Mark 6: What Were They Talking about?
In Mark 6, it is interesting that Jesus already began the missionary work of spreading the gospel.
Mar 6:7 And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits;
Mar 6:8 And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse:
Mar 6:9 But be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats.
This stands out to me because the Gospels as we know them were not written yet. I hold to an early dating of the Gospels, but they all involve Jesus being crucified, and that had not happened yet. However, the disciples were going forth with some type of message. Surely, Jesus as their teacher did not just send them out and tell them to teach whatever they wanted. There was some type of message that would have been communicated orally.
This is a very important point especially because the Gospels might not have been written until at least 60 A.D. That is a gap of 30 years from the events that they narrate. How do we know that the stories were not corrupted over that time?
I am taking a class on Scripture and Apologetic Implications with Dr. Mike Licona at Houston Baptist University right now. We just got done talking about the culture that Jesus was a part of. In that time, there was a teaching method used by rabbis that relied heavily on memorization. It would not have been strange at all for Jesus to have taught His disciples in the same way. Also, by using memorable parables and mnemonic devices that were recorded in the Gospels, Jesus would have been helping His followers remember.
I know that some people are worried about the distance that the Gospels were written from the events they narrate. However, by looking at the content of what was written and realizing that these would have been important, life-changing memories for the disciples, it is not hard to believe that the tradition we have been given in the Gospels had been faithfully transmitted orally by a culture that was very good at doing that.