Summary: ‘A strange ending to a great gospel’ Mark chapter 16 verses 9-20 – sermon by Gordon Curley (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email:


• Important question: who penned these words?

• Important question: why do we keep them?

• Important question: why are they there?

• Important question: why are they not accepted?

• Important question: what is an apostle?

• (1). Apostolic belief (vs 9-14)

• (2). Apostolic preaching (vs 15-16)

• (3). Apostolic witness (vs 16-20)



• You may not know the name, but you will have all heard his voice.

• Mel Blanc has been called, “The man of 1,000 voices”.

• Some of those voices you will instantly recognise.

• ‘Woody Woodpecker, Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, Sylvester & Tweety Pie’

• On his gravestone, just under the Star of David (he was Jewish),

• Is the inscription, “That’s all folks!”

• Because Mel Blanc was the voice for the end picture on those Warner Brothers cartoons,

• TRANSITION: Many people view life that way,

• When you are dead, you are dead - “That’s all folks!”

• Yet, Easter is a reminder that ‘death is not the end” - there is more to follow!

As leaders we thought this Easter, we would look at Easter topics slightly different - Three unusual aspects to the Easter story.

• Last week was. ‘A strange man on the beach’ (John chapter 21 verses 1-14)

• Which is perhaps the most familiar study of the three.

• Today, ‘A strange ending to a great gospel’ (Mark chapter 16 verses 9-20).

• Question: When did you last here a sermon on these verses?

• Answer: Me neither, they are often neglected or ignored.

• Next week, ‘A strange exit from this world’ (Luke chapter 24 verses 50-53)

• The ascension of Jesus is once again an under studied doctrine,

• And this study should help prepare us as we start to studies in the book of Acts.

Today we will look at, A strange ending to a great gospel (Mark chapter 16 verses 9-20)

• Many Christians may not even realize there is a strange ending to Mark’s gospel!

• But if you witness to a Muslim or a clued-up atheist,

• They will point these verses have been added to the gospel of Mark.

• They will then argue that you cannot trust Mark’s gospel.

• Because if this chapter is wrong, then what else is wrong with the Bible?


• In most modern versions of the Bible,

• You will find a footnote for these verses at the bottom of the page.

• Or like the NIV a statement in brackets saying,

[The earliest manuscripts and some other ancient witnesses do not have verses 9–20.]

And it might surprise you to know,

• That some Bible translations, such as the Good News Bible,

• Even add a second ending, on top of verses 9-20, they add another two verse.

• Again, with a disclaimer that some manuscripts contain these verses as well.

(1). Important Question: Who Penned The Words?

• Short answer is not Mark!

• That is the most common answer of Bible scholars.

• And nobody knows who composed these additional verses.

• Question: Does that discredit his gospel – absolutely not!

• Answer: because we are able to recognize this addition,

• Gives credibility to the manuscripts we do have and that validates them.

• Also, worth pointing out,

• These verses do not contradict any previously revealed events or doctrine in the gospel.

(2). Important Question: Why they there?

Answer: A few suggestions.

• FIRST: Because to many people both in the past and the present,

• Verse 8 seems a funny place to conclude this gospel.

• Especially if you compare it to Matthew, Luke and John,

• Those thee gospels give us so much more information on the resurrection story.

• SECOND: These verses are not in any of the great Greek manuscripts,

• Quote William Barclay: “…only later and inferior manuscripts contain them.”

• So as the gospel of Mark was copied by hand,

• Someone added in these additional verses, this new ending.

• Maybe at first it was separate to the gospel text and came with the codex,

• And in time it was copied into the text.


• Now this happened in a few places.

• For example In the King James Version (1 John chapter 5 verses 7-8),

• Someone added the words,

"For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one”.

• But the words are recognized as a gloss [an added note],

• And modern translations of the Bible rightly omit them.


• Now the fact we can detect these additions gives credibility to the rest of the text,

• If we ignored it or pretended it wasn’t there, that would discredit the text.

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