You’re probably familiar with the words found in Mark chapter 16 where Jesus says this:
17 “These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues;
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.” (Mark 16:17-18 NASB)
Countless sermons and entire books have been written upon these words, claiming that since Jesus spoke them, they are settled and sure.
But what if I told you these words were added hundreds of years after the book of Mark had been written? And what if I told you that verses 9 through 20, including the Great Commission, were added more than 400 years later?
Well, this is exactly what the evidence reveals. The oldest copies of the earliest Gospel, the Book of Mark, ends with these words:
8 They went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had gripped them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. (Mark 16:8 NASB)
And all the rest was inserted centuries later. Here is the entire false ending of the Book of Mark.
THE FALSE ENDING OF MARK
9 Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of w12 After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country.
13 And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them.
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.
15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall 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.
19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
(Mark 16:9-20 KJV)
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Brown, Raymond E. et al. The New Jerome Biblical Commentary. Prentice Hall, 1990 ISBN 0-13-614934-0
Elliott, J. K., The Language and Style of the Gospel of Mark. An Edition of C. H. Turner’s “Notes on Markan Usage” together with Other Comparable Studies, Leiden, Brill, 1993. ISBN 90-04-09767-8.
Epp, Eldon Jay. “The Significance of the Papyri for Determining the Nature of the New Testament Text in the Second Century: A Dynamic View of Textual Transmission”. In Epp, Eldon Jay; Fee, Gordon D. Studies in the Theory and Method of New Testament Textual Criticism. Eerdmans, 1993. ISBN 0-8028-2773-X.
Gundry, R. H., Mark: A Commentary on His Apology for the Cross, Chapters 9–16, Grand Rapids, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1992. ISBN 0-8028-2911-2.
Kilgallen, John J. A Brief Commentary on the Gospel of Mark. Paulist Press, 1989. ISBN 0-8091-3059-9
MacDonald, Dennis R. “The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark” Yale University Press, 2000 ISBN 0-300-08012-3
Mark 16 NIV
Miller, Robert J. (ed.), The Complete Gospels. Polebridge Press, 1994. ISBN 0-06-065587-9