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I am studying the comparisons between the two main sources of biblical texts (received vs critical texts)

There is something about the longer ending included in the Received Text for Mark 16 that doesn't quite add up. Note verse 19...

Mark 16:19 (KJV) 19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven and sat on the right hand of God

Another example I note between the two texts (if I understand correctly) is found in 1 John 5 where:

  1. received text includes verse 7

" 7 For there are three that bear record in heaven,the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."

  1. the critical text does not contain vs 8

I am a trinitarian, and I believe that one of the reasons why Trinitarians are so passionate about the KJV translation is (apart from its poetry type language), that it is a good version for Trinitarians due partially because of the inclusion of Johannine comma in 1 John 5:7,8 in the KJV version in that it promotes the idea of the Godhead being 3 in 1.

note...My point is not about Johannine comma as evidence for the pro Trinity debate...please do not go on about the Trinity in your answer. The debate about the Trinity is not relevant to my question, it is merely an observation included to help illustrate my pathway in studying the debate on Critical vs Received Texts)

In looking at the authenticity of Mark 16 in the Received Text, if I cross-reference terms used in the Lord's prayer in Mathew 6:9 (KJV)

9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:

15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

If I am to logically look at the two passages I have quoted in this question, what does not make sense to me in weighing the authenticity of the Received Text, if there is accuracy in the inclusion of the longer ending in 1 John 5, and one also reads Mark 16...

"19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God

from the perspective of a Trinitarian attempting to validate the authenticity of the Received Text, would not this passage have been written as the "right hand of the FATHER"? Trinitarians view the term God as three individuals (father, son, and holy spirit) and logic tells me that if Jesus is the son in the Trinitarian Godhead, he cannot sit at the right hand of himself as one of the 3 members that make up the Godhead! Therefore, since it does not read "sat down at the right hand of the father" seemingly inconsistent with the Trinitarian view of the Godhead, perhaps the Received Text falls short in the debate?

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    You do know that the vast majority of Trinitarians do not use the KJV, do not think the RT is the most reliable Greek text, think that the Johannine comma is not authentic, and likewise reject the longer ending of Mark?
    – curiousdannii
    Dec 30 '20 at 22:44
  • There is an interesting read on the Johannine Comma at: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johannine_Comma Dec 31 '20 at 2:47
  • @Dottard mentioned a textual commentary by Bruce M Metzger, named “Textual Commentary of the GNT.” There is also a second one that I found helpful. It is New Testament Text and Translation Commentary by Comfort, P. W. (2008). This commentary mentions five possible endings for Mark. He favors the first reading which stops at verse 8. Dec 31 '20 at 2:56
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    My own reasons for accepting the TR (and rejecting the Westcott&Hort/NestleAland) are fundamental reasons regarding the manuscripts which form the basis of the Greek text. That is how, I, personally, 'validate the authenticity' of Beza, Stephanus, Elzevir and Scrivener (which agree together very closely). The alternative is to follow two manuscripts (Vaticanus and Sinaiticus) which differ (in the gospels alone) in no less than 3,000 places. [Source : Dean John Burgon 'Revision Revised' ]
    – Nigel J
    Dec 31 '20 at 6:53
  • The problem I see here is not the usage of the term “God” to mean “God the Father,” but the anachronistic assumption that the Gospel should speak with the language of much later theology and its stricter terminology. Dec 31 '20 at 9:49
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Seems like you are reading the phrase “sat on the right side of God” purely as visual. A location

At the right side δεξιων is understood also as a position of authority and/or honor.

Take “the right hand of fellowship” Gal2:9 they were offering Paul and Barnabas the position of authority or honor within the community. They were not saying that Paul and Barnabas were always on the right hand side of the room whenever they fellowshipped.

“and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand δεξιας of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.” ‭‭Galatians‬ ‭2:9‬ ‭

As such this text in Galatians is not ambiguous, it was intended to be understood metaphorically. The text in Mark appears to be ambiguous because εκαθισεν is translated as sitting down, if καθου had been used then it might be less ambiguous that it meant to sit down but εκαθισεν could very well be understood as settling down or setting into (appointed) position.

By Jesus settling at the right hand (of God), He is taking the position of honor/authority as/of God. This is not a description of hierarchy in the Godhead, this is merely stating that Jesus resumed His position in the Godhead as from before Creation. This as per John 17:5,24

“And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed (before Creation).” ‭‭John‬ ‭17:5‬ ‭

What is glory? The simplest explanation is that which one is most well known for. In light of this I’d rephrase John 17:5 as “Father let me regain what I was most known for before Creation, namely God in the Godhead”.

This is corroborated by Matthew’s rendering of Mark’s same point.

“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” ‭‭Matt28:18‬

Ultimately this is declaring equality with God. God alone has ALL authority in Heaven and on the earth, yet Jesus claims it is His

“...far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things...” ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭1:21-22‬ ‭

Far above ALL, would include God if Jesus were not God. By being God Himself it’s to the exclusion of God. You cannot say for example, “I am more powerful than everyone, including myself”.

This was done in concerted effort by the Godhead. The echad, the united, the “One” God.

“But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”” ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭1:8-9‬ ‭

Conclusion

By Mark saying that Jesus sat down at the right hand of God and not the Father, Mark is not putting emphasis on a visual location (right hand side), nor on hierarchy (Father being greater than Jesus) but that Jesus is settling down in His rightful position of authority in God (understand the Godhead).

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  • Excellent answer. +1.
    – Dottard
    Dec 31 '20 at 3:47
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    There is no godhead in the Bible. It's unfortunate that a later theological development (the Trinity) is projected back into the Bible. The word "God" is found thousands of times in the Bible. Never is God described as three persons who are one. Dec 31 '20 at 15:05
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    John 17:5 does not communicate in any shape or form: "Father let me regain what I was most known for before Creation, namely God in the Godhead.” With assumptions read back into the Bible, the Bible validates any theology one presupposes. Dec 31 '20 at 15:20
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    @NihilSineDeo Please name one verse that explicitly states one God in three persons in the OT. Dec 31 '20 at 15:46
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    Thanks for your answer to my question...it really helped a lot i am sincerely appreciative of your insight and understanding.
    – Adam
    Jan 2 at 2:37
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You raise some interesting points that I will separate.

1. TR vs Critical Text and Trinitarianism

In my (informal) experience, I agree that there are a group of Trinitarians who enthusiastically support the Textus Receptus (TR). However, for each Trinitarian TR enthusiast, I am sure I can fin two or three Trinitarians who do not support the TR. In fact, some can successfully argue that the KJV (which uses the TR) has a discernible Arian bias in some places. But that is another question.

2. Right Hand of God or the Father?

The phrase "right hand of God" occurs in various places:

  • Acts 2:33 - Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit ...
  • Acts 7:56 - he said, "I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God."
  • 1 Peter 3:22 - who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him
  • Rom 8:34 - Christ Jesus who died- more than that, who was raised to life- is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
  • Col 3:1 - set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
  • Heb 10:12 - this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice
  • Luke 22:69 - But from now on the Son of Man will be sitting at the right hand of the power of God."
  • Mark 14:62 - “I am,” said Jesus, “and you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.”

In fact, I could find no instance where the phrase "right hand of the Father" exists in the NT. (I am happy to be corrected.)

3. Textual Matter about Mark

For an extensive and well-informed discussion about the shorter vs longer ending of the Gospel of Mark I suggest you consult the excellent reference, Bruce M Metzger, "Textual Commentary of the GNT", pages 102 to 107. Because of its length, I will not reproduce it here.

4. God vs Father

What this all shows is the NT often (but not always) uses "God" to mean "the Father" but also uses "God" to mean Jesus (eg, Matt 1:23, John 20:28, etc) and some also mean the Godhead more generally.

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  • Do you mean Genesis 1:26? Dec 30 '20 at 23:25

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