Rawlings School of Divinity


Master of Theology (ThM)


Anthony Chadwick Thornhill


exegesis, Mark 6:30-44, feeding miracle, hermeneutical triad, literary-historical-theological interpretation, narrative criticism


Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


Jesus’ feeding the five thousand is the only miracle that the four Gospels commonly recorded among the miracles Jesus Himself performed. The feeding miracle episode is like the gem, which changes light colors slightly depending on how people see it. However, some scholars try to approach it only in a particular direction and partially understand it. Based on the literary-historical-theological methodology, this thesis has a focal point to disclose the compressive and multi-dimensional implications. The exegesis of Mark 6:30-44 begins with the refinement of interpretive methodology. The methodology of this thesis prudently considers both the traditional perspective and recent research. Generally, this research is implemented in common exegetical areas: literature, history, and theology. Furthermore, literary research adopted a narrative criticism, considering Markan literary feature as a story. The feeding miracle can be seen as a well-designed dramatic episode that combines compressive scenes, and the sandwich structure gives an implied message related to true discipleship. Also, the diverse implied biblical imageries and symbols bring about the abundance of the message. The historical analysis offers new insight into the political situation related to the feeding miracle. Even though the crowd before Jesus and the readers of Mark might expect the Messiah to be the worldly king, Jesus had a different intention. Jesus had more compassion on their spirit, not the political situation. Theologically, two important Markan themes, Christology and discipleship, are well reflected in this miracle. The feeding miracle is the way to reveal Jesus as the Messiah. Mark presents discipleship by describing the interaction between Jesus and the disciples, giving an allusion via the immediate context. In conclusion, this episode converges in Christology and discipleship, being supported by literary connotations and compressive storytelling based on a certain historical background.