The Daily Mail has shocking video today of a snake-handling minister being bitten. It doesn’t go well at all.
The snake handlers are an interesting bunch. There’s an alternate ending to the book of Mark that talks about God’s people being bitten by snakes and not being harmed. The King James scholars were brilliant but their manuscripts made this appear to be original to Mark when it was not. Later scholars found older manuscripts by the hundreds that showed that Mark stopped at 16:8.
But the snake handlers are all KJV Only; they believe the KJV is superior to even the ancient Greek manuscripts. So to “prove” this they handle snakes without fear and get bitten and do not seek medical treatment.
The Bible doesn’t teach that you should handle snakes like this. Even in the mis-added verses in Mark, that’s not taught. It never did. But for a couple hundred years, this addition to Mark confused believers and scholars and contributed to this sort of confusing behavior in fundamentalist Christianity.
You can find out more about this longer ending to Mark at this scholarly page.