Originally, all New Testament texts were written in Greek. By the year 500, these texts had been translated into Syriac, various Coptic, Latin, Gothic, Armenian, Georgian, and perhaps Ethiopic dialects. This article is a great introduction for those just learning about New Testament Textual Studies.
It is my opinion that scribal gap-filling accounts for many of the textual variants (especially textual expansions) in the New Testament—particularly in the narrative books (the Four Gospels and Acts). What is scribal gap-filling?
Confronted by a mass of conflicting readings, editors must decide which variants deserve to be included in the text and which should be relegated to the apparatus. Although at first, it may seem to be a hopeless task amid so many thousands of variant readings to sort out those that should be regarded as original, textual scholars have developed certain generally acknowledged criteria of evaluation.
In the earliest days of the Christian church, after an apostolic letter was sent to a congregation or an individual, or after a gospel was written to meet the needs of a particular reading public, copies would be made in order to extend its influence and to enable others to profit from it as well. It was inevitable that such handwritten copies would contain a greater or lesser number of differences in wording from the original.
Papyrus 18 (P18) is an early copy of the New Testament in Greek. It is similar to P9 and P24 and has the highest agreement with C, followed by א and A. It is a papyrus manuscript containing the beginning of the Book of Revelation.
Textual variants in the New Testament are the subject of the study called textual criticism of the New Testament. Textual variants in manuscripts arise when a copyist makes deliberate or inadvertent alterations to a text that is being reproduced.
It should be noted that this is merely a handful of major variants. Less serious variants are in the hundreds of thousands. However, many Christians make the mistake of saying that the textual variants are all insignificant and change nothing. This is not true.
The MT has the reading “bulls” (פָרִים; farim) in verse 2 of chapter 14. On the other hand, the LXX: Greek Septuagint reads “fruit” (καρπὸν; fruit) in verse 2 of chapter 14. The Septuagint continues to be very much important today and is used by textual scholars to help uncover copyists’ errors that might have crept into the Hebrew manuscripts either intentionally or unintentionally. ...
The longer reading is also suggestive of the synoptic parallel in Mark 5:26, which means that it is very much likely that a scribe condensed the words of Mark. The expanded reading ["spent all her living on physicians"] is supported by א A C L W Θ Ξ Ψ f1, 33 Maj. While the longer reading is found in the Nestle-Alans text, it is ...