Welcome! Start here!

Welcome! Start here!

See what the blog “Bible Differences” can provide and how it may be of use to you. I focus mainly on the New Testament, but occasionally look at something from the Old Testament.

A list of Scriptures already studied can be found at “Scriptures“.

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101 What Robin Williams can teach us about Jesus and the Bible.

101 What Robin Williams can teach us about Jesus and the Bible.

Robin Williams is dead. They say he committed suicide. What can we learn about Jesus and the Bible through his death and the reports that appeared in the news papers?

When we read the reports in the different news papers, there are many variations, some even conflicting with the others. Every journalist has the right to emphasize the matter from his perspective and report the matter that supports the stance he takes, doesn’t he? That is exactly what good journalism entails. And good “evangelistics”? Continue reading

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100 Whereto we have already attained, let us walk. Phil. 3:16

100 Whereto we have already attained, let us walk. Phil. 3:16.

100 Whereto we have already attained, let us walk. Phil. 3:16.
Whenever a longer and shorter version of a text do exist in the available manuscripts, I believe that one could on logical grounds make an interim decision on which version most probably could represent the original autograph.
When would a responsible person like a scribe remove part of a sentence? 1) It is of course possible that a sentence may contain something inacceptable or vulgar, or causing a contradiction. For example, Jesus said He would not go up to the feast in Jerusalem, yet later He did go. (John7:8-10) Someone could remove part of verse 8, since it contradicts with what Jesus did in fact do. 2) It is also possible that someone could remove something that contradicts his own dogma or interpretation of some Scripture. In the Bible it is possible that someone could remove something to enhance his Gnostic ideas. In the same way a very legalistic monk could remove some sentence that emphasizes Christian freedom.
But look at the three versions below and see whether anyone could gain anything by removing the parts of the longer versions to end up with the short version. What gain is at all possible? Continue reading

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99. Textual Variants and Ancient Readers

Herman of bibledifferences.net:

In this blog Dr. Hurtado gives a clear explanation of how “intentional” alterations by the early reader of a manuscript “unintentionally” found its way into the next copy made of that manuscript.
We are so fortunate to have the variations in all known manuscripts compiled in the Greek publications of Nestle Aland and that of the United Bible Societies. That gives modern translators of the Bible an oversight over all manuscripts. The translators of the King James Bible had only the hastily compiled text by Desiderius Erasmus to work with! He used only five manuscripts, arbitrarily choosing the variation he preferred.

Originally posted on Larry Hurtado's Blog:

In my essay that has just been published (mentioned in my post yesterday), my broader emphasis is that intentional textual variants in NT writings likely resulted from ancient readers.  In the case of the variation-units I survey in that essay, I submit that readers were trying to judge the referents in statements that were somewhat ambiguous.  I further propose that the variants likely resulted from readers perusing the context of each ambiguous statement to make their judgement, in short, doing just what serious readers and modern commentators do:  exegesis based on context.

But, whereas modern commentators write a new text about the biblical text, these ancient readers (and we’re talking about the 2nd-3rd centuries likely) wrote what they judged to be the correct referent into their text of the NT writing.  Ironically, out of their high regard for the text and its clear meaning, they felt free to alter the word…

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98 The “Seat of Moses” Mat.23:2

98 Seat of Moses, Mat.23:2

Sometimes a phrase represents a direct or concrete meaning. “Will you please polish that chair.” Everybody knows we are talking about something to sit upon.

Sometimes a phrase represents a symbolic or figurative meaning. “Sir, in court you may not speak directly to the judge, you have to address the chair.” Nobody will ever think one should speak to any chair, and not even to the person sitting in that chair per se, but to the judicial system and laws applicable in that state. Continue reading

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97 The New Testament Irenaeus used.

You should love your enemies

Irenaeus (±135 – 202 A.D.) was a student of Polycarp who had been taught by John the disciple himself. This exceptional man had been the bishop of Lugdunum (Lyons) in Gaul (France) in his later years. The books he wrote, especially Adversus Haereses (Against Heresies) played an important role in the development of the Christian dogma and the interpretation of the New Testament.

He strongly opposed the Gnostic movements of his time, especially Marcion who altered the gospel of Luke to his own fancy and interpretation. In 177 A.D. Irenaeus strongly opposed the Montanists in Rome. The Gnostics claimed to possess a secret oral tradition from Jesus himself. Irenaeus maintained that the bishops in different cities were known as far back as the Apostles. Therefore they provided the only safe interpretation of Scripture. He also emphasized the tradition guarded by the Church. Continue reading

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96 How the ‘Jesus’ Wife’ Hoax Fell Apart.

96 How the ‘Jesus’ Wife’ Hoax Fell Apart

Due to the widespread media coverage the “Jesus’ Wife Gospel” fragment had the past two years, and the confusion it caused, I decided to publish this article from the New York Times to conclude this chapter. It is reassuring that there are learned scholars that can honestly examine and test any alleged new fragments that come to the fore.

I praise God for protecting us against forgeries that could harm our faith. Continue reading

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95 Mixture or Roll of Myrrh, John 19:39

Mixture or Roll of Myrrh; John 19:39
In John 19:39 three different words are found in the manuscripts that describe what Nicodemus took along to take care of the body of Christ. The United Bible Societies text provides an evaluation of the relative degree of certainty with which they deem their own choice between variants. A signifies virtual certainty while with D the both variants could have equal weight. Their choice of C in this verse signifies that “there is a considerable degree of doubt whether the text or the apparatus contains the superior reading”. That is what I like, and have great respect for. A whole group of learned Christian academics with expertise in the fields of ancient languages, manuscript evidence as well as the religious and cultural customs of those times who outright state that they have no certainty on which could be the word John had originally written down in his autograph. And I often am so certain about my choices! On what do I base my certainty? Does the Holy Spirit choose to reveal to me His absolute certainty, and not also to them? These precious children of God who dedicate every day to bring the Word of God to His children unaltered and undefiled? Or is my certainty only built on the choices of previous translators, choices with which I grew up – or that I am familiar with? Or is it a matter of me jumping where angels fear to give even the smallest of treads? Continue reading

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