There are two doubtful long passages of the New Testament that are blocked off in most modern Bibles. One is Jn7:53-8:11 known as the woman caught in adultery and also known as the Pericope adulterae, The other is Mark 16:9-20 which is the long wordy ending added to end of Mark in most modern English Bibles.
Let’s First Consider Doubtful Long NewTestament Passage John 7:53-8:11
This passage is quite famous and often quoted, but the note in our Bibles says it is not in the oldest texts. Should we be reading it? Is it real? The key question to ask is, did this event really happen? I do not think it matters who wrote it.
If it did, I think we would all want to keep it. In the four great Uncials of the New Testament dating from around 400 AD, none of them have this passage. One of them leave a mark there indicating that another passage belongs here, but for some reason they did not add it. Starting around 450 AD, copies of the New Testament usually have it.
In Didascalia written in about 230 AD it says:
He also did with her that had sinned, whom the elders set before Him, and leaving the judgement in His hands, departed. But He, the Searcher of hearts, asked her and said to her:? Have the elders condemned thee, my daughter? She saith to him: Nay, Lord. And he said unto her Go thy way neither do I condemn thee
The passage is found at the end of chapter VII in Discalia which I link to above.
Some used it
In 350 AD Codex Vaticanus placed a special mark where this should have been indicating they knew of the Pericope but did not include it.
Pragmatically, most people sense it is a real story. That helps.
This story did not just drop out of the sky in 383 AD as Jerome said it was common then. In 230 AD people knew and quoted knowing people would know the story.
I accept it is a real story, and will blog on it more next week.
Doubtful Long New Testament Passage Mark 16:9-20
People often quote Mark though it is clearly not written by Mark or even an Apostle. Why did we want to say it is sacred when whoever it is just summarizes Acts and early church history? We could do that without him and would not cause trouble saying it is sacred.
Mark writes in an abrupt style and ends by the Angels saying he is risen, and the women being so human. Mark may have intended to end that way.
Codex Alexandrius in 400-450 AD has the addition. The other three uncials do not have any addition. I can find no other earlier document that has it. Though no second or third century Bible text even has all of Mark. Some have parts of Mark, but none even have any of Mark 16. So no evidence for or against in early documents.
Ireneus quoted it in 180 AD, so it also has been around a long time. The Gospel Coalition has a great post on this which draws out the mixed picture. From that as well as from my agreement with most scholars that Mark did not write 9-20, I do not accept it.
I think Mark ended abruptly by Angels saying “He is Risen” in verse 8 and showing people were confused. Many people did not like that ending and added more including a shorter ending and this one or none. Three different methods are used across the world today. Given that, I think we should not use 9-20 to decide doctrinal issues. I do not use it at all. You will never see me quote from it unlike Ireneus.