Answering John MacArthur on the Ending of Mark

Recently, Dr. John MacArthur finished preaching through the New Testament (after nearly forty years). His last sermon covered the biggest controversy in the world of textual criticism: the ending of the Gospel of Mark. Dr. MacArthur sided with the majority of careful Christian scholarship and defended the position that Mark ends his Gospel at vs. 8. In the sermon (available to watch on Youtube), he gives a brief survey of textual criticism, the various manuscript types, and the evidence for and against the ending of Mark.

As I listened to MacArthur’s sermon, I winced at his handling of the textual evidence. He painted the picture in rosy kind of way, making the evidence in favor of his position seem insurmountable. In reality, the picture is quite different from the reality, and this question is one that should not be decided so cavalierly. It isn’t black and white and a simple matter of going with the ancient manuscripts on this point. The issue is much more complex than that. At the end of the day, I think MacArthur takes the correct position (I could still be persuaded otherwise, however), but at the very least he should be more transparent with the evidence. I understand wanting to instill faith in the Scripture and wanting to help people have confidence in textual criticism. Bending the truth (at least in the way you present the evidence) doesn’t help, however.

Pastor James Snapp, who is a proponent of equitable eclecticism and has studied long and hard on the issues surrounding textual criticism, has answered John MacArthur in a series of three 13-14 minute YouTube video clips. James is a frequent commenter around here, and doesn’t always agree with every position that I personally have taken. But he is fair minded and tries to go where the evidence takes him. He does a good job marshalling the evidence for the inclusion of Mark 116:9-20 and explains numerous errors that Dr. MacArthur made in his sermon.

Not every error is equally damaging, and not all the evidence that Snapp presents is convincing. I walked away from Snapp’s series with more questions about this matter which I intend to research further, but I am not completely convinced that the majority of Christian scholarship is just completely duped on this point. Snapp doesn’t explain how the various alternate endings of Mark arose, and that is a matter to explore. Why would anyone chop off the ending of Mark and keep the rest of his Gospel? What’s so special about the ending?

Regardless, I wanted to make you aware of Snapp’s rebuttal and post his video clips below. Snapp is very fair and charitable toward Dr. MacArthur, and presents a perfect example of how to engage in a disagreement honorably and respectably.

Has anyone else seen some kind of response or additional elaboration from MacArthur’s church on this question? Or do any of our readers have additional thoughts to share on this matter? Please join the discussion in the comments below.

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56 thoughts on “Answering John MacArthur on the Ending of Mark

  1. Jim August 3, 2011 / 10:06 am

    Dear Bob:

    Thanks for posting this and your own reflections on this ongoing debate/discussion. In passing you brought up the whole issue of textual criticism as such in your description of how the evidence is presented by various partisans of different views.

    I would like to suggest that there emerge a discussion of textual criticism as a discipline, its procedures, and the claims it makes for itself. I have become increasingly skeptical of the entire field of textual criticism and its ability to coherently come to any definitive conclusion regarding the ‘original text’. Although this is a complex issue, here are a few of my reasons:

    First, the evidence is inherently ambiguous. How much weight is given to a particular source is subjective. I don’t mean arbitrary. I mean that good reasons can be given for giving a lot of weight to source X, but equally good arguments can be given for preferring source Y. I am not aware of any procedure that will settle such differences.

    Second, the evidence is constantly shifting as new sources are uncovered. This entails constant revision and creates a highly unstable atmosphere. Yet textual critics present their views as if their field were stable, the evidence definitive and not subject to further revision.

    Third, if one applies the procedures of textual criticism to contemporary cases of multiple versions of a work, the results are often embarassing. I’ll give one example. Emily Dickinsons’ poetry was first published by her family after she died in a highly edited version. They changed her rhythm, smoothed out lines, changed rhymes, added titles, etc. This first published version was the only version available roughly from 1890 to 1955. Only in 1955 was the poetry published as per the autographs.

    Now, flash forward 1,000 years from now. Dickinson’s autographs have disappeared. Textual critics discover the two versions of Dickinson’s poetry. Going with the ‘oldest is best’ view, they would have to opt for the first published edition of her poetry as the ‘original’. But that would be false. The edition that reflects the autographs is the post-1955 edition; not the first published, oldest, edition.

    There are numerous examples like this in both literature, philosophy, and music. I have come to the conclusion that if the procedures of textual criticism cannot lead us to the actual ‘original’ of works where we have variant editions and also have the autograph, why should these procedures be trusted in the field of biblical scholarship? Isn’t the whole field of textual criticism just a castle built in the air without any foundation?

    Thanks for your time and attention to this website.

    Very truly yours,

    Jim Wilson

    • Jim Raymond September 29, 2011 / 3:55 pm

      What are we to make of the fact that there is no method for doing textual criticism given in the scriptures? In fact, as far as I know, the subject is never mentioned in the scriptures. Should that tell us something?

      One could get the impression they simply picked up a copy of the scriptures and went with it. To be sure, they would have been on the lookout for intentional corruption, but otherwise they did not seem to do anything like textual criticism as we know it today.

      And is this not largely what we see evangelicals doing today? To be sure, there are the KJVO advocates, but the vast majority of people who truly do love the Lord Jesus Christ, simply pick up a translation of the scriptures and go with it, regardless of whether it is a TR based translation or an Alexandrian one. Would it not seem that this is what the Lord has led those who are truly committed to Him to do, by and large? And doesn’t this seem to be what the saints in the Old Testament and the New Testament church were doing? Perhaps the Lord has no intent for us to be doing textual criticism.

      So how should we arrive at the text upon which to make a translation? Instead of man doing textual criticism, would it rather be, as Edaward F. Hills proposed, that God was the one doing the textual criticism, by leading believers to commonly use a certain text, and in that way letting us know what His original was?

  2. Nazaroo August 3, 2011 / 2:20 pm

    Great post. I love Bob’s frank comments, and his open kindness in alerting readers to James’ exposition on Mark’s ending.

    Jim is also spot-on in noting that the field of TC has nothing scientific or stable to offer at the moment. Its a tentative field, full of conjectures of various strengths.

    We’d love to see TC methodology tightened up, but in some sense we can already predict where things are going by what is extant in the field today.

    Overall, it appears that the naive and crude editing of the 19th century was too radical and based on unsound methods.

    Stepping back and looking with calmer hindsight into the full evidential picture suggests that the traditional text is either more reliable than supposed by academics, or else the whole NT must be dismissed as the greatest hoax in history.

    • redgreen5 August 3, 2011 / 2:48 pm

      Your bias is showing again, Nazaroo.

      Either:

      (1) …the field of TC has nothing scientific or stable to offer at the moment. Its a tentative field, full of conjectures of various strengths.

      Or:

      (2) the full evidential picture suggests that the traditional text is either more reliable than supposed by academics…

      While you may believe (2) – indeed, many people do – the statement you made in (2) certainly contradicts the picture you want to paint in (1).

    • Nazaroo August 3, 2011 / 4:17 pm

      No, it only appears as a contradiction in your mind.

      In (2), I was referring to what is evident to scientists, not textual critics, who are idiots.

    • Bob Hayton August 5, 2011 / 10:22 pm

      Thanks, Nazaroo. I’m not as pessimistic about textual criticism as you, but I don’t think we’ve arrived either.

    • Bob Hayton August 5, 2011 / 10:22 pm

      Red Green,

      What’s your view on Mark 16? To me, it is a question still.

      Thanks.

  3. Paul Anderson August 3, 2011 / 4:24 pm

    The Greek manuscript evidence for the ending of the Gospel of Mark is basically as follows:

    1. Ending at 16:8 – Aleph (9-20 lacking on an inserted folio), B or Vaticanus (9-20 lacking though contains a large unique blank space where it would have been).

    2. Ending at 16:8 then with 9-20 – L, Ψ, 083, 099, 579, 1 lectionary.

    3. Ending at 16:20 = All Byzantines, plus f1, f13, lectionaries, Theophylact, Antoniades Greek NT, TR, MT editions RP & HF.

    3. Expanded ending (including 16:9-20) – Codex W

    Basing most modern translations on the basis of no. 1 is dubious at best.

    Paul Anderson
    President-CSPMT
    http://www.cspmt.org

    • Bob Hayton August 5, 2011 / 10:25 pm

      Paul,

      Philip Comfort adds the following to the evidence for ending at 16:8.

      304 Hesychius & Eusebian canons

      I understand now from James’ videos that Comfort’s listing of “MSS according to Eusebius”, “MSS according to Jerome” and “MSS according to Severus” may be open to interpretation as to what was being said there. But that’s beyond my ability to prove or disprove.

    • Bob Hayton August 5, 2011 / 10:25 pm

      Oh and most modern translations do include 16:9-20, they offset it and explain the textual problem but don’t make the solution for the reader, necessarily….

  4. Scott D. Andersen August 4, 2011 / 8:20 am

    I read this book by John Burgon probably almost 20 years ago. At the time I remember being very impressed by the depth of the research conducted by author. Many years having passed, my understanding having grown it would undoubtedly be beneficial to read again and see if I would still be similarly persuaded.

    “The Last Twelve Verses of the Gospel according to St. Mark”

    http://books.google.com/ebooks/reader?id=2gYQAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&output=reader&pg=GBS.PR15

    Would appreciate any comments by those who have read the same.

    • Jim Raymond September 29, 2011 / 4:06 pm

      I have read many arguments for and against the last twelve of Mark 16. I have found the following, by David Miller, PhD, to be the most persuasive (in favor of the authenticity of these verses). I’m a big fan of Burgon, but Miller works with information a century newer.

      http://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=13&article=704

      I’m also a big fan of John McArthur and was quite disappointed to see him put together what appeared to me (a layman) an ill-informed position.

    • Scott D. Andersen October 14, 2011 / 11:56 am

      Thanks Jim, Just saw this today. I’ll check it out.

  5. Paul Anderson August 4, 2011 / 8:36 am

    Scott,

    We highly recommend this book by Dean John Burgon at CSPMT as his knowledge on textual criticism was excellent just as it was with his protege H. Hoskier who collated all known manuscripts at the time for Revelation and wrote as well on the weaknesses and unreliability of Codex B (Vaticanus). Blessings.

    Paul Anderson
    President-CSPMT
    http://www.cspmt.org

    • Scott D. Andersen August 4, 2011 / 3:29 pm

      Thanks good to hear – I just need to read it again.

      Excited to learn of CSPMT.

      I do have a book by Hoskier sent to me a few years back by Theodore Letis. I think it is this one:
      http://www.ccel.org/h/hoskier/ been some time since I’ve read it.

  6. Jim August 4, 2011 / 9:33 am

    A few more comments. To my mind the closing verses of Mark are the achilles heal of modern textual criticism. The evidence for Mark ending at verse 8 is so weak, and the evidence for the traditional ending is so pervasive (in terms of the sheer quantity and distribution of texts which have it, and in terms of ancient patristic sources) that it reveals the biases and arbitrariness of the entire discipline; if it can be called a discipline. Only if one endows the teeny tiny number of manuscripts that do not have the traditional closing with some kind of magical, or occult, potency can one even entertain the idea that Mark ended at Verse 8.

    In the 1800’s there was a period where some philosophers applied the techniques of textual criticism to the Dialogues of Plato. They came up with truly fantastic results, questioning the attribution and authenticity of many of the central works of the Platonic corpus. It didn’t last long. That period has, gratefully, faded and a much more balanced approach is now in play. (However, one negative result of that period is that ‘Alcibiades’ is still groundlessly questioned as to its authenticity, a dialog which played a central role in the Platonic tradition.)

    And there are the anti-Stratfordians; those who hatch truly incredible conspiracy theories that ‘prove’ that Shakespeare didn’t write his plays.

    Modern biblical textual criticism is similar to these above mentioned approaches. It is groundless, its procedures are arbitrary, its results almost laughably incoherent. As I mentioned above, if the techniques of modern textual criticism were applied to Dickinson’s poetry, you would get one of two results: either they would opt for ‘oldest is best’ and erroneously regard the first printed edition as the ‘original’, or they would use a cut and paste approach (or slice and dice) and come up with a version that had never existed before. And the latter is what has happened, I believe, with the ‘critical text’.

    Best wishes,

    Jim

  7. James Snapp, Jr. August 4, 2011 / 11:25 am

    Bob,

    Thanks for providing the links to the video-lecture. Please bear in mind that this lecture was a response to Dr. MacArthur; it was not intended to settle the whole question about Mark 16:9-20.

    You asked, “Why would anyone chop off the ending of Mark and keep the rest of his Gospel?” Here’s my answer in a nutshell: Mark unintentionally stopped writing at the end of verse 8 due to a sudden disruption (probably persecution in Rome). A colleague or colleagues at Rome finished the book, not by composing a new ending, but by attaching a short text which already existed — a freestanding Marcan text which summarized Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances. Thus at the end of its production-stage, the Gospel of Mark included verses 9-20. (This is the normal definition of “original text” — the form of the text at the end of its production-stage.) A meticulous early copyist in Egypt who regarded Mark as more of a secretary than an author (and perhaps with his own copy, or memory, of verses 9-20 in the form of a freestanding text) considered verses 9-20 to be an inappropriate/non-Petrine addition, and for that reason he removed the verses. The abrupt ending thus originated in Egypt (where the Shorter Ending was subsequently created), but elsewhere (including in Rome) the text of the Gospel of Mark circulated with 16:9-20. Copies from Egypt with the abrupt ending (but not with the Shorter Ending) were taken to Caesarea, and there they were favored by Eusebius, to whom an accurate manuscript of a Gospels-book was an easy-to-harmonize manuscript.

    You also asked, “What’s so special about the ending?” Content-wise, verses 9-20 feature some unique information that the parallel-accounts do not share. But as a text that was included by someone other than the primary human author of the book, this passage is not all that special. Jeremiah 52 is considered part of the original text of Jeremiah, even though 51:64 says that the words of Jeremiah stop at the end of chapter 51. We routinely accept the composite authorship of the books of Psalms and Proverbs (and other OT books), knowing full well that some redactor, whose name is known only to the God who inspired him, is responsible for the finalized form of the book. And in the New Testament, too, John 21:25, Romans 16:22, and Second Corinthians chapters 10-13 are usually not considered spurious, even though cases can be made that they were not included by the primary human author of the book. (By the way, a meticulous scribal tendency to exclude material if it did not come from the primary author is illustrated in Codex Sinaiticus at the end of John; the copyist initially excluded the final sentence, but then changed his mind and included it.)

    If the opportunity presents itself, I will make another video-lecture, summarizing the contents of “Authentic: The Case for Mark 16:9-20,” and demonstrating, with specific examples, how commentator after commentator has repeated the same egregious errors and misrepresentations about the passage. (If you can’t wait, e-mail me and I will send you a digital copy of the book.)

    Please note that at one point in the lecture, I refer to “John 16” but the intended reference is Mark 16. (We all stumble in many ways!)

    And, to Scott D. Andersen: Burgon’s work is frequently cited and occasionally corrected in “Authentic: The Case for Mark 16:9-20.”

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.

    • MWicks August 4, 2011 / 1:27 pm

      Wow! Thank-you for your detailed research. I have always been suspicious of brother MacArthur’s (and others) approach to this passage. Also, though not a textual critic myself, I’ve always wondered why a difference in the style or even a difference in author ~necessarily~ disproves the passage as authentic.

    • Scott D. Andersen August 4, 2011 / 3:03 pm

      Thanks Mr. Snapp for all the info, I am excited to watch the videos – Plus having recently purchased a Tablet I hope to pick up “Authentic” available from Amazon as a kindle book.

    • Bob Hayton August 5, 2011 / 10:20 pm

      Fascinating, James. Your proposal sounds novel. To me, it buffers my view that we should keep the short and long endings and teach the controversy rather than dismiss one or the other out of hand. Most modern Bibles do that by including the long ending and the short ending as both being near and close to the text but letting it be up to the reader to accept them equivalent to Mark’s accepted Gospel or not.

      Personally if another author added those verses under inspiration, that wouldn’t bother me. I think there were editors supervised by the Spirit, as evidenced by the shape of the Hebrew canon (ala John Sailhamer).

      But your view here, how much hard evidence does it have? Does it have any more evidence than the shorter ending has?

  8. Paul Anderson August 6, 2011 / 8:51 am

    Bob,

    The issue is that the modern versions are misleading on the manuscript evidence in their additional comments. If they would admit the vast majority contain the verse it would help things some. Neo-Hortian logic in the West assumes superiority based on this questionable evidence.

    Again, the evidence for the short version is so sparse as to make the couple of old uncials questionable beyond a doubt while the modern versions just follow suit. I would suggest you read Dr. Robinson’s article in the book James mentions at the end of his Authenticity book. For Byzantine text advocates in both the East and West the issue is settled. Blessings.

    In Christ,

    Paul Anderson
    President-CSPMT
    http://www.cspmt.org

  9. redgreen5 August 7, 2011 / 1:03 pm

    Bob Hayton:
    What’s your view on Mark 16? To me, it is a question still.

    I don’t have a firm opinion on it, one way or another. For myself, I personally include the longer ending of Mark, but that’s more a reflection of my own upbringing and my preference for Byzantine-derived Bibles, than an actual serious investigation on my part.

    I suppose if the inclusion/rejection of the longer ending of Mark had actual significant doctrinal impacts, then I’d be more inclined to worry about it. But as far as I can see, accepting/rejecting the longer ending doesn’t matter.

    If accepted, then everything stands as it is. If rejected, then there are other passages in other books that support the various statements in the rejected section of Mark. So the net result, doctrinally speaking, is the same whether it’s in, or it’s out.

    So in the end I think I probably agree with you: this is one of those things that there isn’t going to be certainty about. That is uncomfortable to a lot of people, but until such time as more definitive evidence can be found, we are stuck with this conclusion. And it would be a mistake to stretch the available evidence one way or another right now, merely because we are uncomfortable with uncertainty; there’s a level of evidence required to achieve certitude and we’re simply not there yet.

    P.S. –
    I understand what James Snapp has done. By looking at the data points, he’s constructed a possible story that explains all the data points. And James is nothing if not careful and detailed in his work. The problem is that there is no independent confirmation for the story itself:

    * no evidence that the reason for the abrupt ending was persecution – as opposed to sickness, political unrest, a text that was lost text due to carelessness, etc. for example;

    * no evidence that it was a colleague that finished Mark – as opposed to being finished by another apostle, by Paul, or by a non-colleague such as an early church elder;

    * no evidence that it was finished by attaching a pre-existing text already in circulation, as opposed to some piece of oral history, or a third party taking dictation from an aging Mark who wanted to finish the text on his deathbed, etc.

    As you can see, several stories can be constructed to explain the handful of data points. Jame’s story is not impossible, and it’s certainly plausible, but there’s no affirmative, confirmatory evidence either. It’s the unfortunate situation of having insufficient data upon which to hang a definitive explanation.

    • Jim Wilson August 7, 2011 / 2:03 pm

      Dear Redgreen:

      I appreciate your observations. I tend to get intemperate about some of these issues because it often strikes me that people are making claims implying that the evidence is definitive. Yet the evidence from the textual bases is inherently ambiguous and can be used to support a multitude of conclusions. I would like to see more epistemological humility on the part of textual critics.

      I am increasingly skeptical that textual criticism can actually inform us as to the state of the ‘original’, assuming there was an original, an assumption which itself is not established.

      Thanks,

      Jim

    • James Snapp, Jr. August 9, 2011 / 9:31 pm

      Dear RedGreen:

      First, about what you said about certainty: if you watch Dr. MacArthur’s “Fitting End” sermon, you will hear him say something like, “I know where” verses 9-20 came from. Then he presents the “patchwork collage” theory. It’s that sort of confidence that is the pedestal for his recommendation to reject verses 9-20, and the pedestal for his confidence consists of the evidence-misrepresentations that he made throughout the sermon.

      Second, there *is* evidence of Roman persecution in Rome in the mid-60’s. That’s when Peter and Paul were martyred there, for example.

      Third, a demand for /direct/ evidence that verses 9-20 were attached by a colleague of Mark would be a very high demand, as if one should insist that the person who attached verses 9-20 should have jotted down a margin-note explaining what he had done, and as if one should expect that note to be preserved for posterity.

      Fourth, there is internal evidence that verses 9-20 were an already-existing independent text when they were attached; the non-transition between v. 8 and v. 9 is accounted for by this scenario but is a real obstacle for the theories that picture someone /creating/ an ending for the text that would otherwise stop at the end of v. 8. Read Hort for a little more about this. Also, in an indirect but not insignificant way, the Freer Logion contributes to the equation; see Streeter’s tentatively worded comments on the subject (in The Four Gospels, p. 351 in the 1961 edition — in digital editions, search for the phrase “A catechetical summary is a document”).

      Fifth, plausibility is the decisive quality of competing theories. Time for a pertinent anecdote: two campers are in the forest and suddenly a huge hungry bear charges toward their camp. One guy immediately starts to put on his running shoes. The other guy says, “What are you doing? You can’t outrun a bear!” The other guy says, “I know; I just need to outrun you!” — The lesson being that *relative* plausibility matters; the most plausible theory, the one that most elegantly and efficiently explains the evidence is the one that most deserves to be adopted. And the theory that Mark 16:9-20 was attached in the production-stage rather than being composed patchwork-style in the second century not only explains why someone in Egypt rejected it (due to an awareness that it was an attachment, not strictly a part of Peter’s Remembrances) but also explains the internal evidence; meanwhile the alternative “patchwork collage” theory requires a very strange ending-composer using a complex composition-method, and other unlikely things, as I explain in Part 3 of the lecture.

      Yours in Christ,

      James Snapp, Jr.

  10. redgreen5 August 10, 2011 / 2:25 am

    James Snapp
    First, about what you said about certainty:

    You seem to misunderstand me. I would apply my same comments to MacArthur. I don’t think he is safe trying to speak from a position of certainty, either. Both camps in this debate try to rush to the finish line and make a definitive, declarative statement. And neither camp has the quality of evidence required to permit such a neat and tidy conclusion.

    Second, there *is* evidence of Roman persecution in Rome in the mid-60′s. That’s when Peter and Paul were martyred there, for example.

    True, but irrelevant. You have no evidence that the specific and proximate cause of the interruption in Mark 16 was persecution. Coincidence is not causality. There is also evidence of political unrest, disease, and civil unrest in Rome during that time. Any of these forces could explain the interruption of Mark 16.

    Third, a demand for /direct/ evidence that verses 9-20 were attached by a colleague of Mark would be a very high demand,

    The demand is only as high as the claim you’re trying to make for it. If you have no such specific evidence to support this claim, then you had no business making such a claim in the first place. It’s all-too-convenient to create a perfectly balanced “just so” story, and then when asked for supporting evidence, throw your hands up in the air and claim “We really can’t expect to find any.”

    Do not get rush ahead of your evidence.

    Fourth, there is internal evidence that verses 9-20 were an already-existing independent text when they were attached;

    Feel free to expound on this.

    The lesson being that *relative* plausibility matters; the most plausible theory, the one that most elegantly and efficiently explains the evidence is the one that most deserves to be adopted

    Well, no. Relative plausibility is not the sufficient criterion, unfortunately. I’ll answer your anecdote with another anecdote. Assume there’s a broken window in my home, and my furniture is destroyed. Two explanations are put forth:

    (a) destructive fairies came in while I was gone and trashed the place

    (b) eskimos sailed down from Alaska on kayaks, trekked across the land, busted the window out, and trashed the place

    Like it or not, (b) is more plausible than (a), because we have confirmatory evidence for the existence of eskimos and kayaks and the state of Alaska, whereas we have absolutely no such evidence for destructive fairies. By your logic, then, (b) is our preferred solution.

    The problem with your approach is obvious: even though one explanation is more relatively plausible, neither explanation is plausible in absolute terms. I live hundreds of miles from Alaska, kayaks are not known to make such journeys, etc.

    The logical, responsible and proper approach to such a dilemma, then, would be to say “At the moment, given the available evidence, we simply don’t know who broke into your home”. Then continue searching for clues in the hope that one day, a critical mass of evidence will be collected of such quality and volume as to allow an actual, testable hypothesis to be created.

    That’s the same approach that I’m advocating with regards to the ending of Mark 16.

  11. Jim August 10, 2011 / 9:30 am

    I’d like to give an example about ‘relative plausibility’ that I think may illuminate the difficulty. Suppose friends are gathered on a hot summer day. They are sitting in the living room of one friend talking, having a cold beer. The conversation pauses, and in that pause the group hears the sound of wind chimes.

    One person smiles and says that it’s nice to hear that a breeze has started.

    Another person says that they have seen a squirrel run up the post near the windchimes and suspects that the squirrel’s tail has brushed against the chimes.

    Another person suggests that the kid down the street, who has been practicing catching balls with his new mitt, might have thrown one against the house. He’s seen this before.

    Another person suggests that a homeless person may have been searching through the garbage can, which is right near the windchimes, and accidentally hit the chimes.

    Another person suggests that a bird landed on the chimes.

    All of these, and more, are plausible, non-fantastic, causally efficacious, explanations for the sound of the chimes. Since none of the friends actually saw why the chimes rang, they may never know why that happened.

    My view is that textual criticism is in a similar place with regard to the causal basis for textual discrepancies. Absent the autographs I do not think it is possible to draw a definitive conclusion regarding disputed passages.

    Best wishes,

    Jim

    • redgreen5 August 10, 2011 / 12:03 pm

      All of these, and more, are plausible, non-fantastic, causally efficacious, explanations for the sound of the chimes. Since none of the friends actually saw why the chimes rang, they may never know why that happened.

      Precisely. And without further evidence to allow us to narrow down the explanations, we would simply have to shrug our shoulders and accept the fact that we just don’t know what caused this.

      I mentioned earlier a desire to rush to the finish line and make sweeping, declarative statements one way or another. This is all-too-common in debates like these; debaters feel an emotional need to try and get out in front of their opponent, stake out the territory, plant their flag and win the argument. The problem is that they get waaaaay out ahead of the quality and volume of their evidence.

      At some point, we need to get get comfortable living with uncertainty and resist the urge to draw definitive conclusions when we are missing the required evidence. It would do everyone good to remember that nothing in the Mark 16 debate impacts a primary (or even a secondary) doctrine.

  12. lynn August 11, 2011 / 4:48 am

    Dear Pastor Jim,
    THANK YOU for your research and time. I first heard the message by Pastor MacArthur as a church member attending Sunday night service. I thank God for Pastor MacArthur and his diligent service to God and the ministry, however that evening left me troubled and distressed in spirit. As the message was taught, the verse which commands that we neither add nor take away from God’s word came to mind. I felt as though the Holy Spirit was showing me the truth regarding His holy word. I was actually shaken up by the message and have done research because of the impact it had upon me. I found that Charles Spurgeon, and countless other godly men have taught from Mark 16:9-20. I found your wonderful site as well which has been a tremendous encouragement. Thank You.

  13. Walter August 15, 2011 / 12:05 am

    I’ve shared a little bit of my background before, but I think it’s fitting to include a little bit of it again as a prelude for my thoughts on this. I became involved in a very fundamentalist church while in the Air Force during the mid-1980s that was KJV Only. However from what I have read it was not as dogmatic as existed in other circles of KJV Onlyism. I did some research based on publications recommended by them, and from what I remember it was more about the unreliability of the manuscripts from which modern versions had been based. I never heard the idea that the KJV itself was inerrant or infallible as a translation but just that the TR was the most reliable manuscript and therefore since the KJV was the only version to rely completely on it then that is what we should use.

    When I left that strain of fundamentalism I adopted a view that reading other versions wasn’t a big deal since the textual variants were so miniscule between the TR and the manuscripts which the other versions were based.

    Interestingly I was never exposed to the Majority Text position. The literature I had read made it seem like your only choices were the KJV based on the TR or modern versions based on corrupt manuscripts. It appears to me that sometimes the advocates of the Westscott and Hort tradition try to imply the same limited set of choices by only setting up discussions between the eclectic school of thought and the KJV Only position.

    I have not had a chance to view the videos yet, but what I’d say is that McArthur doesn’t have a choice BUT to distort the evidence and make it seem more overwhelming. Just from a pure debating standpoint the eclectic argument looks weak when put up against the Byzantine view. The eclectic starts out with the argument of oldest and best while the majority counters with most prevalent and most consistent. However there is more support for the Byzantine position in citations from early church writings, and from what I understand if you take out the quotes from Origen the evidence is overwhelming since Origen’s quotes are the most preserved. Then you also throw in that lectionaries most often support the Byzantine position. Then you start talking about the suspicious nature of the Sinaticus (spelling?) and Vaticanus manuscripts and it gets even murkier.

    There is no doubt in my mind that if the average Christian knew a basic summary of the two schools of thought they would embrace the Majority Text Position by at least 2:1. I sincerely believe those behind the Eclectic position know this, but they also know how overwhelmingly the community of Scholarship is behind them so they can get away with the distortions. I think they justify not making all the evidence known by tell themselves that if the average Christian was presented with all perspectives then they would choose the rendering that most magnifies Jesus Christ and reads more fluently. So they only share what they believe to be pertinent.

    In time the Christian Community will be exposed to all points of view, and they’re going to feel a major fraud has been perpetrated on them. When they realize the “oldest and best” methodology is flawed and misleading they’re going to wonder why more didn’t stand up and say something.

    To the person who admires John McArthur, but felt in their spirit that this particular teaching was wrong; I can really identify. I was only recently exposed to John Piper, but I have really enjoyed his teaching. However I heard him teach about how the first part of John 8 probably didn’t belong in the Bible, and on the inside I knew something was wrong. In his defense I think he has come under a lot of influence from those like D.A. Carson.

    Anyway lots of random thoughts, and while I could ramble on I’ll stop this post here 🙂

  14. Paul Anderson August 15, 2011 / 1:02 pm

    Walter,

    Excellent points you raised here. I could also tell a lot more being among them (eclectics) personally quite a bit but Lord willing I will let the facts come out in in future BGNT edition.

    As I said before and as you astutely pointed out, the facts are that there is a Byzantine/Majority text position and it is eventually going to overwhelm the field of textual criticism and manuscript studies. For now we are preparing for the facts to come out straight on all these issues. Blessings.

    In Christ,

    Paul Anderson
    President-CSPMT
    http://www.cspmt.org

    • Maurice A. Robinson August 16, 2011 / 11:36 am

      Permit me to differ from what seems an overly optimistic conclusion (i.e., that the Byzantine/Majority position “is eventually going to overwhelm the field of textual criticism and manuscript studies”).

      I instead would concur with Bill Brown on this point, as expressed in another thread:

      “Barring major discoveries, the Majority Text position will continue to be a minority position. That isn’t a criticism of anyone who holds the view, merely a statement of fact (nor does its minority status mean it is not right or closest to right).”

      I truly expect to see no significant change in approach or method from those favoring a critical text standpoint, nor any alteration of its generally accepted status among various scholars unless and until the critical text community is either surprised by the unlikely discovery of a plethora of early Byzantine-related material, or unless and until some major paradigm change originating from among themselves should become the impetus for effecting such change.

  15. Paul Anderson August 16, 2011 / 2:04 pm

    Dr. Robinson,

    Granted the “scholarly” majority is on the side of the reasoned eclectic position at this time as you and I both know. However, I am more optimistic for the future at least for the general public. Any new manuscript discoveries (being scraps probably mixed text at best) will only continue to isolate the neo-Hortian reasoned eclectic position as a theory long in need of reexamination.

    With the limited number of manuscripts they have for holding their basis for any further textual research there can only be a renewed interest in the Byzantine mss. of the NT. For example, what is left more or less for the VMR is only Byzantine mss. to be added. This will be coupled by the increasing acceptance and popularity of the Byzantine/Majority text position in the general populace in the West. So, again I beg to differ with your and Bill Brown’s more skeptical opinion for any change in the status quo.

    In Christ,

    Paul Anderson
    President-CSPMT
    http://www.cspmt.org

  16. Walter August 18, 2011 / 5:38 pm

    I am not readily familiar with the current community of scholarship with the eclectic position, but I am familiar with intellectual scholarship in general, and when a group like this gets dug in then the strongest kind of group-think takes over. Opposing views are dismissed out of hand with an almost condescending attitude. So yes the possibility of overtaking the eclectic position among scholars, seminaries, etc. is very unlikely in this generation.

    However, in my opinion, that is not where the “action” is, and it is not where they focus should be. Let me give you a very lay perspective on this to help you understand how someone views this debate who hasn’t jumped into all the particulars of textual criticism. When one sees a footnote about how a certain rendering is supported by the “oldest and best” manuscripts then you automatically think that rendering is more reliable. If however you had the added knowledge that these “oldest and best” manuscripts only constituted about 5% of the manuscripts available, are internally inconsistent, and two of the main ones are surrounded by suspicion then it casts it in a different light. Then if this same person hears that the alternative rendering is supported by 95% of current manuscripts, and it is supported by evidence in quotations and early Christian material that can be dated back to at least the time of the supposed “oldest and best” with some dating even earlier then that changes everything.

    I’ve read a little big about distribution models and the speculation on both sides as to why certain families of manuscripts are predominant or not predominant, but I can tell you that it is much easier to wrap your head and common sense around how the 95% became the 95% versus how the 5% is supposedly more reliable but is only 5%.

    Then there is the internal evidence and the various readings which just make more sense in the Majority Text (may elaborate further from a lay perspective on some of these passages in a different post).

    What I’m saying is the general Christian audience should be your target. Trust me when I tell you that they would soak this up like a sponge.

    You should probably take into consideration another level of the general Christian population who knows absolutely nothing about this whole area and assumes that ALL version and translations come from the same manuscript and what differences there are in various translations are just a difference in the preference of those doing the translating.

    Ideally I’d like to see an English version of the Majority Text with a discussion at the end about Textual Criticism where the basic arguments are put forth and some particular Scriptures and the available evidence is discussed.

    More later………

    • MWicks August 19, 2011 / 12:09 am

      There is something close to that Walter. There’s an English version of the Majority Text called the Analytical-Literal Translation (New Testament) translated by Gary Zeolla. The New Testament is quite literal and somewhat like an amplified Bible, making it helpful for Bible study, though awkward for congregational reading. While he does not discuss Textual Criticism extensively in the New Testament, he wrote a separate book called Differences Between Bible Versions. The book about versions is written from a Majority Text point of view and is written in language that a layperson can grasp. Notwithstanding a few spellings errors (in Differences Between Bible Versions) I like this book, because it was personally influential in helping me to see some of the mistakes of the typical KJVO position. (In case you are wondering, I have yet to find a spelling error in the 3rd edition of the New Testament.)

  17. Walter August 21, 2011 / 4:13 am

    MWick, THANKS for the recommendation. After taking a look at his site I downloaded the book for my Kindle, and have been reading it since. I’m almost done, and I’ll have some comments and questions when I’m finished.

    So far I’ll say it is exactly what I’ve been looking for as far as a primer on the subject of Textual Criticism. I have some other knowledge in various areas, but this helped fill in some gaps I had on certain questions. Also I have been looking for something on the KJV vs. the NKJV, and of course in his book he has a whole section on this that I found very helpful.

    I’m probably going to have a lot of questions, but one that comes to mind that is somewhat related to the book is that the author recommends the MKJV as a faithful rendering of the TR without the archaic language. The MKJV was translated by Jay P. Green. It would seem that KJVO’s could not have a problem with any of his work like they do the NKJV since it doesn’t do anything but update the language. So how do the KJVO feel about the MKJV?

    I was able to download (for free) the MKJV and the LITV which is a literal translation also from Jay P Green for my E-Sword program so I’m thrilled about that. I also have the EMTV which is based on the Majority Text.

    Gary Zeolla is really down on the Amplified because it is based on the CT and he feels it takes too many liberties. He still hasn’t talked me out of using it though. While I have a strong view in favor of the Majority Text I have really enjoyed the Amplified through the years. It has brought a lot of concepts to the forefront for me that I would not have seen unless I was using an Interlinear. It does take a few liberties in places, but most of the time these seem harmless, and only on a very few occasions have I seen them as unhelpful or misleading. And while it is based on the CT, it seems to give both the MT and CT rendering with 2/3 of the variants.

    By the way I also purchased Gary Zeolla’s ALT Translation and his Study Guide for my Kindle. I think all 3 items were around $12 so that’s not bad at all. You can generally get things for the Kindle much cheaper, and you can read them both on any PC and your Kindle.

    Well, back to more reading……………………….

    • MWicks August 21, 2011 / 6:24 pm

      You are welcome Walter.

      “So how do the KJVO feel about the MKJV?”

      To answer your question, most King James only people are exactly that–King James only, so the MKJV would be treated with suspicion or worse. A few King James only people would consider it important to have more than a preliminary understanding of Greek. These people would be open to an interlinear of the Textus Receptus, which is essentially what the printed version of LITV is. I recommend LITV over the MKJV on e-sword, though the current printed (non-interlinear) edition of Jay P. Green’s translation work is called KJ3.

  18. Walter August 22, 2011 / 5:00 am

    I downloaded the LITV as well. I just wish Gary Zeolla’s ALT3 was available for E-Sword. His Kindle version doesn’t navigate very well.

    I would find it interesting that KJO’s would view Jay P. Green with suspicion since he seems to be so solidly in favor of the TR.

  19. redgreen5 August 24, 2011 / 1:07 am

    Walter

    “The MKJV was translated by Jay P. Green. It would seem that KJVO’s could not have a problem with any of his work like they do the NKJV since it doesn’t do anything but update the language. So how do the KJVO feel about the MKJV?”

    The MKJV does far more than simply update the language. It’s Jay Green’s attempt to bring out highlights in the original Hebrew and Greek – things that he believed even the original KJV missed. And whether accidentally or intentionally, Green also translated his MKJV with a particular Calvinist flavor to it. Zeolla notes several of these instances. He (Zeolla) indicates that even though he himself is also a Calvinist, he believes that Green went too far by imprinting his own doctrinal biases onto his translation.

  20. Walter August 24, 2011 / 1:30 am

    redgreen5,

    That’s not something I was aware of. Do you have a link to a resource where Gary Zeolla lists these references. As a Calvinist myself I’d like to compare the passages that were thought to be mistranslated to an interlinear and see what I find out.

    • redgreen5 August 25, 2011 / 12:35 am

      I should have been more careful – or else better tutored in Calvinism. What Zeolla points out are several places where Green lets his doctrinal position get in the way. Whether that doctrinal position is Calvinism or not, is something for debate.

      For example:

      Matt 14:27
      John 19:29
      1 Tim 6:20
      2 Tim 1:14

      It’s more a case of allowing one’s doctrinal positions to “bleed over” into the translation, as opposed to letting the text speak for itself, and building your doctrinal positions off of whatever the text is telling you.

  21. Walter August 24, 2011 / 2:31 am

    After looking through Gary Zeolla’s site he says the only place where he saw any change from a Calvinistic viewpoint was Heb. 2:9 where Jay Green has “…tasted death for every [son]”

    Gary Zeolla points out that the word son is in brackets so you know it is for clarification and was not in the original. The Greek word apparently is just “every” but since that is awkward to read you have various attempts to clarify it. I do agree with Mr. Zeolla that the best thing to do would be to translate it as “all” and leave it up to the reader to determine the context. In my view this one verse is a very minor change and by itself would not warrant a charge of someone trying to write their theology into an interpretation.

    • redgreen5 August 25, 2011 / 12:42 am

      Sorry – just another point to circle this back to the beginning: my goal in posting was to demonstrate that Jay Green’s MKJV was not merely updating the text of the KJV — which I believe was your statement earlier — but Green was engaged an active effort to correct the KJV and bring out nuances that he felt were not even present in its text.

  22. Walter August 24, 2011 / 4:16 am

    Follow-up Correction:

    Just checked my MKJV version just recently downloaded for E-Sword, and it appears Jay Green changed his rendering of Hebrews 2:9 to match Mr. Zeolla’s suggestion.

    It reads:

    Heb 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor, that He by the grace of God should taste death for all.

    I’m aware it has been some years since Mr. Green passed, but apparently he made this change before that time. The pages on Gary Zeolla’s site appear to be quite old so that would explain some of the outdated comments.

    • MWicks August 24, 2011 / 2:31 pm

      I think KJVO people who think TR=KJV 100%, double-inspiration people, KJV must used to be saved: these people are not interested in any other translation. Even the older English Bibles (i.e. Geneva, Tyndale) are ignored.

      However, TR-only people who are willing to admit that TR is not exactly the same as the KJV are somewhat willing to admit that the usefulness of fresh translation. The NKJV is uncomfortable for them because the textual footnotes bring up MT and CT variants, which they reject. A translation like MKJV, which gives less credance to the CT, is accepted by a few TR-only people.

      The thing that one must always remember about a translation done by one person is that, however good it is, it tends to be more idiosycratic (sp?). I think it is when someone like Mr. Zeolla has spent the time to make suggestions to Mr. Green, thus benefitting the translation process and accuracy.

      Meanwhile, the textual footnotes of the NKJV are helpful for people who believe that the longer ending of Mark 16 is authentic, for people who like a TR translation but want to be aware when another translations’ variants are matters of translation or a matter of a textual variant.

  23. MWicks August 24, 2011 / 2:36 pm

    Word omitted (interesting) that Mr. Zeolla and Mr. Green were comparing notes.

  24. Walter August 27, 2011 / 2:50 am

    I would agree that my original statement should be modified to say “The MKJV mostly updates the archaic language, but there are places where Jay Green tries to make the rendering of the verse to be more faithful to the underlying Greek words.”

    Regarding the verses you listed I reference each one below giving the KJV, the MKJV, and then Gary Zeolla’s Analytical Literal Translation Rendering as noted with ALT.

    Matt 14:27

    KJV: But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.

    MKJV: But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, Be of good cheer, I AM! Do not fear.

    ALT: But immediately, Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be taking courage! I Am! Stop fearing!” [cp. Exod 3:14]

    It would appear to me that it could be translated either way depending on the context. Given the fact that Jesus was walking on the water as a testament to his being Lord over the elements it doesn’t seem out of place to translate it as I AM. I wouldn’t quibble with either translation though.

    John 19:29

    KJV: Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.

    MKJV: Then a vessel full of vinegar was set. And they filled a sponge with sour wine and put it upon hyssop, and put it to His mouth.

    ALT: Now a vessel full of wine vinegar [or, sour wine] was sitting [there]. And they, having filled a sponge with wine vinegar and having put [it] around a hyssop [branch], brought [it] to His mouth. [see Psalm 69:21]

    I’m not sure what the objection could be since “sour wine” is a much better rendering of the Greek word translated vinegar when you consider the audience that it is reading it today. (At least that is my opinion.)

    1 Tim 6:20

    KJV: O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:

    MKJV: O Timothy, guard the Deposit, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of falsely-named science,

    ALT: O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you, avoiding the profane [or, worldly] empty babblings and contradictions of the so-called knowledge,

    I think your objection here may be what was in an earlier version of the MKJV where I believe Jay Green had it very similar to Gary Zeolla and used the phrasing “knowledge falsely so called.” Jay Green must have changed it back to “science.” I think knowledge is a better rendering of the Greek word gnosis and is consistent with both Strong’s definition and many Lexicons. Again, especially when you consider the audience reading today.

    2 Tim 1:14

    KJV: That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.

    MKJV: Guard the good Deposit given through the Holy Spirit indwelling in us.

    ALT: Guard the good [thing] entrusted to you through [the] Holy Spirit, the One dwelling in us.

    The only difference I really see here is word order.
    Jay Green also seems to have corrected some verses based on better rendering of Greek Grammar making some Scripture on the Deity of Christ much stronger and more faithful to the Greek.

    Romans 9:5

    KJV: Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

    MKJV: whose are the fathers, and of whom is the Christ according to flesh, He being God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

    ALT: of whom [are] the fathers and out of whom [is] the Christ [or, the Messiah] (the [ancestral descent] according to [the] flesh), the One being over all God blessed into the ages! [fig., forever!] So be it!

    I wouldn’t say the KJV is a wrong translation, but it does kind of obscure the real meaning. Granted it isn’t nowhere near as bad as the RSV (to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ. God who is over all be blessed for ever. Amen.) which places a period after Christ implying that the end of the verse is talking about God the Father, but I think the MKJV (as well as just about all translations whether from the MT or CT) does it better.

    The MKJV is especially better because from what I read a real key to understanding the verse is the word “being” since it is a participle that indicates a continuing though from what was discussed to what follows.

    Titus 2:13

    KJV: Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

    MKJV: looking for the blessed hope, and the appearance of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,

    ALT: waiting for the blessed hope [or, confident expectation] and appearance of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,

    Again, it’s not that I would say the KJV is wrong, but I’d say it is more clear in the MKJV. From what I’ve read the Greek word kai which is translated and when used in this way ALWAYS ties together the two nouns as being the same. And again just about all translations whether based on the CT or MT translate it like the MKJV.

    2 Peter 1:1

    KJV: Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:

    MKJV: Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of our God and our Savior Jesus Christ,

    ALT: Simon Peter, a slave and an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the ones having obtained [or, having been chosen to have] an equally precious faith with us [or, a faith as valuable as ours] by [the] righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ [i.e., one Person is referred to here; cp. the same construction in 1:11; 2:20; 3:2,18]:

    What is interesting here is that Jay Green keeps with the translation in the KJV even though the same grammar rules would apply here as in Titus 2:13. As Gary Zeolla points out the grammatical rendering of “our God and Savior” is the exact same as translated “Lord and Savior.” So why Jay Green didn’t translate it here I’m not sure. If he were still alive I’d venture he’d be open to that change.

    Another interesting caveat is I looked up Romans 9:5, Titus 2:13, and 2 Peter 1:1 in both the Geneva and Bishop’s Bible (which I believe are also based on the TR), and they are closer to the MKJV on Romans 9:5 and 2 Peter 1:1, while being more similar to the KJV in Titus 2:13.

  25. MWicks August 27, 2011 / 12:57 pm

    Thoughtful work, Walter. I’m not sure about what you mean by “today’s audience”, but otherwise, I agree with you.

    You have touched on another interesting point, though. It is translations of NKJV, MKJV, etc. (based on the Textus Receptus) compared with older versions like Geneva, Bishops, etc. that show hypocrisy among some of the KJVO persuasion. I will elaborate: The NKJV is called a “smokescreen” for conspiracy theorists, and the most deceptive, evil translation…. Meanwhile, when the NKJV translates something different than the KJV (i.e. NKJV Acts 12:4 has “passover” instead of KJV’s “Easter”; “passover” also in the Geneva Bible), the KJVO people will call this proof that NKJV is a corrupt perversion, yet they refuse to call the Geneva Bible a corrupt perversion.

  26. Walter August 28, 2011 / 3:16 am

    What I mean by ‘today’s audience” is those reading the Bible in 2011 as opposed to those reading in 1611. For those reading today “sour wine” has more meaning than “vinegar” and conjures a more accurate image of what was being offered to Jesus. Also when most today see the word “science” they think of someone in a Chem lab playing with different concoctions of chemicals in test tubes. “Falsely called knowledge” makes more sense to the reader today because it conveys the thought that those who think they actually “know” something really don’t. The world is full of those who consider themselves to be intellectuals who are actually fools because they deny Christ and his Word.

  27. redgreen5 August 29, 2011 / 12:42 am

    Hi,

    Just a few notes about three items above:

    [Matt 14:27]

    Green’s especially peculiar translation here – as Zeolla notes – creates a situation that every occurrence of eigo eimi becomes a declaration of Divinity. That’s a rather far-fetched claim. Zeolla also provides the counter-example of John 9:9, where eigo eimi is used by someone besides Christ, and the meaning is clearly “It is I”.

    [John 19:29]

    Green’s objection is not against the KJV; it’s against the NKJV. The NKJV translates this as follows:

    29 Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth.

    Green that he believes that translating this as “sour wine” puts the lie to what Christ said at the Last Supper:

    29 But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”

    The problem, of course, is that vinegar is precisely sour wine; in fact, the word “vinegar” comes from two French words “vin” and “aigre” which mean “wine” and “sour”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posca

    So I’m not sure that inserting vinegar as the translation here actually rescues Green from what he sees as the problem, since both wine and its sour cousin vinegar are “fruit of the vine”.

    [1 Tim 6:20]

    My objection here – and what Zeolla notes – is that Green has decided to translate “that which is committed to thy trust” as being the Holy Spirit, and thus he capitalizes it. Green has allowed his view that this is an oblique reference to the Holy Spirit, instead of just translating the Greek in a straightforward manner. Paul could have been talking about the Holy Spirit – but he could have also been talking about the holy faith – an interpretation that makes more sense, given what the next sentence says “avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge—”. By the Greek here, a word that means “a deposit, a trust” Paul could have meant the uncorrupted testimony, or Timothy’s appointment (role, function) in the young church, etc. But out of all these possible options, Green has decided that it’s a reference to the Holy Spirit, and signals that point of view by capitalizing Deposit.

  28. Jim September 7, 2011 / 8:09 am

    I thought people here might like to know that Mr. Snapp has posted three additional videos at youtube on this issue. They center on the patristic evidence supporting the traditional ending of Mark and I think they are really excellent.

    Jim

    • MWicks September 7, 2011 / 11:47 am

      Thanks Jim!

  29. Walter May 20, 2012 / 10:28 pm

    Just got around to watching all these videos. Has there been any response from McArther or any other noted CT advocate to Mr. Snapp’s videos?

    These were excellent videos that I believe are very thorough and convincing.

  30. James Snapp, Jr. April 7, 2013 / 9:42 pm

    Bob and Walter,

    Bob: Well, since the floor is still open after all this time: You mentioned that evidence for the abrupt ending includes, according to Philip W. Comfort, the following:

    304, Hesychius, & Eusebian canons.

    However:
    Eusebian Canons, yes.
    304: not granted.
    Hesychius: I deny this. Hesychius’ comment is about 16:7, not 16:8.

    Walter:
    MacArthur has not responded to me. This Easter (2013) he preached a sermon on Mk. 16:1-8 and declared verses 9-20 non-original. He said last year at the Shepherds Conference that verses 9-20 “shouldn’t be there.” I think that further discussion with him would be futile. The best strategy may be to make his false statements as famous as possible, so that the damage they do in the future will be minimized.

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.

  31. Hugh McCann April 18, 2013 / 1:03 am

    I note that Mr Snapp has also answered Alistair Begg on the ending of Mark: http://www.truthforlife.org/resources/sermon/unusual-ending/#disqus_thread

    I heard MacArthur @ the 2012 Shepherds Conf. What a miserable way to start a preaching conference – telling us that the text is not really God’s word!

    Even the NIV, NASB, & ESV include the verses their editors don’t like… Maybe they were fearful of dropping them?

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