Sunday, August 30, 2009

666 verses in Mark's Gospel in the NIV, or are there?

Over on PaleoBabble, Michael Heiser has a fantastic example of Another Great Moment in Pulpit Paleobabble, so good it is worth repeating here so that you can see it for yourself:

The pastor is a certain Steven Anderson from Faithful Word Baptist Church, already notorious for comments on Him that Pisseth Against the Wall. Now he is attempting to prove that there are 666 verses in the New International Version of Mark's Gospel with a view to demonstrating that everyone should be using the King James Version (I understand that this phenomenon is called "KJV only" and it is surprisingly widespread, especially here in the US).

Michael makes some excellent points on PaleoBabble, all of which will be transparent good sense to any one with an education, but I'd like to add a quick point of my own which undermines the bizarre case on its own terms, and it goes as follows: There are not 666 verses in the NIV of Mark's Gospel. Like most modern translations, the NIV does not print Mark 7.16, 9.44, 9.46, 11.26 and 15.28. So there are not 666 verses in the NIV of Mark 1.1-16.8. There are 661. The preacher in question has made the mistake of counting simply by going to the last verse of each chapter and adding up those numbers. Of course he might say that these missing verses are printed as footnotes in the NIV, but then the whole point of his sermon is that the NIV ignores Mark 16.9-20 by treating them as footnotes, so that is hardly going to wash. Hoist by his own petard, I am afraid.


Doug Chaplin said...

Good catch

Loren Rosson III said...

Nice observation, Mark. I didn't even think of that one.

Jim said...

to be precise the ideology is known as 'kjv only-ism' and like all other isms, is heresy (using Barth's definition of '-isms').

kjv only-ism is prevalent mostly here in the south.

Stephen C. Carlson said...

Looks like he counted up all the verses in the KJV and when he subtracted out the 12 verses for Mark 16:9-20, the result was too good to check.

Mark Goodacre said...

Yes, never let the facts get in the way of a bonkers theory.

Daniel Graves said...

Is anyone going to do the math and add up 661 to see which Roman emperor that number is code for?

Fr. Dan