THE LAST TWELVE VERSES OF MARK'S GOSPEL

By Tim Greenwood

The primary question here is: Do the last twelve verses of Mark - belong in the Bible?
Some say they do and some say they don't. 
I say they DO!

Now I could give you all kinds of experiential reasons why the verses DO belong there.
Especially the fact that I am LIVING the last six verses of Mark on a daily basis! 
I have cast out demons in the name of Jesus, I speak (pray) in tongues, (now I haven't gotten snake-bit or ingested poison that I know of) but I have laid hands on the sick and the sick were made well. 
This has happened over and over and over again. 
YES, IT'S REAL! (Am I bragging? YES! Bragging on Jesus!)

Now most "scholars" and "modern critics" donít care about my experiences or anybody else's and don't consider that to be evidence.

And these "modern critics" believe that the last twelve verses of Mark 16 are "not an integral part of Mark's Gospel." 
And therefor we must believe it too - just because - they say so. NOT!!!


The question really IS entirely one of evidence. So let's look at the evidence.

This evidence comes from three sources: (1) manuscripts, (2) versions, and (3) the early Christian writers, known as "the Fathers."

The late Dean Burgon, whose work is epitomized in Nos. I-III, below, has exhaustively analyzed this evidence. (Emphasis and parenthetical comments are mine.)

I. Manuscripts
There are none older than the fourth century, and the oldest two (2) uncial MSS. are without those twelve verses. All of the others (consisting of some eighteen (18) uncials and some six hundred (600) cursive MSS. (618) which contain the Gospel of Mark) there is not one which leaves out these twelve verses.
(So we have 618 manuscripts that contain the verses, 2 that do not contain the verses. I like to keep things simple. So far the score is 618 "For" and 2 "Against")

II. Versions

1. The SYRIAC. The oldest is the Syriac in its various forms: the " Peshitto " (cent. 2), and the "Curetonian Syriac"(cent. 3). Both are older than any Greek 315. in existence, and both contain these twelve verses. As also does the "Philoxenian"(cent. 5) and the "Jerusalem" (cent. 5) contain these twelve verses.

2. The LATIN Versions: JEROME (A. D. 382), who had access to Greek MSS. older than any now extant, includes these twelve verses; but this Version (known as the Vulgate) was only a revision of the Vetus ITALA, which is believed to belong to cent. 2, and also contains these verses.

3. The GOTHIC Version (A. D. 350) contains them.

4. The EGYPTIAN Versions: the Memphitic (or Lower Egyptian, otherwise known as "COPTIC"), belonging to cent. 4 or 5, contains them; as does the "THE BMC "(Or Upper Egyptian, otherwise known as the "SAHIDIC"), belonging to cent. 3 contains them.

5. The ARMENIAN (cent. 5), the ETHIOPIC (cent. 4-7), and the GEOROIAN (cent. 6) also contains them and bear witness to the genuineness of these verses.

(all of these versions contain the verses. The evidence mounts! And the score is now 623 to 2.)

III. The Fathers

I donít know what their value to doctrine and interpretation may be, but, in determining actual words, or their force, or sequence, their evidence, even by an allusion, as to whether a verse or verses existed or not in their day, is more valuable than even the manuscripts or the Versions.

There are nearly a hundred (100) ecclesiastical writers older than the oldest of our Greek codices; while between A.D. 300 and A.D. 600 there are about two hundred (200) more, and they all refer to these twelve verses. (Here are some examples.)

PAPIAS (about A. D. 100) refers to v.15 (as stated by Eusebius, Hist. Ecc. iii. 39).

JUSTIN MARTYR (A.D. 151) quotes v.20 (Apol. I. c. 45).

IRENAEUS (A. D. 180) quotes and remarks on v.19 (Adv. hoer. lib. iii. c. x.).

HIPPOLYTUS (A.D. 190-227) quotes vv. 17-19 (Lagarde's ed., 1858, p.74).

VINCENTIUS (A. D. 256) quoted two verses at the seventh Council of Carthage, held under CYPRIAN.

The ACTA PILATI (cent. 2) quotes vv. 15, 16, 17, 18 (Tischendorf's ed., 1853, pp.245, 351).

The APOSTOLICAL CONSTITUTIONS (cent. 3 or 4) quotes vv. 16, 17, 18.

Eusrnrus (A. D. 325) discusses these verses, as quoted by MARINUS from a lost part of his History.

APHRAARTES (A. D. 337), a Syrian bishop, quoted vv. 16-18 in his first Homily (Dr. Wright's ed., 1869, i., p.21).

AMBROSE (A. D. 374-97), Archbishop of Milan, freely quotes vv. 15 (four times), 16, 17, 18 (three times), and v.20 (once).

CHRYSOSTOM (A. D. 400) refers to v.9; and states that vv. 19, 20 are ''the end of the Gospel".

JEROME (b. 331, d. 420) includes these twelve verses in his Latin translation, besides quoting vv. 9 and 14 in his other writings.

AUGUSTINE (if. A.D. 395-430) more than quotes them. He discusses them as being the work of the Evangelist MARX, and says that they were publicly read in the churches.

NESTORIUS (cent. 5) quotes v.20, and

CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA (A. D. 450) accepts the quotation.

VICTOR OF ANTIOCH (A. D. 425) confutes the opinion of Ensehius, by referring to very many MSS., which he had seen, and so had satisfied himself that the last twelve verses were recorded in them.

(By my count the final score is: 923 "for" to 2 "against." Now that's evidence!)

But what is the root cause of these doubts, which have gathered round these verses?

For nearly a hundred years after the destruction of Jerusalem there is a complete blank in ecclesiastical history, and a complete silence of Christian speakers and writers. So far from the Churches of the present day being the continuation of apostolic times, "organized religion", as we see it today, was the work of a subsequent and quite an independent generation.

When later transcribers of the Greek manuscripts came to the last twelve verses of Mark but saw no evidence of such spiritual gifts in the church, they concluded that there must be something doubtful about the genuineness of these verses. Hence, some may have marked them as doubtful, some as spurious, while others omitted them altogether.

Since there were recorded fulfillments in Acts 28: 3,5,8,9 and in Heb. 2:4 of Jesus' promise in Mark 16: 17-18 the "critics" decided that once it was fulfilled, that was the end of that dispensation. If that's not presumptuous, I donít know what is! When you boil it all down, they used these two verses as an excuse or an "out" to explain why there were no signs and wonders in their church when the Bible said that there should be. i.e. they "bent" the Bible to fit their doctrines and their comfort zones.

This teaching has been widely propagated and passed down verbally in seminaries and in written form in references -  from generation to generation of seminary students.  The majority of these just accept what they are taught and pass it down as fact. 

Now there may be no "signs and wonders" in your church either. But look around! There are hundreds if not thousands of churches today where signs and wonders ARE manifesting. Jesus said to teach and preach and signs and wonders would follow. It should make sense that if a church does not teach and preach about "signs and wonders" - that "signs and wonders" would not manifest there. The vast majority of these churches that are seeing these "signs and wonders" teach and preach about them.

Does that make my church "BETTER" than you're church?

This is NOT about comparisons, and I donít care about your doctrines or theology. This is about breaking loose from ANYTHING that ties you back from receiving what Jesus said he provided for you - here and now!

Among other things, our ministry is about equipping the believers to do MORE than be spectators! And, to help the church grasp the fact that Jesus provided so much more for us than salvation.

What do you need? If you need powerful, supernatural healing, deliverance, protection, provision and direction i.e. if you need "signs and wonders" - those things that Jesus promised every believer - and they're not available where you are - GO to where they are available!


Below I have expanded and amplified Mark 16: 15-20 from the Greek.

Are you a "believer?" 
Notice what Jesus says that the BELIEVER has the commission, right and authority to doÖ

This is Jesus talking!!

"[YOU] Go into absolutely all of the world [my personal project] and get the Word out - the Good News - [that I have come to redeem YOU and the whole project out of the hands of the devil!

He that has faith [believes and acts upon what God's Word says] and is baptized [is made fully wet, from being covered wholly with a fluid or dipped], will be saved, [delivered, protected, healed, preserved, made whole]. But he that is unbelieving, [disbelieves, disobeys, believes not], will be judicially judged, [tried, called into question, and sentenced as guilty].

And these [specific supernatural miracles], signs and wonders will [closely accompany or] follow those that believe [have that kind of faith]. In my name - knowing, acting and speaking with my authority, will they [eject,] cast out, [drive out, expel, thrust out, put out, and send away (supernatural)] demonic spirit beings. (In my name,) they will [preach], speak, [pray, talk, or utter] with a new language [supernaturally acquired].

(In my name,) they will take up,[ take or put away; to keep in suspense, make to doubt or remove] snakes, [malicious persons, devils or Satan: - serpents.(anything that stares or glares at you.)] and even if they imbibe,[ take in, absorb and retain into the body or the mind] any kind of [fatal, poisonous], deadly thing, it will not [hinder, injure or] hurt them. (In my name,) they will lay hands (as instruments) on those lacking health, [strength and wholeness], and they will [begin to amend], recover [(directly or indirectly-  and regain possessions, abilities, relationships or conditions) including health, strength and wholeness].

Jesus says here that (in his name) you "get to" (you donít "have to") but you "get to" cast out [and exercise authority over] demons or any evil thing that should cross your path.

Jesus says here that (in his name) you "get to" (you donít "have to") but you "get to" speak in new tongues [that is, to pray to him in your very own prayer language that the devil can't understand nor hinder.]

Jesus says here that (in his name) you "get to" (you donít "have to") but you "get to" be supernaturally protected from natural things that would otherwise kill you.

Jesus says here that (in his name) you "get to" (you donít "have to") but you "get to" lay YOUR hands on the sick and that [through the power of the Holy Spirit flowing through YOU], the sick will be healed and returned to wholeness.


So then based on the evidence I ask you this question:

Who are you going to believe? 
Jesus - or the critics?