36 Description of the Hell; Mark 9:43-44

36 Description of the Hell.

Medieval illustration of Hell in the Hortus deliciarum manuscript of Herrad of Landsberg (about 1180) Wikipedia.

In the King James Translation Mark 9:43-44 we read: “And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.”

The words of verse 44 which is repeated in verse 46 is left out in the NIV and most modern translations of the Bible, though it does appear in verse 48.

When a complete verse is missing in the modern translations, we should pay attention and establish the reason. When the same wording is missing two verses further down the line, it is all the more demanding to face the facts and look at the reason for such a difference.
First let us look at the manuscript evidence. Both verses have almost identical evidence. The table is for vs. 44 :

Mark 9:44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

Possibility Left out: Included:
Witnesses Greek: Translations: Church Fathers: Greek: Translations: Church Fathers:
101-200 Diatessaron
201-300 Sahidic Irenaeus
301-400 א, B, W 1 Syriac, Boharic, Fayyumic 1 Old Latin, Vulgate, Gothic
401-500 C 1 Old Latin, Armenian, Georgian A, D 3 Old Latin, 1 Syriac Augustine
501-600
601-700 3 Old Latin, 1 Syriac
701-800 L, Ψ 2 Old Latin
801-900 Δ K, X, Θ, Π
901-1000 f1 f13
Minuscules 4 Minuscules 9 Minuscules Old Latin

Looking at the table above, it is obvious that the older Greek manuscripts as well as translations favor omitting the verse.
What immediately jumps to our attention is that the oldest evidence for these verses is the Diatessaron which Tatian had compiled around 150 A.D. He created a single narrative of the four Gospels and deliberately harmonized any differences within a Gospel or one with the other. In this case one observes that the transposition of verse 48 directly after verses 43 and 45, causes an awkward duplication of the fire that shall not be quenched in both cases. Taking this pericope as it is rendered in the oldest manuscripts, one can see a logic build. (see the NIV.) Mark 9:43-48: “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.“
The important point in this paragraph is not the repetition of the description of hell, but the importance to guard what one does, where one goes and what one looks at! Usually sin happens in the inverted order. One looks at something desirable, be it something materialistic, or a beautiful person you are not married to, or pornography. This is where it is the easiest to call halt! If not, one seeks a place to meet this desire that is ever growing, and soon one feels the regret of again failing. The sad part is that the more one dwindles in sin, the stronger the sinful pleasure. No matter how often or how graphic the description of the oncoming doom, it looses its power.

One has to break with sin the sooner the better!
Jesus is very clear in the fact that everyone has to take responsibility for his own decisions and deeds.

Be victorious and blessed!

Herman.

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About Herman of bibledifferences.net

The reasons for the differences between older Bibles like the King James Version and newer Bibles like the New International Version have fascinated me ever since my studies in Theology at the University of Pretoria in the seventies. I have great respect for scribes through the ages as well as Bible translators, so there must be good reasons for the differences. With more than 5600 Greek manuscripts and more than 19000 manuscripts of ancient translations to our disposal, the original autographs of the New Testament can be established without doubt. I investigate the reasons behind the differences and publish the facts in a post on my blogs www.bibledifferences.net (Afrikaans: www.bybelverskille.wordpress.com) to enable my readers to judge for themselves. Personally I love to make an informed decision based of facts. That is why I endeavor to provide that same privilege to the readers of my blogs. Since 1973 I am married to my dear wife and greatest friend, Leah Page, founder director of Act-Up Support (www.actup.co.za) a prayer ministry for families struggling with drug-, occult- and other dependencies. We are blessed with two daughters and two sons, four grand sons and two grand daughters. God is alive and omnipotent! Glory to His Name! Herman Grobler.
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