Why do some versions of the New Testament omit or add words?

Discussions about the Bible, and any issues raised by Scripture.

Why do some versions of the New Testament omit or add words?

Postby Christian2 » Fri Oct 15, 2010 6:12 am

I'm sure you are all aware of this.

Examples:

Matthew 12:47 (New International Version)

47Someone told him, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you."[a]

Footnotes:
Matthew 12:47 Some manuscripts do not have verse 47.

NIV:

Matthew 17:21

No results found.

Matthew 17:21 (New American Standard Bible)

21["[a](A)But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting."]

Footnotes:
Matthew 17:21 Early mss do not contain this v
Cross references:
Matthew 17:21 : Mark 9:29

Matthew 18:11 (New American Standard Bible)

11["[a](A)For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.]

Footnotes:
Matthew 18:11 Early mss do not contain this v
Cross references:
Matthew 18:11 : Luke 19:10

I think I know the answer. Generally the early MSS are considered the most accurate. If a translation uses a later MSS, it might include a verse that is not considered the most authentic, so a version based on the early MSS will omit the verse and most of the time put a footnote in as an explanation.

Do I understand correctly? Thanks.
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Re: Why do some versions of the New Testament omit or add wo

Postby Canuckster1127 » Sat Oct 16, 2010 7:02 pm

That's pretty much it. There's is no single manuscript that a bible translation is translated from. It's a conglomeration of many manuscripts. The manuscripts we have are cataloged into groups and traditions based on things like the geographic location where it was found or came from, identification of the scribes, the type of material it was written on (papyrus, vellum, paper) whether all captials were used or if smaller case letters are used.

Westcort and Hort's methods are generally used to identify the different manuscripts and whatever differences there might be between them. In general, preference is given to shorter passages, older manuscripts and older traditions. A few manuscripts in particular are given great weight, Sinaiticus and Vaticanus are important and considered anchor texts.

All the texts are combined into a joint greek text by groups such as Nestles or the United Bible Society. When there are textual differences they select what they believe the best supported passage from the manuscripts. A scale of A,B.C,or D is used to state how confident they are in their selection. A is the best, D means it's unclear. There aren't too many D's and many of them tie back to passages in the KJV that the modern translations don't have. But often the translations will include a margin note giving the alternate rendering.

I hope this helps. Let me know if any of it is unclear.
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Re: Why do some versions of the New Testament omit or add wo

Postby Christian2 » Mon Oct 18, 2010 5:53 am

Yes, it helps. Thanks.
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Re: Why do some versions of the New Testament omit or add wo

Postby dyeager » Mon Oct 18, 2010 4:48 pm

In short, two textual bases exist:

1. Textus Receptus

2. Westcott & Hort / UBS / Nestle-Aland, etc (The Alexandrian line)

The Alexandrian line has some omissions and edits compared to Textus Receptus. For an overview of this, my article compares the two textual bases http://www.dyeager.org/post/2009/01/which-bible-translation-best --- it also discusses the paraphrase vs literal issue and provides an introduction to the translation issue. Just remember, *NO* translation is perfect, although some are definitely better than others.

Westcott & Hort had some unorthodox theological views which they incorporated into the text, which forms the basis for most of the modern translations. For example, see Matthew 25:13:

KJV: Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

NIV: Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

Keep watch because you don't know what time it is? That doesn't even make sense. You need to keep watch because Jesus could come at any time, not because you lost your watch (or sundial).

As you'll find out, NIV follows Westcott & Hort's edits pretty closely, while NASB much less so.
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Re: Why do some versions of the New Testament omit or add wo

Postby Canuckster1127 » Mon Oct 18, 2010 6:18 pm

The KJV has it's own unorthodox theological views introduced through an emphasis upon monarchy and it's headship over the organized church to continue to justify the reformation break of England from The Vatican.

The funny thing is the NAS for Matthew 25:13 is "13 “Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour." That's the sum of the language. That the KJV does is attempt to complete the thought, which may be an appropriate translation, but nevertheless is not a literal rendering of the actual words in the greek text. That's a tension that always exists between transliteration to give exact word context, verses translation that attempts to capture the thought in a manner that reflects a reader's in the original language understanding, which may encompass more than the words themselves and extended to idioms and cultural understandings which go beyond the sum of the words.
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Re: Why do some versions of the New Testament omit or add wo

Postby dyeager » Tue Oct 19, 2010 4:47 pm

@Canuckster1127 That the KJV does is attempt to complete the thought, which may be an appropriate translation, but nevertheless is not a literal rendering of the actual words in the greek text. That's a tension that always exists between transliteration to give exact word context, verses translation...


The KJV/NKJV doesn't attempt to "complete the thought", those words *are* in the original Greek. Two issues for Bible translation exist (which must be considered separately):

1. Which Greek text to use? (Textus Receptus vs Alexandrian)
2. How to translate the text? (literal vs paraphrase and similar problems)

Issue #1 --- in Matthew 25:13 the words "in which the Son of Man is coming" *are* in the Greek Text (see Interlinear Greek-English NT, Jay P Green, page 86 or http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Mat&c=25&v=13&t=KJV#conc/13). They may be missing in the Alexandrian version (UBS, Nestle-Aland, Westcott & Hort, etc), so you're back to the Westcott/Hort vs Textus Receptus discussion (I don't have a copy of the Alexandrian Greek version handy, but on-line versions indicate it's been deleted).

Why is it removed in the Alexandrian version? The sentence doesn't make sense without "in which the Son of Man is coming" (either common sense or theological sense).

The second part of your comment is issue #2: you must decide how literal to translate *after* choosing a Greek Text (Textus Receptus or Alexandrian). It's the (in)famous literal vs paraphrase problem --- and quite distinct from the textual foundation issue; how the translators view literal vs paraphrase affects *any* translation based on *any* text.

In Matthew 25:13 the difference arises from #1 not #2 --- it's in the Greek Textus Receptus, while the Alexandrian version removes the last part of the verse.

It's not a translation issue (paraphrase vs literal), it's a textual one.
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Re: Why do some versions of the New Testament omit or add wo

Postby Christian2 » Wed Oct 20, 2010 4:39 am

I don't have the time to read your last two posts right now, but I want to insert another question.

Why do we see Aramaic words inserts into some of the texts like

talitha koum “Little girl arise” [Mark 5:41]; ephphatha “be opened” [Mark 7;34]

This had led some to believe the Gospels were originally written in Aramaic instead of Koine Greek.

Thanks.
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Re: Why do some versions of the New Testament omit or add wo

Postby Canuckster1127 » Wed Oct 20, 2010 4:48 am

Christian2 wrote:I don't have the time to read your last two posts right now, but I want to insert another question.

Why do we see Aramaic words inserts into some of the texts like

talitha koum “Little girl arise” [Mark 5:41]; ephphatha “be opened” [Mark 7;34]

This had led some to believe the Gospels were originally written in Aramaic instead of Koine Greek.

Thanks.


In a sense some of it was. Jesus spoke Aramaic, not Greek. So, the portions that preserve words Jesus spoke are themselves often translations from the actual words he spoke which were in Aramaic or Hebrew. The gospels themselves however in written form were almost certainly written in koine greek. We don't have the originals however, so it's open to speculation.
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Re: Why do some versions of the New Testament omit or add wo

Postby Canuckster1127 » Wed Oct 20, 2010 5:30 am

You're correct in terms of the phrase in Matt 25:13 being in the text of the textus receptus. Thanks for correcting me. I sometimes have a tendency to jump ahead without looking at things and speaking in generalities. In general, in the KJV, there are instances such as I described, but the passage in question is a question primarily of manuscripts discovered since the time of the KJV and it's use of the textus receptus, which translators of the more recent English versions, have deemed older and more reliable, not including the phrase.

However, ironically, your appeal to which "makes more sense" illustrate my point in another way. When looking at textual issues, it's not a matter of "what makes more sense" in terms of the internal content of the passage, it's a question of what was in the original regardless of the "what makes sense."

The issue of "what makes more sense" is at the heart of many instances that have been identified as textual additions by scribes in the form of deliberate changes or by the inadvertant inclusion of a textual note that perhaps at the time of it's initial writing within the text by the scribe was intended as an aside or commentary and was subsequently mistaken for original text. Those types of things are rare overall and based on the many manuscripts that have been discovered since the KJV was translated, they're not that difficult to identify. It's when scribes or translators appeal to "what makes more sense" internally in terms of the passage that a subtle thing can happen. "What makes sense" can be elevated above "what does the manuscript actually say." The first is "eisogesis" or reading into the text. The second is "exegesis" or drawing from the text. The first elevates us over the text. The second recognizes the authority of the text over us.

John MacArthur does a pretty good job of laying out many of the issues in the context of some KJV only questions that he receives in his ministry and it includes some of these issues.

http://www.biblebb.com/files/mac/kjv.htm

Anyway, thanks again for correcting me. I appreciate it and am open to being corrected when I misstate or overstate something. I need to be more careful and not always just respond without looking closer at the immediate situation. Mea Culpa.

bart
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Re: Why do some versions of the New Testament omit or add wo

Postby SoulReaver » Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:06 am

Hi,
Can anyone point me to a recommended online source for bible....like a website or someting?

Regards

sr
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Re: Why do some versions of the New Testament omit or add wo

Postby Christian2 » Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:35 am

dyeager wrote:In short, two textual bases exist:

1. Textus Receptus

2. Westcott & Hort / UBS / Nestle-Aland, etc (The Alexandrian line)

The Alexandrian line has some omissions and edits compared to Textus Receptus. For an overview of this, my article compares the two textual bases http://www.dyeager.org/post/2009/01/which-bible-translation-best --- it also discusses the paraphrase vs literal issue and provides an introduction to the translation issue. Just remember, *NO* translation is perfect, although some are definitely better than others.

Westcott & Hort had some unorthodox theological views which they incorporated into the text, which forms the basis for most of the modern translations. For example, see Matthew 25:13:

KJV: Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

NIV: Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

Keep watch because you don't know what time it is? That doesn't even make sense. You need to keep watch because Jesus could come at any time, not because you lost your watch (or sundial).

As you'll find out, NIV follows Westcott & Hort's edits pretty closely, while NASB much less so.


Hi dyeager. I just read the article you cited. I would like to add something Bart Ehrman said in his book, "Misquoting Jesus."

"The King James Version is filled with places in which the translators rendered a Greek text derived ultimately from Erasmus's edition, which was based on a single twelfth-century manuscript that is one of the worst of the manuscripts that we now have available to us."

"It's no wonder that modern translations often differ from the King James, and no wonder that some Bible-believing Christians prefer to pretend there's never been a problem, since God inspired the King James Bible instead of the original Greek! (As the old saw goes, If the King James was good enough for Saint Paul, it's good enough for me."

"Reality is never that neat, however, and in this case we need to face the facts. The King James was not given by God but was a translation by a group of scholars in the early seventeenth century who based their renditions on a faulty Greek text."

Erhman notes for reference: "God's Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible (New York: HarperCollins, 2003) written by Adam Nicolson.

Quoted with the written permission of Bart Ehrman.
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Re: Why do some versions of the New Testament omit or add wo

Postby Canuckster1127 » Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:39 am

SoulReaver wrote:Hi,
Can anyone point me to a recommended online source for bible....like a website or someting?

Regards

sr


http://www.biblegateway.com/ is pretty good.
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Faith is reaching out a hand to take hold of God's knowing that in that handclasp of relationship we find all that we need.

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Re: Why do some versions of the New Testament omit or add wo

Postby Christian2 » Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:41 am

Canuckster1127 wrote:
Christian2 wrote:I don't have the time to read your last two posts right now, but I want to insert another question.

Why do we see Aramaic words inserts into some of the texts like

talitha koum “Little girl arise” [Mark 5:41]; ephphatha “be opened” [Mark 7;34]

This had led some to believe the Gospels were originally written in Aramaic instead of Koine Greek.

Thanks.


In a sense some of it was. Jesus spoke Aramaic, not Greek. So, the portions that preserve words Jesus spoke are themselves often translations from the actual words he spoke which were in Aramaic or Hebrew. The gospels themselves however in written form were almost certainly written in koine greek. We don't have the originals however, so it's open to speculation.


It is my understanding that Jesus spoke Aramaic (most of the time), but that He also spoke Hebrew, Greek and possibly some Latin.

Luke 4: (corrected typo from "Acts" to Luke)

16He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. 17The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
18"The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
19to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."[e]

20Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, 21and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."

Was Jesus reading from a scroll written in Hebrew or Greek or Aramaic?
Last edited by Christian2 on Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why do some versions of the New Testament omit or add wo

Postby Canuckster1127 » Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:48 am

Jesus almost certainly spoke Aramaic and Hebrew. Most people spoke at least enough greek for commercial purposes as that was the language of trade throughout the Roman empire, so yes, Jesus probably spoke a little koine greek, but I doubt it would have been a primary language for him.

I honestly don't know what the scroll would have been. My inclination would be toward Hebrew, as that was the language of origin and I believe most synagogues would seek to preserve Hebrew as the written language, but I'd have to look at more materials to determine if there's any indicators in the text that might lean it toward Aramaic. (You might want to check your reference too, I don't think that is Acts but rather one of the synoptic Gospels.)
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Faith is reaching out a hand to take hold of God's knowing that in that handclasp of relationship we find all that we need.

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Re: Why do some versions of the New Testament omit or add wo

Postby Christian2 » Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:54 am

Canuckster1127 wrote:Jesus almost certainly spoke Aramaic and Hebrew. Most people spoke at least enough greek for commercial purposes as that was the language of trade throughout the Roman empire, so yes, Jesus probably spoke a little koine greek, but I doubt it would have been a primary language for him.

I honestly don't know what the scroll would have been. My inclination would be toward Hebrew, as that was the language of origin and I believe most synagogues would seek to preserve Hebrew as the written language, but I'd have to look at more materials to determine if there's any indicators in the text that might lean it toward Aramaic. (You might want to check your reference too, I don't think that is Acts but rather one of the synoptic Gospels.)


Ooops. Should read Luke and not Acts. I'll correct it.

I would think Jesus would have had to have know Greek since He was a carpenter and probably made things for some Greeks and Greek was used for commercial purposes as you noted.

I am guessing the scroll was written in Hebrew.

BTW: I think this is the first time since I have been posting here that I received answers so quickly -- nice -- this must be your time of duty, Canuckster1127?

Thanks.
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