A Review of Lisa Harper’s Newest Study – The Gospel of Mark

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The delivery system for Bible Studies has changed significantly over the years. In days gone by, the primary Bible study source was church curriculum distributed during Sunday school classes. Then, at some point, studies crossed over denominational boundaries and appeared in local bookstores. As various on-line purchase options sprouted, the Bible study phenomenon further exploded. Nowadays studies are dispensed to electronic devices within seconds or transported to ones doorstep in a matter of days. With the availability of a wide range of studies that cover all manner of topics and span all age groups, the choices are indeed vast.

One of the newest studies on the market is The Gospel of Mark – The Jesus We’re Aching For by Lisa Harper. This study is broken into 7 sessions, but these sessions are not segmented into days. Because the study is formatted this way, there is no specified amount of work one must complete in a single sitting. That may be a relief to some, but others may desire to split the session into definable segments by completing the portion under one of the subheadings:


  • Real Life
  • Real Truth
  • Real Ache
  • Real Hope

While the homework segments take a look at specific portions of Mark, Lisa also ties in truths from other books within the Bible. Additionally, each weekly homework section concludes with a page or two of supplemental information covering various topics such as:

  • The Gospel of Mark: An Introduction
  • The Soils of Israel
  • Jesus’ Healing Ministry
  • Divorce In First Century Israel
  • Temple Merchants
  • Roman Crucifixion

FullSizeRender.jpgFor those choosing to host a small group, beginning on page 156 of the study, there are leader helps for each chapter. Additionally, individual video sessions are available for purchase on the  LifeWay website.

Although I did not have access to the leader packet, nor did I purchase the individual videos, I did watch the session clips. Those clips were my introduction to hearing Lisa speak. After watching each clip, I really wanted to view the entire series. From the moment she began talking Lisa grabbed my attention and pulled at my curiosity. She doesn’t preach at people, she’s more of a coach—an illustrator who unpacks truth, weaves in cultural contexts, explores background information and explains Greek terminology when necessary.

With all group studies the key is group participation. Since I did this study on my own, occasionally I felt like I was missing something—that group interaction.

IMG_1361.JPGHowever, even though I was devoid the group discussions, that does not mean all was silent. There were specific moments when God used this study to remind me of specific truths:

  • Through Him the seemingly impossible can become the possible.
  • He has the best plan for my life.
  • “My scarcity + faith in Jesus = more than enough.” (pg 69)
  • “When we don’t put Jesus in the deepest hole in our soul we instead attempt to fill it with people, substances, or behaviors.” (pg 83)

If you are looking for a new study to complete individually or with a group, I highly recommend The Gospel of Mark by Lisa Harper.

How will you know if this is the study for you or your group? Perhaps these questions will help you decide:

  • Has life’s circumstances created within you a sense of aloneness?
  • Do you feel invisible?
  • Are you longing for someone to notice you?
  • Do you know that Jesus wants a relationship with you?
  • Are you attempting to fill the hole in your soul with people, substances, or behaviors?
  • Do you want to learn more about the heartbeat of Jesus?
  • Did you know Jesus had a mission statement that involves you?


Even when you feel invisible, Jesus sees you. In fact, He loves you. And, He wants you to develop an intimate relationship with Him. Working through The Gospel of Mark study by Lisa Harper will help you discover the Jesus that we all ache for.

If you decide to work through this study, are currently working through this study, or have completed this study, I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to join in the conversation – Jill

All share squares are compliments of LifeWay/B&H Publishing.

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