Friday, February 17, 2012

Book Review of Mark: Gospel of Passion by Michael Card

Mark: The Gospel of Passion
by Michael Card
ISBN 978-0-8308-3813-4
Intervarsity Press
Reviewed by Clint Walker

I have long been an admirer of Michael Card. I first became familiar with him, as many Christians have, through his music. His music mixes simple acoustic melodies with lyrical profundity that touches the heart with conviction and comfort. Card's songs demonstrate what can happen when a creative mind that longs to communicate the good news of Jesus engages the Scripture and theology with intelligence and spiritual depth.

Now, Michael Card has begun to take on the task of writing commentaries on the gospel. Last year, Card released his commentary on Luke, which was very well received. This year, he is releasing Mark:The Gospel of Passion. I believe this commentary will also receive accolades and admiration for its combination of depth of thought and clarity of communication.

I am well-versed in Scripture. I have a degree in theology. Yet, as I read Michael Card's commentary on Mark each page jumps forward with a new insight and with new depth of meaning. In the introduction, Card does a good job with allowing his readers to enter into the story of the context in which the gospel of Mark is written. He notes several things about the text that many other commentaries miss. I was especially impressed with Card's discussion of the way Mark's description of Jesus puts the Lord's emotional life on his sleeve, and lets us not only hear what Jesus was saying, but how he was feeling.

Mark: The Gospel of Passion also presents an outline of the book that drives the readers understanding of the content of Mark. Through carefully expanding upon and using an outline of Mark in order to explain the gospel, he allows the reader to see the "movement" in the gospel from beginning to end. This is very helpful.

The appendices in the book are also well done and informative. Card argues well for the early ending for Mark in this section for example.

With the gospel of Mark so prominent in the lectionary this year, Card's commentary will be helpful to many Christian leaders in lesson and sermon preparation.  This book would also be helpful for someone trying to study the gospel of Mark on their own. This is a great commentary for lay persons,and should be picked up by anyone who wants to learn more about the Gospel of Mark,

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