Malankara World

What Shall I Do To Be Saved?

By Rev. Dr. Curian Kaniyamparambil

Question 47. Mark 16:16 says- 'He who believes and is baptized will be saved.'- Doesn't this imply that one needs to believe first, before receiving baptism?

When someone brings forth an argument from the New Testament, one should also understand well the sentences before, after, and also the context in which they are used.

Jesus Christ ordered this to his disciples before his ascension to heaven. At that time there were only a few disciples. Let us quote the verse before this: "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved. But he who does not believe will be condemned." - (Mark 16:15, 16). So doesn't this imply that one needs to believe before being baptized?

We have to understand that the section of people referred to here are the Jews and Gentiles. This means that:

This is what it says. It doesn't say that "if one doesn't believe before his baptism, he will be condemned!"

This is what the traditional Churches, and the Protestant Anglican church practices, and teaches. A person who is not a Christian should:

We should note that the apostles did not baptize the Christians in Samariya and Ephesus even though their baptism was not complete.

We have to note that, even the infants recite the faith through the middle person before baptism.

One should also note that in a standard Bible, Mark 16:9-20 will be in double brackets. Why? The reason is that:

  1. Two ancient versions of the Bible (Sinaitic and Vatican) do not have these verses.

  2. But in an Armenian version, which was discovered in 1891, it says that a person named Ariston added these versus. Papyon says that he might be the same Aristhuyon who was a disciple of Christ. (Dammalow). The same thing is mentioned in the Interpreters Bible. (Vol. 1 page 916-917)

  3. Charles Gore, an Anglican Bishop writes the same in his biblical interpretations.

  4. Mor Dionysius Bar Saliby, a Bible commentator who lived in the 13th century says, Mark 16: 9-20 is not written by Mark and that the Nicea synod has not accepted it as written by Mark. [Note:- There was no New Testament during the synod of Nicea]

Therefore the authenticity of the sentences in Mark 16: 9-20 is in question. It is not fair to quote this sentence to prove a fundamental doctrine. Even if one quotes it, we have just seen that it does not support the argument in question.

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