A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF HOW WE GOT THE BIBLE

Edward D. Andrews
EDWARD D. ANDREWS (AS in Criminal Justice, BS in Religion, MA in Biblical Studies, and MDiv in Theology) is CEO and President of Christian Publishing House. He has authored over 140 books. Andrews is the Chief Translator of the Updated American Standard Version (UASV).

We have to face the reality that while the original 39 OT manuscripts and 27 NT manuscripts were inspired by God [Lit. “God-breathed”] (1 Tim. 3:16), as the authors were moved along by the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 1:21), this was not the case with the copyists thereafter. Yes, hundreds of thousands of scribal errors crept into our manuscripts. Yet, there is solid evidence that the Bible, the inspired fully inerrant Word of God, has been accurately copied largely by professional, semi-professional, and literate copyists. Still being honest, at times even these ones took liberties with the text believing that they were correcting or enhancing it. Even so, we have 6,000+ Hebrew Old Testament manuscripts and over 5,898[1] Greek New Testament manuscripts have been cataloged[2] 10,000 Latin manuscripts, and an additional 9,300 other manuscripts in such languages as Syriac, Slavic, Gothic, Ethiopic, Coptic, and Armenian.

Original Writings—The original 39 OT Bible manuscripts and 27 New Testament Bible manuscripts were handwritten on perishable materials such as papyrus and vellum. We have no original manuscripts in existence today.

The Reading Culture of Early Christianity From Spoken Words to Sacred Texts 400,000 Textual Variants 02

Copies—Hebrew or Greek—Not long after the originals manuscripts were written, copyists began producing copies. For the most part, the copyists took their assignment very seriously and used exceptional care in the transmission of the text, in an effort to make their copy an accurate reflection of their exemplar. The Masoretes even went so far as to count even the letters that they were copying.

Early Translations—Because Christianity and the Jewish religion were being taken up by other peoples who spoke other languages, the Bible was soon being made available in other languages. Today, we have early versions of what is known as the Septuagint (a Greek version of the Hebrew Bible, from the third and second centuries B.C.E.) and Jerome’s Vulgate (the principal Latin version of the Bible, prepared mainly by St. Jerome in c. 400 C.E.)

Master Texts (Critical Texts)—Textual scholars giving their entire lives to God’s Word, poured over hundreds of manuscripts in the 1700s and 1800s and eventually thousands of manuscripts in the 1900s up until today; these ones, having given us a restored text, what is known as a critical text (See below). In these critical texts, we have a restored text of what has been determined to be the original readings, with notes that draw attention to variants in other manuscripts. The Hebrew text was left the same by the Hebrew scholars known as the Masoretes (500-1000 C.E.) and they placed the corrections in the Masorah, the margins of the text. In modern times, the Hebrew Scriptures with comparative readings in footnotes were produced by such renowned Hebrew Old Testament scholars Ginsburg and Kittel.

The P52 PROJECT THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS 4th ed. MISREPRESENTING JESUS

Critical Edition or Critical Text—A Critical Text is any biblical text in the original language that includes a legitimate apparatus of variant readings linked to the text. To be legitimate, the readings must consist mainly of alternatives found in ancient manuscripts, which usually include ancient versions (translations) and citations in the church fathers. This format, which is a collation (q.v.), is the most practical way to provide the user with a convenient source providing a great deal of textual information for making textual decisions. The text itself represents all the choices of its editors for every variation unit (q.v.) in the text.

Some renowned NT textual scholars from the 1700s to the 21st century who personally worked with the manuscripts would be, J. J. Griesbach (1745–1812), Karl Lachmann (1793-1851), to Samuel Tregelles (1813–1875), to Constantin von Tischendorf (1815–1874), to Westcott (1825 – 1901) and Hort (1828 – 1892), Bruce M. Metzger (1914 – 2007), to the Nestles and Alands of the Nestle Aland Text. These had methods of deciding the original reading and worked with the manuscripts personally making critical texts that make up our modern-day Bible translations.

By a comparative study of hundreds of existing Bible manuscripts, scholars have prepared master texts. These printed editions of original-language texts suggest the best readings available while drawing attention to variations that may exist in certain manuscripts. Texts of the Hebrew Scriptures with comparative readings in footnotes have been prepared by such scholars as Ginsburg and Kittel. Included among the master texts of the Christian Greek Scriptures are those published by Westcott and Hort as well as by Nestle and Aland. We have been blessed with extraordinary textual scholars. These scholars have devoted their entire lives to providing us the transmission of the New Testament text and the methodologies by which we can recover the original words of the New Testament authors. They did not construct these histories and methodologies from textbooks or in university classrooms. No, they spent decades upon decades in working with manuscripts and putting their methods of textual criticism into practice, as they provided us with one improved critical edition after another. As their knowledge grew, the number of manuscripts which they had to work with fortunately grew as well.

English Bible Versions King James Bible KING JAMES BIBLE II

The critical text of Westcott and Hort of 1881 has been commended by leading textual scholars over the last one hundred and forty years, and still stands as the standard. Numerous additional critical editions of the Greek text came after Westcott and Hort: Richard F. Weymouth (1886), Bernhard Weiss (1894–1900); the British and Foreign Bible Society (1904, 1958), Alexander Souter (1910), Hermann von Soden (1911–1913); and Eberhard Nestle’s Greek text, Novum Testamentum Graece, published in 1898 by the Württemberg Bible Society, Stuttgart, Germany. The Nestle in twelve editions (1898–1923) to subsequently be taken over by his son, Erwin Nestle (13th–20th editions, 1927–1950), followed by Kurt Aland (21st–25th editions, 1952–1963), and lastly, it was coedited by Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland (26th–28th editions, 1979, 1993, 2012). The 1881 Greek text of Westcott and Hort and the 2012 28th edition of the Nestle-Aland Greet text are 99.5% in agreement. That means in 130 years of finding hundreds of manuscripts, some of which date within decades of the originals, we have seen very little change.

Modern Translations—The modern-day Bible translators have used these original-language critical texts (BHS [OT] WH UBS5 NA28 [NT]) to produce their modern translations, such as the 1901 ASV. the 1952 RSV, 1995 NASB, the 2012 LEB, the 2017 CSB, and the 2021 UASV, to mention just a few.

Mosaic Authorship HOW RELIABLE ARE THE GOSPELS

Hebrew Old Testament Scriptures

Hebrew Bible

11th-century manuscript of the Hebrew Bible with Targum
11th-century manuscript of the Hebrew Bible with Targum
A page from the Aleppo Codex, Deuteronomy.
A page from the Aleppo Codex, Deuteronomy.

Textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible compares manuscript versions of the following sources (dates refer to the oldest extant manuscripts in each family):

Manuscript Examples Language Date of Composition Oldest Copy
Dead Sea Scrolls Tanakh at Qumran Hebrew, Paleo Hebrew, and Greek(Septuagint) c. 150 BCE – 70 CE c. 150 BCE – 70 CE
Septuagint Codex VaticanusCodex Sinaiticus and other earlier papyri Greek 300–100 BCE 2nd century BCE(fragments)
4th century CE (complete)
Peshitta Syriac early 5th century CE
Vulgate Latin early 5th century CE
Masoretic 

ARTICLE I

ARTICLE II

Aleppo CodexLeningrad Codex and other incomplete mss Hebrew ca. 100 CE 10th century CE
Samaritan Pentateuch Abisha Scroll of Nablus Hebrew in Samaritan alphabet 200–100 BCE Oldest extant mss c.11th century CE, oldest mss available to scholars 16th century CE, only Torah contained
Targum Aramaic 500–1000 CE 5th century CE

As in the New Testament, changes, corruptions, and erasures have been found, particularly in the Masoretic texts. This is ascribed to the fact that early soferim (scribes) did not treat copy errors in the same manner later on.

There are three separate new editions of the Hebrew Bible currently in development: Biblia Hebraica Quinta, the Hebrew University Bible, and the Oxford Hebrew BibleBiblia Hebraica Quinta is a diplomatic edition based on the Leningrad Codex. The Hebrew University Bible is also diplomatic but based on the Aleppo Codex. The Oxford Hebrew Bible is an eclectic edition.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are manuscripts of the Old Testament. Many of them are in Hebrew, with some being in Aramaic and a small number in Greek. Many of these scrolls and fragments date to the third and second Century B.C.E., almost 300 years before the birth of Jesus Christ. There were seven lengthy manuscripts in various stages of deterioration that had been acquired from the Bedouin. Soon other caves were being searched, with new discoveries of scrolls and fragments in the thousands. A total of eleven caves near Qumran, by the Dead Sea, were discovered between 1947 and 1956.

DEFENDING OLD TESTAMENT AUTHORSHIP Agabus Cover BIBLICAL CRITICISM

Since, it has been determined that there are 800 manuscripts, once all the scrolls and fragments are considered. About 200 manuscripts, or about twenty-five percent, are copies of portions of the Old Testament. The other seventy-five percent, or 600 manuscripts, belong to ancient non-Biblical Jewish writings, divided between Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha.

Various scrolls that produced the greatest interest for the scholars were formerly unknown texts. Among these were the interpretations on matters of the Jewish law, detailed instructions for the community of the Qumran sect, eschatological works that disclose interpretations about the outcome of Bible prophecy and the end times, as well as liturgical poems and prayers. Among them too were unique Bible commentaries, the oldest examples of verse-by-verse[5] commentary on Biblical passages.

THE CREATION DAYS OF GENESIS gift of prophecy

The Aleppo Codex (Hebrew: כֶּתֶר אֲרָם צוֹבָא‎ Keter Aram Tzova or Crown of Aleppo) is a medieval bound manuscript of the Hebrew Bible. The codex was written in the city of Tiberias in the 10th century C.E. under the rule of the Abbasid Caliphate and was endorsed for its accuracy by Maimonides. Together with the Leningrad Codex, it contains the Ben-Asher Masoretic tradition, but the Aleppo Codex lacks most of the Torah section and many other parts.

BEFORE the discovery of the cache of Hebrew scrolls in the Dead Sea caves in 1947, aside from a few fragments, our Hebrew Old Testament manuscripts were from the late 9th to the 11th century C.E. That is but a mere thousand years ago when the thirty-nine Hebrew Old Testament Bible books date from 2,500 to 3,500 years ago. Does this mean that prior to 1947, textual scholars and translators were uncertain about the Hebrew Bible that lies behind our English Old Testament? No, there was the most important Hebrew manuscript, which is called the Keter, the “Crown,” that originally contained all the Hebrew Scriptures, or the “Old Testament.”

The Leningrad Codex is the oldest complete Masoretic manuscript, which is the basis for both the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia and Biblia Hebraica Quinta, dating to about 1008 C.E. It is a representative of the Ben Asher tradition. In 1947, there began a discovery of some 220 manuscripts or fragments that were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. Those manuscripts gave us evidence of just how accurate our Hebrew Old Testament is because the Dead Sea manuscripts were from one thousand to one thousand three hundred years older than the Leningrad Codex. When we compare the Leningrad Codex with the Dead Sea Scrolls, we discover a very interesting detail. Yes, there is some variation in the wording of the Dead Sea Scrolls, it is not to the point of affecting the message, and the Masorah notes in our Masoretic texts and the versions give us what we need for textual scholars need to determine what the original reading was in the handful of differences.

Young Christians

Again, prior to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest manuscripts of the Old Testament were dated to about the ninth and tenth centuries C.E., known as the Masoretic texts (MT). The Hebrew Old Testament was complete in the middle of the fifth century B.C.E., over 1,400 years earlier than these MT. Therefore, the question begs to be asked, ‘can we trust this MT as really being the Word of God?’ A member of the international team of editors of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Professor Julio Trebolle Barrera, states: “The Isaiah Scroll [from Qumran] provides irrefutable proof that the transmission of the biblical text through a period of more than one thousand years by the hands of Jewish copyists has been extremely faithful and careful.” (F. Garcia Martinez, Martinez and Barrera 1995, p. 99)

The Isaiah scrolls identified as “IQisaa” and “IQIsab” are complete copies of the book of Isaiah, but the latter is the earliest known copy of a complete Bible book. Both are from cave 1. Gleason Archer had this to say about the two Isaiah scrolls that “proved to be word for word identical with the standard Hebrew Bible in more than 95% of the text. The 5% of variation consisted chiefly of obvious slips of the pen and variations in spelling.” (Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction 1994, p. 19) Up to now, over 200 Biblical manuscripts have come out of the Qumran caves; representing portions of every Old Testament book except Esther. The Isaiah scrolls of Cave 1 are an exception to the rule, as most of the others are mere fragments, containing less than 10% of any given book. The books that are the most often quoted in the New Testament are, in fact, the most popular among the Qumran community: Psalms (36 copies), Deuteronomy (29 copies), and Isaiah (21 copies).

English Bible Versions King James Bible KING JAMES BIBLE II

Aside from establishing that the Hebrew Old Testament has not undergone some radical changes over the last 1,400 years, the Dead Sea Scrolls also reveals two other important pieces to some long-standing questions. They provide evidence that there were different versions of the Hebrew Bible texts used by the Jews in the Second Temple period (537 B.C.E to 70 C.E.), each one of them contains its own variations. Of the scrolls, not all are identical in spelling and wording to the MT. Some of them are more in line with the Greek Septuagint, also known by the Roman numerals for seventy, LXX.[3] It had been thought by scholars prior to 1947 that the differences in the LXX were the result of errors on the part of the scribes, even possibly intentional alterations by the translators. When the Dead Sea Scrolls became known, it was revealed that these differences were due to the variations of the different Hebrew versions. Further, this could possibly explain why writers from the New Testament quote from the Hebrew Bible texts using wording different than the MT.–Exodus 1:5; Acts 7:14.

Hence, the storehouse of thousands of fragments and Biblical scrolls affords the textual scholar an excellent basis in their studying the transmission of the Hebrew Bible text. Additionally, the Dead Sea Scrolls have established the worth of both the Septuagint and the Samaritan Pentateuch for textual comparison. As all modern Bibles are based on the Masoretic Text, they also provide added bases for these translation committees to consider emending (correcting) their translations and the MT.

APOSTOLIC FATHERS Lightfoot APOSTOLIC FATHERS

Greek New Testament Scriptures

New Testament

Early New Testament texts include about 5,898* Greek manuscripts, 10,000 Latin manuscripts, and 9,300 manuscripts in various other ancient languages (including Coptic, Syriac, Gothic, Slavic, Ethiopic, and Armenian). The manuscripts contain approximately 400,000+ textual variants, most of them involving changes of word order and other comparative trivialities. Thus, for over 250 years, New Testament scholars have argued that no textual variant affects any doctrine. Professor D. A. Carson states: “nothing we believe to be doctrinally true, and nothing we are commanded to do, is in any way jeopardized by the variants. This is true for any textual tradition. The interpretation of individual passages may well be called in question; but never is a doctrine affected.”

* Of the 5,898 Greek NT manuscripts cataloged, 83 percent of them date after 1000 C.E., with 17% (889 manuscripts) dating from the second to the tenth century. Between the second to the tenth century, we find in whole or in part 365 Gospels, 112 Acts and Catholic Epistles, 158 Epistles of Paul, 33 Revelation, and 313 lectionaries. The Gospel of Mark is the least attested prior to the fourth century, with chapters 2, 3, 10, and 13-16 having no representation at all. The Gospel of Mark is only represented in (P45), but about 78% of the Gospel is missing, and the fragment P137, a codex, written on both sides with text from the first chapter of the Gospel of Mark; verses 7-9 on the recto side and 16-18 on the verso side. The Gospel of John on the other hand, prior to the fourth century it is very well attested, with only 14 verses not being covered between chapters 16 and 20. The Gospel of John is found in some of the earliest and most significant manuscripts (P45 P66 P75).

The sheer number of witnesses presents unique difficulties, chiefly in that it makes stemmatics in many cases impossible because many writers used two or more different manuscripts as sources. Consequently, New Testament textual critics have adopted eclecticism after sorting the witnesses into three major groups, called text-types. As of 2017, the most common division distinguishes:

Text type Date Characteristics Bible version
The Alexandrian text-type
(also called the “Neutral Text” tradition; less frequently, the “Minority Text”)
2nd–4th cent. CE This family constitutes a group of early and well-regarded texts, including Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus. Most representatives of this tradition appear to come from around Alexandria, Egypt, and from the Alexandrian Church. It contains readings that are often terse, shorter, somewhat rough, less harmonized, and generally more difficult. The family was once thought to result from a very carefully edited 3rd-century recension but now is believed to be merely the result of a carefully controlled and supervised process of copying and transmission. It underlies most translations of the New Testament produced since 1900. NIV, NAB, NABRE, Douay,
JB and NJB (albeit, with
some reliance on
the Byzantine text-type),
TNIV, NASB, RSV, ESV, EBR,
NWT, LB, ASV, NC, GNB, CSB, UASV
The Western text-type 3rd–9th cent. CE Also, a very early tradition, which comes from a wide geographical area stretching from North Africa to Italy and from Gaul to Syria. It occurs in Greek manuscripts and in the Latin translations used by the Western church (Western Text-Type). It is much less controlled than the Alexandrian family and its witnesses are seen to be more prone to paraphrase and other corruptions. It is sometimes called the Caesarean text-type. Some New Testament scholars would argue that the Caesarean constitutes a distinct text-type of its own. Vetus Latina
The Byzantine text-type; also, Koinē text-type
(also called “Majority Text“)
5th–16th cent. CE This group comprises around 95% of all the manuscripts, the majority of which are comparatively very late in the tradition. It had become dominant at Constantinople from the 5th century on and was used throughout the Eastern Orthodox Church in the Byzantine Empire. It contains the most harmonistic readings, paraphrasing, and significant additions, most of which are believed to be secondary readings. It underlies the Textus Receptus used for most Reformation-era translations of the New Testament. Bible translations
relying on the
Textus Receptus which is
close to the Byzantine text: KJV, NKJV, Tyndale,
Coverdale, Geneva, Bishops’ Bible, OSB

 

 

INVESTIGATING JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES REVIEWING 2013 New World Translation INVESTIGATING JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES

Codex Sinaiticus (01, א) alone has a complete text of the New Testament. It is dated to c. 330–360 C.E.

The codex is an Alexandrian text-type manuscript written in uncial letters on parchment in the 4th century. Scholarship considers the Codex Sinaiticus to be one of the best Greek texts of the New Testament, along with the Codex Vaticanus. Until Constantin von Tischendorf’s discovery of the Sinaiticus text, the Codex Vaticanus was unrivaled.

The Codex Sinaiticus came to the attention of scholars in the 19th century at Saint Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai Peninsula, with further material discovered in the 20th and 21st centuries. Although parts of the codex are scattered across four libraries around the world, most of the manuscript is held today in the British Library in London, where it is on public display.[3] Since its discovery, the study of the Codex Sinaiticus has proven to be useful to scholars for critical studies of the biblical text.

Codex Vaticanus (03, B) contains the Gospels, Acts, the General Epistles, the Pauline Epistles, the Epistle to the Hebrews (up to Hebrews 9:14, καθα[ριει); it lacks 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, and Revelation. It is written on 759 leaves of vellum and is dated to c. 300–325 C.E.

Codex Vaticanus (B or 03) is the most valuable of all manuscripts, which contained the entire Bible at one time. As is indicated by its name, it is housed in the Vatican Library at Rome, first becoming known in 1475. It too was penned in Greek uncials on 759 leaves of parchment. Today, it still contains most of the Old Testament, except most of Genesis, and part of Psalms. It is missing some portions of the New Testament as well. It is dated to about 300–325 C.E. It is viewed as belonging to the earlier part of the fourth century as it lacks the Eusebian Canons mentioned above.

is-the-quran-the-word-of-god UNDERSTANDING ISLAM AND TERRORISM THE GUIDE TO ANSWERING ISLAM.png

P75 and Vaticanus 1209 (B). P75 is also known as Bodmer 14, 15. As has already been stated, papyrus is writing material used by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans that was made from the pith of the stem of a water plant. These are the earliest witnesses to the Greek New Testament. P75 contains most of Luke and John, dating from 175 C.E. to 225 C.E Vaticanus is designated internationally by the symbol “B” (and 03) and is known as an uncial manuscript written on parchment. It is dated to the mid-fourth-century C.E. [c. 350] and originally contained the entire Bible in Greek. At present, Vaticanus’ New Testament is missing parts of Hebrews (Hebrews 9:14 to 13:25), all of First and Second Timothy, Titus, Philemon, and Revelation. Originally, this codex probably had approximately 820 leaves, of which 759 remain.

What kind of weight or evidence do these two manuscripts carry in the eyes of textual scholars? Vaticanus 1209 is a key source for our modern translations. When determining an original reading, this manuscript can stand against other external evidence that would seem to the non-professional to be much more significant. P75 also is one of the weightiest manuscripts that we have and is virtually identical to Vaticanus 1209, which dates 175 to 125 years later than P75. When textual scholars B. F. Westcott and F. J. A. Hort released their critical text in 1881, Hort said that Vaticanus preserved “not only a very ancient text but a very pure line of a very ancient text.” (Westcott and Hort 1882, 251) Later scholars argued that Vaticanus was a scholarly recension: a critical revision or edited text. However, P75 has vindicated Westcott and Hort because of its virtual identity with Vaticanus; it establishes that Vaticanus is essentially a copy of a second-century text, and likely, a copy of the original text, with the exception of a few minor points.

4th ed. MISREPRESENTING JESUS The Complete Guide to Bible Translation-2

Kurt Aland[1] wrote, “P75 shows such a close affinity with the Codex Vaticanus that the supposition of a recension of the text at Alexandria, in the fourth century, can no longer be held.”[2] David C. Parker[3] says of P75 that “it is extremely important for two reasons: “like Vaticanus, it is carefully copied; it is also very early and is generally dated to a period between 175 and 225. Thus, it pre-dates Vaticanus by at least a century. A careful comparison between P75 and Vaticanus in Luke by C.M. Martini demonstrated that P75 was an earlier copy of the same careful Alexandrian text. It is sometimes called proto-Alexandrian. It is our earliest example of a controlled text, one which was not intentionally or extensively changed in successive copying. Its discovery and study have provided proof that the Alexandrian text had already come into existence in the third century.” (Parker 1997, 61) Let us look at the remarks of a few more textual scholars: J. Ed Komoszewski, M. James Sawyer, and Daniel Wallace.

Even some of the early manuscripts show compelling evidence of being copies of a much earlier source. Consider again Codex Vaticanus, whose text is very much like that of P75 (B and P75 are much closer to each other than B is to [Codex Sinaiticus]). Yet the papyrus is at least a century older than Vaticanus. When P75 was discovered in the 1950s, some entertained the possibility that Vaticanus could have been a copy of P75, but this view is no longer acceptable since the wording of Vaticanus is certainly more primitive than that of P75 in several places.’ They both must go back to a still earlier common ancestor, probably one that is from the early second century. (Komoszewski, M. Sawyer and Wallace 2006, 78)

AN ENCOURAGING THOUGHT_01

Papyrus 75 P75 (c.175–225) contains most of Luke and John and has vindicated Westcott and Hort for their choice of Vaticanus as the premium manuscript for establishing the original text. After careful study of P75 against Vaticanus, scholars found that they are just short of being identical. In his introduction to the Greek text, Hort argued that Vaticanus is a “very pure line of very ancient text.” Of course, Westcott and Hort were not aware of P75 that would be published in 1961, about 80 years later.

The discovery of P75 proved to be the catalyst for correcting the misconception that early copyists were predominately unskilled. As we elsewhere on our blog earlier, either literate or semi-professional copyist produced the vast majority of the early papyri, and some copied by professionals. The few poorly copied manuscripts simply became known first, giving an impression that was difficult for some to discard when the enormous amount of evidence surfaced that showed just the opposite. Of course, the discovery of P75 has also had a profound effect on New Testament textual criticism because of its striking agreement with Codex Vaticanus.

The discovery of P75 proved to be the catalyst for correcting the misconception that early copyists were predominately unskilled. As we established earlier, either literate or semi-professional copyists produced the vast majority of the early papyri, and some copied by professionals. The few poorly copied manuscripts simply became known first, giving an impression that was difficult for some to discard when the enormous amount of evidence surfaced that showed just the opposite. Of course, the discovery of P75 has also had a profound effect on New Testament textual criticism because of its striking agreement with Codex Vaticanus.

Jesus Paul THE EVANGELISM HANDBOOK

Distribution of Papyri 100-400 C.E.

DATE ALEX WEST CAES BYZ
110-200 P52 P32 P46 P66 P75 P77/103 P87 P90 P104 P137 0 0 0
200-250 P4/64/67 P13 P23 P29 P30 P39 P45 P66 0189 P29 P38 0 0
250-300 P1 P5 P9 P12 P15 P16 P18 P20 P22 P27 P28 P37 P40 P47 P49/65 P53 P65 P70 P72 P78 P80 P101 P102 P104 P106 P107 P108 P109 P111 P113 P114 P115 P118 P119 P121 P125 P129 P130 P131 P132 P133 0220 P48 P69 0171 0 0
300-400 P6 P7 P8 P10 P17 P19 P21 P24 P25 P38 P50 P57 P62 P71 P81 P82 P85 P86 P88 P110 P117 P120 P122 P123 P126 P21 P88 0 0
Young Christians Young Christians Young Christians

[1] While at present here in 2020, there are 5,898 manuscripts. There are 140 listed Papyrus manuscripts, 323 Majuscule manuscripts, 2,951 Minuscule manuscripts, and 2,484 Lectionary manuscripts, bringing the total cataloged manuscripts to 5,898 manuscripts. However, you cannot simply total the number of cataloged manuscripts because, for example, P11/14 are the same manuscript but with different catalog numbers. The same is true of P33/5, P4/64/67, P49/65, and P77/103. Now this alone would bring our 140 listed papyrus manuscripts down to 134. ‘Then, we turn to one example from our majuscule manuscripts where clear 0110, 0124, 0178, 0179, 0180, 0190, 0191, 0193, 0194, and 0202 are said to be part of 070. A minuscule manuscript was listed with five separate catalog numbers for 2306, which then have the letters a through e. Thus, we have the following GA numbers: 2306 for 2306a, and 2831- 2834 for 2306b-2306e.’ – (Hixon 2019, 53-4) The problem is much worse when we consider that there are 323 Majuscule manuscripts and then far worse still with a listed 2,951 Minuscule and 2,484 Lectionaries. Nevertheless, those who estimate a total of 5,300 (Jacob W. Peterson, Myths and Mistakes, p. 63) 5,500 manuscripts (Dr. Ed Gravely / ehrmanproject.com/), 5,800 manuscripts (Porter 2013, 23), it is still a truckload of evidence far and above the dismal number of ancient secular author books.

[2] As of January 2016

[3] “The Protestant designation for the fourteen or fifteen books of doubtful authenticity and authority that are not found in the Hebrew Old Testament but are in manuscripts of the LXX; most of these books were declared canonical by the Roman Catholic church at the Council of Trent in 1546, and they call these books deuterocanonical (second canon).”―Geisler 1986, 637.

[4] “A word meaning “false writings” and used to designate those spurious and unauthentic books of the late centuries B.C. and early centuries A.D. These books contain religious folklore and have never been considered canonical by the Christian church.”―Geisler 1986, 642.

[5] Of course, there were no verses in the ancient texts, as they were simply running text. It was Rabbi Isaac Nathan, while working on a concordance, numbered the Bible into verses in 1440 C.E. Robert Estienne (Stephanus) introduced his system for dividing the Bible’s text into numbered verses in 1550 C.E., which we still use today.

Some Related Articles

Were Almost All Greek New Testament Manuscript Textual Variants [Errors] Created Before 200 A.D.?

What Are Textual Variants [Errors] and How Many Are There?

What Can We Do to Establish Faith In the Restored Text of the New Testament?

What Do We Find When We Enter the Period of the Critical Text of the New Testament?

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PAUL AND LUKE ON TRIAL THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS BIBLE DIFFICULTIES
The Epistle to the Hebrews Paul PAUL AND LUKE ON TRIAL
REASONING FROM THE SCRIPTURES APOLOGETICS CONVERSATION EVANGELISM
AN ENCOURAGING THOUGHT_01
Young Christians
INVESTIGATING JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES REVIEWING 2013 New World Translation INVESTIGATING JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES
Jesus Paul THE EVANGELISM HANDBOOK
REASONING FROM THE SCRIPTURES REASONING WITH OTHER RELIGIONS APOLOGETICS
REASONABLE FAITH Why Me_ FEARLESS-1
Satan BLESSED IN SATAN'S WORLD_02 HEROES OF FAITH - ABEL
is-the-quran-the-word-of-god UNDERSTANDING ISLAM AND TERRORISM THE GUIDE TO ANSWERING ISLAM.png
DEFENDING OLD TESTAMENT AUTHORSHIP Agabus Cover BIBLICAL CRITICISM
Mosaic Authorship HOW RELIABLE ARE THE GOSPELS
THE CREATION DAYS OF GENESIS gift of prophecy

TECHNOLOGY

9798623463753 Machinehead KILLER COMPUTERS
INTO THE VOID

CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY

Explaining the Doctrine of the Last Things Understaning Creation Account
Homosexuality and the Christian second coming Cover Where Are the Dead
CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY Vol. CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY Vol. II CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY Vol. III
CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY Vol. IV CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY Vol. V MIRACLES
Human Imperfection HUMILITY

CHILDREN’S BOOKS

READ ALONG WITH ME READ ALONG WITH ME READ ALONG WITH ME

PRAYER

Powerful Weapon of Prayer Power Through Prayer How to Pray_Torrey_Half Cover-1

TEENS-YOUTH-ADOLESCENCE-JUVENILE

THERE IS A REBEL IN THE HOUSE thirteen-reasons-to-keep-living_021 Waging War - Heather Freeman
Young Christians DEVOTIONAL FOR YOUTHS 40 day devotional (1)
Homosexuality and the Christian THE OUTSIDER RENEW YOUR MIND

CHRISTIAN LIVING

GODLY WISDOM SPEAKS Wives_02 HUSBANDS - Love Your Wives
ADULTERY 9781949586053
WALK HUMBLY WITH YOUR GOD THE BATTLE FOR THE CHRISTIAN MIND (1)-1 WAITING ON GOD
ADULTERY 9781949586053 PROMISES OF GODS GUIDANCE
APPLYING GODS WORD-1 For As I Think In My Heart_2nd Edition Put Off the Old Person
Abortion Booklet Dying to Kill The Pilgrim’s Progress
WHY DON'T YOU BELIEVE WAITING ON GOD WORKING FOR GOD
YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE Let God Use You to Solve Your PROBLEMS THE POWER OF GOD
HOW TO OVERCOME YOUR BAD HABITS-1 GOD WILL GET YOU THROUGH THIS A Dangerous Journey
ARTS, MEDIA, AND CULTURE Christians and Government Christians and Economics

CHRISTIAN COMMENTARIES

Book of Philippians Book of James Book of Proverbs Book of Esther
CHRISTIAN DEVOTIONALS
40 day devotional (1) Daily Devotional_NT_TM Daily_OT
DEVOTIONAL FOR CAREGIVERS DEVOTIONAL FOR YOUTHS DEVOTIONAL FOR TRAGEDY
DEVOTIONAL FOR YOUTHS 40 day devotional (1)

CHURCH ISSUES, GROWTH, AND HISTORY

LEARN TO DISCERN Deception In the Church FLEECING THE FLOCK_03
The Church Community_02 THE CHURCH CURE Developing Healthy Churches
FIRST TIMOTHY 2.12 EARLY CHRISTIANITY-1

Apocalyptic-Eschatology [End Times]

Explaining the Doctrine of the Last Things Identifying the AntiChrist second coming Cover
ANGELS AMERICA IN BIBLE PROPHECY_ ezekiel, daniel, & revelation

CHRISTIAN FICTION

Oren Natas_JPEG Sentient-Front Seekers and Deceivers
Judas Diary 02 Journey PNG The Rapture

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