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Mark 16:16: “He That Believeth and is Baptized Shall be Saved”

Mark 16:16 says, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”

Assuming that water baptism is meant, then the Mormon needs to explain the second half of the verse. If belief plus baptism truly equals salvation, then why wasn’t this formula used when it says that a person who “believeth not” would be condemned? To support the LDS position, this passage should read: “he that believeth not and is baptized not shall be damned.” Taken at face value, this says that a lack of belief, not a lack of water baptism, is what damns a person. This certainly would be supported by the rest of Scripture (see Acts 4:12; 16:31; Rom. 10:9–10).

In addition, we must understand that the passage this verse is in cannot be found in the earliest and most reliable manuscripts of Mark. This is why modern translations have a line after verse 8 and then a note saying, in effect, that “the earliest manuscripts and some other ancient witnesses do not have verses 9–20” (NIV). As William Mounce puts it, “the passage is clearly inauthentic and late in origin. . . . This passage is totally irrelevant within the discussion of the changes that affect how we read the book” (Why I Trust the Bible: Answers to Real Questions and Doubts People Have About the Bible, 181).

Take a look at Acts 2:38 and 1 Peter 3:21.

For other passages discussing common passages used by Latter-day Saints, click here.

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