Mark 16:16-18: An Alternative -- By: James F. Myers

Journal: Chafer Theological Seminary Journal
Volume: CTSJ 007:1 (Jan 2001)
Article: Mark 16:16-18: An Alternative
Author: James F. Myers

Mark 16:16-18: An Alternative

James F. Myers*

[*Editor's note: Jim Myers earned his B.A. at the University of Houston and also studied at the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago and the Baptist Seminary in Little Rock, AR. He has planted and pastored churches in Arkansas and New Mexico. Since the break-up of the former Soviet Union, Jim has been evangelizing, planting churches, and teaching Bible and Theology in numerous seminaries and Bible Institutes in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. He heads up JFM Ministries, whose primary purpose is to train national Christian leaders in the former Soviet Bloc countries. His e-mail address is [email protected]]


Advocates of baptismal regeneration and the continuation of sign gifts for the post-apostolic church often turn to Mark 16:16–18 as a proof text.

He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.1

Those opposed to these two doctrines often: (1) dispute the authenticity of this proof text as a later addition by an editor, not Mark,2 or (2). ignore contextual data in interpreting Mark 16:16–18, thereby, missing it’s thrust. Regarding the latter, the most common approach is to deny the necessity of baptismal regeneration based upon the passage’s structure,3 and to dismiss the continuation of sign gifts by citing dispensational distinctives. A simpler and more accurate approach emphasizes context. This article presents an alternative interpretation of Mark 16:16–18 based upon these contextual features of Mark 16.4

Disbelieving the Resurrection
(Mark 16:1-14)

On the day of Jesus’ resurrection, His scattered disciples were hiding. Privately they mourned, weeping because they did not believe Jesus’ predictions that He would rise from the dead. As the hours passed, they continued to doubt that their Lord had risen from the tomb, despite eyewitness testimony.

The Women (Mark 16:1–8)

Early on the third day after the crucifixion, Mary M...

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