Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 13, 1951

Mark 16:9-20 ... Is It Authentic?

Floyd Thompson, Santa Ana, California

A question concerning the authenticity of the scripture cited above has come to my desk. The canon of the scriptures is a great study within itself. The two oldest manuscripts extant does not include from verse 9 to the close of the book. There are many other manuscripts, however, that do. Possibly some suggestions can be made that will be of help!

Out of the translations of the New Testament, one Interlinear New Testament, and a Westcott and Hort Greek New Testament, which are all at hand, plus all of the commentaries that I have, not one has disregarded the text. The presence of the text in many ancient manuscripts added to the fact that all these and many more could not disregard the text, is convincing to me.

Let us now look at what is made known in the passage cited. Is there any principle discussed that is contrary to the principles discussed in other passages of scripture passages that no one can question? Verse 9 states that Jesus "was risen." Matt. 28:6 states the same truth. Verse 9 also tells of Jesus appearing to Mary. John 20:1116 tells the same story. Verses 10 and 11 tells of her announcement of the resurrection. John 20:18 tells the same thing. Verses 12 and 13 tell of the appearance of Jesus to the two disciples. Luke 24:13-35 tells the same story.

Verse 14 relates that he appeared to the eleven. Luke 24:36 makes this known. Verse 15, Jesus gave the charge to preach the gospel to every creature. In Matt. 28:19 Jesus gives the same command. Verse 16 makes known the fact that the ones who believe and are baptized shall be saved. In Matt. 28:19 Jesus said " . . . baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." Verse 17 and 18 list some signs that were to follow the believers. One only has to read the New Testament to know that they did. Verse 19 tells of the ascension of Christ. Acts 1:9 tells of the same event. Verse 20 tells of the apostles going forth to preach the gospel and that the Lord worked with them confirming the word with signs following. Now read Hebrews 2:1-4 and hear the same story told.

Who wants to stop the music before the last tone has been sung? Who wants to stop the story before you hear the end of the story? He is the one who wants to leave Mark's gospel dangling in mid-air, never completed.

Once in a while one will deny the authenticity of the latter part of Mark 16 to try to escape the force of the statement made by Jesus "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." In such cases, if you can get them to see the truth of Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16 and 1 Peter 3:21, it is an easy matter to get them to accept Mark 16:9-20.