New Testament Reference List
An Introduction Pertaining to Manuscripts and Manuscript Resources
The New Testament is focused on here because it has been a great spiritual battleground for hundreds of years, but especially over the past one hundred years. Both laity and clergy within the body of the Christian church, as well as many outside of Christianity, continue to feud over the reliability of what is to be considered a true translation of the Holy Scriptures for English speaking peoples.
The question must then arise in the heart and mind of everyone who truly seeks God, "With so many learned people haggling over what is to be called the real Bible in English, HOW can I know that I can place my hands on the very W ord of God right now, today, as God has said that I can?" (see 1 Peter 1:25; Matthew 5:18; John 12:48.)
No matter how one views or credits the actual writing, inspiration, and subsequent gathering of the manuscript texts, there remains the fact that there are really only two streams or traditions of texts that have been and may be used, from which one draws in the research and rendering of the translation of a New Testament. Those two traditions are the Majority and the Alexandrian (Egyptian) type of texts. The former tradition of texts, originating in Asia Minor and being the more conservative, give the greater honor and glory to the Deity, Person, and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ. The latter, originating in Egypt, subtly undermine all three, yet on the surface give the appearance of not causing any great damage to the fundamental doctrines of Christianity.
Despite disagreements over varying percentages (depending on the sources one cites,) there is general consensus that the Majority type texts represent over 90-95% of all existing texts throughout the world. That leaves less than 10% of the remaining texts to represent the Alexandrian type texts. With regard to this preponderance of physical evidence in support of the Majority type texts, there are those who are quick to say that quantity does not necessarily reflect quality, nor does generalized acceptance equal validity. At face value, such a statement is true. Yet even the apostles and "early church fathers" fought this battle about who was correctly or falsely transcribing the Scriptures. Therefore, we are left with students of the history the Bible having to be prepared to personally test/research the issues of antiquity and volume of evidence against such factors as:
1. The overall consistency amongst manuscripts, early bibles, & writings of "the fathers;"
Most certainly, in weighing the evidence that these readings present, one must remember above all the words of the Holy Scripture itself. For God's Word is self-defending and self-explaining. Despite what man wants to argue, in the Bible God is very emphatic about the status of His Word. God even inspired King David to write in Psalm 138 verse 2, "thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name."
Study with prayer, a good concordance like Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible , and aids like the Thompson Chain Reference Bible will be fruitful. Referencing Thompson Chain listings #414 through #445 under "The Bible the Word of God" yields many penetrating verses showing God's view of Scripture.
Test this reading list and all things by what God tells us in the Bible.
---COUNTERFEIT OR GENUINE? MARK 16? JOHN 8? by D.O. Fuller
---CHICK PUBLICATIONS, BOX 662, Chino, California 91710
Compiled by Craig Szwed. OK to copy as needed.
May the Good Lord Bless You as You Seek Him!
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