“Why doesn’t McDonald’s sell hotdogs?”
“At a movie theater, which arm rest is yours?”
“Why are there no B batteries?”
“When does it stop being partly cloudy and start being partly sunny?
“If you are bald, what hair color do they put on your
“If bread is square, why is lunch meat round?
“If money does not grow on trees, then why do banks have branches?”
“Why are the little Styrofoam pieces called peanuts?
The men in Hugh’s Sunday School class bellowed as one of the members scanned through a website with humorous questions.
Harry pondered why the men in his class didn’t ask questions about the materials he was covering. Before Hugh could arrive at an answer, one of this student’s spoke.
“Hugh, my friend, Harry, and I started discussing the authorship of Mark. Harry does not believe that Mark wrote the Gospel of Mark. He says no evidence exists proving Mark wrote the Gospel with his name. Why do some believe John Mark wrote the Gospel of Mark and others question the idea?”
Without time to answer those questions, another member fired a question, “Hugh, I read the entire Gospel of Mark three times this week. I scanned through the Gospel two additional times trying to locate where John Mark identified himself as the author. I couldn’t find one sentence, or even one phrase to suggest who the author was. Why is that, Hugh?”
“And Hugh,” a third student interrupted, “Why is Mark associated with Peter?”
Hugh sighed a prayer of thanksgiving, “Thank you, Lord. Thank you for these questions and for leading me to focus on these background issues earlier in the week.”
“You are right. No author says, ‘I wrote this gospel.’ The answer comes from ancient literature. The title for the Gospel of Mark appeared first in the beginning of the second century. This allows the gospels to be identified easier. The title indicates someone named “Mark” wrote the gospel. This piece of evidence brings more credence since it is early and universally accepted.”
“Hugh, I read there are some ancient literature that suggests Mark wrote the gospel. Can you elaborate on the possibility at all?”
“Yes, the strongest and possibly the most controversial source is Papias. Papias served as Bishop of Hierapolis. Some believe he was martyred about the same time as Polycarp. He invested much time gathering background about the early church.
William Barclay claims no one ever questioned his integrity, although Eusebius questions his intelligence. Barclay explains that Eusebius’ evaluation may be dependent upon the Papias support of millenarian views and his dislike for that view aided Eusebius’ need to disparage Papias. The actual work of Papias is lost and our source is Eusebius’ quotations.”
“Listen to Papias’ statement about his research methods.”
For, unlike the many, I did not take pleasure in those who have so very much to say, but in those who teach the truth; nor in those who related foreign commandments, but in those who record such as were given from the Lord to the faith, and are derived from the truth itself. And again, whenever I met a person, who had been a follower of the elders, I would inquire about the discourses of the elders – what was said by Andrew, or by Peter, or by Philip, or by Thomas or James, or by John or Matthew, or any other of the Lord’s disciples, and what Aristion and John the elder say. For I did not think that I would get so much profit from the contents of books as from the utterances of a living and abiding voice.
While we cannot be exactly certain about everything Papias meant, it seems clear that he interviewed as many of the associates of Jesus’ disciples. His use of ‘elders’ seems to equate to our term, church fathers. In Papias case this implies those who had some direct contact with Jesus. This provides for us trustworthy information.
In addition to utilizing reliable witnesses, Papias appears to shield Mark from not being a ‘disciple’ of Jesus and that Mark’s work failed to meet a chronological order of the life of Jesus. Listen to Papias’ statement about Mark’s relationship with Peter by quoting from John the elder:
The elder said this too: Mark who was (or, who became) Peter’s interpreter wrote down accurately, though not in order (or, without orderliness) all that he remembered of what Christ had said or done. He did not hear the Lord, nor was he a follower of his; but at a later date, as I have said, he followed Peter, who adapted his teaching to meet the needs of his hearers (or, who gave his teaching in chreia form), but not as if he were giving a systematic compilation of the Lord’s oracles.
Mark therefore made no mistake, but he wrote down some things as he remembered them, for he had one purpose in mind, not to omit anything he had heard, and not to falsify anything in it. (Click to Tweet) 
“Men, the important point of Papias’ words shows us that between 120-130 A.D. at least one early church father indicated that someone named Mark was the author and he had been associated with Peter.
Some modern critics question the validity of Papias statement. They explain that Papias created the notion of a Mark as the author who was connected to Peter because of problems with Gnosticism. One scholar settles the critics thesis this way,
It is doubtful, however, that Papias could have gained much by ascribing a Gospel to such an obscure person as Mark. The association of Mark with Peter is well attested independently in 1 Peter 5:13. That Papias was the early church’s only source of information about the Gospel is hard to believe, and that Papias was the only source for the title attached to all manuscripts is impossible to believe. Therefore the testimony of Papias remains a significant factor in the discussion of authorship.
The remainder of the external church evidence unanimously supports the authorship of the Gospel by Mark. Only Augustine failed to connect Mark with Peter.
Men, we cannot prove Mark’s authorship of the Gospel, one way or another. Yet, we must acknowledge there is a possibility that Mark wrote the Gospel. Even if one rejects Papias’ statements, we can agree that Mark may have been the author. Even this cannot be disproved or proved. Considering the evidence, Mark writing the Gospel bearing his name appears to be feasible and the most probable position.
Our time is over for this week. I look forward to our meeting next week. Let’s pray.
What question(s) would you like to ask Hugh related to the authorship of Mark in you were in his class? Feel free to leave a reply.
 http://www.crazythoughts.com/ accessed 5/27/2019 on Google.
William Barclay, Introduction to the First Three Gospels: A revised Edition of The First Three Gospels, (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1966), 119.
James A. Brooks, Mark in The New American Commentary, (Nashville: Broadman, 1991), 26.