A Student's Guide to
New Testament Textual Variants

Paul's First Letter to the Thessalonians

1 Thessalonians 2:7-5:27


1 Thessalonians 2:7:

TEXT: "·But we were infants in plyour midst"
EVIDENCE: p65 S* B C* D* G I Psi* 104* 2495 lat vg cop(north) one cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn RSVn NASVn TEVn
RANK: C

NOTES: "·But we were gentle in plyour midst"
EVIDENCE: Sc A C2 Dc K P Psic 33 81 104c 614 630 1241 1739 1881 Byz Lect syr(p,h) most cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV

COMMENTS: There is only one letter difference between the Greek words for "infants" and "gentle." That letter is also found at the end of the previous word. Thus MENNHPIOI may have been read as MENHPIOI or vice versa. Although "gentle" seems to make better sense, the harsh switching of metaphors from "infants" to "mother" would have prompted copyists to have misread (or misheard) "infants" as "gentle."

1 Thessalonians 2:12:

TEXT: "God, who calls plyou into his [own] kingdom"
EVIDENCE: B D F G H K L P Psi 33 81 614 630 1241 1739 1881 2495 Byz Lect four lat
TRANSLATIONS: ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: C

NOTES: "God, who called plyou into his [own] kingdom"
EVIDENCE: S A 104 most lat vg syr(p,h) cop
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASVn

COMMENTS: Perhaps "calls" was changed to "called" under the influence of Galatians 1:6.

1 Thessalonians 2:15:

TEXT: "·who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets"
EVIDENCE: S A B D* G I P 0208 33 81 1739 1881 lat vg cop
TRANSLATIONS: ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: A

NOTES: "·who killed the Lord Jesus and [their] own prophets"
EVIDENCE: Dc K Psi 104 614 630 1241 2495 Byz Lect syr(p,h)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV NEBn

COMMENTS: The word "own" may have been borrowed by copyists from verse 14. The text reading is found in early manuscripts of both the Alexandrian and Western types of ancient text.

1 Thessalonians 3:2:

TEXT: "our brother and God's fellow-worker in the gospel"
EVIDENCE: D* 33 three lat
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn NASV NEB TEV
RANK: B

NOTES: "our brother and fellow-worker in the gospel"
EVIDENCE: B 1962
TRANSLATIONS: NEBn

NOTES: "our brother and God's servant in the gospel"
EVIDENCE: S A P Psi 81 1241 1739 1881 most lat vg syr(h) cop
TRANSLATIONS: ASV RSV

NOTES: "our brother and God's servant and our fellow-worker in the gospel"
EVIDENCE: Dc K 104 614 630 2495 Byz Lect syr(p,h+)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV

COMMENTS: The reading that best explains the origin of the others is "God's fellow-worker." Copyists who objected to this equality with God either omitted "God's" or changed "fellow-worker" to "servant." The reading "God's servant and our fellow-worker" is a combination of two readings.

1 Thessalonians 3:13:

TEXT: "advent of our Lord Jesus with all his saints. Amen."
EVIDENCE: S*,b A D* 81 most lat vg some cop(north)
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn
RANK: C

NOTES: "advent of our Lord Jesus with all his saints."
EVIDENCE: Sa B Dc G K Psi 33 104 614 630 1241 1739 1881 2495 Byz Lect two lat syr(p,h,pal) most cop(north) cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV

COMMENTS: The word "Amen" is enclosed in brackets in the UBS text. Although it is possible that "Amen" was added because it came at the end of a lectionary reading, it is also possible that copyists omitted it because it came in the middle of the body of the letter.

1 Thessalonians 5:4:

TEXT: "for that day to overtake plyou like a thief."
EVIDENCE: S D G K P Psi 0226vid 33 81 104 614 630 1241 1739 1881 2495 Byz Lect lat vg syr(p,h) some cop(north) cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: A

NOTES: "for that day to overtake plyou like thieves."
EVIDENCE: A B most cop(north)
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn NASVn NEBn

COMMENTS: The sense of "like a thief" is "like a thief overtakes someone," not "like someone overtakes a thief." Apparently some copyists who misunderstood the text in this way changed "thief" to "thieves" to make it agree with the plural "plyou."

1 Thessalonians 5:21:

TEXT: "prophesies, ·but keep examining all things"
EVIDENCE: Sc B D G K P Psi 1241 1739 1881 2495 some Byz most lat vg syr(h) some cop(north) cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn RSV NASV NEB
RANK: C

NOTES: "prophesies; ·keep examining all things"
EVIDENCE: S* A 33 81 104 614 630 some Byz Lect one lat syr(p,pal) most cop(north)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV NIV TEV

COMMENTS: It is possible that the word "but" was accidently omitted through a mistake of the eye, when copyists read PANTADEDOKI as PANTADOKI.

1 Thessalonians 5:25:

TEXT: "·Brothers, keep praying for us also."
EVIDENCE: p30 B D* 33 81 104 1739 1881 two lat syr(h,pal) cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn NASVn NEB TEV
RANK: C

NOTES: "·Brothers, keep praying for us."
EVIDENCE: S A Dc G K P Psi 614 630 1241 2495 Byz Lect most lat vg syr(p) cop(north)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV NASV NIV

COMMENTS: The word "also" is enclosed in brackets in the UBS text. Although it is possible that the word "also" was added from Colossians 4:3, it is also possible that it was omitted as unnecessary by copyists who failed to see the reference to prayer in verse 17.

1 Thessalonians 5:27:

TEXT: "[this] letter be read to all the brothers."
EVIDENCE: S* B D F G some lat cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: B

NOTES: "[this] letter be read to all the holy brothers."
EVIDENCE: p46vid Sc A K P Psi 33 81 104 614 630 1241 1739 1881 2495 Byz Lect some lat vg syr(p,h,pal) cop(north)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASVn

COMMENTS: Since the Greek words for "the" and "holy" end with the same three letters, it is possible that "holy" was accidently omitted by copyists when their eyes jumped from the end of "the" to the end of "holy." On the other hand, it is also possible that "holy" was borrowed by copyists from verse 26.



Paul's Second Letter to the Thessalonians

2 Thessalonians 2:3-3:16


2 Thessalonians 2:3:

TEXT: "and the man of lawlessness is revealed"
EVIDENCE: S B 81 104 1739 1881 one lat cop
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn RSV NASV NIV NEB ("wickedness") TEV ("the Wicked One")
RANK: C

NOTES: "and the man of sin is revealed"
EVIDENCE: A D G K L P Psi 614 630 1241 2495 Byz Lect most lat vg syr(p,h)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSVn NASVn NIVn

COMMENTS: Although it is possible that some Alexandrian copyists borrowed "lawlessness" from verse 7, it is also possible that other copyists changed the rare word "lawlessness" into the common word "sin."

2 Thessalonians 2:8:

TEXT: "whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath"
EVIDENCE: S A D* G P Psi 33 81 104 1241 lat vg syr(p,h) most cop
TRANSLATIONS: ASV RSV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: C

NOTES: "whom the Lord will kill with the breath"
EVIDENCE: B Dc K 614 630 1739 1881 2495 Byz Lect one cop(north)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASVn NASV

COMMENTS: The name "Jesus" is enclosed in brackets in the UBS text. On the one hand, copyists had a tendency to expand the name of the Lord and "Jesus" may have been borrowed from 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8. On the other hand, "Jesus" may have been accidently omitted when copyists' eyes jumped from the end of "Lord" to the end of "Jesus" (both end with the same letter).

2 Thessalonians 2:8:

TEXT: "whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath"
EVIDENCE: A B P 81 104 lat? vg? cop?
TRANSLATIONS: ASV RSV NASV NIV? ("overthrow") NEB ("destroy") TEV
RANK: C

NOTES: "whom the Lord Jesus will consume with the breath"
EVIDENCE: {S D*(vid)} Dc {F G} K Psi {33} 614 630 1241 {1739} 1881 2495 Byz Lect lat? vg? syr(p,h) cop?
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASVn NIV?

COMMENTS: The evidence listed above in braces has a rare form of the verb that is only one letter different from the text reading. The other evidence supporting "consume" represents a grammatical correction to the more usual form of the verb. Although it is possible that the text reading was produced by copyists when they made the passage read like the similar passage in Isaiah 11:4 (which in the Greek Old Testament has "will kill"), it is also possible that the rare grammatical form of "will consume" was produced accidently through a mistake of the eyes or the ears.

2 Thessalonians 2:11:

TEXT: "God sends them a working of error"
EVIDENCE: S* A B D* F G 33 1739 1881 one lat earlier vg one cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: ASV RSV NASVn NIV NEB TEV
RANK: -

NOTES: "God will send them a working of error"
EVIDENCE: S2 D2 Psi Maj most lat later vg most cop
TRANSLATIONS: KJV NASV*

COMMENTS: There is only one letter difference between the future and the present tense. The text reading is found in early manuscripts of both the Alexandrian and Western kinds of ancient text.

2 Thessalonians 2:13:

TEXT: "God picked plyou as firstfruits for salvation"
EVIDENCE: B F G P 33 81 1739 1881 some lat vg syr(h) cop(north)
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn RSVn NASVn NIVn NEBn TEV
RANK: C

NOTES: "God picked plyou from the beginning for salvation"
EVIDENCE: S D K L Psi 104 614 630 1241 2495 Byz Lect some lat syr(p) cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEVn

COMMENTS: There is only one letter's difference between "as firstfruits" and "from the beginning." The UBS Textual Committee preferred "firstfruits" because the prepositional phrase "from the beginning" is not used elsewhere by Paul while he uses the word "firstfruits" six other times, and in two of those places some copyists have changed "firstfruits" to "from the beginning."

2 Thessalonians 3:6:

TEXT: "the tradition that they received from us."
EVIDENCE: S* {Sc} A D* {Dc K L P Psi} 33 {81 104 614 630 1241 1739 1881 Byz Lect} lat vg syr(p) one cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: ASV NASVn TEV
RANK: C

NOTES: "the tradition that plyou received from us."
EVIDENCE: B F G 2495 one lat syr(h) most cop
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn RSV NASV NIV NEB

OTHER: "the tradition that he received from us."
EVIDENCE: five Byz manuscripts

TRANSLATIONS: KJV
COMMENTS: The evidence for the text reading is spelled two different ways. The UBS text follows the spelling of an Alexandrian dialect of Greek. The evidence listed in braces has a more usual form of the word. The third person plural was probably changed to the second person plural by copyists because of the great number of references to "plyou" in the surrounding verses.

2 Thessalonians 3:16:

TEXT: "give plyou peace at all times in every way."
EVIDENCE: S Ac B Dc K P Psi 81 104 614 630 1241 1739 1881 2495 Byz Lect syr(p,h) cop
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: B

NOTES: "give plyou peace at all times in every place."
EVIDENCE: A* D* F G 33 lat vg
TRANSLATIONS: NEBn

COMMENTS: Some copyists have apparently replaced "in every way" with "in every place," an expression found several times elsewhere (see 1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 2:14; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 Timothy 2:8).


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