John Mark is a historical figure in the New Testament. According to William Lane, an "unbroken tradition" identifies him with Mark the Evangelist. John Mark is mentioned several times in the Acts of the Apostles. The first mention is in Acts 12:12, when Peter is coming to John Mark's mother's house:
When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying.
When Barnabas and Saul had finished their mission, they returned from Jerusalem, taking with them John, also called Mark.
Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord. He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
This is apparently the same occurrence that was earlier mentioned in Acts 13:13, this time referring to John Mark simply as "John":
This John had joined their mission in Antioch. Acts 13:4-5 says:
The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper.
Some believe John Mark returned to the ministry based on the instruction to Timothy by Paul that he should "Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry" (2 Timothy 4:11).
John Mark is also usually identified with Mark the cousin of Barnabas (Colossians 4:10).
- Lane, William L. (1974). The Gospel According to Mark. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. p. 21.
- Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897