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In Mark 16:17 Jesus addresses the 11 disciples and gives a call to action:

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” Mark 16:15‭-‬18 NIV

Is there a literary clue in the original Greek that would suggest whether Jesus was speaking directly to the 11 or generally to a believer of any time period?

Was this a commission to future believers or a direction given specifically to the 11 he appeared to?

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    Mark 16:14 'he appeared unto the eleven'. Mark 16:17 'These signs shall follow them that believe.' Could you clarify what you are seeking other than these two statements, please.
    – Nigel J
    Aug 27 '20 at 4:28
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    These signs shall follow them that believe. Is Jesus referring to the 11 he is appearing to or making a general statement about believers of future generations
    – Kyle John
    Aug 27 '20 at 4:35
  • Two simple observations: Things predicated of a group do not necessarily extend to each individual; e.g., America(ns) being at war with various countries does not imply every citizen participating in, or being supportive of, said war efforts. Furthermore, tempting God is considered a sin (Matthew 4:6-7; Luke 4:9-12).
    – Lucian
    Aug 27 '20 at 8:43
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This is fairly uncomplicated. So let us notice the precedents and antecedents:

  • V14 - Jesus is explicitly speaking to the eleven disciples
  • V15 - He [Jesus] said to them [the eleven disciples]
  • The next word is Πορευθέντες (Poreuthentes) which is: Verb - Aorist Participle Passive - Nominative Masculine Plural, and so should be strictly translated, "having gone".
  • The only imperative verb here is κηρύξατε (kēryxate) which is: Verb - Aorist Imperative Active - 2nd Person Plural.

Thus, there is no command to "go" but only a command to "preach" or "proclaim", BUT, only after "having gone into all the world".

Therefore, Jesus is SPEAKING to the eleven disciples alone; but to whom is He giving instructions? I suggest that Jesus is instructing the same people as in Matt 28:19, 20. In Matthew, Jesus is also SPEAKING to the same eleven disciples but He is clearly instructing the Christian disciples of all ages, as evidenced by His promise to be with them (the Christian disciples of all ages) to "the end of the age".

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  • Dottard :Both Codex Vaticanus datd 300 C.E. and Codex Sainaticus end at Mark 8. In commenting on the long and short conclusions of the Gospel of Mark, Bible translator Edgar J. Goodspeed noted: “The Short Conclusion connects much better with Mark 16:8 than does the Long, but neither can be considered an original part of the Gospel of Mark.”​—The Goodspeed Parallel New Testament, 1944, p. 127. Nov 20 '20 at 8:07
  • @OzzieOzzie - I think your comment "ending at Mark 8" should be "ending at Mark 16:8"? I agree. However, the question is still relevant as my answer implies because it could have been asked about Matt 28:19, 20 (which are in both codicies).
    – Dottard
    Nov 20 '20 at 8:15
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Regarding the modern Gospel account of Mark 16:15-16, who did Yeshua (Jesus) of Nazareth command to: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation”?

In the ancient Greek Gospel of Mark found in the Codex Sinaiticus, Mark 16 ends at verse 8. * [Reference : http://www.codex-sinaiticus.net/] . - The missing verses of Mark 16:9-20 provide contextual clues that the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20) inspired by the Gospel account of Matthew was inserted into later editions of Mark 16 manuscripts.

Text Not included in Codex Sinaiticus - [Mark 16:15-16] - “15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”

Who is “them” (αὐτοῖς) referring to in modern accounts of Mark 16:15?

  • ἕνδεκα “the Eleven” (male disciples) who denied the first Preaching of the Resurrected Messiah by Yeshua’s female disciple Miriam (Mary) of Magdala (Magdalene) [Mark 16:9-14]
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  • Codex Vaticanus -Also ends at Mark 8 . Vatican Codex, a Greek manuscript dating from the fourth century C.E., less than 300 years after the Bible was completed! This codex contains a complete text of the Hebrew and the Christian Greek Scriptures, except for a few portions that were lost over time. +1 Nov 20 '20 at 7:58
  • @OzzieOzzie - I think your comment "ending at Mark 8" should be "ending at Mark 16:8"? I agree. However, the question is still relevant as my answer implies because it could have been asked about Matt 28:19, 20 (which are in both codicies).
    – Dottard
    Nov 20 '20 at 8:14
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Given Mark 16:14 - 18, it is apparent that the Markan version of the great commission precedes the commission in Matt. 28:19-20 - given to about 500 disciples in all met Jesus on a mount in Galilee. Also, verse 14 indicates it was in a private setting Jesus spoke explicitly to them (αὐτοῖς), the elevens - the first recipients of the great commission.

However, the word choices of Jesus in verse 15 - κηρύξατε (preach, proclaim,  aorist-imperative) and πάσῃ τῇ κτίσει (to the all/whole creation refers to all people ) carries an assertiveness and the universal scope of the commission. The adjective, ἅπαντα (all, whole, every) - strong form - in “go into all the world”- stresses the preaching of the good news must go into every/entire part of the world by believers of any time period. The Matthan version (Matt. 28: 19-20) carries the same universal responsibility of all believers of all generations for carrying the gospel to the end of the world. And, there the promise of Jesus, "And behold I am with you always, to the end of the age!” (Mt. 28:20b).

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