I was talking with my Muslim friends again and he said that Mark 16: 9-20. It seems that it was written by someone other than Mark but I am not sure about this. It is quoted by Justin the Martyr so I think that gives it validity but I was wondering what you guys thought. What has the Church used this verse if it was written by someone other than Mark.
Just because it may or may not be written by mark doesn’t mean it isn’t the inspired word of God . The church under the influence of the Holy Spirit holds that there is a “long mark” gospel instead of a “short mark”
They could have been written. They could have been dictated. Either way we don’t have the originals to verify.
The point in your Muslim friends’ objections is that someone other than primary witness wrote the account of Jesus’ Resurrection, which fits neatly into Muhammed’s (m.s.a.c.) allegation that Christians made it up (Muslims believe that He was bodily assumed into Heaven, right off the Cross).
The Resurrection is attested in Jn 20: 16-30, Mt 28:8-10, and Lk 24. This tells me that the issue of the Gospel of Mark ending in some manuscripts at verse 8 is not due to the events not occurring but rather to an incompleteness in the book itself. The omission doesn’t make it untrue - any more than the omission of the wedding at Cana in all Gospels but John’s means that it didn’t happen.
As for the text having authority despite the inconsistency in its inclusion, it has been deeply studied for millenia and remains in nearly every Bible accepted by modern Christians as authoritative. I find no grounds to challenge it, nor to think that my own human limitation (why wasn’t it always present?) sufficient to challenge the Lord’s ability to breathe the Word through whomever He sees fit.
Irenaeus quotes it in the year 177. He was a second century Theologian and would have known if it belongs or not. Since he says it does, I take his word for it.
Chapter 10 of against heresies (book 3) "Also, towards the conclusion of his Gospel, Mark says: So then, after the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sits on the right hand of God; Mark16:19 confirming what had been spoken by the prophet: The Lord said to my Lord, Sit on My right hand, until I make Your foes Your footstool. "
Here are the notes on that section from the JB, NJB, [NAB, and NABRE]. Seems that older is better. [tried to include NAB vs. NABRE but length precluded]
16c. the ‘long ending’ of Mark. vv. 9-20, is included in the canonically accepted body of inspired scripture. This does not necessarily imply Marcan authorship which, indeed, is open to question. The manuscript tradition is the main objection. Many MSS (including Vat. and Sin.) omit the present ending. One MS gives, instead, a shorter ending which, proceeding from v. 8, runs ‘They reported briefly to Peter’s companions what they had been told. Then Jesus himself through their agency broadcast from east to west the sacred and incorruptible message of eternal salvation.’ Four MSS give the shorter ending and add the longer. One MS has the longer ending with the following insertion between vv. 14 and 15: ‘And they defended themselves thus, “This age of lawlessness and unbelief is under the sway of Satan, who does not allow those under the yoke or unclean spirits to understand God’s truth and power. Now, therefore, reveal your righteousness.” This is what they said to Christ, and Christ answered, “The number of years allowed for Satan’s authority has been reached, but other terrible things draw near. I was handed over to be killed for those who have sinned, so that they might turn to the truth and sin no more, and so inherit the spiritual and incorruptable glory of righteousness which is in heaven…”’ The patristic tradition, also, is somewhat uncertain. We may add that the transition from v. 8 to v. 9 is brusque. Moreover, it is difficult to see how the original gospel could have ended so abruptly at v. 8. Hence the hypothesis that, for some unknown reason, the original ending has been lost and the present ending composed to fill the gap. This ending is, in fact, a brief summary of the appearances of the risen Christ, and its style differs notably from the usually concrete and pictorial style of Mark. The present ending, however, was known to Tatian and to Irenaeus in the 2nd century, and is to be found in the vast majority of Greek MSS and of the versions. That Mark was its author cannot be proved; it is, nonetheless, ‘an authentic relic of the first Christian generation’ (Swete).
c. The ‘longer ending’ of Mk. vv. 9-20. is included in the canonically accepted body of inspired scripture, although some important MSS (including Vat. and Sin.) omit it, and it does not seem to be by Mk. It is in a different style, and is little more than a summary of the appearances of the risen Christ, with other material, all of which could be derived from various NT writings. One MS gives instead a shorter ending after v. 8: ‘They reported briefly to Peter’s companions what they had been told. Then Jesus himself through their agency broadcast from east to west the sacred and incorruptible message of eternal salvation.’ Four MSS give the shorter ending and add the longer to it. One MS has the longer ending with the following insertion between vv. 14 and 15: 'And they defended themselves thus. “This age of lawlessness and unbelief is under the sway of Satan, who does not allow those under the yoke of unclean spirits to understand God’s truth and power. Now, therefore. reveal your uprightness.” This is what they said to Christ, and Christ answered. “The number of years allowed for Satan’s authority has been reached, but other terrible things draw near. I was handed over to be killed for those who have sinned, so that they might turn to the truth and sin no more, and so inherit the spiritual and incorruptible glory of uprightness which is in heaven . . .” ’
One explanation of this diversity is that Mk’s original ending was lost. More probably Mk intended to finish his Gospel at v. 8; but comparison with the other gospels made the first Christian generation feel that this ending was incomplete (and also stylistically somewhat harsh). This led them to add the ‘longer ending’.
Mark’s Gospel is comprised of the notes he took of Peter’s preaching as he compared Matthew and Luke’s Gospels.
Dennis Barton offers the most rational explanation that fits most easily to the facts we know.
2. The Last Verses of Mark
Mark`s Gospel breaks off abruptly at 16: 8, before continuing with twelve more verses. This break involves ending with an enclitic form of Greek grammar, and this is inappropriate for the ending of a paragraph, never mind a book. Many suggestions have been put forward in explanation of these additional verses. As mentioned in our Chapter VII, Orchard suggested that they might have been notes for a further talk which was not delivered.
My suggestion is as follows: The audience listening to Peter would have already known the information provided in Matthew’s Gospel. But for most of them the gospel of Luke contained new material.
As Orchard has pointed out, Peter stopped at the point his personal eyewitness of the earthly life of Christ ended ((RO 271-8)). Also, Peter had not commented on all the new interesting pieces of information provided by Luke. So I suggest that the audience would have asked questions, and these last verses record the answers supplied by Peter.
To illustrate: As the ‘he’ of verse 9 does not refer to the young man in verse 5, one would have expected to read ‘Jesus’. But if the name of the Lord had been contained in a question, the use of ‘he’ would be correct.
Matthew in 28: 1-10 says that Mary Magdalene was, with another woman, the first to see Jesus, and Luke 24: 10 confirms this. But earlier Luke had mentioned a woman of the same name, ‘a Mary who is called Magdalene’, who had been possessed by seven devils (Luke 8: 2). We should not be surprised if someone, noting her history, asked if this was the same person. Peter replies that it was (Mark 16: 9). He then confirms that Luke was also correct when he wrote that it was she who told the Apostles.
Matthew had not reported that Christ had appeared to two men walking, but Luke gives this incident much space (Luke 24: 13-31). Should the audience accept this story as true? As Peter was not one of the two, he was unable to confirm all the details, but he does confirm that Christ did appear to two disciples walking in the countryside (Mark 16: 12).
Luke then tells the story of Christ appearing to the eleven (24: 33-36). Yet Matthew has not mentioned this. Was it true? Peter, being there, is able to confirm that it was (Mark 16: 14).
Matthew says followers of Christ were to teach and baptise (28: 19), but Luke says they are to preach penance and forgiveness (Luke 24: 47). Was there a discrepancy here? Peter explains how baptism follows on from successful preaching (Mark 15: 15-16).
In his second volume, Luke says that Paul was able to cast out a devil (Acts 16: 18). There was no mention of this power in Matthew. So was it true? Peter, not being present at the incident, could not confirm it, but gives it credibility by saying Christ had foretold that such happenings would occur (Mark 16: 17).
In Acts 2: 4 and 10: 46, Luke reports Peter as having been present on two occasions when speaking in tongues had taken place. Matthew had not reported these events. Peter is able to confirm them in his response to the question about casting out the devils (Mark 16: 17).
The audience had read in Acts 28: 5, that Paul was impervious to the poison of a snake. Matthew had not recorded such an incident. Could it be true? Not being present at the incident, all Peter can do is again refer to the words of Christ. We then read of a similar question regarding the laying on of hands. He answers (Mark 16: 18) in the same way.
Luke in 24: 51 and Acts 1: 9 describes how Christ ascended to heaven. As Matthew had not described this, the audience would have found it of great interest. Peter, having been an eyewitness, was able to confirm and slightly embellish the account of Luke. (Mark 16: 19).
A person’s style of speaking will be different when answering questions from when he is giving a talk. The different style of these final verses has often been noted. We often see a copy of a talk circulated without the answers to questions. Then, after a time, an edition including the answers is published. Sometimes it is the first issue which has the answers but they are omitted in the second
3. Two Editions
I suggest that the second edition of Mark’s Gospel was published with/without the answers. Some early copies of Mark’s Gospel have been found with the twelve verses missing. Peter approved both editions and the one including the answers became part of the bible we use today.
If the above suggestions are accepted it points to Acts, as well as Luke’s gospel, having been seen by some of the audience prior to or during the period of the talks. In addition to Mark, the audience is likely to have included Paul, his guard, Luke, Linus, Cletus, Clement of Rome, Alexander, Rufus and Hermas.
To read more of Dennis Barton’s work see
As to why we have two endings in Mark, may i suggest reading
How the Gospels Were Written - By Dennis Barton – Free Pamplet
Read more at