In the manuscripts available on 1 Peter, the clause: “…on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.” is lacking in some. How could this variation originated and how can we discern which would render the original autograph?
KJV: 1Peter 4:14: “If you are reproached for the name of Christ, happy are you; for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.”
NIV: 1Peter 4:14: “If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.”
|Witnesses||Greek||Translations||Church Fathers||Greek||Translations||Church Fathers|
|201-300||Papyrus 72||Tertullian, Origen*||Sahidic||Cyprian|
|301-400||Sinaiticus, Vaticanus||Bohairic||Ephraem, Athanasius, Didymus|
|401-500||Alexandrinus||Syriac, Armenian, Ethiopic|
|601-700||Syriac||Antiochus||1 Old Latin, Syriac|
|701-800||John-Damascus||Atous- Laurae||3 Old Latin|
|801-900||Uncials 056, 0142, 049 5 Minuscules||Mosquensis, Angelicus, Porphyrianus||1 Old Latin|
|901-1000||2 Minuscules, Byzantine Lectionary||Ps-Oekumenius|
|1001-1600||5 Minuscules||4 Old Latin, Vulgate||10 Minuscules, Byzantine Lectionary||1 Old Latin, Present Vulgate||Theophylact|
According to the manuscripts that are available it is obvious that the oldest manuscripts are without this addition. Apart from a Sahidic translation from about 250A.D. the first Greek manuscript to have this version, is Atous Laurae, copied after 700 A.D. Up to the year 500 A.D. no less than four Greek manuscripts as well as four ancient translations geographically spread out from Africa, through Syria up to Russia have the version without the additional phrase. 5 Church Fathers including Origen who left us with a sentence by sentence commentary on the New Testament also do not know the version with this phrase. Even the majority of medieval manuscripts are without this phrase.
According to the manuscript evidence preference should be given to the version without this phrase as most likely rendering the original autograph.
The next challenge is to try and explain how the two versions could have originated. Either the original had included this phrase and it had been removed for some reason. The first possibility is that this happened due to an oversight by some scribe misreading this phrase, but there are no repeated words at the beginning or end of the sentence that could cause haplography. The other reason for removing a clause is when it could cause difficulty to some scribe due to dogmatic or other controversy. No such possibility can be found.
If however the autograph had been without this clause, there must be some sound reason for including it into Scripture at a later date. This clause is not found in any part of the New Testament, so it could not have been transposed into the present position in 1Peter 4:14. It must have been composed by some pious person and written in the margin of his copy of 1 Peter. In verse four we have the word “blaspheme”, translated in the KJV as “speaking evil of you”. In verse eleven Peter stresses that our behaviour should always glorify God. It could be that these two words were used to compose this clause to emphasize the difference between the evildoer and the believer.
Due to lack of any direct indication, the creation and addition of this clause can be explained but the possibility of this clause to be removed from Scripture is totally inexplicable. Therefore it is a greater possibility that the original autograph had been without this clause. It must be an addition at a later date.
Our third criterion to try to establish which of the two variations would most probably render the original autograph is the intrinsic study looking first at the context of this clause. What role does this clause play in this chapter?
1Peter 4:1 – 6: Here Peter handles suffering after the example of Jesus Christ in opposition to a preceding life of sin and idolatry, some people are still adhering to. In verse four it is mentioned that some heathens are speaking evil of these Christians, but they will soon be judged according to men in the flesh.
In verses 7 – 11 Peter refers to the coming judgement and how we should minister to fellow Christians. In verse eleven Peter stresses that whatever we do, we should always glorify God.
Verses 12 – 16: Suffering should not be caused by sin, but if we do suffer because of the name of Christ, we should not be ashamed but know that the Spirit of God rests upon us.
In this chapter the emphasis is not the difference between the behaviour of heathens versus Christians, as in this clause. However the focus is rather on the understanding and handling of suffering by Christians. Furthermore this clause is grammatically directly linked to the preceding subject, which would be the Holy Spirit. That means this clause should be understood as: “…on their part the Holy Spirit is evil spoken of, but on your part the Holy Spirit is glorified.” But of course this paragraph is not about the Holy Spirit at all. It is about how a Christian should handle suffering and persecution, and have the assurance that the Holy Spirit rests upon him.
This clause also breaks the thought pattern of the matter at hand.
Looking at the above, it is clear that this clause does not fit within the context of this paragraph and that it does not contribute positively to the subject Peter is handling. It rather introduces a deviating subject.
The only logical explanation for this clause is that it originated as a note by someone in his personal manuscript. Then, at a later date it was inserted into the text by a scribe thinking it had been left out by the scribe responsible for his source manuscript and added in the margin as a correction.
All three criteria indicate that the original autograph would rather be without this clause. It should be seen as a late addition to the Word of God, and therefore removed from the text to restore Scripture as God had given it.
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