In the NIV, ESV, NLT, and many other Bible translations, Mark 11:26 is “missing.” Instead, there’s a footnote stating that some manuscripts include text similar to Matthew 6:15. Conversely, if you’re reading the KJV, NKJV, or like translations, Mark 11:26 is included. Other versions, like the NASB, have Mark 11:26 but with brackets, as seen below.

[But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your offenses.”]

Mark 11:26 (NASB)

The reasoning behind the exclusion of Mark 11:26 in some texts, or the brackets in others, is that the oldest Greek texts don’t include it. Therefore, it’s believed to have been added later to “sync” with Matthew 6:15

Instead of discussing the veracity of Mark 11:26, I want us to consider what it says in the text where it is included.

The context of Mark 11:26 is slightly different than Matthew 6:15. The context of Mark 11:26 is prayer. In Matthew 6:15, the context is similar. In Matthew 6, the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. Therefore, Jesus teaches them how to pray. This is where we find the Lord’s prayer. 

In Mark 11:12-14, Jesus cursed a fig tree because it didn’t have fruit. In Mark 11:26, Jesus and his disciples have just passed the fig tree that didn’t have fruit on it the day before. 

In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”

Mark 11:20-21 (NIV)

Jesus’ response is interesting.

“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.

Mark 11:22-23 (NIV)

Jesus reminds Peter and the disciples that they can overcome any obstacle if they have faith. However, their faith must be directed. And how is faith directed? Let’s see.

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

Mark 11:24-25 (NIV)

Through prayer, our faith is directed to God, who hears our prayers and answers them according to his will. Therefore, the context of Mark 11:26 is about prayer. However, it’s not about teaching people how to pray, as in Matthew 6. Still, the point of the teaching about prayer is the same. 

The meaning behind Mark 11:26 and Matthew 6:15 isn’t, as some might think, that we aren’t forgiven of sin if we don’t forgive others. Consider these verses while you think about that.

He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 2:2 (NIV)

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)

If forgiving others of their sins brought us salvation, then Christ’s work on the cross meant nothing because the foundation of salvation would be on works, not on God’s abundant grace. Instead, the point behind Mark 11:26 and Matthew 6:15 is that unforgiveness can hinder our prayers. 

By not forgiving others, since God has forgiven us, we are trying to live by a double standard. As seen in the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant in Matthew 18:21-35. Therefore, when we pray, asking God to forgive us when we haven’t forgiven others is hypocritical. Living with such a double standard hinders our prayers and relationship with God but doesn’t cause us to lose salvation. 

When we confess our sins to God, as it says in 1 John 1:9, it’s not because we aren’t already forgiven. Instead, it’s about “renewing” our relationship with the Lord, like the foot washing in John. 

Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.”

John 13:9-10 (NIV)

As Christians, we have been washed clean by Jesus’ blood. Thus, when we repent of sin, our feet are washed clean. However, as we live, our “feet” get dirty. Therefore, it would be hypocritical to ask the Lord to wash our feet and refuse to wash the feet of others. 

I want to be clear that not forgiving others is a big deal. Maintaining a spirit of unforgiveness might be a sign that you aren’t saved because you genuinely haven’t accepted God’s forgiveness of your sins. If you haven’t received God’s forgiveness of your sin, perhaps you don’t believe that what Jesus did on the cross is enough. 

Whether or not Mark 11:26 is included in your Bible doesn’t matter because its inclusion or exclusion doesn’t change the text’s message. 

Do you know God? God knows you, and he loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, and he wants you to know him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, freed from death, and live eternally with him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart and receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.