New Testament Manuscripts

Bible Query – NT Manuscripts

July 2001 version. Copyright (c) Christian Debater(r) 1998-2001. All rights reserved except as given in the copyright notice.

Q: For the NT, just how many manuscripts exist today?
A: Here are the counts of just the Greek according to three scholars.


Category

Ralph Earle

Aland et al. The Greek New Testament 3rd edition (1975)

Bruce Metzger p.54 (1976)

Manuscripts of the Greek Bible p.54 (1981)

A General Introduction to the Bible p.387 (1986)

Aland et al. The Greek New Testament 4th edition (1998)

Papyrii (p1-p88)


 

76+

88

88

88

95 (=97-2)

Uncials (non-Lectionary)

270

250+

274

274

274

286 (=300-16+2

Miniscules (non-Lectionary)

2,400

2,768+

2,795

2,795

2,745

2,818

Lectionary manuscripts (both uncial and miniscule)

not mentioned

1,761+

2,209


 

2,147

1,977+

Uncial (Lectionaries)


 

 

 

245


 

 

(Miniscule) Lectionaries


 

 

 

1,964


 

 

Ostraca

not mentioned

not mentioned

20


 

not mentioned

not mentioned

Total

2,670+

4,855+

5,386

5,366

5254+

5,176+

The manuscripts in other languages, including 89+ Italic (Old Latin), four Vulgate families, 8 Syriac families, 8 Coptic families, Aramaic, Armenian, 2 families of Georgian, 3 families of Ethiopic, Slavonic, 5 Gothic manuscripts, Arabic, and Persian bring the total up to over 11,000 manuscripts.
The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts (copyright 1999) p.627 goes up to p104.
Some would say there are really four less papyrii, as p45 + p46 + p47 are apparently written by the same scribe. p64 + p67 apparently are also from the same scribe. P20 + p27 possibly are by the same scribe.
For comparison purposes, Manuscripts of the Greek Bible p.5 says that scholars have catalogued 55,000 Greek manuscripts on all topics. Thus almost 10% of all Greek manuscripts are Bible manuscripts. Homer’s Illiad has the second most number of copies with 643-650 manuscripts; which is about 1% of all Greek manuscripts.

Q: For the NT, how many multi-lingual manuscripts exist today?
A: The oldest preserved bilingual manuscript is Bezae Cantabrigiensis. Here is a list of bilingual manuscripts.
Greek and Latin (20 manuscripts)
Greek and Arabic (16 manuscripts)
Greek and Armenian (1 manuscript)
Greek and Coptic (52 manuscripts)
Greek and Slavonic (3 manuscripts)
Greek and Turkish (1 manuscript)
There are three known trilingual manuscripts:
Greek and Coptic and Arabic (2 manuscripts)
Greek, Latin, and Arabic
See Greek Manuscripts of the Bible p.56 for more info.

Q: Briefly, when were these manuscripts written?
A: The Lukan Papyrus in Paris is around 100 A.D. The earliest fragment of John, called the John Rylands Papyus, written about 125 A.D. (or 117-138 A.D.) The next was the Chester Beatty II papyrii, 150-200 A.D. The next was the Bodmer II papyrii, written about 200 A.D. There were a total of 4 preserved manuscripts around 200 A.D., 30 more manuscripts prior to 300 A.D., 8 manuscripts around 300 A.D., 28 more manuscripts before 400 A.D., 16 manuscripts around 400 A.D., and 38 more manuscripts prior to 500 A.D. See The Text of the New Testament : An Introduction to the Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual Criticism by Aland and Aland p.52 and A General Introduction to the Bible p.387 for charts of all the manuscripts up to 1600 A.D.
Jose O'Callaghan found in cave 7 at Qumran fragments of a papyrus dated 50 A.D., that might be fragments of Mark. However, The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 8 p.608 says this "has been largely rejected by NT scholars (cf. EBC 1:420-421, n.1). The evidence O'Callaghan presents is far too fragmentary to be reliable."

Q: For the NT versus other ancient works, what is the number of manuscript variations?
A: Here are Bruce Metzger's estimates compared with other religious literature. There are over 5,000 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. Metzger estimates the New Testament has 20,000 lines, an accuracy of 99.5% with only 40 lines (about 400 words) in question. (This is probably on a letter by letter basis.) Homer's Illiad is the next most reliably preserved document. It has 643-650 manuscripts, and is 95% accurate. It has 15,600 lines, with about 764 lines in doubt. The Hindu Mahabharata has 250,000 lines and is 90% accurate. Over 26,000 lines have textual corruption. See A General Introduction to the Bible – Revised and Expanded p.474-475 for more info.

Q: Compared to the NT, what are some of the dates of other early documents and the number of copies?
A: Here are some other ancient works.


Aristotle wrote 364-322 B.C. There are only 5 copies, the earliest being 1100 A.D.

Caesar 100-44 B.C. 900 A.D. 10 copies

Demosthenes 4th century B.C. 200 copies

Euripides’ Tragedies 330 copies (The Origin of the Bible p.182)

Herodotus 480-425 B.C. 900 A.D. 8 copies

Homer wrote The Iliad 643-650 copies, more than any others. 5% of the words are in question

Jubliees (A Jewish apocryphal book) 14 copies among the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Mahabharata (a Hindu scripture) 10% in question

Old Testament Manuscripts 235 scrolls and fragments the Dead Sea Scrolls alone. From the Great Isaiah scroll, about 5% of the words are different vs. the Massoretic text. However, most of these are archaic vs. later words and grammar with the same meaning.

Pliny the Younger 1st century A.D. 7 copies

Suetonius wrote The Twelve Caesars 70-140 A.D. The earliest copy is 950 A.D.

Tacitus 100 A.D. 1100 A.D. 20 copies

Thucydides History of the Peloponnesian War 460-400 B.C. 900 A.D. 8 copies

The Qu'ran 765 A.D. 9th century. Aisha said one Sura had 200 verses. After Uthman's "standardization", today it has 73 verses. Also, part of Sura 9:30 was abrogated. The Bukhari Hadith 6:509 says that when certain people died, parts of the Quran known only to them were lost. Other Bukhari Hadiths saying parts of the Quran were missing and/or abrogated are 4:57,62, 69,229; 6:510,511.

Q: Which manuscripts are in general the most reliable?
A: All of the manuscripts have basically the same words, with a difference of only 2.6% (about 3,523 words). However, some Christian scholars energetically debate the differences in this 2.6%, with primarily three different views.
The Alexandrian manuscripts are the earliest and some think the most reliable (except for John 6:53-8:11). Aland et al. the NIV translators, and a majority of scholars today hold to this view. A church father named Origen extensively studied many Bible texts we do not have available today, and his work undoubtedly influenced the Alexandrian manuscript family. Besides many later manuscripts written on common papyrii, two early manuscripts, Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, were written on expensive vellum (deer hide). These were apparently "official copies", Constantine ordered to be written just after Christianity was legalized. These go back to about 325-350 A.D.
The Byzantine manuscripts some think are most reliable. In the east, manuscripts being written gradually "standardized", and there are 1,100 manuscripts of the Byzantine Lectionary. This viewpoint is growing among scholars, as the manuscripts typically agree with quotes from John Chrysostom, which takes this tradition back to 407 A.D.. For large changes there are least 54 word modifications between the Alexandrian and Byzantine manuscript families and 577 words absent in the Alexandrian and present in the Byzantine. This about 0.5% (631 words). In other words, 20% of all text variations are due to Alexandrian vs. Byzantine issues.
The Textus Receptus (TR), also called the Received Text, some think is the most reliable. In the West, manuscripts being written became more and more standardized. This Latin standard is called "the textus receptus". The King James Version follows the Textus Receptus, except that it adds 1 John 5:7-8. Jay P. Green, Sr. primarily uses the Textus Receptus in his a Greek/Hebrew to English parallel Bible.
One can find merit for each of the three views on different passages. It would be nice to find "the one family" that has all the correct readings, but perhaps the truth is that all families have a few incorrect readings.
A crazy view that some people have today is that "God's inspired word" is not the meaning the words convey, nor is it the Greek and Hebrew, but it is the English words in the King James Version. All other versions are labeled as "New Age Versions". Some call this the "King James Only" view, and these people "onlyites". However, be aware that not every scholar who believes the King James is the most accurate English translation necessarily holds to this crazy view.
1 John 5:7-8 was added to the King James Version because it was in the Third edition of the Greek New Testament by Erasmus. It was not in his second version as the Catholic Church wanted, because Erasmus would not put it in unless they could show him a single Greek manuscript that had it. He put it in the third edition because they showed him a Greek manuscript. Unknown to him, that manuscript had just been written the year before. Erasmus must have learned of this, because he did not put it in his fourth edition either.
However, before you decide to devote your entire life to studying these 2.6% variations, remember 2 Timothy 2:14 and 1 Timothy 6:4, where Paul commands Timothy to avoid quarreling about words.
Why are there these differences? A key reason is that the Greek copyists probably believed that precisely copying each word was not their primary intent. Their main intent was to communicate God's meaning as accurately and precisely as possible. Some did that by having a literal copy, others by correcting spelling, grammar, improving the phrasing, and making the meaning more precise, and some by paraphrasing.
 

Q: What are the some of the oldest Bible texts in the Alexandrian manuscript family?
A: The oldest Alexandrian manuscripts are Vaticanus (325-350 A.D.), Sinaiticus (340-350 A.D.), p20 (3rd century), p23 Urbana (3rd century), p45 + p46 (= Chester Beatty), p47, p50, p52, p66 (150-200 A.D.) (= Bodmer II), Ephraemi Rescriptus (400-500 A.D.). It is debatable whether p4, p4, p8, and p13 are a part of this family. P75 (early 3rd century is called proto-Alexandrian). There also are a number of Coptic and Ethiopian manuscripts translated from Alexandrian manuscripts. The Coptic manuscripts themselves are subdivided into Bohairic, Sahidic, Fayyumic, Middle Egyptian, and others.

Q: What are some of the differences between the Alexandrian manuscript family versus the Byzantine?
A: The Alexandrian manuscripts have at least 33 verses less than the Byzantine family, which works out to 577 words less. There also are at least 54 word modifications. If someone felt certain the earliest Alexandrian manuscripts were totally correct, then the following verses would not be in the Bible: Mt 12:47; 17:21; 18:11; 23:14; Mk 9:44, 46; 11:26; 15:28; 16:9-20; Lk 23:24; Jn 5:4; John 7:53-8:11. The manuscripts Bodmer 14, 15, Sinaiticus do not have Lk 23:17 while Vaticanus has it.
Modern times did not produce the first people to study Bible manuscript variations. An unusual Christian from Alexandria named Origen apparently was the first to very systematically look at various manuscripts and decide which most likely was the original reading. Origen had a large number of manuscripts available to him that are lost to us today, and Alexandrian manuscripts are all assumed to be influence by his work. (Christians today debate over whether his influence is a good or bad thing.) Here is a small sampling of manuscript variations where the Alexandrian manuscripts generally say the same thing and Byzantine manuscripts say something different.
Mt 18:11 ("For the son of Man is come to save that which has been lost.") is absent in Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Sahidic Coptic, Bohairic Coptic, Origen, Eusebius, and Jerome. These 9 words are included in the Byzantine Lectionary, Syriac, Armenian, Diatessaron (c.170 A.D.), and Chrysostom (400 A.D).
Mk 10:34 has "after three days" in Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Ephraemi Rescriptus, Bezae Cantabrigiensis, Sahidic Coptic, Bohairic Coptic. It says "On the third day" in Alexandrinus, Byzantine Lectionary, Gothic, Armenian, Ethiopic, Georgian, Origen.
Mk 11:26 "But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your sins/transgressions." is missing in Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, Bohairic Coptic, and Sahidic Coptic. (17 words)
Mk 16:9-20 The following sources do not have the longer ending.
c.360 A.D. Eusebius Questions to Marianus I
193-217/220 A.D. Clement of Alexandria
225-254 A.D. Origen
407 A.D. Jerome, Epistle 120
At least 6 other ancient manuscripts
Syriac
900-1000 A.D. Armenian manuscript has it, but says it was added by Aristion, whom Papias mentions
Sinaiticus and Vaticanus do not have it, but they have a blank space for it.
The following manuscripts do have the longer ending
170-202 A.D. Irenaeus Against Heresies 3:11
110-155 A.D. (disciple of Polycarp, disciple of John)
c.170 A.D. Tatian's Diatessaron
200 A.D. Tertullian Treatise on the Soul
At least 38 ancient Bible texts
120-150 A.D. Didache
~700 A.D. on Byzantine text family
5th century Freer Gospels
400-600 A.D. Codex Bezae manuscript
The later Alexandrian manuscripts have it also.
c.450 A.D. Alexandrinus
400-500 A.D. Ephraemi Rescriptus Manuscript
3rd-4th century Bohairic Coptic
3rd-4th century Sahidic Coptic
Jn 5:4 ("for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool, and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was made well from whatever disease with which he was afflicted.") absent in p66 (150-200 A.D.), p75, Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Sahidic Coptic, Bohairic Coptic, and the original copies of Ephraemi Rescriptus, Alexandrinus, and the Diatessaron. The church writer Nonnus (431 A.D.) does not have this. The earliest copies with these 29 words are the Armenian and Georgian versions (both 5th century), and later corrections to Alexandrinus, Ephraemi Rescriptus, and the Freer Gospels. However, the church fathers Tertullian (200-240 A.D.), Ambrose, Didymus, Chrysostom, and Cyril refer to this in their paraphrased renderings.
Jn 7:53-8:11 is called "the pericope of the adulteress" Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, p56, p75, the Sahidic Coptic, and the Gothic do not have it. The Diatessaron, Clement of Rome, Tertullian, Origen, and Chrysostom also do not have it. The rest of the major manuscripts have it. Aland et al. says "Alexandrinus and Ephraemi Rescriptus apparently had it, though their state of preservation makes this not certain. This passage is interesting in that Aland et al. says this is "virtually certain" it was in the original manuscript, yet the Alexandrian family, with the exception of Bohairic Coptic, do not have it. Thus, if one relies on the Alexandrian family of manuscripts, one has to do so recognizing that this family left out this entire passage. Of course while the Byzantine family has this passage, John Chrysostom does not. (The pericope of the adulteress and the ending of Mark are the two largest non-trivial manuscript variations in the New Testament.)
Jn 10:34 "the law" is in Bodmer II 200 A.D. Bodmer 14,15 early 3rd century, Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Alexandrinus, Byzantine Lectionary, Sahidic Coptic, Bohairic Coptic, Gothic, Armenian, Athanasius. It says "the law of you" in Chester Beatty Papyrii 200 A.D., Sinaiticus (corrected), Cantabrigiensis, Tertullian, Hilary.
Eph 1:1 The words "in Ephesus" are absent from Chester Beatty II (200 A.D.), Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, and the early Christian writers Tertullian (200-240 A.D.) and Origen (225-254 A.D.). A corrector later added the words to Sinaiticus and Vaticanus. Alexandrinus also has these words, as do the Byzantine Lectionary and John Chrysostom (c.397 A.D.)
1 Cor 11:24 "broken for you", "broken" is absent in Chester Beatty II (200 A.D.), Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, Ephraemi Rescriptus (original), Alexandrinus, Athanasius (326-373 A.D.). "Broken" is present as a later correction in Sinaiticus, Ephraemi Rescriptus (3rd corrector), the Gothic, Byzantine Lectionary, and John Chrysostom (c.397 A.D.)
A split decision is Mk 1:2, where the Byzantine Lectionary and the Armenian says In the prophets, along with Alexandrinus, Syriac, Bohairic Coptic, Ethiopic, Irenaeus, and other manuscripts. Isaiah is mentioned in most other manuscripts including Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Sahidic Coptic, Gothic, Bezae Cantabrigiensis, etc..
Regardless, the Alexandrian and Byzantine manuscript families all do not have 1 Jn 5:7-8. The first preserved Greek manuscript that has this was not written until the 10th century, though the heretic Priscillian (380 A.D.) had heard of this.

Q: What do we know about the Vaticanus manuscript?
A: Vaticanus (325-350 A.D.) is the oldest existing member of the Alexandrian manuscript family. It often is abbreviated as "B" or is called uncial 03.
What has been preserved: Vaticanus has preserved only verses 46:29-50:26 in Genesis, and the rest of the Old Testament except for 2 Kings 2:5-7 and 1-13, and Psalm 105:27-137:6. The missing section in Psalms was added in the 15th century.
Some apocryphal books are in Vaticanus, as are in most Greek Bibles. Vaticanus does not contain 1-4 Maccabees and the Prayer of Manasseh.
The New Testament is all preserved up until Hebrews 9:15. After that some leaves were lost. It has none of 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, and Revelation. Aland references Vaticanus in the book of James, and the New International Greek Testament Commentary on James p.60 says Vaticanus contains the complete book of James.
Physical Appearance: It was written with brown ink on expensive vellum, with each leaf being 27-28 centimeters square. There were three columns per page and 40-44 lines per column. Today it is in Vatican City in the middle of Rome
Scribes and Correctors: One scribe wrote the Old Testament, and another wrote the New Testament. There were two correctors. One corrected the manuscript about 350 A.D. soon after it was written. The other corrector lived in the tenth or eleventh century.
Distinctives of Vaticanus: It generally follows the other manuscripts in the Alexandrian family. It does not have John 7:53-8:11, Luke 22:43-44, and Luke 23:34. It Sinaiticus, it has a blank space for the longer ending of Mark. Vaticanus contains all of Romans (minus 16:24) in the same order as Bibles today.
Jn 16:28 "from/by the Father" is in Vaticanus. Many other manuscripts have "came forth from the Father", including p5 (200-250 A.D.), p22, Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, Ephraemi Rescriptus, Byzantine Lectionary, Diatessaron (c.170 A.D).
See The Origin of the Bible p.181, A General Introduction to the Bible p.391-392, and Manuscripts of the Greek Bible p.74-75 for more info.

Q: What do we know about the Sinaiticus manuscript?
A: Sinaiticus (340-350 A.D.) is the second oldest existing member of the Alexandrian family of manuscripts. It often is abbreviated as "Aleph" or is called uncial 01.
What has been preserved: It has preserved half of the Septuagint Old Testament. Specifically, it has Genesis 23:19-24:46 (with gaps); Numbers 5:26-7:20 (with gaps), 1 Chronicles 9:27-19:17, Ezra-Nehemiah as one book from Ezra 9:6 on, Esther, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Lamentation to 2:22, Joel through Malachi, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, and Job.
The Apocrypha is in Sinaiticus: specifically Tobit, Judith, 1 and 4 Maccabees, Wisdom, and Sirach.
The New Testament is all preserved, except the scribes did not include John 7:53-8:11, and a blank space reserved for Mark 16:9-20. Sinaiticus contains all of Romans (minus 16:24) in the same order as Bibles today.
Two other books are in Sinaiticus: the Epistle of Barnabas and part of the Shepherd of Hermas.
Physical Appearance: It originally had at least 730 leaves. Today we have 390 leaves plus fragments of 3 more leaves. (a leaf is two pages.) There are four columns per page and 48 lines per column. It is written on expensive vellum. There were no spaces between words and almost no punctuation. Old Testament quotes are shown as quotes. Today it is in London, UK. For more info and a photograph, see Manuscripts of the Greek Bible, p.76-79.
Scribes and correctors: Three scribes copied Siniaticus. Scribe A, who copied most of the historical and poetic books of the Old Testament, almost all the New Testament, and the Epistle of Barnabas, was a better speller than B, but not nearly as good as D. B copied the prophets and the Shepherd of Hermas, and was a bad speller. D had nearly perfect spelling. He copied Tobit and Judith, the first half of 4 Maccabees, and the first 2/3 of Psalms. He apparently copied 6 pages of the New Testament.
Distinctives of Sinaiticus: According to Herman Hoskier, there are the following number of places with differences between Sinaiticus and the textus receptus in the gospels: Matthew 656+, Mark 567+, Luke 791+, John 1022+, for a total of 3036+ places of differences in the gospels. Like Vaticanus is has a blank space for the longer ending of Mark's gospel. Thus they were aware of a longer ending, but chose not to copy it.
According to D.A. Waite, 8972 words were affected in the Gospel versus the Textus Receptus. 3,455 words were omitted, 839 were added, 1114 were substituted, 2299 were transposed, and 1265 were modified. It has more changes than Vaticanus. Of course, Waite cannot prove any words were added or omitted, only that they were included or absent.
Lk 11:23 "scatters me" is in the original Sinaiticus Bohairic Coptic, and Ephraemi Rescriptus. All the other major manuscripts have "scatters"
Jn 1:34 The "chosen" is in p5 (200-240 A.D.), original Sinaiticus, Sahidic Coptic and few other manuscripts. The "son" is in corrected Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, Vaticanus, Cantabrigiensis, the Byzantine Lectionary, Bohairic Coptic, Armenian, Origen, Chrysostom.
See A General Introduction to the Bible p.392-394 for more info.

Q: What do we know about the Ephraemi Rescriptus manuscript?
A: Ephraemi Rescriptus (400-500 A.D. or c.345 A.D.) is considered neither an early nor a late manuscript. It often is abbreviated as "C" or else is called uncial 04.
What is preserved: It has preserved James 1:1-4:2 and the Gospels, Acts, the letters and Revelation. Ephraemi Rescriptus contains all of Romans (minus 16:24) in the same order as Bibles today.

Q: What are the distinctives of the three Coptic families of translations of the New Testament?
A: The three Coptic families are Sahidic, Bohairic, and Fayumic, and they were almost certainly translated from manuscripts in the Alexandrian family. There are no peculiar renderings listed in Aland. The different Coptic families do not always agree among themselves. For example,
Mt 12:47 Include verse 47 "Then said one to him, Behold, your mother and your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak to you." (Sinaiticus, Ephraemi Rescriptus, Bohairic Coptic) vs. verse 47 is absent (corrected Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Sahidic Coptic) (17 words)

Q: What do we know about the Alexandrinus manuscript?
A: Alexandrinus was copied c.450 A.D.. It often is abbreviated as "A" or called uncial 02.
What has been preserved: It has preserved all of Genesis except for Genesis 14:14-17; 15:1-5, 16-19; 16:6-9, which are mutilated. The Twelve Minor Prophets are directly before Isaiah. It contains the rest of the Old Testament except for 1 Samuel 12:17-14:9 and Psalms 49:20-79:11.
The Apocryphal books in Alexandrinus are 3 and 4 Maccabees.
In the New Testament, Alexandrinus contains Matthew 25:7 to the end, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, and Paul's letters. John 6:50-8:52 and 2 Corinthians 4:13-12:6 are missing though. Alexandrinus contains all of Romans (minus 16:24) in the order of 1:1-14:23; 16:25-27; 15:1-16:23; 16:25-27 (The Wycliffe Exegetical Commentary : Romans 1-8 p.6) It contains 16:25-27 twice. It contains all of James.
Other books at the end of the manuscript were written the Psalms of Solomon, and 1 and 2 Clement, with some parts missing.
Physical appearance: The leaves measure 32.1 cm by 26.4 cm. It was written on expensive vellum with brown ink. There are two columns per page, and 46-52 lines per column. There are no spaces between the words, and Old Testament quotes are indicated. It currently is in London, UK.
Scribes and correctors: Two to five scribes wrote this manuscript, and there were numerous corrections, by both the scribe who originally wrote the words and others hands. The corrected version is very similar to the Textus Receptus.
Distinctives of Alexandrinus: Some would say it appears as an Alexandrian Manuscript with Byzantine influence. Others would say it represents an alleged third family, the Western family, which is a combination of the Alexandrian and Byzantine texts. It does not have Luke 22:43f, and is missing John 7:53-8:11.
2 Tim 2:22 Alexandrinus has "loving" while other manuscripts have "calling"
Phm 12, Alexandrinus and corrected Sinaiticus almost stand alone in saying "whom I sent back yours" vs. other manuscripts who say "whom I sent back to you" or similar.
Phm 25 Alexandrinus does not have "amen" at the end. Sinaiticus, the Byzantine Lectionary, and p87 c.125 A.D. have "amen" at the end.
See A General Introduction to the Bible p.394-395 and Manuscripts of the Greek Bible p.86 (photograph p.87) for more info.

Q: What do we know about the other papyrii manuscripts?
A: There are 88 of them, labeled as p1 to p88.
p20 + p27 (3rd century) p20 has James 2:19-3:2; 3:4-9 and other books. The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts p.96 has a picture of this manuscript, and it says the handwriting is very similar with p27, which might mean the same scribe wrote both.
p23 Urbana (3rd century) James 1:10-12, 15-18 and other non-Pauline letters
p45 + p46 + p47 likely are by the same scribe. Together they are called the Chester Beatty papyrus. See the following question for more on this papyrus.
p54 (5th-6th century) James 2:16-18, 21-26; 3:2-4 and other books
p57 is the oldest manuscript, called the John Rylands Papyrus (p52), and is dated 125 A.D. (or 117-138 A.D.) It was found in Egypt. This shows that the Gospel of John was not only written by then, but distributed to Egypt by then. It has writing on both sides, and contains John 18:31-33, and 37-38. You can see a photograph of the John Rylands papyrus in the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.937, the New International Dictionary of the Bible p.534, Greek Manuscripts of the Bible p.62-63, and A General Introduction to the Bible p.388.
p66 probably was written about 150-200 A.D. It is called the Bodmer II papyrii. See the question on p66 for more info.
See the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.248-257 and A General Introduction to the Bible p.387-391 for more discussion on the earliest Old Testament and New Testament manuscripts.

Q: What do we know about the Chester Beatty Papyrii (p45 + p46 + p47)?
A: There are actually three Chester Beatty manuscripts: p45 containing the Gospels and Acts (third century), p46 containing Paul’s letters (about 200 A.D.), and p47 containing Revelation (late third century). They might all be the same date.
What has been preserved: In the surviving pages we have most of Paul’s letters (but not 1, 2 Timothy or Titus), and other New Testament books. The first seven pages are lost, and the first surviving page starts with Romans 5:17. After that, the order of books is Hebrews, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Galatians, Philippians, Colossians, and 1 Thessalonians.
Physical appearance: Apparently the books were ordered by length. P46 originally had 104 leaves, of which 56 survive today in a museum near Dublin, Ireland, and 30 pages are in Ann Arbor. We know about the missing pages, because the pages had page numbers. You can see a photograph of one leaf, Romans 16:23-Hebrews 1:1-7 in Greek Manuscripts of the Bible p.64-65. A General Introduction to the Bible p.388-389 has a photograph of the first page of Ephesians and a page of Romans.
Scribes: There was only one scribe and no correctors.
Distinctives of the Chester Beatty papyrii: One of the peculiarities of the p46 is that Romans 16:5-27 is placed at the end of chapter 15.
For Revelation, p47 contains numerical values following a few of the words in Revelation (Theomatics II p.27-28.)
Bruce Metzger says on P47, "In general the text of P-47 agrees more often with that of codex Sinaiticus than with any other, though it often shows a remarkable independence." Del Washburn in Theomatics II p.632 says this shows p47 is very erroneous.
See A General Introduction to the Bible p.389-390 and Manuscripts of the Greek Bible p.64 (photograph p.65) for more info.

Q: What do we know about the Bodmer II papyrii (p66)?
A: This is the third oldest set of preserved papyri. Martin originally dated in 200 A.D., Hunger said 100-150 A.D., The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts p.366 says mid 2nd century, and Aland et al.’s The Greek New Testament 4th revised edition says "about 200". Turner dated this 200-250 A.D., in part because of the wide delta’s. However, wide delta’s have since been found in 2nd century manuscripts too. P66 was found in Egypt between Thebes and Panopolis close to Nag Hammadi. It is said to be either an Alexandrian manuscript, or else a mixture of a Alexandrian and Western types. However, it has some 20 differences from readings that are in all western types.
What is preserved: p66 contains John 1:1-6:11; 6:35b-14:26, 29-30; 15:2-26; 16:2-4, 6-7; 16:10-20:20, 22-23; 20:25-21:9, 12, 17.
Physical appearance: p66 has 78 leaves, 14.2 centimeters by 16.2 centimeters. It has 15-25 lines per page and page numbers. Today it is in Cologny-Geneva Switzerland. A photograph of the first page is in The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts p.368.
Distinctives of the Bodmer II papyrii: Some see a Docetic bias in p66.
Jn 1:18 says "only begotten God" not "only begotten son"
Jn 3:13 has absent "The son of man who is in heaven"
Jn 7:53-8:11, this is the oldest existing manuscript where the story of the adulteress is absent.
Jn 9:35 says "son of God" instead of "son of man"
Jn 19:5 has absent "And he said to them, 'Behold the man'"
See A General Introduction to the Bible p.390-391 and Greek Manuscripts of the Bible p.66 (photograph p.67) for more info.

Q: What do we know about the Bodmer Papyrii p72?
A: p72 was written around 200 A.D. It was apparently a private copy somebody commissioned four scribes to write. It is similar to the Sahidic Alexandrian type.
What is preserved: The books in order are: Nativity of Mary, apocryphal Correspondence of Paul to the Corinthians, the Eleventh Ode of Solomon, Jude, Melito’s Homily on the Passover, a Fragment of a Hymn, the Apology of Phileas, Psalm 33, Psalm 34, 1 Peter, and 2 Peter.
Physical appearance: It is 6 by 5 ¾ inches (15 ¼ by 14.5 cm)
See A General Introduction to the Bible p.390-391 for more info.

Q: What do we know about the Bodmer Papyrii p75?
A: P75 was written between 175-225 A.D.
What is contains: p75 contains most of Luke and John, and was written between 175-225 A.D.
Physical appearance: p75 has 102 leaves preserved (out of an original 144) that are 10 ¼ by 5 1/3 inches (26 by 13.5 cm).
See A General Introduction to the Bible p.390-391 and Greek Manuscripts of the Bible p.68 (photograph p.69) for more info.

Q: What do we know about the Bezae Cantabrigiensis (also called Codex Bezae)?
A: This is the oldest known bilingual manuscript, with Greek on the left page, and Latin on the right. Bezae Cantabrigiensis was a western text copied c.450-550 A.D.. It often is abbreviated as "D" or called uncial 05.
What has been preserved: It has preserved most of the four Gospels, parts of Acts. 3 John 11-15 is preserved in Latin only. In Greek, it has lost Matthew 1:1-20; 6:20-9:2; 27:2-12; John 1:16-3:26; Acts 8:29-10:14; 21:2-10; 15-18; 22:10-20; 22:29-28:31. In Latin it has lost Matthew 1:1-11; 6:8-8:27; 26:65-27:1; 1John 1:1-3:16; Acts 8:20-10:4; 20:31-21:2; 21:7-10; 22:2-10; 22:20-28:31
Physical appearance: There are 510 leaves, which measure 25.8 to 26.7 cm by 17 to 22.9 cm. (Most other major manuscripts are more uniform in dimensions.) It was written on expensive vellum with brown ink. There is one column per page, and 33 lines per column. There are no spaces between the words, and Old Testament quotes are not indicated. It currently is in London, UK.
Scribes and correctors: There are nine correctors, who lived from the sixth to twelfth centuries.
Distinctives of Bezae Cantabrigiensis: It has the longer ending of Mark. Metzger says, "Textually, no known New Testament manuscript contains so many distinctive readings, chiefly the free addition (and occasional omission) of words, sentences, and even incidents." in Manuscripts of the Greek Bible p.89. Bruze Metzger in A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament 2nd ed. (1971) p.356 says that Bezae Cantabrigiensis was very fond of the Greek word tote.
Omissions: 86 words shown below are absent primarily just in Bezae Cantabrigiensis.
Mt 5:32 "and whoever is divorced/put away shall marry commits adultery" is absent in it and many Italic manuscripts as well as Augustine. (6 words)
Mt 9:34 is absent in Bezae Cantabrigiensis and the Diatessaron (12 words)
Mk 3:18 "Lebbaeus" vs. "Thaddaeus" in most other manuscripts
Lk 12:21 absent it "this is he who treasures up for himself, is not rich toward God" (9 words)
Lk 22:17-20 lack parts of 19b-20 (approximately 38 words)
Lk 24:12 is absent. (21 words)
Acts 1:26 Instead of "twelve apostles" it and Eusebius have "eleven apostles" vs. "twelve apostles"
Acts 19:9 has "Tyrannus from 11:00 in the morning to 4:00 in the afternoon" instead of "Tyrannus" vs. "a certain Tyrannus" (6 words more)
Additions:
Acts 12:27 "becoming eaten by worms" vs. an addition only in the Syriac vs. an addition only in Bezae Cantabrigiensis and Italic
Acts 13:43 Bezae Cantabrigiensis, Italic, and some Syriac add 11 words after "God". (Middle Egyptian Coptic adds 8 words after God.)
Acts 15:2 "they appeared to go up Paul and Barnabas and certain others from amongst them" vs. replaceing a 10-word phrase with a 24-word phrase (6 words in common) (Also Italic, some Syriac, Middle Egyptian Coptic) (not counted in the totals)
Acts 15:12 Replaced a 10-word phrase with a 25-word phrase (2 words in common) (Only in Bezae Cantabrigiensis, Italic, some Syriac, Middle Egyptian Coptic)
Acts 15:41 added 5 words
Acts 16:39 replaced a 10-word phrase with a 36-word phrase (3 words in common)
Acts 16:35 (replaced a 3- word phrase with an 18-word phrase (2 words in common)
Acts 16:35 added 3 words.
Acts 19:1 substituted a 27 word phrase for a 17 word phrase. This is also in p38 (about 300 A.D.) as well as some Syriac.
Besides Bezae Cantabrigiensis, these are in some Syriac (5th century).
See A General Introduction to the Bible p.395-396 and Manuscripts of the Greek Bible p.88-89 (photographs p.90-91) for more info.

Q: What do we know about the Codex Claromontanus?
A: This manuscript was written in the sixth century and is the complement of Bezae Cantabrigiensis.
What has been preserved: It contains much of what is missing in Bezae Cantabrigiensis. It contains all of Paul’s letters and Hebrews, except for the following. Romans 1:1-7, 27-30 and 1 Corinthians 14:13-22 are lost in Greek, and 1 Corinthians 14:8-18 and Hebrews 13:21-23 are missing in Latin. The Greek is well-done, but the Latin translation is not very good.
Physical appearance: There are 533 pages, which measure 7 by 9 inches (18 by 23 cm). It is written single column on vellum.
See A General Introduction to the Bible p.396 for more info.

Q: What do we know about the Byzantine Lectionary?
A: The Byzantine Lectionary is about 1,761 to 2,209 Greek manuscripts that generally agree with each other. Lectionaries were collections of readings from the Gospels and Acts. The Byzantine Lectionary is not always uniform. In Jn 8:4 for example, some versions have "said to Him" and others have "said to tempt Him".
The first preserved Byzantine Lectionary was written prior to 400 A.D. There was a second prior to 500 A.D., with 3 more prior to 500 A.D., 5 more prior to 700 A.D., 22 prior to 800 A.D., and 123 prior to 900 A.D., and 147 prior to 1000 A.D. The others range up to 1800 A.D., with the bulk of them the bulk of them, about 1,496, being written between the 1000 A.D. and 1400 A.D. See The Text of the New Testament : An Introduction to the Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual Criticism by Aland and Aland, p.82 fore a chart of the Lectionaries written by century.

Q: Why are there so many small manuscript variations?
A: First some alternative hypothetical scenarios, and then a speculation on the answer.
1. News flash! Manuscripts containing the entire New Testament have been found in a small cave in Israel. Radiocarbon dating says they are 90 A.D. +/= 100 years. At the end of each manuscript is a short note, saying this was the original manuscript by the original author.
God is Almighty, and He could have made things happen this way, if He had wanted to.
2. News flash! Over the past few years hundreds of complete manuscripts of the book of Acts have been found, and dated between 100 and 300 A.D. No two of them are alike, and none of them have more than 20% in common with any other copy of Acts.
God could have had His word in the New Testament be effectively lost if He had so desired.
3. News flash! It has been discovered that in 325 A.D., the Christian leaders collected every available copy of the New Testament, and burned most of them. Then they issued a "standardized" version. However, if a few early copies survived, and the testimony of religous leaders prior to this, about the length of various chapters, is proving embarrassing to those who believe the standardized version was the only one.
God could have had this happen if He had so desired. If the date were moved forward about 400 years, and you replaced the words "New Testament" with "Quran", this is what you would have to believe if you were a Muslim who studied the history of the Quran.
The actual situation is that we have so many copies of the New Testament that there is no doubt about what they say on any Christian doctrine. We have so many copies, not to mention all the quotes and paraphrases from the church fathers, that we know all the meaning of the Bible. However, many copies have textual copyist errors, and we are about 97% certain of each word of the New Testament. On one hand, this is a very high percentage. On the other hand, it could be higher. Perhaps a lesson to learn is that God was extremely concerned with preserving 100% of the meaning of the New Testament, but not as concerned with the individual words.
We do not have as many copies of the Old Testament, but Jesus authenticated the Old Testament of His time, and we have copies of the Old Testament of His time.

Q: What are the distinctives of the Armenian translation of the New Testament?
A: The first Armenian translation was made in the fifth century A.D. by either Mesrob/Mesrop (died 439 A.D.) or else Sahak/Sahok the Great (390-439 A.D.) Some think it was translated from the Greek, but the nephew and disciple of Mesrob says that Sahak translated it from the Syriac. A General Introduction to the Bible p.519-520 points out that Armenian manuscripts were revised prior to the 8th century by Greek manuscripts brought from Constantinople after the Council of Ephesus. Today we only have the revised versions, and the oldest manuscripts are from the ninth century. There are about 100 Armenian manuscripts according to A Textual Commentary on the New Testament Second edition p.102.
The Armenian contains every book of the New Testament, and it follows both the Byzantine and Caesarean families of manuscripts. Here are some of the distinctive readings in the Armenian.
Jn 7:53-8:11 According to Aland et al. (p.355-356) some early Armenian manuscripts have John 7:53-8:11 and other early ones do not. The standard Armenian has John 7:53-8:11 after John 21:25.
Jn 8:8 "wrote on the ground" (most other manuscripts) vs. "wrote on the ground the sins of each of them" (5 words) The manuscripts with the second reading are the Armenian and much later manuscripts, starting in the 9th century.
Jn 21:25 The Armenian translation (5th century) and the "f1" manuscript family add 7:53 to 8:11 here instead of after John 7:52. However, Aland says this is not Arm, but Armmss, meaning that it was an ancient version or church father that differed from the edited Armenian text.
Rom 8:1 end with "Jesus" vs. "Jesus, who walk not after the flesh" vs. "Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but according to the Spirit"
Most manuscripts just have Jesus. 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.18 says there is no dispute on this among textual critics, it should just be Jesus.
The second variation is in the Armenian, Gothic 493-555 A.D., and Alexandrinus c.450 A.D.
The third variation is in the Byzantine Lectionary,
Sinaiticus (corrected) after 340 A.D., and Claromontanus (corrected) 6th century
Usefulness: The Armenian translation supports the reliability of the Bible from about the fifth century on. However, the late date limits its usefulness to find the precise original Greek.

Q: What are the distinctives of the Gothic translation of the New Testament?
A: The Gothic Bible was translated by Ufilas (or else someone working with him) around 350 A.D.. The Goths were a powerful, warlike people. These particular Goths, called Moeso-Goths, had settled in Moesia since 250 A.D., and under their leader Fritigern defeated the Roman Emperor Valens near Adrianople in 378 A.D. A copy of the Gothic Bible is in Upsala, Sweden today, and more than half of the gospel have been preserved. Ufilas, a Greek-speaking Goth, was the second bishop of the Goths and an Arian. Despite that, it was well-done. Here is about the only peculiarity I have found is in Romans 8:1, where it is the same as the Armenian and Alexandrinus.
It is important to recognize that Ufilas was an Arian heretic. Here is someone whose theology was condemned at the Council of Nicea, and had no reason to elevate Christ or follow the Orthodox Christians. Furthermore, since it was Gothic, Greek and Latin-speaking Christians would not be copying it or revising it, as they did not know Gothic. Yet, his Gothic translation was so objective, it is impossible to tell from the translation that it was not made by an Orthodox Christian. As to those who would say the Bible was tampered with by Christians who had a theological axe to grind, this is answered with Ufilas and the objectivity of the Gothic translation.
Precision: For textual variants, the Gothic has very few. A General Introduction to the Bible p.518-519 says, "The translation adheres closely, almost literally, to the Greek text of the Byzantine type, and tells little to the textual critic." Today we have five fragmentary copies of the Gothic translation, 493-555 A.D., including one Gothic-Latin version.
The Text of the Old Testament (by Ernst Wurthweir) p.206 says, "As a rule it [the Gothic version] is cited only casually, because the general character of its textual base is rather precisely known; for his translation Wulfilas [Ufilas] made use of a manuscript of the late Byzantine text differing little from what we find in the Greek manuscript."

Q: What do we know about the Diatessaron?
A: The Diatessaron (c.170 A.D.) is a harmony of the gospels that Tatian wrote in either Syriac or Greek. Tatian lived from 110-172 A.D. He was an Assyrian Christian who studied under Justin Martyr (died 165 A.D.). Unfortunately Tatian later became a heretic, joining the Encratites.
The Encratites (meaning "masters of themselves") were an ascetic (and vegetarian) Gnostic cult that started about 166 A.D.. In his Diatessaron, Tatian did not include the verses showing that Jesus was a man. Thus, he left out the genealogies, and other verses. The Diatessaron quotes about 4/5 of the four gospels.
The earliest surviving fragment of the Diatessaron is the only surviving one in Greek. It was used in the city of Dura Europa on the Euphrates before the Persians destroyed the town in 256 A.D. We a Syriac copy, and three Arabic copies, the earliest from the 6th century. In 1957 archaeologists discovered a commentary on the Diatessaron written by Ephraem Syrus (375 A.D.). Besides the Gnostics, only some in the Syrian church liked the Diatessaron. A Syrian bishop ordered hundreds of copies destroyed, and that is why only a few are preserved today.
Caution in referencing the Diatessaron: Because of the late date of the few preserved copies, the Diatessaron is not a very useful source for determining precise wording of the Gospels. Also, most of the text survives in Arabic, and Arabic tenses are less precise than Greek.
The great value of this heretical witness: However, even the Diatessaron is a very useful witness in another regard. On one hand, you have a Gnostic heretic who has no qualms about leaving out of his harmony entire passages that do not suit him, namely the passages that emphasize the humanity of Jesus. Perhaps this was thought more acceptable because he was not just copying one gospel, but making a harmony of all of them, and he did not add any material. On the other hand, the 73% of the gospels Tatian did quote have been preserved as an independent work. When we look at this work, we see a very close match to the Greek scriptures preserved today.
If there were wildly varying accounts of Jesus, other gospels considered as scripture, or huge differences in copies of the gospels, Tatian would have been in a far better position to know about them than the liberal scholars today who make up these theories. Tatian, the heretic who did not mind leaving out entire passages, had the motive to include any wide differences that allegedly existed in the stories of Jesus. Yet, what is written in the Diatessaron is simply the quotes from the four gospels, minus the 25% that emphasized Jesus’ humanity.
Details: Here are the verses absent from each chapter of the Diatessaron. These numbers were computed from Ante-Nicene Fathers volume 9 p.34-138.


Chapter

Total verses

Verses in the Diatessaron

Missing
Verses

Verses not in the Diatessaron

Gospels

3779

2995

784


79.3 % of the verses are in the Diatessaron

Matthew

1071

819

252


76.5 % of the verses are in the Diatessaron

Mt 1

25

8

17


1-17

Mt 2

23

23

0


0

Mt 3

17

15

2


11,12

Mt 4

25

20

5


1,8,9,23,25

Mt 5

48

48

0


0

Mt 6

34

34

0


0

Mt 7

29

19

10


2,3,4,5,7-11,24

Mt 8

34

17

17


2,3,4,9,14,15,21,22,23,26,27,29-34

Mt 9

38

15

23


2-7,10-17,20-25,34,37,38

Mt 10

42

37

5


2,3,4,34,35

Mt 11

30

15

15


3-10,16-19,25,26,27

Mt 12

50

39

11


3,4,9,10,13,30,31,35,42,43,44

Mt 13

58

52

6


7-11,58

Mt 14

36

22

14


3,4,6-11,14,22,23,34,35,36

Mt 15

39

31

8


1,2,5,6,10,11,17,19

Mt 16

28

10

18


5,6,9,10,24,25,26,29-39

Mt 17

27

22

5


3,11,19,21,22

Mt 18

35

31

4


2,4,5,12

Mt 19

30

22

8


3,14,15,16,25,26,29,30

Mt 20

34

21

13


17,18,19,22-27,30-33

Mt 21

46

41

5


18,19,23,27,37

Mt 22

46

40

6


22,26,31,32,36,39

Mt 23

39

38

1


6

Mt 24

51

41

10


17,18,19,22,23,25,28,36,40,41

Mt 25

46

46

0


0

Mt 26

75

38

37


6,7,8,17,18,19,22,23,25,28,37,40,41,52-75

Mt 27

66

54

12


2,23,33,35,37,38,46,50,55,57,59,61

Mt 28

20

20

0


0

Mark

678

402

276


59.3 % of the verses are in the Diatessaron

Mk 1

45

11

34


1-11,14,16-28,30-32,34,40

Mk 2

28

10

18


3-11,13,15-20,23,28

Mk 3

35

18

17


1-3,6,13,16-18,22-25,27,32-34,35

Mk 4

41

26

15


1-6,9,12,15-18,20,21,37

Mk 5

43

26

17


1,8-12,14,15,17-19,22,31,32,35,36,43

Mk 6

56

37

19


1,3,7,10,32,33,35,37,38,39,42,43,44,46-50,53

Mk 7

37

32

5


6,7,20,27,28

Mk 8

38

24

14


1,2,4-10,16,28,29,30,36

Mk 9

50

32

18


2,5,7,8,9,16,17,19,32,33,35,38,40-43,45,46

Mk 10

52

42

10


6-9,20,22,25,28,45,52

Mk 11

33

21

12


1,3,4,5,7,8,9,11,17,18,27,31

Mk 12

44

22

22


1,2,7-14,16-23,25,35,36,43

Mk 13

37

18

19


2,4,5,8,9,12,13,14,17,18,19,22,25-31

Mk 14

72

44

28


10,14,17,25-29,32,33,34,39,43,45-50,53-56,62,66,67,70,72

Mk 15

47

21

26


2,4,5,6,7,9,10,11,12,14,16-19,22,24-27,30-33,35,37,38,39,

Mk 16

20

18

2


2,6

Luke

1151

919

232


79.8 % of the verses are in the Diatessaron

Lk 1

80

76

4


1,2,3,4

Lk 2

52

52

0


0

Lk 3

38

20

18


7,8,9,24-38

Lk 4

44

37

7


3,4,8-12

Lk 5

39

33

6


13,14,22,23,24,37

Lk 6

49

36

13


1-5,10,11,21,23,28,29,43,46

Lk 7

50

46

4


1,6,7,28

Lk 8

56

38

18


4,6,9,10,11,12,14,16,17,18,20,21,42,43,44,51,52,54

Lk 9

62

40

22


4,5,6,10,12,16-22,24,26-28,30,35,37,40,41,58

Lk 10

42

36

6


13,14,15,24,26,27

Lk 11

54

39

15


3,4,15,17,19,20,29,32,33,34,42,48,49,50,51

Lk 12

59

38

21


6-10,12,22-25,27,28,30,31,34,39,40,43,56,57,59

Lk 13

35

32

3


21,34,35

Lk 14

35

35

0


0

Lk 15

32

32

0


0

Lk 16

31

29

2


13,18

Lk 17

37

31

6


1,2,23,24,26,27

Lk 18

43

28

15


15-22,25,26,27,29,32,40,41

Lk 19

48

44

4


35,36,45,46

Lk 20

47

17

30


3-5,7,8,10,11,12,15,16,18,19,21-25,27,28,32,33,37,40-47

Lk 21

38

26

12


1,2,4,6,10,17,27,29-33

Lk 22

71

55

16


1,5,13,17,18,20,22,24,25,26,39,47,50,54,56,69

Lk 23

56

48

8


1,3,17,24,38,52,53,54

Lk 24

53

51

2


8,12

John

879

855

24


97.3 % of the verses are in the Diatessaron

Jn 1

51

50

1


6

Jn 2

25

22

3


12,13,15

Jn 3

36

36

0


0

Jn 4

54

54

0


0

Jn 5

47

47

0


0

Jn 6

71

69

2


11,20

Jn 7

53

53

0


0

Jn 8

59

48

11


1-11

Jn 9

41

41

0


0

Jn 10

42

42

0


0

Jn 11

57

57

0


0

Jn 12

50

48

2


14,15

Jn 13

38

38

0


0

Jn 14

31

31

0


0

Jn 15

27

27

0


0

Jn 16

33

33

0


0

Jn 17

26

26

0


0

Jn 18

40

38

2


3,27

Jn 19

42

40

2


1,18

Jn 20

31

30

1


1

Jn 21

25

25

0


0

See Greek Manuscripts of the Bible p.66 (photograph p.67), the New International Bible Commentary p.1080-1081, and The Greek New Testament Fourth edition p.38-39 for more info.

Q: Why do the vast majority of manuscripts not have punctuation?
A: Punctuation is very useful to tell the reader when to pause and breathe because the part of the thought is completed. According to Manuscripts of the Greek Bible p.31-32 it is commonly believed that Arostophanes of Byzantium invented breathing and accent marks. He had a dot on the bottom (looking like a period), a dot in the middle, and a dot on the top. Someone else introduced the comma around the ninth century, and the interrogation mark (;) appeared around the eighth or ninth century.

Q: Since most Greek manuscripts wrote the words with no spaces in between, where does this cause ambiguities?
A: Because of the structure of the Greek language endings, this causes few ambiguities according to Manuscripts of the Greek Bible p.31. Ambiguous places are Romans 7:14; 1 Timothy 3:16, and Leviticus 5:4 in the Greek.

 

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