Change text size: A A A Change contrast: Normal Dark Light
Related Bible reading(s): Mark 10.17-31

Bible study on Mark 10:17-31

This study can be used by a small family/household group, or by an online group, or – sometimes with a little adaptation – by an individual.

See our Guidelines for a weekly Bible study

Begin with an opening prayer

Lord God, the rich man had obviously been pondering.
His thoughts brought him to his knees before you.
He thought eternal life was something he could achieve.
But he suspected there was more to know.
And he was right!
We come today with our ponderings,
to bow before you,
to ask you to meet with us here,
and teach us with words of eternal life.


Read the passage

Consider different ways to read the text. For example, hearing it in more than one version of the Bible.

In an online group, you could share parts between those present, or use/adapt this week’s Share the Word suggestion: Use the Jump to this week's menu on the right to go to Share the Word and scroll down to find the Gospel reading.


Explore and respond to the text

Start by reading the Bible notes below. You may want to read them more than once, or pause after each paragraph to reflect on what you have read.


Bible notes

Once again, Mark presents a moment of decision that squeezes the hearts of an unnamed man, Peter and the disciples and, indeed, Jesus himself. It begins with a seemingly simple question (v.17). Jesus’ initial response is abrasive though not unsympathetic. It is a serious question. First, the man asks what he must do and Jesus’ answer seems reassuring – note Jesus’ attitude to the man (v.21). But the second part of the answer is crushing and costs far too much. The man’s response and his subsequent actions expose his concerns and his unwillingness to go the whole way with God (v.22). His anxiety is for himself, for what he thinks he will lose.

The middle part of the story (vv.23- 27) might suggest that Jesus rejects all wealth. The saying about the camel and the eye of a needle is of a proverbial type and is intended to be absurd in order to heighten the response: ‘Then who can be saved?’ The answer is in the final statement ‘for God all things are possible’ (v.27). The ending of this scene is courtesy of Peter and the disciples. They have seen a desirable addition to their group seemingly waved away, but they are also conscious of their own situation as people who did drop everything to follow Jesus. Jesus’ response is to remind them that they have their reward – not a monetary one but becoming members of a new community in the extended family of God’s people. The final epigrammatic saying (v.31) is part of the escalation of the radical and transforming nature of God’s kingdom. The subversion of the expected triumph of God’s chosen one began with Jesus’ first of the three predictions of his death and resurrection. There is no turning back, Jerusalem is in his sights. To adapt the words of the BBC’s Mastermind, ‘He’s started so he will finish’ – but will the disciples?  


See also:

The way we live matters
Tim Herbert introduces the readings in this issue, in conversation with Siggy Parratt-Halbert.



Spend a few moments thinking about what stands out for you from the Bible reading. This idea may help.

Which is the true me? Most of us present ourselves carefully to God and the world. But if God knows us and loves us, why might trusting in him completely be such a risk? What if trusting all to God doesn’t diminish or restrict our lives but enhances them? So, what holds us back from committing totally to God? After all, God has committed himself completely to his creation and to us in Jesus’ death and resurrection.


Questions for reflection

You may wish to use these questions and the picture to help you think about or discuss issues of sharing.

  • What do you make of this image – its title is ‘With God all things are possible’?
  • What is the difference between what is possible and what is wise?  
  • How might we encourage ourselves and others to develop a wise heart? 


A simple worship activity

A hymn-based opportunity for reflection and devotion.  

  • Choose one of these methods to present the hymn ‘Take my life and let it be’:
    – listen to a recording of a choir singing it. 
    – display a video clip of the song with words projected. 
    – speak the words with the tune playing in the background. 
  • Choose one or more of these reflective or devotional activities:
    – give out paper and pens; invite people to respond by drawing any kind of image they wish. 
    – give out play dough or modelling clay; invite people to make a model that represents something they would like to offer to God. 
    – give out paper and pens; invite people to write down specific things from their own ‘riches’ (e.g. time, resources, skills) that they can offer to God. 

Use the Jump to this week's menu on the right to go to more activities
Explore and respond.



Adapt to your local context.

A prayer of praise

Thank you, God, that all things are possible with you.
If we truly do something in your name,
however hard it has been, you will bless us.
You are always there to guide us,
to keep us on the right track.
Thank you that when we don’t understand something –
such as a camel going through the eye of the needle –
you are there to give us understanding.
You keep us on the straight and narrow way
when we need it most.
Thank you, God, that with you everything is new.
Through you we know we have the way to eternal life.
Thank you, Lord. Just, thank you.

Use the Jump to this week's menu on the right to find more prayers,
including up-to-date intercessions.


A prayer to end the Bible study

Loving God, who sees us and loves us just as we are,
be with us and go with us,
guide us and challenge us
to draw closer to you,
and to be and live more like Christ.


Go with God 24/7

Encourage everyone to put their faith into action.

Choose something that you have that is important and precious to you, e.g. your car, time, baking equipment (any tools!), musical instrument. During the week, do or think or make something with your item that you can share with someone else – for example, offer a lift, give some time, bake a cake, share some music. 


Encourage everyone to explore their faith this week with the ROOTS at home resource.

General information and website help
020 3887 8916
Roots for Churches Ltd
86 Tavistock Place
Registered Charity No. 1097466
Subscription services
020 3887 8916
Roots for Churches Ltd
Unit 12, Branbridges Industrial Estate,
East Peckham TN12 5HF
Stay in touch
The ROOTS ecumenical partnership
Bringing together Churches and other Christian organisations since 2002
© Copyright 2002-2024, ROOTS for Churches Ltd. All rights reserved. Print ISSN: 2040-4832 and 2635-280X; Online ISSN: 2635-2818.
This resource is taken from and is copyright © 2002-2024 ROOTS for Churches.