A Beginner's Guide to the Good News
By Amy-Jill Levine

Discover the Good News in the Bible’s earliest Gospel

Walk through the Bible’s earliest source for the life of Jesus with scholar Amy-Jill Levine as she examines John the Baptizer, the Little Apocalypse, the Transfiguration, and several of Jesus's most notable stories and parables. The Good News of the gospel message comes alive in this book as readers see Jesus as divine and human, powerful and weak, approachable yet mysterious. The book features an in-depth study of select passages and illuminates the Gospel in its historical context and as a source for the other gospels.

Watch this promo video and learn more about this study from AJ. Additional components include: 

  • Book
  • Comprehensive Leader Guide 
  • A DVD featuring AJ  
Participant Guide Sample


Josh Scott

AJ Levine has once again, through her brilliant, accessible scholarship, opened up the Bible in fresh and exciting ways. I was amazed at how many times I was taken by surprise by a detail or observation that I just hadn’t seen before. You’ll want a highlighter on hand when you read this book! 

Josh Scott, Lead Pastor at GracePointe Church and author of Bible Stories for Grown-Ups: Reading Scripture with New Eyes 

Amy-Jill Levine’s characteristically rich and witty scholarship provides fresh insights into Mark’s Gospel that will benefit even the most experienced student of Scripture. She deftly weaves ancient understandings with modern interpretation as she moves us through the Gospel at a quick pace. This book will be a gift for preachers, teachers, and churches seeking to dig into Mark’s good news. 

Dee Dee Porter Carson, Pastor, First Presbyterian Church of Virginia Beach, VA  

Amy-Jill Levine has gifted us with a clear, no-nonsense guided tour through the Gospel of Mark, conveying the feel of the words, places, people and encounters with marvelous clarity and freshness. She bushwhacks through hackneyed spins on familiar stories that now don’t seem so familiar. Veteran and rookie readers alike will be drawn deeply into her clever, wise takes on Mark.  

James Howell, Senior Pastor, Myers Park United Methodist Church, Charlotte, North Carolina 

AJ Levine has done it again!  She has written a careful analysis of the provocative gospel of Mark with seriousness and humor that compels one to continue examining the great mystery and humanity of Jesus and his mission. This is a must-read for anyone interested in spirituality, theology, and desiring to see a fresh interpretation of this beloved gospel. What feeds my spirit is the emphasis on how we live, and its message of hope. 

Jerra Jenrette, Chair, Intentional Faith Formation Team, Edinboro UMC (PA) 

Levine gives permission to the reader to move away from dogma and see characters and stories in the Bible from a different perspective.  

Hyiwot Teshome, Pastor and Head of Staff, First Presbyterian Church, Johnstown, PA 

Meet AJ.

Amy-Jill Levine (“AJ”) is Rabbi Stanley M. Kessler Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies at Hartford International University for Religion and Peace and University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies Emerita, Mary Jane Werthan Professor of Jewish Studies Emerita, and Professor of New Testament Studies Emerita at Vanderbilt University. An internationally renowned scholar and teacher, she is the author of numerous books including The Difficult Words of Jesus: A Beginner's Guide to His Most Perplexing TeachingsShort Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial RabbiEntering the Passion of Jesus: A Beginner’s Guide to Holy WeekLight of the World: A Beginner’s Guide to AdventSermon on the Mount: A Beginner’s Guide to the Kingdom of Heaven, and Signs and Wonders: A Beginner’s Guide to the Miracles of Jesus. She is also the coeditor of the Jewish Annotated New Testament. AJ is the first Jew to teach New Testament at Rome’s Pontifical Biblical Institute. In 2021 she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. AJ describes herself as an unorthodox member of an Orthodox synagogue and a Yankee Jewish feminist who until 2021 taught New Testament in a Christian divinity school in the buckle of the Bible Belt.