Regarding Mark 16:9-20: To my knowledge, most biblical scholars agree that the last 12 verses of the Gospel of Mark were added at a later date in order to give a more coherent finish to a seemingly abrupt gospel ending.

My question:

Are the last 12 verses of Mark an addition to the original manuscript, and if so, does this cast doubt upon the claim that the Bible is the inspired and infallible word of God?

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    Welcome to the site. Not a bad first question, but it does border on the not constructive. Not because it's a potential monkey-wrench for believers, but because as it's phrased, it seems to be asking for "Truth" rather than a more academic understanding of some aspect of Christianity. I think it falls within the guidelines, and is very good for a first question, but it's close. I'd recommend checking the FAQ and possibly meta.christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/1379/… Commented Dec 19, 2012 at 5:32
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    – user900
    Commented Dec 19, 2012 at 9:36
  • @H3br3wHamm3r81 - I'm pretty sure you could turn that into a vrey good answer to this question, from a different angle than the one I came at it from. :-) Commented Dec 19, 2012 at 13:06
  • Can I just point out that the term "plausible deniability" means being able to deny something and have people believe you. It is not in any way related to truth. Did you mean to ask about truth? Commented Dec 19, 2012 at 17:23
  • @David Stratton, perhaps. But, I'm short of time, and hopefully the link will give an answer without me having to write a lengthy response. For those who are interested, at least.
    – user900
    Commented Dec 19, 2012 at 20:07

2 Answers 2


Short answer, no. Not at all.

It would count as plausible deniability to the straw-man definition of "the inspired and infallible word of God", but only to the false straw-man understanding.

The problem is that, almost no denomination believes that inspiration and infallibility are attributed to modern versions/translations of Scripture. Inspiration and infallibility are attributed only to the original manuscripts, as recorded by the original authors. We have always allowed for the possibility of copyist errors, mistakes, etc. This is explained in great detail here: From a Fundamentalist standpoint, what does the phrase "Inspired, infallible, inerrant Word of God" mean?

(That is from a Fundamentalist perspective, but most denominations and traditions agree that infallibility and inerrancy are only attributed to the original manuscripts.)

This does leave the question of "If the current versions could contain mistakes, how do we know that we can depend on them? How do we know they haven't changed over time so much that they can no longer be trusted?" That's also an answered question: What is "Manuscript Evidence" and how is it useful?


No, absolutely not at all

It is well-known that the Bible was not written down as a single chunk, intended from the start to be taken as infallible. The process by which those writings were declared to be Scripture took hundreds of years, and the addition of the last twelve verses of Mark certainly predate that. So at the point where the canon of scripture was defined, those twelve verses were in Mark.

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