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Weighing the Discrepancies

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Lesson

The vast majority of NT Variants are minor, easily explained scribal errors that don’t affect the meaning of the text. Among 400,000 textual variants of the NT, over 99% make no difference to the meaning, and less than 1% are both meaningful and viable.

Outline

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Four groupings

B. Over 99% of all variants fall into the first three categories

II. VIABLE BUT NOT MEANINGFUL

A. Differences in Spelling

1. Most common (over 70%)

2. Movable nu

3. Spelling of John’s name

B. Differences in Word Order

C. Differences in use of the Definite Article (“the”) with a proper name

D. Example of “John loves Mary” (384x)

III. MEANINGFUL BUT NOT VIABLE

A. Easy to detect, especially the unintentional mistakes made by early scribes

B. Examples

1. 1 Thessalonians 2:7

2. John 1:30

IV. NOT MEANINGFUL AND NOT VIABLE

Skipped discussion

V. MEANINGFUL AND VIABLE

A. Smallest group of variants and less than 1% of all textual variants

B. Romans 8:2

C. Philippians 1:14

VI. TO SUM UP

A. Among the 400,000 textual variants in NT MSS and over 99% make virtually no difference at all

B. Less than 1% are both meaningful and viable (about one-fourth of one percent)

C. How meaningful are they?