By: S.L.A. © 2016 DawahMaterials.com
A very distinct belief of Christians today about the resurrection of Jesus, was not found in the most ancient manuscripts. The passage in question is Mark 16:9-20, which you can read below in a screenshot taken from Biblegateway.com. Many Bible versions end at passage 8, and provide the note, others do not. As you can see in the NIV Bible, as well as many other Bible versions, you will see a note stating it was not found in the ancient manuscripts, similar to this example below. Versions such as the KJV however, never mention it.
The extended passage of 9-20 is provided along with the note as seen here:
Asbury’s Bible Commentary provided on the same website for this passage reads:
Even the Bible commentators state that it probably ended at verse 8, but let’s look at the section that is highlighted in green. In the green section, Asbury states that a later scribe possibly added it to make it match the stories of Matthew, Luke, and John’s accounts of this story.
It is a well-known fact that there is debate amongst Bible scholars about which gospel is the oldest, and which took from the other. Let’s see what they have to say about this and how it points more to this being a corruption in the Bible.
According to CARM, the Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry, author Matt Slick, an ordained minister, holding his Masters of Divinity from Westminster Theological Seminary, in his article titled When were the gospels written and by whom? [i], explains when the gospels were written, as well as other interesting details that need to be take into account. I will be providing excerpts of what he said about each gospel below in blue text. The bold, underline, highlights, and black text is my own.
Matthew: (estimated between 50 - 70 A.D.)
“The early church unanimously held that the gospel of Matthew was the first written gospel and was penned by the apostle of the same name (Matt. 10:2-4). Lately, the priority of Matthew as the first written gospel has come under suspicion with Mark being considered by many to be the first written gospel. The debate is far from over.
The historian Papias mentions that the gospel of Matthew was originally in Aramaic or Hebrew and attributes the gospel to Matthew the apostle.
“"Irenaeus (ca. a.d. 180) continued Papias’s views about Matthew and Mark and added his belief that Luke, the follower of Paul, put down in a book the gospel preached by that apostle, and that John, the Beloved Disciple, published his Gospel while residing in Asia. By the time of Irenaeus, Acts was also linked with Luke, the companion of Paul."”
This would mean that if Matthew did write in Aramaic originally, that he may have used Mark as a map, adding and clarifying certain events as he remembered them. But, this is not known for sure.
The earliest quotation of Matthew is found in Ignatius who died around 115 A.D. Therefore, Matthew was in circulation well before Ignatius came on the scene. The various dates most widely held as possible writing dates of the Gospel are between A.D. 40 - 140. But Ignatius died around 115 A.D. and he quoted Matthew. Therefore Matthew had to be written before he died. Nevertheless, it is generally believed that Matthew was written before A.D. 70 and as early as A.D. 50.”
Now, if we agree with Irenaeus and Papias, that it was written in Aramaic originally, then we have to accept it was not the first, and taken from Mark and ‘added things’. Now, having that in mind, let’s see what he says about Mark.
Mark: (estimated between 55 - 70 A.D.)
“Mark was not an eyewitness to the events of Jesus' life. He was a disciple of Peter and undoubtedly it was Peter who informed Mark of the life of Christ and guided him in writing the Gospel known by his name. "Papias claimed that Mark, the Evangelist, who had never heard Christ, was the interpreter of Peter, and that he carefully gave an account of everything he remembered from the preaching of Peter." Generally, Mark is said to be the earliest gospel with an authorship of between A.D. 55 to A.D. 70.”
Origen Adamantius, one of the early Christian theologian Bible scholars, wrote on textual criticism and biblical exegesis in Greek. He said that the Gospel of Peter agreed with the Gospel According to the Hebrews and that they were widely circulated throughout the early Church.[ii]
We must take note that in the early days of Christianity, there were many divisions already existing, and believing various conflicting things, and the teachings of Peter were one of many various teachings. Peter was an apostle, with first-hand accounts, yet the gospel attributed to him, was rejected and was determined to not have been written by Peter. It is not included in the canonical gospels and considered apocryphal, accepted primarily amongst the Gnostic Christians.
The Gospel of Peter shouldn’t be confused with 1st Peter and 2nd Peter, which are found in today’s Bibles. However, while the 1st is accepted by scholars to actually belong to Peter, the 2nd Peter has had much controversy over the centuries as to who the actual author of it is. Despite the uncertainty though, you will find it in the Bible, accepted as divinely inspired, even when the identity of the author and their credibility is left unknown.
Some argue that Peter used a secretary to write a polished text for 1st Peter, and that he wrote 2nd Peter himself, showing the rugged fisherman way of speaking that was un-refined, as a possible indication of why they vary so drastically in style and wordings, hence causing doubts of authorship of it. However, authorship of 2nd Peter to be Peter is ruled out because it was written after the death of Peter…so why is it attributed to him and included in the Bible? Can anyone just write whatever, and say it was authored by another, and get it included into the Bible can labeled ‘divinely inspired’? Really?
In regards to Mark, how can anyone say that Mark was ‘divinely inspired’ when he was not an eye-witness for Jesus, having never met nor heard Jesus himself, and is merely telling his own accounts based on what he had heard from Peter?
Is such a central story about Jesus not worth Peter to tell to Mark? Wouldn’t that be included? You would surely think so, but it simply isn’t. Who has the right to just go adding complete sections to a chapter written by another in this gospel as if it was there to start with? Remember, Mark is considered the oldest by most, so the others took accounts from Mark, so where did this ‘extended’ version originate from? This is a clear example of Bible alteration, presenting the reader with stories that were not told by that writer, as if they had been.
Luke: (assumed before 62 A.D)
“Luke was not an eyewitness of the life of Christ. He was a companion of Paul who also was not an eyewitness of Christ's life. But, both had ample opportunity to meet the disciples who knew Christ and learn the facts not only from them, but from others in the area. Some might consider this damaging to the validity of the gospel, but quite the contrary. Luke was a gentile convert to Christianity who was interested in the facts. He obviously had interviewed the eyewitnesses and written the Gospel account as well as Acts.”
Here we see that Luke also, was not inspired, nor a witness, and companion was Paul, who also was not a witness, nor inspired. Slick states that he “obviously had interviewed the eyewitnesses”, however; the passage in the image below doesn’t state that, it is just an assumption.
It doesn’t state what exactly he investigated, nor whom he spoke to. He could have easily just taken his information of accounts from Paul. In Acts 1:1-3, also written by Luke, he refers back to his gospel (Luke 1:3) as shown below, where we see his clarification about his source of knowledge, or non-mention of source actually, very clearly, and he still doesn’t say ‘how’ or ‘where’ or ‘whom’ he took the information from that he carefully investigated.
John (estimated 80-90s A.D.)
“The writer of the gospel of John was obviously an eyewitness of the events of Christ's life since he speaks from a perspective of having been there during many of the events of Jesus' ministry and displays a good knowledge of Israeli geography and customs.
The John Rylands papyrus fragment 52 of John's gospel dated in the year 125-135 contains portions of John 18, verses 31-33,37-38. This fragment was found in Egypt. It is the last of the gospels and appears to have been written in the 80's to 90's. Most scholars say it was written in the early 90's. This means that the time span between the original writing of John and its earliest copy (fragment) is approximately 35-45 years.”
So, based on the information above, John is the only one of the four that is claimed to be an eyewitness account of anything, written by that eyewitness, yet it is the later most written gospel attributed to be written in the 80s or 90s A.D.
Now for an interesting twist regarding John and Peter, that demonstrates another problem in the Bible.
Peter and John were both considered to be illiterate, according to Acts!
Acts 4:13, as shown below from four different popular Bible versions compared side by side, clearly states it:
Critics may argue “but not all of them say illiterate, so it can be just a variation on translations”; However, if we go back to the Greek scripture, the word in question is “agrammatoi”, which literally means ‘unlettered,’ that is, ‘illiterate.’ Here is a screenshot of the Greek text from BibleHub with the word highlighted in blue.
Then if you check within the same site, the Thayer’s Greek Lexicon dismisses the claim of poor translation as the blame.
Questions to keep in mind are:
So, what is true?
Assuming we go with the notion Peter was illiterate, this would possibly explain why Mark wrote from the stories of Peter, but still, there is the question of 1st and 2nd Peter. We can pass off 1st Peter has having been wrote via a secretary for Peter, but not 2nd Peter, so was he literate or not, because Luke said he wasn’t.
If we go with the notion that John was literate, then that means Luke is a liar saying that he wasn’t. It also would make Luke definitely not inspired by God, as explained earlier, posing a different problem entirely in the Bible.
If we go with the notion that John was illiterate, then that means the Gospel according to John is not authored by him, leaving authorship unknown, and dubious. How can we take something where the author is unknown, and call is something true and ‘divinely inspired’, much less ‘word of God’? So, either way, there is a problem existing as you see.
I will leave it for you to decide which corrupted view you want to believe or not believe, because either way, it is proven to be a problem regardless…
In my next article, which will basically be a continuation of part 4; I will supplement the story of the resurrection, by explaining with proofs, how the story of the ‘Empty Tomb’ is filled with lots of flaws, due to each of the 4 gospel’s account the story contradicting the other on all the details surrounding it.
You can read parts 1-3 of this series, which are linked below under the recommended reading section.
Related Recommended Reading:
Other Recommended Reading:
[ii] Walter Richard Cassels, Supernatural Religion - An Inquiry Into the Reality of Divine Revelation, Read Books, 2010. Vol. 1, p. 419-422.