Should Mark 16:9-20 Be In The Bible?

(This article and the linked paper are from an old Freed-Hardeman friend, David Hester. This is an important scholarly work which should be considered by mature Christians. I think David has reached some very valid conclusions here and I commend his article to your reading. As always, please post your comments below and we will ask David to address them here -jbe)

We live in a world that is more hostile towards the Bible than ever before. No longer can one assume that all people are familiar with Scripture. As a result, infidelity is gaining ground. The Jesus Seminar—a group of theological liberals who deny the deity of Jesus and His miracles—dominates mass media. TV shows such as “Frontline” and cable channels such as the Discovery Channel frequently showcase such liberals as the “experts” in religion. One such liberal had the audacity to write a chapter for a book entitled, “The Irrelevancy of the Empty Tomb.”

In such a climate, the Lord’s church needs reasoned, informed individuals responding to such attacks. It does not necessarily take advanced degrees to be able to be effective. We must get back to what we are best at—familiarity with the Word of God. And, we must hold up the hands of those who are on the front lines of the battle for the minds of men.

Mark 16:9-20 is a passage that has been rejected by many. In the first edition of the New International version (NIV),  the passage was nowhere to be found (though in subsequent editions, it was included).Denominational preachers argued in debate that Mark 16:16 is irrelevant, because it “doesn’t belong in the Bible.” The scholarly world, for many years, agreed with this view.

However, that view is changing. In recent years, there has been a reevaluation of the evidence. And, it is about time. Gus Nichols, Guy N. Woods, and B. C. Goodpasture were right. May their tribe increase.

Please read the article on Mark 16 here.

4 comments On Should Mark 16:9-20 Be In The Bible?

  • Not a bad essay at all — a few minor inaccuracies, but all in all, a nice appraisal of the evidence. I welcome you to consider my thoughts on the same subject, expressed in a 160-page research paper that you can download as “Origin of Mark 16:9-20, Email Edition” at
    and in a multi-part online summary beginning at

    I also have a chapter-by-chapter review of the “Perspectives” book about the end of Mark, which I would be glad to send via e-mail.

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.
    Minister, Curtisville Christian Church

  • Colin Lambert

    Personally, I’d rather write 160 pages about fulfilling the great commission. What a waste of time discussing if Mark 16:9-20 should be there. Look at the contents of what it is saying. Do people want to exclude it on the basis that there is something offensive in it? Perhaps it’s the bit about these signs shall follow that offends them. Casting out demons, speaking in tongues healing the sick getting people saved and that kind of stuff? This offended people in Jesus’ day I suppose there isn’t anything new under the sun.
    Looks Marcun to me when you read the concise nature of it. The fact is that it is there. If people try to exclude it on the basis of evidence that exists in the present to make assumptions about the past they might as well believe in evolution because they might not have all the facts. The observation of what actually took place in the past can’t be repeated. I am pretty sure if God didn’t want it there now, He would have had it removed. He is the one who inspired it. I suppose they might 200 pages on that one.
    Colin Lambert

    • As you know, skeptics and unbelievers routinely attack scripture. It would be nice if we could accept the text and move on but I don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon. The sad part is that those who reject the text voice a commitment to the Lord. I will let the Lord judge their motives but it is a bit odd.

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