To distinguish between 3 interpretations of the bible
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To distinguish between 3 interpretations of the Bible To interpret the Calming of the Storm in 3 ways To evaluate what Mistakes in Mark suggest about Markan authorship.

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To distinguish between 3 interpretations of the Bible

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To distinguish between 3 interpretations of the bible

  • To distinguish between 3 interpretations of the Bible

  • To interpret the Calming of the Storm in 3 ways

  • To evaluate what Mistakes in Mark suggest about Markan authorship

Nobody really ever “writes history”. Everything gets written from some point of view, every writer is writing with their own particular values.

So how can we get behind the viewpoints of the writers of the gospel, and work out what the “truth” of the gospel stories really is?


To distinguish between 3 interpretations of the bible

Which interpretation of the calming of the storm do you think is the most “true”?

Read the 3 interpretations of the Calming of the Storm (A, B or C). Which opinions is….

Fundamentalist – because the bible is 100% reliable and correct in every detail, because it was inspired by the Holy Spirit who is never wrong. And that all of the bible should be taken as literally true just exactly as it was written.

Conservative – because the Bible is mostlycorrect in important ways (because it was inspired by the Holy Spirit) but there may be some inaccuracies, because human beings with their ordinary human knowledge wrote it. It also cannot be taken literally but needs some interpretation because it was written from a particular, ancient, point of view.

Liberal – because the Bible cannot be relied on to be historically or factually correct. The early Church exaggerated or changed the stories to persuade people to follow Christianity. Still, the stories are meaningful and important to know because they teach truths about God. (Liberal)

A. The Calming of the storm really happened exactly as the gospel says. It shows Jesus really has God’s power over nature and over the real forces of evil in the world.

B. The Calming of the storm was a story exaggerated by the Church to give persecuted Christians hope in their “storm-tossed” life

C. The Calming of the storm did happen, although some details may have been changed or added by the gospel writers. It shows Jesus’ power over nature. It can also be interpreted symbolically as the “storm tossed” persecuted Church battlingagainst the evil in the world.


To distinguish between 3 interpretations of the bible

the opinion that the bible is 100% reliable and correct in every detail, because it was inspired by the Holy Spirit who is never wrong. And that all of the bible should be taken as literally true just exactly as it was written. (Fundamentalist)

the opinion that the Bible is mostlycorrect in important ways (because it was inspired by the Holy Spirit) but there may be some inaccuracies, because human beings with their ordinary human knowledge wrote it. It also cannot be taken literally but needs some interpretation because of when it was written and for whom. (Conservative)

The opinion that the Bible cannot be relied on to be historically or factually correct, because the early Church exaggerated or changed them to persuade people to follow Christianity. Still, the stories are meaningful and important to know because they teach truth. (Liberal)

Using the notes on this slide or p.24 Mark Gospel for Today

1. Draw a line in your book and mark on the 3 types of interpretation. Make notes about the 3 interpretations of scripture:

  • fundamentalist

  • conservative

  • Liberal

    2. Choosing from the “hints” boxes in purple, give an interpretation of the miracle of the Calming of the storm

  • in a fundamentalist way

    For a fundamentalist, the story of the Calming of the Storm is saying that…

  • In a conservative way

  • In a liberal way

The storm probably did happen but some details may have been changed during oral transmission, or by the gospel writers to make the story better for their audience

The story shows that Jesus has the power of God over nature, and proves he is like God.

The storm really happened exactly as the gospel says

It doesn’t matter if it is true – the point is the hope and faith that this story can give in times of difficulty

We can’t ever know if the storm happened or not but that doesn’t matter to faith.

The story gives hope to persecuted Christians because it proves Jesus has power over evil.

The story proves Jesus has control over evil and can be trusted to control the situation


To distinguish between 3 interpretations of the bible

Which kind of interpretation are the following statements? Write down the numbers 1-10 and their interpretation. (F, C, L)

Despite the occasional accuracy, Mark gets it right overall

Some parts of the bible are more relevant to 21st century Christians than others

Only people who believe 100% in everything the Bible says are truly Christians

Jesus was not really the Son of God. He was a wise teacher man, but that’s all.

Jesus did some of the miracles but not all of them

There are no contradictions between the different gospels. If there are differences, it’s because the story must have happened twice.

Jesus is an obscure historical figure whose words and actions have been so changed, that we can really know nothing about him.

Jesus did not rise from the dead. The only sense in which he is still “alive” is in the Church that carries on his teaching

God created the universe, but science tells us how he did it, not the Old Testament

God created the world in 7 days as it says in Genesis


To distinguish between 3 interpretations of the bible

  • MISTAKES IN MARK

  • 1. Mark makes mistakes in geography

  • Mark 5:1 “They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes” .

  • But Gerasais more than 50 km away from the Sea of Galilee!!

  • Mark makes mistakes about Jewish customs

  • EgMark 10:11-12 “Jesus said "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery."

  • But according to Jewish Law a woman had no right of divorce whatsoever. In Roman law, of course, a woman had that right. (Mark is writing in Rome, but obviously does not know Jewish customs that well)

  • EgMark 7:3-4 “For the Pharisees and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands”.

  • Jewish scholars have shown that the washing of hands before meals was obligatory only on priests and not on lay people like the Pharisees and scribes – certainly not for all the Jews.

1. Read “Mistakes in Mark”.

How would a fundamentalist respond to these examples of “mistakes”?

How could a conservative respond to there being these mistakes?

2. Do the mistakes in Mark give evidence for or against the theory that Mark is the same Jewish Mark from Jerusalem in whose mother’s house the last supper was held)


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