Bible Manuscripts (Part 3)

Questions to think about during this lesson…

  • Think about the process for copying a manuscript. What does the accuracy of the copy depend on?
  • Why did some scribes occasionally make deliberate changes when copying a book?
  • Why were some words or phrases omitted by a scribe as they were copying a book?
  • How did variations creep into biblical manuscripts, and how important are they when considering the message of Christianity?
  • Was there an intent to deceive people by these variations?
  • What is textual criticism… how do textual critics identify manuscript variations… and what is “the critical text?”
  • What is the “majority text” (or the “textus receptus?)”
  • What is the basis for the King James Bible (and the New King James Bible)?
  • Why does the Orthodox Study Bible use the New King James version for the New Testament?
  • How can we know for certain that the Greek that was spoken in the time of Christ and later on sounded like modern Greek, instead of the Greek that is taught in many seminaries and universities today?
  • Besides Mark 9:29, what are some other examples of manuscript variations in the New Testament?
  • Were the Fathers aware of manuscript variations? If so, how did they handle them when they came across them? How does this compare to how Bart Ehrman treats manuscript variations?
  • What are some ways textual critics date manuscripts? (Hint: Think about paleography)
  • Why do we see overlap in the Church readings (the lectionary), like how a reading includes the end of one chapter AND the beginning of another? And what does this have to do with what we’re talking about?

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