The Long Ending of Mark 16

Those Opposed to Healings, Miracles, and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit Do Not Support This Longer Ending

Chapter 16 of the Gospel of Mark, in the New Testament, has a controversy surrounding it. It has to do with the last 12 verses in the chapter. These last 12 verses, in large part, lend support to concepts in Charismatic Christianity supporting the supernatural manifestation of the Holy Spirit (see What is a Charismatic Christian). While some, not all, of the original Greek manuscripts do not contain the last 12 verses, some do. And a substantially larger number of other Greek manuscripts also include the longer version of Mark 16—over 90%.

The basis for disagreement on the ending of Mark 16, by todays critics, is to subtly attack the accuracy and authenticity of Charismatic Christianity. The longer ending of Mark has Jesus commenting on supernatural signs following His believers.

And these signs shall follow those that believe: In My name they shall cast out devils; they will 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.” —Mark 16:17-18

Those opposed to the supernatural manifestation of gifts of the Holy Spirit, and by extension the baptism of the Holy Spirit, are typically of the Evangelical persuasion; more specifically, they are usually Cessationists (see What is a Cessationist).

Some of the Early Church (late 1st century to early 5th century) fathers believed that the longer version of Mark 16 was accurate. There was no controversy then. It wasn’t until the discovery of Codex (an ancient manuscript in book form) Sinaiticus, in 1844 at St. Catherine’s Monastery, at the base of Mt. Sinai in Egypt, that scholars recognized, in this particular text, the shorter ending of Mark 16.

Codex Sinaiticus was written around 350 A.D. Codex Vaticanus was written around 325 A.D. These are two of the more important ancient Greek manuscripts that do not include the longer version of Mark 16. However there are two other ancient Greek manuscripts from the fifth century which support the longer ending of Mark 16: Codex Alexandrinus; and, Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus; as well as many other Greek manuscripts.

 

For more information on this subject I highly recommend watching the linked video below found on the YouTube channel, Jew and Greek. In this video you will find information about the subject and a counter to Charismatic Christianity’s greatest critic/enemy—John MacArthur. This video is worth watching and simply counters some of the comments made by Mr. MacArthur, an Evangelical Cessationist, who believes that all Charismatic Christians are worshipping a different God; a “Strange Fire,” as he calls it, or in other words—they are heretics!

Watch HERE Mark 16:9-20 (My Response to John MacArthur’s Verdict)

 

Gregg F. Swift, J.D.