A Student's Guide to
New Testament Textual Variants

Paul's Letter to the Colossians

Colossians 1:2-4:15


Colossians 1:2:

TEXT: "peace from God our Father."
EVIDENCE: B D K Psi 33 81 1739 1881 most lat earlier vg syr(p,h) cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: B

NOTES: "peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."
EVIDENCE: S A C G I 104 614 630 1241 2495 Byz Lect three lat later vg cop(north)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV NIVn

OTHER: "peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord."
EVIDENCE: P one lat syr(h+)

COMMENTS: The additional words "and the Lord Jesus Christ" are found at the beginning of most of Paul's other letters. It is likely that copyists added them here to make this letter begin in this way also.

Colossians 1:7:

TEXT: "He is a faithful servant of Christ on plyour behalf"
EVIDENCE: Sc C Dc K P Psi 33 81 104 614 630 1241 1739 1881 Byz Lect most lat vg syr(p,h) cop
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASVn RSVn NASVn NIVn NEBn TEVn
RANK: C

NOTES: "He is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf"
EVIDENCE: p46 S* A B D* G 2495 two lat
TRANSLATIONS: ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV

COMMENTS: In later Greek the words "plyour" and "our" were pronounced alike. Although the reading "our" is found in early manuscripts, the large number of early translations that read "plyour" make it likely that copyists changed "plyour" to "our" under the influence of the preceding "our" and the following "us."

Colossians 1:12:

TEXT: "who has made plyou sufficient"
EVIDENCE: S B 104 1739 1881 cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn RSVn NIV NEB TEV
RANK: C

NOTES: "who has made us sufficient"
EVIDENCE: A C D G K P Psi 33 81vid 614 630 1241 2495 Byz Lect lat vg syr(p,h) cop(north)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV NASV NIVn

COMMENTS: In later Greek "plyou" and "us" were pronounced alike. It is possible that copyists changed "plyou" to "us" under the influence of the "us" in verse 13.

Colossians 1:14:

TEXT: "we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."
EVIDENCE: S A B C most Maj
TRANSLATIONS: ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: -

NOTES: "we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins."
EVIDENCE: 614 630 some Maj later vg syr(h)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV NIVn

COMMENTS: The phrase "through his blood" was apparently borrowed by some copyists from the parallel passage in Ephesians 1:7.

Colossians 1:22:

TEXT: "·he has thus now reconciled in his body"
EVIDENCE: S A C Dc K {P Psi} 048 {81} 104 614 630 1241 1739 1881 2495 Byz Lect most lat vg syr(p,h) cop
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: D

NOTES:plyou have thus now been reconciled in his body"
EVIDENCE: {p46} B {33}
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn

OTHER: "·thus now being reconciled in his body"
EVIDENCE: D* G four lat

COMMENTS: The evidence listed in braces is misspelled. The passive readings are difficult grammatically. Although it is possible that the original reading was in the passive voice and was changed to make for smoother reading, the majority of the evidence seems to favor the active voice of the text reading.

Colossians 2:2:

TEXT: "knowledge of God's mystery, of Christ"
EVIDENCE: p46 B
TRANSLATIONS: ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV?
RANK: B

NOTES: "knowledge of God's mystery, which is Christ"
EVIDENCE: D* four lat
TRANSLATIONS: TEV?

NOTES: "knowledge of the mystery of God, Father of Christ"
EVIDENCE: S* A C 048 four lat cop(north) some cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: TEVn

NOTES: "knowledge of the mystery of the God and Father and of Christ"
EVIDENCE: Dc K 104 614 630 2495 Byz Lect syr(h+) syr(p) ("God the Father")
TRANSLATIONS: KJV NIVn TEVn

NOTES: "knowledge of God's mystery"
EVIDENCE: Db H P 1881 one cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: TEVn

OTHER: "knowledge of the mystery of Christ"
EVIDENCE: 81 1241 1739

OTHER: "knowledge of the mystery of the God and Father of Christ"
EVIDENCE: Sb Psi syr(h)

COMMENTS: If the text reading is original, this offers the best explanation for the many other readings, most of which are expansions designed to remove the ambiguity of the text reading.

Colossians 2:7:

TEXT: "abounding in thanksgiving."
EVIDENCE: S* A C I(vid) 0208 33 81 1241 1739 1881 one lat earlier vg most cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: C

NOTES: "abounding in it in thanksgiving."
EVIDENCE: {Sb} B {D*} Dc H K 104 614 630 2495 Byz Lect {most lat} two lat {later vg} syr(p,h) cop(north) one cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASVn NASVn

OTHER: "abounding in it."
EVIDENCE: P Psi 048vid

COMMENTS: The evidence listed in braces has "in him" instead of "in it." Although it is possible that "in it" was accidently omitted when copyists' eyes jumped from "in" to "in," it is also possible that "in it" was borrowed by copyists from 4:2. It is likely that "in it" was changed to "in him" under the influence of the two previous uses of "in him" in the sentence.

Colossians 2:18:

TEXT: "taking his stand on what he has seen [in visions]"
EVIDENCE: p46 S* A B D* I 33 1739 three lat cop
TRANSLATIONS: ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: B

NOTES: "taking his stand on what he has not seen"
EVIDENCE: Sc C Dc {F G} K P Psi 104 614 630 1241 1881 2495 Byz Lect most lat vg syr(p,h)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASVn

COMMENTS: The evidence listed in braces uses a different word for "not" than that used in most witnesses that have it. The word is missing from early manuscripts of both the Alexandrian and Western types of ancient text. Perhaps it was added by copyists under the influence of the word "vainly."

Colossians 3:4:

TEXT: "·Whenever Christ [who is] plyour life appears"
EVIDENCE: p46 S C D* G P Psi 33 81 104 1881 lat vg cop(north)
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn NIV TEV
RANK: C

NOTES: "·Whenever Christ [who is] our life appears"
EVIDENCE: B Dc H K 614 630 1241 1739 2495 Byz Lect syr(p,h) cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV NASV NIVn NEB

COMMENTS: In later Greek "plyour" and "our" were pronounced alike, so the two readings are due to a mistake of the ear. Although it is possible that "our" was misunderstood as "plyour" due to the surrounding uses of "plyour" and "plyou," the text reading is supported by early manuscripts of both the Alexandrian and Western kinds of ancient text.

Colossians 3:6:

TEXT: "wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience."
EVIDENCE: S A C Dc G H I K P Psi 33 81 104 614 630 1241 1739 1881 2495 Byz Lect lat vg syr(p,h) cop(north)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSVn NASVn NIVn TEV
RANK: D

NOTES: "wrath of God is coming."
EVIDENCE: p46 B D*(vid) cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn RSV NASV NIV NEB TEVn

COMMENTS: The words "on the sons of disobedience" are enclosed in brackets in the UBS text. While it is possible that they were borrowed by copyists from the parallel passage in Ephesians 5:6, the fact that they are missing from only a few manuscripts makes it possible that they are original.

Colossians 3:13:

TEXT: "just as the Lord has forgiven plyou"
EVIDENCE: p46 A B D* G most lat vg
TRANSLATIONS: ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: C

NOTES: "just as Christ has forgiven plyou"
EVIDENCE: Sc C D K P Psi 81 104 614 630 1241 1739 1881 2495 Byz Lect two lat syr(p,h) cop
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASVn

OTHER: "just as God has forgiven plyou"
EVIDENCE: S*

OTHER: "just as God in Christ has forgiven plyou"
EVIDENCE: 33

COMMENTS: The readings "God" and "God in Christ" were apparently taken from Ephesians 4:32. Perhaps the reading "Christ" was influenced by the use of that name in verses 15 and 16. The text reading is supported by early manuscripts of both the Alexandrian and Western types of ancient text.

Colossians 3:16:

TEXT: "·The word of Christ must be indwelling"
EVIDENCE: p46 Sc B C2 D G K P Psi 81 614 630 1739 1881 2495 Byz Lect lat vg syr(p,h) one cop(north) cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: B

NOTES: "·The word of the Lord must be indwelling"
EVIDENCE: S* I most cop(north)
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn NASVn

NOTES: "·The word of God must be indwelling"
EVIDENCE: A C* 33 104 1241
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn NASVn

COMMENTS: Both the phrase "the word of the Lord" and "the word of God" are more common than "the word of Christ." It is probable therefore that the less common phrase was replaced by a more common phrase.

Colossians 3:16:

TEXT: "singing with thankfulness in plyour hearts to God."
EVIDENCE: p46 S A B C* D* G Psic 33 81 1739 1881 most lat vg syr(p,h) most cop(north) cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: B

NOTES: "singing with thankfulness in plyour hearts to the Lord."
EVIDENCE: C2 Dc K Psi* 104 614 630 1241 2495 Byz Lect four lat some cop(north)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV NEBn

COMMENTS: Apparently the reading "the Lord" was borrowed by copyists from the parallel passage in Ephesians 5:19.

Colossians 3:21:

TEXT: "do not be provoking plyour children [with nagging]"
EVIDENCE: p46vid S B D2 Psi Maj most lat most vg
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: -

NOTES: "do not be provoking plyour children to anger"
EVIDENCE: A C D* F G L 0198 33 81 104 1175 1241(supp) 1739margin 2495 some vg
TRANSLATIONS: NASVn

COMMENTS: Apparently the reading "provoking to anger" was borrowed by copyists from the parallel passage in Ephesians 6:4.

Colossians 4:15:

TEXT: "the brothers at Laodicea, and Nympha and the church in her house."
EVIDENCE: B 1739 1881 lat? vg? syr(h) one syr(pal) cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: C

NOTES: "the brothers at Laodicea, and Nymphas and the church in his house."
EVIDENCE: D G K Psi 614 630 1241 2495 Byz Lect lat? vg? syr(p)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV NEBn TEVn

NOTES: "the brothers at Laodicea, and Nympha and the church in their house."
EVIDENCE: S A C P 33 81 104 one syr(pal) cop(north)
TRANSLATIONS: ASV NASVn

COMMENTS: The names "Nymphas" (masculine) and "Nympha" (feminine) are spelled alike in the accusative case, except for accent marks, which are not used in the early manuscripts. The confusion in spelling caused some copyists to either change either "his" to "her" or "her" to "his." Copyists would probably be more likely to change "her" to "his" than vice versa. The reading "their" apparently came from copyists taking "the brothers" as the noun to which to the pronoun refers.


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