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New Testament Text and Translation Commentary: Commentary on the Variant Readings of the Ancient New Testament Manuscripts and How They Relate to the Major English Translations

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This commentary is especially useful for pastors and teachers who know that the members of their audiences use a variety of different English versions. It is also a helpful tool for serious students of the Bible, including laypeople and seminary students. In addition to this passage-by-passage commentary, the reader is introduced to the art of textual criticism, its import This commentary is especially useful for pastors and teachers who know that the members of their audiences use a variety of different English versions. It is also a helpful tool for serious students of the Bible, including laypeople and seminary students. In addition to this passage-by-passage commentary, the reader is introduced to the art of textual criticism, its importance for studying the New Testament, and the challenges translators of English versions face. Presented in a clear, easy to read manner. All major English translations are surveyed and tabulated.


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This commentary is especially useful for pastors and teachers who know that the members of their audiences use a variety of different English versions. It is also a helpful tool for serious students of the Bible, including laypeople and seminary students. In addition to this passage-by-passage commentary, the reader is introduced to the art of textual criticism, its import This commentary is especially useful for pastors and teachers who know that the members of their audiences use a variety of different English versions. It is also a helpful tool for serious students of the Bible, including laypeople and seminary students. In addition to this passage-by-passage commentary, the reader is introduced to the art of textual criticism, its importance for studying the New Testament, and the challenges translators of English versions face. Presented in a clear, easy to read manner. All major English translations are surveyed and tabulated.

32 review for New Testament Text and Translation Commentary: Commentary on the Variant Readings of the Ancient New Testament Manuscripts and How They Relate to the Major English Translations

  1. 4 out of 5

    Shaun

    In the media today there is much noise from Bart Ehrman and others about the supposed widespread corruption of Biblical manuscripts and the overall unreliability of the Bible. While many of these types of books are full of interesting conjecture, the message they’re delivering needs to be read with a wary eye and received with much caution. Many Christians do not take these sorts of anti-Biblical claims very seriously, but in reality they do have a negative impact on both the Christians and non- In the media today there is much noise from Bart Ehrman and others about the supposed widespread corruption of Biblical manuscripts and the overall unreliability of the Bible. While many of these types of books are full of interesting conjecture, the message they’re delivering needs to be read with a wary eye and received with much caution. Many Christians do not take these sorts of anti-Biblical claims very seriously, but in reality they do have a negative impact on both the Christians and non-Christians in the culture around us. As opportunities arise to engage others in conversation on these topics, we should be ready to address their concerns with a proper mixture of boldness, honesty, and respect. That’s all fine and good, but what if you have a strong conviction for the reliability of the Bible, but don’t necessarily feel equipped to speak intelligently about these anti-Biblical claims? Rather than avoiding these types of conversations, I’d encourage you to equip yourself with the tools you’ll need to speak intelligently about Biblical manuscripts and their relation to our modern English translations. One such tool I’d encourage you to add to your library is the New Testament Text and Translation Commentary by Philip W. Comfort. The aim of the New Testament Text and Translation Commentary is to show how and why our English translations differ, especially when there are variations in the underlying Greek manuscripts. The bulk of this book is comprised of the actual commentary itself, but readers will want to begin with the introductory material and appendices. Working through these materials prior to working with commentary will give the reader a basic understanding of the art of textual criticism and will better prepare them to make the best use possible of the commentary. The topics covered in the introduction and appendices are as follows: • Introduction o 1. The Practice of New Testament Textual Criticism o 2. Significant Editions of the Greek New Testament o 3. Significant English Versions o 4. Abbreviations o 5. How to Use the commentary o 6. Glossary • Appendix A – Scribal Gap-Filling • Appendix B – Aland’s Local-Genealogical Method • Appendix C – Metzger’s Judgment of Variant Readings according to Text-Types • Appendix D – The Importance of the Documentary Considerations The commentary follows the canonical order of the New Testament, beginning first with the gospel of Matthew and ending with the book of Revelation. The English translations commented on in this volume are: • King James Version (KJV) • New King James Version (NKJV) • Revised Standard Version (RSV) • New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) • English Standard Version (ESV) • New American Standard Bible (NASB) • New International Version (NIV) • Today’s New International Version (TNIV) • New English Bible (NEB) • Revised English Bible (REB) • New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) • New American Bible (NAB) • New Living Translation (NLT) • Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) • The NET Bible (New English Translation) (NET) The significant versions of the Greek New Testament interacted with in this volume are: • Textus Receptus (TR) • Westcott and Hort’s The new Testament in the Original Greek (WH) • United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament (3rd & 4th editions) (NU) • Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece (26th & 27th editions) (NU) As I stated above, the aim of this commentary is to show how and why our English translations differ, especially when there are variations in the underlying Greek manuscripts. The commentary lays out where there are differences in the English translations and shows which Greek manuscript \ variant they follow. Comfort offers many insightful comments throughout the book, helping the reader understand how a particular Greek text or variant reading underlying the English translations may have influenced the translators’ decisions. Serious Bible students from interested laypeople to seminary students and even pastors will benefit from the New Testament Text and Translation Commentary. My own New Testament studies have been greatly enhanced by this volume. I’m sure it will become a mainstay at your desk as much as it has on mine. Readers who enjoy this book will also want to check out these other Tyndale House Publishers’ titles by Philip W. Comfort: • The Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2001) • The Many Gospels of Jesus (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2008) Philip W. Comfort (D. Litt. Et Phil., University of South Africa) is a professor of New Testament at Coastal Carolina University and Senior Editor of Bibles and Bible Reference at Tyndale House Publishers. He has published several books on Bible translation and textual criticism.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bob Hayton

    My thanks go out to Christy Wong at Tyndale House Publishers for supplying me with a review copy of Philip Comfort’s New Testament Text and Translation Commentary. I have always been intrigued by textual criticism and the study of how we got our Bible. The Bibles we have today are the descendants of hand written manuscripts, written on papyri, vellum or paper, and in either large (uncial) or small (miniscule) letters. Those manuscripts were written originally in Hebrew, Greek or Aramaic, and late My thanks go out to Christy Wong at Tyndale House Publishers for supplying me with a review copy of Philip Comfort’s New Testament Text and Translation Commentary. I have always been intrigued by textual criticism and the study of how we got our Bible. The Bibles we have today are the descendants of hand written manuscripts, written on papyri, vellum or paper, and in either large (uncial) or small (miniscule) letters. Those manuscripts were written originally in Hebrew, Greek or Aramaic, and later translated into Latin, Syriac, Coptic, Armenian, and other languages. Today we have English Bibles finely produced from the magic of printing presses and publishing houses. But how can we know that these Bibles accurately represent what was originally written? This is where textual criticism comes in – a highly disputed field, especially in today’s skeptical age. Textual scholars referred to as critics, take the time to compare all the hand written manuscripts that have been preserved down to our day. Using various methods of comparing, contrasting and evaluating the readings of numerous manuscripts (over 5700 for the NT!), they help guide today’s church in deciding which textual variants are the likely original readings. Philip Comfort is one of these scholars, and he has provided a fabulous resource for Bible scholars, pastors, and others to study the textual data on all the 3,000 or so places in the New Testament where we find textual variants that may affect the Bible translations we have in our hands. Comfort focuses primarily on the variants which result in differences between the various English Bible versions in use today (KJV, NKJV, NASB, NIV, ESV, HCSB, NLT, TNIV, NRSV, etc.). He also highlights some of the intriguing variants and places where the Western family of manuscripts often expands the text. What makes Comfort’s work so especially valuable is that his discussion is all in English! He discusses the Greek and other languages, but is mindful of the non-technical, English speaking reader. This makes New Testament Text and Translation Commentary (NTTTC) very accessible, opening up the intricacies of textual critical studies to the average Bible student. While Comfort may not include all the textual data accessible to scholars in the UBS4 or NA27 Greek texts and other scholarly resources, he does format his work and provide relevant information in a much more user-friendly format. In places where there are two or more variants that have affected the English Bibles, Comfort will first give each variant reading in Greek and English, then he lists the Greek manuscripts and other supports for each variant, and he also adds which English Bibles follow that variant in their text or margin. Following all of this, he offers a brief discussion of that particular variant, taking us step by step through how a conservative, evangelical scholar will assess this textual evidence to arrive at a conclusion concerning this particular reading. This detailed analysis of each major variant in the Greek New Testament makes up the bulk of the book and provides an easy to look up reference for practically any passage where one might encounter a variant. Comfort also provides a brief overview of textual criticism and a very interesting assessment of the major textual witnesses for each section of the New Testament. He displays an extensive understanding of the papyri manuscripts in particular as well as the history of textual criticism and all the relevant data. A few appendices are also included for more specialized discussions. NTTTC doesn’t stick to strictly textual critical matters. In Mk. 7:3 a discussion of manners and customs of Bible times is required to understand the Greek phrase “wash their hands with a fist”. Exegetical matters are also addressed, such as in the conservative and delicate handling of the variant at 1 Cor. 14:34-35. NTTTC’s format makes difficult and highly technical discussions much easier. When discussing the ending of Mark, he helpfully lays out all 5 variations of the ending providing a few pages of discussion. At Acts 20:28 he discusses two variants together, by first delineating all the various combinations of the two variants, and helpfully summarizing the options and discussing each option in light of exegetical matters as well. The discussions in NTTTC prove enlightening. One learns the importance of understanding the patterns of particular scribes when discussing variants such as Luke 24:3 where Comfort explains why Wescott and Hort were wrong. The major passages like the ending of Mark and John 7:53-8:11 are covered in depth. Comfort is honest about some variants being driven by theological considerations, such as in Heb. 2:9. Interestingly, the theological bias in textual variants was almost always rejected by the church in days of old as well as today. One excerpt of this work will serve to illustrate its value well. Regarding Jude 4, Comfort states: The reading in TR, poorly attested, is probably an attempt to avoid calling Jesus δεσποτήν (“Master”), when this title is usually ascribed to God (Luke 2:29; Acts 4:24; Rev. 6:10). Hence, θεος (“God”) was appended to δεσποτήν. However, 2 Pet. 2:1, a parallel passage, identifies the redeemer, Jesus Christ, as the δεσποτήν. So here also the WH NU reading, which is extremely well documented, shows that Jude considered Jesus to be the absolute sovereign. As one well attuned to the issues relating to King James Onlyism, I found this volume especially helpful. 26 times I found a KJV reading to be supported by no Greek manuscripts. Western additions such as “full of the Holy Spirit” at Acts 15:32 and “Jesus” at Acts 17:31 reveal that “omissions” are in the eye of the beholder. Does the TR omit these important phrases or the Western texts add them? It was through my KJV Onlyism debate lenses that I discovered a few minor errors in Comfort’s text. He wrongly claims the KJV followed Stephanus’ 1550 TR (along with the WH/ NU modern Greek Text) at Rev. 16:5 when in fact they followed Beza’s conjectural emendation “and shall be” instead of “holy one”. He also seems to state that a variant at Rom. 7:6 was introduced by Elzevirs’ TR and then later adopted by the KJV, however the KJV was translated 22 years prior to the Elzevirs’ work. The reading in question was introduced by Beza in one of his editions used by the KJV translators. Also at Luke 2:38 he lists the Vulgate as the sole support for the KJV reading, but Robinson-Pierpont’s Majority Text edition includes the KJV reading “Lord”. I would have liked Comfort to address more passages relevant to the KJV Only debate. It would have been great if he had mentioned which variants the printed Greek Majority Text’s of Hodges-Farstad or Robinson-Pierpont adopted as well. But space constraints are totally understandable. I also wish he had somehow indicated if the manuscript listings given for a particular passage are complete or not. If more evidence is available (or not) for a given variant, it would be nice to know. Perhaps using an asterisk when all the known witnesses to a variant were listed would help. All in all, I can’t recommend Comfort’s work more highly. This is an important volume and I will be referring to it often in years to come.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Theodros

    This is a great resource to study and compare english translations and textual variants in the manuscripts

  4. 5 out of 5

    Dayton Hartman

  5. 4 out of 5

    Harold Bradley III

  6. 5 out of 5

    Deeds

  7. 4 out of 5

    Joel

  8. 5 out of 5

    Darrin Tolar

  9. 4 out of 5

    Peter den Haan

  10. 4 out of 5

    Joe Horn

  11. 4 out of 5

    Roger

  12. 5 out of 5

    Chuck Grantham

  13. 4 out of 5

    Randy

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mitch Huff

  15. 5 out of 5

    Matt

  16. 5 out of 5

    RTS

  17. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Mac

  18. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Amspaugh

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dianna

  20. 4 out of 5

    Drew

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sten-Erik Armitage

  22. 5 out of 5

    Steve Pitcher

  23. 5 out of 5

    Patrick S.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Billy Todd

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nick Burtner

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ross and Kris

  27. 5 out of 5

    Matt

  28. 5 out of 5

    William Sandell

  29. 5 out of 5

    Caleb Allen

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dom Corriveau

  31. 5 out of 5

    Herman

  32. 4 out of 5

    Kyle Grindberg

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