Would it be accurate to say that the word "world" in Mark 16:15 refers to "man-made systems" of the world? Like political systems, judicial systems, social systems, even technology systems?

It seems to me that Jesus was telling His followers to go wherever men gather ("Kosmos" ie. systems) and preach the gospel.

Would that be an accurate assumption?

4 Answers 4


The word kosmos in Greek has a similar spread of meaning to the word world in English. Its specific meaning depends very much on the context. I think that 'go into all the world' means pretty much what it says. The word 'all' before it also adds context. In other words, 'go out wherever you can to whoever you can, with no boundaries'. I don't think it can be construed as implying that we are to go after a 'world system', it is simply the scope of the evangelistic imperative.

  • Hi Peter. Can you please provide some kind of primary source such as lexicon to back up what you say so that we know it isn't just your opinion?
    – Ruminator
    Apr 11, 2018 at 2:25
  • @Ruminator the Gingrich Greek-English Lexicon, for a start would say this. I didn't reference anything specific because I considered it a common word - I suspect any lexicon will give the same definition. Apr 12, 2018 at 9:30

Mark gives us a clue as to what he means in an earlier passage:

Mar 13:10  And the gospel must first be published among all nations.

The apostles were to publish the gospel "among all nations". In retrospect it appears that the twelve apostles traveled very little outside of Jerusalem but Paul uses language very similar to Mark's in regard to the impact of his own ministry in much of the continent:

Col 1:23  If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;

This seems to lend credence to the idea that Mark 13:10 was not outstanding (as yet incomplete) in 70AD even though today there remain a great many that are still considered "unreached people groups":

Unreached People Groups

It is estimated that of the 7.47 billion people alive in the world today, 3.15 billion of them live in unreached people groups with little or no access to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. According to Joshua Project, there are approximately 16800 unique people groups in the world with about 6900 of them considered unreached. The vast majority (95%) of these least reached groups exist in the 10/40 window and less than 10% of missionary work is done among these people...



The first presumption is that alternate endings of Mark are part of the autographs. Accepting that in this case, I agree that Jesus is saying, not only to those 11, for such a thing would not be possible, but that the church - whom the 11 represent - go everywhere to preach the gospel to all people. Also Matt 28:19, Luke 24:47, and Acts 1:8.


In John 18:37, Jesus says

For this cause came I into the world (kosmos) that I should bear witness unto the truth.

Just as he 'came into the world' so, on his leaving it, he sends others. So, where was he found ?

By the well in Samaria; right up in Decapolis (arguably a Gentile region) where he appears to have spoken to none except the SyroPhenician woman; by the rather questionable gathering at 'the sheep' where he spoke to none except the man crippled for thirty-eight years; in the temple; in the gate of Jericho.

He was found everywhere in Israel, right up to and (perhaps) a bit beyond its borders.

Kosmos is a very wide concept, as a glance at Liddel&Scott or Thayer or BDB or Strong will show. The EGNT (I don't know of an online version) sometimes translates it 'habitable world'. It could possibly bear the meaning of 'civilisation' or just 'the environment' depending on the context just as our own word 'world' has a very broad meaning, its usage depending on context.

He thought the world of her. His world extended no further than his garden gate. The world of art is passing strange. And so forth - a very broad concept.

To different people, the world means different things. Some people travel no further than a few miles from their home in their whole lives. The blind see nothing by sight - their 'world' is what they hear and touch.

To any individual, their 'world' is what is beyond their own domestic environs. In order to interact with other humans - other than very, very close family - I have to go out into the world.

Jesus is saying to his disciples that, in order to reach out to 'the whole creation' or to 'every creature' (I am not going to comment on the different translations), one must go out into the world, first, in order to interact with that which is created.

And I agree with you that it would involve interacting with human systems. Paul did so in his travels, taking ship on several occasions (and being shipwrecked). He walked around Athens and saw the various idols and saw the one 'to the unknown god'. And thus he preached to the Athenians.

Paul had a dream and crossed over to Macedonia where, by the riverside, he found a place where women prayed. And he spoke with them and Lydia invited he and his companions to her home, where she and her household were baptised.

Anywhere, everywhere. The whole world.

On my profile here, my website is mentioned. My website mentions Jesus Christ on the first page. And my website is advertised on Youtube and on Facebook.

Wherever God created, there is the name of Jesus Christ to be spoken.

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