Bible Query – Early Manuscripts of Colossians

November 15, 2009 version

 

Q: In Col, what are early New Testament manuscripts we have preserved today?

A: Here are many of them.

p46 Chester Beatty II 100-150 A.D. has 79 verses of Colossians. Specifically it has Col 1:1-2,5-13,16-24; 1:27-2:19; 2:23-3:11; 3:13-24; 4:3-12,16-18 and other parts of Paul’s letters and Hebrews. The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts has a photograph of part of p46 on p.192. It also says on p.197-198 that the quality and the stichiometric marks show that a professional scribe wrote this.

First half of 3rd century - 1936 - Frederic G. Kenyon according to The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts.

2nd century, 200 A.D. - 1935 - Ulrich Wilken according to The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts.

200 A.D. - 1968 - The Text of the New Testament.

81-96 A.D. - 1988 - Young Kyu Kim according to The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts.

About 200 A.D. - 1975 - Aland et al. Third edition.

About 200 A.D. - 1998 - Aland et al. Fourth revised edition.

Early to middle 2nd century - 1999 - The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts. This is based in part on the handwriting being very similar to Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 8 (late first or early second century) and Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 2337 (late first century).

p61 Romans 16:23,25-27; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2, 2-6; 5:1-3, 5-6, 9-13; Philippians 3:5-9, 12-16, Colossians 1:3-7, 9-13, 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3; Titus 3:1-5, 8-11, 14-15 Philemon 4-7. c.700 A.D.

c.700 A.D. - 1968 - The Text of the New Testament.

About 700 A.D. - 1975 - Aland et al. Third edition.

About 700 A.D. - 1998 - Aland et al. Fourth revised edition.

Vaticanus 325-350 A.D.

Sinaiticus 340-350 A.D.

Bohairic Coptic 3rd/4th century

Sahidic Coptic 3rd/4rth century

Gothic 493-555 A.D.

Palestinian Syriac [Syr Pal] from c.6th century

Peshitta Syriac [Syr P] 411-435 A.D... Over 350 manuscripts.

Harclean Syriac [Syr H] 616.A.D Thomas of Harkel

 

Q: In Col, what are the manuscript variations with the Textus Receptus, the basis for the KJV?

A: Jay P. Green, Sr. in the Interlinear Bible records variations in approximately 19 words between the Textus Receptus and the majority text. These are in 16 places (Colossians 1:2,14,20,24,24,27; 2:13,13,16,17,20,20; 3:21,20,24; 4:16). In addition, he also records approximately 3 words in 1 place of alternates.

 

Q: In Col, what are some of the manuscript variations?

A: Paul’s Letter to the Colossians has a total of 1,582 Greek words in 95 verses. This is the count in both Aland et al. 3rd edition and Aland et al. 4th revised edition, including 10 words in brackets. You can see the text of the 3rd edition on-line at http://www.greekbible.com. Colossians has an estimated  word-for-word accuracy of 97.8%, with 34 words in question. These are in 25 verses (29 places).

   Below are the variations with the primary choice and the top alternate choice. Aland et al 4th revised edition and 3rd edition, from which this primarily is based, also give a judgment of the degree of certainty per variation. The list below does not include many places where the evidence for a particular reading is so strong that the alternatives are very unlikely. See the next question for which manuscripts support which variants.

Col 1:2a “Father” vs. “Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (4 words)

Col 1:2b “Christ” vs. “Jesus”

Col 1:3 “to God” vs. “to [the] Father”

Col 1:7 “our behalf” vs. “your(plural) behalf”

Col 1:12 “giving thanks to the Father” vs. “giving thanks together to the Father”

Col 1:12 “us” vs. “you(plural)”

Col 1:12 “made fit/competent” vs. “called” (3 letters different in original Claromontanus, Sahidic Coptic, Gothic, Armenian) vs. “called and made fit/competent” (Vaticanus) (2 words, but only 1 word counted in the totals)

Col 1:14 “redemption” (most manuscripts, including Byzantine Lectionary, Wordsworth-White Vulgate, Stuttgart Vulgate) vs. “redemption through his blood” (Slavonic, Armenian, Clementine Vulgate) (4 words not counted in the totals)

Col 1:14 “sins” vs. “sins through his blood” (3 words not counted in the totals)

Col 1:20 “cross, through/by him” vs. “cross”

Col 1:22 “reconciled” vs. “has reconciled”

Col 2:2 “of God, the Father” vs. “of the Father”

Col 2:7 “in there/it in/with thanksgiving” vs. “in/with thanksgiving”

Col 2:7 “the faith” vs. “in the faith”

Col 2:12 case of the Greek word for “baptism”

Col 2:13 “you being dead” vs. “being dead”

Col 2:13 “forgiven us” vs. “forgiven you (plural)”

Col 2:18 “which he has seen” vs. which he has not seen”

Col 2:23 “humility of mind” vs. “humility”

Col 3:4 “your(plural) life” vs. “our life”

Col 3:6 “coming wrath of God on the sons of disobedience” vs. “coming wrath of God” (3 words)

Col 3:13 “lord” vs. “Christ” vs. “God”

Col 3:16 “Christ” vs. “Lord”

Col 3:16 “God” vs. “Lord”

Col 3:17 “God[,] Father” vs. “God and Father”

Col 3:21 “do not provoke” (apparently p46, Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, 2nd corrector Claromontanus, Byzantine Lectionary, Slavonic, Chrysostom) vs. “rouse to wrath” (Alexandrinus, Ephraemi Rescriptus, original Claromontanus)

Col 4:3 “mystery of Christ” vs. “mystery of God”

Col 4:8 “of us” vs. “of you” (1 letter difference)

Col 4:12 “Christ Jesus” (Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Alexandrinus, Bohairic Coptic) vs. “Christ” (p46, Claromontanus, Chrysostom)

Col 4:15 “her house” vs. “his house”

Col 4:18 “amen” at the end vs. absent

Some manuscripts have the postscript, “To Colossians written from Rome, by/of/through/via Tychicus and Onesimus” (9 words not counted in the totals)

Bibliography for this question: The Greek New Testament Third Edition by Kurt Aland et al., The Greek New Testament Fourth Edition by Kurt Aland et al., Interlinear Greek-English New Testament by George Ricker Berry, the Interlinear Bible by Jay P. Green, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary volume 8, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament 2nd edition by Bruce M. Metzger, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture by Bart Ehrman, The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts edited by Philip W. Comfort and David P. Barrett, The Expositor’s Greek Testament edited by W. Robertson Nicoll, and footnotes in the NASB, NIV, NKJV, and NRSV Bible translations. Manuscripts of the Greek Bible : An Introduction to Paleography by Bruce M. Metzger also has interesting information on the characteristics and quality of the copying of each manuscript.

 

Q: In Col, how do the early manuscripts compare with each other?

A: The table below shows each of the places in question, and the number says which variant is in each manuscript.

 

Place

words

p46

p61

Si

A

B

C

D

I

Sah

Boh

Iren

Origen

Ital b

Ital d

Luc

Vulgate

Pelag.

Eth

Chrysost

Byz

Arm

Geo

Syr P

Syr H

Syr Pal

Col 1:2a

4

-

-

2

2

1

2

1

 

1

 

-

-

(2)

-

-

1/2/3?

1

 

1

2

1?/2?

 

1

3

1

Col 1:2b

1

 

 

 

2

 

 

2

 

2?

2?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(2)

 

 

Col 1:3

1

 

1?

2

2

1

1

 

 

1

1

-

-

1

1

-

1?/2

2

1

(1)

2

2

2

-

-

-

Col 1:7

1

2

 

2

2

 

1

 

 

1

1

-

-

1

1

-

1

1

 

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

Col 1:12a

1

2

1

 

1

2

1

1

 

1?/3?

1/3?

-

1/ 3

1

1

-

 

3

 

 

1

3

1

3

4

1

Col 1:12b

1

1

1?

1

1

3

1

2

 

2

1

-

1

2

2

-

1/ 2?

2

1

1

1

2

1

1

1

1

Col 1:12c

1

 

 

1

2

1

2

2

 

1

2

-

2

2

2

-

 

1

2

2

2

1

2

2

2

1

Col 1:14a

4

 

 

1

1

1

1

1

 

1

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

1

1

2

1

1

2

1

Col 1:14b

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-

-

1

1

-

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Col 1:20

1

1

 

1

1

2A

1

2A

 

2A

1

-

2A

2A

2A

-

 

2A

2A

1/ 2A

1

2A

1

1

1

2A

Col 1:22

1

 

 

1

1

4

1

5

 

 

 

5

-

5

5

-

 

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

-

Col 2:2

1

1

 

 

6

1

6

4

 

2?

6

-

-

-

4

-

 

1

 

7

9

 

 

7

9

-

Col 2:7a

1

 

 

3

2

1

2

1

 

 

4

-

3

1

1

-

 

1

3

 

3

3

 

-

-

-

Col 2:7b

1

 

 

 

1

3

1

5

 

1?/4?

4

-

-

(4)

4

-

 

4

1

3

4

 

 

4

4

 

Col 2:12

1

1

 

2

2

1

2

1

 

 

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

2

3

3

3

3

 

Col 2:13a

1

2

 

1

1

2

1

 

 

1

1

-

2

3

3

-

 

3

1

3A

1/2/3A

3A

1/ 3

1

1

2

Col 2:13b

1

1

 

1

1

1

1

1

 

1?/2?

1

-

-

1

1

-

 

1

2

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

Col 2:18

1

1

 

1

1

1

3

1

 

1

1

-

1/ 3

1

1

1

 

3

3

2

3

3

3

 

 

 

Col 2:23

1

3

 

1

1

3

1

 

 

 

1

-

3

4

2

-

 

1

 

1

1

1

1

1

1

3

Col 3:4

1

1

 

1

 

2

 

1

 

2

1

-

1/ 2

1

1

-

 

1

1

1

2

1

2

2

2

1

Col 3:6

3

2

 

1

1

2

1

 

 

2

1

-

-

2

1

-

 

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

2

Col 3:13

1

1

 

3

1

1

2

1

 

2

2

-

-

1

1

-

1

1

2

 

2

4

1/ 2

2

2

-

Col 3:16

1

1

 

3

2

1

2

1

 

1

3

-

-

-

1

-

1/ 2?

1

2

1

1

1

1

(1)

1

-

Col 3:16

1

1

 

1

1

1

1

1

 

1

1/2?

-

-

1

1

-

1

-

 

1/ 2

2

1

1/ 2

1

1

-

Col 3:17

1

1?

 

1

1

1

1

2

 

1

1

-

-

1

2

-

2

2

1

2

2

2

2

1

2

-

Col 3:21

1

1?

 

1

2

1

2

2

 

 

 

-

-

1

2

-

1/ 2?

2

1

1

1

2

2

 

 

 

Col 4:3

1

1

 

1

1

2

1

1

 

1?/2?

1

-

-

1

1

-

1/ 2?

1

2

1

1

1

1

1

1

-

Col 4:8

1

3

 

2

1

1

3

1

 

1?/3?

3

-

-

1

1

-

2?

-

(1)

3

3

1

3

3

3

1

Col 4:12

1

3

 

1

1

1

1

3

1

2

1

-

-

3

3

-

 

1

3

3

3

1

 

3

3

2

Col 4:15

1

 

 

3

3

1

3

2

 

1

3

-

-

-

-

-

 

-

 

2

2

 

 

2

1

1?/3?

Col 4:18

1

 

 

1

1

1

1

2

 

1

2

-

-

2

2

-

 

-

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

1?/2?

Postscript

9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Place

words

p46

p61

Si

A

B

C

D

I

Sah

Boh

Iren

Origen

Ital b

Ital d

Lucif.

Vulgate

Pelag.

Eth

Chrysost

Byz

Arm

Geo

Syr P

Syr H

Syr

Pal