Mark 16:9-20

Talks for Growing Christians

The Appearance of the Lord After His Resurrection and His Ascension into Heaven

Mark 16:9-20

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Lesson Number 70

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. The doctrine of inspiration is not compromised if God chose to use more than one inspired writer for a book.
  2. It is unwise to make doctrinal points from Mark 16:9-20.

Practical Application

  1. Let's not be unbelieving believers.


  1. Is there a question about the authenticity of Mark 16:9-20?
  2. What is a favored explanation about these verses?
  3. What is the doctrine of inspiration?
  4. Is the doctrine of inspiration compromised if God chose to use more than one inspired writer for a book of Scripture?
  5. Should doctrinal points be made from Mark 16:9-20?
  6. Is it OK for Christians to handle poisonous snakes, based on the Bible accounts of it?
  7. Can a person be saved even though he is not baptized?


  1. Yes. Mark 16:9-20 may not have been written by Mark. Most Bibles point out this possibility. The reason for this textual question is that some of the manuscripts of Mark do not contain these verses. Manuscripts are hand-written copies of Scripture before the invention of the printing press. We have no originals, but there are over 5,000 New Testament manu- scripts in the Greek language alone. Perhaps the most cogent argument is the literary style in these latter verses differs from the rest of the gospel.
  2. The verses in question may have been written at a later date by another inspired writer.
  3. It holds that God superintended the writers and the writings of Scripture so that the whole Bible is the word of God, right down to the very words used in the original.
  4. No
  5. No. The events in Mark 16:9-20 are not supported by other Scripture. See the next answer for an example of misuse of broad conclusions.
  6. No. It is not OK to build a doctrine about Christian snake handling from this portion of Scripture. What it says is that this is one of the confirming signs that would follow the early Christians if they were compelled to do these things by their persecutors, and God would protect them. There was no intention of building a doctrine whereby Christians would not be harmed if they purposely handled poisonous snakes. Yet, there are cults who parade this "doctrine," and they've had to come up with excuses when they are bitten.
  7. Yes. A person is saved when he puts his trust in the finished work of Christ on the cross. Baptism is an outward sign of identifying with the Lord Jesus in His death, burial and resurrection.


  1. Are you inclined to discredit and disbelieve miraculous accounts of God's working today, or are you apt to believe such reports? We are not to be gullible, but neither are we to be skeptics when good evidence is presented. Try to find the proper, God-honoring response to accounts of God's working in the lives of people.
  2. Are you able to discern appropriate, scripturally based doctrinal points? As a believer, you should be.


  1. The Lord had to rebuke the disciples because of their unbelief. Have you been rebuked by the Lord?

Key Verses

  • "When they heard that He was alive and had been seen, they did not believe." "He who does not believe will be condemned." (Mark 16:11, 16)

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