The unknown copyists

Take a look at our next verses …

“10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. [11] [a] 12 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? (Matthew 18 v 10-12)

  1. Matthew 18:11 Some manuscripts include here the words of Luke 19:10.

 I am certainly not qualified to write on textual criticism nor are my morning blogs meant to be that deep! However this anomaly before us has got me thinking this morning. But first here are some basic points:

  • The missing verse is, For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. (NASB) Matthew 18:11 and is also found in the KJV.
  • The verse is taken from Luke 19 v 10: For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
  • The added verse comes before a parable of the wandering sheep and helps as a title or introduction to it.
  • The missing verse does not appear in the earliest Greek manuscripts of the New Testament.
  • It doesn’t affect anything about our Christian doctrines or the person of Christ.
  • We do not have the original manuscripts of the New Testament; we have copies of copies as do other ancient documents but the Bible stands alone as being the most accurate with scholars saying it is 99.8% accurate and no doctrines are effected by the small textual inaccuracies.
  • Chapters and verses were added by the copyists to help us find our way around the Bible.

There is so much more to study and the benefit of the internet means we have no excuse!

But here is what I thank God for today: the copyists!

The unknown and unsung heroes of the Bible are those copyists who painstakingly sat to do painstakingly amazing work of copying the Bible. Yes a few textual errors occurred but these can be seen as just typos in our language today. The materials that they used were perishable and coupled with the fact persecution was often experienced and their writings burned the need to copy copies by hand continued in order to preserve this beautiful Bible we have today.

May we all be wonderful copyists of the Bible! Perhaps not a transcribing one but a lived out version of the Bible so that the world can see God. Yes there will be human error and we won’t be the perfect copy but we are getting better at this life. People are always reading us in some way.

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