William Lane, professor of Biblical Studies as Seattle Pacific University, has written a highly readable yet very scholarly commentary on Mark's gospel for the New International Commentary on the New Testament Series. Lane does an excellent job analyzing the structure and themes within Mark, explaning parables from different angles (as well as understanding one parable through the other parables), and commenting on other aspects of ancient Roman and Jewish life.
This reader also appreciates the conservative approach to Lane's commentary. With so many authors attempting scholarly acrobatics to learn about the "Markan community" or practice source criticism, it is refreshing to read a scholarly commentary that holds a traditional view--Mark from the book of Acts wrote this Gospel based almost exclusively on the teachings of Peter. While many reviewers herald this "new and exciting" method of interpreting Mark, there is actually little "new" about it--the traditional conservative view of Mark that the church has always held is the view proposed by Lane.
Although an excellent work, this author does have one criticism concerning the ending of Mark. While Lane is with the majority of scholars in looking down their noses at Mark 16:9ff, Lane dismisses these verses as "unoriginal" without much of a discussion. Without even reprinting the text, he criticizes those who hold to the originality of these verses as unscholarly and speculative. A fuller argument for his premature ending, a more detailed explanation of the function of this abrupt "literary device" and a short commentary on Mark 16:9ff would have been greatly appreciated by this reader, especially in the light that Lane seemingl treats the ridiculous Freer Logion as sacred writing.
In all, this book is a great, mentally provocative treatment of Mark's Gospel that simply fell apart at the end. Highly recommended!