Question: Hey Pastor, I have a question!? I just finished the 16th chapter of Mark.? In both of my Bibles, there is a little message that states that verses 9-20 of chapter 16 are not in the original manuscripts.? Does this mean that the verses may or may not have occurred?? Could you explain this to me?
Answer: Thanks for your question.? From one of my commentaries regarding this very issue, I quote:? ?there can be no reasonable doubt as to
the authenticity of the last passage in Mark, vv. 9-20.? The Gospel surely did not end with v. 8.? Being at the end of the parchment roll, this passage may have been mutilated in many manuscripts.? But though it is missing in many of the ancient manuscripts, it IS found in the Freer Manuscript (located in Washington, DC), with an addition to v. 14.? The style shows the concise, vivid narrative of St. Mark.? Many terms, to the careful reader at least, show the influence of Peter.?? [From: Popular Commentary of the Bible, New Testament, Vol. I, p.256.? Paul E. Kretzmann, CPH Publishing, St. Louis]
The following is from another commentary:? ?It is at this point that the reader of Mark?s Gospel, who was brought up on the King James? Version, is forced to wrestle with a problem.? The problem is whether these words (vv 9-20) actually were written by Mark, or not.? We do not have the original manuscripts of the Evangelists.? At best we have copies of copies.? Those copies were written by hand, either copied directly or written from dictation.? The latter is also true of Paul?s original epistles.? When manuscripts are copied by hand or even by typewriter or word processor, mistakes can creep in.? Whole verses can be accidentally omitted.
?It is such an omission that has raised a question regarding the closing words of Mark?s Gospel.? A few manuscripts do not have verses 9 to 20.? Most of today?s translations call attention to this fact.? The New International Version (NIV) however, overstates the case when it says, ?The most reliable early manuscripts and other ancient witnesses do not have Mark 16:9-20.?? Actually only two early Greek manuscripts and a few manuscripts of translations into other ancient languages omit these verses.
?While the two Greek manuscripts in question, Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus, (names for specific manuscripts) are genuinely ancient, dating from the fourth century; they do not stand in a class by themselves as ?the most reliable manuscripts.?? They are part of the manuscript evidence, and in this case the vast majority of manuscripts disagree with these two manuscripts and favor inclusion of verses 9 to 20.?? [From: Mark, People?s Bible Commentary Series, p. 235.? Harold E. Wicke, CPH Publishing, St. Louis]
So there you have it…? These two, and all the other conservative commentators that I consulted, agreed that these verses in question SHOULD be included in our Bible!? The NIV translation seems to go a little overboard in making it appear that those verses ought not be included in our Bibles!
Thanks for your question and may God continue to bless your encounter with Him in His Word, the Holy Bible!