21 votes, average: 5.00 out of 521 votes, average: 5.00 out of 521 votes, average: 5.00 out of 521 votes, average: 5.00 out of 521 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5 (21 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
You need to be a registered member to rate this post.

The Standard Greek New Testament Today

All of these threads within threads are connected with the question that I started with a long while ago: when translators today produce a version of the Bible in English (or any other modern language) what is it that they are translating?  One of the manuscripts?  Several of the manuscripts?  Something else?

The answer, in virtually every instance, is the same.  They are translating an edition of the Greek New Testament published since 1965 (with revisions since then) produced by a small but international team of textual scholars assembled and commissioned by the United Bible Societies (various countries have a Bible Society – an organization devoted to the distribution of Bibles and the promotion of knowledge about the Bible: there is one in America, one in Britain, one in Germany, one in the Netherlands, etc; the “United” Bible Societies is the overarching organization with representatives of each country).

The team was assembled in 1955 in order to produce a standard edition of the Greek New Testament, based on an intense study of the available Greek manuscripts, early versions (i.e. ancient translations of the NT into Latin, Syriac, and Coptic, etc.), and quotations of the NT in the writings of the church fathers (from figures such as Irenaeus, Origen, Cyril of Alexandria, Augustine, and so on).   The purpose of the edition was to…

The Rest of this Post is for MEMBERS ONLY.  If you don’t belong yet, join WHILE THERE IS STILL TIME.  The end is nearer than you think!   It won’t cost you much; it will give you lots; and every penny goes to help those in need.  So JOIN!!

You need to be logged in to see this part of the content. Please Login to access.

The Gospel Truth: Sometimes A Little Hazy
What We Now Know about the Manuscripts of the New Testament



  1. Avatar
    clipper9422@yahoo.com  February 15, 2017

    So Evangelicals and Fundamentalists also use this Greek edition, at least for the most part? No more TR?

    • Bart
      Bart  February 16, 2017

      Some extreme fundamentalists still ue the TR, but no one else does (for translations)

  2. Avatar
    doug  February 15, 2017

    Regarding the quotations of the NT in the writings of the church fathers: has anyone compiled those NT quotes from the church fathers together into an article or a book? It would be interesting to see them, since some of their quotes might be earlier than the NT book manuscripts we have (altho I don’t know how accurate the church fathers quotes would be).

    • Bart
      Bart  February 16, 2017

      It would require many, many books. I compiled all the Greek quotations from the writings of just one father, Didymus the Blind, and just of the Gospels. Took an entire book. But the Greek is not translated into English, unfortunately.

  3. Avatar
    Jason  February 15, 2017

    Would an English translation of the Koine manuscripts (that like the ms) left out punctuation in some way be a truer representation of the original text? Would it be so unreadable as to hopelessly distort the possibility of understanding in many instances? Certainly with modern “txtspk” we’re headed towards a return to the unpunctuated run-ons of the second century scribal hand-it might make complete sense to millennials!

    • Bart
      Bart  February 16, 2017

      Not really — translators are taking an ancient language and putting into a modern one, and in modern ones we used punctuation. I should also point out thatancientlanguagesdonotseparatewordswithspacesleadingeventomoredifficulties such as what it would mean to say lastnightatdinnerisawabundanceonthetable

      • Avatar
        tskorick  February 16, 2017

        There should be functionality on this blog for us to “like” posts 😀 That was hilarious

      • Avatar
        Jason  February 16, 2017

        Is there any indication that the few literate early church members/leaders ever failed to construe the meaning of passages for this reason?

      • TWood
        TWood  February 16, 2017


        That’s good… is that a common teaching illustration or did you just make that up? So in all three languages that the Bible was written in (Heb, Aram, Gr), none of them had spaces or punctuations when the actual books were written… when were they added?

        • Bart
          Bart  February 19, 2017

          I made it up I think. Or maybe I heard it forty years ago? I don’t know. The other one sometimes used can be read by either a devout theist or an atheist: godisnowhere.

          • TWood
            TWood  February 19, 2017

            Ha… that’s good!

  4. Avatar
    bensonian  February 16, 2017

    Interesting post. Why would the Greek New Testament by the United Bible Societies contain fewer variant readings in the ancient witnesses than the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece? I would assume that the authors of the 1965 edition had access to a broader spectrum of manuscripts. If anything, it seems like this should be the other way around, doesn’t it?

    • Bart
      Bart  February 16, 2017

      Becuase the editors were selecting only the variants they thought were of most importance for translators to know about, not variants that scholars need to be aware of for their more detailed scholarly endeavors.

  5. Avatar
    Silver  February 16, 2017

    In your answers to two questioners recently, you have said that if you are wrong and on Judgement Day you are confronted by God / Jesus, you will definitely bow down and worship. Does your reading of scripture indicate to you that it will be too late then?

    • Bart
      Bart  February 16, 2017

      Some scriptures point that way, others point the other way. As with most crucial issues, there is not one view in Scripture.

    • tompicard
      tompicard  February 17, 2017

      yeah it may be too late, but also too late for some Christians riding on their high horses, see Matt 7:22

      “Many will say . . , ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness.’ “…

      so the criteria for the ‘judgement’ is not exactly what many expect

  6. Avatar
    tskorick  February 16, 2017

    I’d been out of this loop for a very long time apparently. I have a few different copies of the UBS Greek 3rd ed. (corrected) from 1983, but didn’t know there was a 28th ed. of Nestle-Aland. Just ordered a copy of the 28th Greek with interlinear English! Strangely, it was listed for $90 USD new (not counting shipping) on Amazon.com but I got one directly from Deutsche Bibel Gesellschaft for less than $60 USD shipped. Weird.

  7. Avatar
    HawksJ  February 16, 2017

    Maybe I’m missing something.

    Are you saying that all modern translations (since the 60’s, anyway) are based on the work of those four or five scholars?

    Surely there is some disagreement about how accurate they were – just as there is with any other translation, right?

    • Bart
      Bart  February 19, 2017

      Kind of. The translators themselves make decisions about which text to followed based on the available readings, but the text they use to make the decisions on is the one (with the apparatus) in this standard edition. The apparatus is the key. It tells translators what other manuscripts say, so they can decide for themselves whether to follow the decision of hte committee or not.

  8. Avatar
    wje  February 19, 2017

    Good evening, Bart. Here is a master of the obvious question for you. How come none of these Bible study groups and translator committees never had a native Greek theologian? Whatever the differences there may be between the east and west, surely the Greek Orthodox church (or versions of it) would be honored (or at least curious) to be a part of these revised Bibles. I bet they have some interesting manuscripts and could definitely shed some light on language problems that non-native Greek speakers have problems with.

    • Bart
      Bart  February 20, 2017

      Later the committee did add a native Greek scholar. But the fact that someone happens to be from modern Greece doesn’t make them more knowledgeable about Greek antiquity.

  9. Avatar
    JSTMaria  February 19, 2017

    Hi Dr. Ehrman,

    I recently read The Diatesseron by Tatian. He includes “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one”….in Matthew right before the bit about loving the Lord your God with all you heart, etc., as one of the two major hat hangers of Christian commandments. Until I saw the Diatesseron, I had never seen that first part of the Jewish prayer spoken of as a part of the commandment, but it does come before the rest of the passage in the Old Testament from where it is derived. But, Matthew left it out?? Is this first part anywhere in the older NT manuscripts that you have seen? Just curious. Thanks!

    • Bart
      Bart  February 20, 2017

      I’m not sure what you’re reading! We don’t have the Diatessaron — it is one of the great lost works of antiquity. (And it does not appear that in the Diatessaron it was indicated which Gospel he was quoting at which point).

  10. Avatar
    JSTMaria  February 20, 2017

    A lost book–that’s interesting! I guess I shouldn’t trust what I order off of Amazon. HaHa!

You must be logged in to post a comment.