First things first: remember that, with Mark, we're dealing with the old fashioned way of publishing books. We're talking scribes copying each letter by hand and then passing on their copies, which are themselves copied. The end result? Many different readings over time. And guess what? The title is no exception.
Know Your Options
Here are the two basic options:
• In most manuscripts of the second gospel the title appears in the long form, which is literally translated, "The Good News According to Mark" (FYI, the KJV usually translates "Good News" as "Gospel").
• In a few manuscripts, including two very early ones, the title appears in the short form, which is translated, "According to Mark."
It's your job to decide which title is the original.
Know the Facts
Here are some fun facts that you should to take into account as you and yours duke it out:
• The longer title appears in some of the earliest manuscripts we have of the other three gospels, which means that the long form is a very old way of titling these texts.
• In the early 100's Christian writers used the word "Good News" to refer to written texts.
• It's reasonable to assume that the earliest copies of Mark (which have not survived to our own day and age) very likely bore some sort of title or label communicating at the very least who wrote the book.
So what do you think?