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Mark 16:9-20 - “Were these verses added?”

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Twenty five years ago, I was sitting at the back of the church when the pastor taught on Mark 16. I was shocked to hear him proudly say that verses 9 to 20 were added to the text much later. His ideas came not from scripture, but from the bad theology put out by higher criticism scholars, who rampaged through scripture – first the Old Testament and then the New – destroying trust in God’s word.

This is not the place to discuss Higher Criticism (see other articles on this), or the arrogant disbelief of that young pastor and his poor grasp of theology; it is sufficient to say that the methods of Higher Criticism are wholly untrustworthy, because they are based on very bad research principles.

Why say that verses in Mark were added at a later date? To further prompt mistrust of God’s word as it is written! The idea was to ‘deal with the synoptic problem’, or, how the Gospels linked together. If higher critics thought they did not, they then pronounced certain texts to be faulty, not saying what the ‘original’ texts said!

Note that Roman Catholicism uses this tactic to dissuade readers of the Bible from trusting its contents. In fact, Rome gave its approval of this secularisation of scriptural interpretation, in an encyclical by pope Pius XII, in 1943, even though a previous pope condemned it!

Higher Criticism of the last chapter of Mark was destructive of trust in scripture, and has affected many preachers, whose understanding of theology, argumentation and scripture, is limited.

The decision to say the ending of Mark 16 was added later was made on the ground that the end verses “do not conform to the same compositional style of Mark’s gospel”. This is ludicrous. As a writer I try to keep to the same ‘style’ within the same document, but it does not mean I will not change that style, or write in a very different manner. A change in style is not proof per se that it was added later by another writer, only that it is a change of style! To claim otherwise is to vaunt one’s own ideas above scripture.

To say that the last verses in Mark cannot be part of the original text is not based on fact but on the personal assumptions of unsaved theologians. The particulars found in those verses can also be found in verses elsewhere, so they do not contradict them.

Most of the uncial manuscripts contain verses 9-20, as does the Alexandrian manuscript. It was also cited by Irenaeus and Tatian, Hyppolytus and Dyonisius. Yet, many consider the words of verse 16 to be wrong, without any kind of supporting evidence. The words tell us that those who believe and are baptised will be saved, but those who do not will be damned.

Obviously, those who think we can choose salvation will try to eradicate the verse and its meaning. And those who do not believe in God, but who tinker with theology, will make the text say whatever they wish it to say!

Scripture means what it says and that is why the best version of the Bible is the 1611 King James AV, which is completely faithful to what the genuine authentic texts tell us. It is why so many other versions attempt to discredit the AV, and why so many cults and heretics prefer any version but the AV. Sadly, a huge number of supposedly evangelical preachers have fallen for the lies of higher criticism… which is also to say that they have fallen for the deceptions of Rome.

Mark accompanied Paul on his missionary journeys and was an accomplished reporter of events. At times his notes were lengthy, at other times they were truncated. So, to suggest that the last chapter of his gospel was not in accord with his work is simply unacceptable, without a shred of evidence.

© August 2010

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Bible Theology Ministries - PO Box 415, Swansea, SA5 8YH
United Kingdom