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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
James 4:14 Updated American Standard Version (UASV) ESV, NASB, CSB, ASV, and LEB same or similar
14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. For you are a mist appearing for a little while and then vanishing
 Or what will happen tomorrow. What kind of life is yours?
James 4:14 The Greek-English New Testament Interlinear (GENTI)
14 οἵτινες οὐκ ἐπίστασθε τῆς αὔριον ποία ἡ ζωὴ ὑμῶν· ἀτμὶς γάρ ἐστε πρὸς ὀλίγον φαινομένη, ἔπειτα καὶ ἀφανιζομένη·
Philip W. Comfort,
James 4:14b: The NU edition, with paltry support (81 614 syrh), reads ατμις γαρ εστε η προς ολιγον φαινομενη (“for you are mist, the one appearing for a little while”). The WH edition, following B 1739, omits η, yielding the rendering, “for you are mist, appearing for a little while.” TR, following L 33, reads ατμις γαρ εστιν η προς ολιγον φαινομενη (“for it is mist, which appears for a little while”). Other manuscripts (A P Ψ Maj) have the verb as εσται. Though the NU reading is so poorly attested, the NU editors considered all the other readings to be scribal variations—whether the omission of γαρ (“for”), as unnecessary, or the switch to the third person (to accommodate the reply to James’s question). But it is far more likely that the article η was added to introduce the following expression as an appositive, rather than deleted. Thus, it is likely that the true text has been preserved in WH.
Commentary—Edward D. Andrews
Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. For you are a mist appearing for a little while and then vanishing. (4:14)
Solomon writes, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.” No human can know what the future holds, even a few minutes from the present, let alone a year from the moment of decision-making. On the other hand, God knows what is going to take place every second into the eternal future. In fact, Solomon warns us, “Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and unexpected events happen to them all.” – Ecclesiastes 9:11.
In this imperfect age of Satan, human life is both unclear and short-lived. For we “are a mist appearing for a little while and then vanishing.” Therefore, we are foolish if we think for a moment that anything other than God is secure to the point that we can build on it. (Eccl. 1:2; 2:17-18) In the business of today, we are making thousands of decisions every day, and it is quite easy to allow God to fade out of our decisions. Therefore, we should have a biblical worldview because we are serious students of God’s Word. We should never ignore that biblical mind, the mind of Christ, the whispering of the Scriptures in our ear, telling us, ‘this is the way that you should go.’
More in-depth Insights
Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. The brothers at that time were making plans as though they knew, while every future moment is an unknown. No human can determine what the future holds. We cannot know if we will be alive one minute from now. We cannot know if we will be gainfully employed next week. We cannot know if there is some hardship, danger, difficulty, or misfortune waiting for us around the corner. So, James’ words are, without a doubt are true. Nevertheless, we ignore those words regularly. We cannot know what will happen in one hour, day, month, or year. Yet, we make many plans as though we are sure of the outcome. The future to us all of us is an unknown. Man cannot pierce the future; so, all our plans must be made with the knowledge that at any moment, our lives could be cut off and our plans crumble for whomever we leave behind.
What your life will be? Therefore, we should constantly plan for eternal life in a new world. Again, as said earlier, plan our lives as though the end is fifty years away, but live our lives as though it is tomorrow. We can arrange a career, a 30-year mortgage, a university degree, building a business, and any other long-term venture. But we must be living a life guided by God’s Word. (1) We are commanded to proclaim and teach the Word of God to make disciples. (2) We are commanded to attend Christian meetings. (3) We are expected to prepare for the Christian meeting by studying the Bible. (4) We are commanded to have a personal Bible study. (5) Walk with God rightly throughout our lives: We walk with God by living the life course he has laid out for us in the Bible. We become biblically minded. We can never hope for a close relationship with the Father, expecting favor and grace from him, if we do not take actions that bring us closer. If we are not doing these things; then, any long-term plans are all for nothing.
For you are a mist appearing for a little while and then vanishing. Like a mist that here one second gone the next, we are foolish to view our lives here in this Satanic age as more meaningful than our relationship with God. How much meaning will it carry in comparison when we are 170 trillion years into our eternal life and look back on these 70-80 years of life? This life is not highly significant outside of our walk with God. It is not something upon which we can definitely build. (Eccl. 1:2; 2:17-18) Therefore, the foolish one plans without God being fully in the equation. The patriarch Job tells us 7:7, “Remember that my life is a breath …” The Bible also states, “… our days on the earth are like a shadow …” (1 Chron. 29:15) King David admitted to God, “For all our days pass away under your wrath; we bring our years to an end like a sigh. As for the days of our years,[life] within them are seventy years, or even by reason of strength, eighty years; yet their pride[or span] is but toil and trouble.” (Psalm 90:9-10) We need to be mindful of these texts as we make our plans. We do not place our hopes in this fragile, weak, imperfect, and fleeting Satanic age. It is to be placed in the eternal life to come.
 A biblical world view is ideas and beliefs through which a Christian interprets the world and interacts with it.
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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