Baptism and Mark 16:16


Baptism and Mark 16:16




"He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned," (Mark 16:16).

This verse is frequently used by baptismal regenerationists to show that baptism is necessary for salvation. It says he who believes and is baptized will be saved. Therefore, they conclude that baptism is a necessary part of becoming saved. But, does this verse prove that baptism is necessary for salvation? Not at all.


Mark 16:16 does not say that baptism is a requirement for salvation. Let me show you why. I could easily say that he who believes and goes to church will be saved. That is true. But it is belief that saves, not belief and going to church. Likewise, if you believe and read your Bible, you'll be saved. But it isn't reading your Bible that saves you. Rather, belief in Christ, in His sacrifice, is what saves. As I've stated in other papers on this subject, there are numerous verses that clearly demonstrate that justification is by faith (Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:8; Phil. 3:9; etc.). Belief in what God has done, not what man can do, is what results in salvation. Baptism is simply a public demonstration of the inner work of regeneration. This is why the rest of the verse says, "...but he who does not believe will be condemned," Mark 16:16 focuses on the issue of belief, not baptism.


A textual issue with Mark 16:9-20


What I will share here may not be very popular with some readers. Therefore, I need to say upfront that I believe in the absolute inspiration and authority of the Bible. It is the word of God and what it says is authoritative. However, the simple fact is that there are textual variations within the biblical manuscripts. The originals are what are inspired, not the copies. We have copies of inspired documents. These copies are not perfect, but they are very close to it.


Again, I am not saying the Bible is untrustworthy. It is 98.5% textually pure. The remaining 1.5% of textual variation are almost entirely of insignificant spelling errors and minor word omissions or additions that do not change the meaning of the text. However, Mark 16:9-20 is a significant textual variant. Many scholars, Christian scholars, consider the ending of Mark to lack authenticity. Please consider the following evidence.


1.Manuscript attestation
  •  Mark 16:9-20 doesn't appear in many of the oldest ancient manuscripts. "The last twelve verses of Mark (16:9-20) are lacking in the two earliest parchment codices, B and Aleph, in the Old Latin manuscript k,, the Sinaitic Syriac, many manuscripts of the Old Armenian version, the Adysh and Opiza manuscripts of the Old Georgian version, and a number of manuscripts of the Ethiopic version. Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Ammonius show no knowledge of the existence of these verses; other Church Fathers state that the section is absent from Greek copies of Mark known to them (e.g. Jerome, Epist. cxx. 3, ad hedibiam,)... The original form of the Eusebian sections makes no provision for numbering sections after 16:8. Not a few manuscripts which contain the passage have scholia stating that older Greek copies lack it (so, for example, MSS. 1, 20,22, &c.), and in other witnesses the passage is marked with asterisks or obeli, the conventional sigla used by scribes to indicate a spurious addition to a literary document."
2.There is another ending to Mark.
  • Another ending is found in L, Psi, 099, 0112, and minuscules 274mg 579, k, Syrh and more is as follows:  "But they reported briefly to Peter and those with him all that 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."
3.Apparent, theological error.
  • Mark 16:12 says, "And after that, He appeared in a different form to two of them, while they were walking along on their way to the country." This verse may be problematic. Jesus rose in the same body in which he died (John 2:19), though it was a glorified body. This is problematic because it suggests "a different form." Jesus did not appear in a different form. He appeared in the same body in which he rose. This is a significant problem and seems to support the idea that this section of scripture is spurious, a later addition, or a possible attempt to recount a lost section of the gospel.
4.Vocabulary usage.
  • There are 17 non-marcan words used in a non-marcan sense in these verses. In other words, in the last 11 verses under discussion there are 17 "new" words that don't occur in the entire gospel of Mark. It appears that someone wrote the ending of Mark and added it to the gospel because the style is different and the vocabulary is different.
This information about the ending of Mark is not intended to cast doubt upon God's word. But the fact is that the ending is under a large cloud of doubt as to its authenticity. I would not use it as a defense for baptismal regeneration.


It appears that the ending of Mark may have been lost and someone rewrote it and attached it to a copy at sometime. It is possible that the ending under question was never there to begin with.

8 comments:

mlculwell said...

Matt Slick is dealing with Baptismal regenerationist's.
Those Who Baptize In Jesus name are not "baptismal regenerationist."

The name Jesus literally spoken over the repentant believer remits the sin and regenerates the believer.

Belief alone does not save if the belief is dead by not going on to the Grace(God has given ie. through preaching, calling believing, Repentance, baptism in Jesus name and being filled with the Holy Ghost) God has given through the new birth.

(Notice) *belief the way the Reformed teach * does not get you the Holy Ghost. Paul asked the question in (Acts 19:2) Have you received the holy Ghost since you believed? The reformed say it is fact the scriptures say the very opposite by Paul asking this question! You must believe and cal the way the scriptures teach you to cal and believe( John 17:20,Romans 10:14-17)

The Apostles were able to remit believer's sins. (John 20:23) The Reformed do not believe this fact and try and hide this passage from you with a bunch of nonsense argumentation that skew truth.

They were not Just willy nilly able to remit sins, but through Baptism in Jesus name alone.(Luke 24:47,Acts 2:38,8:16,10:47,19:1-6)

The Reformed have taken letters to believers in established churches where folks already believed and were Baptized and mistaken belief as a mental nod toward salvation apart from the grace of God through preaching, Baptism in Jesus name where they have taken the truth of God and changed it into a lie.

Lloyd said...

Mlculwell -

I want to thank you for your visit and expressing your own personal religious belief. As you can see by the other posts on my blog that I do not have the same idea of who God is as you do. I visited your blog and read several of your posts. I came to the conclusion that your religious belief is of the "Oneness" or perhaps the "Oneness Pentecostal" denomination. This tells me that you do not believe in the "Trinity" which is an essential doctrine of the Christian faith.

I have to disagree with you regarding your opinion on what Matt Slick has to say regarding water baptism. However, in the love of our Lord Jesus I respect your right to believe in whatever religion you choose to believe in. I noticed that you used John 1:1 in the heading of your blog. It is interesting how you can interpret this verse to mean that the trinity does not exist.

Here is my own personal take of what the Holy Spirit leads me to believe in this verse:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)"

In the beginning: Genesis 1:1 starts with the moment of creation and moves forward to the creation of humanity. John 1:1 starts with creation and contemplates eternity past. The fact that the Word was with God suggests a face-to-face relationship. In the ancient world, it was important that persons of equal station be on the same level, or face-to-face, when sitting across from one another. Thus the word with indicates a personal relationship, but also implies equal status. The Word, Jesus Christ Himself, is an active Person in communication with the Father (see 1 John 1:2). Moreover, the Word was God. The word order in Greek shows that the Word was “God,” not “a god.” This is a straightforward declaration of Christ’s deity, since John uses Word to refer to Jesus. The Word was of the very quality of God, while still retaining His personal distinction from the Father.

Word Focus - the Word - (Gk. ho logos) (1:1; 1 John 1:1; Rev. 19:13) G3056: This Greek word was used to speak of the principle of the universe, even the creative energy that generated the universe. The term logos may also have some connection with the Old Testament presentation of Wisdom as a personification or attribute of God (see Prov. 8). In both the Jewish conception and the Greek, the Logos was associated with the idea of beginnings—the world began through the origination and instrumentality of the Word (Gen. 1:3). John may have had these ideas in mind, but more likely he used this word in a new way to identify the Son of God as divine. He is the image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15), the express image of God’s substance (Heb. 1:3). In the Godhead, the Son functions as the Revealer of God and is God in reality.

I have listed the following verses that are often used to demonstrate that the doctrine of the Trinity is indeed biblical: Matt. 28:19, 1 Cor. 12:4-6, 2 Cor. 13:14, Eph. 4:4-7, 1 Pet. 1:2, Jude 20-21.

Thank you again my friend for your visit and it is my prayer that the Spirit of God will convict you of the truth of what He has to say. God bless, Lloyd

mlculwell said...


Thanks Lloyd But no Thanks! I will address your errors as well as Slicks on my Blog. The trinity does not exist in scripture and there-fore is a sin to teach it. It is as simple as that. You cannot say I am in error for not teaching your invented tradition of man.

Ken Callahan said...

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. This infers the trinity - the equality of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. For to us a child is born,to us a son is given;and the government shall be upon his shoulder,and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Jesus is called "Everlasting" Father. Attests to deity of Christ, He is God. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. Again - Holy Spirit is God. The word trinity is not in the Bible, but the trinity is definitely inferred.

mlculwell said...

No such thing as a trinity in scripture it is on the same level and sin as the worship of Mary and Popery. All three false doctrines do not exist in scripture bu trinitarains will kill you over those false doctrines. Notice Ken has no idea what he is talking about? There is no equality f anything being inferred in Mark 16:16 anywhere? The Only thing he is correct about is that Jesus is the everlasting father according to his divinity!Again Nothing is inferred about a trinity.

kcbalto said...

Mlculwell is way off base. To whom was Jesus referring to when he said "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.… Again, you baptize essentially in the name of the Father,Son, and Holy Spirit/Ghost. The Holy Spirit is a person. I have graduated from a Bible College and I have studied this extensively. Mlculwell can't accept the Trinity because the word "trinity" is not found in the Bible. What are your academic credentials Mlculwell? Apparently, John MacArthur, the greatest Bible commentator of our time disagrees with Mlculwell also. Therefore, I guess MacArthur has no idea what he is talking about either. I am honored to be in MacArthur's camp of theological thought. What about Mark 3:29 - But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin. Who do we blaspheme? We blaspheme against God. But, Jesus said one must not blaspheme the Holy Spirit, therefore - the Holy Spirit must be God. We cannot deny the distinct Personhood of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The word "Trinity" is used as a descriptor. The Deity of the Father. Son, and Holy Spirit is most definitely alluded to in Scripture. "Popery" and "Mariology" is not alluded to in scripture, yet the Deity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is. To equate the doctrine of the Trinity with that of "Popery" and Mariology" shows that Mlculwell doesn't know what he is talking about. The comparison is nothing less than ludicrous.

mlculwell said...



KCB, Actually it is you that is way off base, and I will show you why.

Kc,You run rough-shod over the passage you submitted and contradicted yourself very badly.

The man(Jesus) prays to his Father(God) that was both in heaven and in him doing the works and miracles(John 14:10) because the man could not do any miracles.(John 5:30)Do have anything that is hard for Oneness to answer? No not really. Jesus was the first comforter in the flesh and would be the another comforter n the spirit.

Jesus says I(Jesus) will not leave you comfortless I(Jesus) will come to you.(As the Spirit)

The Spirit is another name for God as he deals with mankind in his work of regeneration the spirit is not another person of God!
God is Spirit(John 4:24) Which God? God is Holy.(Psalm 99:9 1st.Peter 1:15)Which God? God himself is the Holy Spirit as he deals with his own creation!

2nd. Cor.3:17 says Now the Lord(Jesus) is that spirit! This passage refutes trinity doctrine in every way. It suggests the Lord(Jesus) was not always the spirit. He was made a life giving Spirit.(2nd Cor 15:45) Not because God at one time did not exist but because the man did not exist until he was born of a virgin.

Well my credentials are that I have studied the scriptures with no bias for a doctrine that does not exist in scripture since the 1980's; as you have for going to a bias Bible college that helped input a lot of false information into your head. I am fifty years old and am still going to college. My studies are in the Medical field and am learning Arabic at this time because my hopes are to break all the misinformation about a polytheistic God that your side has given to the Muslim community about God. I was Married at a young age and did not have the opportunity to go to college, and my mother in law was my inspiration when she told me the story of her going to college and getting her four year degree after fifty.

I really could care less about John McArthur teaching false doctrine and calling it truth and you agreeing with him anymore than general MCarthur teaching false doctrine. I am simply going to tell truth that your bunch does not!

When it comes to God he does not know what is talking abut if he is saying God is three persons it contradicts scripture.

I fail to see you have any point against what I believe by giving such a weak argument against the biblical truth of the Oneness of God! Yes blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is Blasphemy against God!

By the way, why Could you be forgiven for blaspheming the son of man and not the Holy Ghost?(Matth.12:31-32) HMmmm? I will give you a hint. There is a distinction being made here that the trinity bunch does not make and therefor this passage will confuse you!

It does not allude to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, it strongly proclaims that truth! What it does not proclaim is you false doctrine of three persons of God or a trinity in any way, shape, or form!

The Deity you confuse of those three titles of God for your false doctrine of three persons of God are not found in scripture just like Maryology and Popery are not found! Yes Jesus is God but he is God in flesh! That is what you confuse. You mishmash his genuine humanity for another person of God and then take God's title Holy Spirit and make yet another person of God. You trins are really easy to refute with this.

The comparison is spot and on and it is the same exact sin to teach the false doctrine of three persons of God just like it is of Popery and Maryology!

Mlculwell,

Lloyd Cannaday said...

mlculwell & Kcbalto -- As much as I enjoy your comments on my blog, it has come to a point that you are both just repeating what has already been said. Therefore, I will not be publishing anymore of your comments unless it covers new territory. If you would like to continue your debate please email each other. God's blessings to both of you. Lloyd