Original Research

Pentecostal hermeneutical reconsideration of the longer ending of Mark 16:9–20

Marius Nel
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 41, No 1 | a2089 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v41i1.2089 | © 2020 Marius Nel | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 March 2020 | Published: 28 September 2020

About the author(s)

Marius Nel, Unit for Reformational Theology and the Development of the SA Society, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa


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Abstract

Many scholars accept that Mark 16:9–20 is a late addition to the gospel of Mark based on the testimony of the manuscript tradition and internal evidence. Within early Pentecostalism, Mark 16:9–20 influenced pentecostal practice and proclamation to an inordinate extent, with ‘these signs shall follow’ (v. 17) serving at the same time as a wake-up call to worldwide mission and a litmus test for the authenticity of early pentecostal experience. Most early Pentecostals used Mark 16:9–20 without giving any consideration to its originality; however, some reacted to the scholarly debate about the longer ending by discussing its relevance in terms of its canonical inclusion and value. The article discusses these canonical considerations to answer the question: If it is accepted that the passage was not part of the original manuscript, what are the implications of it being used extensively throughout the history of the church as a part of the canon, and specifically in terms of its value and prevalent use in pentecostal practice?

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This article is intradisciplinary by touching issues concerning New Testament studies, hermeneutics and church history. Mark 16:9–20 is by scholarly consensus seen as a late addition to the gospel; however, Pentecostal churches have been and still are influenced by the text. If it is viewed as canonical, it calls for another way of thinking about Scripture.


Keywords

traditional ending; longer ending; pentecostal hermeneutics; manuscript evidence; internal evidence; Mark 16:9–20; canonical considerations

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