Manuscript Errors in the Bible?

On the 17th of October 2017, I had the privilege of speaking at one of the sessions in a series on the Doctrine of Scripture, organised by my local church. Below is an outline of my approach to the question, “Manuscript Errors in the Bible?” (Session 2). Attached are the PowerPoint slides & participants’ notes, from the session.

[Please note that this is only meant to be a brief overview of the highly technical field of Textual Criticism. In the limited time I had, to present, I could not cover additional matters (e.g. manuscript text types) which I would have loved to. However, if you do find the resources below useful for your personal edification and/or for the edification of your ministry/local church, please use them without hesitation. God bless!]


1) Introduction

  • Self
  •  Scholars referred to

2) Definitions

3) Manuscripts of NT vs Classical Texts

  • Comparison
  • Words in NT vs Variants in NT manuscripts

4) Scribal Work (Exercise)

  • Each person copies down as I dictate 7 verses [taken from Amos 2:9-16; see attachment titled Scribal Work (Exercise)]
  • Each “manuscript” will then be passed to person on the left/right and participants will take turns to read out each verse
  • Variants will then be identified and corrected

5) Types of Variants

  • Explain the 4 types (i.e. not meaningful & not viable, viable but not meaningful, meaningful but not viable, and viable & meaningful)
  • Go through a few examples of each type

6) Text Reconstruction (Exercise)

  • Each group receives 4 “manuscripts” [see attachment titled Text Reconstruction (Exercise)] from which they will attempt to discover the original wordings

7) What happens if we have no NT manuscripts?

8) Conclusion


Manuscript Errors in the Bible? (Slides)

Manuscript Errors in the Bible? (Participants Notes)

Scribal Work (Exercise)

Text Reconstruction (Exercise)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual author, and they do not reflect in any way those of the institutions to which he is affiliated.