Mark 16:9–20—Include or Exclude from the Bible? That is the question.

Mark 16:9–20, The Great Commission. Many modern scholars call into question the genuineness of these last twelve verses. For a discussion on whether these verses of Mark’s Gospel should be included in the Bible, see E. W. Bullinger’s (1837-1913) The Companion Bible (appendix 168). 

Bullinger states that it is true that the two oldest Greek manuscripts of the Testimony of Yeshua (from the fourth century) don’t contain these verses. On the other hand, more than six hundred other Greek manuscripts do contain them as do the oldest Syriac (Aramaic) manuscript known as the Peshitto (which Bullinger believes is from the second century) and the Curetonian Syriac (from the third century). He notes that Jerome when translating the Bible into Latin (The Vulgate, A.D. 382) had access to Greek manuscripts older than any now extant,which is why he included these twelve verses in his Bible. Additionally, he notes that the Gothic Version (A.D. 350), the Coptic (fourth or fifth century), the Armenian (fifth century), Ethiopic (fourth to seventh centuries) and Georgian (sixth century) versions all contain these last twelve verses. Bullinger goes on to say that there are nearly one hundred ecclesiastical writers before the oldest extant Greek manuscripts who attest to the authenticity of these verses. Moreover, between A.D. 300 and 600 there are about two hundred more writers who do.

Bullinger gives two reasons why he believes these verses may have been omitted from several of the oldest Greek NT manuscripts. After the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 extending forward one hundred years, there is a complete blank regarding the history of the early church and a complete silence about this era from Christian writers. Therefore, no one knows what was going on in the church during this period including whether such signs and wonders as enumerated in these last verses in Mark’s Gospel were still occurring. He speculates that when later translators came to the last twelve verses of Mark and saw no trace of these spiritual gifts currently occurring in the fourth century church, some marked them as doubtful, spurious or even omitted them altogether. This same doubt has been passed on to modern scholars.

I vote that we leave these verses in the Bible!


3 thoughts on “Mark 16:9–20—Include or Exclude from the Bible? That is the question.

  1. Count me in! Our ministry has been living these passages through the highways and hedges, and Elohim has honored us in it! Not stopping because of debates among men.

  2. Thank you for your article. My wife and I were just discussing this section a few weeks ago and she found your article and shared it with me. Good quotes from Bullinger about the evidence of the historicity of this section. We seek to be open to the Spirit’s leading also in the healing of our people and the spreading of the testimony of Yeshua to unbelievers in our area. Praise Yah that he has used so many to faithfully preserve His Word! Thank you again.

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