The Gospel of Mark
The Gospel of Mark

The Gospel of Mark

in New International Greek Testament Commentary

by R. T. France

4.82 Rank Score: 7.98 from 22 reviews, 8 featured collections, and 44 user libraries
Pages 765
Publisher Eerdmans
Published 1/1/2002
ISBN-13 9780802824462

Drawing on many years of Marcan studies, world-class scholar R. T. France has produced an exegetical commentary on the Greek text of Mark that does what the best of recent Greek commentaries have done but in France's own inimitable, reader-friendly way.

This work is a commentary on Mark itself, not a commentary on commentaries of Mark. It deals immediately and directly with matters that France himself regards as important. Working from his own translation of the Greek text and culling from helpful research into the world of first-century Palestine, France provides an extensive introduction to Mark's Gospel, followed by insightful section and verse commentary.

France sees the structure of Mark's Gospel as an effective "drama in three acts." Act 1 takes up Jesus' public ministry in Galilee. Act 2 covers Jesus's journey to Jerusalem with his disciples. Act 3 focuses on Jesus's public ministry in Jerusalem, including his confrontation with the Jewish leaders, his explanatory discourse on the future, and his passion, death, and resurrection. France carefully unpacks for modern readers the two central themes of this powerful narrative of Jesus's life—the nature of Christ and the role of discipleship.

Supported by careful argumentation and impressive in its sensitivity to Mark's structure, context, and use of the Old Testament, France's study of the second Gospel is without peer.


This book appears in the following featured collections.


Add Your Review

Exegetical emphases live on the surface of this commentary so that a pastor who has done his homework before picking up this book will spot how the comments arise from the text’s grammar. France focuses on Mark’s theological coherence and pastoral vision. Even when he’s dealing with fine shades of meaning, he never loses sight of the why of Mark’s Gospel. [Full Review]
Fernando Fernando February 26, 2023
I am working through Mark with my Bible Study group. France’s commentary has been my go-to reference. I love it! This is a commentary on the Greek text, not a summary of the scholarly debate. France writes well with real conviction, does not ignore theological issues, always has something sensible to say. Definitely the best of the Mark commentaries I have used.
Jacob Soul Jacob Soul April 16, 2021
I felt this was an excellent companion to Lane’s commentary. It seemed to me like France was very strong in sections that Lane was not as throrough, and vice versa. I was very happy that I had both of them, and I feel that I would have missed a lot of important information if I didn’t have both of them.
Warren Truesdale Warren Truesdale February 18, 2019
This is an outstanding and comprehensive commentary on Mark. Numbers 1 through 4 on this list are all very close. Really, if you are just wanting one technical commentary on Mark, this is the one. France is a preeminent NT scholar—one who has written widely on the Gospels. This expertise becomes clear throughout the commentary. [Full Review]
Robert M. Bowman Jr. Robert M. Bowman Jr. December 11, 2016
Conservative commentary striking an excellent balance of exegetical and theological engagement with the text. [Full Review]
Joel B. Green Joel B. Green October 21, 2015
Working with the Greek text is R.T. France’s work in the NIGTC (Eerdmans, 2002) — a reliable, verse-by-verse commentary on this “biography,” which France unpacks as a “drama in three acts.” [Full Review]
nathan_soper nathan_soper June 29, 2015
Great commentary. This volume is built around three "acts" in the drama of Mark's Gospel. Despite commenting on the greek text, France doesn't disect the greek grammar as much as would be helpful but his insights area always helpful. 5 stars
G Ware G Ware March 5, 2015
The NIGTC is designed for the scholar or upper level student with decent proficiency in Greek. France is absolutely a top notch scholar, but in this volume manages to make that scholarship accessible in a way some other volumes in this series don't. France depicts Mark as an accomplished story teller who has structured his Gospel account as a drama in three acts. The structure of the commentary helps draw attention to the dramatic way in which Mark builds towards a climax. I am surprised this volume has not overtaken Lane for top spot. This is the best commentary on Mark I have used.
Tim Challies Tim Challies February 13, 2013
Most commentators on commentaries reserve the top spot for France’s volume (Note that he has also written a top-five commentary on Matthew). While the NIGTC is more scholary than most other series, and requires at least some knowledge of Greek, D.A. Carson says it is still “remarkably accessible and includes a healthy mix of history, theology, social context, even warmth.” By way of context, I have rudimentary knowledge of Greek (one year of university-level) and find that I am able to make my way through these commentaries, though with some difficulty at times. [Full Review]
Abram K-J Abram K-J June 18, 2012
R.T. France’s commentary on Mark focuses on the Greek text, but I’d recommend it to anyone interested in carefully working through the Gospel of Mark, regardless of Greek knowledge. France takes the utmost care to interpret the text, providing much relevant background and comparison with other Gospels. Even as he is exegeting a single word or phrase from one verse, he always has the whole contour of the book in mind. While he does not formally have an application section as such, the conclusions he draws from the text are such that the careful reader could easily come up with applications from France’s insights. France’s work is technical, yet easy enough to read, especially for a commentary. Beyond its superb quality as a technical/academic commentary, it has even gone so far as to more deeply inspire me in my own view of Jesus and his ministry. It’s well worth the money to purchase this book, and well worth the effort to work one’s way through it. Sadly, France just passed away in February 2012. I was fortunate to be taking a class this past semester where this commentary was the primary textbook. [Full Review]
Phillip J. Long Phillip J. Long May 23, 2012
As with all the writers in the NIGTC series, France is an expert on the Greek text of Mark. The commentary has less background material that Evans, but is rich in exegetical detail. That is not to say that France is ignorant of the Hebrew Bible or other Second Temple Period literature, but only that his main interest is the Greek words in the context of Mark. France surveys the synoptic problem briefly, giving quite a bit of weight to John Robinson’s theory of cross-fertilization. In the end France concludes “I do not need a solution to the synoptic problem.” He approaches Mark as a storyteller who has created a long narrative in three “acts.” Like many commentaries on Mark, Peter’s confession in chapter 8 is the clear turning point of the book, dividing France’s first two “acts,” Galilee (1:1-8:21) and On the Way to Jerusalem (8:22-10:52). The third act in the drama of Mark at Jerusalem, beginning in Mark 11. [Full Review]
Philibuster Philibuster July 13, 2011
Excellent commentary on Mark. France gives superb insight into the narrative world of the Gospel, and draws out the Jewish feel of the story's historical setting. My only real disagreement was with France's reading that Mark 13 switches topics from the destruction of Jerusalem to the future second coming of Christ at 13:32. His arguments were not enough to persuade me that it's not about the destruction of Jerusalem throughout.
Scot McKnight Scot McKnight April 21, 2009
Next I consult R.T. France, who has the capacity to write sound commentaries and the efficiency to get it done -- without it become an exercise in bibliographic endlessness -- I've learned lots from France [Full Review]
John Glynn John Glynn September 20, 2008
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 [Full Review]
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Fort Worth, TX 76028 As the rash of commentaries on the Gospel of Mark continues unabated, one may search for a work that can offer a definitive wor d. That work comes from R. T. France, a prolific writer on the Gospels who has perhaps written his magnum opus on the second Gospel. This commentary, part of the New International Greek Testament Commentary series, is not a commentary on commentaries, nor is it concerned with theories about the prehistory of the Gospels composition. Rather, it is concerned with the text of Mark itself. France treats Mark as a narrative whole and is guided by the historical awareness brought on by the Third Quest of the historical Jesus. The commentary is based upon 4 27UBS and NA and assumes a working knowledge of Greek. Prior to the introduction there are a list of abbreviations and a bibliography of works cited in the commentary. Following the commentary, there are an index of modern authors, a helpful index of Greek words and phrases, and a listing of biblical and other ancient sources. The introduction deals with issues such as genre, structure, and origin. France classifies Mark as a biography, though its distinctive character is traced to its subject matter. Mark is also distinctive because the Gospel bears the mark of preaching and was not written to be read but to be heard. Showing his inclination toward recent literary methods in New Testament studies, France sees Mark as A Drama in Three Acts. Following the heading of 1:1 and the prologue of 1:213, act 1 centers in Galilee (1:148:21). [Full Review]
University of St. Andrews Scotland This recent addition to the New International Greek Testament Commentary series is a model of tempered scholarship. The series itself is based on the text of the United Bible Societies Greek New Testament (4th rev. ed.) and the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece (27th ed.). Writing in this series, France strictly interprets the object of his commentary. He states that he does not address form-critical issues regularly, nor does he take up questions of linguistic background and the like. In general, his analysis is contained to the New Testament Greek text and to the textual witnesses referenced in the aforementioned volume. In the introduction, the author attends to the preliminaries of the books genre, structure, message, and purpose. He also addresses the Synoptic problem briefly. On each topic, the reader is in the hands of a master who understands that the minority, while critical and vocal, do not represent the whole of scholarship. Hence, France validates his perspectives by reference to others who hold the same position rather than laboriously rebutting every minority opinion in print. Where it is necessary to nuance his perspective from others, France does so succinctly with his logic simply communicated. The precious value of this style is that it leaves more room for the commentary itself. [Full Review]