How You Might Teach About Mark’s Unusual Ending

How You Might Teach About Mark’s Unusual Ending

The Bible Lesson for this week ends with Mark 16:8, which ends the Gospel of Mark abruptly. For some reason, Mark may have been interrupted and could not finish writing, or his book may have been damaged and part of the scroll destroyed. The Mark 16:8 ending seems unsatisfactory. Based on the earliest ancient Greek manuscripts that we have found, it seems verses 9-20 were “excerpted and added from another document, dating perhaps from the first half of the second century” (see page 125 of “A Textual Commentary of the Greek New Testament” by Bruce M. Metzger). The King James Version indicates that verses 9-20 are a part of the original text, because the 1611 version is based on later Greek manuscripts; whereas, later translations put verses 9-20 in brackets indicating that they are not found in the earliest Greek manuscripts (that scholars possess).

Three thoughts come to mind.

First, the teachings in verses 9-20 find confirmation in other parts of the Bible.

Second, the Holy Spirit guided the writers and editors of the Bible, so we have the Bible as God wants us to have it.

Third, the Bible is the inerrant word of God in the original manuscripts, and it is important for Bible students to give good reasons for their faith in God and the Bible.

Below are some cross references to Mark 16:9-20 for your study and to show that these verses do not contradict the Bible’s clear teachings elsewhere. Bible students and teachers may want to show that whoever compiled, edited, or wrote verses 9-20, these verses contain teachings that come from other parts of the Bible and were probably added to give a better ending to Mark.

Mark 16:9-14 — John 20:1, 11-18; Luke 8:2; Luke 24:10-11, 36-40

Mark 16:15 — Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 24:47-48

Mark 16:16 — John 3:16-18; Acts 2:36-39

Mark 16:17-18 — The apostles did these things beginning on the Day of Pentecost — Acts 2. A snake bit Paul and he survived — Acts 28:4,5. Tradition, not the Bible, says John was saved from drinking poison.

Mark 16:19 —  Luke 24: 50-51

Mark 16:20 — See the Book of Acts

Your own Bible may have additional cross references that you could add to these.

If you have time, you may want to have members of your class or groups of members in your class discuss these verses and cross references and share their conclusions with your class.

May God bless your Resurrection Sunday celebration and teaching this coming Sunday!

For the Love of God’s Word,
L.G.


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