When a Verse Goes Missing

This one is just so you can join me in saying, “Whoa.”

Maybe it’s old news to you. Just humor me for a sec . . .

In my incredibly slow, intricate study of the book of Mark {eight months down, eight months to go}, I spent several weeks reading chapter seven repeatedly.

Then someone asked, “Where is verse 16?”

Stop and look up Mark 7:16.

*inserting a random picture of scissors so you won’t read ahead*

verse 16

*waiting, because, yes, this little game works better when you actually look up Mark 7:16*

In most translations, you’ll find this:

14 And he called the people to him again and said to him, “Hear me, all of you, and understand:
15 There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.”
17 And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable.

Where is verse 16?

In most translations, there is no Mark 7:16. Why? Because the verse does not appear in the earliest manuscripts, so most translators left it out. {And in case you wonder if there are other “missing verses,” look up Mark 9:44, 9:46, 11:26, & 15:28, for starters.}

How dare they cut out part of Scripture!

Well, what if it’s not part of Scripture? – and some translations include it! I shudder just as much at that possibility. But that’s a discussion for another day . . .

For now, we’ll stick with this reminder: Translators are human, and God is sovereign.

The English Bible we hold in our hands contains the perfect truth and wisdom of God organized and translated imperfectly. Inspired men recorded the very words of God. Uninspired men made it readable and accessible to us.

We can’t be sure if Mark 7:16 should be included or not, but we can be sure that God has given us his Word just as we need it. And through our weakness and imperfections, our gracious God provides a way for us to see his perfect beauty all the more . . . so that even a “missing verse” brings us to our knees in worship and awe.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence. 2 Pet 1:3

 [image credit: pixabay.com]

33 thoughts on “When a Verse Goes Missing

  1. Oh, how I love this truth!
    You would love a book that I’m reading right now by John Piper – A Peculiar Glory – because it talks about the canon and the means by which we know that the Word is truly the Word of God.
    Thanks for your clinging to truth!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh my goodness, Lydia! I had no clue! Thank you so much for helping me to put that into perspective: I love the part about the imperfections driving us to our knees in worship and adoration. Blessings to you and have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There is so much to be aware of and learn from in the scriptures, Lydia. I appreciate your searching out the truth.
    It is true there are several places in the Bible where words or whole sentences were added that were NOT in the original. Such as 1 John 5:7. Christ has a fearful warning for those who add to or take away from His word. (Rev. 22:18-19)


    1. I have never heard about 1 John 5:7 being added. How did you learn that?
      The difficulty is, some of the earliest manuscripts include verses that others do not include. So translators are stuck making a decision about which manuscripts to follow. Tricky stuff!


      1. I learned this from the footnotes of the New King James Bible. The NU (Alexandrian and Greek) Text and the M (Majority) text omit the words from …in heaven (verse 7) all the way through to…on earth (verse 8). Amazing, isn’t it? So the verse actually reads: “For there are three that bear witness: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.


  4. I had noticed in my reading before that some verses were missing. Like you said, we can’t really be sure if they should or shouldn’t be there but God does give us His word just as we need it. Thanks for sharing at #LMMLinkup!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think it is Ps. 119 that says “the sum of your words is truth.” The details are too. But we see people take parts out of context. So even in these disputes over whether a verse belongs, I take it, the sum of what is said is true whether it is included or not! I’m analytical too. Enjoyed your post.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I wonder if God allows little things like this to make sure our trust and worship is in Him and not a worship of the Bible.
    I was saved after highschool, so I had to wrestle with things like this about God’s word. I came to the conclusion that I ultimately had to trust God about it. It’s His word, He’s in charge, and He a whole lot bigger than the people who handle His word.
    The Bible is the inspired word of God, the truth, and it’s the most precious book on earth; but it’s purpose is to help us know God and to lead us to God. It’s not designed to be a rock in and of itself. (Haha, I hope that makes sense! xD)

    Fascinating post! I liked reading your thoughts!
    God Bless,

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I think it is so interesting to learn about the canon of scripture. In no way does it undermine God’s Word. I did a little about this when I studied my masters in religion, but not enough. Time to go and do some more learning, I think.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This post was fascinating!!

    When I did a search on Bible Gateway of Mark 7:16, the predominant verse listed was, “If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” With just two showing the words you shared for the verse, are not similar at all. {And this was before I had went on to read the information you shared that this is actually a “missing verse”.} I wasn’t aware of “missing verses” before.

    I liked the insight that you shared, “The English Bible we hold in our hands contains the perfect truth and wisdom of God organized and translated imperfectly. Inspired men recorded the very words of God. Uninspired men made it readable and accessible to us.”

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I never knew this! Thanks for sharing such a great post with #SocialButterflySunday! Hope to see you link up again this week 🙂


      1. Just saw your reply Lydia. Please read my post or page “Street Smart Bible Version” at my website-streetsmartwords.com. And of course there is so much more information on this subject that you can discover at other websites.


        1. Interesting. I still don’t see how we can possibly know that the KJV translators included all the verses, and other translations didn’t. What if KJV translators added verses that don’t belong, and other translations chose not to add such verses, being cautious not to create a Bible of their own making. Your post doesn’t really answer that question. And I think we don’t have an answer. We won’t know if these verses belong or not. Unless I’ve forgotten about a passage of Scripture that clearly says they do.

          Hope that clarifies my question. Thanks for the input.


    1. My question is, how do you know those verses are omitted? It seems you are presuming that they are. Whereas, I would have to see clearly from Scripture that they are.
      And how do you know God wants us to have an answer to this question? Please explain using Scripture.


  10. Matthew 5:18
    For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
    Proverbs 30:5
    Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Most of the changes to the Greek text have come from two incomplete manuscripts, Vaticanus (stored in the Vatican!) and Siniaticus. The two disagree with each other in a vast number of places, yet they are held up as being of great value in textual criticism, even when the vast majority of manuscripts give a reading that’s in line with the Textual Receptus.

    Modern textual criticism is basically “Higher Criticism” – which did so much damage to the church in the late 19th century.


  12. When it comes to the manuscript sources, oldest is not necessarily best. Older manuscripts often are ones that have survived because they were rejected – faithful copies would have been highly prized (and scarce – hand copying wasn’t a rapid process!) and worn out through intensive usage.


  13. As for the Nestlé-Aland Greek New Testament, which underlies most modern versions…… there are several serious issues.
    1. Kurt Aland cast doubt on, and denied, the authorship and inspiration of several New Testament books.
    2. Another member of the committee behind that text was Carlo Martini – a Jesuit, whose job description is the subversion of Protestantism!
    3. The text is approved by the Vatican, and, we’re told, is a “working” text that is not final and authoritative.
    4. Many of the changes remove evidence of Jesus’ Deity, or dishonour Him in other ways (in one instance, making Him appear to have told a lie).

    (Apologies for so many messages – should have been one long one, but I couldn’t get it to post. Something to do with links I had, I think…)


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