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
THGNT: 2017 The Greek New Testament by Tyndale House
GENTI: 2019 Greek-English New Testament Interlinear
ACTS 20:28 1881 (WH-NU GENTI) [BRD]
28 προσέχετε ἑαυτοῖς καὶ παντὶ τῷ ποιμνίῳ, ἐν ᾧ ὑμᾶς τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ἔθετο ἐπισκόπους, ποιμαίνειν τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ θεοῦ, ἣν περιεποιήσατο διὰ τοῦ αἵματος τοῦ ἰδίου.
ACTS 20:28 1550 Stephanus New Testament (TR1550)
28 προσέχετε οὖν, ἑαυτοῖς καὶ παντὶ τῷ ποιμνίῳ, ἐν ᾧ ὑμᾶς τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ἔθετο ἐπισκόπους, ποιμαίνειν τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ θεοῦ, ἣν περιεποιήσατο διὰ τοῦ ἰδίου αἵματος.
Acts 20:28 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the congregation of God, which he obtained with the blood of his own Son.
Acts 20:28 King James Version (KJV)
8 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God which he hath purchased with his own blood.
Acts 20:28 Revised Standard Version (RSV)
28 Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God which he obtained with the blood of his own Son.
Acts 20:28 Lexham English Bible (LEB)
28 Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock among which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as overseers, to shepherd the church of God which he obtained through the blood of his own Son.
WH NU GENTI ἣν περιεποιήσατο διὰ τοῦ αἵματος τοῦ ἰδίου
“which he [God] purchased with the blood of his own [Son]”
𝔓74 א A B C E Ψ 33 1739 (𝔓41 D add εαυτω after περιεποιησατο)
variant/TR ην περιεποιησατο δια του ιδιου αιματος
“which he [God] purchased with his own blood”
The WHNU GENTI text reading for Acts 20:28b has the best manuscript evidence by far and judging from this we can be certain beyond a reasonable doubt (BRD) that it is the original reading. Therefore, we will not use space debating the two but will spend our time determining how it should be understood.
In his Textual Commentary, Bruce Metzger has this to say:
This absolute use of ὁ ἴδιος [“his Own”] is found in Greek papyri as a term of endearment referring to near relatives. It is possible, therefore, that “his Own” (ὁ ἴδιος) was a title that early Christians gave to Jesus, comparable to “the Beloved” (ὁ ἀγαπητός); compare Ro 8:32, where Paul refers to God “who did not spare τοῦ ἰδίου υἱοῦ” [“his own Son”] in a context that clearly alludes to Gn 22:16, where the Septuagint has ἀγαπητοῦ υἱοῦ [“beloved Son”].
The reading ἰδίου αἵματος is supported by many of the Byzantine witnesses that read the conflation κυρίου καὶ θεοῦ in the preceding variant. It may well be, as Lake and Cadbury point out, that after the special meaning of ὁ ἴδιος [“his Own”] (discussed in the previous comment) had dropped out of Christian usage, τοῦ ἰδίου [“of his own”] of this passage was misunderstood as a qualification of αἵματος (“his own blood”). “This misunderstanding led to two changes in the text: τοῦ αἵματος τοῦ ἰδίου [“the blood of his own”] was changed to τοῦ ἰδίου αἵματος [“his own blood”] (influenced by Heb. ix. 12?), which is neater but perverts the sense, and θεοῦ was changed to κυρίου by the Western revisers, who doubtless shrank from the implied phrase ‘the blood of God.’ ” (TCGNT, 427)
J. H. Moulton in A Grammar of New Testament Greek, Vol. 1 (Prolegomena), 1930 ed., p. 90, says,
“Before leaving ἴδιος [idios] something should be said about the use of ὁ ἴδιος [ho idios] without a noun expressed. This occurs in Jn 111 131, Ac 423 2423. In the papyri, we find the singular used thus as a term of endearment to near relations . . . . In Expos. VI. iii. 277 I ventured to cite this as a possible encouragement to those (including B. Weiss) who would translate Acts 20:28 ‘the blood of one who was his own.’”
The different renderings are as follows:
- “care for the church of God”
- “which he [God] purchased with the blood of his own Son”
- “which he [God] purchased with his own blood”
In the end, we must draw the conclusion from all of the evidence; the 1952, 1971 Revised Standard Version (RSV), the 2012 Lexham English Bible (LEB), and the 2000 Updated American Standard Version (UASV) has followed the evidence with its rendering: “Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God which he obtained with the blood of his own Son.” On the other hand, it seems that the New Living Translation publisher or committee has allowed theological bias to affect their translation choices: “So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock, his church, purchased with his own blood, over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as elders.” Robert H. Stein said in a lecture at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, ‘God does not need our help [in textual or translation decisions]. Simply render it as it should be [follow the truth-follow the evidence], whether it supports your position or not.’
- Be honest in all things
- Follow the truth regardless
- Obey God not man
If textual scholars and translators obey all three of those principles; then, if the text, translation, or interpretation supports our specific doctrinal view, fine, if it does not, fine. A so-called major doctrine does not hang in the balance based on one Bible verse.
NOTE: When there is a superscript א* This siglum refers to the original before it has been corrected. The superscript א1 This siglum refers to the corrector who worked on the manuscript before it left the scriptorium. The superscript א2 refers to correctors in the 6th and 7th century C.E., who altered the text to conform more with the Byzantine text.
The original wording in Acts 20:28b is “which he [God] purchased with the blood of his own [Son]” (ἣν περιεποιήσατο διὰ τοῦ αἵματος τοῦ ἰδίου), which is found in the early good documentary witnesses 𝔓74 א A B C E Ψ 33 1739 and accepted by GENTI WH TGNT SBLGNT. We have a variant, “which he [God] purchased with his own blood” (ην περιεποιησατο δια του ιδιου αιματος), which is found in the Maj text and the TR.
 James Hope Moulton, Prolegomena, p. 90; and Moulton and Milligan, Vocabulary, s. v.
 The Beginnings of Christianity, vol. iv, p. 261.
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.
- B. F. Westcott and F. J. A. Hort, Introduction to the New Testament in the Original Greek: Appendix (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1882)
- 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)
- The NET Bible. Garland, TX: Biblical Studies Press, 2006
- 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)
- Wallace B., Daniel (n.d.). Retrieved from The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts: http://csntm.org/
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