Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Pastoral Challenge: A reading list before you preach on the Ending of Mark
I’ve recently recorded several Word Magazine podcasts on the ending of Mark. Many contemporary evangelical and even Calvinistic and Reformed men are suggesting not only that Mark 16:9-20 was not written by Mark but that it is a spurious and uninspired addition created by a “rogue” scribe and should not be considered part of the canonical text of Mark’s Gospel.
To my fellow pastors and expositors I want to offer this challenge: Before you preach on the Ending of Mark, exercise due diligence and read at least the following five sources which defend the authenticity of Mark 16:9-20:
1. John W. Burgon, The Last Twelve Verses of Mark (original 1871; Sovereign Grace Publishers Reprint, 2000). You can read the entire book online or download a free pdf at ccel.org (look here).
2. William R. Farmer, The Last Twelve Verses of Mark, Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series 25 (Cambridge University Press, 1974).
3. Maurice A. Robinson, “The Long Ending of Mark as Canonical Verity,” in David Alan Black, Ed., Perspectives on the Ending of Mark: 4 Views (B & H Academic, 2008): 40-79.
4. Nicholas P. Lunn, The Original Ending of Mark: A New Case for the Authenticity of Mark 16:9-20 (Pickwick Publications, 2014).
5. James Snapp, Jr., Authentic: The Case for Mark 16:9-20. 2016 Edition. Find the Kindle version here. Read a summary of Snapp’s arguments here.
To be completely fair and even-handed, I would also suggest that you read the following five sources which reject the authenticity of Mark 16:9-20:
1. B. F. Westcott and F. J. A. Hort, Introduction to the New Testament in the Original Greek with Notes on Selected Readings (original 1882; Hendricken reprint, 1988). See notes on Mark 16:9-20 in Appendix, pp. 29-51.
2. Bruce M. Metzger, “The Ending(s) of Mark” in A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Second Edition (Deutche Bibelgeselschaft, 1994): pp. 102-107.
3. D. C. Parker, “The endings of Mark’s Gospel” in The Living Texts of the Gospels (Cambridge University Press, 1997): pp. 124-147.
4. Bruce M. Metzger and Bart D. Ehrman, The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration, Fourth Edition (Oxford University Press, 2005): pp. 322-327.
5. Daniel B. Wallace, “Mark 16:8 as the Conclusion to the Second Gospel,” in David Alan Black, Ed., Perspectives on the Ending of Mark: 4 Views (B & H Academic, 2008): pp. 1-39.
Reading these sources will allow you to make a better informed judgment about the text of the ending of Mark and the canonical status of Mark 16:9-20. I also believe that a fair evaluation of the evidence will convince many who are skeptical about the authenticity of Mark 16:9-20 to change their minds and confidently affirm it.