The Conclusion of Mark – Mark 16:8-20

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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
December 15, 2019

The Conclusion of Mark
Mark 16:8-20


We are nearing the end of our study of the Life of Christ which I began December 22, 2012 – seven years ago next week. We concluded John’s account in October with Jesus post-resurrection appearance of Jesus’ with seven of the disciples on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. You will recall that Jesus and instructed them to wait in Galilee for Him, but Peter got the idea of going fishing and he got the other six to join him. They fished all night, but caught nothing. When Jesus arrived, He told them to cast their net on the other side of the boat, which they did and then had to drag the net to shore because the catch was so large. Jesus also made them breakfast with apparently another miracle of multiplying the one fish to feed all of them. Jesus had called them to be fishers of men instead of fish, and He once more demonstrated that He would provide for them as they carried out the command. John’s ends this section with Jesus restoring Peter to ministry and then refuting the idea that developed at that time that John would not die. John then affirms that he wrote the book and that his testimony in it is true. John wrote as the last living apostle and the only who would die of old age instead of martyrdom, and his purpose was to augment what had already been written in the other gospel accounts 30 or more years prior, yet knowing there was so much more that could be said. He concludes stating in John 21:25, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.” 

John states in John 20:30-31 that there were many other signs Jesus did that he did not include in his book, “But that these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” That has also been the major purpose of this series. (See: Waiting on Jesus – John 21:1-14,  Do You Love Jesus?- John 21:15-19 & Following Jesus John 21:20-25)

Last week I finished an extended explanation of The Great Commission which concludes Matthew’s gospel account. I hope the extra time spent on it has been beneficial to you. It is critical that we not only understand the meaning of God’s word, but we must also apply its commands, principles and precepts in daily life. On a mountain somewhere in Galilee, Jesus gave instructions to His disciples that had gathered there. This may have included the more than 500 mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:6, but at minimum in included the eleven disciples and whoever else was present. Jesus said to them, 18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  (See: The Great Commission: Overview) Matthew 28:16-20

This commission belongs to every follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is another major reason for this long sermon series on the Life of Christ. We are to be busy fulfilling His command to make disciples by going into all the world and proclaiming the gospel, baptizing those that come to faith in Christ, and then help one another learn and obey all that Jesus has commanded. In order to do that, you must know who Jesus is and what He has commanded.

The purpose statement of this church reflects is Glorifying God by Making Disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is directly from the Great Commission. Everything that we do must ultimately be for that purpose. That is to be our purpose as individuals, and it is also our purpose as a congregation, in fact, even more so in some ways as a congregation because “teaching them to observe all that I commanded you” occurs within the church body. There are the formal teaching events such as morning worship, Sunday School, classes, home Bible studies and scheduled counseling, but there are also all the informal teaching that occurs in proper Christian fellowship as each individual uses their particular gifts to teach and help others mature in those areas and are likewise taught and helped themselves to mature.  (See: How to Make Disciples: Jesus’ Example, How to Make Disciples: Evangelism, How to Make Disciples: Baptism, How to Make Disciples: Obedience, How to Make Disciples: An Example of Obedience, How to Make Disciples: Marks of Maturity, How to Make Disciples: Becoming Mature

 Manuscripts of the New Testament

This morning I wanted to conclude both Mark and Luke ending with the ascension of Jesus to heaven in Acts 1, but as I got into the texts, I realized that it will take me the rest of this morning to explain the ending of Mark because there is a lot of controversy about what verse is the actual conclusion of the book since there are three possibilities. In order to understand this, I will have to give you some basic instruction on textual criticism which is the process by which it is determined what was in the original autographs.

Why is textual criticism needed? Erasmus published the first Greek New Testament in 1516 based on the few Greek manuscripts he had available to him. All of these were late and they were incomplete. He had to back translate some of his text from Latin. As more and more ancient Biblical manuscripts were found and then compared with one another beginning in the 1600’s, the differences between them became noted. These are called variants. Publication of them began in the mid to late 1600’s. Greek New Testaments now typically have extensive footnoting which explains the variations between the manuscripts and which texts have which variant. This is very helpful in figuring out the age and origin of a particular variant.

Now before I go further, I need to assure you that these many variants are not any cause of alarm for us in being able to know what belongs in the text of the Scriptures. In fact, the massive number of manuscripts and their variations give us a greater confidence that we can determine what was written in the original autograph. This has to do with the origin of the New Testament books and the method by which they were copied.

First, the Bible has its origin in God and not in an ecclesiastical authority. The writers, including the Gospel authors, had in mind a particular audience and purpose, and the original or copies of it were sent to them first. Since there were 8 or 9 authors writing to various people or groups, then location of origin and the first destination of the books varied a lot. In other words, there was no central authority or location for the origin the books of the Bible.

Second, this also means there was no central point of distribution for the various books. As the original or a first edition copy was received in one location, it would be copied and sent to other locations, which would in turn be copied and sent to other locations. There were no printing presses, mimeograph or copy machines back then. It was all done by hand by either looking at the original and making a copy, or by having someone read the original and several people writing down what they heard. Obviously, these methods could fairly easily result in errors of eyesight due to poor textual clarity or looking back at the wrong spot in copying; errors of hearing due to poor speech, difficulty in hearing, and similar sounding vowels, diphthongs and words; errors of mind such as substitution of homonyms, synonyms, and wording from a better known parallel passage as well as transposition of letters and words; and errors of judgment such as whether to add a marginal note or not. All of these can result in omissions, additions, and emendations even when striving to be very careful. There were also those who with good intentions changed a text to correct what they thought were errors, and those with bad intentions that changed the text to match their theological beliefs. It is because we can compare an abundance of manuscripts with each other that such errors are discovered.

Consider that if there was a central origin and authority for the distribution of the copies, then there would be little or no means to know what was original because you would not have anything to compare. Such a central authority would allow for deviations from the original to become the substitute for the original. This is a problem in cult groups which come up with their own translations and insist they are authoritative – Jehovah Witnesses for example. It is also a problem for the Quran (Koran) because it was originally transmitted orally with various oral variations quickly developing – which is a problem in itself. These were eventually written down, but at a later time, all the written copies were gathered and destroyed except one which then became the source for all other copies. But was the version kept the correct one? Even so, if I recall correctly, there are still something like 11 versions because those who had memorized it wrote down what they remembered.

There are more than 5,600 ancient partial and complete manuscript copies the Greek New Testament with another 9,000 manuscripts in other languages into which it was translated that come from all over the ancient world (some from the second to fourth centuries), and there are over 36,000 quotations by early church Fathers (second to fourth centuries) from which the entire New Testament can be reconstructed except for 11 verses. We have an excellent record historically and in volume. By comparison, the next best attested ancient text is Homer’s Iliad with 643 copies and the earliest one is about 2,000 years after Homer wrote it. There are only 10 manuscripts of Julius Caesar’s Gallic War with the earliest a 1,000 years after the original. It is a similar story for all other ancient texts.

The volume of Biblical manuscripts allows us to compare them for differences, and because they come from many different time periods and locations, we can separate them into what are known as families of manuscripts as the differences are noted and traced. The four major ones are Alexandrian, Western, Caesarean (or Eastern) and the later Byzantine. The early translations into other languages, with some of them dating only 100-200 years after the autographs (originals), gives us additional witness to the original texts and additional lexical evidence for the meanings of words and sentences. All of this gives us great confidence that we can know what was in the original autographs. Again, we could not have that confidence if there were only a few copies from long after the originals were written. We would be left with only speculative assumptions.

It must also be pointed out that even with these variations, the Bible has been copied with a 99.5% accuracy according to Bruce Metzger’s calculations. The vast majority of the variations are strictly grammatical. According to Phillip Schaff, only about 0.27% (400/150,000) changed the meaning of the passage, and only 0.03% (50/150,000) are of any real significance, and not one of them affected “an article of faith or a precept of duty which is not abundantly sustained by other and undoubted passages, or by the whole tenor of Scripture teaching.” (Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, pg. 532).

Ancient manuscript textual scholar Sir Frederic Kenyon concluded that: “The number of manuscripts of the New Testament, of early translations from it, and of quotations from it in the oldest writers of the Church, is so large that it is practically certain that the true reading of every doubtful passage is preserved in some one or other of these ancient authorities. This can be said of no other ancient book in the world.” (Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, p. 533).

Textual Criticism

Comparison of the manuscripts allows us to discover the differences between them, but how can you then know which version is correct? This is where textual criticism comes into play. These are the rules that are followed to determine the best reading by establishing antiquity and possible causes of a variant.

A) Antiquity. Older manuscripts are generally preferred since there was less time for copy errors or additions to creep into the text. Antiquity is established by: 1) The age of the manuscript itself, 2) Age of translations that contain that variant, 3) Citations by apostolic fathers and especially quotes.

B) Causes of variation. The reading which can explain the origin of the other variants has the greatest probability of being genuine. I have already mentioned some of the causes for variations. In regards to Mark 16:9-20 of particular interest are these causes:

1) Additions are generally due to repetition of a word or passage, inclusion of marginal notes, or inclusion of material from a parallel book or passage. This is a particular problem in the synoptic gospels. Evidence for this is lack of the additions in earlier variants.

2) Omissions are usually just a letter, syllable or word. Longer omissions are rare. Evidence for an omission would be inclusion of the longer version in earlier variants.

3) Amendments are changes to the text due to the copyist seeking to “correct” grammar or style or “improve” the reading by adding what he thinks is missing or makes it more understandable. Evidence is again found in whether it is or is not included in earlier variants. In general, it is for these reasons that the shorter and more difficult versions are preferred.

Now that you have had a very quick course in ancient manuscripts and textual criticism, lets consider Mark 16:8-20.

The Problem of the Ending of Mark – Mark 16:8,9

If you have an English translation from the 20th or 21st Century, you will notice a footnote or brackets at Mark 16:9 to indicate there is a question regarding the textual basis of the passage. The NASB footnote at verse 9 simply states, “later mss add 9-20.” The ESV puts 16:9-20 in brackets with a header that states, “Some of the earliest manuscripts do not include 16:9-20.” The NKJV notes at verse 9, “Vv. 9–20 are bracketed in NU as not in the original text. They are lacking in Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus, although nearly all other mss. of Mark contain them.” The newer Lexham English Bible (LEB) brackets two different endings after verse 8, a shorter ending and a longer ending with an extensive footnote. Other twentieth and twenty-first century translations have similar footnotes. What are these footnotes talking about and is it important?

These footnotes indicate that there is a legitimate question as to whether these verses are or are not part of what Mark wrote. The LEB footnote gives a good summary explanation footnoting at the end of verse 8, “The Gospel of Mark ends at this point in some manuscripts, including two of the most important ones, while other manuscripts supply a shorter ending (sometimes included as part of v. 8), others supply the traditional longer ending (vv. 9–20), and still other manuscripts supply both the shorter ending and vv. 9–20; due to significant questions about the authenticity of these alternative endings, many scholars regard 16:8 as the last verse of the Gospel of Mark.”

This is an important issue, but not for the reasons usually cited by liberal scholars. Far from these being something that causes us to question the text of Mark or the rest of Scripture, as I have already pointed out, we actually have a greater confidence because we can compare the variants and figure out what belongs, what does not, and why there is a difference between them. As a kid reading through Mark in my KJV the first time, I can remember thinking that it was a weird ending, especially the part about snakes and poison. When I first heard about the snake handlers in Appalachia basing their practices on this passage, I remember thinking that could not be what Mark was talking about. I remember going through a time in my late teens wondering what I actually believed and why I believed and thinking Mark was a problem and embarrassing. It was as I learned about Biblical manuscripts, their transmission and how to figure out the reasons for the variants and which reading would be true that confidence was restored. In other words, the fact that the variations at the end of Mark are identified gives me greater confidence that I have God’s word and not an edited version designed to get me to believe what religious authorities desire. There is work to do in figuring things out, but the wool is not being pulled over my eyes to even know there is a problem. And in figuring out the solution, I am forced back into the text and the intent of the author so that I will end up with a better understanding of both.

Let’s quickly look at the evidence for each possible ending.

The Shorter Version – Mark 16:20 appendage – NASB

The shorter version is included as an appendage to verse 20 in italics in the NASB. The LEB and NRSV include it as a separate and titled appendage. The ESV and Holman Christian Standard Bible include it in the footnote before verse 9. The NIV, NKJV, NET Bible and others do not include it at all. Why? It occurs in only one manuscript by itself and with the longer ending in a few other manuscripts which are all VIII century or later except one in the VI century. So there is no evidence for it to be original, but only something added hundreds of years later.

The shorter version reads, “And they promptly reported all these instructions to Peter and his companions. And after that, Jesus Himself sent out through them from east to west the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation.” The first sentence is based on Luke 24:9 and the second is a summary statement of Luke 24:46-49.

There is nothing to commend this ending as true to the original. It is an addition that tries to give a more positive ending if Mark concluded at verse 8, and a better transition to verse 9 if Mark has continued.

The Longer Ending – Mark 16:9-20

Let me state up front that the longer ending to Mark has prevailed primarily because of the attachment many have had over the years to a Greek Testament commonly referred to as the Textus Receptus (TR) or the Received Text. It was the second edition of a Greek Text published in 1633 which was largely a reprint of the 1565 version by Beza. In the preface the publisher put in boastful blurb that “the text which is now received by all, in which we give nothing changed or corrupted.” That is the sole basis for it gaining the designation Textus Receptus and the superstitions that have surrounded it. Its actual “textual basis is essentially a handful of late and haphazardly colleted minuscule manuscripts (IX Century and later), and in a dozen passages its reading is supported by no known Greek witness” (Bruce Metzger, The Text of the New Testament, p. 106). (For those who are KJV only, I will quickly point out that this is 22 years after the 1611 English version authorized by King James – otherwise known as the KJV or “Authorized Version”).

What is the evidence for the antiquity of the longer ending? The first manuscript evidence is V Century in A (Alexandrinus), but there are earlier citations of it by Irenaeus (~140-198) and Tertullian (~170-215), so it does occur early. However, it does not occur in the earlier IV Century Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus manuscripts nor is it included in the citation by Clement (d. ~100), or by Origen (185-254) or Eusebius (260-340) in his Canon, the first harmony of the gospels. That is an extremely important witness. MacArthur states that Eusebius knew about the longer ending, but did not find that the Greek manuscripts included it. So the longer ending is early, but it is not supported as being the oldest.

Why then would it be produced? In large part because ending at Mark 16:8 seems abrupt and somewhat confusing. In fact, this is often cited as a reason that the longer version must be true because it is hard to conceive that Mark would let his gospel account remain “unfinished.” But whether it was unfinished or not depends on what Mart intended and not on what the readers would like. I will speak more about this in few minutes.

In general, both a shorter version and a more difficult reading are preferred because it is more likely for a copyist to both inflate the text with material from other accounts and to try to make the text seem more reasonable. The evidence here is that is the origin and purpose of both the shorter and longer additions. It is very difficult to come up with a reason for that additional material to be omitted if it already existed. Claims of an unfinished copy are pure speculation. Let me go through the longer version and cite the sources for the additions.

9 Now after He had risen early on the first day of the week, He first appeared to Mary Magdalene, from whom He had cast out seven demons. Aside from this being an awkward transition from verse 8, especially with introducing Mary as if he had not already mentioned Mary in verse 1 and twice in chapter 15, the content comes from Matthew 28:1 and John 20:1, 11-18.

10 She went and reported to those who had been with Him, while they were mourning and weeping. This verse comes from John 20:18.

11 When they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they refused to believe it. This verse comes from Luke 24:11.

12 After that, He appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking along on their way to the country. 13 They went away and reported it to the others, but they did not believe them either. These verses are based on Luke 24:13-35.

14 Afterward He appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table; and He reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who had seen Him after He had risen. This is based in Luke 24:36-40, but the language of rebuke here against the disciples is unusually strong.

15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. This is from Matthew 28:19.

16 “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. This is based in John 3:18 with the addition of baptism from Acts 2:38.

17 “These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” These verses would be based in events recorded in Acts with the exception of the poison though there is an extra Biblical story by Eusebius citing Papias stating that he had heard from the daughters of Philip that Justus Barsabbas drank deadly poison, and yet, by the grace of the Lord, suffered no harm.

19 So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed. These verses would also be based in what is recorded in Acts with the statement about Jesus sitting down at the right hand of God coming from what Jesus said in Mark 12:36 and 14:62.

It is not hard then to show that the material in the longer ending could have been added from other passages, but it cannot be explained why such material would be removed. Without going into the details, the internal evidence also confirms that the longer ending was not written by Mark because of the great differences in language, grammar, style and theme.

The final conclusion is this. The longer ending is not erroneous since it is extracted from other Biblical passages, so it is not going to lead you astray. However, this section does not belong in Mark, and its inclusion distracts from Mark’s intended conclusion.

The Ending of Mark – Mark 16:8

Mark 16:8 does end abruptly, but that does not mean it is not the ending and leaves the book unfinished. To understand how it does bring a logical conclusion to the book, we need to quickly review some of the characteristics of Mark and a theme that runs throughout the book that concludes it.

First, Mark also begins abruptly stating, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” That is his theme and he will spend the rest of the book proving it. He then quickly jumps to John the Baptist fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah in preparing the way for the Messiah. The whole book moves quickly so that it can almost seem that he is writing in staccato. The term immediately (EujquvV) occurs 40 times in just 16 chapters.

Second, Mark is writing to Romans who value power so he is constantly pointing out Jesus’ power which leaves people amazed, astonished, overwhelmed, stricken with fright. He uses five different synonyms a total of 19 times: qaumavzw / thaumadz : wonder, marvel; qambevomai / thambeomai: startled / astonished; ejkqambevw / ekthambe : greatly astounded with a reaction; ejkplhvssw / ekpl ss : practically overwhelmed; ejxivsthmi / exist mi: astound completely

Mark 1:22, “they were amazed (ejkplhvssw – practically overwhelmed) at his teaching; for He was teaching as one having authority . . .”

Mark 1:27, “they were amazed (qambevomai –startled / astonished). . . He commands even the unclean spirit, and they obey Him.”

Mark 2:12 – Jesus healed the paralytic and “they were amazed” (ejxivsthmi – astound completely).

Mark 5:20 – after casting out of the demons, “everyone was amazed” (qaumavzw – wonder, marvel).

Mark 5:42, “and immediately they were completely astounded” (ejxivsthmi – utterly amazed) at raising of Jairus’ daughter from the dead.

Mark 6:2, Jesus was teaching in His hometown of Nazareth and “the many listeners were astonished” (ejkplhvssw – practically overwhelmed) referring to specifically to His wisdom and miracles.

Mark 6:51, He walked out on the sea of Galilee in the midst of a storm to His disciples and “got into the boat with them, and the wind stopped; and they were utterly astonished” (ejxivsthmi – astound completely).

Mark 7:37, “They were utterly astonished (ejkplhvssw – practically overwhelmed), saying, He has done all things well; He makes even the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”

Mark 9:15, “when the entire crowd saw Him, they were amazed” (ejkqambevomai – greatly astounded with a reaction) for He just returned from the mount of Transfiguration.

Mark 10:24, “The disciples were amazed (qambevomai –startled / astonished) at His words” regarding the difficulty for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.

Mark 10:26, “They were even more astonished” (ejkplhvssw – practically overwhelmed) at His teaching at the difficulty for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.

Mark 10:32, as Jesus walked ahead of them on the road to Jerusalem, “they were amazed (qambevomai –startled / astonished), and those who followed were fearful.”

Mark 11:18, “For the whole crowd was astonished (ejkplhvssw – practically overwhelmed) at His teaching” which rebuked the selling of merchandise in the Temple.

Mark 12:17, “and they were amazed at Him” qambevw / thambe : startled / astonished; in regard to His teaching about taxes.

Mark 15:5, “but Jesus made no further answer; so Pilate was amazed” (qaumavzw – wonder, marvel).

Mark 15:44, “Pilate marveled (qaumavzw – wonder, marvel) that He was already dead.”

Mark 16:5,6 – the women “were amazed” (ejkqambevw – greatly astounded with a reaction) at seeing the angel in Jesus’ tomb.

With this strong emphasis on Jesus’ power to astonish as the Son of God, it makes sense for Mark to conclude with such an abrupt statement about exactly that.

It was Sunday, the third day after Jesus’ crucifixion and the women had gone to Jesus’ tomb to finish the burial preparation. But when they arrived, they were greatly amazed to find an angel there instead of Jesus’ body. The angel told them that Jesus had risen from the dead and instructed them on what to do. Their response concludes the book, Mark 16:8, “they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment (e]kstasiV – intense amazement, besides oneself with astonishment) had gripped them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid” (fobevw). This was not fear of being harmed, but the fear from being completely overwhelmed and amazed at the power of Jesus to rise from the dead just as He said He would do. To use the modern phrase, they were left speechless due to their intense amazement at what they had just experienced.

Mark’s ending is abrupt just like his beginning, and in it he proves his opening statement. Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. All should stand amazed at Him!

Sermon Notes – December 15, 2019
The Conclusion of Mark – Mark 16:8-20


John wrote as a supplement & so that “you may ______that Jesus is the Christ . . . & have life in His name”

Matthew wrote first with the purpose of presenting to the ________ the evidence that Jesus is the Messiah

Matthew concludes with The Great Commission which still applies to every Christian – make ___________

The ___________of Grace Bible Church is: Glorifying God by Making Disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ

Manuscripts of the New Testament

To figure out the ending of Mark, textual criticism – the process of __________the text – must be understood

First Greek Testament published 1516 by Erasmus based on late and ______________Greek manuscripts

As Greek manuscripts were found, the differences (________) were noted then first published in mid 1600’s

Greek New Testaments now have extensive _____________(apparatus) noting all the variants

Variants are not a cause of alarm – they actually give us greater ____________in determining the correct text

The Bible originates in ________using multiple authors in multiple places – not an ecclesiastical authority

The original was copied & sent out where it was ________& sent out where it was be copied & sent out, etc.

Copies were all made by __________(manuscript) leading to errors of eyesight, hearing, mind and judgment

Omissions, additions and emendations crept into copies ______________ – and on purpose

A __________ origin and authority (cults) allow for deviations from the original to substitute for it

_______Greek manuscripts + 9,000+ translations + 36,000 quotes by early church fathers (2nd -4th Centuries)

The four major textual families are: Alexandrian, Western, Caesarean (Eastern) & _____________

Early __________(2nd & 3rd Centuries) give additional witness to the originals and lexical help in definitions

The Greek Testament has been copied with _________% accuracy – most variations are strictly grammatical

Only 0.27% of variants change the meaning, only ______% are significant & none change an article of faith

Textual Criticism

A) Antiquity – ___________manuscripts are generally preferred – less time for errors to be introduced

1) Age of the manuscript. 2) Age of translations. 3) Citations & quotes by apostolic fathers

B) Causes of variation – Preference given to the reading which can _________the origin of the other variants

1) Additions – evidence is _________ of addition in earlier variants

2) Omission – evidence is __________of additional text in earlier variants

3) Amendments – evidence is lack of amendment in earlier variants

The Problem of the Ending of Mark – Mark 16:8,9

English translations from the 20th & 21st Centuries note ________ alternative endings for Mark

The notations give confidence you are not being left __________- and you are forced back into careful study

The Shorter Version – Mark 16:20 appendage – NASB

It is included as an appendage, a footnote or not at all in various __________ translations

It is only in a ____________ manuscripts – so the evidence is that it is an appendage and not original

It is based in _______ 24:9, 46-49 and gives a more positive ending to Mark

The Longer Ending – Mark 16:9-20

It has prevailed due to attachment given to a __________Greek Testament known as Textus Receptus (TR)

The TR is from Beza’s 1565 version and based on a handful of late & _____________ manuscripts

Earliest record: V century A (Alexandrinus), citations by __________ (~140-198) and Tertullian (~170-215)

It is not found in IV century à (Sinaiticus) or B (Vaticanus) or in the citations of _____________ (d. ~100)

________ (260-340) knew about, but did not include it in his gospel harmony for lack of Greek witness to it

Reasons for it: Give a better ending to what seems to be too abrupt in Mark 16:8 – ________to be unfinished

It is very difficult to come up with a reason for it to be __________ if it already existed

Vs. 9 – awkward transition, unnecessary reintroduction of ______, comes from Matt. 28:1; John 20:1, 11-18

Vs. 10 – Comes from John 20:18 Vs. 11 – Comes from Luke 24:11 Vs. 12-13 – Based on Luke 24:13-35

Vs. 14 – Based on Luke 24:36-40, but with unusually strong language for Mark

Vs. 15 – Based on Matthew 28:19 Vs. 16 – Based on John 3:18 & Acts 2:28

Vs. 17-18 – Based on events in _______- with idea of the poison coming from an extra Biblical story

Vs. 19-20 – Based on Acts with idea of Jesus sitting at right-hand of God from Mark 12:36 & 14:62

The ________evidence of difference in language, grammar, style and theme are also against it being original

It is not erroneous since it comes from other ___________, but it does not belong in Mark & is a distraction

The Ending of Mark – Mark 16:8

Mark 16:8 ends abruptly, but that does not mean it is not the ending or leaves the book unfinished

Mark begins abruptly stating Jesus Christ is the _______________, then moves quickly to prove his point.

The whole book of Mark moves quickly – almost staccato – with “_______________” occurring 40 times

Mark is writing to Romans who value power, so he emphasizes Jesus leaving people _________/ astonished

Five synonyms used 19 times: qaumavzw / thaumadz : wonder, marvel; qambevomai / thambeomai: startled / astonished; ejkqambevw / ekthambe : greatly astounded with a reaction; ejkplhvssw / ekpl ss : practically overwhelmed; ejxivsthmi / exist mi: astound completely

Mark 1:22, 27; 2:12; 5:20, 42; 6:2, 51; 7:37; 9:15; 10:24, 26, 32; 11:18; 12:17; 15:5, 44: 16: 4, 5, 8

Mark ends with a strong emphasis on Jesus’ ___________ to astonish as the Son of God

The women are astonished about the angel & that Jesus has been resurrected – they are left _____________

Mark ends abruptly with proof of his opening statement – Jesus is the Christ, the son of God – be ________!


KIDS KORNER – Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following:1) Count how many times “Manuscript” is mentioned. 2) Talk with your parents about why you can trust the Bible’s accuracy.

THINK ABOUT IT – Questions to consider in understanding the sermon and its application. What is a textual variant? When were they first noted? What is the origin of the Bible? How were copies of made? Why would this lead to additions, omissions and emendations? Why do the number of manuscripts give us confidence in the scriptures even though there are variants? What is textual criticism and why is it important? Why is the antiquity of variant important? What are some of the causes of variants? Why is preference given to the shorter and / or more complex variant? How is the textual problem of the ending of Mark noted in your translation? Why is the shorter addition not considered an option? What is the antiquity of the longer addition? Of ending at 16:8? What reasons could there be for adding to the ending of Mark? What reasons could there be for omitting the longer ending? What is the evidence within the text that it comes from other scripture passages? What is the internal evidence (language, grammar, style & theme) that Mark did or did not write it? What is the theme of the book of Mark. What is his style of writing? Why does he include “immediately” so often? Why does he include so many synonyms so many times about people being amazed at Jesus. How does that amazement support that Jesus is the Son of God. How would ending at 16:8 fit the style and theme of the rest of Mark? Are you amazed at Jesus? Do you believe He is the Christ, the Son of God? How does your life reflect that belief? Resources


        Thomas, Robert L & Gundry, Stanley N. A Harmony of the Gospels, 1978

        The Greek New Testament, United Bible Societies, 3rd Edition. 1975

Metzger, Bruce Manning. The Text of the New Testament, 2nd Edition. 1980

Lange, John Peter, Philip Schaff, and William G. T. Shedd. A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Mark. Zondervan

        The Interpretation of St. Marks Gospel, R.C.H. Lenski, Augsburg Publishing House, 1964

Geisler, Norman L. Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics. Baker Reference Library. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999.

Meyer, Heinrich August Wilhelm. Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the Gospels of Mark and Luke. Edited by William P. Dickson. Translated by Robert Ernest Wallis. Vol. 2. Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1883.

Plummer, A., ed. The Gospel according to St Mark. Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1914.

Eusebius of Caesarea. Eusebian Canons. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2009.

        Eusebius of Caesarea, CHURCH HISTORY, ~ 340 AD

Barclay, William. The New Daily Study Bible: The Gospel of Mark. The New Daily Study Bible. Edinburgh: Saint Andrew Press, 2001.

        Brooks, James A. Mark. Vol. 23. The New American Commentary. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1991.

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