Are the Last Twelve Verses of Mark’s Gospel Inspired?
article in PT Mag, Nov, 1953
*modifications & additions by Peter Salemi
One of the most controversial points of Scripture is whether Mark 16:9-20 is actually a part of Scripture. Although it appears in the King James Version, many other translations either label this section as an appendix or leave it in the footnotes as in the controversial Revised Standard Version of the Bible.
The Moffatt translation, together with the Goodspeed and others, not only has the long ending found in the King James Version, but it also has other shorter ending.
Since the Bible is a revelation from God about those essential facts which we need to know, but which we have no other way of obtaining, it is very important that we know what constitutes the Bible. If this last portion of Mark’s Gospel IS spurious, it is time we learned of the fact. If it is genuine, it is vital that we believe what it contains.
Let us briefly understand the facts behind the controversy. The eighth verse of Mark, chapter 16, ends abruptly seemingly at a place where it would be natural to have the thought continue.
Why? There have been two reasons generally postulated.
(1) That Mark originally wrote an ending that has been totally lost, the present endings being merely additions by later copyists.
(2) That for some yet unknown reason Mark was not permitted to finish his gospel, and that probably another person wrote an ending.
The scholars are, of course, in confusion as to whether this ending was inspired, or whether it was merely the addition of another copyist. It might be important to bring in at this point the fact that almost all scholars dismiss the secondary short ending found in the translations of Moffatt, Goodspeed and others.
In Hasting’s Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels it is plainly stated that this short addition is not found in any of the early Church writers. We can therefore consider it as merely the addition of a copyist.
The longer ending to Mark’s gospel is, however, quoted extremely early. Mark 16:19 is quoted as a part of Mark’s account by Irenaeus in Against Heresies (Bk. iii,10, 6) between 182 and 188 A.D. There are allusions to it in even earlier writings, although not as a true quotation. Not only did Irenaeus accept it as a part of Mark’s gospel when arguing with “heretics,” but, says Hastings: “No writer before Eusebius is known to have rejected them, and their presence in all later MSS (manuscripts) shows that the successors of Eusebius, in spite of his great authority, did not follow his judgment in the matter.” (Eusebius was the court favourite and the church historian in the days of Emperor Constantine.)
These facts point plainly to the great antiquity of the longer ending as preserved in the common English versions.
But were they inspired?
Let us consider now the common idea that the real ending of Mark was lost. Since the Bible explains that the Word of the Lord endures forever, are we to assume that so important a matter as the resurrection was allowed to perish? Notice chapter 36 of Jeremiah, verse 23. Here one of the scrolls containing the inspired words of the Lord was cut with a penknife and cast into a fire and totally destroyed. Did God leave it to some copyist to guess what it might have contained? No! Baruch, the scribe of Jeremiah, was ordered to write in a new scroll “all the former words that were in the first roll” (verse 28).
So one of the basic principles is that God’s inspired word cannot perish!
Now let us turn again to the last of Marks gospel. All commentators will agree that the last twelve verses are actually an addition and not the normal ending. The Greek clause ending verse 8 of Mark 16 is abrupt-as though it were anticipating another thought. Since no actual ending has ever been known to these verses, and since God does not allow His word to perish, it is logical that there never were added verses now lost-this is the ending of the Gospel! But why did it end so abruptly like this? God, did not allow the completion of the gospel record by Mark at its original writing. The question then is this: Is the present long addition an inspired ending or a manmade conclusion?
The answer is definitely that it is an INSPIRED ending. This is proved by a Unique system of Bible Numerics, discovered by Dr. Panin. Dr. Panin discovered that within the text of the Bible, Old and New Testaments, is an amazing numerical pattern based on the fact that the letters of the alphabet were used as numbers also. This pattern, which is not found in other Greek or Hebrew works, is broken if these verses of Mark’s gospel are left out. Bible Numerics has demonstrated that the Bible as a whole-not only the books and their words, but also syllables and even letters-give an amazing pattern of sevens, elevens and other numbers, which not only indicate the inspiration of each writer by a Supreme Mind, but also the inspiration of the whole Bible by One Supreme Mind.
Since these last twelve verses not only fit into the whole pattern of the Bible, but also have a pattern within them; we KNOW that these twelve verses were inspired by God to give added special information not found in the other gospels. If these last verses of Mark’s gospel are left out the book does not come to an orderly conclusion as does every other book in the Bible.
And what was this person’s source? The inspired word of God! There is nothing in in these verses contrary to the rest of Scripture. There is no truth missing in the Bible, since everything taught here is found elsewhere in Scripture. This includes tongues (see Acts 2: 111), baptism (Acts 2:38), and God’s 1st century supernatural protection of His messengers unwittingly bitten by poisonous snakes (cf. Acts 28:3-5).
Geisler and Howe cite a few examples of people using the inspired word of God as sources to write their own books or rearranging inspired writings as they state, “Simply adding and rearranging inspired writings (individual psalms) is not proof of the redaction model. Adding psalms to the Psalter as they were written fits perfectly with the prophetic model of the canon…. Conservative scholars have long acknowledged that there may have been two versions (editions) of Jeremiah, one that came from Jeremiah himself (on which the LXX is based), and a later larger one (on which the Masoretic Text is based) with more of his prophecies collected by his scribe, Baruch. Thus there is no need to posit a later inspired redactor of Jeremiah after his time…. The passages cited in Chronicles do not mean that the writer of Chronicles (possibly Ezra) was redacting some other books but merely that he was using them as sources to write his own book. For example, Daniel (Dan. 9) uses Jeremiah (Jer. 25), and 2 Sam. 22 uses Psalm 18.” (A General Introduction to the Bible, pp.252-253, emphasis added). The Apostles were following in the same pattern as the prophets of the Old Testament of using the inspired writings and arranging the last 12 verses of Mark in a Biblically Numeric pattern to finish the Gospel in a special God inspired way!
Human writings are filled with error, but the Bible is fool-proof, complete, inspired, and wholly preserved through the power of God. These verses are an inspired part of the Word of God.
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