I believe within textual criticism the best method is the critical text. All manuscripts from every period of time should be evaluated and compare old to newer. Closer to the originals the better.
This verse sounds so out of place.
18they will pick up snakes with their hands, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not harm them
People preach tongues and healing but why not this?
Unfortunately, there is a small Pentecostal sect that does misapply one verse out of context. You've probably heard of the snake handling churches. There have always been churches who take verses out of context and plenty of cults will base their primary dogmas upon a small minority of verses wrested out of context. That shouldn't affect the credibility of it's existence though.
There were various times in history when obvious miracles and signs were done by God and shown to multitudes. We look at the time when Moses confronted Pharaoh. There were special miracles to prove that Moses spoke on behalf of the LORD God. God still performs miracles, but He chooses to not perform those particular ones. I asked myself why that is a number of times. I think I know now.
When the Apostles carried out the great commission, there was only the O.T. available. Why should multitudes of people trust anything these Preachers said?
1. They used the Scriptures they had available just as Jesus used....Moses and the prophets. OT.
2. Much like Jesus, they were seeing many healed at their meetings. Israel already had plenty of reasons to believe the teachings of the Messiah/ Christ. They had plenty of reason to believe the teaching of the Apostles too. It did not contradict the OT. Noble churches like those in Berea searched the Scriptures they had to evaluate the truth of the apostles' teaching. With them, it wasn't a matter of needing to see any signs or wonders.
You mentioned verse 18. If the critical text translators and publishers don't believe that verse, should they not be honest and exclude them from their bibles? I think so.
I might be in the minority, but I don't believe that it is an isolated passage: Perhaps because I'm not in the minority. I believe the T.R. as it was not trusting a manuscript or two...(Critical Text.) It used the Majority of texts.. We see that verse to be true in one of Paul's experiences.
There are dozens of examples of God miraculously protecting his people in the O.T. He confirms the end of Mark's gospel in Acts 28:1-11
- And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita.
- 2 And the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold.
- 3 And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand.
- 4 And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live.
- 5 And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm.
- 6 Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.
- 7 In the same quarters were possessions of the chief man of the island, whose name was Publius; who received us, and lodged us three days courteously.
- 8 And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him.
- 9 So when this was done, others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed:
- 10 Who also honoured us with many honours; and when we departed, they laded us with such things as were necessary.
- 11 And after three months we departed in a ship of Alexandria, which had wintered in the isle, whose sign was Castor and Pollux."
This was perhaps a sea snake that took shelter from the storm on the shore as some species are known to do. Drop for drop, sea snakes have some of the most potent venom in the world. Any other time, these people were used to seeing the bite victim die. Paul did not because God miraculously intervened. He used the opportunity to doubtless lead many of these pagans on the island to Christ.
We see the passage at the end of Mark make a lot of sense IMHO. I believe that God still can and often does protect His servants. I've experienced many miracles of healing and protection. I have rough drafts of books filled with those events. If I ever have children, I hope that their faith will be strengthened by the answers to prayers and miracles in those books. However, they won't need miracles to confirm God's Word, because they will be taught the Bible from the start and never turned over to the heathen schools.
Even strangers come to know Christ as their Savior when I witness to them. Why?
The Holy Spirit Who lives within me performs His ministry (John 16:8-11). Also, The gospel
is the power of God unto salvation, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.