Mark 16

Lately, what keeps staying in my mind is the ending of Mark 16 in the Bible. In a lot (most?) of translations there’s a note that says something like, “The earliest manuscripts and some other ancient witnesses do not have verses 9–20.”

The passage is here below (New International Version):

When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene,out of whom he had driven seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. 11 When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it.

12 Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. 13 These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either.

14 Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.

15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands onsick people, and they will get well.”

19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.

I don’t know why this passage is even included in the translations that seem to presuppose that the passage isn’t part of the biblical canon, or that seem to think that the passage is unreliable. Put that aside, I don’t know why a lot of Christians don’t have at least some doubt about the credibility of the passage. Maybe because they aren’t aware that the passage is not in the earliest manuscripts? Possibly/Probably. Verses 17 and 18 also seem to be a bit out of place, and these verses have been abused by “Christian snake handlers”. My point is that if one is going to go around and preach the ‘gospel’ of snake handling and whatever else, then they better have a good biblical reason for doing so; hence, merely citing a dodgy passage like Mark 16-92-20  is not going to suffice.


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