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Mark Chapter 16

Having more than one source of Truth brings mental confusion that will result in spiritual defeat in a Christian’s walk with God. If you are only going to have one source for Truth, then you better make it the right source. In 2 Timothy 3:16 we have a verse of scripture that is important to understand when we consider the source for Truth in every Christian life. 

2 Timothy 3:16
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

The Greek word pas is translated “all” in this verse and it means, “all, every, everything, the whole.” It is speaking of the individual words in a verse, the verse itself, the chapters, and the books. Therefore, it is speaking of every scripture.

There are different words in the Greek translated scripture, three of them should be understood when considering this verse. The first is grapho which simply means, “to write.” 

Matthew 4:4
But he answered and said, it is written [grapho], Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

The writers of scripture were holy men, but the author of the scriptures is God.

Next, there is gramma which means writing that is the object of study. 

John 5:45-47
 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote [grapho] of me. But if ye believe not his writings [gramma], how shall ye believe my words?

An individual Christian can learn when they hear God’s Word taught. But personal reading and study brings the words of God to life, it brings God’s words home to your heart. 2 Timothy 3:16 follows closely in the context of 2 Timothy 2:15-16.

2 Timothy 2:15-16
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.

Put forth a diligent effort to rightly divide the Word of Truth. But to shun, or turn your back on and avoid, “profane and vain babblings.” These babblings would be any other source that proclaims itself a source of Truth. God only is THE source of Truth.

Finally, there is graphe, the word used in 2 Timothy 3:16, which speaks of the authority of that which is written.

Matthew 22:29
Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures [graphe], nor the power of God.

The religious leaders of Israel held their traditions and the traditions of their elders with greater authority than the words of God. God backs up every word He has inspired. Who backs up any other “source” of Truth?

The Greek word theopneustos is translated into English in a few diverse ways, but they all make the same point. 

King James Version uses the words “given by inspiration of God.”
New International Version translates it, “is God-breathed.”
English Standard Version says, “is breathed out by God.”
Darby Translation says, “is divinely inspired.”
Bishop’s Bible of 1568 says, “is geuen by inspiration of God.”

God inspired men to write what He wanted written. God did not give the writers of His Word room to adlib. God inspired men to write exactly what he wanted them to write. The writers of God’s Word did not place their own theology into the pages of the Bible. 

The word profitable, ophelimos, means beneficial.

God inspired His Word to be beneficial or profitable to mankind in four ways.

1.For doctrine, didaskalia, which is right teaching or instruction. It is the right way to think, believe, and act.
2.For reproof, elegchos, which is a testing or proving of your application of the right instruction. If you are off in application, the scriptures can set you right again.
3.For correction, epanorthosis, which is to return you to right instruction or the correct doctrine when incorrect application has become a new but false doctrine.
4.For instruction (paideia) which is the education and training of a child; in righteousness (dikaiosyne) which is right living.

In each case the preposition, pros, translated “for,” precedes the ways in which God’s Word is profitable or beneficial. The word pros, when used in the accusative case, as it is here, means “with a view to.”

God inspired or breathed His Word into existence with a view to it being profitable or beneficial to His children.

So, what are we looking at in this verse of scripture?

That all scripture speaks with authority because God inspired it! God inspired scriptures to be beneficial along the lines of right teaching, or right instruction. Then, if you have applied the teaching incorrectly these same scriptures, still speaking with the authority of God, will test and prove your application showing you the path to right application. Further, if your incorrect application has led to a new doctrine the scriptures have the right words to re-instruct you in right doctrine. Finally, all scriptures will instruct you and train you like a child, a whole and complete education for a profitable life because we are God’s children, and He wants each of us to have a life that is blessed with all spiritual blessings. 

But this only applies to what God has breathed, what God has spoken, what God has inspired!

The original words of God are without error or mistake.
The original words of God will fit together from Genesis to Revelation.
The original words of God will be beneficial every time they are believed.
The original words of God will accomplish exactly what 2 Timothy 3:16 declared. 

It will always come down to the Integrity of God’s Word!
Do you, as an individual, believe the words of God have integrity?

Do they have more integrity than the nightly news?
Do they have more integrity than your personal likes and dislikes?
Do they have more integrity than the man-made religions of the world?
If they do, then it will be the Word of God that holds supreme authority in your life for Truth.

Some, who do not believe the Integrity of God’s Word, have taken it upon themselves to alter God’s Word by adding to or subtracting from what God has declared. These will stand before God’s judge one day and will have opportunity to explain their actions.

Proverbs 30:5a
Every word of God is pure…

“Pure” in Hebrew is sarap and means to refine, to test and prove true. God’s Word has been tested and proven True.

So, how is all of this connected to the Gospel of Mark chapter 16?

There is a minimum of four different endings to Mark chapter 16. This presents a problem for a student of God’s Word. Which, if any, is the True God-breathed Word given to Mark for our benefit? Obviously, God did not inspire a multiple choice ending to the Gospel of Mark.

The answer for many has been to accept it if it matches your denominational doctrine and reject it if it is contrary to your denominational doctrine. For example, Codex W, the conclusion of Mark 16 that speaks of Satan’s power having ended, is accepted by Liberal theologians, and rejected by Conservative theologians. Liberal theology accepts it because they believe the term “Satan” is not speaking of a spiritual being but the concept of evil, a composite of evil. While conservative theology believes “Satan” is a spiritual being that affects every one’s life.

2 Corinthians 2:11
Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

Satan, in the Greek, is a masculine noun. If it were referring to the “evil in the world” it would be a neuter noun. The Greek word translated “his” is a masculine possessive/personal noun. Satan is a spiritual being.

2 Corinthians 11:13-15
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore, it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

The Greek word autos, translated himself, is a masculine personal/possessive pronoun. Satan is REAL, he is our Adversary! He is not a composite of evil, HE IS EVIL!

2 Corinthians 4:3-4
But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Satan is spoken of in these verses as the “god of this age.” He is real, HE IS EVIL!

For this reason, we looked at 2 Timothy 3:16 first. A child of God needs to become reliant upon the God-breathed words as our only source for Truth and right living. It is not this theology or that theology, it is rightly dividing the Word of God, the Word of Truth. 

In theology there is a thing called the “Marcan Appendix.” The Marcan Appendix is what theology refers to any verses in Mark chapter 16 beyond verse eight. Theology acknowledges that Mark did not write any of the endings we currently have for chapter 16. What God inspired Mark to write ends at verse eight. However, because Mark 16:8 is a very abrupt ending theology considers the True ending of Mark’s Gospel to be lost.

Did we lose the ending of Mark’s Gospel or is Mark 16:8, even abrupt, the True ending?

I do not know.

The commonly accepted ending to Mark’s Gospel today is verses nine through twenty as printed in most versions. However, manuscripts that do contain additional verses after Mark 16:8 carry a special mark to indicate the verses are not part of the original text. That is why theologians have called the last twelve verses of Mark 16 the “Marcan Appendix” because it is accepted that Mark did not write them.

But the proof that we should add verses nine through twenty and accept these words as God-breathed is the witness of what are called “Church Fathers.” 

The time, after the original apostles had all died, is called the Patristic Time. It extends from the end of the first century to the beginning of the ninth century. Other theologians call this time the spiritual dark ages. Depending on the theologian the length of time also changes. 

These same “Church Fathers,” whose insight is to override our oldest manuscripts, boldly and openly declare Mark received his Gospel from Peter’s teachings. No mention of the God-breathed Word or Mark being inspired by God. Rather, Peter inspired Mark, or those who followed Peter inspired Mark, or Mark took it upon himself. It depends upon which “Church Father” you choose to follow.

Irenaeus (130-200 A.D.) said, “…, while Peter and Paul proclaimed the gospel in Rome and founded the community. After their departure, Mark, the disciple, and interpreter of Peter, handed on his preaching to us in written form.” 

God’s Word does show us Mark traveling with Peter to Babylon to preach God’s Word. Yet there is no record in God’s Word that Peter ever went to Rome, that is Christian mythology so a certain group could say Peter was the first Pope.

Clement of Alexandria (150-215 A.D.) said, “And so great a joy of light shone upon the minds of the hearers of Peter that they were not satisfied with merely a single hearing or with the unwritten teaching of the divine gospel, but with all sorts of entreaties they besought Mark, who was a follower of Peter and whose gospel is extant, to leave behind with them in writing a record of the teaching passed on to them orally; and they did not cease until they had prevailed upon the man and so became responsible for the Scripture for reading in the churches.”

Notice these men have differing traditions of the motivation in writing the Gospel of Mark. More than one source for Truth leads to confusion.

Origen (185-254 A.D.) said, “The second (gospel) is by Mark, who composed it according to the instructions of Peter, who in his Catholic epistle acknowledges him as a son, saying, ‘The church that is at Babylon elected together with you, salutes you, and so does Marcus, my son.’ 1 Peter 5:13.”

Later in his writing Origen added, “Mark declared, who is called ‘stump-fingered,’ because he had rather small fingers in comparison with the stature of the rest of his body. He was the interpreter of Peter. After the death of Peter himself he wrote down this same gospel in the regions of Italy.”

Irenaeus: Mark made the decision to write Peter’s teachings after he had died.
Clement: Those who followed Peter prevailed upon Mark to give them a written record of Peter’s teachings.
Origen: Peter gave Mark the instructions for writing his gospel and he followed those instructions after Peter died.

You can add to these men the names of other “Church Fathers” such as Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Papias, and many others. Yet there is a glaring omission in all their accounts, none speak of Mark being inspired of God to write the Gospel.

Matthew 15:2-3
Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto them, why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?

The child of God does not receive right doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness through the traditions of Church elders but through rightly dividing the Word of Truth.

Once theologians acknowledged we have no verses written by the hand of Mark after Mark chapter 16 verse eight all discussion and debate should have ended. God has not authorized just any man to add to or subtract from His inspired, God-breathed words.

Following the traditions of elders did nothing for the Sadducees and the Pharisees personally and did not aid them in teaching God’s Word to Israel.

The first ending is Mark 16:8. 

The manuscript Vaticanus (325 AD), is the oldest copy of the Gospel of Mark that has Mark chapter 16. It ends at chapter 16 verse eight and is followed by a long blank space as though something should have followed.

The manuscript Sinaiticus (370 AD) follows Mark 16:8 with a decorative design as though it was the end of the chapter and gospel.

There are also around one hundred manuscripts of Mark 16, in the fourth century in different languages, they also end at 16:8.

The current traditional ending of Mark, verses nine through twenty, is not in the Sinaitic Syriac manuscript nor the Sahidic Coptic Egyptian manuscript. Likewise, the Codex Vercellensis from 365 A.D. ends at Mark 16:8. Although the Vercellensis is in very bad shape. 

Papyrus 45 (P-45 from around 225 A.D.) is an older manuscript, but it is incomplete and has nothing for Mark 16.

So, our oldest manuscripts end Mark’s Gospel at chapter 16 verse eight. 

The second ending of the Gospel of Mark is known as the short version.

Around 400 A.D. the Codex Bobiensis has a short version after Mark 16:8.
16:9 But they reported briefly to Peter and those with him all that they had been told. 
16:10 And after this, Jesus himself sent out by means of them, from east to west, 
16:11 the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation.

The third ending of the Gospel of Mark comes from Codex W. Its full name is Codex Washingtonensis. It is from the early to mid-fifth century. It has the following after Mark 16:8. 

Later he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were sitting at the table; and he upbraided them for their lack of faith and stubbornness, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. And they excused themselves, saying, this age of lawlessness and unbelief is under Satan, who does not allow the truth and power of God to prevail over the unclean things of the spirits. Therefore, reveal your righteousness now, thus they spoke to Christ. And Christ replied to them, the term of years of Satan's power has been fulfilled, but other terrible things draw near. And for those who have sinned I was handed over to death, that they may return to the truth and sin no more, that they may inherit the spiritual and imperishable glory of righteousness that is in heaven.

Some manuscripts have been found that insert the Washingtonensis verses between verses 14 and 15 of the long version.

The fourth ending of the Gospel of Mark is known as the long version. It is what appears in most Bibles printed today. 

Mark 16:8-20
8 And they went out quickly and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they anything to any man; for they were afraid.
9 Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.
10 And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept.
11 And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.
12 After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country.
13 And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them.
14 Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. 
15 And he said unto them, go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues.
18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
20 And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

Many Bible versions that print the long version of Mark chapter 16 attach a footnote. The New International Version has the following: “The earliest manuscripts and some other ancient witnesses do not have Mark 16:9-20." 

Some Bible versions today place verses nine through twenty in italics to further indicate they were not part of the original text. A surprising exception to this is the King James Version of the Bible which has neither footnote nor italics for these verses.

The Peshitta Syriac manuscript, around 400 A.D., has the long version. It begins to appear regularly in manuscripts around 440 A.D.

The Council of Trent went from 1545 until 1563 in Trento, Italy. The purpose of the Council seems to have been in response to the Protestant Reformation. It was during the fourth session of this Council, in April of 1546, that Mark 16 verses nine through twenty are finally and officially accepted in the Vulgate as the Word of God.

So, what is the answer in this teaching concerning Mark 16:9-20? 
Should it be accepted as God-breathed? 
Should Mark 16:9-20 be ignored?

I do not know if there was a Mark 16:9 and following. The oldest manuscripts available today stop at Mark 16:8.

But, if God inspired Mark to write more after 16:8, we have, for now, not uncovered those manuscripts. Someday in the future someone may come across a manuscript earlier than our current manuscripts. Obviously, the first manuscripts of the New Testament were not written in the fourth century.

For me, I can allow the Gospel of Mark to end at 16:8.


Mark 13:31
Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

If there are any words that Jesus Christ had spoken at the end of the Gospel of Mark, that are not covered in the other gospels, the manuscripts will be found. In the meantime, I have neither the right nor the authority to add to God’s Word nor to subtract from it. 

If the oldest manuscripts end Mark’s Gospel at chapter 16 and verse eight, then so will I. 

Most of verses nine through twenty of chapter 16 are simply statements made in the other three Gospels. However, some statements, specifically in verses 16 through 18, have introduced condemnation, wrong and harmful doctrine, confusion, and still others have elevated mythology to doctrine. 

Mark 16:16
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

This verse must be understood in light of the remoter context which speaks of enduring until the end.

Mark 16:17
And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues.

No record of casting out devils is recorded in the Book of Acts except by the apostles or those to whom the apostles gave authority by the laying on of hands. Specifically, Peter cast out devil spirits in Acts 5:16 and Philip cast out devil spirits in Acts 8:7. To have believed but not cast out devils breeds fear and doubt in the heart and life of one who has believed. This doubt and fear then work against the power spoken of in Joel that a believer should have in manifestation. 

The same is also true concerning speaking in tongues. If you do not speak in tongues, did you really believe? Speaking in tongues is seen at the original outpouring of God’s gift of holy spirit on the day of Pentecost and again at the original outpouring of God’s gift of holy spirit to the Gentiles in Acts 10. There are no other records of speaking in tongues in the Revealing Administration nor exhortation to speak in tongues in the General Epistles, which are addressed to the Revealing Administration. Further, Jesus never stated, during his earthly ministry, that someone who believed in him would, or should, speak in tongues.

Further, this adds confusion in understanding the right dividing of God’s Word pertaining to administrations. Since speaking in tongues is a manifestation of the gift of holy spirit received in the Administration of Grace by all who believe. The tendence then, is to begin to import the Gospels into doctrine for the Administration of Grace.

The Gospels pertain to the Christ Administration and the Revealing Administration. The only relevance to the Administration of Grace is in principle not doctrine.

Mark 16:18
They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

Taking up serpents appears to be in reference to the Apostle Paul and Acts 28. However, Paul did not “take up” a serpent, it took hold of him. Taking up serpents has cost lives. The Gospels were not written to kill you!

Drinking any deadly thing seems to promote the mythology that the Apostle John was poisoned but failed to die. The Church is predominately Gentile, but we do not follow mythology, we follow the Word of God, and these words were added by someone other than Mark.

Concerning healing the sick, go back and read the paragraph on casting out devils. Different verses would be listed but the principle is the same. 

Confusion enters when man has more than one source for Truth. Mixing the thoughts of a forger, no matter what their intent, with the thoughts of God, as though they are one and the same, is devilish and spiritually deadly. 

Verses nine through twenty do not appear in our oldest manuscripts and the imaginations of men are no substitute for the God-breathed Word. 

© Auxano Ministry 2021

A Journey through the Book of Acts