The Authenticity of Mark 16:9-20

(Matthew 4:4) “It is written: man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God”

When it comes to Biblical scholarship we can learn much about God’s Word especially when it comes to understanding the context and the original languages. Also knowing about the manuscripts themselves and their source is also an advantage in giving us an appreciation of the fact that those Godly men who carefully and meticulously copied from the original texts, which we do not have, that down through history God has always supervised and preserved His Word and that these manuscripts recognised and affirmed by Biblical scholars down through the ages all agree and attest to the authenticity of the Bible and all it contains. As the Psalmist wrote; “The sum (the whole) of Your word is truth; And every one of Your righteous ordinances endures for ever” (Psalm 119:160). God never gave men or ministers of the gospel permission to change, to add to, or to take away from His revealed Word! Let’s now look at Mark Chapter 16:9-20…

Why is this passage of Scripture omitted in some Bibles?

Most modern Bibles contain this ending of the Gospel of Mark, including the KJV, ASV, NASB, and the NKJV. However, both the RSV and the NIV set it off from the rest of the text. A note in the NIV says, “Most reliable early manuscripts and other ancient witnesses do not have Mark 16:9–20.” Were these verses in the original Gospel of Mark?

Scholars are divided over the authenticity of these verses. Those who follow the received text tradition point to the fact that this text is found in the majority of biblical manuscripts down through the centuries. Thus, they believe it was in the original manuscript of Mark. On the other hand, those who follow the critical text tradition insist that we should not add evidence, but weigh it. Truth is not determined, they say, by majority vote, but by the most qualified witnesses.

They point to the following arguments for rejecting these verses:

(1) These verses are lacking in many of the oldest and most reliable Greek manuscripts, as well as in important Old Latin, Syriac, Armenian, and Ethiopic manuscripts. (2) Many of the ancient church fathers reveal no knowledge of these verses, including Clement, Origen, and Eusebius. Jerome admitted that almost all Greek copies do not have it. (3) Many manuscripts that do have this section place a mark by it indicating it is a spurious addition to the text. (4) There is another (shorter) ending to Mark that is found in some manuscripts. (5) Others point to the fact that the style and vocabulary are not the same as the rest of the Gospel of Mark.

The Mark 16:9-20:  Debated:

So then, some Bible scholars believe that Mark 16:9-20 is not supposed to be a part of our Bibles! They say it was added but God wanted it there… and it can be easily proven. This is a work of Satan to take apart God’s Word, and cause doubt and confusion. Let’s leave behind the confusion and doubt and realize how weak these arguments really are!

How did they come up with this?

Their big argument is based upon the fact that there are three really old Greek manuscripts (Sinaiticus, Vaticanus & Alexandrian) that are highly respected in the eyes of many merely for their age and two of them (Sinaiticus & Vaticanus) don’t include verses 9 through 20 in Mark Chapter 16.

Sinaiticus doesn’t include verses 9 through 20 at all, while Vaticanus doesn’t include them either, but Vaticanus leaves space for them at the end of Mark for it (where it was omitted!). The Alexandrian on the other hand, does include all these verses. Some people assume that since two of these respected manuscripts omit verses 9 through 20, that it must have been lost and somebody made up these verses. A very weak argument to say the least!

Satan has tried to question and cast doubt upon the validation of God’s Word from the very beginning (Genesis 3:1), and this is just another prime example of the enemy’s tactics at work today.

What they don’t want you to know

While there are a small handful of Greek manuscripts that omit these verses, there are thousands of other Greek manuscripts that include them! Furthermore, both of these primary Greek manuscripts used in their argument have been through heavy modification by Gnostics (cult members) to tamper with scripture to make it support their teaching. These manuscripts have left out massive amounts of scripture! Each of these two corrupt manuscripts has thousands of omissions in the 4 gospels alone! Not to mention, the Vaticanus has left out dozens of entire chapters in the Bible!

Basing any kind of argument on such corrupt manuscripts makes a very weak argument indeed! It makes it easy to believe that they were removed from those manuscripts, when there were so many other omissions as well. It also makes it hard to argue that they were added to other manuscripts, when that argument is based upon such corrupt texts that are known for its omissions. Satan has been trying to challenge God’s word from day one! What makes us think he’s not trying to do the same thing today?

Proof you can’t ignore

Here’s the straw that broke the camel’s back. Before 200AD, none of our three oldest manuscripts existed. Before any of these manuscripts were written, there were several very well-known individuals in the early church, who have quoted many Bible verses that were cut out of the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus in their writings. There’s ample proof alone from these writings that the ending of Mark was indeed in place in the original manuscripts.

One good example is where Irenaeus of Lyons, who knew the apostle John personally, around 100AD wrote, “But Mark in the end of his gospel says, “And the Lord Jesus, after that He had spoken to them, was received up into heaven, and sat at the right hand of God.’” Without further to say, I believe this is hard proof that the ending verses of Mark were indeed a part of the Bible long before those 2 ancient manuscripts were even written!

Backing found elsewhere in scripture

For readability sake, the Mark verses are in Italics, and below the explanation of those statements are backed up elsewhere in the Word of God, the Bible.

(Verse 9) “Now after He had risen early on the first day of the week, He first appeared to Mary Magdalene, from whom He had cast out seven demons.” John 20:1-13 tells us that Mary Magdalene was the first one that Jesus appeared to after rising from the dead.

(Verse 10) “She went and reported to those who had been with Him, while they were mourning and weeping.” John 20:18 tells us that she went and told the rest of the disciples.

(Verse 11) “When they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they refused to believe it.” Luke 24:11 tells us that the rest of disciples didn’t believe her when she told them that the Lord has risen.

(Verse 12) “After that, He appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking along on their way to the country.” Luke 24:13-15 tells us that two of them were walking along talking, when suddenly Jesus appeared to them.

(Verse 13) “They went away and reported it to the others, but they did not believe them either.” Luke 24:35-38 tells us how the rest of them didn’t really believe that Jesus appeared to the two.

(Verse 14) “Afterward He appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table; and He reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who had seen Him after He had risen.” Luke 24:35-41 tells us how He appeared to the 11 of them, and got onto them for their unbelief.

(Verse 15) “And He said to them, “Go into the whole world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Matthew 28:19 affirms this; “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

(Verse 16) “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.” John 3:18 tells us that he who believes will not be condemned, but he who doesn’t believe will be condemned. Acts 2:38 tells us to repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of our sins.

Notice also that this verse in Mark doesn’t say that if you aren’t baptized, you won’t be saved. It simply puts baptism alongside believing, both of which are preached elsewhere in scripture. The repentance and believing part is what makes a person saved, and the baptism part is preached elsewhere in scripture as the public affirmation of that faith for new converts.

Romans 10:9-10 also teaches something further that accompanies genuine saving faith for salvation: “But what does it (the Word) say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” This is where the sinner’s prayer comes in, because it gives the person that opportunity to confess with their mouth the Lord Jesus.

Many other verses in the early church preach and practice water baptism. Water baptism (baptism after repentance and faith repentance) is preached in Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16 and Acts 10:48, and it was practiced in the early church in Acts 19:5, Acts 18:8, Acts 16:15, Acts 16:33, Acts 9:18, Acts 8:38, Acts 8:12-13 and Acts 2:41.

(Verse 17) “These attesting signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues;” Believers casting out demons is backed up by John 14:12, when Jesus said that those who believe will do the works He did and casting out demons was a big part of what He did. Jude 1:20 helps back up the part on tongues when it tells believers to be building themselves up by praying in the Holy Ghost. Praying in the Spirit and tongues is clearly linked in 1 Corinthians 14:14-15. This is a subject in itself dealt with in 1 Corinthians Chapter 14.

(Verse 18) “…they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” The first part, about taking up serpents, etc. is either referring to spiritual protection, or physical protection… or maybe both!

Physical protection can be backed up with Acts 28:3-6, when Paul got bitten by a deadly viper, and it did not harm him at all. Spiritual protection could be backed up with Luke 10:19, where Jesus told His disciples that they will tread on serpents and scorpions and nothing by any means will harm them. Healing the sick is one of the works that Jesus did, and said that we would do the works He did and greater in John 14:12.

It’s interesting to note that often in the gospels we see healing and casting out of demons somehow connected. Not all sickness is demonic as we are fallen human beings and live in a fallen world. However, some sicknesses are caused by demons and possibly in certain cases because there is unconfessed and un-renounced sin in the life of the person needing healing. Of course this is not in every case of physical sickness. This is another subject in itself.

(Verse 19) “So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.” His ascension into heaven after speaking to them also took place in Luke 24:51. Acts 2:33 tells us that Jesus went and sat at the right hand of God.

(Verse 20) “And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed.” Hebrews 2:4 speaks of God confirming the Word with signs and wonders following. The New Testament shows this to be the norm for ministry both within and without the wider Body of the Messiah. There are numerous texts in the New Testament that attest to this.


Down through history from the time Moses penned the Torah until the present day God has had His hands on the Bible, and has provided us with the bible that we have today! Despite what Satan has tried to do to discredit the inerrancy of the Word of God, God had plenty of other manuscripts that didn’t come off of the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus available, so that the Word of God would be preserved and bypass the tampering that was done to some of our oldest manuscripts!

When you look at the ministry of the prophets and the apostles and of the Messiah our Lord Jesus they never sought to prove that the Bible was the Word of God but preached it as the Word of God and trusting in God to supernaturally reveal it to His people through the Holy Spirit.

As we read; “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture comes from one’s own interpretation. For no such prophecy was ever brought forth by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21).

And again we read; “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, fully equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

If you are born again and believe that every word in the Bible is the Spirit-breathed Word of God from Genesis to Revelation you did not wake up one morning and decide to believe this great spiritual truth. It was the blessed Holy Spirit who gave you the capacity to believe that the whole of the Bible is the Word of God. All matters and experiences related to our salvation and understanding of God’s Word is due to the revelation of the Spirit of God to our inner human spirit man. It is a spiritual work that God does in us resulting in spiritual revelation

As we also read; “What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments” (1 Corinthians 2:12-15).

God warns us about adding to or taking away from His Word and that there will be consequences for those who do (Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32) (Proverbs 30:6) (1 Corinthians 4:6) (Revelation 22:18-19). In light of these Biblical facts we can confidently attest to the unchanging irrefutable authenticity of Mark 16:9-20 being Canonical and included in the Spirit-breathed Word of God!