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Is Mark 16:9-20 Inspired Scripture?

One of the most controversial points in religious circles is whether Mark 16:9-20 is actually part of Scripture. Although it appears in the King James and New King James versions, many other translations either label this section as an appendix or leave it in the footnotes, as in the Revised Standard Version of the Bible. The Moffatt Translation, together with the Goodspeed and others, not only has the long ending found in the King James Version, but it also has another shorter ending.

The longer ending to Mark's gospel is quoted extremely early in church history. Mark 16:19 is quoted as a part of Mark's account by Irenaeus in Against Heresies ( iii.10.6) between AD 182 and 188. There are allusions to these disputed verses in even earlier writings, although not as true quotations. Not only did Irenaeus accept it as a part of Mark's gospel when arguing with "heretics," but, says Hastings: "No writer before Eusebius is known to have rejected them, and their presence in all later MSS [manuscripts] shows that the successors of Eusebius, in spite of his great authority, did not follow his judgment in the matter." [Eusebius (c. AD 260-340) was court favorite and church historian in the days of the Roman emperor Constantine.] These facts point plainly to the great antiquity of the longer ending as preserved in the common English versions.

If these last verses of Mark's gospel are left out, the book does not come to an orderly conclusion, as does every other book of the Bible. In fact, it would end on the notes of fear and failure—hardly fitting for an account of hope and salvation. Human writings are filled with error, but the Bible is complete, inspired, and wholly preserved through the power of God. These verses are an inspired part of the Word of God.


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