Not One Word Failed

The Latin Versions

Romans 15:24-25 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

24 whenever I journey to Spain, I hope that I will see you in passing and to be helped on my way there by you after I have first enjoyed your company for a time. 25 But now I am about to travel to Jerusalem to minister to the holy ones. (Bold mine)[1]

The apostle Paul penned those words on his third missionary journey in Rome about 56 C.E. We cannot be certain if Paul ever made his journey to Spain. However, Clement of Rome stated (c. 95 C.E.) that Paul, “having taught righteousness to the whole world and having reached the farthest limits of the West.”[2] This very well could have included Spain. Regardless, through the efforts of Paul and his more than one hundred traveling companions, as well as other Christian missionaries after him, the Word of God, did reach Spain by the second century C.E. As a result, the conditions were right for the Christians in Spain to have the Bible translated into Latin. Latin was the official language of Imperial Rome. However, it was not the common language of the people throughout the Roman Empire the first century C.E. By the last half of the second century C.E., Spain had long been under Roman rule, and Latin had become the common language.

The Latin translations of the Bible were used in the Western part of the Roman Empire up unto the Reformation. In fact, they are still in use today in conjunction with translations from Latin into the common language, in the Roman Catholic Church.

Old Latin Versions (180 C.E.) came into existence prior to the end of the second century C.E. in Carthage, North Africa. Today we have thirty-two Old Latin manuscripts, Codex Vercellenis (ita) being the oldest, dating to the fourth century. None of the Old Latin manuscripts is a complete New Testament, but most of the New Testament is preserved when we consider them all. Scholars typically speak of to two basic types of Old Latin text: the African and the European. The sigla that represent the manuscripts of the Itala are italic lower-case letters, such as ita (Vercellenis) Gospels; 4th c., itaur (Aureus) Gospels; 7th c., itb (Veronensis) Gospels; 5th c., itd (Cantabrigiensis—the Latin text of Bezae) Gospels, Acts, 3 John; 5th c., ite (Palatinus) Gospels; 5th c., itf (Brixianus) Gospels; 6th c., itff2 (Corbeiensis II) Gospels; 5th c., itg1 (Sangermanensis) Matthew; 8th–9th c., and itgig (Gigas) Gospels; Acts; 13th c.

Below are the most important Old Latin witnesses of the African and the European type of texts. Old Latin manuscripts are so called not because they are written in Old Latin, that is, before 75 B.C.E. but rather because they are the oldest versions of the New Testament in Latin.

African Old Latin Manuscripts

ite (Palatinus) Gospels; 5th c.

The Codex Palatinus, designated by (ite) is a fifth-century Latin Gospel manuscript, which contains portions of the four Gospels. The Gospels follow in the Western order. The text was written on purple dyed vellum in gold and silver ink is a version of the old Latin. Even though the Latin text of Codex Palatinus is basically African recension, it has been strongly Europeanized.[3]

John 1:34: “And I have seen and I have borne witness that this one is the Son of God.”

The TR WH NU reads ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ “the Son of God,” which is the reading in the KJV, NKJV, RSV, NIV, NASB, and UASV. It is supported by (P66 P75 P120 א2 A B C W Δ Θ Ψ 083). Variant reading 1 ο εκλεκτος του θεου “the Chosen One of God” is found in the TNIV, NEB, REB, NJB, NLT, and LEB. It is supported by (P5vid P106vid א* ite syrc,s). Variant 2 reading “chosen son of God” is found in the NETmg and is supported by (ita syrpal copsa)

Codex Palatinus (ite) reflects ο εκλεκτος “the Chosen One” along with the other manuscripts (P5vid P106vid א* ite syrc,s) These are impressive witnesses, two early papyri, an early uncial, as well as two of the most reliable early Western witnesses. However, the TR WH NU readings are even a little weightier than Variant 1, with the papyri and early uncials. This means that both readings likely existed in the early third-century C.E. “The second corrector of Codex Sinaiticus (sixth or seventh century) deleted εκλεκτος and wrote the nomen sacrum for υιος in the margin.” (P. W. Comfort 2008, 259) Some scholars have argued that εκλεκτος (Chosen One) is the harder reading; therefore, it is more likely that the reading was changed to the υιος (Son) as opposed to the εκλεκτος (Chosen One). We also have the fact that “the Son of God” frequently occurs in John’s Gospel, while “the chosen one” does not occur in the Gospel of John, or his letters (making it the harder reading), and Peter does call Jesus “the Holy One of God.” (John 6:69) All of this makes “the Chosen One of God” more appealing as the original reading. However, the external evidence is weightier for “the Son of God,” which is also in harmony with the theological terminology of the Gospel of John, as well as his three letters.[4]

ith (Fleury palimpsest) Matt 3–14; 18–28; Acts; Revelation; Peter’s Epistles; 1 John; 5th c.

The Fleury Palimpsest, designated by (ith) h is a sixth-century Latin Gospel manuscript, which contains portions of Acts, the epistles of Peter, First John and Revelation. The codex was formerly at Fleury but is now is located in the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris. It contains many scribal errors. There are only ten differences in the book of Acts from the text of Acts contained in quotations in the Testimonia of Cyprian (c. 200 –258 C.E.),[5] bishop of Carthage, which means the text is from the third century. The order of books was probably Revelation, Acts, First and Second Peter, then First John.

itk (Bobbiensis) Matthew, Mark; ca. 400


Codex Bobbiensis, designated by (itk) is one of the oldest and most important of the African Old Latin manuscripts of the New Testament, which contains parts of the Gospel of Mark (Mk 8:8-16:9) and Gospel of Matthew (Matt. 1:1-15:36). The Latin of the codex is a representative of the Western text-type. It was copied about 400 C.E. Sometime later, it was brought to an Irish monastery in Bobbio in northern Italy. Today it can be viewed in the National Library in Turin. Its form text agrees closely with quotes from Cyprian (c. 200 –258 C.E.) bishop of Carthage. Some scholars feel that it represents a page from the Bible Cyprian used while he was a bishop. After a paleographic study of the text, it has been determined that it was copied from a second-century papyrus. Codex Bobbiensis is the only known example of the intermediate ending of the Gospel of Mark.[6]

Matthew 8:10: “Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, ‘Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel.’” The WH NU have παρʼ οὐδενὶ τοσαύτην πίστιν ἐν τῷ Ἰσραὴλ εὗρον “with no one in Israel I found such faith.” The manuscript support is B W (f1 0281) itk copbo. This is the preferred reading of the NRSV, ESV, NASB, UASV, HCSB, NET, LEB, and others.

In a variant, which is also in the TR, we have ουδε εν τω Ισραηλ τοσαυτην πιστιν ευρον “not even in Israel I found such faith.” The manuscript support א is C Θ 0233 0250 f13 33 Maj. This is the preferred reading of the KJV, NKJV, ASV, RSV, and NEB. Because the manuscript evidence is so divided and it is with difficulty that one has to determine the original reading, the following translations have this variant reading in a footnote: NRSV, ESV, and NASB. Some argue that the variant is the result of adopting the reading from Luke 7:9.

Receive the Word

European Old Latin Manuscripts

ita (Vercellensis) Gospels; 4th c.

Codex Vercellensis, designated by (ita) is likely the oldest and most important of the European Old Latin manuscripts of the New Testament, which contains Matthew, John, Luke and Mark respectively, the same order also found in some other very old “Western” manuscripts, such as Codex Bezae. It is housed in the cathedral library of Vercelli, in the Piedmont Region, Italy. It contains the long ending of Mark 16:9-20 on a replacement page, which begins mid-sentence in verse 7 in the Vulgate version. Unfortunately, the final pages of Mark after 15:15 are no longer extant. However, when C. H. Turner considered the space in 1928, it seemed unlikely that the original included verses 9-20.

Some would argue that this is made on assumptions that only four pages had been lost, which cannot be verified, as well as assuming the scribe did not accidently omit anything. It is not likely that some scribe simply made one replacement page. The more likely scenario is that the scribe merely took a page from another manuscript, as opposed to making one to place in Codex Vercellensis. The text of Codex Vercellensis is related to the fifth-century text of itff2 (Corbeiensis II), which contains the Gospels, and includes the long ending of Mark. According to an old tradition, Codex Vercellensis was penned under the direction of bishop Eusebius of Vercelli, who was martyred in 371, which would date it to the late fourth century. Textual scholar Peter M. Head reported on some important new research from Gregory Heyworth and Roger Easton. “In March 2013, a team from the Lazarus Project[7] traveled to Vercelli to collect spectral images of sample leaves from the codex. In July 2014, they returned to image the entire manuscript (Codex Vercellensis), this time with help from the Early Manuscripts Electronic Library.[8] Spectral imaging involves two distinct phases. First, imagers photograph the manuscript with a 50-megapixel camera fitted with a specially calibrated quartz lens and a dual filter wheel. Specially designed LED light units illuminate each folio both from above (reflectively) and below (transmissively) in twelve different wavelengths of light between the ultraviolet (365nm) and the infrared (940nm). Fluorescence from the manuscript provoked by ultraviolet and blue light is separated and captured with the help of a dual filter wheel that sits in front of the lens. All told, as many as thirty-three individual images of each page are captured by the computer-driven system, totaling in this case over 20,000 photos in a ten day period and over 4 terabytes of data.” Head goes to say, “The result of the first imaging is shown in the animation video. Much of the text that is unreadable to the unaided eye reveals itself in the spectral images. Processing of images of the entire manuscript is now ongoing. Additional results are expected by the end of summer 2015, to be followed by a new edition by Heyworth under the auspices of the Vetus Latina Institute.”[9]

Matthew 27:9 “Then what was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: ‘And they took the thirty silver pieces,[10] the price that was set on the man, the one on whom a price was set by some of the sons of Israel.’” The TR WH NU has Ἰερεμίου τοῦ προφήτου “Jeremiah the prophet,” which is supported by א A B C L W all.

Variant 1 has Ζαχαριου του προφητου “Zechariah the prophet,” which is support by 22 syrhmg. Variant 2 has Ιησαιου του προφητου “Isaiah the prophet,” which is supported by 21 itl. Variant 3 has του προφητου “the prophet,” which is supported by Φ 33 ita,b syrp,s copboMS MSSaccording to Augustine.

Matthew says that Jeremiah the prophet penned this quote when the words are found in Zechariah the prophet. Therefore, it would seem that Jeremiah was actually quoting Zechariah 11:12–13. Because of this perceived difficulty, some scribes in variant 1 changed “Jeremiah” to “Zechariah,” while other scribes in variant 2 changed “Jeremiah” to “Isaiah.” Then again, other scribes in variant 3 simply removed Jeremiah’s name, leaving us “the prophet.” However, there is no error on the part of Matthew because the prophecy comes from Zech. 11:12–13 and Jer. 19:1–11; 32:6–9.

Let us note the differences between what Matthew paraphrases and what Jeremiah says. Matthew has the prophet paying out the money for a field rather than giving it personally to the potter as is the case with Zechariah. Also, notice that the entire thrust of Matthew’s quotation is on the purchase of the field, while Zechariah does not even mention a field. Now if we drop down to Jeremiah 32:6-9, we will find the prophet purchasing a field for seventeen shekels of silver. Jeremiah 18:2 informs us that Jeremiah is sent “down to the potter’s house,” where he was to ‘hear God’s words.’ Jeremiah 19:2 has Jeremiah being commanded to “go out to the Valley of the Son of Hinnom at the entry of the Potsherd Gate, and proclaim there the words that I tell you.” Jeremiah 19:11 informs us of Jeremiah’s symbolic actions, “and shall say to them, ‘Thus says Jehovah of armies:  So will I break this people and this city, as one breaks the vessel of the potter, so that it can never be repaired; and in Topheth men shall bury because there will be no place else to bury.’” (UASV)

We must keep in mind as well that Zechariah was quite fond of using Jeremiah in his book. (Zech. 1:4 and Jer. 18:11; Zech. 3:8 and Jer. 23:5; Zech. 1:12 7:5 and Jer. 25:12) Further, if we reread Zechariah’s words, we will see that he does not mention the purchase of a field, but Jeremiah does mention such a purchase. Actually, it is Jeremiah that writes, “because they have filled this place with the blood of innocents” (19:4), and says that the name of the potter’s field, “shall no more be called Topheth, or the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter.” (19:6) In addition, it must be kept in mind that it was Jeremiah the prophet who actually purchased a potter’s field. (Jer. 32:6-9) Thus, it was a common practice for a later prophet to quote or use the information from an earlier prophet. We can see that Zechariah did just that, and it is likely that our so-called mistake is just another example of Zechariah quoting Jeremiah. Zechariah’s own words further support this, “were not these the words that Jehovah proclaimed by the former prophets.” (7:7) It was also a common saying among the Jews that “the spirit of Jeremiah was upon Zechariah.” If we combine this with the fact that Jeremiah was the more prominent prophet, we can see why Matthew credits him.

itb (Veronensis) Gospels; 5th c.

Codex Veronensis, designated by (itb) is a fifth-century Latin manuscript written on purple dyed vellum in silver and occasionally gold ink, which followed in the Western order. It contains all four Gospels, in almost their entirety: Matthew, John, Luke, Mark.[11] It has several lacunae (Matt. 1:1-11; 15:12-23; 23:18-27; John 7:44-8:12; Lu 19:26-21:29; Mk 13:9-19; 13:24-16:20).[12] The Latin text of Codex Veronensis represents the Western text-type in European recension.[13] Metzger says that Francis Crawford Burkitt (1864–1935) says, “It represents the type of text that Jerome used as the basis for the Vulgate.”[14]

There are several pages missing from Codex Veronensis, which include the pages that would have contained John 7:44-8:11, and when the spacing is considered, it would seem, it would have included John 7:53-8:11, namely, the account of the adulteress. However, the evidence is overwhelming that the account is an interpolation and is not part of John’s Gospel.

John 14:14: “If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”

The WH NU has ἐάν τι αἰτήσητε με ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι μου “whatever you ask me in my name,” which is supported by P66 P75vid א B W Δ Θ 060 f13 33. The variant/TR has εαν τι αιτησητε εν τω ονοματι μου “whatever you ask in my name,” which is supported by A D L Q Ψ.

The “if you ask me anything” has the support of the earliest manuscripts. Scribes likely omitted με (“me”) so as to bring 14:14 into harmony with 14:13, as well as 15:16 and 16:23. In Codex Veronensis (itb), the entire verse of John 14:14 is omitted along with manuscripts X f1 565 1009 76 253 vgmss syrs, pal arm geo Diatessaron. Ancient versions were known to omit repetitive material. The omission could have been accidental or intentional. Below is an image of where John 14:14 would be in P75. There is a lacuna there, which is a gap where something is missing in the manuscript. The vid in P75vid (Latin videtur, “it seems so”) is an indication that the reading is in the witness, but there is no absolute certainty because of a lacuna. Nevertheless, there is space for the με (“me”) in the reading that would be there.

Lacunae in P75 John 14-14

John 14.14 Textual Criticism

If one is wondering why ego (“I”) is missing, it may be that the scribe or some previous scribe left it out, because it is redundant in the verse. Because the personal ending on the verb poieso (“I will do”), has the “I” and there is no real need for ego.

TC Principle/Rule: The reading that the other rose from is likely the original. Was it more likely that “me” was omitted or added? It is more likely that “me” was omitted, to be in agreement with 14:13, 15:16 and 16:23.

TC Principle/Rule: The more difficult or awkward reading is often preferable. Which is the harder reading? “Me” is at odds with verses 14:13; 15:16 and 16:23, and the rest of the Gospel of John.

TC Principle/Rule: The reading that is deemed immediately at odds with the context is preferred if deemed intentional because a scribe is more likely to have smoothed the reading out. The scribe likely omitted “me” to bring verse 14 in harmony with verses 14:13, 15:16 and 16:23, as well as the rest of John. In addition, “me” seems logical when we consider it with the “I” at the end of the sentence.

“If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”

If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.”

TC Principle/Rule: Within the synoptic gospels especially, a less identical reading is preferred, as scribes had a tendency to harmonize readings. Even though John is not one of the synoptic gospels, it seems the copyists were trying to harmonize by omitting “me.”

TC Principle/Rule: The Alexandrian text-type is generally preferred (especially P66 P75 01 and 03) There is no doubt that we have the best Alexandrian support.

Rule: A represented reading from more than one geographical area may be preferred to even an Alexandrian text-type reading. “Me” has Alexandrian and Western family support.

Rule: An author-doctrine reading is preferred. If a reading matches the doctrine of the author, it is preferred, and the variants that are foreign to that doctrine are questionable. This is the only principle that stands against “me.”

The με (“me”) in “If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it,” must be considered almost certain because of the excellent weighty external evidence P66 P75 א A B D L W Θ it cop.

itc (Colbertinus) Gospels; twelfth c.

Codex Colbertinus, designated by (itc) was penned in the twelfth century, likely in Southern France is now housed at the National Library of France at Paris. The four Gospels and Book of Acts Codex Colbertinus follows the European Old Latin (with traces of African readings), while the rest of the New Testament follows the Vulgate.

Matthew 27:38: “Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left.”

In Codex Colbertinus (itc), the two robbers, who were crucified on either side of Jesus, are named: Zoatham (right-hand) and Camma (left-hand). In Mark 15:27, virtually the same names are given by the same scribe, as Zoatham and Chammata. Codex Rehdigeranus (itl) gives the names of the two robbers as Joathas and Maggatras. It was common for scribes to give names to persons that they felt played a major role in the Scriptures.[15]

itff2 (Corbeiensis II) Gospels; 5th c.

Codex Corbeiensis II, designated by (itff2) is a fifth century Old Latin Gospel, written on vellum, containing 190 parchment folio with the text of the four Gospels with lacunae (Matt 1:1-11:16; Luke 9:48; 10:20.21; 11:45-12:6.7; John 17:15-18:9; 20:22-21:8).[16] It was penned in a beautiful round uncial hand. The Gospels are as follows: Matthew, Luke, John, Mark. The Latin text of Codex Corbeiensis II is characteristic of the Western text-type. It contains a form of text that is akin to that preserved in Codex Vercellensis and Codex Veronensis.[17]


Photograph courtesy of the National Library of Sweden.

itgig (Gigas) Gospels; Acts; 13th c.

Codex Gigas, is designated by (itgig) and is known in English as the Giant Book, as it is the largest extant medieval manuscript in the world (weighing in at 165 pounds). Each page is about 20 by 36 inches. It dates to the thirteenth century. The New Testament is as follows, Matthew thru Acts, James thru Revelation, and Romans thru Hebrews.


Illustration of the devil, Folio 290 recto. itgig (Gigas) Gospels; Acts; 13th c.

It is also known as the Devil’s Bible because it has a huge illustration of the devil on the inside (Folio 290 recto). The Legend is that a monk who sold his soul to the devil created the codex. The codex was created by Herman the Recluse in the Benedictine monastery of Podlažice near Chrudim in the Bohemia, to later be acquired by the Imperial Treasury in Prague. At the end of the Thirty Years’ War in 1648, the codex was taken by the Swedish army and presented to the Royal Library in Stockholm, where it remain from 1649 to 2007.

The Latin Vulgate

The Latin Vulgate (Vulgata Latina) is a version of the entire Bible by one of the foremost Biblical scholars of all time, Jerome ([c. 346–420 C.E.] Latin: Eusebius Hieronymus) was a Roman Christian priest, confessor, theologian and historian, who became a Doctor of the Church. He was the son of Eusebius, of the city of Stridon, which was on the border of Dalmatia and Pannonia. His parents were reasonably well off, and he felt the benefits of money at an early age, receiving an education in Rome under the well-known grammarian Donatus. Jerome demonstrated himself to be an exceptional student of grammar, rhetoric, and philosophy. Throughout this period, he also began to study Greek. He is most famously known for his translation of the Bible from the original languages of Hebrew (OT) and Greek) (NT) into Latin (the Vulgate), and his list of writings is extensive.


Jerome was born at Stridon about 346 C.E. However, he was not baptized until sometime after close to 366 C.E, and shortly thereafter, he and his friend Bonosus headed for Rome. However, they became wanderers for a time, and then finally ended up in Aquileia, Italy, where Jerome was introduced to the idea of asceticism.  He became attracted to this extreme way of life, so he and a group of his friends spent a number of years cultivating an ascetic way of life.

In 373 C.E., some unnamed trouble contributed to the groups going their separate ways. Let down, Jerome traveled without a purpose and without a known destination eastward across Bithynia, Galatia, and Cilicia and eventually arrived in Antioch, Syria.

Even though he was only in his late 20’s at this point, Jerome’s health was damaged by fever, and he grew very ill during his journey.  “Oh, if only the Lord Jesus Christ would suddenly transport me to you,” he said, writing to a friend, Rufinus. “My poor body, weak even when well, has been shattered by frequent illnesses.”

Jerome had already coped with sickness, seclusion, and inner turmoil; he was now thrust into a spiritual crisis. In a dream, he was …

Suddenly I was caught up in the spirit and dragged before the judgment seat of the Judge; and here the light was so bright, and those who stood around were so radiant, that I cast myself upon the ground and did not dare to look up. Asked who and what I was I replied ‘I am a Christian.’ But He who presided said: ‘Thou liest; thou art a follower of Cicero and not of Christ. For where thy treasure is there will thy heart be also.’ Instantly I became dumb, and amid the strokes of the lash—for He had ordered me to be scourged—I was tortured more severely still by the fire of conscience, considering with myself that verse ‘In the grave, who shall give thee thanks?’ Yet for all that I began to cry and to bewail myself saying: ‘Have mercy upon me, O Lord; have mercy upon me.’ Amid the sound of the scourges this cry still made itself heard. At last the bystanders, falling down before the knees of Him who presided, prayed that He would have pity on my youth, and that He would give me space to repent of my error. He might still, they urged, inflict torture upon me, should I ever again read the works of the Gentiles. Under the stress of that awful moment I should have been ready to make even still larger promises than these. Accordingly I made oath and called upon His name, saying ‘Lord, if ever again I possess worldly books, or if ever again I read such, I have denied thee.’ On taking this oath, I was dismissed, and returned to the upper world.[18]

Sometime later would he sidestep his pledge that he had made in the dream, and said that he should not be held answerable for a solemn promise made in a dream. However, Jerome felt somewhat obligated to his vow, so he left Antioch and searched for solitude in Chalcis in the Syrian Desert. Living as a recluse, he submerged himself in the study of the Bible and theological literature. Jerome said, “I read the books of God with zeal greater than I had previously given to the books of men.”[19] He likewise learned the local Syriac tongue and started studying Hebrew with the help of a Jew, who had become a Christian.

After about five years of living an ascetic life, Jerome returned to Antioch in 378 or 379 C.E. His return to civilization was met with disappointment as the church was profoundly divided. While he had still been in the desert, Jerome had written to the Pope, saying, “The church is rent into three factions, and each of these is eager to seize me for its own.”[20]

Jerome eventually decided that he would take the side of Bishop Paulinus, one of three men that claimed that title of Antioch. Jerome unwillingly accepted his being ordained but demanded (1) that he was not be held back from being able to continue his ascetic life, and (2) he would remain freed from any priestly duties to minister to a specific church.

Jerome went with Paulinus to the Council of Constantinople and afterward continued with him to Rome in 381 C.E. Pope Damasus swiftly appreciated Jerome’s learning and linguistic expertise. Inside of a year, Jerome was raised to the important position of personal secretary to Damasus.

Once in the position of personal secretary, Jerome seemed to attract controversy at every turn. For example, even though he lived in a luxurious papal court, he continued in his ascetic lifestyle. This was not only frowned upon, but he even went a step further and spoke out against the excessive lifestyle of the worldly clergy, creating numerous enemies.

Regardless of those who despised him, Jerome had the complete backing of Pope Damasus. Of course, the pope had very good reasons for seeing that Jerome continued in his Bible research. The Latin Bible version was in numerous forms; as many of them had been carelessly translated, filled with errors. Another problem that Damasus faced was the division of his church, the East, and the West. Few in the Eastern portion of the church knew Latin, and fewer still in the Western portion knew Greek.

Therefore, it was Pope Damasus’ intention to have Jerome create a standard Latin text of the Gospels. Damasus desired a translation that would be a mirror image of the original language Greek texts, yet at the same time, be moving, stirring and powerful, as well as clear in the Latin. Jerome and only a handful of other scholar were up to such a task. He was fluent in Greek, Latin, and Syriac and possessed a fundamental knowledge of Hebrew, making him well suited for the job. Therefore, Jerome was commissioned into a project by Damasus that would not be completed for the next 20 years of his life.

Jerome was a translator with a mission, and it showed with the speed for which he was accomplishing his task. Jerome exhibited a clear, technique that would be used by the translator and the textual scholars over a millennium later. One of the leading textual scholars of the 20th century, the late Dr. Bruce M. Metzger had this to say about Jerome’s method:

Within a year or so Jerome was able to present Damasus with the first-fruits of his work, a revision of the text of the four Gospels, where the variations had been extreme. In a covering letter, he explained the principles, which he followed: he used a relatively good Latin text as the basis for his revision and compared it with some old Greek manuscripts. He emphasized that he treated the current Latin text [of his day] as conservatively as possible, and changed it only where the meaning was distorted. Though we do not have the Latin manuscripts, which Jerome chose as the basis of his work, it appears that they belonged to the European form of the Old Latin (perhaps they were similar to manuscript b). The Greek manuscripts apparently belonged to the Alexandrian type of text.[21]

Initially, the Jerome Latin translation was well received. However, the critics came out of the woodwork to complain about the supposed liberties that he took in making his translation.

After I had written my former letter, containing a few remarks on some Hebrew words, a report suddenly reached me that certain contemptible creatures were deliberately assailing me with the charge that I had endeavored to correct passages in the gospels, against the authority of the ancients and the opinion of the whole world.[22]

These condemnations only grew in intensity after the death of Pope Damasus in 384 C.E. The new pope and Jerome did not have a working relationship like the one he had shared with Damasus, so he made the decision to leave Rome. One again, Jerome was wandering toward the east.

In 386 C.E., Jerome had found his way to Bethlehem, where he would spend the rest of his life. He was traveling with a few of those who had remained loyal to him, as well as Paula, a well-off woman of nobility from Rome. Paula had grown attracted to the plain and simple way of life without luxury, because of Jerome’s influence. However, here financial wealth was used to establish a monastery under the direction of Jerome. It would be here that he would take his scholarly pursuits to an entirely new level, completing the ultimate work of his life.

Jerome’s understanding of Hebrew was only functional, so this new life in Bethlehem was going to offer him the opportunity at becoming an extraordinary Hebrew scholar. Here again, Paula was able to help him afford several different Jewish tutors, who helped him fully grasp a number of the most difficult characteristics of the language. Concerning one teacher, Jerome said,

What trouble and expense it cost me to get Baraninas to teach me under cover of night. For by his fear of the Jews he presented to me in his own person a second edition of Nicodemus.[23]

The Jews of Jerome’s day were not too receptive to Gentiles for their failure to pronounce the guttural sounds properly. This did not dissuade Jerome though, as he simply put more effort into his studies, and was eventually able to master these sounds. In addition, Jerome transliterated numerous Hebrew words into Latin.[24] This method not only assisted him in remembering the words but also preserved the Hebrew pronunciation of that time.

We are not sure how much of the Bible that Damasus wanted Jerome to translate. However, we are well aware of how much Jerome intended to accomplish. Jerome was very attentive and resolute. Jerome was determined to make available a revised Latin translation of the whole Bible.

Therefore, I beseech you, Paula and Eustochium, to pour out your supplications for me to the Lord, that so long as I am in this poor body, I may write something pleasing to you, useful to the Church, worthy of posterity. As for my contemporaries, I am indifferent to their opinions, for they pass from side to side as they are moved by love or hatred.[25]

The basis for the Old Testament was the Greek Septuagint (LXX).[26] The Septuagint was viewed by the Christians of the time as though God too inspired it.[27] It functioned as Scripture for the Greek-speaking Jews and was used by many Christians down to the time of Jesus and his apostles, as well up unto the time of Jerome. In the Greek New Testament, most of the 320 direct quotations and the collective total of perhaps 890 quotations and references to the Hebrew Old Testament are from the Septuagint.

As Jerome got involved in the work of translating the Old Testament, he was again met with discrepancies, like had been the case with the different Latin manuscripts, and now between the different Greek manuscripts, he was using. One can only imagine the feeling of disappointment, exasperation, or weariness of this man as he realized the work that would be involved in translating, as well as making textual decisions too. In the end, Jerome simply decided that it would be more practical to scrap his plan of using the Greek manuscripts, and even the revered Septuagint, and to go with the Hebrew text as his basis for the translation.

Here is where Jerome finds himself being falsely accused as a forger of the text, a man who was disrespectful of God, deserting the traditions of the church in favor of the Jews. Even the leading theologian of Jerome’s day, Augustine, begged him to drop the Hebrew text and return to the use of the Septuagint as the basis for his Latin translation, saying: “If your translation begins to be more generally read in many churches, it will be a grievous thing that, in the reading of Scripture, differences must arise between the Latin Churches and the Greek Churches.”[28]

As you can see the fear that dwelled within Augustine, was the church to become even further divided? He feared that the Western churches would be using Jerome’s Latin text based on the Hebrew text, while the Eastern Greek churches would be using the Greek Septuagint. Moreover, Augustine was concerned about setting aside the Greek Septuagint, for a translation that only Jerome would be able to defend.

What was Jerome’s reaction to all of these critics? He chose to stay true to himself; he simply ignored them. He stayed with the Hebrew text as the basis for his Latin translation of the Old Testament, and brought the whole Latin Bible to complete in 405 C.E. It would be labeled the Vulgate some years later, which is a reference to a commonly received version (the Latin vulgatus meaning “common, that which is popular”).

The Old Testament portion of the Latin translation that Jerome produced was not just a revision of the current Latin texts. It was the beginning of something far greater, a course change in the way the Bible was studied and translated. “The Vulgate,” said historian Will Durant, “remains as the greatest and most influential literary accomplishment of the fourth century.” (Durant 1950, 54)

Granted Jerome possessed a bitter or critical manner of speaking and a combative temperament, he by himself transmitted Bible research back to the inspired Hebrew text. With a sharp eye, he pored over and compared ancient Hebrew and Greek manuscripts of the Bible that are no longer accessible to us today. Jerome’s monumental work was also accomplished before that of the Jewish Masoretes.[29] Therefore, the Vulgate is a treasured reference tool for comparing alternate renderings of Bible texts. Hence, it would seem that his and his fellow assistant’s petitions were heard:

Therefore, I beseech you, Paula and Eustochium, to pour out your supplications for me to the Lord, that so long as I am in this poor body, I may write something pleasing to you, useful to the Church, worthy of posterity. As for my contemporaries, I am indifferent to their opinions, for they pass from side to side as they are moved by love or hatred.[30]

Vulgate of Mark 1.1ff in an illuminated manuscript held at Autun

Vulgate of Mark 1:1ff in an illuminated manuscript held at Autun

Jerome first embarked on a revision of the Old Latin version of the New Testament in comparison with the Greek text. He started with the Gospels, which were published in 383 C.E. After more than two decades of tremendous labor of translating God’s Word and putting out volumes of commentaries, not to mention taking on every theological battle in his time, Jerome, working alone, finally finished his translation in late 404 or 405 C.E.

vga or A (Amiatinus) whole Bible; 7th/8th c.

Codex Amiatinus, designated by (vga or A) is the earliest surviving manuscript of the whole Bible in the Latin Vulgate version. Many scholars view it as the best and most accurate manuscript of the vulgate. Codex Amiatinus is a little over nineteen inches high, and a little over thirteen inches in breadth, and seven inches thick, and weighs over 75 pounds. “It was written by ordered of Goelfrid, abbot of Jarrow and Wearmouth and sent by him as a gift to Pope Gregory in 716.”[31]

Vgc or C (Cavensis) whole Bible; 9th c.

Codex Cavensis, designated by (vgc or C) is housed at the abbey of La Trinità della Cava, near Cava de’ Tirreni. It contains 330 vellum folios, which measure 12.6 by 10.2 inches. Codex Cavensis dates to the ninth century. It contains the whole Bible and the named scribe’s (Danila) hand, textual variations, and orthography suggest that the manuscript is a representative of the Spanish group of manuscripts, which Metzger qualifies as one of the “chief representatives.”

Examining the Scriptures Daily

Vgd or Z (Dublinensis) Gospel of Matthew; 6th c.

Codex Dublinensis, designated by (vgd Z) is a Greek uncial manuscript of the Gospels, which dates to the sixth century. John Barrett discovered it in 1787, under some cursive writing, which he published in 1801, with errors. Codex Dublinensis is now located at the Trinity College Library in Dublin. It contains the bulk of the text of Gospel of Matthew,[32] on 32 parchment leaves with numerous lacunae. It was penned with one column per page. The column was 21 lines, having 27 letters to each line.

Matthew 6:13: 13 And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the wicked one.

The WH NU omit the doxology at end of prayer, which is supported by א B D Z 0170 f1 and preferred by the ASV ESV LEB UASV, et al.

Variant 1 adds αμην (“amen”), which is supported by 17 vgcl and is preferred by no translations.

Variant 2 adds “because yours is the power forever,” which is supported by itk syrp and is preferred by no translations.

Variant 3 add, “because yours is the power and the glory forever. Amen,” which is supported by copsa,fay with the Didache omitting αμην) and is preferred by no translations.

Variant 4 add, “because yours is the kingdom and the glory forever. Amen,” which is supported by syrc and is preferred by no translations.

Variant 5/TR adds οτι σου εστιν η βασιλεια και η δυναμις και η δοξα εις τους αιωνας. αμην. “because yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen,” which is supported by L W Δ Θ 0233 f13 33 Maj syr and is preferred by KJV NKJV, as well as HCSB and NASB in square brackets.

Variant 6 add οτι σου εστιν η βασιλεια του πατρος και του υιου και του αγιου πνευματος εις τους αιωνας. αμην. “because yours is the kingdom of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit forever. Amen,” which is supported by 157 (1253) and is preferred by no translations.

There are actually more variants than these six but these cover the basics of the doxology. The overwhelming witnesses for the reading in the Alexandrian (א B), the Western (D), Caesarean (f1), and also early patristic commentaries on the Lord’s Prayer (Tertullian, Origen, Cyprian) shows that verse 13 ends with a entreaty for deliverance from the evil one, i.e., Satan. Over times scribes just continued to add to the prayer, from a simple “amen” in variant 1, to variant 6 and the lengthy Trinitarian doxology. Our text under consideration, Codex Dublinensis, does not contain the doxology either.

Vgf or F (Fuldensis) NT; 541-546

Codex Fuldensis, designated by (vgf or F) is a New Testament manuscript based on the Latin Vulgate made in the mid-sixth century. The codex is viewed as the second most important witness of the Vulgate manuscripts. It is also known as the Victor Codex and is currently housed at the Hessian State Library Landesbibliothek at Fulda, in Hesse, Germany. It contains the Diatessaron and 23 of the canonical books of the New Testament; plus the Epistle to the Laodiceans, as well as a copy of Jerome’s Prologue to the Canonical Gospels.[33] Codex Fuldensis plays an important role about the authenticity of 1 Corinthians 14:34–35 coming after verse 33, as opposed to after verse 40, which was the case of several Western witnesses (D F G 88* itd, g Ambrosiaster Sedulius Scotus), as well as one vulgate manuscript (Codex Reginensis), which also places 1 Cor. 14:34-35 after 1 Cor. 14:40. Let us look at verse 33 as well.[34]

1 Corinthians 14:33–35: 33 For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.

As in all the congregations of the holy ones, 34 let the women keep silent in the congregations, for it is not permitted for them to speak, but let them be in subjection, as the Law also says. 35 If they want to learn something, let them ask their husbands at home, for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the congregation.

The TR WH NU retains verses 34-35 after 14:33 and is supported by P46 א A B Ψ 0243 33 81 88mg 1739 Maj syr cop Origen Pelagius, which is found in all translations. Variant places verses 34-35 after 14:40 D F G 88* itb Ambrosiaster and is found in the footnotes of the NRSV, TNIV, NLT, and NET.

Both Codex Fuldensis and the uncial Vaticanus (B) of early fourth century possess marginal readings that would lead one to believe their scribes were aware of the textual problem of 14:34-35. On this Comfort writes, “In Codex Vaticanus, there is a marginal umlaut by the line that contains the end of 14:33, which, in Payne’s view, indicates awareness of the textual problem regarding 14:34–35. As for Codex Fuldensis (produced in 546/547), it seems certain that Victor of Capua (the editor and reader of the manuscript) asked the original scribe to rewrite 14:36–40 in the margin. Payne argues that this rewrite was done so as to exclude 14:34–35. However, it must be said that there are no clear sigla in the manuscript which indicate such an omission. Finally, Payne conjectures that manuscript 88 must have originally been copied from an exemplar that did not contain 14:34–35 (see Payne 1998, 152–158). Niccum (1997, 242–255) presents a thorough case against Payne’s observations and concludes that there is no textual evidence for the omission of 14:34–35. Miller (2003, 217–236) also sees other reasons for the presence of the umlaut in Codex B than signaling inauthenticity.”[35]

Textual scholarship is suggesting that 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 is a gloss, from Paul placing it there, to later scribes, which was then placed into the main text of the manuscript. A gloss is a very short commentary on a detail in the text, written by the scribe or a teacher. Most often, it is a brief definition or explanation of an uncommon word in the text and will be written in the margin. Glosses often pose a problem for the textual critic because they may have appeared to be alternative readings to previous scribes, and in some cases, those scribes may have misunderstood a gloss in question as a preferred reading. The result, in these cases, is that a scribe replaces the word in the text with the gloss as he makes his own copy. The textual critic is left to reverse-engineer the situation and identify the original reading. It may not be difficult if one of the readings is clearly harder, but that is not always the case.

Again, the conclusion of some, it is not a matter of some scribe transposing these verses after verse 33 to the end of the section, after verse 40 because such a transposition would ruin the sense. Therefore, Fee and others argue that Paul or some scribe trying to emphasize that women were not to speak at the meetings wrote the words as a marginal gloss. (1 Tim. 2:9-15) After that, some scribes inserted the gloss after 14:33, while other scribes inserted the gloss after 14:40. However, this just does not seem to be reasonable. If it is unsensual for the words to be after verse 40 as to a transposition; then, this would hold true for placing a supposed gloss there as well. In addition, verses 14:34-35 is in P46 after verse 33 not verse 40, which dates to 150 C.E. Then, there is the fact that the Western text is known for textual transposition. The umlaut in Codex B is signaling inauthenticity. Finally, there is no clear textual evidence to prove that 14:34-35 was a gloss. However, there is much textual support for it being an original reading after verse 33.

The apostle Paul’s instruction to “keep silent” appears three times in 1 Corinthians chapter 14. Each time he is addressing a different group within the congregation. However, all three have the same reason behind the instruction, “let all things be done decently and in an orderly manner.”– 1 Corinthians 14:40.

Does this instruction to “be silent” mean that a woman can never speak at a congregation meeting? No. In the first century, there were occasions when women were moved by Holy Spirit to pray or prophesy in the congregation. On these occasions, they demonstrated their position within God’s arrangement by wearing a head covering.–1 Corinthians 11:5.

The women in Paul’s day and today are to “keep silent” be refraining from trying to assume the role of a male elder, pastor, or servant, and instructing the Christian congregation. In other words, they do not play a role in teaching the congregation. Moreover, they do not challenge the authority of those God assigned to teach by raising questions in an argumentative way. By recognizing their role within the congregation, “all things take place for building up.”– 1 Corinthians 14:26.[36]

vgm or M (Mediolanensis) Gospels; 6th c.

Codex Mediolanensis, designated by (vgm or M) is a Gospel vulgate manuscript that is now housed in the Ambrosian library at Milan, dating to the early sixth century. According to Wordsworth and White, Codex Mediolanensis is one of the best witnesses alongside Amiatinus and Fuldensis.[37]

Vgr or R (Reginensis) Paul; 8th c.

Codex Reginensis, designated by (vgr or R) is an eighth-century vulgate manuscript of the Paul’s epistles, which is now housed in the Vatican Library in Vatican City State, within the city of Rome.

Vgs or S (Sangallensis) Gospels; 5th c.

Codex Sangallensis 1395, designated by (vgs or S) is the oldest Vulgate manuscript of the Gospels, dating to the fifth-century, which was penned on vellum in Verona, Italy. The codex contains the text of the four Gospels (Matthew 6:21 thru John 17:18), with numerous lacunae. It contains 320 parchment leaves, which are 9.1 by 7.3 inches. It has some singular readings in the Gospel of Matthew (11:4; 14:2; 16:9.10; 17:26; 18:9; 26:45.47; 27:59; 28:1) and in Mark (4:7; 4:11; 6:33; 14:21).[38] Currently, it is housed at the Abbey library of Saint Gall (1395) in St. Gallen, Switzerland.[39]

Vgg1 or G (Sangermanensis) NT; 9th c.

Codex Sangermanensis, designated by (vgg1 or G) is a Vulgate manuscript, dated 822 C.E.[40] The text is written on vellum. The manuscript contains 191 leaves, which are 15.5 by 13 inches. In the New Testament, the Gospel of Matthew contains Old Latin readings. It also contains Shepherd of Hermas.[41]

Matthew 3:15-16: 15 But Jesus answering said to him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed him. 16 After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened up, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as if a dove coming upon him.[42]

In between verses 15 and 16, an Old Latin manuscript and a vulgate manuscript (ita, g1) add, [et cum baptizaretur lumen ingens circumfulsit de aqua, ita ut timerent omnes qui advenerant a][43] “and when he was baptized a great light shone from the water so that all who were gathered were frightened.” F. F. Bruce notes that this interpolation is also present in Tatian’s Diatessaron.[44] While these kinds of interpolations make for an interesting read, this was not in the original of the Gospel of Matthew. There is no place in any of the Gospels that speaks of any presence of a light when Jesus was baptized.

[1] Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are from the forthcoming Updated American Standard Version (UASV) –

[2] Michael William Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations, Third ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2007), 53.

[3] (Metzger and Ehrman 1964, 1968, 1992, 2005, p. 102)

[4] (B. M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament 1994, p. 172)

[5] Bruce M. Metzger, The Early Versions of the New Testament, Oxford University Press, 1977, pp. 314-315.

[6] K. Aland & B. Aland, The text of the New Testament: an introduction to the critical editions and to the Theory and Practice of the Modern Textual Criticism, Wm. Eerdmans, 1995, p. 188

[7] (

[8] (

[9] Seeing the Codex Vercellensis in a New Light .., (accessed April 09, 2017).

[10] I.e. silver shekels; it takes 50 shekels to equal 1 mina, and 60 minas to equal 1 talent.

[11] Bruce M. Metzger, The Early Versions of the New Testament, Oxford University Press, 1977, p. 296.

[12] Scrivener, Frederick Henry Ambrose; Edward Miller (1894). A Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament. Vol. 2 (fourth ed.). London: George Bell & Sons. p. 45.

[13] Gregory, Caspar René (1902). Textkritik des Neuen Testaments. Leipzig. p. 601

[14] Bruce M. Metzger, The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration, Oxford University Press 2005, p. 102.

[15] See Bruce M. Metzger’s article, “Names for the Nameless in the New Testament; a Study in the Growth of Christian Tradition,” inKyriakon: Festschrift Johannes Quasten, edited by Patrick Granfield and Josef A. Jungmann (Münster/W., 1970), pp. 89 ff., reprinted (with additions) in Metzger, New Testament Studies(Leiden, 1980), pp. 33 ff.

[16] Bruce M. Metzger, The Early Versions of the New Testament, Oxford University Press, 1977, p. 296.

[17] Bruce M. Metzger, The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration, Oxford University Press 2005, p. 102.

[18] Rufinus of Aquileia, “The Apology of Rufinus”, trans. William Henry Fremantle In , in A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, Second Series, Volume III: Theodoret, Jerome, Gennadius, Rufinus: Historial Writings, Etc., ed. Philip Schaff and Henry Wace (New York: Christian Literature Company, 1892), 462-63.

[19] Jerome, “The Letters of St. Jerome”, Volume VI: St. Jerome: Letters and Select Works, ed. Philip Schaff and Henry Wace (New York: Christian Literature Company, 1893), 36.

[20] Jerome, “The Letters of St. Jerome”, Volume VI: St. Jerome: Letters and Select Works, ed. Philip Schaff and Henry Wace (New York: Christian Literature Company, 1893), 20.

[21] Bruce M. Metzger, The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration, Oxford University Press 2005, p. 105.

[22] Jerome, “The Letters of St. Jerome”, Volume VI: St. Jerome: Letters and Select Works, ed. Philip Schaff and Henry Wace (New York: Christian Literature Company, 1893), 43-44.

[23] John 3:2; Ibid, Volume VI, 176.

[24] Transliterated means to represent letters or words written in one alphabet using the corresponding letters of another.

[25] Jerome, “Prefaces to the Books of the Vulgate Version of the Old Testament”, Second Series, Volume VI: St. Jerome: Letters and Select Works, ed. Philip Schaff and Henry Wace (New York: Christian Literature Company, 1893), 493.

[26] A Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible made 280 and 150 B.C.E. to meet the needs of Greek-speaking Jews outside Palestine. The Septuagint contains some books not in the Hebrew canon. According to tradition Seventy-two Jewish scholars of Alexandria, Egypt made the Septuagint,  in time it took on the Roman numerals LXX. Later, the number 70 somehow came to be used, and thus the version was called the Septuagint.

[27] We need to offer a word of caution here, because the Greek Septuagint was not inspired. Moreover, there were a number of Greek translations made, which was not a carefully guard text, nor unified. Thus, there are considerable differences between the Greek and the Hebrew Old Testament.

[28] Augustine of Hippo, “Letters of St. Augustin”, trans. J. G. Cunningham In , in A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, First Series, Volume I: The Confessions and Letters of St. Augustin With a Sketch of His Life and Work, ed. Philip Schaff (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1886), 327.

[29] The Masoretes were early Jewish scholars: any of the scholars who produced the Masoretic Text. The Masoretic Text was the Hebrew Bible: revised and annotated by Jewish scholars between the 6th and 10th centuries C.E.

[30] Jerome, “Prefaces to the Books of the Vulgate Version of the Old Testament”, trans. W. H. Fremantle, G. Lewis and W. G. Martley In , in A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, Second Series, Volume VI: St. Jerome: Letters and Select Works, ed. Philip Schaff and Henry Wace (New York: Christian Literature Company, 1893), 493.

[31] Bruce M. Metzger, The Text of the New Testament (Oxford University Press 2005), p. 106.

[32] Matthew 1:17-2:6, 2:13-20, 4:4-13, 5:45-6:15, 7:16-8:6, 10:40-11:18, 12:43-13:11, 13:57-14:19, 15:13-23, 17:9-17, 17:26-18:6, 19:4-12, 21-28, 20:7-21:8, 21:23-30, 22:16-25, 22:37-23:3, 23:15-23, 24:15-25, 25:1-11, 26:21-29, 62-71.

[33] Bruce M. Metzger, The Early Versions of the New Testament (Oxford 1977), p. 335.

[34] Philip B. Payne, Fuldensis, Sigla for Variants in Vaticanus and 1 Cor 14.34-5, NTS 41 (1995) 251-262.

[35] Philip W. Comfort, NEW TESTAMENT TEXT AND TRANSLATION COMMENTARY (Tyndale House, Carole Stream 2008), p. 519.

[36] (Andrews 2016)

[37] Bruce M. Metzger, The Text of the New Testament (Oxford University Press 2005), p. 108.

[38] C. H. Turner, The oldest manuscript of the Vulgate Gospels (Oxford 1931), pp. XXXI–XXXIV.

[39] Metzger, Bruce M. (1977). The Early Versions of the New Testament. London: Oxford University Press. p. 335.

[40] Robert L. Bensly, The Missing Fragment of the Latin Translation of the Fourth Book of Ezra (1875, Cambridge Univ. Press) page 5.

[41] IBID., 298.

[42] 3:16 BBC: the Spirit of God descending as if a dove coming upon him. This visible descent upon Jesus was possibly similar to that of the fluttering descent of a dove as it about to land on a branch. (Lu 3:22; Matt. 3:16; Mark 1:10; John 1:32-34) It was the perfect symbol when we consider its characteristics of gentleness, faithfulness to its mate, and its innocence.

[43] Eberhard Nestle and Erwin Nestle, Nestle-Aland: NTG Apparatus Criticus, ed. Barbara Aland et al., 28. revidierte Auflage. (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2012), 6.

[44] F. F. Bruce, The Canon of Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1988), 127–128.