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Bible Questions

In Bible class this morning, we finished up a study on the Gospel of Mark. Mark is an interesting book of the Bible and one I had never really studied before. What did I find out about it?

  • Mark skips the Nativity story and starts right with Jesus getting baptized. Nothing about John the Baptist and his story. Nothing about Jesus’ conception and birth, the Holy Family going to Egypt, Jesus staying behind on a trip to Jerusalem when he was 12 and teaching in the synagogue, and nothing about his first miracle (turning water into wine). He just starts with the start of Jesus’ ministry. Odd.

  • Mark seems to write in a blunt and to the point fashion. No added details. Just the facts.

  • Mark seems to have ended his Gospel rather abruptly. He writes about the resurrection and then mentions the women leaving the tomb and being afraid to tell anyone what they saw. And there he stops.

Or does he? Some later texts seem to suggest that there are actually additional writings of Mark that fills in the rest of the story. But the writing is different than the rest of the Gospel so did Mark write it or didn’t he?

Pastor mentioned that back then the writing was done on scrolls of papyrus, which are very delicate. Not necessarily made for long time use or storage.

So when we were discussing whether or not Mark ended his Gospel with the women leaving the tomb afraid or if there was more, I said that maybe the last scroll was lost and the person who lost it wrote the last part because they felt bad that they had made a mistake. Everyone laughed and thought that was a funny theory but I pointed out that it did make sense.

Since then I have been thinking about it. I think that might have been a bit irreverent. After all, the Bible is the holy word of God. God inspired it and guided people as to what they should write. That was what I have been taught my whole life and what I have believed.

In the last few years I have discovered that other Bibles from other religions have different books added in. The Book of Wisdom, the Gospel according to Mary, etc. Then on Sunday I discovered that the King James version of the Bible doesn’t differentiate between the Gospel of Mark and the last part of the last chapter. It is put together like it was meant to be that way. But the NIV version and The Message Bible does put a note at the end of verse 8 that says that the last part may not have been written by Mark.

I am now confused. Since the Bible is the divine Word of God, why is there this difference? Why do some denominations have added books of the Bible that Lutherans do not? Why is there this discrepancy in the Gospel of Mark? If the differences are due to man making decisions based on politics and personal beliefs, then why did God let this happen? I really don’t understand this.

I have been giving this some thought and I think that this is why Jesus says we should have the faith of a child. Children accept. They believe. They don’t let the foibles of men confuse them.

I guess that is what I should concentrate on. Pure belief. Pure faith. Pure trust. I know the path I must take and I am doing my best to follow God’s will. Everything else is just…not necessary.

Whether or not Mark finished his Gospel himself is irrelevant to my overall faith. Whether or not other denominations have added books of the Bible is irrelevant to my faith. Whether or not other people believe the Bible is the divine word of God is irrelevant to my faith. I believe and I have faith and nothing else matters in the grand scheme of things.

Amen

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