The whole of Christianity rests on the question of the resurrection as its founder, Paul of Tarsus writes: “And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins.” (1 Corinthians 15:17, NLT) But the first of the four gospels, i.e., the Gospel according to Mark, apparently did not receive Paul’s memo.

There is no resurrection in Mark’s gospel. And this is a very important point as we keep in mind that each of the gospels was initially divorced from each other and were written in different localities for different audiences. There was no canon of the New Testament as we know it today in the first 70 years of Christianity in the first century.

No Resurrection In Mark?

The first person to canonise scripture was the heretic Marcion and this was, according to most biblical critics, the impetus behind the orthodox canonisation process.Perhaps it is also pertinent to note that a gospel that predates Mark, the so-called Sayings Gospel or Q (quelle, which means “source” in German), which has been reconstructed by scholars through the Synoptic Problem, has absolutely no crucifixion or resurrection narratives in it. Professor James Robinson writes: “…the Sayings Gospel has no passion narrative or resurrection stories…” (Robinson, J. M. (n.d.). The Real Jesus of the Sayings “Q” Gospel. Retrieved from Professor Bart Ehrman writes: “Most striking was the circumstance that in none of the Q materials (that is, in none of the passages found in Matthew and Luke, but not in Mark) is there an account of Jesus’ death and resurrection.” (Ehrman, B. D. (2003), Lost Christianities (New York: Oxford University Press) p. 57)

The Gospel of Mark seems to support the Islamic worldview as it starkly keeps silent or omits any mention of the resurrection. The gospel ends in verse eight with the women, in utter confusion, fleeing the scene of the tomb, which was empty:

“Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone because they were afraid.”

Mark 16:8, NIV

The late Catholic Jesuit scholar John McKenzie writes:

“…for Mark really has no resurrection and no apparitions, just the empty tomb.”

McKenzie, J. L. (2009), The New Testament Without Illusion (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock), p. 198

Lightfoot Professor of Divinity and New Testament scholar, James Dunn writes:

“… the earliest Gospel (Mark) ends without any record of a ‘resurrection appearance’,…”

Dunn, J. D. G. (1985), The Evidence for Jesus (Louisville, Kentucky: The Westminster Press), p. 66

Dean at the Institute of Pastoral Studies at Loyola University, Dr Brian Shmisek writes:

“For our purposes, let us note that the earliest gospel has no appearance narrative and leaves many questions unanswered.”

Schmisek, B. (2013), Resurrection of the Flesh or Resurrection from the Dead: Implications for Theology (Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press), p. 61

Chair of the Department and Centre for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto, Prof. John S. Kloppenborg writes:

“Mark, famously, has no resurrection appearance stories, only the discovery of an empty tomb.”

Kloppenborg, J. S. (2008). Q, the Earliest Gospel: An Introduction to the Original Stories and Sayings of Jesus (Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press), p. 84

Mark’s Faith Is “Futile”?

no resurrection in mark

Essentially, the gospel according to Mark has zero resurrection narrative and so those — the initial recipients — that read this gospel soon after it was written and put into circulation, would not have had much belief in the resurrection as they were not made aware of it by the gospel that they were relying upon.

The gospels according to Matthew and Luke, which would eventually supply such information would only come years later.

This would have been utterly antithetical to the gospel preached by Paul, which specifies the fundamental importance of the resurrection; according to the words of Paul, the gospel according to Mark, without the resurrection, is in fact “useless”.


The original ending of Mark proved very disturbing to the early scribes of the Bible and it really did not sit too well with them. So perturbed was their theological sensibilities, that they sought to smoothen the ending with their own version of an ending by appending to verse 8 the longer ending of Mark that extends from verse 9 to 20 and that currently remains part of the main text in the New King James Version. In fact, more creative scribes added two other versions of the ending, i.e., the Freer Logion and the Shorter Ending.

North America’s most eminent textual critic — the protege of Bruce Metzger — Professor Bart Ehrman, writes:

“Obviously, scribes thought the ending was too abrupt. The women told no one? Then, did the disciples never learn of the resurrection? And didn’t Jesus himself ever appear to them? How could that be the ending! To resolve the problem, scribes added an ending.

Ehrman, B. D. (2006). Whose Word is it?: The Story Behind Who Changed the New Testament and Why (London: The Continuum International Publishing Group), p. 67

And that was how easy it was to mint the so-called “words of God” in Christianity.

In short, the gospel according to Mark — according to the gospel of Paul — is nothing but a useless gospel, because without the resurrection the faith of Christianity is useless and the resurrection simply does not exist in Mark’s gospel. Paul Says That Mark Is Futile: No Resurrection In Mark's Gospel 1 

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, “Paul Says That Mark Is Futile: No Resurrection In Mark’s Gospel,” in Bismika Allahuma, March 11, 2017, last accessed June 2, 2023,






5 responses to “Paul Says That Mark Is Futile: No Resurrection In Mark’s Gospel”

  1. SamB Avatar

    Is it not good to critique the bible? it is cathartic! Imagine the same is done to the Qur’an…It is needless to hide behind the inlibration of the Qur’an eventually you have to emerge from its shadows. Biblical criticism as you point out is good and you quoted all research, remember they are all Christians who have a desire for demythologizing the scripture is this, not the path this team in apologetics should walk to make Islam and the Qur’an relevant?

  2. Rene Avatar

    Mark 8:6 reads: “but the angel said, “Don’t be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Look, this is where they laid his body.”

    So this article is not correct. There is clear mention of the resurrection in Mark.

  3. Иван Иванченков Avatar

    Thank you very much for this article. People could learn again and again, but they’ii find something new. It vas very interesting for me to read another point of view and explanation.

  4. Jonny Ettinger Avatar
    Jonny Ettinger

    Mark 8:31_Jesus speaks of His coming death and resurrection. This website and articles are deceitful.
    2 Corinthians 4:1-6
    4 Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. 2 But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. 5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

    1. Bismika Allahuma Team Avatar

      Circular argument. Try again!

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