A Student's Guide to
New Testament Textual Variants

Acts 20:21-28:29


Acts 20:21:

TEXT: "faith in our Lord Jesus."
EVIDENCE: B P Psi 614 some Byz one lat syr(h) cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn NIV NEB TEV
RANK: B

NOTES: "faith in our Lord Jesus Christ."
EVIDENCE: p74 S A C D ("through") E 33 945 1241 1739 2495 some Byz most lat vg syr(p) cop(north)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV NASV

COMMENTS: It was common for copyists to expand the name of Jesus.

Acts 20:28:

TEXT: "the church of God which he purchased with [his] own blood."
EVIDENCE: S B 614 2495 some Lect two lat vg syr one cop(north)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASVn RSV NASV NIV NEBn TEV
RANK: C

NOTES: "the church of the Lord which he purchased with [his] own blood."
EVIDENCE: p74 A C* D E Psi 33 945 1739 four lat most cop
TRANSLATIONS: ASV RSVn NASVn NIVn NEB TEVn

OTHER: "the church of the Lord and God which he purchased with [his] own blood."
EVIDENCE: C3 P 1241 some Byz most Lect

COMMENTS: While it is possible that the phrase "the church of the Lord" (found nowhere else in the New Testament) was replaced with the more familiar "the church of God" (found eleven times in the writings of Paul), it is more likely that "church of God" is original but copyists took offense at "[his] own blood" and changed "God" to "the Lord." When the two are abbreviated, as they often were in manuscripts, there is only one letter's difference between them. The reading "the church of the Lord and God" is a combination of the two readings, as is "the church of the Lord God" which is read by many of the Byzantine manuscripts.

Acts 20:28:

TEXT: "which he purchased with [his] own blood." or "which he purchased with the blood of [his] Own."
EVIDENCE: p74 S A B C D E Psi 33 945 1739 syr
TRANSLATIONS: ASV RSV ("blood of his own Son") RSVn NASV? NIV? NEBn TEV("death of his Son") TEVn
RANK: B

NOTES: "which he purchased with [his] own blood."
EVIDENCE: P 614 1241 2495 Byz Lect
TRANSLATIONS: KJV NASV? NIV? NEB

COMMENTS: The reading in the text is slightly ambiguous and can be translated either of the two ways found above. Copyists altered the text slightly so that it could only mean "with [his] own blood."

Acts 21:1:

TEXT: "and from there to Patara. ·And"
EVIDENCE: p74 S A B C D P Psi 33 614 945 1241 1739 2495 Byz two lat most vg syr cop(north)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: C

NOTES: "and from there to Patara and Myra." ·And
EVIDENCE: p41vid D one lat some vg cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: RSVn NEBn

COMMENTS: Although it is possible that "and Myra" was omitted by a mistake of the eye (when copyists' eyes jumped from the "ra" at the end of "Patara" plus the word for "and" to the "ra" at the end of "Myra" plus the word for "and"), it is more likely that "Myra" was added from the reference in Acts 27:5 or from the apocryphal Acts of Paul and Thecla which says that Paul had a residence in Myra.

Acts 21:22:

TEXT: "·What then is [to be done]? They will certainly hear"
EVIDENCE: B C*vid 614 1739* 2495 syr cop
TRANSLATIONS: ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: C

NOTES: "·What then is [to be done]? A multitude certainly has to come together; for they will hear"
EVIDENCE: p74 S A C2 D E P Psi 33 945 1241 1739c Byz lat vg
TRANSLATIONS: KJV

COMMENTS: Although it is possible that the extra words were deliberately omitted to remove what might appear to be a mob of Christians, it is more likely that the words are an expansion introduced by copyists.

Acts 21:25:

TEXT: "we have sent a letter with our judgment"
EVIDENCE: p74 S A C2 E P 33 945 1241 1739 Byz three lat vg syr? cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV NASV NIV TEV
RANK: C

NOTES: "we have sent with our judgment"
EVIDENCE: B C* D Psi 614 2495 syr? cop(north)
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn NEB

COMMENTS: There is only one vowel's difference between the two readings: one verb means to send a letter, and the other means to send someone. The latter is the more common verb, and probably replaced the former because of a mistake of the ear.

Acts 21:25:

TEXT: "keep themselves [from meat] sacrificed to idols and [from] blood and [from] what is strangled and [from] fornication."
EVIDENCE: p74 S A B C E P Psi 33 614 945 1241 1739 2495 Byz two lat vg syr cop
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: C

NOTES: "keep themselves [from meat] sacrificed to idols and [from] blood and [from] fornication."
EVIDENCE: D two lat
TRANSLATIONS: RSVn NEBn

COMMENTS: Although it is possible that the words "and what is strangled" were accidently omitted by a mistake of the eye, the fact that they are also omitted in Acts 15:20, 29 by the same manuscripts indicate that they were deliberately omitted in an attempt to make all the laws moral ones (taking "blood" as "blood-shedding," that is, "murder").

Acts 23:20:

TEXT: "as though you were going to inquire"
EVIDENCE: {p74} S* {A B E} 33 {81 one lat cop(north)}
TRANSLATIONS: ASV NEB
RANK: C

NOTES: "as though they were going to inquire"
EVIDENCE: Sc P Psi 614 945 1241 1739 2495 Byz four lat vg syr cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV RSV NASV NIV? TEV

COMMENTS: The evidence listed in braces is misspelled (long "o" instead of short "o") and reads "he." The evidence for the reading "they" is spelled four different ways. The reading "they" seems to be a correction made by copyists to make this verse say the same thing as verse 15.

Acts 23:28:

TEXT: "they were accusing him, I brought [him] down to their council. ·I found"
EVIDENCE: p74 {p48vid} S A {B2(margin) E P Psi} 33 614 945 {1241} 1739 {2495 Byz lat vg syr cop}
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: C

NOTES: "they were accusing him. ·I found"
EVIDENCE: B* 81
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn

COMMENTS: The evidence listed in braces includes the word "him." Copyists were more likely to add such a word than omit it. The omission of the phrase is probably due to a mistake of the eye, when copyists' eyes jumped from "him" to "their," which are spelled almost alike in Greek. "Council" precedes "their" in Greek.

Acts 23:30:

TEXT: "would be a plot against the man, I sent him to you at once, commanding"
EVIDENCE: p74 B Psi 614 cop(north)
TRANSLATIONS: ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: C

NOTES: "would be a plot against the man on their part, I sent him to you, commanding"
EVIDENCE: S A E 33 81 945 ("was going to be") 1739 2495 two lat vg syr(h)
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn

OTHER: "was going to be a plot against the man by the Jews, I sent him to you at once, commanding"
EVIDENCE: P 1241 Byz one lat syr(p) cop(south)

TRANSLATIONS: KJV
COMMENTS: There are six different variations here. Most of them are mixtures of the readings in the text and the notes. The words for "on their part" (literally, "out of them") and "at once" are spelled almost alike (only two letters' difference). The adverb "at once" was a less usual word which copyists would be likely to misread as a more common expression. "At once" actually is found before "I sent."

Acts 23:30:

TEXT: "before you [what they have] against him."
EVIDENCE: p74vid A B 33 one lat earlier vg cop
TRANSLATIONS: ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: C

NOTES: "before you [what they have] against him. Farewell."
EVIDENCE: S E P Psi 81 614 945 1241 1739 2495 Byz two lat later vg syr
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASVn NASVn NEBn

COMMENTS: The word "Farewell" is spelled two different ways in the manuscripts. It seems to have been added after the form of Acts 15:29, where no manuscript lacks it.

Acts 24:6-8:

TEXT: "but we seized him. ·By examining [him]"
EVIDENCE: p74 S A B P 81 1241 some Byz two lat earlier vg cop
TRANSLATIONS: ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: D

NOTES: "but we seized him and we wished to judge [him] according to our law. ·But the colonel Lysias came and with great violence took [him] out of our hands, ·commanding his accusers to come before you. By examining [him]"
EVIDENCE: E Psi 33 614 945 1739 2495 some Byz most lat later vg syr
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASVn RSVn NASVn NIVn NEBn TEVn

COMMENTS: The extra material seems to be a Western addition which has found its way into some of the Byzantine manuscripts. There seems to be no good reason for it to have been omitted if it were original.

Acts 26:16:

TEXT: "the things in which you have seen me and"
EVIDENCE: B C*(vid) 614 945 1175 1739 2495 syr cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: ASV RSV NASVn NIV TEV
RANK: C

NOTES: "the things in which you have seen and"
EVIDENCE: p74 S A C2 E P Psi 81 1241 Byz Lect lat vg cop(north)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASVn NASV NEB TEVn

COMMENTS: The word "me" is in brackets in the UBS text. Although it is possible that the word "me" was added under the influence of the following "I will appear," it is also possible that it was omitted to make the reference to visions more general.

Acts 26:28:

TEXT: "you are trying to persuade me to make [me] a Christian!"
EVIDENCE: p74 S A B 048 33 81 syr(pal) cop
TRANSLATIONS: ASV RSV NASVn NEB TEV
RANK: B

NOTES: "you are trying to persuade me to become a Christian!"
EVIDENCE: E P Psi 614 945 1241 1739 2495 Byz lat vg syr
TRANSLATIONS: KJV NASV* NIV

COMMENTS: The word "become" was apparently taken from verse 29 and used to replace "make" in order to smooth out the sentence structure.

Acts 27:16:

TEXT: "a certain small island called Cauda"
EVIDENCE: p74 Sc B Psi two lat vg syr(p)
TRANSLATIONS: ASV RSV NASVn NIV NEB TEV
RANK: B

NOTES: "a certain small island called Clauda"
EVIDENCE: S* A(vid) H L P 33 81 614 945 1241 1739 2495 Byz Lect one lat syr(h) cop
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASVn RSVn NASV

COMMENTS: The name of the modern island of Gaudos was in ancient times sometimes spelled with an "l" and sometimes without it. The various spellings of the manuscripts reflect the various ways the name was spelled.

Acts 27:37:

TEXT: "we were in all two hundred and seventy-six persons"
EVIDENCE: S C P Psi 33 81 614 945 1241 1739 2495 Byz Lect lat vg syr cop(north)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: B

NOTES: "we were in all two hundred and seventy-five persons"
EVIDENCE: A one cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: TEVn

NOTES: "we were in all about seventy-six persons"
EVIDENCE: B most cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: RSVn TEVn

NOTES: "we were in all seventy-six persons"
EVIDENCE: 522 one Lect
TRANSLATIONS: RSVn

COMMENTS: When the numbers are written as cardinals instead of being spelled out, the difference is only one letter between the readings. Since Greek cardinal numbers are written using the letters of the Greek alphabet, it is possible to misread the number or part of the number as a word. This is apparently what happened in the reading "about 76." When the last letter of the word for "ship" (which is right before the number in the Greek) is seen twice, it combines with the cardinal number for 200 to spell "about."

Acts 27:39:

TEXT: "to bring the ship ashore."
EVIDENCE: S A Bc P Psi 33 81 614 945 1241 1739 2495 Byz Lect lat vg syr
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: B

NOTES: "to bring the ship in safely."
EVIDENCE: B* C cop
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn NASVn

COMMENTS: The words "bring ashore" and "bring in safely" sound alike in Greek. The difference is between "x" and "ks." The reading "bring in safely" is apparently due to a mistake of the ear.

Acts 28:1:

TEXT: "the island was called Malta." (Greek, "Melite-")
EVIDENCE: p74 S A B3 C P Psi 33 81 614 945 1241 1739 2495 Byz Lect later vg syr(p) cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: B

NOTES: "the island was called Melite-ne-."
EVIDENCE: B* two lat earlier vg syr(h) cop(north)
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn NASVn

OTHER: "the island was called Mutile-ne-."
EVIDENCE: three lat

COMMENTS: The reading Melite-ne- probably arose through a mistake of the eye, when the first two letters of the following word "island" were seen twice.

Acts 28:13:

TEXT: "Casting off from there we arrived"
EVIDENCE: S* B Psi cop
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn NASVn NIV TEV
RANK: D

NOTES: "From there we made an indirect course and arrived"
EVIDENCE: p74 Sc A P 048 066 81 614 945 1241 1739 2495 Byz Lect syr
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV NASV NEB

COMMENTS: The difference between the two readings is only that of one letter. Although it is possible that the letter "theta" was accidently omitted thus producing the text reading, it is more likely that copyists changed the text reading because it is a rare technical nautical term.

Acts 28:16:

TEXT: "into Rome, [the centurion] permitted Paul"
EVIDENCE: p74vid S A B Psi 048vid 066 81 1175 1739 2495 one lat most vg syr(p,h) cop(north)
TRANSLATIONS: ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: B

NOTES: "into Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the commander, but he permitted Paul"
EVIDENCE: P 614 945 1241 1739 Byz Lect two lat some vg syr(h+) cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASVn

COMMENTS: The longer text seems to be an expansion by Western copyists that has found its way into the Byzantine text.

Acts 28:29:

TEXT: omit verse 29
EVIDENCE: p74 S A B E Psi 048 33 81 1739 two lat earlier vg syr(p,h) cop
TRANSLATIONS: ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: B

NOTES: include verse 29: "·And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, holding much debate among themselves."
EVIDENCE: P 614 945 1241 2495 Byz Lect most lat later vg syr(h+)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASVn RSVn NASVn NIVn NEBn TEVn

COMMENTS: Verse 29 seems to be an expansion by Western copyists that has found its way into the Byzantine text. It was probably added because of the abrupt transition from verse 28 to verse 30.


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