Major Critical Texts of the New Testament
Byz RP: 2005 Byzantine Greek New Testament, Robinson & Pierpont
TR1550: 1550 Stephanus New Testament
Maj: The Majority Text (thousands of minuscules which display a similar text)
Gries: 1774-1775 Johann Jakob Griesbach Greek New Testament
Treg: 1857-1879 Samuel Prideaux Tregelles Greek New Testament
Tisch: 1872 Tischendorf’s Greek New Testament
WH: 1881 Westcott-Hort Greek New Testament
NA28: 2012 Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament
UBS5: 2014 Greek New Testament
NU: Both Nestle-Aland and the United Bible Society
SBLGNT: 2010 Greek New Testament
THGNT: 2017 The Greek New Testament by Tyndale House
GENTI: 2020 Greek-English New Testament Interlinear
ΚΑΤΑ ΜΑΤΘΑΙΟΝ 3:7 1550 Stephanus New Testament (TRNU)
3:7 Ἰδὼν δὲ πολλοὺς τῶν Φαρισαίων καὶ Σαδδουκαίων ἐρχομένους ἐπὶ τὸ βάπτισμα αὐτοῦ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Γεννήματα ἐχιδνῶν, τίς ὑπέδειξεν ὑμῖν φυγεῖν ἀπὸ τῆς μελλούσης ὀργῆς;
Matthew 3:7 English Standard Version (ESV), also LEB CSB KJV NKJV
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
TR NU ἐρχομένους ἐπὶ τὸ βάπτισμα αὐτοῦ
“they were coming to his baptism”
א1 C D L W 0233 f1, 33 565 579 700. 892 1241 1424 Maj it syr cop
[CE] ΚΑΤΑ ΜΑΤΘΑΙΟΝ 3:7 GENTI: 2020 Greek-English New Testament Interlinear
7 Ἰδὼν δὲ πολλοὺς τῶν Φαρισαίων καὶ Σαδδουκαίων ἐρχομένους ἐπὶ τὸ βάπτισμα εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Γεννήματα ἐχιδνῶν, τίς ὑπέδειξεν ὑμῖν φυγεῖν ἀπὸ τῆς μελλούσης ὀργῆς;
[CE] Matthew 3:7 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to the baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Variant/WH ερχομενους επι το βαπτισμα
“they were coming to the baptism”
א* B cop Origen
“… coming to the baptism” א* B cop Origen; “… coming to his baptism” א1 C D L W 0233 f1, 33 565 579 700. 892 1241 1424 Maj it syr cop. The earliest textual support and likely the original reading of Matthew is “… coming to the baptism.” Among those coming to see John Baptize were the self-righteous Jewish religious leaders, the Pharisees, and the Sadducees, who certainly felt that they did not need to repent. It is highly unlikely that they were there to be baptized by John. If we are mistaken, then their attempt at being baptized was hypocritical and motivated by the selfish desire to not lose their control over the people. They had nothing but disdain for the common people who were being baptized by John as a symbol of their repentance.
We would disagree with Leon Morris, who writes, “Matthew makes it clear that many from the more important religious parties came to John. This would not have been anticipated, for they were the more “respectable” members of society and John would not have been expected to make much of an appeal to people like this. It is interesting that even people from groups like these should seek baptism.” Morris further notes, “ἐπί here indicates purpose (cf. Chamberlain, p. 121; BAGD, “of purpose, goal, result,” here “to have themselves baptised,” III.1.b.η). ἐπί can signify “against w. hostile intent” (BAGD, III.1.a.ε); if we take it in this way we can think of the Pharisees and Sadducees as coming to John with hostile intentions. But John’s words seem addressed to candidates for his baptism.”
Instead, we would agree with Craig Blomberg, who writes, “Here John perceives some kind of hypocrisy that leads him to unleash a verbal attack against these particular Pharisees and Sadducees. He follows his accusation (v. 7) with a command (v. 8). He then anticipates their objection (v. 9) and responds with a stern warning (v. 10). Their hypocrisy presumably involves their pretending to support his ministry. The NIV correctly translates “coming to where he was baptizing” (literally, coming to the baptism) rather than “coming for baptism” (NASB).”
Similarly, Stuart K. Weber agrees, as he writes, “John noticed that many of the Pharisees (legalistic Jews) and the Sadducees (liberalized Jews) were coming out to the baptism. The presence of these hypocrites revealed that there were some among the crowds who were insincere in their participation. The NIV is probably accurate in translating this passage, coming to where he was baptizing (the phrase is literally “coming to the baptism”). For the most part, these religious leaders were present only to observe (or possibly to confront John). John chose to confront the source of hypocrisy in Israel, in hopes that their true repentance might make them the leaders they should be, leading many others of Israel to true repentance. Or, possibly, John hoped that bystanders would take warning from his confrontation and be wary of the hypocritical leaders.”
Philip W. Comfort agrees as well, for he writes, “the religious leaders were coming to observe the baptism John was doing. (It is possible but not likely that this reading means they were coming to be baptized, for that would be more naturally expressed by ερχομενους εις το βαπτισμα.). The TR NU reading probably reflects a late addition, intended to distinguish John’s baptism from Christian baptism.”
Variant Reading(s): differing versions of a word or phrase found in two or more manuscripts within a variation unit (see below). Variant readings are also called alternate readings.
Variation Unit: any portion of text that exhibits variations in its reading between two or more different manuscripts. It is important to distinguish variation units from variant readings. Variation units are the places in the text where manuscripts disagree, and each variation unit has at least two variant readings. Setting the limits and range of a variation unit is sometimes difficult or even controversial because some variant readings affect others nearby. Such variations may be considered individually or as elements of a single reading. One should also note that the terms “manuscript” and “witness” may appear to be used interchangeably in this context. Strictly speaking, “witness” (see below) will only refer to the content of a given manuscript or fragment, which it predates to a greater or lesser extent. However, the only way to reference the “witness” is by referring to the manuscript or fragment that contains it. In this book, we have sometimes used the terminology “witness of x or y manuscript” to distinguish the content in this way.
TERMS AS TO HOW WE SHOULD OBJECTIVELY VIEW THE DEGREE OF CERTAINTY FOR THE READING ACCEPTED AS THE ORIGINAL
The modal verbs are might have been (30%), may have been (40%), could have been (55%), would have been (80%), must have been (95%), which are used to show that we believe the originality of a reading is certain, probable or possible.
The letter [WP] stands for Weak Possibility (30%), which indicates that this is a low-level proof that the reading might have been original in that it is enough evidence to accept that the variant might have been possible, but it is improbable. We can say the reading might have been original, as there is some evidence that is derived from manuscripts that carry very little weight, early versions, or patristic quotations.
The letter [P] stands for Plausible (40%), which indicates that this is a low-level proof that the reading may have been original in that it is enough to accept a variant to be original and we have enough evidence for our belief. The reading may have been original but it is not probably so.
The letter [PE] stands for Preponderance of Evidence (55%), which indicates that this is a higher-level proof that the reading could have been original in that it is enough to accept as such unless another reading emerges as more probable.
The letter [CE] stands for Convincing Evidence (80%), which indicates that the evidence is an even higher-level proof that the reading surely was the original in that the evidence is enough to accept it as substantially certain unless proven otherwise.
The letter [BRD] stands for Beyond Reasonable Doubt (95%), which indicates that this is the highest level of proof: the reading must have been original in that there is no reason to doubt it. It must be understood that feeling as though we have no reason to doubt is not the same as one hundred percent absolute certainty.
NOTE: This system is borrowed from the criminal just legal terms of the United States of America, the level of certainty involved in the use of modal verbs, and Bruce Metzger in his A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (London; New York: United Bible Societies, 1994), who borrowed his system from Johann Albrecht Bengel in his edition of the Greek New Testament (Tübingen, 1734). In addition, the percentages are in no way attempting to be explicit, but rather, they are nothing more than a tool to give the non-textual scholar a sense of the degree of certainty. However, this does not mean the percentages are not reflective of certainty.
- Edward D. Andrews, FROM SPOKEN WORDS TO SACRED TEXTS: Introduction-Intermediate New Testament Textual Studies (Cambridge, Ohio), 2021.
- B. F. Westcott and F. J. A. Hort, Introduction to the New Testament in the Original Greek: Appendix (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1882)
- Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Biblical Studies Press, 2006)
- Bruce Manning Metzger, United Bible Societies, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Second Edition a Companion Volume to the United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament (4th Rev. Ed.) (London; New York: United Bible Societies, 1994),
- Eberhard Nestle and Erwin Nestle, Nestle-Aland: NTG Apparatus Criticus, ed. Barbara Aland et al., 28. revidierte Auflage. (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2012).
- Dirk Jongkind, ed., The Greek New Testament: Apparatus (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2017).
- Dirk Jongkind, ed., The Greek New Testament (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2017), Matt. 6:8.
- Eberhard Nestle and Erwin Nestle, Nestle-Aland: Novum Testamentum Graece, ed. Barbara Aland et al., 28. revidierte Auflage. (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2012)
- Philip Wesley Comfort, A COMMENTARY ON THE MANUSCRIPTS AND TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic, 2015).
- Philip W. Comfort, New Testament Text and Translation Commentary: Commentary on the Variant Readings of the Ancient New Testament Manuscripts and How They Relate to the Major English Translations (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2008).
- Philip Wesley Comfort and David P. Barrett, The Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts: Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts, 2 Volume Set The (English and Greek Edition) (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic, 2019)
- Rick Brannan and Israel Loken, The Lexham Textual Notes on the Bible, Lexham Bible Reference Series (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2014).
- Roger L. Omanson and Bruce Manning Metzger, A Textual Guide to the Greek New Testament: An Adaptation of Bruce M. Metzger’s Textual Commentary for the Needs of Translators (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2006).
- Wallace B., Daniel (n.d.). Retrieved from The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts: http://csntm.org/
- Wilker, Wieland (n.d.). Retrieved from An Online Textual Commentary on the Greek Gospels: http://www.willker.de/wie/TCG/index.html
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 Leon Morris, The Gospel according to Matthew, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press, 1992), 57.
 Craig Blomberg, Matthew, vol. 22, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992), 77.
 Stuart K. Weber, Matthew, vol. 1, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 36.