would appear that God's Servant was at the beck and call of all kinds of people, including demoniacs and lepers, and He lovingly ministered to them all.

Jesus and the four disciples left the synagogue and went to Peter and Andrew's house for their Sabbath meal. Perhaps Peter was a bit apologetic because his wife had to care for her sick mother and was unable to entertain them in the usual manner. We do not know about the other disciples, but we do know that Peter was a married man (Mark 1:30).

Peter and Andrew not only brought their friends James and John home with them from the service, but they also brought the Lord home. That is a good example for us to follow: Don't leave Jesus at the church—take Him home with you and let Him share your blessings and your burdens. What a privilege it was for Peter and his family to have the very Son of God as a guest in their humble home. Before long, the Guest became the Host, just as one day the Passenger in Peter's boat would become the Captain (Luke 5:1– 11).

By faith, the men told Jesus about the sick woman, no doubt expecting Him to heal her. That is exactly what He did! The fever left her immediately, and she was able to go to the kitchen and serve the Sabbath meal. If you have ever had a bad fever, then you know how painful and uncomfortable it is. You also know that after the fever leaves you, it takes time for you to regain your strength. But not so in this case! She was able to serve the Lord immediately. And isn't service to our Lord one of the best ways to thank Him for all He has done for us?

Be Diligent, pages 25–26

10. Review Mark 1:29–45. What was the result of Jesus' miracle? How long did Jesus continue to heal people? Why is it notable that Mark distinguished between the demonized and the diseased (1:32)? What overall impression do you get of Jesus from this passage? From Mark 1 in general?

Looking Inward

Take a moment to reflect on all that you've explored thus far in this study of Mark 1. Review your notes and answers and think about how each of these things matters in your life today.

Tips for Small Groups: To get the most out of this section, form pairs or trios and have group members take turns answering these questions. Be honest and as open as you can in this discussion, but most of all, be encouraging and supportive of others. Be sensitive to those who are going through particularly difficult times and don't press for people to speak if they're uncomfortable doing so.

11. What is it about the theme of "Jesus as Servant" that resonates most with you? Why is it important to you to see Jesus as a Servant? What about that image is difficult for you?

12. What in Mark 1 helps you to see Jesus' authority? Why is His authority important to you? How do you experience Jesus' authority in your faith life?

13. Jesus' healing instantly created disciples willing and able to serve Him. What are some ways Jesus has enabled you to serve Him?

Going Forward

14. Think of one or two things that you have learned that you'd like to work on in the coming week. Remember that this is all about quality, not quantity. It's better to work on one specific area of life and do it well than to work on many and do poorly (or to be so overwhelmed that you simply don't try).

Do you want to trust and respond more to Jesus' authority? Be specific. Go back through Mark 1 and put a star next to the phrase or verse that is most encouraging to you. Consider memorizing this verse.

Real-Life Application Ideas: Take a few minutes to think about Jesus as a Servant. How does Jesus' servanthood affect your daily life? Where do you see His authority working in your life? Consider all the places where your faith touches daily living—at work, at home, in community. How does Jesus' life intersect with those places? If you discover places where Jesus is absent, look for ways to invite His presence into those aspects of your life through prayer, study, or simply being aware of Jesus' love.

Seeking Help

15. Write a prayer below (or simply pray one in silence), inviting God to work on your mind and heart in those areas you've noted in the Going Forward section. Be honest about your desires and fears.

Notes for Small Groups:

Look for ways to put into practice the things you wrote in the Going Forward section. Talk with other group members about your ideas and commit to being accountable to one another.

During the coming week, ask the Holy Spirit to continue to reveal truth to you from what you've read and studied.

Before you start the next lesson, read Mark 2:1—3:12. For more in-depth lesson preparation, read chapter 2, "What the Servant Offers You," in Be Diligent.


Lesson 2

Three Gifts

(MARK 2:1—3:12)

Before you begin ...

Pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal truth and wisdom as you go through this lesson.

Read Mark 2:1—3:12. This lesson references chapter 2 in Be Diligent. It will be helpful for you to have your Bible and a copy of the commentary available as you work through this lesson.

Getting Started

From the Commentary

With amazing speed the news spread that a miracle-working Teacher had come to Capernaum, and wherever our Lord went, great crowds gathered. They wanted to see Him heal the sick and cast out demons. Had they been interested in His message of the gospel, these multitudes would have been an encouragement to Jesus, but He knew that most of them were shallow in their thinking and blind to their own needs. Often the Lord found it necessary to leave the city and go out into the wilderness to pray (Luke 5:15–16). Every servant of God should follow His example and take time away from people in order to meet the Father and be refreshed and revitalized through prayer.


Excerpted from The Wiersbe BIBLE STUDY SERIES: MARK by Warren W. Wiersbe. Copyright © 2013 Warren W. Wiersbe. Excerpted by permission of David C. Cook.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Introduction to Mark,
How to Use This Study,
Lesson 1 The Servant (MARK 1),
Lesson 2 Three Gifts (MARK 2:1—3:12),
Lesson 3 The Crowds and the Kingdom (MARK 3:13—5:43),
Lesson 4 Unbelief (MARK 6),
Lesson 5 Teacher (MARK 7—9),
Lesson 6 Paradoxes (MARK 10),
Lesson 7 Jerusalem (MARK 11—13),
Lesson 8 Suffering and Sacrifice (MARK 14—16),
Bonus Lesson Summary and Review,

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The Wiersbe Bible Study Series: Mark: Serving Others as You Walk with the Master Servant 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
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MaryAnn_Koopmann More than 1 year ago
The Wiersbe Bible Studies Series explores timeless wisdom found in God’s word. In the book of Mark, Jesus eagerly proclaims the Good News: the Kingdom of God has come. What does that mean for those of us who follow Jesus? Mark: The Wiersbe Bible Study Series is an excellent introduction to the book of Mark and the important themes contained in this earliest gospel. The Bible invites us to explore God’s word and reflect on how we might respond to it. To do this, we need guidance and the right tools for discovery. Balanced in judgment and offering numerous astute observations, this work should prove highly useful, especially to serious readers seeking a reliable introduction and companion for their study of Mark's account of Jesus's ministry. This volume transports modern readers back to the days of Mark's original audience and helps us to understand and apply his unique writing and challenges to the church. Very possibly the oldest written account of the ministry of Jesus that we possess, the Gospel of Mark is a vivid and fast-paced narrative of the Good News about Jesus.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's easy to follow and understand. Great study.