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{There are 11 articles on this page}
 
Here is a country tiny in size but whose actions affect the whole world and this page simply provides links to those actions and other information.  Enjoy the browsing and it will be updated time to time. Photo used by permission from Holy Land Photos all restrictions apply.
 

LINKS:

 

http://www.preteristarchive.com/Books/1876_patton-jerusalem.html

http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/2003/11.13/31-israel.html

http://www.jewishhistory.com/

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1173879210701&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull

http://www.templemount.org/

http://www.geocities.com/theseder2/templeMount.htm

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Archaeology/Megiddo.html

http://globalpolitician.com/articledes.asp?ID=2247&cid=2&sid=1

http://dejnarde.ms11.net//jericho_israel.htm

Given the changing times and focus of the world's nations it is good to keep up on the news that is taking place in Israel.  Here is a link to a list of newspapers, most in English, which will give you firsthand accounts as they take place.  Keeping an eye on the activities surrounding this nation will keep one up to date as God unfolds more of what has been prophesized in the Book of Revelation.

Israeli newspapers

Enjoy your research and browsing

 
Judah’s & Israel’s Kings List

 

King’s Name                            Description of Reign

 

King David:                                - Conquered Jerusalem and took up residence in the fortress

                                                     -       King Hiram built David a palace

                                                     -       Put garrisons throughout the land

                                                     -       Gathered treasures and plunder from other nations

                                                     -       Builds an alter

                                                     -       (all of the above taken from 2 Sam. And below from 1 Chron.)

                                                     -       28:1-21  Plans for the temple

                                                     -       29:1-20 Gifts for the temple

King Solomon:                          -  taken from 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles

                                                     -       Built temple

                                                     -       Built palace

                                                     -       Built throne hall

                                                     -       Built hall of justice

                                                     -       Built palace for pharaoh’s daughter

                                                     -       Rebuilt villages given by King Hiram

                                                     -       Had fleet of ships return every 3 years whose cargo carried gold, silver, ivory, apes and baboons

                                                     -       Built up Tadmor

                                                     -       Built store cities in Hamath

                                                     -       Re-built upper & lower Beth Horon

                                                     -       Re-built Balaath & store cities

                                                     -       All other events and acts written in the record of Nathan the prophet & the book of annals of Solomon.

Jeroboam:                                 - 1st King of Israel

                                                     -       Reigned 22 years

                                                     -       The other events of his are recorded in the annals of the Kings of Israel

Rehoboam:                                - 3rd King of Judah

                                                     -       Did evil in the sight of the Lord

                                                     -       Built 15 cities

                                                     -       Reigned 17 years

                                                     -       Lost all temple & palace treasures, even the gold shields to Shishak of Egypt

                                                     -       Other events written in the annals of the kings of Judah and the records of Shemaiah prophet

Abijah (J.):                                   - Reigned 3 years

                                                     -       Followed after sin

                                                     -       Captured Bethel, Teshanah & Ephron with their surrounding villages

                                                     -       There was war with Jeroboam

                                                     -       Other events written in the annals of the kings of Judah & annotations of the prophet Iddo

Asa (J.):                                       - reigned 41 years

                                                      -       took remaining silver & gold and gave to the King of

                                                      - gave to the King of Damascus

                                                     -       built up Geba & Mizpah

                                                     -       built cities

                                                     -       other achievements written in the annals of the Kings of Judah & book of Kings of Israel

Nadab (Is.):                               - reigned 2 years

                                                    -       Fought the philistines

                                                    -       Other events recorded in the annals of the Kings of Israel.

Baasha (Is.):                             - reigned 24 years

                                                    -  other events and acts recorded in the annals of the Kings

                                                     Of Israel.

Elah (Is.):                                  - reigned 2 years

                                                    -       other events written in the annals of the Kings of Israel

Zimri (Is.):                                 - reigned 7 days

                                                    -       set fire to the palace

                                                   -       other events written in the annals of the Kings of Israel

Omri (Is.):                                 - reigned 12 years

                                                   -       built Samaria

                                                   -       other events written in the annals of the Kings of Is.

Ahab (Is.):                                 - reigned 22 years

                                                   -       re-built Jericho & gates

                                                    -       fortified cities

                                                   -       fought the Arameans

                                                   -       other events written in the annals of the Kings of Is.

Jehosaphat (J.):                       - reigned 25 years

                                                     -       built forts and cities

                                                      -       military exploits

                                                      -       rid the land of male shrine prostitutes

                                                      -       built a fleet of trading ships, destroyed at Ezion Geber

                                                      -       other events written in the annals of the kings of Judah & Jehu son of Hanani

Ahaziah (Is.):                              - reigned 2 years

                                                     -       other events written in the annals of the Kings of Is.

Joram (Is.):                                - reigned 12 years

                                                    -       fought wars with Moab & others

Jehoram (J.):                            - reigned 8 years

                                                    -       fought Edom

                                                    -       fought the Philistines & Arabs who carried off goods from the palace

                                                    -       other events written in the annals of the Kings of Judah

Ahaziah (J.):                             - reigned 1 year

                                                   -       fought with Joram against Hazeal king of Aram

                                                   -       killed by Jehu

Jehu (Is.):                                 - reigned 28 years

                                                   -       other events written in the annals of the Kings of Is.

Joash (.):                                  - survived reign of terror of Athaliah

                                                    -       reigned 40 years

                                                    -       re-built the temple according to its original design

                                                    -       new articles were made for burnt offerings

                                                    -       new dishes and other objects made

                                                    -       plunder sent to Damascus by army of Aram

                                                    -       other events written in the annals of the King s of Judah & the annotations on the book of kings.

Jehoaz (Is.):                             - reigned 17 years

                                                   -       fought king of Aram

                                                   -       other events and achievements written in the annals of the Kings of Israel.

Jehoash (Is.):                           - reigned 16 years

                                                    -       fought Amaziah, king of Judah

                                                    -       other events & achievements written in the annals of the Kings of Is.

Amaziah (J.):                             - reigned 29 years

                                                    -       lost all the gold, silver & treasures in the temple & palace

                                                    -       defeated 10,000 Edomites

                                                    -       other events written in the annals of the Kings of Judah

Jeroboam II (Is.):                     - reigned 41 years

                                                    -       restored the boundaries of Is. From Lebo Hamath to the

                                                    -       Sea of the Arabah

                                                    -       Recovered both Damascus and Hamath

                                                    -       Other events written in the annals of the Kings of Is.

Azariah (Uzziah) (J.):               - reigned 52 years

                                                    -       re-built Elath

                                                    -       re-built towns near Ashdod

                                                    -       built towers at the Corner, Valley Gates & the Angle wall

                                                    -       built towers in the desert

                                                    -       built cisterns

                                                    -       other events recorded by Isaiah & the annals of the Kings of Judah

Zechariah (Is.):                         - reigned 6 months

                                                    -       other events written in the annals of the Kings of Is.

Shallum (Is.):                            -  reigned 1 month

                                                    -       other events written in the annals of the kings of Is.

Menaham (Is.):                         - reigned 10 years

                                                    -       Gave 1000 talents of silver to Pul, king of Assyria

                                                    -       Other events written in the annals of the Kings of Is.

Pekahiah (Is.):                          - reigned 2 years

                                                    -       other events written in the annals of the Kings of Is.

Pekah (Is.)                                - reigned 20 years

                                                    -       lost Ijon, and other cities to Tiglath-Pileser of Assyria.

                                                    -       Lost people who were sent to Assyria

                                                    -       Other events written in the annals of the Kings of Is.

Jotham (J.):                              - reigned 16 years

                                                   -       re-built upper gate of the temple

                                                   -       extensive work on the wall at Ophy

                                                   -       built towns in Judean hills

                                                   -       built forts and towers in wooded areas

                                                   -       other events written in the annals of the Kings of Judah

Ahaz (J.):                                  - reigned 16years

                                                   -       fought wars

                                                   -       took articles from the temple & palace and gave them to Assyria

                                                   -       took furnishings from the temple

                                                   -       other events written in the annals of the Kings of Judah

Hoshea (Is.):                            - last king of Israel

                                                    -       reigned 9 years

                                                    -       paid tribute

Hezekiah (J.):                           -  reigned 29 years

                                                    -       God was with him and he was successful in all that he did

                                                    -       Defeated the Philistines

                                                    -       Paid tribute

                                                    -       Everything sent/taken to Babylon

                                                    -       Made treasuries

                                                    -       Made warehouses

                                                    -       Built a pool

                                                    -       Built a tunnel

                                                    -       Took items from the temple & palace and gave them to Assyria

                                                    -       Built stalls & pens

                                                    -       Other events written in the annals of the Kings of Judah

Manasseh (J.):                         -  reigned 55 years

                                                    -       Judah looted and plundered by all foes

                                                    -       Re-built high places and outer wall

                                                    -       Other events written in the annals of the Kings of Judah

Amon (J.):                                 -  reigned 2 years

                                                    -       other events written in the annals of the Kings of Judah

Josiah (J.):                               -  reigned 31 years

                                                   -       renovated the temple

                                                   -       tore down alters

                                                   -       tore buildings down

                                                   -       renovated other buildings

                                                   -       other events written in the annals of the Kings of Judah

Jehoahaz (J.):                          -  reigned 3 months

                                                   -       taken to Egypt

                                                   -       paid tribute to Egypt

Jehoiakim (J.):                         -  reigned 11 years

                                                    -       other events written in the annals of the Kings of Judah

Jehoiachin (J.):                        -  reigned 3 months

                                                    -       Nebuchadnezzar removed all the treasures from the

                                                    -       Temple & palace and took all the gold articles Solomon had made

                                                    -       Taken to Babylon

Zedekiah (J.):                            - reigned 11 years

                                                    -       taken captive

                                                    -       Nebuchadnezzar burned the temple, palaces, broke down wall of Jerusalem, destroyed everything of value

                                                    -       Carried away articles & treasures of the temple, the king and high officials.

It is not hard to see why there are so few artifacts or remains from the early reigns of the Kings David and Solomon.  Things were constantly being re-built, renovated, stolen, and ransomed and so on.  If we want to find the treasures of Israel’s past it might be best if one searched in Babylon, Assyria and Egypt for those are the countries that received the most treasures.

There seems to be one case of co-regency and that is with Uzziah and his son but this is a list of kings not a detailed research paper and that work will be left for others to do.

Those that claim alternatives to the history of Israel need to take into account all of the activities that are not detailed in the Bible but are recorded in the books mentioned after the reign of each king.

We see that the purpose of the Bible is not to record a detailed history of each kings’ acts but to show the result of disobeying God and pursuing evil.  We also see how God keeps His promises to those faithful to Him even though their children stray and practice sin.

These are the lessons we need to learn, not who did what to whom and whom built what, for the reality is-- what is important is obeying God and doing what He says.

(Is. = Israel; J. = Judah)

 
The Different Archaeological Eras:

This has been put together to show how subjective chronologies really are.  Though some of the them maybe really close, even 100 years can change a theory or be used to dismiss a location or the Biblical event.

Just the general terms will be used for sake of space: all figures B.C.
 

Kitchen:  early bronze 3200 to 2000; middle bronze 2000 to 1500; late bronze 1500 to 1000 approx. (taken from The Bible In Its World pg 134-5)

Packer & Tenney: early bronze 3200 to 2200; middle bronze 2200 to 1550; late bronze 1550 to 1200 (taken from Manners & Customs of the Bible pg. 105)

Aharoni: early bronze 3150 to 2150; middle bronze 2150 to 1550; late bronze 1550 to 1200 (taken from The Land of the Bible pg.425-6)

Mazar: early bronze 3300 to 2000; middle bronze 2000 to 1750-1550; late bronze 1550 to 1200 (taken from Archaeology of the Land of the Bible pg. 30)

Hoffmeier: early bronze- no date given; middle bronze 1800 to 1550; late bronze 1550 to 1200 (taken from Israel in Egypt pg. xix)

Currid: early bronze 3200 to 2200; middle bronze 2200 to 1550; late bronze 1550 to 1200. (Taken from Doing Archaeology in the Land of the Bible pg. 19)

Lance: early bronze 3150 to 2200; middle bronze 2200 to 1550; late bronze 1550 to 1200 (taken from The Old Testament and the Archaeologist pg. 98)

Page: early bronze 3200 to 2000; middle bronze 2000 to 1550; late bronze 1550 to 1200 (taken from the Land and the Book pg. 235)

From the internet;

Pottery chart:  early bronze 3300 to 2200; middle bronze 2200 to 1550; late bronze 1550 to 1200 (http://www.bibarch.com/Concepts/pottery_chart.htm)

Arch. Periods: early bronze 3150 to 2200; middle bronze 2200 to 1550; late bronze 1550 to 1200 (http://bgst.edu.sg/realia/chart.htm)

Palestinian A.P.: early bronze 3300 to 2000; middle bronze 2000 to 1550; late bronze 1550 to 1200 (http://www.ucalgary.ca/~eslinger/genrels/PalestinArkyPeriods.html)

What we have here is confirmed evidence of the subjectivity of the archaeological periods and the Biblical event is a victim of the dater.  It all depends on how they read the evidence and where they want to place the evidence.

It is an easy argument to fall back on for one person’s opinion is as good as another’s and people can agree to disagree.  To see fuller charts, just lick on one of the links in the article or type in 'archaeological periods' in your search box to see the complete charts
 

Chronologies

1.  Adam to Noah: 

a. Adam-- Cain, Abel & Seth

b. Abel -- No children

c. Cain -- Enoch who begat Irad who begat Mahujael who begat Methushael who begat Lamech who begat Jabal & Tubal Cain

d. Seth -- Enosh who begat Kenan who begat Mahallel who begat Jared  who begat Enoch who begat Methuselah who begat Lamech who begat Noah.

2. Noah to Terah:

a. Noah -- Japeth, Shem & Ham

b. Japeth -- Gomer, Magog, Madai, javan, Tubal, Meshech & Tiras

i. Gomer -- Ashkenaz, Riphath & Togarmah

ii. Javan-- Elishah, Tarshish, Kittim & Rodanim

c. Shem -- Arphaxad, Elam, Asshur, Lud & Aram

i. Aream -- Uz, Hul, Gether & Meshech

ii. Arphaxad -- Shelah who begat Eber who begat Peleg & Joktan

iii. Joktan -- Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, Abimael, Sheba, Ophir, Havilah & Jobab

iv. Peleg -- Reu who begat Serug who begat Nahor who begat Terah

d. Ham -- Cush, Mizraim, Canaan, Put {no children listed)

i. Cush -- Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Sabteca, Raamah, who begat Sheba & Dedan, & Nimrod

ii. Mizraim -- Ludites, Anamites, Lehabites, Naphtuhites, Pathrusites, Casluhites & Caphorites

iii. Canaan -- Sidon, Hittites, Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, Arvadites, Zemarites & Hamathites

3. Terah to Abram:

a. Terah -- Abram, Nahor {no children listed} & Haran

i. Haran -- Lot {who begat 2 daughters and was the father of the Moabites and the Ammonites}

ii. Abram -- Isaac (Israelites), Ishmael (Arabs), Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak & Shuah

4. Jokshan & Midian:

a. Midian -- Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, & Eldaah

b. Jokshan -- Sheba & Dedan who begat Asshurites, Letushites & leummites

5. Ishmael & Isaac:

a. Ishmael -- Nebaioth, Kedar, Abeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish & kedemah

b. Isaac -- Esau & Jacob

i. Jacob & Leah -- Reuban, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issacher Zebulun, Dinah (daughter)

            & Bilhah - Dan & Naphtali

           & Zilpah - Gad & Asher

           & Rachel - Joseph & Benjamin

ii. Joseph -- Ephraim & Manasseh
 

A Historical Timeline

It is quite common to hear people claim that the Israelites copied form the Babylonians or some other ancient culture they had contact with in their history. Usually such comments are mad by those who subscribe to the Copenhagen school of biblical thought or claim they are centrists, who are merely trying to find the truth or are promoting their own agenda.

There are a couple of problems with that point of view:
 
1. The Israelites have no reputation of being copyists.  This is an important fact for it would seem that someone somewhere would have recorded this act by the Israelites.  In fact, why didn't the Babylonian records reflect such a trait in the people they enslaved? One would have thought that to cement their superiority over the captured people, the Babylonians would have recorded these type of actions and provide proof for the falseness of the Israelite beliefs.

Since there are none and the Babylonians do NOT point this out, we can conclude that the Israelites did not copy the Old Testament from that society or any other. In fact, the reverse is true.  Dr. Robert Veenker in his contribution, Syro-Mesopotamia,  to the book, Mesopotamia & the Bible edited by Drs. Chavalas & Younger Jr. has stated that "The scribes of the Old Babylonian period were zealous copyists and went to great lengths to preserve the literature that came down to them from the past, especially the archives of the 3rd dynasty oat Ur." (pg. 163)

2. There is a belief that the Sumerians were the first civilization and that all future myths and stories were based upon their writings.  This assumes that the oldest written is the original and dismisses completely what the Bible says about the origins of all people and civilizations. We know from the Bible that the Sumerians were NOT the first civilization, though they may have been the first to develop as a world power but that was AFTER the Diaspora at Babel.

It is interesting to note that while many secular scholars and archaeologists reject Noah's flood, the Sumerians place it (or their version of it) right in the middle of their king's list, at the proper place in the genealogy that compares with the Biblical version.  So one must ask, where did they get the idea for a flood? And why did they know where to place it in history?  If there was no flood, then there would be no reason to place it in their historical records.

We know that the length of their kings' reigns(for the most part) are exaggerated, which provides us the clues we need to prove their version of the flood is an altered version of the real event thus even though their tablets reflect an older age than the written Biblical record, we know they are not writing the original story. How do we know this, well the timeline to follow provides the answer.

1. In the Beginning-- creation.  Adam and Eve were made and given life and we know that they had conversations with God thus they would know the truth about what took place.

2.  The Fall-- after this event, children were born and if they were like all other parents, they would teach their children their history and talk about what God had done in the beginning.  Most likely, they probably taught them to keep the children on God's path not evil's.

3. The Murder-- after Cain killed Abel, he talked with God and it was not a big deal.  Cain was used to the idea of God and seemed not surprised that God would talk to him.  Cain had knowledge of God and we know by Lamech's declaration that that knowledge was passed down to his future descendants.

4. A New Child-- With the birth of Seth, we have a new line from which righteous people were born into which God used to preserve the truth of the past and His deeds.  We know that Enoch walked with God thus he possessed the truth and we know he passed that truth down because Noah was a preacher of righteousness (from Peter).  It should be noted that only 4 to 8 of Seth's descendants made it onto the ark, which gives you a clue as to how corrupt the world had become.

5. The Flood -- Here Noah and his sons had at least a year to record or implant in their memories all that they knew of the pre-flood civilization they had just been separated from.  We do not know if they wrote things down or recorded them by memorization because we do not know how advanced that civilization was or what tools they had available for writing. The important thing here is that these 8 people knew exactly what transpired prior to the destruction.

6. Post-Flood-- The 8 survivors started to have families, probably only six of them.  Since the 8 lived to great ages it would not be surprising if they passed down all that they knew to the succeeding generations so that by the time of Babel, all the people of that one world society knew the truth or had heard it from their parents or grand-parents. 

7. Post-Babel-- Here we have the dividing of the one world civilization into many yet what is important here is that God changed the language not the people's memories.  They still had the ideas of how to build great structures, how to cook, hunt or grow food and so on  PLUS they still had their history in their minds. One needs to be remembered and added to the equation is that as people got further away from Noah and the flood, the got further away from the truth and that the devil was still working in the hearts and minds of the people.  The flood did not destroy him or his hatred or his ability to deceive God's creation and blind their minds to the truth.  Thus as these civilizations grew and they strayed from God their memories of the true events also changed to reflect their new culture and beliefs.

Conclusion-- Thus by the time the Sumerians rose up and became a powerful nation, the truth had changed.  They still knew of their past or they would not have been able to write their king's list as they did nor include the flood but they no longer possessed the truth and wrote such things according to what they now believed.  The Sumerians (in general) did not stick with God so why would they have the truth in their records? They would record their cultural beliefs not what really took place.

Then, as a side note, one of the realities that arises which contradicts the idea that the Israelites copied form the Sumerians or other ancient civilizations is that we only have 1 copy of the ancient myth written by the Sumerians.  This lone tablet does not support an original concept theory.  It is one tablet and we do not know if the Sumerian people had written other accounts with variations or even the actual truth of the events of the past.

To say that the Israelites copied is a closed-minded conclusion not supported by history or facts and is an idea or theory based upon very scant evidence without corroboration.  The mere possession of an ancient tablet reciting an event similar to the Biblical record is not anything but one's person view of his past and any other idea cannot be built upon this lone writing. 

The historical timeline puts into perspective how the truth was transmitted down through the ages and places the Sumerians (and other societies) as recorders not originators of the ideas found in the past and we can see that there is an unbroken line for the truth to be transmitted down to Abraham onto Moses and into the Old Testament.  The Israelites did not copy the scriptures; they did not have that reputation. Most likely the Babylonians copied form the Israelites because that was who they were, copyists.

It should be noted that all those who say the Israelites copied do not have any physical evidence to support their claims.  They use conjecture based upon what they did not find, or re-dated to fit their ideas, or have dismissed because the evidence found doesn't fit their theories.  Not one shred of evidence. Those who support this idea of the Israelites copying can be ignored, for they have no foundation in fact or science.
 
 

More on the Exodus

I am going to take the opportunity to recap the main points as to why there is no evidence for the sojourn in and exodus from Egypt by the Hebrew people:

1. Joseph sold into slavery- Gen. 37:28, 36.  This was done by his brothers to a middle man who eventually sold Joseph to the Egyptians.  No records or steles, or monuments would be erected to preserve this transaction.

2. Joseph's promotion--Gen. 41:39-40. Done as a reward and given an Egyptian name which removes the idea of a foreigner being in charge of the country. If records were kept, this would only deserve papyrus NOT a stone monument or stele as no great deed was done to achieve this award.

3. Joseph's family invited to move to Egypt--Gen. 45: 16-18. An invitation does not warrant permanent preservation for the move was done by invite not conquest. Joseph's family came voluntarily not by force thus no record would be made or if there was, it would not be done in stone.

4. Jacob's death-- Gen. 50: 2-3.  Jacob's body was prepared for burial the Egyptian way and accompanied back to Canaan by a host of Egyptians. Any remains would look Egyptian not Hebrew.

5. Joseph's death-Gen. 50:26- His body was prepared for death the Egyptian way and buried n the country.  It was moved in the Exodus and we have an idea were it is today {http://www.thebereancall.org/node/6551}

6. Slavery--Ex. 1:811.  The Hebrew people were already living in Egypt when they were made slaves, they were not captured in some great battle that would be carved into a stele or made into a monument. It was an oppression of existing inhabitants of Egypt.  No fanfare or glorifying of the pharaoh for his accomplishments would be needed.

7. The Plagues-- Ex. 7:1 to 12:1.  There is an ancient record of these events but it is either dismissed or re-dated to another era. {http://www.geocities.com/regkeith/linkipuwer.htm}

8. Hebrew property- Though there is no specific scripture reference, just reading Exodus 1 to 6 one sees that the Hebrew people did not have their own manufacturing plants, their own wares or their own cultural artifacts or property.  They could not leave anything distinctly Hebrew behind in Egypt for all they owned was basically Egyptian.

9. The Start of the Exodus-- Ex. 12:33-36.  God had the Egyptian people give the Israelites gold, silver, clothing, so they did NOT take anything that was basically Hebrew with them. They carried Egyptian articles thus if anything was discarded, it would be Egyptian not Hebrew.

10. 40 yrs. of wandering-- Nbrs. 14: 32-35.  The Hebrew adults would die in the desert for their unbelief and rejection of the Promised Land.  If their skeletons could be found, we would find only Egyptian clothing and artifacts buried with them.  There would be no opportunity for the Hebrews to make their own cultural items and even if they did create their own cultural identity, how would we know? There would be nothing from pre-sojourn to compare the items with, thus all such discoveries of artifacts would be considered Egyptian or some other nation's remains. 

These are some of the reasons why we do not find any evidence for the Hebrews living in, being enslaved by and exiting the country of Egypt.  There just isn't any but this is not abnormal as there is scant evidence for the existence of many countries' peoples.  The Hittites were 'lost' for over 1800 years and thought to be an invention by the Biblical authors; thus to make an argument out of absence of evidence is just ludicrous in this case for there is 1 ancient record which provides the evidence needed-- The Bible.

So in reality there is evidence, there is a record and there is a history of the Hebrew people which we can turn to find the truth of the past.

 
The Travels of the 12 Disciples

The following is based upon the book ‘The Search for the Twelve Apostles’ by Wm. Steuart McBirnie.  The book is well research but it is neither definitive nor infallible and please use this page as a starting point for not the end of research

1.     Peter-- Jerusalem, Samaria, Antioch, Corinth, Babylon, Rome; Possibly Britain and points north of Rome

2.   Andrew—Scythia, Ephesus, Asia Minor, Greece,

3.   James, son of Z.—India, rumored Spain, Jerusalem, killed early.

4.   John—Jerusalem, Ephesus,

5.   Philip—Jerusalem, Scythia, Phrygia,, Hierapolis, possibly Laodicea & Colossae, rumored France,

6.   Bartholomew—Jerusalem, Armenia, Albania, Lycaonia, possibly India & Persia,

7.   Thomas—Jerusalem, India, Babylon,

8.   Matthew—Jerusalem, Ethiopia, Persia, possibly Egypt,

9.   James, Son of Alph.—Jerusalem, too little is known and too many James to make distinctions

10.  Jude—Jerusalem, Edessa, Samaria, Mesopotamia, and Persia

11.  Simon the Canaanite—Jerusalem, Egypt, Africa,  Britain, Persia

12.   Matthias—Jerusalem, Armenia,

In checking the internet, the websites accessed provided some information but they were not as good as this book and one basically just quoted it verbatim.  One must remember the reason why there is so little concrete evidence concerning the travels of the disciples, it is not that people did not record what took place, it is not that wishful recipients wrote legends to feel apart of their work and not left out of the 'spiritual' gain one would get by association with the disciples.

 

No, it is because where the disciples went or how long they spent at each place is not important. What is important was the message that they preached--Jesus and salvation.  The fact that they traveled, proclaimed the gospel, taught others how to be disciples and died for Jesus provides us an example of obedience and doesn't elevate them above their station.

 

They are not Christ but fellow followers of Him and we see by their lives the truth of what we read in the gospels and about Jesus, giving us strength in our faith, our work and the message we believe.
 
 
 
Manuscript Information
 

***The following page and its sister pages are from the web site Christian Debater which provides a generous copyright permission and they can be found at www.BibleQuery.org.  and at http://inerrancy.org/ntmss.htm .  This article is well written and exceeds all others that write on this topic. It is being quoted completely on several pages under the title New Testament Mss. 1,2,3, & 4.

Q: Where can we look at individual New Testament manuscripts ourselves?
A: One of the best books for reading the actual Greek text, as well as discussion of the text, see The Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts (A Corrected Enlarged Edition…) edited by Philip W. Comfort and David P. Barrett. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. 1999, 2001.
For seeing the actual manuscripts themselves, if you do not want to travel to various museums, you can see photocopies of many pages in Manuscripts of the Greek Bible: An Introduction to Paleography by Bruce M. Metzger. Oxford University Press, Inc. 1981.
If you want to see for a particular verse, the manuscript variations in different versions listed, a good source is The Greek New Testament: Fourth Revised Edition by Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger, and Allen Wikgren. United Bible Societies 1988.

Q: How can we know the New Testament was translated reliably?
A: We would have a problem if we did not have any Greek manuscripts of the original.
However, we have over 5,000 Greek manuscripts, and if someone were to deliberately distort something in English (as the Jehovah’s Witnesses have), we can all see exactly where they distorted it. However that is not the end of the story.
One could bring up the issue of how do we know we have a correct understanding of the Greek language? There are three independent ways that we know.
1. We have extensive references to the Old and New Testaments in Greek and Latin among the church fathers. They not only repeated what was in the Greek, they interpreted and explained it, and we can see how they understood the Greek.
2. We have many non-religious Greek manuscripts, and we can see how most of the words in the New Testament were used in everyday language. For example, a ship could be said to be "baptized" if it was sunk.
3. We have Bibles translated from Greek into other languages, including Coptic, Armenian, Georgian, and Latin. One of the more interesting ones is Gothic. This was actually made by an Arian heretic Ufilas. Being an Arian, one might think he would have a motive to either change the meaning, or at least use any Greek variants that had a meaning more favorable to his theology; yet, the meaning of his translation is identical to the Greek Bible with one notable exception. He did not translate the books of 1 and 2 Kings at all, because he thought the Goths were already too warlike.

Q: How could an imperfect book come from a perfect God? As you read through the scriptures, there are a great number of footnotes that say that we can’t be sure if certain passages should be included. Christians are told that these problems exist because of alleged "copyist errors," and that the "original writings" of the Bible are perfect. But how does anyone know? We don’t have the original writings!
A: God promised to preserve His word in Isaiah 55:10-11; 59:21; 1 Peter 1:24-25; Matthew 24:35. God is perfect, and a God of truth. Everything God said in the original manuscripts was true. Copyist errors do not affect the truth of what was originally said, copyist errors do not show an imperfect book came from a perfect God. When someone, such as myself, says the Bible is inerrant, they mean the Bible is without any error in the original manuscripts and without significant error (infallible) today.
However, I think part of what you are really asking is how we can trust the message in a book that has copyist errors in it. According to my studies, we are certain of 97.3% of every word in the New Testament, but that still leaves 3,599 words, with the end of Mark (166 words) being the largest place of uncertainty. I believe we can be sure of the meaning God intended, because these uncertainties do not significantly change the meaning. (By the way, ever single teaching in the end of Mark is mentioned elsewhere, except the drinking of poison.) I have no problem with the end of Mark saying God is able to protect His obedient people when they drink poison, because God can protect people from poison, just as he can protect us from anything. However, the Bible also says we are not to test God in Matthew 5:7 and other places. God is not obligated to protect people who foolishly test Him. So in summary, I do not believe an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent God of truth allowed His word to be messed up.
Though the 2.7% is not very significant, we might still wonder why God even allowed that 2.7% variation. I suggest that perhaps God did that deliberately. Perhaps He did so to make clear that it is not the individual words that are important but the meaning and thrust of what was said. The Pharisees prided themselves on knowing the individual words of the Old Testament, yet they were not looking for the Messiah, they robbed widows instead of caring for the poor, and they loved money and prestige rather than God and people. Unfortunately, it is all to possible to do the same thing today, and this might be a reminder that if you think the goal is just knowing the words, this 2.7% shows your goal will never be perfectly realized and you are searching in the wrong place.

Q: Is something true just because someone writes it down? Christians are often taught that the "manuscript evidence" proves the truthfulness of the Bible. More specifically, Christians are told that there are thousands of copies of manuscripts of the scriptures, and this somehow makes the Bible reliable. But how? Anyone could write something down, and produce thousands of copies of what they’ve written. Does that somehow make what they wrote down true? Of course not!
A: Your observation is 100% valid. In establishing the truthfulness of our Bible today, you have to
establish that it originally was God’s word, and
has been preserved without significant error.
Thus the manuscript evidence Christians talk about is necessary but not sufficient. Manuscripts are important to establish b), but they does not address a). When I have taught about the reliability of the Bible in Sunday school, I believe it is important to point out both aspects.

Q: How are ancient manuscripts dated?
A: Some, such as the John Rylands fragment (117-138 A.D.), were dated by mass spectrometer radiocarbon dating. Others are simple to date, because the author either wrote the date of writing, or mentioned a famous event (such as the start of a king’s reign). Many manuscripts are dated by the style of handwriting compared with documents of a known date (such as burial at Pompeii). In a few cases, the date of a corrector of a manuscript is known, so obviously the manuscript had to be earlier than that.
In English, handwriting at the time of the American Revolution, handwriting at the time of Abraham Lincoln, and 100 years after that are very different. The grammar and words thou might use are different too. Likewise the way of forming Greek letters and grammatical signs can date a manuscript sometimes within 50 years.
Scribes switched from writing on scrolls to writing in books at the start of the 2nd century. The Magdalene manuscript of Matthew 26:7-8,10,14-15,22-23,31-33 (3 fragments, each front and back) was in all capitals and part of a book. The handwriting is very similar to manuscripts buried at Pompeii and Herculaneum. Scholars debate this one, with dates from as early as 50-60 A.D., but we will go with the "book evidence" and follow Philip Comfort who dates it as the start of the 2nd century (100 A.D.).
In a few cases there have been false leads though. Ways of writing some letters, thought to prove a manuscript was after a certain date, have been found in earlier manuscripts, subsequently discovered, with known dates. Older New Testament scholars tended to be fairly conservative with their results, so dates given in early and mid 20th century books tend to be either correct or a little late.

Q: What is inadequate about many Christian’s knowledge of New Testament manuscripts?
A: Many Christians (myself included) have taught something slightly outdated that goes like this.
117-138 A.D. John Rylands (still correct)
150-200 A.D. Bodmer II (p66) (92% of John)
c.200 A.D. Chester Beatty (p45, p46, p47) (most of the New Testament)
325-350 A.D. Vaticanus (B) Most of the Old Testament and Matthew 1 - Hebrews 9:15 (still correct)
340-350 A.D. Sinaiticus (Aleph) Most of the Bible (still correct)
A few other manuscripts dated 25 to 75 years later than they should be.
One shortcoming of this approach is that in the last fifty years so many other early Bible manuscripts that have been found. A second shortcoming is that many other non-Biblical manuscripts have been found, that cause us to re-date some of the manuscripts even earlier.
Bodmer II has disagreement over the date. Comfort says mid 2nd century, Hunger says 100-150 A.D., and Turner says 200-250 A.D. Comfort gives an effective rebuttal to Turner’s reasons in the Complete Text of the New Testament Manuscripts p.367-368, and he is more cautious than Hunger. So this means Bodmer II is 125-175 A.D.
Chester Beatty II
(p45, p46, p47) is dated to 81-96 A.D. by Young Kyu Kim. Comfort dates this to early to mid 2nd century. Kenyon in 1936 dated it to 200-250 A.D., mainly on the stichiometric notes. (Comfort says the scribe was excellent and obviously a professional.). Wilcken in 1935 dated it to 200 A.D., but he only looked at one leaf However, Comfort provides extensive comparisons to other manuscripts, and while he cannot rule out Kim’s dating, dates Chester Beatty II to 100-150 A.D.
Other notable facts are that p4 (of Luke) used to be dated 4th century, but is now mid second century. p104 (of Matthew) has been dated end of the 1st century to end of the 2nd century, but it is more likely early to mid 2nd century, about the same as John Rylands fragment of John 18:31-33,37-38.

Q: What are the earliest fragmentary and complete manuscripts of the New Testament?
A: Here is a list of most of them. It is important to note that some of these manuscripts were dated 70 years ago, but subsequent similar papyri have shown that some of those dates were too conservative (late). Many people are the dates are taken primarily from The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts (Comfort 1999) and secondarily from Manuscripts of the Greek Bible (Metzger 1981) and The Greek New Testament 4th Revised Edition (Aland et al. 1993).

Date

Name

Contents


117-138 A.D. or
110-125 A.D. (The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts p.367)


p52 (John Rylands) (= Papyrii Rylands 457)


John 18:31-33, reverse side John 18:37-38 (5 verses)


100-150 A.D.


p104 (=P. Oxyrhynchus 4404)


Matthew 21:34-37,43,45(?) Matthew 21:44 was not originally present (5 verses)


c.125 A.D.


p87 - The handwriting is nearly identical to p46.


Phm 13-15,24 (part),25b with gaps (4 verses)


100-150 A.D. (Comfort) 81-96 A.D. (Young Kyu Kim)


p46 (=Chester Beatty II)

It has 1,390 verses from Paul and 290 verses from Hebrews. This is 70% of the 2,389 verses in Paul and Hebrews.


Romans 5:17-6:3; 6:5-14; 8:15-25,27-35; 8:37-9:32; 10:1-11:11; 11:24-33; 11:35-15:9; 15:11-16:27; Hebrews 1:1-9:16; 9:18-10:20,22-30; 10:32-13:25 (all but 3 verses); 1 Corinthians 1:1-9:2; 9:4-14:14; 14:16-15:15; 15:17-16:22 (all but 5 verses); 2 Corinthians 1:1-11:10,12-21; 11:23-13:13 (all but 3 verses); Ephesians 1:1-2:7; 2:10-5:6; 5:8-6:6, 8-18, 20-24 (all but 5 verses); Galatians 1:1-8; 1:10-2:9, 12-21; 3:2-29; 4:2-18; 4:20-5:17; 5:20-6:8, 10-18 (all but 9 verses); Philippians 1:1, 5-15, 17-28; 1:30-2:12, 14-17; 2:29-3:8, 10-21; 4:2-12, 14-23 (all but 20 verses); Colossians 1:1-2, 5-13, 16-24; 1:27-2:19; 2:23-3:11, 13-24; 4:3-12, 16-18 (all but 16 verses); 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 1:9-2:3; 5:5-9,23-28


100-150 A.D. (Hunger)
or 125-175 A.D. (Philip Comfort and Barrett)
c.200-250 A.D. (Turner due to broad delta, broad theta, narrow alpha, finial end on the crossbar of epsilon, apostrophe between double consonants like other third century manuscripts.
However, we go with Hunger and Philip Comfort because second century manuscripts have been found with these features. This was discovered close to Nag Hamadi (second century). Hunger has found many late first and early second centuries manuscripts that are closer to p66 than 3rd century documents.


p66 (Bodmer II + Inv. NR4274/4296)
808.5 verses, which is 92% of the 879 verses in John


John 1:1-6:11; 6:35b-14:26, 29-30;15:2-26; 16:2-4, 6-7; 16:10-20:20; 20:22-23; 20:25-21:9, 12, 17. (John 7:53-8:11 was never present)


c.170 A.D.


0212


Tatian’s Diatessaron (Harmony of the Gospels) Matthew 27:56; Mark 15:40; Luke 23:49b-c; Luke 23:54; Matthew 27:57; Mark 15:42; Matthew 27:57; Luke 23:50; Matthew 27:57; Luke 23:51b; Matthew 27:57; Luke 23:40; John 19:38; Matthew 27:57; Luke 23:51c; Luke 23:51a


c.175 A.D.


p90 (P. Oxyrhynchus 3523)


John 18:36-19:7 (11 verses)


2nd century


p98 (P.IFAO Inv. 237b [+a]


Revelation 1:13-2:1 (9 verses)


Mid to Late 2nd century


p77 and p103


Matthew 23:30-39; Matthew 13:55-57; 14:3-5 (10 + 6 verses)


150-200 A.D.


p32 (P. Rylands 5) probably from Oxyrhynchus


Titus 1:1-15; 2:3-8 (21 verses)


Late 2nd / early 3rd century


p38 (P. Michigan Inv. 1571)


Acts 18:27-19:6, 12-16


Late 2nd / early 3rd century


Uncial 0189


Acts 5:3-21 (earliest parchment of the N.T.)


c.200 A.D.


p1 (= p. Oxyrhynchus 2)


Matthew 1:1-9,12,14-20; 2:14? (17 or 18 verses)


Second century
ca.200 A.D.
(150-175 A.D.) Comfort and Barrett


p64 (Magdalen) and p67. All agree these are from the same manuscript.


(p67) Matthew 3:9,15; 5:20-22,25-28
(p64) Mt. 26:7-8,10,14-15,22-23,31-33
(19 verses)


Early to mid 2nd century
In 1963 Aland dated it to the third century. However, if it is the same original as p64 and p67 then it would have to be early to mid 2nd century.


p4 (the handwriting is the same as p64 and p67.) (Aland disagreed but never gave a reason.) Also, all three have an unusual abbreviation for "Jesus".). p4 was used as padding for a copy of Philo’s works that was hidden to avoid confiscation in either 292 A.D. or 303 A.D. The Philo Codex was written about 250 A.D.


Luke 1:58-59; 1:62-2:1,6-7; 3:8-4:2,29-32,34-35; 5:3-8; 5:30-6:16


200-225 A.D.


p29


Acts 26:7-8, 20 (3 verses)


175-225 A.D.
(ca 175 A.D.) Comfort and Barrett


p75 (=Bodmer 14/15)


Luke 3:18-22; 3:33-4:2; 4:34-5:10; 5:37-6:4; 6:10-7:32; 7:35-39,41-43; 7:46-9:2; 9:4-17:15; 17:19-18:18; 22:4-24:53; John 1:1-11:45, 48-57; 12:3-13:1,8-9; 14:8-29;15:7-8 (1,166 verses)


200-225 A.D.


p45 (=Chester Beatty I)
Matthew 71 verses
Mark 147 verses
Luke 242 verses
John 84 verses
Acts 289 verses


Much of Acts and the Gospels. Mt 20:24-32; 21:13-19; 25:41-26:39 [71 verses]; Mark 4:36-5:2; 5:16-26; 5:38-6:3; 2 letters of 6:15; 6:16-25, 36-50; 7:3-15; 7:25-8:1; 8:10-26; 8:34-9:8; 4 letters of 9:9; 9:18-31; 11:27-12:1; 12:5-8,13-19,24-28 [147 verses]; Luke 6:31-41; 6:45-7:7; 9:26-41; 9:45-10:1; 10:6-22; 10:26-11:1; 11:6-25, 28-46; 11:50-12:13 (12:9 was never written); 12:18-37; 12:42-13:1; 13:6-24; 13:29-14:10; 14:17-33 [242 verses]; John 4:51,54; 5:21,24; 10:7-25; 2 complete out of 16 letters of 10:30; 10:31-11:10; 11:18-36,42-57 [84 verses]. Acts 4:27-36; 5:10-20; (8 out of 33 letters in 5:21) 30-39; 6:7-7:2; 7:10-21; 7:32-41; 7:52-8:1; 8:14-15, 8:34-9:6; (8:37 was never written); 9:16-27; 9:35-10:2; 10:10-23, 31-41; 11:2-13; 11:24-12:6; 12:13-22; 13:6-16,25-36; 13:46-14:3; 14:15-23; 15:2-7,9-27; 15:38-16:4; 16:15-21,32-40; 17:9-17) At Acts 15:7 this scribe lost his place and repeated from Acts 15:2. [289 verses]


Early 3rd century (ca.225 A.D.)


p30


1 Thess. 4:12-13, 16-17; 5:3, 8-10, 12-18, 25-28; 2 Thess. 1:1-2; 2:1, 9-11 (25 verses)


Early 3rd century


p5 (=papyrus Oxyrhynchus 208 + 1781)


John 1:23-31, 33-40; 16:14-30; 20:11-17, 19-20, 22-25 (47 verses)


ca.200 A.D. (Comfort and Barrett) vs. 3rd century (Aland)


p23 Urbana (=papyrus Oxyrhynchus 1229)


James 1:10-12, 15-18 (7 verses)


c.220 A.D.


p48 (=Firenze bibl. Medicea Laurenziana; PSI 1165)


Acts 23:11-17,25-29 (12 verses)


200-250 A.D


p39


John 8:14-22 (9 verses)


225-250 A.D.


p13 (p. Oxyrhynchus 657 + PSI 1292)


Hebrews 2:14-5:5; 10:8-22; 10:29-11:13; 11:28-12:17 (114 verses)


c.250 A.D.


p22 (=papyrus Oxyrhynchus 1228)


John 15:25-16:2; 16:21-32 (17 verses)

250-251 A.D. Severe Persecution by the Emperor Decius across the entire Roman Empire


285-300 A.D.


p12 (P. Amherst 3b)


Hebrews 1:1 (1 verse)


3rd century


p9 (= papyrus Oxyrhynchus 402)


1 John 4:11-12, 14-17 (6 verses)


3rd century


p20 (=papyrus Oxyrhynchus 1171)


James 2:19-3:2; (6 out of 96 letters of 3:3); 3:4-9) (16 verses)


3rd century


p27 + p40 (=papyrus Oxyrhynchus 1355)


(p40) Rom 1:24-27,31-2:3; 3:21-4:8; 6:4-5; (9 out of 55 letters of 6:15), 6:16; 9:17,27.
(p27) Rom 8:12-22,24-27,33-9:3; 9:5-9


3rd century


p28 (=papyrus Oxyrhynchus 1596)


John 6:8-12, 17-22 (11 verses)


3rd century


p35


Matthew 25:12-15,20-23 (8 verses)


3rd century


P Antinoopolis 2.54


Matthew 6:10-12 (Part of the Lord’s prayer) (2 verses)


3rd century


p69


Luke 22:40, 45-48, 58-61. It never contained Luke 22:43-44 (9 verses)


3rd century


p70


Matthew 2:13-16; 2:22-3:1; 11:26-27; 12:4-5; 24:3-6, 12-15 (19 verses)


3rd century


p101


Matthew 3:10-12; 3:16-4:3 (8 verses)


c.260 The date is based on similarities to Letters of Heroninos date c.260 A.D.


p53 (=p. Michigan Inv. 6652)


Matthew 26:29-40; Acts 9:33-38; 3 letters of the 124 letters in 9:39; 9:40-10:1 (23 verses)


Mid 3rd century


p37


Matthew 26:19-52 (34 verses)


Mid 3rd century


p49 + p65 (=Yale p.415+531 + Firenze. 1st. di Pap. G. Vitelli PSI XIV 1373)


(p49) Eph 4:16-29; 4:31-5:13 (29 verses)
(p65) 1 Th 1:3-2:1; 2:6-13 (19 verses)


250-300 A.D.


p47 (=Chester Beatty III)


Revelation 9:10-11:3; 11:5-16:15; 16:17-17:2 (125 verses)


Late 3rd century


p15/p16 (=p. Oxyrhynchus 1008/1009)


(p15) 1 Cor 7:18-8:4; (p16) Php 3:10-17; 4:2-8


Late 3rd century


p17 (= p. Oxyrhynchus.1078)


Hebrews 9:12-19 (8 verses)


c.300 A.D.


p72, somewhat similar handwriting to p50. 1 and 2 Peter have page numbers 1-35. Jude has page numbers 62-68. Also contains the Nativity of Mary, the apocryphal letter of Paul to the Corinthians, the 11th Ode of Solomon, Melito’s Homily on the Passover, part of a hymn, the Apology of Phileas, and Psalm 33 and 34.


1 Peter 1:1-5:14, 2 Peter 1:1-3:18 and Jude 1-25 (191 verses) (Every verse of those three books)


c.300 A.D.


p38


Acts 18:27-19:6, 12-16 (13 verses)


ca.300 A.D.


0162 (P. Oxyrhynchus 847)


John 2:11-22 (12 verses)


ca.300 A.D.


0171 (PSI 2.124)


Matthew 10:17-23,25-32; Luke 22:44-50,52-56,61,63-64 (30 verses)


ca.300 A.D.


0220 (MS 113)


Romans 4:23-5:3,8-13. 100% agrees with Vaticanus except Rom 5:1. (6 verses)


ca.300 A.D.


0232 (P. Antinoopolis 12)


2 John 1-9 (9 verses)


3rd/4th century?


p7 (=Kiev. Centr. Nauch. Bibl. F.301 (KDA) 553P)


Lk 4:1-3


3rd/4th century


p18 (=P. Oxyrhynchus 1079)


Revelation 1:4-7 (4 verses)


3rd/4th century


p35 (=Firenze. Bibl. Medicea Laurenziana; PSI 1)


Matthew 25:12-15, 20-23 (8 verses)


3rd/4th century


p37 (U Michigan Inv. 1570; P. Mich. 137)


Matthew 26:19-52 (34 verses)


3rd/4th century


Sinaitic Old Syriac


Most of the four Gospels: Mt 1:1-6:10, 7:3-12:4; 12:6-25; 12:29-16:15; 18:11-20:24; 21:20-25:15; 25:17-20,25-26; 25:32-28:7; Mk 1:12-44; 2:21-4:17; 5:1-26; 6:5-16:18; Lk 1:36-5:28; 6:12-24:52; Jn 1:25-47; 2:16-4:37; 5:6-25; 5:46-18:31; 19:40-end). Lk 4:18-19,21; Jn 7:38; 12:38-40


3rd/4th century


Curetonian Old Syriac


325-350 A.D.


Vaticanus (B)


Most of the Old Testament and all of the New up to Heb 9:15 (6,979 NT verses)


340-350 A.D.


Sinaiticus (Aleph)


Almost all of the New Testament and half of the Septuagint Old Testament


4th century


p8 (Berlin Staatl. Mus. Inv.8683)


Acts 4:31-37; 5:2-9; 6:1-6,8-15 (29 verses)


4th century


p10 (=P. Oxyrhynchus 209)


Rom 1:1-7 (7 verses)


4th century


p24 (=P. Oxyrhynchus 1230)


Revelation 5:5-8; 6:5-8 (8 verses)


4th century


p62 (Oslo U. Inv.1661)


Mt 11:25-30 (6 verses)


4th century


p71 (=P. Oxyrhynchus 2385)


Mt 19:10-11,17-18 (4 verses)


Late 4th century


p25 (=Berlin Staatl. Mus. Inv.16388)


Mt 18:32-34; 19:1-3,5-7,9-10 (11 verses)


4th/5th century


p21 (=P. Oxyrhynchus 1227)


Mt 12:24-26,32-33 (5 verses)


4th/5th century


p50 (=Yale p.1543)


Acts 8:26-32; 10:26-31 (13 verses)


4th/5th century


p57 (=Vienna, osterr Nat. Bibl p. G.26020


Acts 4:36-5:2; 5:8-10 (7 verses)


c.400 A.D.


p51 (=p. Oxyrhynchus 2157)


Gal 1:2-10,13,16-20


400-450 A.D.


Peshitta Syriac


500 A.D.


Ethiopic Translation


507/508 A.D.


Philoxeniana Syriac


5th century


p14 (=p. Sinai II, Harris 14)


1 Cor 1:25-27; 2:6-8; 3:8-10,20 (10 verses)


5th century


Earliest Sahidic Coptic


ca.600 A.D.


p26 (= P. Oxyrhynchus 1354) (SMU Bridwell Libr.)


Rom 1:1-16 (16 verses)


5th/6th century


p54 (Princeton U. Lib Garrett 7742, P. Princeton 15)


James 2:16-18,21-26; 3:2-4


5th/6th century


p56 (=Vienna, Osterr nat. bibl p. G.19918)


Acts 1:1,4-5,7,10-11 (6 verses)


6th century


p2 (=Firenze. Mus. Egizio Inv. 7134)


John 12:12-15 (4 verses)


6th/7th century


p3 (= Vienna Osterr. Nat. Bibli. Pap. G 2323)


Lk 7:36-45; 10:38-42 (15 verses)


6th/7th century


p43 (=London British Library inv.2241)


Rev 2:12-13; 15:8-16:2 (5 verses)


6th/7th century


p44a (N.Y. Metro. Museum of Art Inv.14.1 527 1 fol.)


John 10:8-14 (7 verses)


6th/7th century


p44b (N.Y. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Inv 14.1 527)


Mt 17:1-3,6-7; 18:15-17,19; 25:8-10; John 9:3-4; 12:16-18


6th/7th century


p55 (Vienna osterr Nat. Bibl. p. G.26214)


John 1:31-33,35-38


7th century


p11


1 Cor 1:17-22; 2:9-12,14; 3:1-3,5-6; 4:3-5:5; 5:7-8; 6:5-9,11-18; 7:3-6, 10-14


7th/8th century


p42


Lk 1:54-55; 2:29-32


8th century


p41


Acts 17:28-18:2; 18:17-18,22-25,27; 19:1-4,6-8,13-16,18-19; 20:9-13,15-16,22-24,26-38; 21:1-4,26-27; 22:11-14,16-17

Q: When a Bible verse has variants, how do we estimate which is more likely to be the original?
A: First, let’s look at four types of errors, then the criteria many people use, and finally the relative weighting of the criteria.
Four types of errors
I count about 3,600 variants in the New Testament where we are not certain which the correct should be. That would mean we are certain of 97.3% of every word. Generally these are assumed to be from four sources.
Accidental Typos: Many times copyists have simple small spelling errors, or occasionally duplicate a line. Most of these have no pattern and are easy to correct by comparing with the other manuscripts. One exception to this rule is that we are not totally sure how to spell "Iscariot" as in Judas Iscariot. Of all the words we are uncertain of in the New Testament about 1/3 (1,120 words) are single word variants, and 328 words are double word. These fall into both this category and the following two categories.
Deliberate Small Fixes: Many times copyists would attempt to fix spelling or small grammatical errors. Translators into another language would try to translate the meaning accurately. Sometimes they would get it wrong.
Smoothing: Sometimes the Greek grammar or phrasing might be rough, or the word choice might not be the best (in the copyist’s opinion.) the copyist would try to correct it to better bring out the meaning. Many manuscripts in different verses says "Jesus Christ" while others say "Christ Jesus".
Large changes: There are 38 places with 10 or more word changes. One of the largest variants is the ending of Mark. The Vaticanus manuscript (325-350 A.D.) does not have the ending of Mark, but has a blank space there. Vaticanus does not have any other blank spaces like this in the entire rest of the manuscript. Likewise, Sinaiticus (340-350 A.D.) has a blank space there. However, according to www.LogosResourcePages.org/uncials.htm, you can see where this text was in Sinaiticus, but it was pumiced out (erased).
The following other verses are absent in Sinaiticus but present in Vaticanus: Mt 24:35; Luke 10:32; 17:35; John 9:38; 16:15; 21:25; and I Corinthians 13:2. The following verses are absent in Vaticanus and present in Sinaiticus: Mt 12:47. Lk 23:17. Yet B omits Luke 23:34. Vaticanus and Sinaiticus both do not have: Mt 17:21, 18:11, 23:17; Mk 7:16, 9:44, 46, 11:26, 15:28; Lk 9:55-56, 17:36, 23:17, and Jn 5:4
See http://www.ecclesia.org/truth/vaticanus.html for more info.
Criteria for "strength" of a variant
These criteria are not just good for Bible manuscripts, but for any ancient manuscript.
Earlier manuscripts: In general a manuscript written closer to the event would be considered as having a probability of being more reliable than a manuscript written much later.
Number of manuscripts: In general, a variant appearing in a large number of manuscripts would have more weight than a variant appearing in just a few manuscripts, given that the manuscripts were of similar age.
Heretical readings: Without necessarily intending to, heretics have made a valuable contributions to the church and Bible manuscripts. When a heretical reference says a manuscript is a certain way, and they have no incentive for bias in that direction, or even a possible incentive for bias in the opposite direction, that is strong evidence that the heretic was not aware of a Bible manuscript favoring his view.
Difficulty of reading (Lectio difficilior potior): While it is very improbable that a copyist would try to make the text more difficult to read, it is easy to believe that if a scribe did not copy the text the same, he was trying to make it easier to read. Hence this principle assumes that the more difficult reading is closer to the unedited original. For example, in 1 Cor 14:38, one variant is "ignored" (Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, others) vs. "ignorant" (p46 and others). It is surmised that "ignored" is the more difficult and offensive readings, so many would think that "ignored" is probably the correct meaning, even though p46 is earlier than the other manuscripts.
For a second example, in Mt 16:2-3 Jesus compares knowing the times to knowing when the sky is red it is going to rain. This weather phenomenon is true in Palestine but not in Egypt. Manuscripts from Egypt, such as Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, do not have this verse. It is easy to hypothesize that since this reading was more difficult for Egyptian readers, Egyptian copyists would have made this large (30-word) change.
Relative weighting of the criteria
Scholars disagree on the importance of these criteria. Here are some "guiding principles" some use, along with a rebuttal.
Manuscript family: Many scholars have decided that the Byzantine family, with it large numbers of manuscripts, though later, is in general more accurate. The NKJV translators seem to favor this. Many other scholars, such as Westcott and Hort, think the earlier, but fewer Alexandrian manuscripts (such as Vaticanus and Sinaiticus) are the more accurate. Others, such as the NIV translators, are "eclectic" and claim not to exclusively favor either family. In general, when there are variants, more often than not the Alexandrian family will have the word or phrase be absent (or taken out, depending on your perspective) and the Byzantine family will have the word or phrase by present (or added, depending on your perspective.) In one manuscript, Bezae Cantabrigiensis, it will often have both variants together!
Earlier manuscripts: It is not true that everyone thinks the earlier manuscript is always best. Later manuscripts were often done by professional scribes (we can tell by the handwriting) and probably done with more research on variant readings. Some of the earliest manuscripts might have been quickly done by ordinary Christians, with many typos.
Relying on the benefits/mistakes of previous scholars: Origen of Alexandria did a monumental amount of work to collect the variants of different verses which would help determine which was most accurate. Unfortunately, his work, the hexaemeron, with all its symbols and notes, has been lost. However, we are sure the results of his work were known to the Alexandrian church and likely used to help create more accurate manuscripts. If you were to believe that Origen’s work and decisions were probably for the most part good, you would tend to trust the Alexandrian manuscript family more. If you think he might have made lots of mistakes, and would want to look at manuscripts without this bias, you might trust Byzantine, Latin, Syriac, or other manuscripts more.
Difficulty of reading: Some people use the criteria of difficulty of reading. This assumes that later copyists would fix things and make things smoother to read, so the more difficult way of reading would be the earliest, when all other evidence is the same.
Which variant type and which manuscript: If a manuscript is very similar to other manuscripts in a particular manuscript family, the variants in that manuscript that differ from other manuscripts in the same family would be considered more significant by some people.
Validation: One statistical method is to split the data into training and test sets. Get weights for the training, and then use them to predict the test data, as a measure of how good the weighting is. Applying this to manuscripts, …
Caution: Sometimes you get a different answer when you focus on a different question. If you ask, "which manuscript is more probably the original" you might get a "winner" which is 60% certain. But if you ask, "Can we determine which variant is the original and if so which one, then you might say it is inconclusive unless it was at least 95% certain.

Q: What is the evidence (pro and con) that p4 is from the same manuscript as p64 and p67?
A: This is according to Philip Comfort in The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts p.38-39.
Same Manuscript Evidence
S1. All letters but three
that could be compared in all three manuscripts are identical. Four letters could not be compared. Sigma, epsilon, and alpha are quite similar in all manuscripts but not quite identical. In some case of p4 the underside is less fully curved than others in p4. In p64 and p67 all these letters are always less fully curved.
S2. The pages are very similar; all are the same width, same number of columns (2), about 36 lines per column, and 15-17 letters per line.
S3. Similar punctuation and paragraphing is common to the three.
S4. P64 and p4 were purchased in the same city.
S5. "Sacred abbreviations" were used in many late-second and early-third century manuscripts for God, Lord, Jesus, Christ, and Spirit. These three did also, but they also had "sacred abbreviations" for Son, Father, man, cross, and crucify.
S6. Accompanying p4 is another small fragment, written by a later writer, that is part of a title page "Gospel According to Matthew." Comfort p.43-44 says it was stylish for scribes to add a title from 175-200 A.D. This does not address whether p4 is the same manuscript as p64/p67, but it attests to an early date for p4.
S7. The reputation of Colin Roberts (who dated the John Ryland’s manuscript), Joseph van Haelst, C.H. Roberts, and Philip Comfort.
Different Manuscripts Evidence
D1. P4 has finer, thinner pen strokes
than p64/p67. A different stylus and/or ink in the hands of the same scribe could produce this difference.
D2. P64/p67 is on average lighter than p4, though parts of p4 are the same lightness as p64/p67. Difference in preservation conditions would produce this. Regardless, p4 is not uniform and parts match p64/p67.
D3. Aland’s reputation. In 1965 Kurt Aland suggested p4 was the same codex as p64/p67, but afterwards he listed them as separate. Philip Comfort p.36 says he is unaware of any reason Aland gave for the change.

Q: Just how many New Testament manuscripts (including fragments) exist today?
A: Here are the counts from various scholars of just the Greek manuscripts (complete manuscripts, small fragments, and everything in between). One reason the counts differ is that a number of new manuscripts have been discovered since 1975. Also some people call multiple manuscripts what others call one manuscript with multiple pieces.

Category

Ralph Earle

Aland et al. The Greek New Testament 3rd edition (1975)

Bruce Metzger p.54 (1976)

Manuscripts of the Greek Bible p.54 (1981)

A General Introduction to the Bible p.387 (1986)

Aland et al. The Greek New Testament 4th edition (1998)

Papyrii (p1-p88)

76+

88

88

88

95 (=97-2)

Uncials (non-Lectionary)

270

250+

274

274

274

286 (=300-16+2

Miniscules (non-Lectionary)

2,400

2,768+

2,795

2,795

2,745

2,818

Lectionary manuscripts (both uncial and miniscule)

not mentioned

1,761+

2,209

2,147

1,977+

Uncial (Lectionaries)

245

(Miniscule) Lectionaries

1,964

Ostraca

not mentioned

not mentioned

20

not mentioned

not mentioned

Total

2,670+

4,855+

5,386

5,366

5,254+

5,176+


The manuscripts in other languages, including 89+ Italic (Old Latin), four Vulgate families, 8 Syriac families, 8 Coptic families, Aramaic, Armenian, 2 families of Georgian, 3 families of Ethiopic, Slavonic, 5 Gothic manuscripts, Arabic, and Persian bring the total up to over 11,000 manuscripts.
The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts (copyright 1999) p.627 goes up to p104.
Some would say there are really four less papyrii, as p45 + p46 + p47 are apparently written by the same scribe. p64 + p67 apparently are also from the same scribe. p20 + p27 possibly are by the same scribe.
For comparison purposes, Manuscripts of the Greek Bible p.5 says that scholars have catalogued 55,000 Greek manuscripts on all topics. Thus almost 10% of all Greek manuscripts are Bible manuscripts. Homer’s Illiad has the second most number of copies with 643-650 manuscripts; which is about 1% of all Greek manuscripts.
By the way, there are conflicting dates about when Homer lived. The ancient Greek historian Aristarchus says 1044 B.C., authorities in Philostratus says 1159 B.C., and pseudo-Herodotus The Life of Homer puts it as 1102 B.C. In contrast to the historian Theopompus said Homer lived as late as 685 B.C.. Herodotus says it was not earlier than about 730 B.C.. The Exodus was about 1447 B.C. See The Encyclopaedia Britannica vol.11 (1956) p.689under Homer. It says the Illiad and Odyssey were performed in Athens every four years and there are only 10 papyrii of Homer prior to 150 B.C.

Q: How many Bible fragments and manuscripts are preserved, century by century?
A: Sometimes scholars disagree about the dates, but here are my numbers, based primarily on Comfort and Barrett, and secondarily on Aland et al. The Other column is artificially small because it is part manuscripts and part languages which contain many manuscripts.

Century

Greek

Other


2nd century


11


0


2nd/3rd century


4


0


3rd century


30


5+


3rd/4th century


8


0


4th century


24


3+


4th/5th century


16


5


5th century


34


13+


5th/6th century


14


2+


6th century


48


4+


6th/7th century


11


2+


7th century


32


6+


7th/8th century


2


0


8th century on


Many


Many


The Greek manuscripts were not used as much when people started using other languages more, such as Coptic, Latin, Syriac, etc. The large number of Greek Byzantine Lectionaries, which primarily come later, are not included here.
Taking the same data, except splitting each manuscript that might span centuries as half in each century, gives the following numbers.

Century

Greek

Other


2nd century


13


0


3rd century


36


5+


4th century


36


5.5+


5th century


49


19.5+


6th century


60.5


1+


7th century


38.5


7+


8th century on


Many


Many

Q: For the NT, how many multi-lingual manuscripts exist today?
A: The oldest preserved bilingual manuscript is Bezae Cantabrigiensis. Here is a list of bilingual manuscripts.
Greek and Latin (20 manuscripts) D (Cantabrigiensis Bezae), D (Claromantus), E, F, G, others
Greek and Arabic (16 manuscripts) (0136, 0137, 211, 609, l6, l225, l311, l762, l804, l937, l1023, l1343, l1344, l1746, l1733, l1774,)
Greek and Armenian (1 manuscript) (256)
Greek and Coptic (52 manuscripts) (p6, p41, p42, p62, T, 070, 086, 0100, 0110, 0113, 0124, 0125, 0129, 0139,0164, ethers)
Greek and Slavonic (3 manuscripts) (525, 2136, 2137)
Greek and Turkish (1 manuscript) (manuscript 1325)
There are three known trilingual manuscripts:
Greek and Coptic and Arabic (2 manuscripts) (l1993, l1605)
Greek, Latin, and Arabic (manuscript 460)
See Greek Manuscripts of the Bible p.56 for more info.

Q: Briefly, when were these manuscripts written?
A: The Lukan manuscript in Paris (p4) containing parts of Luke 1 to 6 is dated by Philip Comfort to around 100 A.D. Of course, the Gospel of Luke was written prior to Acts. More on this is in the book by Thiede, Carsten P. and Matthew d’Ancona, Eyewitness to Jesus: Amazing New Manuscript Evidence About the Origin of the Gospels (NY Doubleday 1996 206 pp.). However, while Thiede and d’Ancona date this as "not much later than 68 A.D., Philip Comfort is more cautious, dating this at 100 A.D. Aland et al’s. The Greek Testament Fourth Revised Edition (1998) dated this as fourth century.
The earliest fragment of John, called the John Rylands Papyrus, written 117-138 A.D. The next was the Chester Beatty II papyrii, 150-200 A.D. (or 200-225 A.D.) The next was the Bodmer II papyrii, written about 125-175 A.D. (formerly thought to be 150-200 A.D.) These two manuscripts alone contain 40% of the New Testament according to both my own study and The Qur’an and the Bible p.148
There were a total of 4 preserved manuscripts around 200 A.D., 30 more manuscripts prior to 300 A.D., 8 manuscripts around 300 A.D., 28 more manuscripts before 400 A.D., 16 manuscripts around 400 A.D., and 38 more manuscripts prior to 500 A.D. See The Text of the New Testament : An Introduction to the Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual Criticism by Aland and Aland p.52 and A General Introduction to the Bible p.387 for charts of all the manuscripts up to 1600 A.D.
Jose O'Callaghan found in cave 7 at Qumran fragments of a papyrus dated 50 A.D., that might be fragments of Mark. However, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary volume 8 p.608 says this "has been largely rejected by NT scholars (cf. EBC 1:420-421, n.1). The evidence O’Callaghan presents is far too fragmentary to be reliable."

Q: For the NT versus other ancient works, what is the number of manuscript variations?
A: Here are Bruce Metzger’s estimates compared with other religious literature. There are over 5,000 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. Metzger estimates the New Testament has 20,000 lines, an accuracy of 99.5% with only 40 lines (about 400 words) in question. (This is probably on a letter by letter basis.) Homer’s Illiad is the next most reliably preserved document. It has 643-650 manuscripts, and is 95% accurate. It has 15,600 lines, with about 764 lines in doubt. The Hindu Mahabharata has 250,000 lines and is roughly 90% accurate according to Bruce Metzger. (See the Baker Encyclopedia of Apologetics p.532-533 and A General Introduction to the Bible p.475) It has over 26,000 lines have textual corruption. See A General Introduction to the Bible - Revised and Expanded p.474-475 for more info.

Q: Compared to the NT, what are some of the dates of other early documents and the number of copies?
A: Here are some other ancient works.


Aristotle wrote 364-322 B.C. There are only 5 copies, the earliest being 1100 A.D.


Julius Caesar 100-44 B.C. 900 A.D. 10 copies. This is the only direct evidence we have that Julius Caesar actually entered Gaul.


Demosthenes 4th century B.C. 200 copies


Euripides’ Tragedies 330 copies (The Origin of the Bible p.182)


Herodotus 480-425 B.C. 900 A.D. 8 copies


Homer wrote The Iliad 643-650 copies, more than any others. 5% of the words are in question


Jubilees (A Jewish apocryphal book) 14 copies among the Dead Sea Scrolls.


Mahabharata (a Hindu scripture) 10% in question


Old Testament Manuscripts 235 scrolls and fragments the Dead Sea Scrolls alone. From the Great Isaiah scroll, about 5% of the words are different vs. the Massoretic text. However, most of these are archaic vs. later words and grammar with the same meaning.


Pliny the Younger 1st century A.D. 7 copies


Suetonius wrote The Twelve Caesars 70-140 A.D. The earliest copy is 950 A.D.


Tacitus 100 A.D. 1100 A.D. 20 copies


Thucydides History of the Peloponnesian War 460-400 B.C. 900 A.D. 8 copies


The Qur’an 765 A.D. 9th century. Aisha said one Sura had 200 verses. After ‘Uthman’s "standardization", today it has 73 verses. Also, part of Sura 9:30 was abrogated. The Bukhari Hadith 6:509 says that when certain people died, parts of the Qur’an known only to them were lost. Other Bukhari Hadiths saying parts of the Qur’an were missing and/or abrogated are 4:57,62, 69,229; 6:510,511.

Q: In the NT, what is a summary of the manuscript variations?
A: We are about 97.3% certain of each New Testament word. (Other people might have slightly different numbers if they exclude some variations as certainly incorrect.) Here is a book-by-book summary. See the end of the discussion on each book for the details.

Book of the New Testament

Total verses

Total words in Greek

Greek words in question

Percent accuracy

100 - % accuracy

Matthew

1,071

18,111

531

97.1 %

2.9 %

Mark (exc.16:9-20)

661/ 678

11,051

401

96.4 %

3.6 %

-- Mark 16:9-20

---

---

Additional 166

(-1.5%)

+ 1.5 %

Luke

1,151

19,581

494

97.5 %

2.5 %

John (exc.7:53-8:11)

879

15,436

313

98.0 %

2.0 %

-- John 7:53-8:11

---

---

Additional 168

(-1.1) %

+ 1.1 %

Acts

1007

18,460

487

97.4 %

2.6 %

Romans

433

7,030

200

97.2 %

2.8 %

order: Rom 16:25-27

---

---

additional 53

(-0.8%)

+0.8%

1 Corinthians

437

6,799

104

98.5 %

1.5 %

2 Corinthians

257

1,495

55

96.3 %

3.7 %

Galatians

149

2,233

38

98.3 %

1.7 %

Ephesians

155

2,385

51

97.9 %

2.1 %

Philippians

104

1,621

37

97.7 %

1.9 %

Colossians

95

1,570

33

97.9 %

2.1 %

1 Thessalonians

89

1,477

26

98.2 %

1.8 %

2 Thessalonians

47

826

12

98.5 %

1.5 %

1 Timothy

113

1,592

22

98.6 %

1.4 %

2 Timothy

83

1,336

13

99.0 %

1.0 %

Titus

46

657

5

99.2 %

0.8 %

Philemon

25

329

6

98.2 %

1.8 %

Hebrews

303

4,888

82

98.3 %

1.7 %

James

108

1,735

26

98.4 %

1.6 %

1 Peter

105

1,648

63

96.2 %

3.8 %

2 Peter

61

937

35

96.3 %

3.7 %

1 John(excl. 1Jn5:8)

104

2,103

30

98.4 %

1.6 %

2 John

13

245

7

97.1 %

2.9 %

3 John

14

219

3

98.6 %

1.4 %

Jude

25

459

7

98.5 %

1.5 %

Revelation

404

9,667

127

98.7 %

1.3 %

Totals

7,955

133,892

3,600

97.3 %

2.7 %

Q: Why does the percentage of variants listed (97.3%), differ from Bruce Metzger’s number of 99.5%?
A: Bruce Metzger was a contributor to Aland et al’s Greek Translation of the New Testament. This Greek translation, besides giving manuscript variations, gives an estimate of the certainty of the translation. In the fourth edition p.3, the letters mean:
A - "indicates that the text is certain"
B - "indicates that the text is almost certain"
C - "indicates that the Committee had difficulty in deciding which variant to place in the text."
D - "which occurs only rarely, indicates that the Committee had great difficulty in arriving at a decision."
Note that in the 3rd edition on p.xii-xiii, the letters have slightly different meanings.
A - "virtually certain"
B - "some degree of doubt"
C - "considerable degree of doubt"
D - "very high degree of doubt"
You arrive at close to the 97.3% figure by including all categories, and the 99.5% figure by only including the C and D categories. The 99.5% figure does not include, for example, many Greek textual variants that were the primary choices the Biblical scholars who translated the NKJV, including the longer ending of Mark, and the pericope of the adulteress. As for myself, rather than try to say who is right, I simply want to report where trustworthy scholars are not certain or disagree. That is why I included in the 97.3% number all variants except those with extremely obvious conclusions.

Q: What are characteristics of the typographical errors in the New Testament?
A: The following table was calculated from the possible significant manuscript variations listed at the end of each book.
The following table shows differences primarily due to typos, spelling, grammar, and word changes. Note the relatively high number of single word changes.

 

Section of the New Testament

Total words in Greek

Total words in question

Percent accuracy

Places with the number of words in question

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10+

Matthew

18,111

531

97.1 %

134

31

16

7

5

2

2

2

1

12

Mark

11,051

567

96.5-1.5%

80

46

19

8

3

2

0

0

6

6

Luke

19,581

494

97.5 %

97

37

19

10

13

4

2

2

2

3

John

15,436

481

98.0-1.1%

109

35

6

4

6

2

1

0

0

4

Acts

18,460

487

97.4 %

141

35

10

9

2

7

4

2

1

7

Paul’s writings

29,350

633

98.0 %

317

52

11

9

4

0

1

2

0

5

Other NT

12,234

254

98.2 %

160

23

15

1

3

0

1

0

0

1

Revelation

9,667

127

98.4 %

90

8

3

0

1

0

1

0

0

0

Totals

133,892

3,600

97.3 %

1120

264

90

48

40

17

12

8

10

38



Conclusion: Over half of the variations are places with only one to three word variations.

The following table shows differences primarily due to style and phrasing.

It is interesting that the percentage of words subject to typographical errors is very similar in the 1, 2, and 3 word variations. Mark, has slightly more typographical errors, which would tend to confirm the generally held view that Mark was the earliest Gospel written.
As for the other errors, 0.25% of the total New Testament variations (334 words) are just in two passages: Mark 16:9-20 and John 7:53-8:11. An additional 0.04% are due to the placement of Romans 16:25-27.

This table excludes Mk 16:9-20 and Jn 7:53-8:11

Section of the New Testament

Total words in Greek

Total words in question

Places with

7 | 8-9 |10+ words in question

% inaccuracy from 7| 8-9 |10+ word variations

Total

Words

Total % variations

100 - % acc.

Matthew

18,111

530

2 | 3 | 12

0.1 | 0.1 | 1.2 %

224

1.4 %

Mark

11,051

567

0 | 6 | 6

0.0 | 0.5 | 0.5 %

59

0.9 %

Luke

19,581

494

2 | 4 | 3

0.1 | 0.2 | 0.6 %

93

0.3 %

John

15,436

481

1 | 0 | 4

0.0 | 0.0 | 0.3 %

51

0.3 %

Acts

18,462

487

4 | 3 | 7

0.1 | 0.1 | 0.6 %

135

0.1 %

Paul’s writings

29,350

633

1 | 2 | 5

0.0 | 0.0 | 0.3 %

133

0.1 %

Other NT

21,901

386

2 | 0 | 1

0.0 | 0.0 | 0.1 %

40

0.1 %

Totals

133,892

3,600

12 | 18 | 38

0.2 | 0.1 | 0.6 %

739

0.6 %


Romans 14:23 (53 words) is simply a question of order of the verses.
Let’s define a "subsection of the New Testament" as a portion of around 10,000 words or more that was written at roughly the same time. If you sort the subsections of the New Testament by percent accuracy, (ignoring the three largest errors: the end of Mark, the story of the adulteress, and the location of 53 words in Romans) you get an interesting result.

Subsection

Percent Accuracy

Date Written
(Conservative)

Date Written
(21st century Liberal)

Date of the earliest preserved fragment


Mark (not counting the ending)


96.4 %


50/62-70 A.D.


64-70 A.D.


100-150 A.D.


Matthew


97.1 %


50-80 A.D.


80-100 A.D.


100-150 A.D.


Luke


97.5 %


58-80 A.D.


80-100 A.D.


100 A.D.


Acts


97.4 %


50-80 A.D.


80-100 A.D.


100-150 A.D. 1 Clement (97/98 A.D.) refers to verses in Acts


Late Paul (Rom, 1, 2 Tim, Tt, Phm)


97.8 %


55-67 A.D.


55-67 A.D.


100-150 A.D.


John


97.9 %


50-95 A.D.


80-110 A.D.


117-138 A.D.


Other NT (not counting Revelation)


97.9 %


62-98 A.D.


60-110 A.D.


1 Clement (97/98 A.D.) refers to Hebrews


Early Paul (1 Cor – 2 Thessalonians)


98.3 %


50-63 A.D.


50-55 A.D.


1 Clement (97/98 A.D.) mentions Paul


Revelation


98.7 %


95-110 A.D.


95-110 A.D.


200 A.D.


With the exception of "early Paul" letters, the order follows the dates when we think each book was written. Now the differences between some numbers, such as 97.1% to 97.4% are too close to be statistically significant. Thus, this does not answer the question of whether Matthew or Luke was written first. 1 Clement, written in 97/98 A.D. quotes from Hebrews 1:3a,4,5,7,13b; 6:18 as well as alludes to Hebrews 11:17 (with Gen 21:22); Hebrews 10:37 (with Habakkuk 2:3), Hebrews 12:6 (with Proverbs 3:12), and Hebrews 13:17, so we know that at least that part of "Other NT" was written before then. While "Early Paul" was written early, the letters probably did not get wide distribution until the time all four gospels were written. Also, Paul apparently quotes Luke, so the gospel of Luke likely was written before Paul.

 Q: How did you arrive at the number of 97.3% for manuscript uncertainties?
A: I found the total number of Greek words in the New Testament to be 133,892 (manually counting from Aland et al. 3rd ed). (Aland et al. 3rd edition and 4th edition have identical words in the main text.) I double-checked many parts to reduce miscounts.
The total number of manuscript variations I have seen are 3,599 words in 1,637 places. These were determined by looking through Aland et al. 3rd edition, Aland et al. 4th edition, Metzger’s A Textual Commentary on the New Testament, Barry, and footnotes from the NASB, NIV, NKJV, and NRSV.
I excluded 441 words in 82 places listed below, because most of the following criteria were met:
1. There was no disagreement between the Alexandrian and Byzantine manuscript families,
2. The earliest manuscripts were unanimous
3. Aland et al. in 3rd or 4th edition called it "A – virtually certain"
4. The variant was only in one manuscript or else only in some late manuscripts.
I had the following assumptions.
1. I generally paid more attention to early manuscripts,
2. Paid less attention to church writings for one and two word differences, because they could have paraphrased,
3. Did not discount either the Alexandrian or the Byzantine manuscript families.

Other places

Places

Words


Miscellaneous


27


89


p75 (=Bodmer 14/15)


4


4


Sinaiticus


2


3


2nd corrector of Sinaiticus


1


4


Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus


1


1 (1 letter spelling difference)


Bezae Cantab., sometimes some Italic


15


116


Bezae Cantabrigiensis + Sahidic Coptic


1


5


Vaticanus


2


5


Bezae Cantabrigiensis Italic, Mid Egyptian Coptic


1


44


Bezae Cantabrigiensis Priscillian


1


2


Sahidic Coptic


1


15


Bezae Cantabrigiensis Syriac


1


?


Syriac


1


2


Ephraemi Rescriptus


1


1


p15 (3rd century)


1


1


p72, Georgian


1


1


Bezae Cantabrigiensis + Alexandrinus


1


1


Alexandrinus


2


2


Slavonic, Armenian, Clementine Vulgate


1


4


Corrected Alexandrinus, Middle Egyptian Coptic


1


7


Order of Philippians 1:16 and 17


1


Tertullian and F (9th century)


1


2


Bezae Cantabrigiensis Some Syriac, Italic


1


2


Bezae Cantabrigiensis Italic, some Syriac Mid Egyptian Coptic


1


23


Bezae Cantabrigiensis, Athanasius


1


1


Bezae Cantabrigiensis Syriac


4


56


Bezae Cantabrigiensis Italic, Syriac


1


2


Bezae Cantabrigiensis Syriac, p38 (300 A.D.)


1


21


Italic, Middle Egyptian Coptic


1


1


Ethiopic


1


2

Total

76

389


This left 3,599 uncertain words in 1,658 places. Out of 133,892 total words, 3,599 / 133,892 = 2.7%.

Q: What are some other people’s opinion of the uncertainty of words in the New Testament?
A: Before comparing numbers, it is important to notice that different numbers report different things.
My 97.3% is for all manuscript variations that have any reasonable probability of being the correct reading. This is regardless of how insignificant the spelling or other change in meaning would be.
The Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics and A General Introduction to the Bible p.474 says that Westcott and Hort’s figures would make 98.33%.
Bruce Metzger estimated 99.5% for all manuscript variations that have any change of meaning.
Keith Elliot and Ian Moir in Manuscripts and the Text of the New Testament p.8 says "Most modern textual critics can agree on the bulk of the text (some 95 per cent of it, perhaps). It is the remaining 5 per cent or so where disputes occur and differing conclusions may be found."
According to A General Introduction to the Bible p.474 Ezra Abbot estimated about 95% / 99.75%. The variant and rival readings give the 95% figure. Removing the variations that make no appreciable difference in the sense of the text gives the 99.75% figure.
For all variations in all manuscripts, A General Introduction to the Bible p.468 says those occur in 10,000 places in the New Testament. Now one variant was in 20 manuscripts so you multiplied that one variant by 20, and if you did similarly for all variants, A General Introduction to the Bible p.468 says counting that way gives 200,000 manuscript-places. It is interesting that both in talking with Mormon missionaries and reading footnotes by Muslim authors, the only number I have seen for Bible manuscript variations is 200,000, with no explanation that that is not 200,000 variations by variations times the number of manuscript with the variations. When someone repeats that number without knowing what it means, ask them how they think that could be true, since there are less than 134,000 words in the entire New Testament.

Q: In the NT, what is the degree of uncertainty in the variant readings?
A: Aland et al (3rd edition), Aland et al (4th edition), and Green have different opinions on some words. Aland et al (3rd edition) shows manuscript variations in 1,333 places, puts the variations in 4 categories. "A" means "virtually certain", "B" means "some degree of doubt", "C" means "considerable degree of doubt", and "D" means a "very high degree of doubt". "The apparently large number of C decisions is due to the circumstances that many readings in the A and B classes have had no variants included in the apparatus, because they were not important for the purposes of this edition. By far the greatest proportion of the text represents what may be called an A degree of certainty." (p.xiii) Assuming I counted correctly, in the third edition there are 121 (9%) A, 468 (35%) B, 603 (45%) C, and 141 (11%) D in the entire New Testament. The probability of a variation being a particular letter seems fairly uniform among the books, except that Revelation has 71 of the 92 listed variations as C.

Q: Which manuscripts are in general the most reliable?
A: All of the manuscripts have basically the same words, with a difference of only 2.7% (about 3,564 words). However, some Christian scholars energetically debate the differences in this 2.7%, with primarily three different views.
The Alexandrian manuscripts are the earliest and some think the most reliable (except for John 6:53-8:11). Aland et al. the NIV translators, and a majority of scholars today hold to this view. A church father named Origen (225-254 A.D.) extensively studied many Bible texts we do not have available today, and his work undoubtedly influenced the Alexandrian manuscript family.
The early Alexandrian family manuscripts are p45 in Acts, p46, p66, p75, part of Sahidic, and two early manuscripts, Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, written on expensive vellum (deer hide). These two might have been the "official copies", Constantine ordered to be written just after Christianity was legalized, or they might be rejects. These go back to about 325-350 A.D. Two authors are Clement of Alexandrian and some of Origen. According to The Text of the New Testament p.216, "most scholars have abandoned Hort’s optimistic view that codex Vaticanus (B) contains the original text almost unchanged except for slips of the pen".
Later Alexandrian manuscripts are Ephraemi Rescriptus, L, T, the Freer Gospels in Luke 1:1-8:12 and John), X, Z, Delta in Mark, Xi, Psi, 33, 81, 104, 326, 579, 892, 1241, and Bohairic Coptic. Alexandrinus and Ephraemi Rescriptus are Alexandrian in everything but the gospels. For the book of Acts in Later Alexandrian we have p50 (284-305 A.D.).
For Paul’s letters we have H, I, 1739
For the other letters we have p20, p23, 1739.
For Revelation we have 1006, 1611, 1854, 2053, 2344.
This list is according to The Text of the New Testament p.216.
The Byzantine manuscripts some think are most reliable. In the east, manuscripts being written gradually "standardized", and there are 1,100 manuscripts of the Byzantine Lectionary. This viewpoint is growing among scholars, as the manuscripts typically agree with quotes from John Chrysostom, which takes this tradition back to 392-407 A.D.. For large changes there are least 54 word modifications between the Alexandrian and Byzantine manuscript families and 577 words absent in the Alexandrian and present in the Byzantine. This about 0.5% (631 words). In other words, 20% of all text variations are due to Alexandrian vs. Byzantine issues.
The Textus Receptus (TR), also called the Received Text, some think is the most reliable. In the West, manuscripts being written became more and more standardized. This Latin standard is called "the Textus Receptus". The King James Version follows the Textus Receptus, except that it adds 1 John 5:7-8. Jay P. Green, Sr. primarily uses the Textus Receptus in his a Greek/Hebrew to English parallel Bible.
One can find merit for each of the three views on different passages. It would be nice to find "the one family" that has all the correct readings, but perhaps the truth is that all families have a few incorrect readings.
A crazy view that some people have today is that "God’s inspired word" is not the meaning the words convey, nor is it the Greek and Hebrew, but it is the English words in the King James Version. All other versions are labeled as "New Age Versions". Some call this the "King James Only" view, and these people "onlyites". However, be aware that not every scholar who believes the King James is the most accurate English translation necessarily holds to this crazy view.
1 John 5:7-8 was added to the King James Version because it was in the Third edition of the Greek New Testament by Erasmus. It was not in his second version as the Catholic Church wanted, because Erasmus would not put it in unless they could show him a single Greek manuscript that had it. He put it in the third edition because they showed him a Greek manuscript. Unknown to him, that manuscript had just been written the year before. Erasmus must have learned of this, because he did not put it in his fourth edition either.
However, before deciding to devote your entire life to studying these 2.7% variations, remember 2 Timothy 2:14 and 1 Timothy 6:4, where Paul commands Timothy to avoid quarreling about words.
Why are there these differences? A key reason is that the Greek copyists probably believed that precisely copying each word was not their primary intent. Their main intent was to communicate God’s meaning as accurately and precisely as possible. Some did that by having a literal copy, others by correcting spelling, grammar, improving the phrasing, and making the meaning more precise, and some by paraphrasing.

Q: What are the some of the oldest Bible texts in the Alexandrian manuscript family?
A: The oldest Alexandrian manuscripts are Vaticanus (325-350 A.D.), Sinaiticus (340-350 A.D.), p20 (3rd century), p23 Urbana (3rd century), p45 + p46 (= Chester Beatty), p47, p50 (284-305 A.D.), p52, p66 (125-175 A.D.) (= Bodmer II), Ephraemi Rescriptus (400-500 A.D.). It is debatable whether p4, p8, and p13 are a part of this family. P75 (early 3rd century is called proto-Alexandrian). P.Antinoopolis 2.54 p104 contain parts of Matthew. There also are a number of Coptic and Ethiopian manuscripts translated from Alexandrian manuscripts. The Coptic manuscripts themselves are subdivided into Bohairic, Sahidic, Fayyumic, Middle Egyptian, and others. Metzger’s A Textual Commentary on the New Testament p.15 says that Sahidic Coptic is only Alexandrian text in part. The Origin of the Bible p.302 says that Sahidic was probably first written about 200 A.D. Note that the manuscript Alexandrinus, which sounds like it should be Alexandrian, is actually considered a Byzantine text.
Among the church fathers, Clement of Alexandria and Origen (in part) quote from Alexandrian texts.

Q: What are the major Byzantine texts?
A: These are Alexandrinus, the Freer Gospels (Matthew and Luke 8:13-24:53) and the Byzantine Lectionary. The Gothic translation is Byzantine. The primary earliest source of Byzantine text is the sermons of John Chrysostom (392-407 A.D.), who extensively quoted scripture.

Q: What are some of the differences between the Alexandrian manuscript family versus the Byzantine?
A: In the Old Testament, Vaticanus and Alexandrinus do not have Exodus 28:23-28. We do not have Exodus preserved in Sinaiticus. These verse are present in the Complutensian Septuagint as well as the Hebrew Massoretic text. Dead Sea scroll 4Q22 (=4QPaleoExodusm) contains fragments of 28:22-24,26-28,30-43. See The Septuagint Version : Greek and English by Sir Lancelot C.L. Brenton. p.1131-1132 for more info.
For the New Testament, the Alexandrian manuscripts have at least 33 verses less than the Byzantine family, which works out to 577 words less. There also are at least 54 word modifications. If someone felt certain the earliest Alexandrian manuscripts were totally correct, then the following verses would not be in the Bible: Mt 12:47; 17:21; 18:11; 23:14; Mk 9:44, 46; 11:26; 15:28; 16:9-20; Lk 23:24; Jn 5:4; John 7:53-8:11. The manuscripts Bodmer 14, 15, Sinaiticus do not have Lk 23:17 while Vaticanus has it.
Modern times did not produce the first people to study Bible manuscript variations. An unusual Christian from Alexandria named Origen apparently was the first to very systematically look at various manuscripts and decide which most likely was the original reading. Origen had a large number of manuscripts available to him that are lost to us today, and Alexandrian manuscripts are all assumed to be influence by his work. (Christians today debate over whether his influence is a good or bad thing.) Here is a small sampling of manuscript variations where the Alexandrian manuscripts generally say the same thing and Byzantine manuscripts say something different.
Mt 18:11 ("For the son of Man is come to save that which has been lost.") is absent in Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Sahidic Coptic, Bohairic Coptic, Origen (225-254 A.D.), Eusebius, and Jerome. These 9 words are included in the Byzantine Lectionary, Syriac, Armenian, Diatessaron (c.170 A.D.), and Chrysostom (392-407 A.D).
Mk 10:34 has "after three days" in Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Ephraemi Rescriptus, Bezae Cantabrigiensis, Sahidic Coptic, Bohairic Coptic. It says "On the third day" in Alexandrinus, Byzantine Lectionary, Gothic, Armenian, Ethiopic, Georgian, Origen (225-254 A.D.).
Mk 11:26 "But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your sins/transgressions." is missing in Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, Bohairic Coptic, and Sahidic Coptic. (17 words)
Mk 16:9-20 The following sources do not have the longer ending.
c.360 A.D. Eusebius Questions to Marianus I
193-217/220 A.D. Clement of Alexandria
225-254 A.D. Origen
407 A.D. Jerome, Epistle 120
At least 6 other ancient manuscripts
Syriac
900-1000 A.D. Armenian manuscript has it, but says it was added by Aristion, whom Papias mentions
325-350 A.D. Vaticanus: blank space there. Vaticanus does not have any other blank spaces like this in the entire manuscript.
340-350 A.D. Sinaiticus: blank space there. However, according to www.LogosResourcePages.org/uncials.htm, you can see where this text was in Sinaiticus, but it was pumiced out (erased).
The following manuscripts do have the longer ending
182-188 A.D. Irenaeus Against Heresies 3:11
110-155 A.D. (disciple of Polycarp, disciple of John)
c.170 A.D. Tatian’s Diatessaron
200 A.D. Tertullian Treatise on the Soul
At least 38 ancient Bible texts
120-150 A.D. Didache
~700 A.D. on Byzantine text family
5th century Freer Gospels
400-600 A.D. Codex Bezae manuscript
The later Alexandrian manuscripts have it also.
c.450 A.D. Alexandrinus
400-500 A.D. Ephraemi Rescriptus Manuscript
3rd-4th century Bohairic Coptic
3rd-4th century Sahidic Coptic
Jn 5:4 ("for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool, and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was made well from whatever disease with which he was afflicted.") absent in p66 (150-200 A.D.), p75, Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Sahidic Coptic, Bohairic Coptic, and the original copies of Ephraemi Rescriptus, Alexandrinus, and the Diatessaron. The church writer Nonnus (431 A.D.) does not have this. The earliest copies with these 29 words are the Armenian and Georgian versions (both 5th century), and later corrections to Alexandrinus, Ephraemi Rescriptus, and the Freer Gospels. However, the church fathers Tertullian (200-240 A.D.), Ambrose, Didymus, Chrysostom (392-407 A.D.), and Cyril refer to this in their paraphrased renderings.
Jn 7:53-8:11 is called "the pericope of the adulteress" Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, p56, p75, the Sahidic Coptic, and the Gothic do not have it. The Diatessaron, Clement of Rome, Tertullian, Origen (225-254 A.D.), and Chrysostom also do not have it. The rest of the major manuscripts have it. Aland et al. says "Alexandrinus and Ephraemi Rescriptus apparently had it, though their state of preservation makes this not certain. This passage is interesting in that Aland et al. says this is "virtually certain" it was in the original manuscript, yet the Alexandrian family, with the exception of Bohairic Coptic, do not have it. Thus, if one relies on the Alexandrian family of manuscripts, one has to do so recognizing that this family left out this entire passage. Of course while the Byzantine family has this passage, John Chrysostom does not. (The pericope of the adulteress and the ending of Mark are the two largest non-trivial manuscript variations in the New Testament.)
Jn 10:34 "the law" is in Bodmer II 125-175 A.D. Bodmer 14,15 early 3rd century, Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Alexandrinus, Byzantine Lectionary, Sahidic Coptic, Bohairic Coptic, Gothic, Armenian, Athanasius (326-373 A.D.). It says "the law of you" in Chester Beatty Papyrii 200 A.D., Sinaiticus (corrected), Cantabrigiensis, Tertullian, Hilary.
Eph 1:1 The words "in Ephesus" are absent from Chester Beatty II (200 A.D.), original Vaticanus, original Sinaiticus, and the early Christian writers Tertullian (200-240 A.D.) and Origen (225-254 A.D.). A corrector later added the words to Sinaiticus and Vaticanus. Alexandrinus also has these words, as do the Byzantine Lectionary and John Chrysostom (392-407 A.D.)
1 Cor 11:24 "broken for you", "broken" is absent in Chester Beatty II (200 A.D.), Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, Ephraemi Rescriptus (original), Alexandrinus, Athanasius (326-373 A.D.). "Broken" is present as a later correction in Sinaiticus, Ephraemi Rescriptus (3rd corrector), the Gothic, Byzantine Lectionary, and John Chrysostom (392-407 A.D.)
A split decision is Mk 1:2, where the Byzantine Lectionary and the Armenian says In the prophets, along with Alexandrinus, Syriac, Bohairic Coptic, Ethiopic, Irenaeus, and other manuscripts. Isaiah is mentioned in most other manuscripts including Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Sahidic Coptic, Gothic, Bezae Cantabrigiensis, etc..
Regardless, the Alexandrian and Byzantine manuscript families all do not have 1 Jn 5:7-8. The first preserved Greek manuscript that has this was not written until the 10th century, though the heretic Priscillian (380 A.D.) had heard of this.

Q: Why do people put less weight on the "Western texts"?
A: The Western texts is a phrase for manuscripts primarily in Europe that do not fit in the Alexandrian or Byzantine family. Some people question whether it is accurate to speak of a Western text, since the manuscripts do not have that much "affinity" with each other, except that when the Alexandrian and Byzantine texts differ, they tend to put in both readings. According to Bruce Metzger’s A Textual commentary on the New Testament p.6 the problems with the Western text are most acute in Acts, where the Western text is 10% longer.

Q: What are some corrections in the p46 manuscript?
A: It was probably not copied by a professional scribe, and one or two people cam along later and corrected it. Here are some examples from 1 Corinthians 13-16 for simple letter errors, that are not counted in the previous lists.
1 Cor 13:5 mu was addeded after to.
1 Cor 13:12 prosopon changed to prosupon by adding u (omega) above the line.
1 Cor 14:9 auloumenon to laloumenon by crossing out au and adding la above the line.
1 Cor 14:9 added genu after tuchoi.
1 Cor 14:20 changed tai to tais by added s above the line.
1 Cor 15:2 dots were put above katecheiv which means they corrector thought this should be deleted.
1 Cor 15:17 estai to easte
1 Cor 15:24 the corrector put a slash through "i" when he should have put a slash through "a"
1 Cor15:34 amartanute to amartanete
1 Cor 16:1 ei to eis
1 Cor 16:7 pardu to parodu
When comparing manuscripts for significant variants, I used the original reading (versus later corrections) in all the manuscripts.

Q: What do we know about the Vaticanus manuscript?
A: Vaticanus (325-350 A.D.) is the oldest existing member of the Alexandrian manuscript family. It often is abbreviated as "B" or is called uncial 03. It is 325-350 A.D. according to the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.253 and c.325-350 A.D. according to A General Introduction to the Bible p.393.
What has been preserved: Vaticanus has preserved only verses 46:29-50:26 in Genesis, and the rest of the Old Testament except for 2 Kings 2:5-7 and 1-13, and Psalm 105:27-137:6. The missing section in Psalms was added in the 15th century. As in Vaticanus, Hebrews follows 2 Thessalonians.
Some apocryphal books are in Vaticanus, as are in most Greek Bibles. Vaticanus does not contain 1-4 Maccabees and the Prayer of Manasseh.
The New Testament is all preserved up until Hebrews 9:15. After that some leaves were lost. Missing are 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, and Revelation. Aland references Vaticanus in the book of James, and the New International Greek Testament Commentary on James p.60 says Vaticanus contains the complete book of James.
Physical Appearance: It was written with brown ink on expensive vellum, with each leaf being 27-28 centimeters square. There were three columns per page and 40-44 lines per column. Today it is in Vatican City in the middle of Rome
Order of Old Testament Books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Kings, 1-2 Chronicles, 1 Esdras, 2 Esdras (=Ezra-Nehemiah)
Psalms (with Psalm 151), Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Job, Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus (=Sirach, =Wisdom of Sirach), Esther, Judith, Tobit, Hosea, Amos, Micah, Joel. Obadiah, Jonah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Baruch, Lamentations, Epistle of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel (with Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Young Men, Susannah, and Bel and the Dragon]. See The Journey from Texts to Translations p.50 for more info.
Order of New Testament Books: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, Hebrews, (following are missing but the presumed order) 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Revelation. See The Journey from Texts to Translations p.60 for more info.
Scribes and Correctors: One scribe wrote the Old Testament, and another wrote the New Testament. There were two correctors. One corrected the manuscript about 350 A.D. soon after it was written. The other corrector lived in the tenth or eleventh century. A humorous note is that one corrector made a change in Hebrews 1:3. A later corrector changed it back, and wrote in the margin "Fool and knave, can't you leave the old reading alone, and not alter it!" It turns out the original was not correct.
Distinctives of Vaticanus: It generally follows the other manuscripts in the Alexandrian family. It does not have John 7:53-8:11, Luke 22:43-44, and Luke 23:34. Like Sinaiticus, it has a blank space for the longer ending of Mark. Vaticanus contains all of Romans (minus 16:24) in the same order as Bibles today. No ancient manuscript omitted 1 Peter 5:3 (9 words) except for Vaticanus.
Jn 16:28 "from/by the Father" is in Vaticanus. Many other manuscripts have "came forth from the Father", including p5 (200-250 A.D.), p22, Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, Ephraemi Rescriptus, Byzantine Lectionary, Diatessaron (c.170 A.D).
As a side note there is a Codex Vaticanus 354 (S) manuscript of the gospel. However, it is a totally different manuscript, dated 949 A.D., that just happens to have the name Vaticanus in it also.
See The Origin of the Bible p.181, A General Introduction to the Bible p.391-392, and Manuscripts of the Greek Bible p.74-75 for more info.

Q: What do we know about the Sinaiticus manuscript?
A: Sinaiticus (340-350 A.D.) is the second oldest existing member of the Alexandrian family of manuscripts. It often is abbreviated as "Aleph" or is called uncial 01. It is 340 A.D. according to the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.253 and c.340 A.D. according to A General Introduction to the Bible p.393.
What has been preserved: It has preserved half of the Septuagint Old Testament. Specifically, it has Genesis 23:19-24:46 (with gaps); Numbers 5:26-7:20 (with gaps), 1 Chronicles 9:27-19:17, Ezra-Nehemiah as one book from Ezra 9:6 on, Esther, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Lamentation to 2:22, Joel through Malachi, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, and Job.
The Apocrypha is in Sinaiticus: specifically Tobit, Judith, 1 and 4 Maccabees, Wisdom, and Sirach.
The New Testament is all preserved, except the scribes did not include John 7:53-8:11, and a blank space reserved for Mark 16:9-20. Sinaiticus contains all of Romans (minus 16:24) in the same order as Bibles today. The order of New Testament books is the Four Gospels, Paul’s Letters, Hebrews, Acts, the Catholic Letters, Revelation, the Letter of Barnabas, and the Shepherd of Hermas, according to Metzger’s Manuscripts of the Greek Bible p.76.
Two other books are in Sinaiticus: the Letter/Epistle of Barnabas and part of the Shepherd of Hermas.
Physical Appearance: It originally had at least 730 leaves. Today we have 390 leaves plus fragments of 3 more leaves. (a leaf is two pages.) There are four columns per page and 48 lines per column. It is written on expensive vellum. There were no spaces between words and almost no punctuation. Old Testament quotes are shown as quotes. Today it is in London, UK. For more info and a photograph, see Manuscripts of the Greek Bible, p.76-79.
Order of Old Testament Books: Genesis, (Exodus and Leviticus are lost), Numbers, (missing Deuteronomy through 2 Kings, 1-2 Chronicles, 1 Esdras, 2 Esdras (=Esther-Nehemiah), Esther, Tobit, Judith, 1, 4 Maccabees, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, (Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Amos, and Micah lost), Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Psalms (including 151), Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus (=Sirach, =Wisdom of Sirach), Job. See The Journey from Texts to Translations p.50 for more info.
Order of New Testament Books: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 1 Thessalonians, Hebrews, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Acts, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, Revelation, Epistle of Barnabas, Shepherd of Hermas. See The Journey from Texts to Translations p.60 for more info.
Scribes and correctors: Three scribes copied Sinaiticus. Scribe A, who copied most of the historical and poetic books of the Old Testament, almost all the New Testament, and the Epistle of Barnabas, was a better speller than B, but not nearly as good as D. B copied the prophets and the Shepherd of Hermas, and was a bad speller. D had nearly perfect spelling. He copied Tobit and Judith, the first half of 4 Maccabees, and the first 2/3 of Psalms. He apparently copied 6 pages of the New Testament.
Distinctives of Sinaiticus: According to Herman Hoskier, there are the following number of places with differences between Sinaiticus and the Textus Receptus in the gospels: Matthew 656+, Mark 567+, Luke 791+, John 1022+, for a total of 3036+ places of differences in the gospels.
Sinaiticus is unusual for its endings of the gospels. Like Vaticanus, Sinaiticus is has a blank space for the longer ending of Mark’s gospel. Thus they were aware of a longer ending, but chose not to copy it.
In addition, ultraviolet lamps have shown that the scribe finished the Gospel of John ends at 21:24, put two decorative lines (called coronis), and wrote that it is finished. Then the vellum was washed to remove the lines and last statement, the same scribe wrote verse 25, added the coronis, and wrote it is finished. This is according to The Text of the New Testament p.45-46, written by Bruce Metzger in 1968. So we consider the Sinaiticus version of John ending in 21:25 because the same scribe wrote it.
According to D.A. Waite, 8972 words were affected in the Gospel versus the Textus Receptus. 3,455 words were omitted, 839 were added, 1114 were substituted, 2299 were transposed, and 1265 were modified. It has more changes than Vaticanus. Of course, Waite cannot prove any words were added or omitted, only that they were included or absent.
Lk 11:23 "scatters me" is in the original Sinaiticus Bohairic Coptic, and Ephraemi Rescriptus. All the other major manuscripts have "scatters"
Jn 1:34 The "chosen" is in p5 (200-240 A.D.), original Sinaiticus, Sahidic Coptic and few other manuscripts. The "son" is in corrected Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, Vaticanus, Cantabrigiensis, the Byzantine Lectionary, Bohairic Coptic, Armenian, Origen (225-254 A.D.), Chrysostom (392-407 A.D.)
See A General Introduction to the Bible p.392-394 for more info.

Q: What do we know about the Alexandrinus manuscript?
A: Alexandrinus (c.450 A.D.) is a little later than Vaticanus and Sinaiticus. It is often abbreviated "A" or called Uncial 02. It is c.425 A.D. according to the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.253 and c.450 A.D. according to A General Introduction to the Bible p.393.
What has been preserved: It has preserved all of Genesis except for Genesis 14:14-17; 15:1-5, 16-19; 16:6-9, which are mutilated. The Twelve Minor Prophets are directly before Isaiah. It contains the rest of the Old Testament except for 1 Samuel 12:17-14:9 and Psalms 49:20-79:11.
In the New Testament Alexandrinus has preserved Matthew 25:7 to the end, Mark, Luke, John (except 6:50-8:52), Romans (minus 16:24), 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians (except 4:13-12:6), the rest of the New Testament, 1 Clement, and 2 Clement until 12:4. Psalms of Solomon is in the table of contents but it is lost.
Alexandrinus contains all of Romans (minus 16:24) in the order of 1:1-14:23; 16:25-27; 15:1-16:23; 16:25-27 (The Wycliffe Exegetical Commentary : Romans 1-8 p.6) It contains 16:25-27 twice. It contains all of James.
The Apocrypha is in Alexandrinus: additions to Daniel, Tobit, Judith, 1 Esdras, 1-4 Maccabees, Sirach.
Other books at the end of the manuscript were written the Psalms of Solomon, and 1 and 2 Clement, with some parts of 2 Clement missing.
Physical appearance: The leaves measure 32.1 cm by 26.4 cm. It was written on expensive vellum with brown ink. There are two columns per page, and 46-52 lines per column. There are no spaces between the words, and Old Testament quotes are indicated. It was written in large, square uncial writing with no punctuation. It currently is in London, UK.
Order of Old Testament Books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Kings, 1-2 Chronicles, Hosea, Amos, Micah, Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Baruch, Lamentations, Epistle of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel (with Prayer of Azariah and Song of the Three Young Men, Susanna, and Bel and the Dragon]
See The Journey from Texts to Translations p.50 for more info.
Order of New Testament Books: Matthew (some missing), Mark, Luke, John (some missing), Acts, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians (some missing), Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, Hebrews, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Revelation, 1 Clement (some missing), 2 Clement (some missing), Psalms of Solomon (table of contents only). See The Journey from Texts to Translations p.60 for more info.
Scribes and correctors: Two to five scribes wrote this manuscript, and there were numerous corrections, by both the scribe who originally wrote the words and others hands. The corrected version is very similar to the Textus Receptus.
Distinctives of Alexandrinus: Some would say it appears as an Alexandrian Manuscript with Byzantine influence. Others would say it represents a third family, the Western family, which is a combination of the Alexandrian and Byzantine texts. It does not have Luke 22:43f, and is missing John 7:53-8:11.
2 Tim 2:22 Alexandrinus has "loving" while other manuscripts have "calling"
Phm 12, Alexandrinus and corrected Sinaiticus almost stand alone in saying "whom I sent back yours" vs. other manuscripts who say "whom I sent back to you" or similar.
Phm 25 Alexandrinus does not have "amen" at the end. Sinaiticus, the Byzantine Lectionary, and p87 c.125 A.D. have "amen" at the end.
See A General Introduction to the Bible p.394-395 and Manuscripts of the Greek Bible p.86 (photograph p.87) for more info.

Q: What do we know about the Ephraemi Rescriptus [C] manuscript?
A: Ephraemi Rescriptus (400-500 A.D. or 400-450 A.D. or c.345 A.D.) is considered neither an early nor a late manuscript. It often is abbreviated as "C" or else is called uncial 04.
It was written 5th century (400-500 A.D.) according to Aland et al., or 400-450 A.D. on various web sites. It was written c.345 A.D. according to the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.253 and A General Introduction to the Bible p.393.
What is preserved: It has preserved James 1:1-4:2 and the Gospels, Acts, the letters and Revelation. Ephraemi Rescriptus contains all of Romans (minus 16:24) in the same order as Bibles today. It probably contained all of the New Testament, and at least part of every New Testament book is preserved except for 2 Thessalonians and 2 John. Much of the Old Testament is lost. It has only preserved all or parts of Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Canticles.
For apocryphal books it has preserved at least parts of Ecclesiasticus and Wisdom of Solomon.
Distinctives of Ephraemi Rescriptus: It has 616 instead of 666 in Revelation. The Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.253 says the manuscript is "a compound of all major types, but it agrees frequently with the Byzantine." A General Introduction to the Bible p.394 also says it is a compound of different types but agrees frequently with the Byzantine family.

Q: What do we know about the Cantabrigiensis Bezae (D) manuscript?
A: Unlike Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, the Latin Vulgate, and today’s Bibles, Cantabrigiensis Bezae has the gospels in a different order.
Order of New Testament Books: Bezae has only preserved in order: Matthew, John, Luke, Mark, Acts, and 3 John. See The Journey from Texts to Translations p.60 for more info.

Q: What do we know about the Freer Gospels (W)?
A: The Freer Gospels are also called Codex Washingtonianus. They are from the fourth or early 5th century (300-450 A.D.) or fourth to 5th century (Aland et al.)
What is preserved: The Old Testament is lost except for parts of Deuteronomy, Joshua, and Psalms. The New Testament has preserved the four gospels, 1, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1, 2 Thessalonians, 1, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, and Hebrews. (Romans is the only one of Paul’s letters that is not preserved here.)
Order of New Testament Books: The Gospels in order are Matthew, John, Luke, and Mark. Mark has the long ending.
Distinctives of the Freer Gospels: After Mark 16:14, is has "And they excused themselves, saying, ‘This age of lawlessness and unbelief is under Satan, who does not allow the truth and power of God to prevail over the unclean things of the spirits. Therefore reveal thy righteousness now’ – thus they spoke of Christ. And Christ replied to them, ‘The term of years of Satan’s power has been fulfilled, but other terrible things draw near. And for those who have sinned I was delivered over to death, that they may return to the incorruptible glory of righteousness which is in heaven." (A General Introduction to the Bible p.400)
See A General Introduction to the Bible p.400 for more info.

Q: What are the distinctives of the three Coptic families of translations of the New Testament?
A: The three main Coptic families are Sahidic, Bohairic, and Fayyumic, and they were almost certainly translated from manuscripts in the Alexandrian family. There are no peculiar renderings listed in Aland. The different Coptic families do not always agree among themselves. For example,
Mt 12:47 Include verse 47 "Then said one to him, Behold, your mother and your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak to you."
(Sinaiticus, Ephraemi Rescriptus, Bohairic Coptic) vs. verse 47 is absent (corrected Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Sahidic Coptic) (17 words)
A fourth, smaller family is the Akhminic. It has portions of Mt 9; Lk 12-13, 17-18, Gal 5-6; Jms 5. A similar family, called sub-Akhminic has portions of Jn 2:12-20:20.

Q: What do we know about the old Syriac manuscripts?
A: There are two old versions: Sinaitic Syriac (4th century) and Curetonian Syriac (5th century).
The Sinaitic Syriac (SyrS) manuscript was found in 1897. It is difficult to read, because it was overwritten in the 8th century. 142 of 166 leaves survive. The surviving leaves contain Mt 1:1-6:10, 7:3-12:4, 12:6-25, 12:29-16:15, 18:11-20:24, 21:20-25:15, 25:17-20, 25:25-26, 25:32-28:7, Mk 1:12-44, 2:21-4:17, 5:1-26, 6:5-16:8 (no ending), Lk 1:36-5:28, 6:12-24:52, Jn 1:25-47, 2:16-4:37, 5:6-25, 5:46-18:31, 19:40-end). It is considered a "western text" with fewer peculiarities than D.
The Curetonian Syriac (SyrC) was discovered in 1842. It has Mt 1:1-8:22, 10:32-23:25; Mk 16:17-20; Lk 2:48-3:16, 7:33-15:21, 17:24-24:44; Jn 1:1-42, 3:6-7:37, 14:10-29 (mutilated). It has some similarities to the Siniatic Syriac.

Q: What do we know about the Syriac Peshitta translation of the Bible?
A: Peshitta means "simple" and the Old Testament was translated before the end of the 2nd century A.D. The Peshitta does not contain 2 Peter, 2-3 John, Jude, or Revelation. The New Testament was translation in the final decades of the 4th century (375-400 A.D.) according to the Eerdmans’ Bible Dictionary p.817. Aland et al. give a date of 400-450 A.D., but Eerdmans’ Bible Dictionary p.978 says "Once thought to be the early fifth-century work of Bishop Rabbula of Edessa, the Peshitta now appears to have been completed by the late fourth century on the basis of earlier Syriac versions." So the more modern dating is 375-400 A.D.

Q: What do we know about the Armenian translation of the Bible?
A: Christianity came to Armenia under a former persecutor, king Tiridates III (c.287-314 A.D.). He was converted by Gregory the Illuminator at the end of the third century. Thaddaeus and Bartholomew might have gone to Armenia prior to then. Dionysius, bishop of Alexandria (died c.264 A.D.) wrote to those in Armenia. According to Bishop Korium (died c.450 A.D.), Mesrop Mashtotz (c.361-439 A.D.) was a former soldier and Christian missionary who created an Armenian alphabet in 406 A.D. and translated the Bible into Armenian. There are over 1,244 New Testament Armenian manuscripts. See The Journey from Texts to Translations p.248-250 for more info. A picture of an Armenian manuscript of Matthew 1 is on p.248.
Other Books: In addition to the Biblical books, some Armenian manuscripts have History of Joseph and Asenath, 4 Ezra, Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs. In the New Testament are the Letter of the Corinthians to Paul and a Third Letter of Paul to the Corinthians.
Order of Books: After Acts, are Hebrews, James, 1 and 2 Peter, 1, 2, and 3 John, Jude.
Distinctives:
Mt 1:7-8
spelling of "Asa" (Byzantine Lectionary, Syriac) vs. "Asaph" (p1 [apparently] Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Ephraemi Rescriptus, Sahidic Coptic, Bohairic Coptic, Middle Egyptian Coptic, Armenian, Ethiopian, Georgian) (1 letter difference)
In Matthew 26:28
"New" is present
in Alexandrinus (c.450 A.D.), Ephraemi Rescriptus (5th century), Bezae Cantabrigiensis, Freer Gospels, Sahidic Coptic (3/4th century), Bohairic Coptic (3/4th century), the Byzantine Lectionary, f1 family, f13 family, Armenian, Ethiopic, etc.
"New" is absent in p37 (middle 3rd century), Sinaiticus (340-350 A.D.), Vaticanus (325-350 A.D.), etc.
In Mark 14:24
"New" is present
in Alexandrinus, Sahidic Coptic, Diatessaron, Byzantine Lectionary, f1 family, f13 family, Armenian, Ethiopic, etc.
"New" is absent in Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Ephraemi Rescriptus, Bezae Cantabrigiensis, Freer Gospels, Bohairic Coptic, etc.
Mk 7:25 "Had an unclean spirit" vs. "was pressed/squeezed by an unclean spirit" (Armenian only)
Jn 5:7 "while I am coming" vs. "while I drag myself" (Armenian only so not counted in the totals.
Rev 21:12 "and the names" (Alexandrinus) vs. "and names" (Byzantine Lectionary) vs. "and" Sinaiticus, Armenian) (2 words)
Rev 22:14 "those who wash their robes" (Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, Vulgate, Sahidic Coptic, Ethiopic) vs. "those doing his commands" (Byzantine Lectionary, Italic, Philoxenian Syriac, Bohairic Coptic, Tertullian, Cyprian, Armenian)

Q: What do we know about the Georgian translation of the Bible?
A: The Bible was translated into Georgian in the Fifth century A.D. Christianity was introduced to Georgia by a slave woman name Nino, who was taken captive by Bakur, the King of Georgia during the time of the Emperor Constantine. According to Armenian tradition the Georgian translated was taken from Mesrop, a Christian from Armenia. Others think it might have been translated from the Syriac instead. However, it is also believed that it was compared with Byzantine texts.
The Georgian language is unrelated to those around it. A photograph of a page of the New Testament is in The Journey from Texts to Translations p.249. The oldest Georgian set of the four gospels (Geo1) is called the Adysh manuscript (897 A.D.). There is also geoA and geoB, which form the basis of geo2. See The Journey from Texts to Translations p.250-251 for more info.
Some Distinctives:
Mt 1:25
"a son" (Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Syriac, Middle Egyptian Coptic, Georgian) vs. "a firstborn son" vs. "the only begotten son" (Ephraemi Rescriptus, Freer Gospels, Byzantine Lectionary, Armenian, Ethiopic, Diatessaron) (4 words) Note that this differs from the Armenian.

Q: What do we know about the other papyrii manuscripts?
A: There are 88 of them, labeled as p1 to p88.
p20 + p27 (3rd century) p20 has James 2:19-3:2; 3:4-9 and other books. The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts p.96 has a picture of this manuscript, and it says the handwriting is very similar with p27, which might mean the same scribe wrote both.
p23 Urbana (3rd century) James 1:10-12, 15-18 and other non-Pauline letters
p45 + p46 + p47 likely are by the same scribe. Together they are called the Chester Beatty papyrus. See the following question for more on this papyrus.
p54 (5th-6th century) James 2:16-18, 21-26; 3:2-4 and other books
p52 is the oldest manuscript, called the John Rylands Papyrus, and is dated 117-138 A.D. It was found in Egypt. This shows that the Gospel of John was not only written by then, but distributed to Egypt by then. It has writing on both sides, and contains John 18:31-33, and 37-38. You can see a photograph of the John Rylands papyrus in the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.937, the New International Dictionary of the Bible p.534, Greek Manuscripts of the Bible p.62-63, and A General Introduction to the Bible p.388.
p66 probably was written about 125-175 A.D. (formerly thought to be 150-200 A.D.) It is called the Bodmer II papyrii. See the question on p66 for more info.
See the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.248-257 and A General Introduction to the Bible p.387-391 for more discussion on the earliest Old Testament and New Testament manuscripts.

Q: What do we know about the Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 2 (p1)?
A: This manuscript is dated from the middle of the third century, from Oxyrhynchus, Egypt. It contains Matthew 1:1-9, 12, 14-20; and possibly 2:14. It is very fragmentary as the photograph shows in The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts p.28. It has page numbers using Greek letters. There are many similarities between it and p69, as well as Vaticanus.

Q: What do we know about the Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 657 + PSI 1292 (p13)?
A: This manuscript is dated from 225-250 A.D., from Oxyrhynchus, Egypt. It contains Hebrews 2:14-5:5; 10:8-22; 10:29-11:13; 11:28-12:17. It has page numbers using Greek letters. It was found with a second century manuscript Papyri Oxyrhynchus 656, a copy of Genesis. P13 has page numbers, which show there were prior pages, probably containing earlier parts of the New Testament. There are many similarities between p13 and p.46. A picture of Hebrews 12:1-17 is in The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts p.74.

Q: What do we know about the Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 1229 (p23)?
A: This manuscript is dated approximately 200 A.D, from Oxyrhynchus, Egypt. It contains James 1:10-12, 15-18. It has page numbers using Greek letters. The scribe apparently preferred to copy exactly (including grammatical errors), rather than correct the grammatical errors. A photograph of James 1:15-18 is in The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts p.102.

Q: What do we know about the Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 1598 (p30)?
A: It is dated from the early third century. Only three pages are preserved, or 1 Thessalonians 4:12-13, 16-17; 5:3, 8-10, 12-18, 25-28; 2 Thessalonians 1:1-2; 2:1, 9-11. Two of the pages have page numbers using Greek letters. Since the page numbers are 207 and 208, it apparently contained much more originally.

Q: What do we know about the Papyrus Michigan Inventory 1571 (p38)?
A: It is dated from the late second or early third century, and only one page is preserved, containing Acts 18:27-19:6, 12-16. It has a page number (59) using Greek letters ("nu" "theta") Thus Philip Comfort concludes it originally contained only the book of Acts. A picture of p38 is in The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts p.134.

Q: What do we know about the Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 1780 (p39)?
A: This fragmentary manuscript contains John 8:14-22, written in the first half of the third century. It has page numbers on the even numbered page (74), which Philip Comfort says indicates it originally only contained the Gospel of John. It was discovered in Oxyrhynchus, Egypt and agrees 100% with Vaticanus, which makes it a part of the Alexandrian family of manuscripts.

Q: What do we know about the Chester Beatty Papyrii (p45 + p46 + p47)?
A: There are actually three Chester Beatty manuscripts: p45 containing the Gospels and Acts (third century), p46 containing Paul’s letters (about 200 A.D.), and p47 containing Revelation (late third century). They might all be the same date. At least p45 and p46 have page numbers using Greek letters.
What has been preserved: In the surviving pages we have most of Paul’s letters (but not 1, 2 Timothy or Titus), and other New Testament books. The first seven pages are lost, and the first surviving page starts with Romans 5:17. After that, the order of books is Hebrews, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Galatians, Philippians, Colossians, and 1 Thessalonians.
Physical appearance: Apparently the books were ordered by length. P46 originally had 104 leaves, of which 56 survive today in a museum near Dublin, Ireland, and 30 pages are in Ann Arbor. We know about the missing pages, because the pages had page numbers. You can see a photograph of one leaf, Romans 16:23-Hebrews 1:1-7 in Greek Manuscripts of the Bible p.64-65. A General Introduction to the Bible p.388-389 has a photograph of the first page of Ephesians and a page of Romans.
Scribes: There was only one scribe and no correctors.
Distinctives of the Chester Beatty papyrii: One of the peculiarities of the p46 is that Romans 16:5-27 is placed at the end of chapter 15.
For Revelation, p47 contains numerical values following a few of the words in Revelation (Theomatics II p.27-28.)
Bruce Metzger says on P47, "In general the text of P-47 agrees more often with that of codex Sinaiticus than with any other, though it often shows a remarkable independence." Del Washburn in Theomatics II p.632 says this shows p47 is very erroneous.
See A General Introduction to the Bible p.389-390 and Manuscripts of the Greek Bible p.64 (photograph p.65) for more info.

Q: What do we know about the Bodmer II papyrii (p66)?
A: This is the third oldest set of preserved papyri. Martin originally dated in 200 A.D., Hunger said 100-150 A.D., The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts p.366 says mid 2nd century, and Aland et al.’s The Greek New Testament 4th revised edition says "about 200". Turner dated this 200-250 A.D., in part because of the wide delta’s. However, wide delta’s have since been found in 2nd century manuscripts too. Comfort gives a good rebuttal to Turner’s reasons and says it is mid 2nd century (125-175 A.D.) P66 was found in Egypt between Thebes and Panopolis close to Nag Hammadi. It is said to be either an Alexandrian manuscript, or else a mixture of a Alexandrian and Western types. However, it has some 20 differences from readings that are in all western types.
What is preserved: p66 contains John 1:1-6:11; 6:35b-14:26, 29-30; 15:2-26; 16:2-4, 6-7; 16:10-20:20, 22-23; 20:25-21:9, 12, 17. The Archaeology of the New Testament (Finnegan) p.381 shows the page 137 is very fragmentary and contains part of John 19:16.
Physical appearance: p66 has 78 leaves, 14.2 centimeters by 16.2 centimeters. It has 15-25 lines per page, and it has page numbers using Greek letters. Typically where the words "cross" and "crucify" appear, the scribe abbreviated it by making a chi letter and a rho letter on top of each other. Today p66 is in Cologny-Geneva Switzerland. A photograph of the first page is in The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts p.368.
Distinctives of the Bodmer II papyrii: Some see a Docetic bias in p66.
Jn 1:18 says "only begotten God" not "only begotten son"
Jn 3:13 has absent "The son of man who is in heaven"
Jn 7:53-8:11, this is the oldest existing manuscript where the story of the adulteress is absent.
Jn 9:35 says "son of God" instead of "son of man"
Jn 19:5 has absent "And he said to them, 'Behold the man'"
See A General Introduction to the Bible p.390-391 and Greek Manuscripts of the Bible p.66 (photograph p.67) for more info.

Q: What do we know about the Bodmer Papyrii p72?
A: p72 was written around 300 A.D. It was apparently a private copy somebody commissioned four scribes to write. It is similar to the Sahidic Alexandrian type and has page numbers using Greek letters.
What is preserved: The books in order are: Nativity of Mary, apocryphal Correspondence of Paul to the Corinthians, the Eleventh Ode of Solomon, Jude, Melito’s Homily on the Passover, a Fragment of a Hymn, the Apology of Phileas, Psalm 33, Psalm 34, 1 Peter, and 2 Peter.
Physical appearance: It is 6 by 5 ¾ inches (15 ¼ by 14.5 cm)
See A General Introduction to the Bible p.390-391 for more info.

Q: What do we know about the Bodmer Papyrii 14/15 p75?
A: p75 (Bodmer 14/15) was written between 175-225 A.D. Comfort and Barrett says ca. 175 A.D.
What is contains: p75 contains most of Luke and John. Specifically, it contains Luke 3:18-22; 3:33-4:2; 4:34-5:10; 5:37-6:4; 6:10-7:32; 7:35-39,41-43; 7:46-9:2; 9:4-17:15; 17:19-18:18; 22:4-24:53. It also has John 1:1-11:45,28-57; 12:3-13:1; 13:8-9; 14:8-29; 15:7-8. (Luke 1:1-317 is missing because of the loss of eight leaves. John 7:53-8:11 was never present.
Physical appearance: p75 has 102 leaves preserved (out of an original 144) that are 10 ¼ by 5 1/3 inches (26 by 13.5 cm). In many, but not all, of the places cross and crucify were abbreviated with the letters chi and rho written over each other, according to The Archaeology of the New Testament (Finnegan) p.382,383.
Distinctives of Bodmer Papyrii 14/15: According to The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts p.494-496, the scribe had a tendency to drop pronouns. It Greek you can still tell the subject by the verb endings. Other than that, the professional Christian scribe appeared to copy things fairly closely. He apparently used Acts 12:20 to make a change in Luke 14:32, as well as a few other harmonizations.
Statistics of the Bodmer 14/15 papyrii: According to The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts p.496, it is 87% identical to Vaticanus (92% the same in John). Vaticanus and Bodmer papyrii 14/15 has 35 significant readings common only to these two manuscripts, including, as well as common misspellings.
See A General Introduction to the Bible p.390-391 and Greek Manuscripts of the Bible p.68 (photograph p.69) for more info.

Q: What do we know about the Uncial 0189?
A: This is the oldest surviving parchment manuscript of the New Testament, dated to the late second or early third century. It is one fragmentary page, containing Acts 5:3-21. It has a page number using Greek letters.

Q: What do we know about the Papyrus Antinoopolis 12 (Uncial 0232)?
A: is dated ca. 300 A.D. and contains 2 John 1-9. It was found in Antinoopolis, Egypt, and has page numbers (164 and 165) using Greek letters.

Q: What do we know about the Bezae Cantabrigiensis (also called Codex Bezae)?
A: This is the oldest known bilingual manuscript, with Greek on the left page, and Latin on the right. Bezae Cantabrigiensis was a western text copied c.450-550 A.D.. It often is abbreviated as "D" or called uncial 05.
What has been preserved: It has preserved most of the four Gospels, parts of Acts. 3 John 11-15 is preserved in Latin only. In Greek, it has lost Matthew 1:1-20; 6:20-9:2; 27:2-12; John 1:16-3:26; Acts 8:29-10:14; 21:2-10; 15-18; 22:10-20; 22:29-28:31. In Latin it has lost Matthew 1:1-11; 6:8-8:27; 26:65-27:1; 1 John 1:1-3:16; Acts 8:20-10:4; 20:31-21:2; 21:7-10; 22:2-10; 22:20-28:31
Physical appearance: There are 510 leaves, which measure 25.8 to 26.7 cm by 17 to 22.9 cm. (Most other major manuscripts are more uniform in dimensions.) It was written on expensive vellum with brown ink. There is one column per page, and 33 lines per column. There are no spaces between the words, and Old Testament quotes are not indicated. It currently is in London, UK.
Scribes and correctors: There are nine correctors, who lived from the sixth to twelfth centuries.
Distinctives of Bezae Cantabrigiensis: It has the longer ending of Mark. Metzger says, "Textually, no known New Testament manuscript contains so many distinctive readings, chiefly the free addition (and occasional omission) of words, sentences, and even incidents." in Manuscripts of the Greek Bible p.89. Bruce Metzger in A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament 2nd ed. (1971) p.356 says that Bezae Cantabrigiensis was very fond of the Greek word tote.
Omissions: 86 words shown below are absent primarily just in Bezae Cantabrigiensis.
Mt 5:32 "and whoever is divorced/put away shall marry commits adultery" is absent in it and many Italic manuscripts as well as Augustine. (6 words)
Mt 9:34 is absent in Bezae Cantabrigiensis and the Diatessaron (12 words)
Mk 3:18 "Lebbaeus" vs. "Thaddaeus" in most other manuscripts
Lk 12:21 absent it "this is he who treasures up for himself, is not rich toward God" (9 words)
Lk 22:17-20 lack parts of 19b-20 (approximately 38 words)
Lk 24:12 is absent. (21 words)
Acts 1:26 Instead of "twelve apostles" it and Eusebius have "eleven apostles" vs. "twelve apostles"
Acts 19:9 has "Tyrannus from 11:00 in the morning to 4:00 in the afternoon" instead of "Tyrannus" vs. "a certain Tyrannus" (6 words more)
Additions:
Acts 12:27 "becoming eaten by worms" vs. an addition only in the Syriac vs. an addition only in Bezae Cantabrigiensis and Italic
Acts 13:43 Bezae Cantabrigiensis, Italic, and some Syriac add 11 words after "God". (Middle Egyptian Coptic adds 8 words after God.)
Acts 15:2 "they appeared to go up Paul and Barnabas and certain others from amongst them" vs. replacing a 10-word phrase with a 24-word phrase (6 words in common) (Also Italic, some Syriac, Middle Egyptian Coptic) (not counted in the totals)
Acts 15:12 Replaced a 10-word phrase with a 25-word phrase (2 words in common) (Only in Bezae Cantabrigiensis, Italic, some Syriac, Middle Egyptian Coptic)
Acts 15:41 added 5 words
Acts 16:39 replaced a 10-word phrase with a 36-word phrase (3 words in common)
Acts 16:35 (replaced a 3- word phrase with an 18-word phrase (2 words in common)
Acts 16:35 added 3 words.
Acts 19:1 substituted a 27 word phrase for a 17 word phrase. This is also in p38 (about 300 A.D.) as well as some Syriac.
Besides Bezae Cantabrigiensis, these are in some Syriac (5th century).
See A General Introduction to the Bible p.395-396 and Manuscripts of the Greek Bible p.88-89 (photographs p.90-91) for more info.

Q: What do we know about the Codex Claromontanus?
A: This manuscript was written in the sixth century and is the complement of Bezae Cantabrigiensis.
What has been preserved: It contains much of what is missing in Bezae Cantabrigiensis. It contains all of Paul’s letters and Hebrews, except for the following. Romans 1:1-7, 27-30 and 1 Corinthians 14:13-22 are lost in Greek, and 1 Corinthians 14:8-18 and Hebrews 13:21-23 are missing in Latin. The Greek is well-done, but the Latin translation is not very good.
Physical appearance: There are 533 pages, which measure 7 by 9 inches (18 by 23 cm). It is written single column on vellum.
See A General Introduction to the Bible p.396 for more info.

Q: What do we know about the Byzantine Lectionary?
A: The Byzantine Lectionary is about 1,761 to 2,209 Greek manuscripts that generally agree with each other. Lectionaries were collections of readings from the Gospels and Acts. The Byzantine Lectionary is not always uniform. In Jn 8:4 for example, some versions have "said to Him" and others have "said to tempt Him".
The first preserved Byzantine Lectionary was written prior to 400 A.D. There was a second prior to 500 A.D., with 3 more prior to 600 A.D., 5 more prior to 700 A.D., 22 prior to 800 A.D., and 123 prior to 900 A.D., and 147 prior to 1000 A.D. The others range up to 1800 A.D., with the bulk of them, about 1,496, being written between the 1000 A.D. and 1400 A.D. See The Text of the New Testament : An Introduction to the Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual Criticism by Aland and Aland, p.82 for a chart of the Lectionaries written by century.

Q: Why are there so many small manuscript variations?
A: First some alternative hypothetical scenarios, and then a speculation on the answer.
1. News flash! Manuscripts containing the entire New Testament have been found in a small cave in Israel. Radiocarbon dating says they are 90 A.D. +/= 100 years. At the end of each manuscript is a short note, saying this was the original manuscript by the original author.
God is Almighty, and He could have made things happen this way, if He had wanted to.
2. News flash! Over the past few years hundreds of complete manuscripts of the book of Acts have been found, and dated between 100 and 300 A.D. No two of them are alike, and none of them have more than 20% in common with any other copy of Acts.
God could have had His word in the New Testament be effectively lost if He had so desired.
3. News flash! It has been discovered that in 325 A.D., the Christian leaders collected every available copy of the New Testament, and burned most of them. Then they issued a "standardized" version. However, if a few early copies survived, and the testimony of religious leaders prior to this, about the length of various chapters, is proving embarrassing to those who believe the standardized version was the only one.
God could have had this happen if He had so desired. If the date were moved forward about 400 years, and you replaced the words "New Testament" with "Qur’an", this is what you would have to believe if you were a Muslim who studied the history of the Qur’an.
The actual situation is that we have so many copies of the New Testament that there is no doubt about what they say on any Christian doctrine. We have so many copies, not to mention all the quotes and paraphrases from the church fathers, that we know all the meaning of the Bible. However, many copies have textual copyist errors, and we are about 97% certain of each word of the New Testament. On one hand, this is a very high percentage. On the other hand, it could be higher. Perhaps a lesson to learn is that God was extremely concerned with preserving 100% of the meaning of the New Testament, but not as concerned with the individual words.
We do not have as many copies of the Old Testament, but Jesus authenticated the Old Testament of His time, and we have copies of the Old Testament of His time.

Q: What are the distinctives of the Armenian translation of the New Testament?
A: The first Armenian translation was made in the fifth century A.D. by either Mesrob/Mesrop (died 439 A.D.) or else Sahak/Sahok the Great (390-439 A.D.) Some think it was translated from the Greek, but the nephew and disciple of Mesrob says that Sahak translated it from the Syriac. A General Introduction to the Bible p.519-520 points out that Armenian manuscripts were revised prior to the 8th century by Greek manuscripts brought from Constantinople after the Council of Ephesus. Today we only have the revised versions, and the oldest manuscripts are from the ninth century. There are about 100 Armenian manuscripts according to A Textual Commentary on the New Testament Second edition p.102.
The Armenian contains every book of the New Testament, and it follows both the Byzantine and Caesarean families of manuscripts. Here are some of the distinctive readings in the Armenian.
Jn 7:53-8:11 According to The Greek New Testament 4rth edition p.347, some early Armenian manuscripts have John 7:53-8:11 and other early ones do not. The standard Armenian has John 7:53-8:11 after John 21:25.
Jn 8:8 "wrote on the ground" (most other manuscripts) vs. "wrote on the ground the sins of each of them" (5 words) The manuscripts with the second reading are the Armenian and much later manuscripts, starting in the 9th century.
Jn 21:25 The Armenian translation (5th century) and the "f1" manuscript family add 7:53 to 8:11 here instead of after John 7:52. However, Aland says this is not Arm, but Armmss, meaning that it was an ancient version or church father that differed from the edited Armenian text.
Rom 8:1 end with "Jesus" vs. "Jesus, who walk not after the flesh" vs. "Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but according to the Spirit"
Most manuscripts just have Jesus. 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.18 says there is no dispute on this among textual critics, it should just be Jesus.
The second variation is in the Armenian, Gothic 493-555 A.D., and Alexandrinus c.450 A.D.
The third variation is in the Byzantine Lectionary,
Sinaiticus (corrected) after 340 A.D., and Claromontanus (corrected) 6th century
Usefulness: The Armenian translation supports the reliability of the Bible from about the fifth century on. However, the late date limits its usefulness to find the precise original Greek.

Q: What are the distinctives of the Gothic translation of the New Testament?
A: The Gothic Bible was translated by Ufilas (or else someone working with him) around 350 A.D.. The Goths were a powerful, warlike people. These particular Goths, called Moeso-Goths, had settled in Moesia since 250 A.D., and under their leader Fritigern defeated the Roman Emperor Valens near Adrianople in 378 A.D. A copy of the Gothic Bible is in Upsala, Sweden today, and more than half of the gospel have been preserved. Ufilas, a Greek-speaking Goth, was the second bishop of the Goths and an Arian. Despite that, it was well-done. Here is about the only peculiarity I have found is in Romans 8:1, where it is the same as the Armenian and Alexandrinus.
It is important to recognize that Ufilas was an Arian heretic. Here is someone whose theology was condemned at the Council of Nicea, and had no reason to elevate Christ or follow the Orthodox Christians. Furthermore, since it was Gothic, Greek and Latin-speaking Christians would not be copying it or revising it, as they did not know Gothic. Yet, his Gothic translation was so objective, it is impossible to tell from the translation that it was not made by an Orthodox Christian. As to those who would say the Bible was tampered with by Christians who had a theological axe to grind, this is answered with Ufilas and the objectivity of the Gothic translation.
Manuscripts: There are 5 Gothic manuscripts preserved. The Codex Argenteus is ca.520 A.D.
Precision: For textual variants, the Gothic has very few. A General Introduction to the Bible p.518-519 says, "The translation adheres closely, almost literally, to the Greek text of the Byzantine type, and tells little to the textual critic." Today we have five fragmentary copies of the Gothic translation, 493-555 A.D., including one Gothic-Latin version.
The Text of the Old Testament (by Ernst Wurthweir) p.206 says, "As a rule it [the Gothic version] is cited only casually, because the general character of its textual base is rather precisely known; for his translation Wulfilas [Ufilas] made use of a manuscript of the late Byzantine text differing little from what we find in the Greek manuscript."

Q: What do we know about the Diatessaron?
A: The Diatessaron (c.170 A.D.) is a harmony of the gospels that Tatian wrote in either Syriac or Greek. Tatian lived from 110-172 A.D. He was an Assyrian Christian who studied under Justin Martyr (died 165 A.D.). Unfortunately Tatian later became a heretic, joining the Encratites.
The Encratites (meaning "masters of themselves") were an ascetic (and vegetarian) Gnostic cult that started about 166 A.D.. In his Diatessaron, Tatian did not include the verses showing that Jesus was a man. Thus, he left out the genealogies, and other verses. The Diatessaron quotes about 79% of the four gospels.
The earliest surviving fragment of the Diatessaron is the only surviving one in Greek. It was used in the city of Dura Europa on the Euphrates before the Persians destroyed the town in 256 A.D. We have a Syriac copy, and three Arabic copies, the earliest from the 6th century. In 1957 archaeologists discovered a commentary on the Diatessaron written by Ephraem Syrus (375 A.D.). Besides the Gnostics, only some in the Syrian church liked the Diatessaron. A Syrian bishop ordered hundreds of copies destroyed, and that is why only a few are preserved today.
Caution in referencing the Diatessaron: Because of the late date of the few preserved copies, the Diatessaron is not a very useful source for determining precise wording of the Gospels. Also, most of the text survives in Arabic, and Arabic tenses are less precise than Greek.
The great value of this heretical witness: However, even the Diatessaron is a very useful witness in another regard. On one hand, you have a Gnostic heretic who has no qualms about leaving out of his harmony entire passages that do not suit him, namely the passages that emphasize the humanity of Jesus. Perhaps this was thought more acceptable because he was not just copying one gospel, but making a harmony of all of them, and he did not add any material. On the other hand, the 79% of the gospels Tatian did quote have been preserved as an independent work. When we look at this work, we see a very close match to the Greek scriptures preserved today.
If there were wildly varying accounts of Jesus, other gospels considered as scripture, or huge differences in copies of the gospels, Tatian would have been in a far better position to know about them than the liberal scholars today who make up these theories. Tatian, the heretic who did not mind leaving out entire passages, had the motive to include any wide differences that allegedly existed in the stories of Jesus. Yet, what is written in the Diatessaron is simply the quotes from the four gospels, minus the 25% that emphasized Jesus’ humanity.
The main differences are minor yet one can see how Tatian’s ascetic views colored them. It says John the Baptist ate milk and honey instead of locusts and wild honey, and no mention is made of the marriage of Mary and Joseph. In John 2:10 the phrase "after the guests have had too much to drink" is absent. See The Journey from Texts to Translations p.245 for more info.

Details: Here are the verses absent from each chapter of the Diatessaron. These numbers were computed from Ante-Nicene Fathers volume 9 p.34-138.


Chapter


Total verses


Verses in the Diatessaron


Missing
Verses


Verses not in the Diatessaron


Gospels

3779

2995

784


79.3 %
of the verses in the gospels are in the Diatessaron


Matthew

1071

819

252


76.5 %
of the verses of Matthew are in the Diatessaron


Mt 1

25

8

17


1-17


Mt 2

23

23

0


0


Mt 3

17

15

2


11,12


Mt 4

25

20

5


1,8,9,23,25


Mt 5

48

48

0


0


Mt 6

34

34

0


0


Mt 7

29

19

10


2,3,4,5,7-11,24


Mt 8

34

17

17


2,3,4,9,14,15,21,22,23,26,27,29-34


Mt 9

38

15

23


2-7,10-17,20-25,34,37,38


Mt 10

42

37

5


2,3,4,34,35


Mt 11

30

15

15


3-10,16-19,25,26,27


Mt 12

50

39

11


3,4,9,10,13,30,31,35,42,43,44


Mt 13

58

52

6


7-11,58


Mt 14

36

22

14


3,4,6-11,14,22,23,34,35,36


Mt 15

39

31

8


1,2,5,6,10,11,17,19


Mt 16

28

10

18


5,6,9,10,24,25,26,29-39


Mt 17

27

22

5


3,11,19,21,22


Mt 18

35

31

4


2,4,5,12


Mt 19

30

22

8


3,14,15,16,25,26,29,30


Mt 20

34

21

13


17,18,19,22-27,30-33


Mt 21

46

41

5


18,19,23,27,37


Mt 22

46

40

6


22,26,31,32,36,39


Mt 23

39

38

1


6


Mt 24

51

41

10


17,18,19,22,23,25,28,36,40,41


Mt 25

46

46

0


0


Mt 26

75

38

37


6,7,8,17,18,19,22,23,25,28,37,40,41,52-75


Mt 27

66

54

12


2,23,33,35,37,38,46,50,55,57,59,61


Mt 28

20

20

0


0


Mark

678

402

276


59.3 %
of the verses of Mark are in the Diatessaron


Mk 1

45

11

34


1-11,14,16-28,30-32,34,40


Mk 2

28

10

18


3-11,13,15-20,23,28


Mk 3

35

18

17


1-3,6,13,16-18,22-25,27,32-34,35


Mk 4

41

26

15


1-6,9,12,15-18,20,21,37


Mk 5

43

26

17


1,8-12,14,15,17-19,22,31,32,35,36,43


Mk 6

56

37

19


1,3,7,10,32,33,35,37,38,39,42,43,44,46-50,53


Mk 7

37

32

5


6,7,20,27,28


Mk 8

38

24

14


1,2,4-10,16,28,29,30,36


Mk 9

50

32

18


2,5,7,8,9,16,17,19,32,33,35,38,40-43,45,46


Mk 10

52

42

10


6-9,20,22,25,28,45,52


Mk 11

33

21

12


1,3,4,5,7,8,9,11,17,18,27,31


Mk 12

44

22

22


1,2,7-14,16-23,25,35,36,43


Mk 13

37

18

19


2,4,5,8,9,12,13,14,17,18,19,22,25-31


Mk 14

72

44

28


10,14,17,25-29,32,33,34,39,43,45-50,53-56,62,66,67,70,72


Mk 15

47

21

26


2,4,5,6,7,9,10,11,12,14,16-19,22,24-27,30-33,35,37,38,39,


Mk 16

20

18

2


2,6


Luke

1151

919

232


79.8 %
of the verses of Luke are in the Diatessaron


Lk 1

80

76

4


1,2,3,4


Lk 2

52

52

0


0


Lk 3

38

20

18


7,8,9,24-38


Lk 4

44

37

7


3,4,8-12


Lk 5

39

33

6


13,14,22,23,24,37


Lk 6

49

36

13


1-5,10,11,21,23,28,29,43,46


Lk 7

50

46

4


1,6,7,28


Lk 8

56

38

18


4,6,9,10,11,12,14,16,17,18,20,21,42,43,44,51,52,54


Lk 9

62

40

22


4,5,6,10,12,16-22,24,26-28,30,35,37,40,41,58


Lk 10

42

36

6


13,14,15,24,26,27


Lk 11

54

39

15


3,4,15,17,19,20,29,32,33,34,42,48,49,50,51


Lk 12

59

38

21


6-10,12,22-25,27,28,30,31,34,39,40,43,56,57,59


Lk 13

35

32

3


21,34,35


Lk 14

35

35

0


0


Lk 15

32

32

0


0


Lk 16

31

29

2


13,18


Lk 17

37

31

6


1,2,23,24,26,27


Lk 18

43

28

15


15-22,25,26,27,29,32,40,41


Lk 19

48

44

4


35,36,45,46


Lk 20

47

17

30


3-5,7,8,10,11,12,15,16,18,19,21-25,27,28,32,33,37,40-47


Lk 21

38

26

12


1,2,4,6,10,17,27,29-33


Lk 22

71

55

16


1,5,13,17,18,20,22,24,25,26,39,47,50,54,56,69


Lk 23

56

48

8


1,3,17,24,38,52,53,54


Lk 24

53

51

2


8,12


John

879

855

24


97.3 %
of the verses of John are in the Diatessaron


Jn 1

51

50

1


6


Jn 2

25

22

3


12,13,15


Jn 3

36

36

0


0


Jn 4

54

54

0


0


Jn 5

47

47

0


0


Jn 6

71

69

2


11,20


Jn 7

53

53

0


0


Jn 8

59

48

11


1-11


Jn 9

41

41

0


0


Jn 10

42

42

0


0


Jn 11

57

57

0


0


Jn 12

50

48

2


14,15


Jn 13

38

38

0


0


Jn 14

31

31

0


0


Jn 15

27

27

0


0


Jn 16

33

33

0


0


Jn 17

26

26

0


0


Jn 18

40

38

2


3,27


Jn 19

42

40

2


1,18


Jn 20

31

30

1


1


Jn 21

25

25

0


0


See Greek Manuscripts of the Bible p.66 (photograph p.67), the New International Bible Commentary p.1080-1081, and The Greek New Testament Fourth edition p.38-39 for more info.

Q: What was the order of the New Testament Books in the manuscripts?
A: Manuscripts that have preserved the gospels generally have them first, in the order Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. An exception to this is the Curetonian Syriac, which switches Luke and John.
Here is the order of books in various manuscripts.
p30 has 1 and 2 Thessalonians in order.
p45 has Matthew, Mark, Luke, John in order.
p46 has in order Romans, Hebrews, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians.
p47 have 1 and 2 Peter as pages 1-46. Jude is on pages 62-68.
p75 has Luke and John.
Sinaiticus has the books in order of: The Four Gospels, Paul’s Letters, Hebrews, Acts, the Catholic Epistles, Revelation, The Letter to Barnabas, and the Shepherd of Hermas. Both Vaticanus and Sinaiticus have 2 Thessalonians right before Hebrews. Alexandrinus after the New Testament books had 1 and 2 Clement, though part of 2 Clement is now missing. The Table of Contents also says that the Psalms of Solomon followed after 2 Clement.

Q: Why do the vast majority of manuscripts not have punctuation?
A: Punctuation is useful to tell the reader when to pause and breathe because the part of the thought is completed. According to Manuscripts of the Greek Bible p.31-32, it is commonly believed that Aristophanes of Byzantium invented breathing and accent marks. He had a dot on the bottom (looking like a period), a dot in the middle, and a dot on the top. Someone else introduced the comma around the ninth century, and the interrogation mark (;) appeared around the eighth or ninth century.

Q: Since most Greek manuscripts wrote the words with no spaces in between, where does this cause ambiguities?
A: Because of the structure of the Greek language endings, this causes few ambiguities according to Manuscripts of the Greek Bible p.31. Ambiguous places are Romans 7:14; 1 Timothy 3:16, and Leviticus 5:4 in the Greek.

50 Discoveries for the OT**

The following is a compilation of different discoveries that are well known throughout the archaeological world and provide support for the Bible and the ancient nation of Israel.

1. The Sumerian King List- mentions a flood interrupting their rule and the number of kings prior to the flood match with the number of men mentioned from Adam to Noah.

2. The Gilgamesh Epic tablets- talks about a flood.  Couple this with the numerous world wide accounts and we have strong evidence that a real catastrophe occurred in history.

3. The city of Ur- Abraham's home town.

4. Beni Hasan Tomb Painting- depicts a group of people arriving in Egypt from Palestine, shows their dress and hair styles plus musical instruments and weapons.

5. The Law Code of Hammurabi- Showed that laws existed in the ancient world and that there was order in those civilizations.

6. Hittite capital, Boghazkoy- proved the Bible correct when it said that there was a Hittite people

7. Nuzi Tablets- helped clarify cultural practices mentioned in the Bible

8. Haran- Home of the Patriarchs

9. Shechem- ancient city of refuge, mentioned in Joshua 20,.

10 Pithom and Rameses- Egyptian store cities built by the Israelites, Exodus 1

11 Horned alters- The OT speaks on these many times, shows us they looked.

12 Merenptah Stele- One of the first mentions of ancient Israel.

13 Oldest picture of the Israelites- Karnak Temple in Egypt

14 Jericho- the ancient city and its ruins reflect the Biblical account of its destruction.

15 Canaanite gods & goddesses- reflects the Bible's teaching that they ancient society's had other beliefs.

16 The Philistines & The Temple of Rameses III- earliest known record of the Philistines

17 Dan or Laish- Israel's northernmost city

18 Megiddo- Solomon made Megiddo a fortified town

19- Ashkelon- One of the 5 major Philistine cities.

20 Gezer- Egyptian gift to Solomon as a wedding present when he married an Egyptian princess

21 Shiloh- First home of the ark (1 Samuel 4)

22 Ashdod- Where Dagon fell before the ark

23 Shishak's invasion record- includes Israel

24 Beth Shemesh- Philistines returned the ark to this city

25 Pool at Gibeon- 2 Sam. & Jer. both speak of this pool

26 Gibeah- King Saul's capital city

27 Beth Shean - the Philistines hung the bodies of King Saul and his sons from its walls

28 King David's Jerusalem- uncovered remains including evidence of David's conquest plus his palace (possibly)

29 Dan inscription- the Tel Dan stele (House of David)

30 Beersheba- the southern boundary of Israel's territory

31 Samaria- Israel's capital city after the division from Judah

32 Hazor- a major city conquered in the conquest

33 Ivory ornaments and objects- Solomon had built a throne out of ivory

34 The Gezer calendar- example of early Hebrew writing

35 House of Yahweh Ostracon- a receipt for a donation to Solomon's temple

36 Royal Seals- from both Judah and Israel ( Uzziah, Hosea, Hezekiah)

37 The Moabite Stone- mentions an early Biblical people

38 Shalmenesar's black obelisk- depicts Israel's king Jehu kneeling before the Assyrian king

39 King Uzziah's burial plaque- he ruled from 792- 740 BC

40 The Siloam Tunnel inscription- found at the site of Hezekiah's water projection completion

41 The Lachish reliefs- found in Sennacherib's palace depicting the Assyrian defeat of Lachish

42 Sennacherib's prism- the written record of the invasion of Judah

43 The tomb of the Hezir family- Levitical priests during King David's time.

44 Carchemish- mentioned 3 times in the Bible

45 The Lachish letters- Written by the king of Judah to Egypt seeking help

46 Silver Amulets- contains the oldest written biblical passages basically identical to today's passage

47 Babylon- mentioned many times in the Bible

48 The Cyrus cylinder- records Cyrus' decree to let the Israelites (and other captives) return to their own land

49 Susa- Queen Esther's royal home

50 The Dead Sea Scrolls- hold the oldest copies of scripture

50 Discoveries for the NT

1. Stable caves-- one particular one could be the birth place of Christ

2. Nazareth- Jesus' home town

3. Cana- The wedding city and first miracle site

4 Bethsaida- birthplace of Peter, Andrew and Philip

5. House church of Capernum- possible home of Peter, (can't be proven)

6. The Capernum Synagogue- ruins built upon another ruined synagogue from Jesus' time

7. Gergesa- the site of Jesus casting out demons from a man into swine

8. Jacob's well- Site of Jesus' discussion with the Samaritan woman

9. Jericho- NOT Joshua's but the one from Jesus' time which was a few miles south of the ancient destroyed city

10 Pool of Bethesda- in Jerusalem, site of Jesus healing the paralyzed man

11 Bethany- where Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead

12 Caiaphas's Family Tomb- bone boxes or ossuaries with Caiaphas's name on one

13 Pontius Pilate inscription- oldest appearance of Pilate's name

14 Crucifixion evidence- the nail through the ancient heel from NT times.

15 Rolling Stone tombs- provides evidence for the gospel accounts

16 Garden tombs-provides evidence for the biblical accounts

17 Pool of Siloam- Jesus sent a blind man here

18 Herodium- Herod’s great palace and final resting place

19 The Madaba Mosaic Map- shows the boundaries of the Promised Land

20 The Galilee boat- a fishing boat from Jesus' time

21 Tiberias- city founded by Herod Antipas, mentioned once in the Bible

22 Caeseria Philippi- site of Jesus' famous question 'who do you think I am?'

23 Caesarea on the Sea- where Paul won his first converts

24 Megiddo Church inscription- provides proof that the early christian church regarded Jesus as divine

25 Sepphoris- Large city near Nazareth

26 10 cities of the Decapolis- Matthew and Mark mention this league of cities

27 Pilate's praetorium- 8 passages in the NT mention a praetorium

28 The Second Temple- discovered remains of Herod's temple

29 2nd Temple inscription-  a capstone referring to the 'place of trumpeting' for the priests

30 2nd temple sundial- found in a pile of debris in 1969

31 2nd Temple warning- to all gentiles that they could come no further

32 2nd Temple foundation and walls- for the Holy of Holies

33 Arch of Titus- depicts Roman soldiers with 2nd temple artifacts

34 Damascus- city of Paul's conversion

35 The politarch inscriptions- providing evidence that the word the NT uses was correct and in use at the time

36 The Areopagus at Athens- supports the account in the book of Acts concerning Paul's presentation of the gospel before Athenian council

37 The Gallo inscription- mentions the Roman governor from Acts 18

38 The Bema at Corinth- Paul was brought to this place Acts 18

39 Ancient Ephesus- city of Paul's longest sojourn

40 The Erastus inscription- supports Paul's usage of the name in his letter (Romans 16)

41 Antioch- Paul and Barnabas toiled there

42 Philippi- where Paul first preached in Europe

43 God fearers inscription- support Luke's usage of the words in the book of Acts

44 Seven churches of Revelation- all seven sites have had archaeological digs carried out

45 Thessalonica- 2 books of the Bible are letters to the church there

46 The Dead Sea Scrolls-

47 The John Ryland Papyrus- oldest copy of the book of John, 125 AD

48 Oldest copy of the book of John- penned in Greek and dates t about 150-200 AD

49 Codex Sinaiticus- oldest complete NT, about 350 AD

50 Ancient historians- who mention Jesus, too many too list
 

A Chart of Judges

This is just a simple chart laying out the different judges, the event that sparked their rising and rule and the number of years for both.

 

Chapter #                           Judge/Event                        # of Years

    3                              Aram Nahoreim                       8 captivity

    3                              Othniel                                40 peace

    3                              Eglon of Moab                       18 captivity

    3                              Ehud/Shamgar                       80 peace

    4                              Jaban of Canaan                    20 captivity

    4                              Barak/Deborah                       40 peace

    6                              Midianites                               7 captivity

   6-8                             Gideon                                40 peace

    9                              Abimelach                              3 evil rule

   10                              Tola                                   23 peace

   10                              Jair                                    22 peace

   10                              Philistines/Ammonites            18 captivity

   12                              Jepthah                               6 peace

   12                              Ibzan                                  7 peace

   12                              Elon                                  10 peace

   12                              Abdon                                 8 peace

   13                              Philistines                           40 captivity

   14                              Samson                              20 battling