Sinaiticus, end of the Gospel of John
What do you do when you discover that the source manuscript from which you have just completed a copy, seems to be lacking some words or verse? You add it as best you can.
An interesting correction is found at the end of the gospel according to John, in the codex Sinaiticus. The source manuscript used by the scribe must have ended at vs.24, which is quite a logic ending: “This is the disciple who testifies of these things and wrote these things. And we know that his testimony is true.”
The scribe ended his copy there. Then he added a small decoration including the words: “Gospel according to John.” as was his custom at the end of every book, before starting the following book.
The copy with which he compared his work corresponded with most manuscripts with the ending we have in our Bibles: “And there are also many things, whatever Jesus did, which, if they should be written singly, I suppose the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.”
The scribe then cleaned his manuscript of the little decoration he added, and cleared away the words “Gospel according to John.“ In his own handwriting he then added the last verse and his decoration with the ending words: “Gospel according to John.”
Under ultra violet light both endings can still be seen. (Click in picture to enlarge)
Left as at present, Centre under Ultra Violet light, Right artificially some letters “cleared” for both endings to be seen.
The note written after these customary decorations, written by the scribe, is not part of the gospel. In some of the older printed Bibles, like the Geneva of 1587 and the 1611 King James version, it had often been printed. “Amen. The second Epistle to the Corinthians, was written from Philippos a citie of Macedonia, by Titus and Lucas.“ (2Cor.13:14, King James Version.)
Not withstanding all these efforts for excellence in accuracy, human error still occurred and slipped by. This caused variations, “corrections” and even glaring errors. Variations do occur in all handmade copies of any manuscript.
With careful study of more than 5000 Greek manuscripts alone, and taking into consideration another 20 000 copies of translations and quotations of Church Fathers, we can determine the words of the original autographs of the New Testament with 99% certainty!
Study the Bible you prefer, and be open to the reasons it differs from other versions. I invite you to post any questions you might have concerning variations. Your concern might be living in the heart of another brother or sister.