[The earliest manuscripts and some other ancient witnesses do not have verses 9–20.]
9 When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. 11 When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it.
12 Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. 13 These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either.
14 Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.
15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.
The other long passage still included in most Bibles today is the longer ending of Mark 16:9–20. In the NIV it too is set off with a dividing line, smaller italicized font, and this disclaimer: “The earliest manuscripts and some other ancient witnesses do not have verses 9–20.” The ending was probably added because it felt inappropriate to some of the ancient scribes to end the gospel on a note of fear. “Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid” (16:8).
- Mark 16:9–20 is not found in the two most important manuscripts, Sinaiticus and Vaticanus (fourth century).
- It’s omitted in some manuscripts of the ancient translations (Old Latin, Syriac, Old Armenian, Old Georgian, Ethiopic).
- Some Church Fathers knew of manuscripts that did not include them, and many early Church Fathers don’t comment on them (e.g., Clement of Alexandria, Origen).
- It’s not accounted for in Eusebius’ numbering system (fourth century).
- Eusebius said that the accurate copies of Mark ended at 16:8 and the remaining verses were absent from almost all manuscripts.
- Many manuscripts that include the passage indicate that the older manuscripts lack these verses. Other manuscripts include asterisks or obeli, which mark additions to the text.
- Jerome included them in the Latin Vulgate but said, “Almost all the Greek copies do not have this concluding portion.”
- Erasmus’ number 1 manuscript said that the ending of Mark was uncertain.
- There are other alternate endings. If this ending were authentic, there would have been no reason to create alternatives.
- The transition from v 8 to v 9 is awkward. The subject of v 8 is the women, and the implied subject of v 9 is Jesus but without clarification.
- The style, grammar, and lexical choices are clearly non-Markan.
- The story is included in Alexandrinus and most of the Old Latin manuscripts. Irenaeus and possibly Justin Martyr (mid-second century) knew of it, and his disciple Tatian included the ending in his second century Diatessaron.