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«Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation? Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation? Even though baptism is one of the fundamental building blocks of ...»

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The Greek never used the aorist participle for subsequent action. "The aorist participle may suggest simultaneous action.... or antecedent action.... The Aorist participle never gives subsequent action.... No such example has ever been found (Robertson).

It is interesting that Mr. Robertson does not believe that baptism is necessary for salvation because of his theology, yet he understood the Greek grammar of the text demands it.

The aorist participle... is antecedent to the time of the main verb, or sometimes coincidental with the time of the main verb (Mare).

–  –  –

Whether we examine the grammar of this text from the English or the Greek, we can see that both belief and baptism are necessary before a person can be saved.

Those who do not believe baptism is necessary do not like verse 16. So, they use two basic arguments to explain away the simplicity of it. Let’s examine the first one. They say the second part of verse 16 shows that baptism is not necessary because it only says if a person does not believe, he will be condemned. Since Jesus did not include baptism in this statement, it means baptism is not necessary for salvation.

This is a desperate argument that does not have any merit because Jesus’ last statement cannot negate what He just said.

We can see this from the example used earlier. The announcer said: “If you will drive down to the Toyota dealership and be baptized you will receive a new car. If you do not drive down you will miss out on a new car.” All the announcer had to say was: “If you do not drive down, then you will not get a new car.” Everyone can understand that if a person does not drive down there, he is not going to get baptized.

We have the same situation with what Jesus said because if a person will not believe, he is not going to be baptized. So, that is all Jesus had to say. In fact, if a person does not believe, he will never do anything God has asked him to do, which is why Jesus said: “…he who does not believe is condemned already…” (Jn. 3:18). No matter how hard someone tries to change the simplicity of Jesus’ words in our verse, it cannot be done.

Guy N. Woods said:

This verse specifically declared that baptism is a part of God’s plan to save today. Only as we yield our wills to the Lord, and only when we comply with His conditions are we promised pardon. Baptism, to a penitent believer, stands in relation to salvation as a condition precedent. Every reference to it in the New Testament either asserts or implies this connection.

To appropriate the salvation Jesus offers to man, man must comply with the conditions Jesus announced in this text. All the human ingenuity that can be brought to bear on this passage can never make it say and mean that he that believeth and is not baptized shall be saved (Woods, Question and Answers).

Since verse 16 cannot be explained away, their second argument is that this verse does not belong in the Bible. In fact, some scholars teach that verses 9 – 20 do not belong in the Gospel of Mark because they believe they were added at a later date, which would be a great argument for their side. If they can prove these verses do not belong there, then they do not have to worry about what it says.

Let’s examine the most common arguments people use to justify removing verses 9 – 20. The most popular argument is found in many of our Bible versions, which comment on these verses in their notes.

ESV – Some manuscripts end the book with 16:8; others include verses 9-20 immediately after verse 8. A few manuscripts insert additional material after verse 14; one Latin manuscript adds after verse 8 the following: But they reported briefly to Peter and those with him all that they had been told. And after this, Jesus himself sent out by means of them, from east to west, the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation.

Other manuscripts include this same wording after verse 8, then continue with verses 9-20.

NRS – Some of the most ancient authorities bring the book to a close at the end of verse

8. One authority concludes the book with the shorter ending; others include the shorter ending and then continue with verses 9-20. In most authorities verses 9-20 follow immediately after verse 8, though in some of these authorities the passage is marked as being doubtful.

NKJ – Vv. 9-20 are bracketed in NU as not in the original text. They are lacking in Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus, although nearly all other mss. of Mark contain them.

NIV – The most reliable early manuscripts and other ancient witnesses do not have Mark 16:9:20.

I could list more notes from other versions that say similar things, but these are enough to show the reason some would teach that these verses do not belong. The NIV and the NRS give the idea that the last twelve verses of Mark are not in the most reliable manuscripts, which is not a fair statement because it is misleading. It is important to understand that we do not have any of the original documents of the Bible from the first century. “The text of the New Testament is derived from three sources: Greek Manuscripts, Ancient Translations and Quotations from the Fathers” (Schaff). There is also another source that I will mention later.

We have approximately 5000 Greek Manuscripts that are copies of the original text, and they vary in age, content, and quality. The older the manuscript the more reliable it is supposed to be because it would be closer to the original date.

However, this is not true in every case because it is possible that a later copy could have been copied from a source that had been copied fewer times than an earlier version. There are basically two types of Greek manuscripts. First, the Uncial manuscripts are dated around the 4th to the 10th century, and they are written in all capital letters. Second, the Minuscule manuscripts are dated around the 9th century and beyond, and they are written in lowercase and make up most of the manuscripts.

Since the Uncial manuscripts are the oldest, let’s look at the five oldest manuscripts.

1. Codex Sinaiticus A (Aleph) – written around the 4th century.

2. Codex Vaticanius (Codex B) – written around the 4th century and is considered to be the most complete even though it does not contain 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Revelation, and part of Hebrews.

3. Codex Alexandrinus (Codex A) – written around the 5th century.

4. Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus (Codex C) – written around the 5th century.

5. Codex Bezae (Codex D) – written around the 6th century and only contains the Gospels and the book of Acts.

These first two manuscripts are what the NIV and NRS are calling the most ancient and reliable documents. It is true that neither one of these manuscripts contain the last twelve verses of Mark. However, Codex Vaticanius has a blank spot at the end of verse 8 that is big enough for the rest of the verses to be written. “Even the UBS Handbook admits that this suggests ‘That the copyist of B knew of an ending but did not have it in the manuscript he was copying’” (Clarke 625).

The reason the statements of the NIV and NRS are misleading is because Codex A and C are only about 50 years later than these first two, and Codex D is around 100 years later.

They are just as reliable as these first two, and all of them contain the last twelve verses of Mark. Out of these five oldest manuscripts, three contain the long ending. In fact, most of the manuscripts contain the long ending. Regarding the manuscripts that do not include the long ending, B.J. Clarke wrote: “Thomas proceeds to list the Greek manuscripts which end at Mark. 16:8: ‘Aleph, B, 304 (2386 and 1420 have a page missing at this point)” (620). Notice the contrast. Only a few manuscripts stop at verse 8 compared to the hundreds of them that include these verses. The evidence from these manuscripts alone proves the long ending of Mark belongs there.

What about those two oldest manuscripts? Since they do not have the long ending, should we exclude those verses even though most of the other ones have it? The answer is no for

several reasons. First, consider what Guy N. Woods said:

Moreover, a little known fact is that included in the Sinaitic manuscript are apocryphal books with portions of Tobit, Ecclesiasticus, and other non-canonical writing. If the omission of Mark 16:9-20 from this document proves the passage to be spurious, does the inclusion of these apocryphal portions establish their reliability? (Woods, Gospel Advocate).

Mr. Woods is correct. If we are going to single out these two older manuscripts as our authority to remove the long ending of Mark, then we need to add these other apocryphal books to our Bibles. We also need to realize there are more verses that are missing from these two oldest manuscripts. B.J

Clarke observed that:

John 21:25 does not appear in either of these MSS. Does the NIV therefore separate this passage from the rest of John and provide an ominous explanatory note about its absence from the two most ancient manuscripts? No!

… Why? Because although John 21:25 is not found in Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus, it is found in the overwhelming number of other manuscripts available to us, and therefore has more than adequate attestation as a part of the New Testament text. The same thing is true about Mark 16:9-20 (625).

Here are a few more verses that are missing from either both or one of these two older manuscripts: Mark 1:1; Luke 6:1;

22:43; 23:34; John 9:38, 19:33-34; Ephesians 1:1; 1 & 2 Timothy; Titus; Hebrews 9:15 and the whole book of Revelation.

Knowing these facts teaches us that we should base our conclusion on what the majority of the evidence says and not just two manuscripts.

Another important point is there are documents that are older than these two manuscripts that have the long ending of Mark. They come from our two other sources: ancient translations and quotations from the fathers. Again Mr.

Woods writes:

It should be observed that when it is said:

“two of the oldest manuscripts of the New Testament omit it,” this is far from being the same as saying the oldest copies of the New Testament are without it. These manuscripts are documents containing the text of New Testament Greek. The versions are translations into the language then in current use (Woods, Gospel Advocate).

He also said:

The Old Syriac translation appeared and was in use in the shadow of the apostolic age – within the lifetime of many early Christians who could and did know John the apostle personally. Mark 16:9-20 is in this translation.

Is also appears in the Ethiopic, Egyptian, Old Italic, Sahidic, and Coptic translations appearing soon after the end of the first century, all much older than the two Greek manuscripts omitting it, evidencing the fact that the manuscript or manuscripts from which they were made all contained the segment. Two hundred years before the Vatican and Sinaitic manuscripts were copied, it was in the Scriptures then being used (Woods, Gospel Advocate).

Even though these are earlier writings that were translated into other languages, they came from the original Greek.

Since they include the long ending of Mark, they prove it belongs there. Since the general rule is the closer a document is to the first century the more reliable it is, then these translations should be considered just as or more reliable than the Vatican and Sinaitic manuscripts.

Finally, the quotes from the early church fathers add more proof that Mark’s long ending belongs there. It has been said that the entire New Testament except for eleven verses could be reconstructed from the writing of the early church fathers.

They quoted verses from the long ending of Mark, and here

is a list of the ones that do:

Second century:

• Irenaeus

• Papias

• Justin Martyr

Third century:

• Hyppolytus

• Celsus

Fourth century:

• Aphreates

• Cyril of Jerusalem

• Ephipanus

• Ambrose

• Chrysostom

• Augustine Out all these early church fathers Irenaeus is the most significant because he was a pupil of Polycarp who was a companion to the apostles and a pupil of John. So, writing around A.D. 180 he confirmed the long ending of Mark.

Earlier, I mentioned there was another source. That source comes from Lectionaries. These were manuscripts containing selected passages of Scriptures that would be read in pubic worship services. There are around 2000 of them with some of them possibly dating to the 4th century or earlier. Burgon said: “All the twelve verses in dispute are found in every known copy of the venerable Lectionary of the East” (Burgon).

All the evidence I have provided proves the long ending of Mark should be there, and no other arguments can disprove it. For instance, some argue that the style and many of the words in the last 12 verses are different then the rest of Mark’s account.

B.J. Clarke notes:

–  –  –

…none of our critics have thought it worthwhile to mention this fact, if they have noticed it, much less have they raised a doubt in regard to the genuineness of this passage.

Doubtless many other examples of the same kind could be found in the New Testament;

but these are amply sufficient to show that the argument, which we are considering is but a shallow sophism.

McGarvey also pointed out that the change of subject matter at the end justified the use of different words. Further, he noted that though some of the words in 16:9-20 were not used in their simple forms in the Gospel, they were nonetheless constantly used in composition with prepositions (644).

Others have claimed that Eusebius (A.D. 330) and Jerome (A.D. 420) said that the long ending did not belong there.

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