Tag Archives: Mark

James Snapp versus John MacArthur

David Robert Palmer’s response to James Snapp’s document: “Snapp-MACARTHUR-BAD-ENDING-Dec-2023.doc” which Snapp sent to him personally and asked him to read.  I read it, January 27, 2024, and made this document in response.  The paper is about MacArthur’s beliefs about Mark 16:9-20 versus Snapp’s beliefs. I made a PDF of Snapp’s document and you can download that PDF here.  The title of Snapp’s document in the Word properties window is “JOHN MACARTHUR LIAR.”

p. 5, Snapp wrote: “If John is going to say that the Holy Spirit preserved the Scripture in its pure state through all history, how can he turn around and reject these twelve verses?”

Palmer: For textual criticism reasons, like any other variant.  Not everything preserved by the bishops and scribes is scripture.

p. 6, Snapp wrote: “John, you can’t have it both ways:  either the Holy Spirit kept the Scriptures in a pure state, or else the Holy Spirit allowed thousands and thousands of manuscripts in Greek, Latin, Syriac, and Ethiopic were contaminated by twelve verses that the Holy Spirit did not want to be in the text of the Gospel of Mark.”

Palmer: These two options stated by Snapp are no different than in the situation of any other textual variant.  Yes, clearly the Holy Spirit did allow the scriptures to be contaminated, that’s why we have textual variants, and textual critics trying to ascertain the authorial texts.  The Holy Spirit also allowed religious leaders to set aside the Word of God in order to set up their own traditions of men. We do not need to take heed to that kind of men.

p. 6, Snapp wrote: ” Once the premise is accepted that the Holy Spirit has providentially preserved the purity of Scripture for the church in all ages,”

Palmer: I imagine MacArthur’s view of this is the same as mine: The Holy Spirit did preserve the pure text of Mark 16 in Codices Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, plus in all the other manuscripts in any era and any age, which did not include the Longer Ending of Mark.  REMEMBER, there were dark ages when the regular people had no access to any written form of the word of God at all, but that was the fault of the type of high-church “bishops” whom Snapp trusts to have preserved the Word of God for us!

p. 9 Snapp wrote: “and you will see that over 99.9% of these manuscripts support including Mark 16:9-20.”

Palmer: That is, 99.9% of all currently existing manuscripts.  But as MacArthur knows, Eusebius indicates that the majority of manuscripts in his day did not contain the Longer Ending of Mark.  And in the 5th century, Victor of Antioch says that was still the case, that most manuscripts did not have it, and he and his colleagues set about the task of adding the Longer Ending of Mark to the manuscripts.  Snapp knows this, or should know.

Snapp next rebuts some minor points of MacArthur that do not pertain to Mark in particular, so I will skip ahead.

p. 13, Snapp clarifies what “oldest manuscripts mean” and says the Dead Sea Scrolls are older, etc.  Well this is not relevant because we all know MacArthur meant the oldest manuscripts which contain the whole gospel of Mark.

p. 21, Snapp disagrees with MacArthur’s claim that one can reconstruct the entire NT text from quotations of the Fathers.  I don’t have an opinion on that.

p. 24, Snapp addresses preservation again, and my response would be the same as previously.

p. 25, Snapp asks “Did generation after generation of Vulgate-readers use a “bad ending”?  Did all the Greek-speaking Orthodox believers, gathering annually on Ascension-day, read 12 verses that the Holy Spirit did not want them to read?”

Palmer: I don’t know MacArthur’s answer to that, but my answer is “Yes.”  The “high church” denominations like the Roman Catholic church have many things that were added by the traditions of men, by “bishops” who granted themselves unwarranted authority, which I reject.

p. 25, Snapp:  Did the Reformers develop doctrine based on this passage that they never should have used? 

Palmer: I don’t know that the reformers based doctrine on the LE of Mark, but if they did, they should not have.

p. 37, Snapp says MacArthur says Irenaeus, Justin Martyr and Tatian showed knowledge of other endings.  Snapp says they did not.

Palmer: I do not know what MacArthur is basing his statement upon.  I don’t know that Snapp knows either, but Snapp proceeds to affirm that those men believed that the Longer Ending was scripture.  I cannot imagine that those men were unaware that there were manuscripts of Mark that did not have the Longer Ending.  I do not believe that they were unaware.  Since Eusebius and Victor were aware of this, why would the others not be aware of it.

Snapp ends his document by giving a long list of scholars and pastors and text books that state opinions about the evidence for this textual variant.  My impression is that Snapp is giving them as examples of misinformation.  But Snapp fails to say which fact from these quotations are in error according to him, and therefore which facts John MacArthur should not also be stating.  So this long section was really not helpful.

p. 42, Snapp says “Finally:  REPENT.  Stop spreading falsehoods about the ending of Mark.  If you need to become better-informed about Mark 16:9-20, I offer to you, and to each of the elders of Grace Community Church, a copy of my book, Authentic:  The Case for Mark 16:9-20 (Fourth Edition).”

Palmer: I do not think that anything MacArthur said warrants this level of rebuke.  He interprets the historical evidence differently than Snapp does, and granted might have made a few very minor mistakes based on outdated information, since he is quite advanced in age and had his training many decades ago.  But those are very minor and do not warrant this level of rebuke.

p. 92, Snapp says: “Be careful of what you say, John, lest on the day of judgment you come to a “bad ending.”  REPENT   and trust the word of God.  NOW

Palmer: To demand that John MacArthur “trust the Word of God” is ignoring the very point of controversy, that is, whether Mark 16:9-20 is the word of God.  I do not believe Mark 16:9-20 is the word of God, and I take it that MacArthur does not believe it is the word of God.  If anyone is in danger, I think it is the person who ADDED 16:9-20 to the word of God.  I agree with MacArthur that Mark 16:9-20 is a bad ending.  See my translation of Mark for my main reasons: https://bibletranslation.ws/trans/mark.pdf  

Snapp takes a lot of space giving places where church fathers quoted the Longer Ending of Mark as scripture.  This is not what is in dispute.  The question is, “should they have quoted Mark 16:9-20 as scripture?”  The answer is no.  I say that Snapp and others are in denial about the evidence found in the writings of Eusebius, Victor of Antioch, etc. that most manuscripts at that time did not contain the Longer Ending of Mark.  In view of that evidence, those church fathers should not have made any strong doctrinal assertions based on a passage that was clearly disputed.  Nor should we today.  I know, Snapp will respond that Eusebius could not know what all the manuscripts of Mark in the world said.  True enough, but he quoted people who said that most manuscripts did not have the LE, and he did not correct them on that.  It was apparently common knowledge.

I also want to say that John MacArthur is to be commended for not closing his church during “Covid.”  On the day of Judgment, I believe most pastors in America will have cause to be ashamed that they let a mayor or governor or president use false authority to get them to close their churches.  This latter is relevant because it is also a question of authority true authority versus false authority.  We must have spiritual discernment from God in order to discern truth from error.

This document by Palmer can be downloaded as a PDF here. https://bibletranslation.ws/down/Palmer-Response-to-Snapp-RE-MacArthur.pdf
One of the sermons given by John MacArthur, containing the points which Snapp rebuts, is found in this 12 year old video by John MacArthur entitled “The Fitting End to Mark’s Gospel (Mark 16:9-20)” here: https://youtu.be/NmudwnVPQ7A
The document by Snapp here. https://bibletranslation.ws/down/Snapp-MACARTHUR-BAD-ENDING-Dec-2023.pdf
David Robert Palmer’s translation of the gospel of Mark with a long endnote discussing Mark 16:9-20: https://bibletranslation.ws/trans/mark.pdf

Mark’s Gospel 2nd Edition ECM-NA29

Gospel of Mark, 2nd Editions are uploaded.  I have updated my editions of Mark’s gospel to reflect the Editio Critica Major (ECM) data in my footnotes about textual variants.  I also made a few changes to my translation and endnotes. Thus my footnotes give the readings of the ECM, like this one for Mark 9:29:

9:29 txt προσευχῇ καὶ νηστείᾳ “prayer and fasting” ℵ² A C* D E F G H K L N W X Δ (τῇ νηστείᾳ) Θ Π Σ Φ Ψ ƒ¹ ƒ¹³ 28 33 118 157 180 205 565 579 597 700 892 1006 1009 1010 1071* 1079 1195 1216 1230 1241 1242 1243 1253 1292 1342 1344 1365 1424 1505 1546 1646 2148 2174 𝔐 Lect it-a,aur,b,c,d,f,ff²,i,l,q,r¹ vg syr-h cop-sa,bo goth geo2 slav Diatessarona,p Basil TR RP TH ECM= νηστείᾳ καὶ προσευχῇ “fasting and prayer” (cf. I Cor. 7:5) syr-s,p,pal cop-boms arm eth προσευχῇ “prayer” ℵ* B 0274 it-k geo¹ Clement SBL ECM= lac 𝔓⁴⁵ P 067 0233.

Note that there are two readings that are supported by ECM=.  The = sign means that the ECM editors give it a “split primary line” or, that they consider those two readings of equal weight.

Unfortunately, there was an error in my first edition of Mark.  In the verse above, I had failed to change the English text in that I failed to add “and fasting” to the English translation.  This is now corrected in both the electronic and printed versions.  And as I said above, there are also a few changes in the translation and in the endnotes.

The printed Robinson-Pierpont 2nd edition of Mark may be purchased here.  And its Kindle version. The Eclectic Gospel of Mark printed 2nd edition may be purchased here. The PDF of of Mark may be downloaded here.

Mark 15 verse 30 variant

As I am making a Robinson-Pierpont edition of Mark’s gospel, I am adding many more textual variant footnotes to all my Mark documents. Some of the data you will not find anywhere else, such as the readings for some variants not footnoted in the NA28 or others, and for manuscripts not collated yet for those variants. For example, the majuscules / uncials 059, 083, 0233 and 0250.

Here is a new footnote on a variant in Mark 15:30. It is not a big difference in meaning, but I am footnoting most of the meaningful differences between the NA28 and the Byzantine text stream. In Mark 15:30, the NA28 text says “Save yourself by coming down from the cross.” The Byzantine says “Save yourself and come down from the cross.”

 txt καταβας ℵ B D L 059vid 083 it-k,l,n vg cop-bo SBL TH NA28 {\} και καταβα A C Σ it-d,ff² TR RP και και καταβα E και καταβηθι P 0233vid  lac N W 0184 0250.  The papyrus 059 is damaged here, but it looks like there is not room enough for the longer Byzantine reading, and it looks like there is a C (sigma) before the visible ΑΠΟ. Below is an image of 059, with the variant being in the middle of the second line. You can download my latest edition of Mark here.

Typos in Mark?

My son Jacob sent me a list of what he thought might be typos in my translation of Mark:

2:16 – “Torah scholars of the Pharisees” instead of “Torah scholars and the Pharisees”

This is a Greek textual variant between the Nestle/Aland, United Bible Societies’ text, versus the Textus Receptus.  The text as I have it is referring to the Torah scholars belonging to the sect of the Pharisees; there were Torah scholars belonging to other sects as well.  This is not the only place we find this variant; it is in other passages and other gospels too.

2:23 – The heading is “Man Over the Sabbath”. I was wondering if you meant “Lord Over the Sabbath”?

Well, I have it purposely ambiguous, because not only is there a man who is Lord over the Sabbath, Jesus Christ, but also it means man is more important than the Sabbath.  Judaism made the Sabbath the most important thing in the Jewish universe, far more important than people, or any other part of the Torah, even more important than an actual walk with God.

5:35 – “Why inconvenience the teacher any farther?” Farther is used for physical distances. If it is figurative, it should be further. I think it’s a stretch to call it a physical distance.

Yes, further is for abstracts, and farther is for physical distance, but in fact, if you look at it, physical distance is actually what is being talking about.  Jesus had not yet traveled all the way to him, so they are saying, why make Jesus come all the way.  Why make the Rabbi go even farther out of his way.  I do remember thinking about that a long time when I translated it. Maybe I will make a footnote about it.  BTW, people are losing that distinction these days, I have heard even news anchors use the words wrongly.

9:23 – Jesus said to him, “‘If I can’?…” First, shouldn’t the single quote mark be after the question mark? Secondly, why is it necessary, since Jesus is paraphrasing the father?

Yeah, the Greek actually says, quoting the father directly “What is this ‘If you can’ you are saying.”  I’ll have to think about what to do there. But you are right, the quotation marks are not necessary for an indirect quotation.

14:22 – “taking a loaf of bread and blessing” Should there be an it after blessing to indicate that the bread was being blessed?

Here, the Greek word for blessing is also the Greek word often used to mean “giving thanks,” or “praising.”  Jesus was actually blessing God, not the food particularly, but blessing in the sense of praising God for it.  The lesson is, you bless the food by praising God for it. I remember making it deliberately ambiguous so that people would stop and think.  Catholics would have an easier time understanding it, since they use those words more interchangeably than Protestants do.  I guess I should make a footnote explaining it.

Dad

Longer Ending of Mark

The Longer Ending of Mark

The “Longer Ending” of the gospel of Mark was not the majority text, as late as the 5th century.  Victor of Antioch said that the majority of copies of Mark in Antioch in the 5th century lacked Mark 16:9-20. It is deceptive to indicate that the absence of the Mark Longer Ending has scant MS evidence. It would also be deceptive to state that the omission of Mark 16:9-20 is an Egyptian or Alexandrian one. Again, Severus, in Antioch, Syria, and Victor, in Antioch, Syria acknowledged that in the 5th century, the best copies, and even the majority of copies, omitted Mark 16:9-20. This is why I do not care what the number of copies made in the 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th centuries, do include it. Isn’t that reasonable? See my notes in my translation of the Gospel of Mark.

Please share this post about the longer ending of Mark.

Simon the Zealot or Canaanite?

In Mark 3:18 and Matthew 10:4, the the King James Bible has Simon as a Canaanite.  However, in Luke 6:15 and Acts 1:13, the KJV has Simon as a Zealot.  These are not really compatible to be mutually co-existent, since Jesus would not have appointed a Gentile to be one of the Twelve, or one of the names on the twelve foundations of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:14.  In teh Matthew passage, in the very next verse, Matt. 10:5, Jesus tells the twelve not to go down any Gentile road, but to go “only to the lost sheep of Israel.”  Jesus surely would not tell a Gentile that.  Moreover, since the KJV admits that Simon was a zealot, this is also unlikely, that a Gentile would be a Zealot, one of the factions of Judaism.  The earliest manuscripts of Matthew and Mark say Simon was a καναναῖος, which word was derived from the Aramaic word for Zealot.  And the Textus Receptus and the Byzantine text have Simon a Κανανίτης.  Strong’s Concordance for this word, G2581, says this word also is derived from קנּא kan-naw’, “Jealous.” Canaan in Greek consistently starts with the letter Χ :

Canaan (ie., Genesis 13:12) Χανααν; Canaanite: Χαναναίων (Genesis 10:18) Χαναναίους (Genesis 15:21)  And in the NT, for the Canaanite woman, Matt 15:22, Χαναναία

BDAG Lexicon: “Κανανίτης, ου, ὁ man from Cana, Cananite. Acc. to Strabo 14, 5, 14 one of the two Stoics named Athenodorus received this name to distinguish him fr. the other Ath.; ἀπὸ κώμης τινός (Cana near Tarsus) was added. Numerous mss. replace the apparently unintelligible Καναναῖος with this term.” Under Κανά it says the home of, “according to many, also of Simon, Mt 10:4 (s. Καναναῖος). – Heinz Noetzel, Christus und Dionysus ’60. – EDNT.BBHW II 926. M-M.”

The bottom line is that both variants apparently mean the same thing: someone from Cana.  The KJV saying Canaanite is simply rendered incorrectly in English.

I have updated my footnotes on the pertinent passages in Matthew and Mark.  They are linked for downloading.

Most Important Greek Textual Variant

Is This the Most Important Greek Textual Variant?

Revelation 14:9-11 says that if anyone takes the mark of the beast, that person will be tortured in fire and sulphur for ever and ever.

So it is very important not to get the mark. But how will it happen that people take the mark? Will it be forced on them by the beast, or will they give it to themselves / get it for themselves? Because of this question, I think that the textual variant below from Revelation 13:16 is the most important textual variant in the Bible.

In the first set of manuscripts, “they” are giving the mark. In the second set, with the Textus Receptus alone among the editions, “he,” that is, the beast, is giving the mark.

“they” Aleph A C P 046 82 94 141 172 175 181 241 256 367 424 459 469 616 627 792 920 922 986 2059 1611 1678 1732 1778 1828 1854 1862 1888 2019 2020 2026 2028 2048 2067 2070 2080 2081 2138 2256 2349 2351 2436 sahidic WH VS TG RC AT PK NA27 HF RP SBL

“he” 051 2053 2065 2302 2329 2814 TR

Download this chart in the Swanson style for the variant in 78 manuscripts and 11 editions.

Rev. 13:16

KJV: “And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:”

NIV: He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead,

NASB: And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead,

DRP:

DRP: And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free and the slave, to provide themselves a mark on their right upper limb or on their forehead,

Rev. 14:9-11: And another angel, a third one, followed those, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and takes the mark on his forehead or on his hand, he shall himself also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, mixed undiluted in the cup of his anger, and he shall be tormented with fire and sulfur before the holy angels and before the Lamb. And the smoke of their torture goes up for ever and ever, and they have no relief day or night, those who worship the beast and the image of him, and anyone who takes the mark of his name.”

I have received criticism of my rendering of this verse. Here is a copy of some of that discussion, from a discussion board:

Critic: “Surely the unmentioned subject of the plural verb δωσιν does not refer to those included in παντας, but rather is generic, namely, ‘He makes it so that they (generic) should give all a mark on their right hand or forehead,’ hence why most translations simply say ‘receive’ instead of the unnecessarily wooden-literal translation.”

My response:

Rev. 13:16 καὶ ποιεῖ πάντας, τοὺς μικροὺς καὶ τοὺς μεγάλους, καὶ τοὺς πλουσίους καὶ τοὺς πτωχούς, καὶ τοὺς ἐλευθέρους καὶ τοὺς δούλους, ἵνα δῶσιν αὐτοῖς χάραγμα ἐπὶ τῆς χειρὸς αὐτῶν τῆς δεξιᾶς ἢ ἐπὶ τὸ μέτωπον αὐτῶν,

Let me get this straight. You are saying that ποιεῖ, 3rd person singular, should be rendered “He makes it,” where there is no Greek word present for “it.” So you supply an object for the verb. And you are saying that δῶσιν, 3rd person plural, which means “they give,” agrees in grammatical concord with an un-named subject you supply, rather than agrees with the 3rd person plural πάντας, which immediately and naturally follows our verb ποιεῖ.

So, you are supplying both an unwritten object, and an unwritten subject. All in one sentence!
Call me unreasonable, but how is this “surely”? I don’t see anything sure about it.

If you truly honestly believe that that is what the Greek means, then you should write that in your translation, like this, “And he makes it so that they give everyone a mark…” That isn’t so wooden. But literal it certainly is not. That would be very far from literal.

And I want to state, in case some readers don’t know, that the pronoun αὐτοῖς can and often does mean “themselves” as in ἑαυτοῖς. There is a contraction in the Greek of that time for ἑαυτοῖς as follows : αὑτοῖς. Notice the difference between αὐτοῖς and αὑτοῖς? There is a huge difference. The first has a smooth breathing mark, so it means “them,” and the second has a rough breathing mark, so it means “themselves.” Reflexive meaning. But the earliest Greek manuscripts did not necessarily always have breathing marks and punctuation. One of the most common Greek textual variants in Revelation, about which I am very knowledgeable by the way, and won’t apologize for it, is this confusion between αὐτός and αὑτός in the minuscules.

I thus find it easy to defend my rendering of this verse in my translation of Revelation. Your defense on the other hand of “most translations” is a great example of why I do not trust “most translations,” and am doing my own.

To download my translation of the Revelation of John, use this link.

Please share this post about the most important Greek textual variant: