Reformed Reflections

Mark: The Way for All Nations by Willard M. Swartley; published by Herald Press, Scottdale, Pennsylvania 15683, and Kitchener, Ontario, 1979; paperback, 244 pages;

This new study on Mark's gospel can be used for individual devotions and in the context of a small study group. It is designed for the college student level. Each of the eleven chapters contains four parts:

1. the pre-session study to help students to discover on their own the meaning of the biblical text;

2. the exposition to be read after you've completed the pre-session study;

3. a visual portrayal of the study In the form of a structural diagram;

4. discussion Issues to help students apply the studies to contemporary dimensions of life.

Swartley has a good way of leading the students step-by-step In their search to understand the basic text and message of Mark. The author uses the Inductive method for the interpretation of Scripture. He says: "Essentially this means paying careful attention to both the literary structure and context of a passage. This approach Involves looking at words, sentences, paragraphs, and larger blocks of material, and asking questions such as who, what, where, when, and why."

Swartley presupposes that Mark wrote the gospel, likely In Rome, shortly before or after Peter's death around AD 65 (in Nero's reign) and only a few years before the temple's destruction In AD 70. Furthermore, he rightly asserts that Mark took care to proclaim not only the earthly deeds and teachings of Jesus, but emphasized also their anchorage in Israel's Old Testament history of salvation.

The author holds the PH.D. degree from Princeton Theological Seminary and has studied at Garret Theological Seminary, Union Theological Seminary (NY) and Winona Lake School of Theology (their summer campus of Fuller Theological Seminary). He received the B.D. degree from Goshen Biblical Seminary and studied at Eastern Mennonite Seminary. He earned his B.A. degree at Eastern Mennonite College. He Is currently Associate Professor of New Testament at the Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, Indiana.

Swartley's style Is interesting and vivid. He a also seeks to be faithful to the Word of God. An excellent study. Recommended!

Johan D. Tangelder