by Jerry Vines

The Ending of the Gospel
Mark 16:9-20
If you have a new translation of the Bible, probably at these particular
verses, there is a note in your margin. Probably that note will say that the
verses which we read this morning are not found in the oldest manuscripts.
When the Bible was first written, when the New Testament was first put down in
print, it was written upon manuscripts made of papyrus. From these
manuscripts, the original manuscripst, copies were made and then translations
were made of those. There is a study which is known as the textual criticism
which goes into these matters of the original manuscripts and the translations
from the manuscripts. The purpose of textual criticism is to help us find as
best we are able to discover exactly what the New Testament writers had to
say. This is indeed a very formidable task. There are presently over 5,000
manuscripts of ancient copies of our New Testament. The role of the textual
critic is to take all of these manuscripts, compare them one with another and
determine what is the best text for your New Testament. Let me just say to
you, by the way, that the study of textual criticism has probably done as much
as any other discipline to give us confidence in the accuracy and integrity of
the New Testament text as any other study. You can be confident that the Bible
you hold in your hand is an accurate representation of what was originally
written. But, we do not have the original documents as they were written, we
can be confident that we have the original text as God, the Holy Spirit, gave
it to spirit inspired men. In the course of the textual criticism, we try to
discover what the original writers had to say, and move back as far as we can
to the original manuscripts. When you come to the gospel on Mark and you get
to these last nine verses of the book, in the oldest manuscript which we have,
these particular verses are not found. On the basis of that, there are some
who believe thes ...

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