Top 5 Commentaries on The Gospel of Mark

from Jun 30, 2008 Category: Articles

Although the Gospel of Matthew precedes the Gospel of Mark in the New Testament canon, there is strong evidence that Mark was the first of the four Gospels to be written. It is a fast-moving narrative that seeks to reveal who Jesus is. In addition to Dr. Sproul’s commentary on Mark, the following are five of the most generally helpful commentaries on this part of God’s Word.


1. R.T. France — The Gospel of Mark (The New International Greek Testament Commentary, 2002).

In my opinion, R.T. France has not only written the best commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, he has also written the best commentary on the Gospel of Mark. The New International Greek Commentary series is technical and does require a knowledge of the Greek language. For those who need something less technical, I suggest the commentaries by Lane and Edwards listed below.


2. William L. Lane — The Gospel According to Mark (The New International Commentary on the New Testament, 1974).

Published in 1974, William Lane’s commentary on the Gospel of Mark remains a model of clarity. Eerdmans has replaced several of the older NICOT and NICNT commentaries. There is little need for them to do so with this outstanding volume, but since they might, grab a copy while it is still in print.


3. James R. Edwards — The Gospel According to Mark (The Pillar New Testament Commentary, 2002).

I look forward to every new commentary in this series whose general editor is D.A. Carson.  Edwards’ commentary on Mark is another fine contribution. His emphasis on the theology of Mark is especially helpful.



4. Ben Witherington IIIThe Gospel of Mark: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary (2001).

I have found Witherington’s “socio-rhetorical” commentaries to be a mixed bag. Some are much better than others. This commentary on the Gospel of Mark is one of his best.



5. R. Alan Cole — Mark (The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, 1989).

The Tyndale commentaries are non-technical and introductory level commentaries, but they are surprisingly consistent in their high level of quality. Cole’s commentary on Mark is a good example.

Runners Up:

There are a number of other commentaries on the Gospel of Mark that are worth consulting. Among them are those by Robert Stein, James A. Brooks, David Garland, C.E.B. Cranfield, Robert H. Gundry (Vol. 1, Vol. 2), and the two volume Word Biblical Commentary by Robert Guelich and Craig Evans.

Other “Top 5 Commentaries” blog posts:

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