Resources on the Ending of Mark's Gospel

If you pay attention to the end of Mark's Gospel, you'll notice that above verses 9-20, there is this message - [Some of the earliest manuscripts do not include 16:9-20]. This has led most biblical scholars to conclude that Mark did not write verses 9-20, and that Mark's writing ends with verse 8. Why this conclusion? Because the earliest copies of Mark that we possess do not include verses 9-20.

Here's the reality - We do not have the original manuscripts of the New Testament. Over time, they were lost to history. This has led some so-called experts to say that the NT is therefore not reliable. If we don't have the original manuscripts, then we cannot know what was actually written.

This conclusion is simply incorrect. We may not have the originals, but we do have over 5500 manuscripts of the New Testament. And by comparing those manuscripts together, we have virtual certainty regarding the original text of the New Testament.

It may seem counterintuitive, but here's how it works. The fact that we have thousands of manuscripts doesn't decrease our confidence in the Bible. It actually increases our confidence! With so many copies available, we are able to compare manuscripts together in order to determine what was originally written. The sheer number of manuscripts leads to increased reliability.

This process of comparing manuscripts is known as textual criticism. It is a somewhat complicated field, but if you want to know more, I've included some trust-worthy, helpful resources below.

For what it is worth, I think Mark's Gospel ends with verse 8. Maybe Mark intended to write more and never had the chance? Or maybe verse 8 is precisely how he intended to leave it? Whatever the case, God through the Holy Spirit has delivered to us Mark's Gospel in this form. Regardless of what we decide regarding verses 9-20, I think we can all agree that our year-long study of Mark's Gospel has been extremely fruitful and encouraging.

Are the New Testament Documents Reliable?

A very helpful article on why the Christian can have confidence that what is recorded in our Enligh Bibles is what was written by the original authors.

Is the New Testament Text Reliable?

Another informative article on the reliability of the New Testament, especially in comparison to other ancient documents

Interview with NT Scholar Dan Wallace on Textual Criticism

Dr. Wallace talks about the large number of NT manuscripts we have discovered, and how that large number serves to confirm the accuracy of Scripture.


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