Why Luke would have edited Mark’s Gospel

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There are concrete reasons to assume that the Gospel of Mark was written first and that Luke may have used it as a source. As a result, one may ask why there are any inconsistencies and what prompted Luke to change the text. As a result, this paper will try to explain how and why Luke edited Mark's Gospel using two collections of passages: Mark 14:3-9 in comparison to Luke 7:36-50, and Mark 3:31-35 in comparison to Luke 8:19-21.

The text in Mark 14:3-9 focuses on Jesus' anointing by a woman in Bethany. As Jesus was dining at Simon the leper’s home, an unidentified female entered and anointed Jesus much to the surprise of the onlookers. One of the key reasons why Luke could have edited Mark’s anointing story is because the tale was not aligned to what he wanted to communicate regarding discipleship. Though both Mark and Luke agree on the fundamentals of discipleship, i.e., it connotes following Jesus, the two diverged on some details. Mark’s teachings on discipleship depicted them as learners, meaning that they still had much to learn. He emphasized on the lack of comprehension and how Jesus was patient with them. Mark also portrays disciples as fallible who are prone to mistakes. According to Mark, disciples are not expected to be flawless but are always seeking an understanding of the Gospel. On the contrary, Luke’s message focuses less on the disciples’ weaknesses. By altering Mark’s message in this passage, Luke emphasizes on consecration rather than the learning process. As such, Luke wanted to concentrate on a different element of true discipleship and what it meant to be one.

Another reason for the omission entails the symbolic representation of the ointment. As illustrated by the viewers, the ointment was expensive. Jesus’ answer seems to prioritize the anointing while Luke wanted to overlook this perspective so that it does not distract his message. In other words, the Mark’s anointing focused on Jesus actions, while Luke wanted to focus on charity. Therefore, by allowing editing the various aspects of the story, Luke wants to avoid the diversions from the primary message of charity that he wanted to convey.

Luke also edits the story of Jesus and His family entailed in Mark 3:31-35. In the passage Luke 8:19-21, the author talks about an individual instead of a multitude as contained in Mark. In other words, while in Mark “a crowd was sitting around him and they said, Your mother and your brothers are outside seeking you,” Luke talks about “someone” (Biblica, Inc.). Perhaps, Luke realized that an entire crowd could not have spoken in unison about the matter. Evidently, Jesus used to speak to large groups amounting to thousands. Assuming that He this particular multitude comprised of only 50 people, it is hard for all of them to notice Jesus’ family uniformly and inform Him about the same. Perhaps this aspect influenced Luke to imply that only one individual drew Jesus’s attention towards His family.

Overall, although Luke modified both these passages, the real meaning was not lost. In the second passage in consideration, Jesus wanted to show the crowd who His real mother and brothers are. In this case, whoever adheres to God’s will, has a relationship with Jesus. Regarding Mark’s anointing, Luke overlooked some aspects, perhaps because he wanted the message to be about charity and not the actual anointing event. He focused on a different perspective of discipleship.

Works Cited

Biblica, Inc. "Biblegateway." 2011. 28 September 2017. .

October 20, 2022

Religion Life


Christianity Myself

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Gospel of Mark Bible Belief

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