How we got the bible
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How We Got the Bible. Lesson 6: The Text of the New Testament & Significance of Textual Variations. 2. a study of Neil R. Lightfoot How We Got the Bible , 3rd ed. The text of the New Testament. The fact of errors in printing What is textual criticism? Mistakes of copyists

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How we got the bible

How We Got the Bible

Lesson 6:

The Text of the New Testament & Significance of Textual Variations


How we got the bible

2

a study of Neil R. Lightfoot

How We Got the Bible, 3rd ed.


The text of the new testament

The text of the New Testament

  • The fact of errors in printing

  • What is textual criticism?

  • Mistakes of copyists

  • Basic rules of textual criticism


The fact of errors in printing

The fact of errors in printing

  • No autographs available, only copies and copies of copies

  • Mistakes in copying not an ancient problem only

  • For example, 400 typographical errors corrected in the first two years of the KJV


Textual criticism

Textual criticism

  • “Criticism” is “the scientific investigation of literary documents (as the Bible) in regard to such matters as origin, text, composition, character, or history” (Webster’s 7th ed.)

  • Higher Criticism – authorship, date

  • Textual or Lower Criticism is a study of the form of words, i.e., the text itself


The function of textual criticism

The function of textual criticism

To recover the exact wording of the original New Testament


Copyists unintentional mistakes

Copyists’ unintentional mistakes

  • Mistaking one word for another

  • Confusing similar sounding words

  • Improper word division

  • Overlooking or underlooking words

  • Phrases and lines

  • Copying marginal notes into the text


Improper word division

Improper Word Division

Romans 5:1

  • Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have [echomen] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ

    • NRSV

  • Or, let us have [echōmen] peace...


Improper word division1

Improper Word Division

Revelation 1:5

  • To him who loves us and freed [lusanti] us from our sins by his blood

    • NRSV

  • Or, washed [lousanti] us...


Word division

Word division

  • What does this say?

    GODISNOWHERE


Copyists intentional mistakes

Copyists’ intentional mistakes

  • Spelling

  • Grammar

  • Harmonizing

  • Historical difficulties

  • Combining readings


Grammatical correction

Grammatical correction

John 7:39

  • Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

    • NRSV

  • Or, for as yet the Spirit had not been given...


Correction for clarity

Correction for clarity

Acts 2:47

  • And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. NRSV

  • “church”


Harmonization

Harmonization

Matthew 11:19

  • the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”

    • NRSV

  • Or, wisdom is vindicated by her children. (cf. Luke 7:35)


Basic rules of textual criticism

Basic rules of textual criticism

  • The more difficult reading is to be preferred

  • The quality of witnesses is more important than the quantity

  • In parallel passages, the different reading is to be preferred


Works or children matt 11 19

Works or Children (Matt. 11:19)

  • “works” = The more difficult reading is to be preferred

  • “works” = The quality of witnesses is more important than the quantity

  • “works” = In parallel passages, the different reading is to be preferred


Significance of textual variations

Significance of textual variations

  • The Bible has been described as “the book of 200,000 errors”

  • The counting method: one copyist’s error repeated 3,999 times = 4,000 errors

  • An attempt to undermine faith in God's word

  • Instead, the 5,300 manuscripts validating the Bible should be emphasized


Consequences of variations

Consequences of variations

  • Trivial variations of no consequence

  • Substantial variations of no consequence

  • Substantial variations affecting the text


Types of error or variations

Types of Error or Variations

  • Dittography - letter twice, only once

  • Haplography - letter once, needed two

  • Homoeoteleution - omission of line, ending

  • Homoeoauches - omission of page, beginning

  • Fusion - combing two words

  • Fission - dividing a single word

  • Metathesis - reversing position of letters

  • Homophony - substitution of another word

  • Misreading - of similar letters


Consequences of variations1

Consequences of variations

  • Trivial variations of no consequence


Spelling of proper names

Spelling of proper names

  • “Apelles” or “Apollonios” (Acts 18:24)

  • “Bethabara beyond the Jordan” or “Bethany beyond the Jordan” (John 1:28)

  • “Bethzatha” or “Bethesda” or “Bethsaida” (John 5:2)


Unimportant trivial variations

Unimportant trivial variations

  • The addition or omission of words

  • Whether Jesus spoke of “the one who has ears [to hear]”

  • from page for Matthew 11:10-23 in Nestle-Aland’s Novum Testamentum Graece, 25th ed.


Unimportant trivial variations1

Unimportant trivial variations

  • The addition or omission of words

  • Whether Jesus spoke of “the one who has ears [to hear]”


Order of words

Order of words

What is the difference?

  • “The birth of Jesus Christ,”

    or

  • “The birth of Christ Jesus”

    from Matthew 1:18


Consequences of variations2

Consequences of variations

  • Trivial variations of no consequence

  • Substantial variations of no consequence


Codex bezae d

Codex Bezae (D)

Bezae’s unique reading for Luke 6:5

Bruce M. Metzger, Manuscripts of the Greek Bible: An Introduction to Greek Palaeography (New York: Oxford University Press, 1981), plate 19A


Bezae s unique verse

Bezae’s unique verse

  • Luke 6:5 moved to follow v. 10

  • Luke 6:5 then reads, “On the same day, seeing one working on the sabbath day, he said to him, ‘Man, if you know what you are doing, you are blessed; but if you do not know, you are accursed and a transgressor of the law.’ ”


The story of the adulterous woman

The story of the adulterous woman

Opening of “The Adulterous Woman” in the NASU


Evidence about john 7 53 8 11

Evidence about John 7:53-8:11

  • Earliest Greek manuscript is Codex Bezae (6th cent.)

  • Where found in other manuscripts from the 8th cent. onward, it sometimes follows John’s Gospel or after Luke 21:38, or is marked with asterisks


Evaluation about john 7 53 8 11

Evaluation about John 7:53-8:11

  • Seems to be a tradition handed down from the early church

  • Vouches for its own truthfulness


Confession of the ethiopian eunuch

Confession of the Ethiopian Eunuch

Acts 8:36-38 from Codex Laudianus (Ea); Greek on right, Latin on left

Bruce M. Metzger, Manuscripts of the Greek Bible: An Introduction to Greek Palaeography (New York: Oxford University Press, 1981), plate 22


Confession of the eunuch

Confession of the Eunuch

Bruce M. Metzger, Manuscripts of the Greek Bible: An Introduction to Greek Palaeography (New York: Oxford University Press, 1981), plate 22

“I believe in the Son of God”


Evidence for acts 8 37

Evidence for Acts 8:37

  • Earliest Greek manuscript is Codex Laudianus (6th cent.)

  • Quoted consistently by the early church fathers


Irenaeus quoting acts 8 37

Irenaeus quoting Acts 8:37

  • 2nd century church father

  • “…that the eunuch himself, after he believed and immediately became worthy to be immersed, was saying, ‘I believe that the Son of God is Jesus’ ”

    • Irenaeus, Adversus haeresus 3.12.8


The three heavenly witnesses

The Three Heavenly Witnesses

  • 1 John 5:7-8

  • Became a part of the KJV because of a rash promise made by textual critic, Erasmus

  • The third edition of Erasmus’ Greek N.T. (1522) became the basis of the Greek text used in translating the N.T. of the KJV 1611

  • Originally quoted in a 4th cent. Latin sermon


Consequences of variations3

Consequences of variations

  • Trivial variations of no consequence

  • Substantial variations of no consequence

  • Substantial variations affecting the text


The ending of mark s gospel

The ending of Mark’s Gospel

The evidence that Mark ends at 16:8

  • Not found in Vaticanus and Sinaiticus (the two oldest Greek uncials)

  • Not found in the earliest copies of the Old Syriac, the Latin Vulgate and others

  • The style and vocabulary of 16:9-20 is different than the rest of Mark’s Gospel


The ending of mark s gospel1

The ending of Mark’s Gospel

The evidence that Mark ends at 16:20

  • Vaticanus has a gap large enough for vv. 9-20; clearly the scribe knew of the passage

  • Many other early manuscripts and versions include the last twelve verses

  • What book ends with the words, “for they were afraid”?

  • Irenaeus (2nd cent.) clearly quotes from it


Irenaeus quote from mark

Irenaeus’ quote from Mark

  • “Also, towards the conclusion of his Gospel, Mark says: ‘So then, after the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God;’ ”

    • Irenaeus, Adversus haeresus 3.10


J w mcgarvey on mark 16 9 20

J.W. McGarvey on Mark 16:9-20

  • Argued that the last twelve verses of Luke’s Gospel have the same number of differences in style and vocabulary that Mark 16:9-20 has, yet nobody questions the end of Luke

    • J.W. McGarvey, Matthew and Mark, (1875; reprint ed., Delight, AR: Gospel Light), pp. 377-382


J w mcgarvey on mark 16 9 201

J.W. McGarvey on Mark 16:9-20

  • He concluded that Mark 16:9-20 is— “authentic” = historically accurate— “not genuine” = not written originallyby Mark

    • J.W. McGarvey, Matthew and Mark, (1875; reprint ed., Delight, AR: Gospel Light), pp. 377-382


Some observations

Some observations

  • Every teaching in Mark 16:9-20 is found elsewhere in the N.T.

  • It seems that early in the history of Mark’s Gospel the last page was accidentally torn away

  • Mark or some other early Christian supplied the ending we have now


Questions for review 1

Questions for review (1)

  • What is textual criticism?

  • What are some ways that variations entered into copies of the ancient text?

  • What are some of the rules of textual criticism?


Questions for review 2

Questions for review (2)

  • How do you explain some 200,000 variations in the manuscripts of the N.T.?

  • What are the questions concerning the ending of Mark’s Gospel?


Next week

Next week

Lesson 7:

Restoring the New Testament Text & Manuscripts from the Sand


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