September 6, 2015
“Devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture.”
1 TIMOTHY 4:13
This Sunday is the final Mark reading service, as we consider the dramatic passion events of Jesus’ life, followed by the empty tomb and His victory over death. Our reading will end at the angel’s resurrection announcement to the three women:
“Trembling and bewildered,
the women went out and fled from the tomb.
They said nothing to anyone,
because they were afraid.”
Verses 9-20 help to flesh out the story and end the Gospel in a more satisfying way, but scholarship has given reason to not include these verses as authentic to Mark. Consider the following words from Michael Marlowe:
“Mark 16:9-20 has been called a later addition to the Gospel of Mark by most New Testament scholars in the past century. The main reason for doubting the authenticity of the ending is that it does not appear in some of the oldest existing witnesses, and it is reported to be absent from many others in ancient times by early writers of the Church.
“Moreover, the ending has some stylistic features which also suggest that it came from another hand. The Gospel is obviously incomplete without these verses, and so most scholars believe that the final leaf of the original manuscript was lost, and that the ending which appears in English versions today (verses 9-20) was supplied during the second century.”
In A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Bruce Metzger adds:
“Clement of Alexandria and Origen [early third century] show no knowledge of the existence of these verses; furthermore, Eusebius and Jerome attest that the passage was absent from almost all Greek copies of Mark known to them.
“The language and style of the Greek is clearly not Markan, and it is pretty evident that what the forger did was take sections of the endings of Matthew and Luke and simply create a ‘proper’ ending.”
Confused? No worries. Moyer Hubbard (our New Testament scholar who teaches at Biola) will start the service by explaining to us why Mark 16:9-20 will not be included in the reading, again highlighting the value of listening to God’s Word. Pray that the Gospel of Mark will be powerful among us this Sunday and beyond, as we finish this story of redemption.
“The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from His sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
“Since then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”