Rebecca Stark is the author of The Good Portion: God, the second title in The Good Portion series, a series written to encourage women to immerse themselves in the depths of Christian doctrine.

The Good Portion — God explores what Scripture teaches about God in hopes that readers will see his perfection, worth, magnificence, and beauty as they study his triune nature, infinite attributes, and wondrous works. 

Rebecca also blogs at Out of the Ordinary.


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Theological Term of the Week: Longer Ending of Mark


longer ending of Mark
Mark 16:9-20, which is not included in some of the oldest manuscripts, and is considered by most scholars to be a later addition and not the original ending of the Gospel of Mark.

  • Mark 16:9-20 from the ESV, which puts these verses inside double brackets with a note that they are not included in some of the earliest manuscripts:
  • [9] [[Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. [10] She went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept. [11] But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.

    [12] After these things he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. [13] And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them.

    [14] Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. [15] And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole 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 cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; [18] they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

    [19] So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. [20] And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.]] (ESV)

  • From the MacArthur ESV Study Bible notes on the longer ending of Mark:

    The external evidence strongly suggests these verses were not originally part of Mark’s Gospel. While the majority of Greek manuscripts contain these verses, the earliest and most reliable do not. A shorter ending also existed, but it is not included in the text. Further, some that include the passage note that it was missing from older Greek manuscripts, while others have scribal marks indicating the passage was considered spurious. The fourth-century church Fathers Eusebius and Jerome noted that almost all Greek manuscripts available to them lacked vv. 9–20. The internal evidence from this passage also weighs heavily against Mark’s authorship. The transition between vv. 8 and 9 is abrupt and awkward. The Greek particle translated “now” that begins v. 9 implies continuity with the preceding narrative. What follows, however, does not continue the story of the women referred to in v. 8, but describes Christ’s appearance to Mary Magdalene (cf. John 20:11–18). The masculine participle in Mark 16:9 expects “he” as its antecedent, yet the subject of v. 8 is the women. Although she had just been mentioned three times (v. 1; 15:40, 47), 16:9 introduces Mary Magdalene as if for the first time. Further, if Mark wrote v. 9, it is strange that he would only now note that Jesus had cast seven demons out of her. The angel spoke of Jesus’ appearing to his followers in Galilee, yet the appearances described in vv. 9–20 are all in the Jerusalem area. Finally, the presence in these verses of a significant number of Greek words used nowhere else in Mark argues that Mark did not write them. Verses 9–20 represent an early (they were known to the second-century Fathers Irenaeus, Tatian, and, possibly, Justin Martyr) attempt to complete Mark’s Gospel. 


Learn more:

  1. Got Questions: Should Mark 16:9-20 be in the Bible?
  2. Bible Research: The Ending of Mark
  3. Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry: Is the ending of Mark really scripture?
  4. F.F. Bruce: The End of the Second Gospel (pdf)
  5. Paul Carter: What Do You Do With the End of Mark’s Gospel?
  6. John MacArthur: The Fitting End to Mark’s Gospel


Related terms:

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