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Colossians 4:10 (NET) 10 Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, sends you greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas (about whom you received instructions; if he comes to you, welcome him).
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Phrases:

sends you greetings – meaning that not only did Aristarcus send his greetings (See previous study about Aristarcus), but also Mark is with Paul and sends his greetings to the Colossians.  Mark was not imprisoned but was visiting or serving Paul while Paul was imprisoned. 

As does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas (about whom you received instructions; if he comes to you, welcome him) – Paul clarifies which Mark he is speaking of by saying he is Barnabas’ cousin, and that Mark  should be received and welcomed by the Colossians if he comes just as previously instructed. 

Below are additional verses and learnings about Mark.

[Act 12:12 NET] When Peter realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where many people had gathered together and were praying.

[Act 13:5 NET] When they arrived in Salamis, they began to proclaim the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. (Now they also had John as their assistant.)

[Act 13:13 NET] Then Paul and his companions put out to sea from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia, but John left them and returned to Jerusalem.


[Act 15:37 -39NET] Barnabas wanted to bring John called Mark along with them too, but Paul insisted that they should not take along this one who had left them in Pamphylia and had not accompanied them in the work.  They had a sharp disagreement, so that they parted company. Barnabas took along Mark and sailed away to Cyprus...

Philemon 1:24 (NET) 24 Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my colaborers, greet you too.

[2Ti 4:11 NET] Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is a great help to me in ministry.


[1Pe 5:13 NET] The church in Babylon, chosen together with you, greets you, and so does Mark, my son.

When we piece together Mark’s life we learn the following:

  • Mark was a cousin of Barnabas.  Mark’s mother’s name was Mary.  From the next verse in Colossians, we also learn he is Jewish.
  • Mark was known by three names:  Mark, John, and sometimes John Mark.
  • Mark assisted Paul and Barnabas on Paul’s first missionary journey.
  • Mark decided to leave the work and go back to Jerusalem during Paul’s first missionary journey.  The reason he left is unknown. 
  • Before Paul’s second missionary journey, Barnabas wanted to take Mark, but Paul refused. This is when Paul and Barnabas served God separately due to their sharp disagreement regarding Mark.
  • Sometime later, Paul and Mark’s relationship was restored.  We know this because:  Paul told Philemon that Mark was his colaborer, Paul told Timothy to bring Mark because he was a great help to him in the ministry, and Paul told the Colossians to welcome Mark if he were to come to them.
  • Peter calls Mark his son, meaning Peter disciples Mark.   
  • Many early church fathers recorded that this same Mark is the author of the Gospel of Mark and is the record of what he learned from Peter.

Discussion Questions:

Like Barnabas and Mark, can you think of any relatives that you know who serve our Lord together?

Have you ever had to quit a ministry?  What were some of the reasons for temporarily ceasing from the work?

You may not be a great spiritual leader like Paul, but in what ways can you assist great men of God or become a great help with the ministries in which you are already involved?

Have you ever parted company with a dear brother when you just couldn’t come to an agreement?  What was that like?

Can God still be glorified even when brothers divide, if so, explain?

Have you ever experienced a relationship being healed after a long disagreement?  What was that like?

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Listening Prayer method – a method where you write what you think God would say to you after meditating and studying a Bible passage.

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Can Brothers Divide and God be Glorified?

Bob,

 Sometimes My children divide. Many times they divide because sin is involved. Division due to sin can be hurtful, and repentance and forgiveness are necessary.  Continue to rust My sovereign plan. I will still work things out for My glory. 

Sometimes My children just divide because they have a different vision of how things should work.   There is no anger or hurt between them. They feel called to go separate directions, but both are still unified in their goal to serve My kingdom. 

Eitherway, keep peace with others and beware of resentment. Someday, you may both be serving Me together again. 

Continue to follow My leading in your service. Keep your heart close to Me, so you will be ready to serve as I call you. And like Mark, be devoted to assist the ministry of others as a member of their team to help them follow as I have called them. 

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