Bible - Mark 16:9-20 Longer Ending  

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The oldest Bible manuscripts end Mark's Gospel at 16:8. Who wrote 12 extra verses, the 'Longer Ending' and why?

Two of the oldest, most respected Bible manuscripts, Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus end the Gospel of Mark at 16:8. Yet, the Bible you have ends Mark's Gospel at 16:20. Bible scholars would claim the 12 verses were added by a later scribe.

The table below lists the 12 verses from Mark 16:9 to Mark 16:20, with possible reasons for their inclusion into the Christian Bible.
W Mark_16
W Gospel_of_Mark

The 'longer ending' of Mark
Because of patristic evidence from the late 100s for the existence of copies of Mark with 16:9-20, it is contended by a majority of scholars that this passage must have been written and attached no later than the early 2nd century. May, Herbert G. and Bruce M. Metzger. The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha. 1977
Kelhoffer argues the Christian text [longer ending of Mark 16:9-20] originated in the 2nd century, particularly sometime between 120-150 AD
  Long Ending of Mark
Early Church Father testimony indicates Mark was heavily edited by various Christian factions between 150-200 AD. Mark 16:9-20 ('the Long Ending') was written into the Bible - approximately 80 to 130 years later.
W Talk%3AMark_16

He [Jesus] Is Risen
Mark 16:1-8
16:1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. 16:2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. 16:3 And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? 16:4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. 16:5 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. 16:6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. 16:7 But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you. 16:8 And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.

Major Theme

Amazement & Astonishment
MARK 1:1-16:8
666 verses written 70 AD

In the first 666 verses of Mark's Gospel, the most occuring theme is that of "Amazement" and "Astonishment" as can be read in the following verse.
Mark 1:22, Mark 1:27, Mark 2:12, Mark 4:41, Mark 5:15, Mark 5:33, Mark 5:42, Mark 6:51, Mark 9:6, Mark 9:15, Mark 9:32, Mark 10:24, Mark 10:32, Mark 11:18, Mark 12:17 and Mark 16:5

Minor Theme

Jesus' Resurrection, Salvation & Divinity
MARK 16:9-20
12 verses written 150-200 AD

In the last 12 verses (Mark 16:9-20), Mark's theme abruptly changes to "Jesus' Resurrection" and "Jesus' Divinity".

It appears the new scribe of Mark's Gospel decided to introduce new concepts and ideas into the last 12 verses. What was his or her agenda? The Bible reader was now focused on the glorification of Jesus, salvation through Jesus, and Jesus' Resurrection.
Mary Magdalene Sees the Risen Lord
Mark 16:9-11
16:9 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. 16:10 And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. 16:11 And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.
  • The transition between verse 8 and 9 appears abrupt and awkward, lacking the continuity typical of Mark's narrative
  • Verse 9 starts with the word "Now". In the Greek language, this would normally show a connection with the preceeding verse. However, verse 9 is not connected to verse 8. The story jumps from women 'amazed' at Jesus' resurrection, to the doctrine of 'belief' in Jesus for salvation
  • Were Mark to end at verse 8, the narrative would have a natural, logical ending
  • To complicate matters further, Bible scholars point to a new verse between verse 8 and 9:
    But they reported briefly to Peter and those with him all that they had been told. And after this Jesus himself sent out by means of them, from east to west, the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation Metzger (1994, pp. 102ff.)
  • Jesus Appears to Two Disciples
    Mark 16:12-13
    16:12 After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. 16:13 And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them.
    The Great Commission
    Mark 16:14-18
    16:14 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. 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 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.
  • Verse 16 reads believers who are baptized will be saved, and non-believers will be condemned using aggressive and absolute language
  • In verse 17 and 18 reference to 'magical signs' is made. Signs which appear almost like fantasy, and as if reserved for the religious elite
  • The 'magical signs' reference is not made in any of the four Gospels. It is unique to these verses in Mark
  • No post-resurrection account of Jesus speaks of talking serpents, speaking with tongues, casting out demons, drinking poison or laying hands on the sick
  • To complicate matters further, Bible scholars have identified an additional verse between verse 14 and 15:
    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 [or, does not allow what lies under the unclean spirits to understand the truth and power of God]. Therefore reveal thy 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 delivered over to death, that they may return to the truth and sin no more, in order that they may inherit the spiritual and incorruptible glory of righteousness which is in heaven. Metzger (1994, pp. 102ff.)
  • Christ Ascends to God's Right Hand
    Mark 16:19-20
    16:19 So then after the Lord [Lord Jesus] had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. 16:20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
  • In verse 19, the title "Lord Jesus" is used for the first time by Mark
  • Verse 19 and 20 do not read like the rest of Mark. The verse structure is different from the familiar structure in Mark's gospel. Also, the vocabulary used is not consistent with Mark
  • In these last 12 verses, 18 words appear for the very first time whch do not appear anywhere else in Mark
  • In verse 19, the status of Jesus is elevated. He is pictured in Heaven sitting at the Right-Hand of God, as equal to God

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