37 Forgiveness. Mark 11:26
But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
Another verse completely absent in most modern translations calls for our attention.
This is such an important statement by Jesus Himself, that when it is left out there should be a clear reason.
Let us first look at the manuscript evidence:
Mark 11:26 Forgiveness
|Possibilities:||Omitted:||Included in 7 versions:|
|Witness:||Greek:||Translations:||Church Fathers:||Greek:||Translations:||Church Fathers:|
|301-400||א, B, W||Vulgate, 1Syriac, Bohairic||1 Old Latin, Gothic|
|401-500||1 Old Latin, 1 Syriac, Armenian,Georgian||A, D, C||2 Old Latin, Vulgate,Syriac||Augustine|
|501-600||2 Old Latin, Ethiopic|
|601-700||3 Old Latin, Syriac|
|701-800||L, Ψ||1Old Latin||Old Latin|
|801-900||Δ||K, X, Θ, Π|
|Minuscules||4Minuscules||f1, f13, 17 Minuscules|
According to the oldest Greek manuscripts, this verse had not been part of the original autograph of the Gospel according to Mark. The oldest manuscript evidence for this verse, interpolated from Matthew 6:15, is the compilation of Tatian, called the Diatessaron. Tatian created a single narrative of all four Gospels. In this document he compiled what he deemed important and harmonized the four Gospels at will. Though his single narrative had been quite popular during the first centuries, especially in the Syriac speaking communities, later Church leaders realized the corruption caused by it and restored as far as possible the original individual Gospels. Yet his influence is evident in the Byzantine Type of text, commonly used by the later Greek Orthodox Church, causing multiple copies being made.
One of these copies had been used by Desiderius Erasmus when he printed the first Greek New Testament in 1516. The King James and most of the older translations made after 1516 used Erasmus’ printed version, later known as the Textus Receptus as source for their translations, not taking into account the inferior quality of text it represented.
The question we are confronted with is: “does the omission of this verse from Mark nullify this important statement and warning of Jesus?”
The answer is a clear NO! In the preceding verse 25 Jesus said:” And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” The word “and” with which vs.25 starts, binds it to vs. 24, making is one complete statement. Jesus stated that forgiveness is a definite precondition to receive the Father’s forgiveness. The interpolation of vs. 26 from Mat.6:15 causes it to stand on its own with no real function to either the sentence or the understanding of the cause under discussion. In Matthew this verse forms the second part of a couplet with vs.14, a well known figure of speech to emphasize the point made. In Mark it has no function.
By restoring the text to its original as Mark reported this incident, we are just removing the unnecessary tampering of the text by Tatian.
Forgiveness is not only a precondition for receiving our Father’s forgiveness, it is a wonderful relieving experience to be enjoyed by the Christian every day!
Don’t miss out on it.