A Student's Guide to
New Testament Textual Variants

The Letter to the Hebrews

Hebrews 1:2-13:25


Hebrews 1:2:

TEXT: "·he has at the last of these days spoken"
EVIDENCE: most other manuscripts
TRANSLATIONS: ASV NASVn
RANK: -

NOTES: "·he has in these last days spoken"
EVIDENCE: Psi 629 lat
TRANSLATIONS: KJV RSV? NASV* NIV? NEB* TEV?

COMMENTS: Some copyists (and modern translations) changed the text reading to the more usual expression "these last days."

Hebrews 1:8:

TEXT: "uprightness [is] the scepter of your kingdom"
EVIDENCE: A D K P Psi 33 81 104 614 630 1241 1739 1881 2495 Byz Lect lat vg syr(p,h) cop
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV NASVn NIV TEV
RANK: C

NOTES: "uprightness [is] the scepter of his kingdom"
EVIDENCE: p46 S B
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn RSVn NASV NEB TEVn

OTHER: "uprightness [is] the scepter of the kingdom"
EVIDENCE: syr(pal)

COMMENTS: Although it is possible that "his" was original and that most copyists changed it to "you" to agree with Psalm 45:7 from which the quotation is taken, the fact that the great majority of manuscripts from different text types read "his" make it more likely that "you" is original.

Hebrews 1:12:

TEXT: "you will roll them up, like a cloak, and they will be changed."
EVIDENCE: p46 S A B {D* D(copy)} 1739 {two lat}
TRANSLATIONS: ASV {RSVn} NASV {NIV NEB TEV}
RANK: C

NOTES: "you will roll them up, and they will be changed."
EVIDENCE: Dc K P Psi 33 81 104 614 630 1241 1881 2495 Byz Lect most lat vg syr(p,h,pal) cop
TRANSLATIONS: KJV RSV

COMMENTS: The evidence (and modern translations) listed above in braces either moves "and" in front of "like" or omits it. The fact that the words "like a cloak" are missing from many manuscripts is due to their not being found in Psalm 102:26 which is being quoted in this place. Apparently copyists omitted them here to make this quotation read exactly like the psalm.

Hebrews 2:7:

TEXT: "you crowned him with glory and honor, ·you put"
EVIDENCE: p46 B Dc K L 614 630 1241 2495 Byz Lect syr(h)
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn RSV NASVn NIV NEB TEV
RANK: C

NOTES: "you crowned him with glory and honor, and set him over the works of your hands, ·you put"
EVIDENCE: S A C D* P Psi 33 81 104 1739 1881 lat vg syr(p,h+) cop
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSVn NASV TEVn

COMMENTS: The extra phrase seems to have been added by copyists from Psalm 8:7, which is being quoted here.

Hebrews 2:9:

TEXT: "so that by the grace of God he might taste death"
EVIDENCE: p46 S A B C D K P Psi 33 81 104 614 630 1241 1881 2495 Byz Lect lat most vg most syr(p) syr(h,pal) cop
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: B

NOTES: "so that without God he might taste death"
EVIDENCE: 0121b 424c 1739* one vg some syr(p)
TRANSLATIONS: NEBn

COMMENTS: There are only three letters' difference between the two readings. Perhaps the reading "without God" arose when copyists misread the text reading.

Hebrews 3:2:

TEXT: "Moses also [was faithful] in all God's house"
EVIDENCE: S A C D K P Psi 33 81 104 614 630 1241 1739 1881 2495 Byz Lect lat vg syr(p,h)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSVn NASV NIV
RANK: D

NOTES: "Moses also [was faithful] in God's house"
EVIDENCE: p13 p46vid B cop
TRANSLATIONS: RSV NEB TEV

COMMENTS: The word translated "all" is in brackets in the UBS text. It is possible that "all" was added here by copyists either from verse 5 or from the Greek Old Testament of Numbers 12:7. On the other, it is also possible that "all" was omitted by a few Alexandrian copyists and translators to make it parallel to the statement about Jesus being faithful over God's house.

Hebrews 3:6:

TEXT: "hold fast [our] boldness and the boast [that we have] of our hope."
EVIDENCE: p13 p46 B cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: RSV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: C

NOTES: "hold fast [our] boldness and the boast [that we have] of our hope firm until the end."
EVIDENCE: S A C D K P Psi 33 81 104 614 630 1241 1739 1881 2495 Byz Lect lat vg syr(p,h,pal) cop(north)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSVn NASV

COMMENTS: In spite of the fact that "firm until the end" is in most manuscripts here, it seems likely that it was borrowed by copyists from verse 14, especially since "firm" is in the feminine gender, as in verse 14, but it seems to refer to "boast" which is neuter gender.

Hebrews 4:2:

TEXT: "because they were not united by faith with those who listened."
EVIDENCE: p13vid p46 A B C D* {Dc K P} Psi 33 81 {614 630 1241} 1739 {1881 2495 Byz Lect} some lat earlier vg syr(h) some cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn RSVn NASVn NIVn
RANK: C

NOTES: "because it was not united with faith within those who heard."
EVIDENCE: S some lat later vg syr(p) most cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV

COMMENTS: The evidence listed in braces represents a different spelling. The same Greek word can be translated "heard" or "listened." The only difference in the reading regards the word "united." The text reading is accusative plural and the reading in the notes is nominative singular. The text reading is more difficult to understand, which probably explains why copyists changed it to an easier construction.

Hebrews 4:3:

TEXT: "·For we who have believed"
EVIDENCE: p13 p46 B D K P Psi 33 614 630 1241 2495 Byz Lect lat vg syr(h) cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV NASV
RANK: B

NOTES: "·Therefore we who have believed"
EVIDENCE: S A C 81 104 1739 1881 cop(north)
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn NASVn TEV

NOTES: "·But we who have believed"
EVIDENCE: syr(p)
TRANSLATIONS: NIV

COMMENTS: The NEB omits any conjunction here. Apparently "therefore" was borrowed from verses 1, 11, 14, and 16. The reading "but" or "now" is translational, not textual.

Hebrews 6:2:

TEXT: "of faith toward God, ·of teaching about baptizings"
EVIDENCE: S A C D I K P 33 81 104 614 630 1241 1739 1881 2495 Byz Lect most lat vg syr(p,h) cop
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSVn NASV NEB TEV
RANK: B

NOTES: "of faith toward God, ·[that is], teaching about baptizings"
EVIDENCE: p46 B two lat
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn RSV NIV NEBn

COMMENTS: The reading in the notes, which makes "teaching" in apposition with "faith" was probably a stylistic improvement made by copyists to lessen the number of genitives in the passage.

Hebrews 6:3:

TEXT: "·And this we will do if God permits."
EVIDENCE: p46 S B I K 33 614 630 1241 1739 1881 some Byz Lect most lat vg syr(p,h) cop
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: B

NOTES: "·And let us do this if God permits."
EVIDENCE: A C D P Psi 81 104 2495 some Byz one lat
TRANSLATIONS: RSVn

COMMENTS: The difference between the two readings is the difference between a short "o" (text reading) and a long "o" (reading in the notes). The variation is thus probably due to a mistake of the ear, perhaps because of the preceding exhortation.

Hebrews 8:8:

TEXT: "·For he finds fault with them and says:"
EVIDENCE: S* A D* I K P Psi 33 81 2495 lat vg cop
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: C

NOTES: "·For he finds fault and says to them"
EVIDENCE: p46 Sc B Dc 104 614 630 1241 1739 1881 Byz Lect
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn NIVn

COMMENTS: The difference between the two readings is only one letter in the word "them." It determines whether the word should be translated "with them" or "to them." The reading in the notes could also be translated "with them" and taken with "finds fault." A majority of the UBS Textual Committee felt that the text reading was slightly more likely to be changed to the reading in the notes than vice versa.

Hebrews 8:11:

TEXT: "they each shall not teach his fellow-citizen and"
EVIDENCE: p46 S A B D K 33 614 1241 1739 1881 2495 Byz Lect two lat syr(p,h) cop
TRANSLATIONS: ASV RSV NASV NEB TEV
RANK: B

NOTES: "they each shall not teach his neighbor"
EVIDENCE: P 81 104 630 most lat vg
TRANSLATIONS: KJV NIV NEBn

COMMENTS: Although it is possible that copyists changed the word "neighbor" to "fellow-citizen" so that it would read like the passage in the Greek Old Testament from which it is quoted, it is also possible that the more common word "neighbor" was substituted for "fellow-citizen."

Hebrews 9:11:

TEXT: "a high priest of the good things that have happened"
EVIDENCE: p46 B D* 1739 two lat syr(p,h,pal)
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn RSV NASVn NIV NEB TEV
RANK: C

NOTES: "a high priest of the future good things"
EVIDENCE: S A Dc I(vid) K P 33 81 104 614 630 1241 1881 2495 Byz Lect most lat vg cop
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSVn NASV NIVn NEBn TEVn

COMMENTS: Perhaps the phrase "future good things" was borrowed by copyists from Hebrews 10:1. The text reading is found in early manuscripts of both the Alexandrian and Western types of ancient text.

Hebrews 9:14:

TEXT: "cleanse our conscience from dead works"
EVIDENCE: A D* K P 1739* some lat later vg syr(p) most cop(north)
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn RSVn NASVn NIV NEB TEV
RANK: C

NOTES: "cleanse plyour conscience from dead works"
EVIDENCE: S Dc 33 81 104 630 1241 1739c 1881 2495 Byz Lect some lat earlier vg syr(h,pal) some cop(north) cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV NASV

OTHER: "cleanse the conscience from dead works"
EVIDENCE: 614

COMMENTS: The UBS Textual Committee preferred the reading "our" because elsewhere the writer uses direct address (that is, "plyou") only in the exhortation sections of the letter.

Hebrews 9:17:

TEXT: "since it is never in force"
EVIDENCE: all other manuscripts
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: -

NOTES: "since it is not then in force"
EVIDENCE: S* D*
TRANSLATIONS: NASVn

COMMENTS: The difference in the two readings is between a "P" and a "T"; since the Greek "P" or Pi is written like a "T" with two vertical strokes, the reading in the notes is undoubtedly due to a mistake of the eye.

Hebrews 9:19:

TEXT: "he took the blood of calves and he-goats, with water"
EVIDENCE: S* A C P 33 81 104 614 630 Byz Lect most lat vg cop
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV NASV TEV
RANK: C

NOTES: "he took the blood of calves, with water"
EVIDENCE: p46 Sc K L Psi 1241 1739 1881 2495 syr(p,h,pal)
TRANSLATIONS: NIV NEB

OTHER: "he took the blood of he-goats and calves, with water"
EVIDENCE: D 365 three lat

COMMENTS: The words "and he-goats" are in brackets in the UBS text. Although it is possible that they were added from verse 12, since the words "calves" and "he-goats" end with the same two letters, it is more likely that they were accidently omitted due to a mistake of the eye.

Hebrews 10:1:

TEXT: "future good things [and] not the image itself of these things"
EVIDENCE: S A C D H(vid) K P Psi 33 81 104 614 630 1241 1739 1881 2495 Byz Lect lat vg syr cop
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: A

NOTES: "future good things and the image of these things"
EVIDENCE: p46
TRANSLATIONS: NEBn

COMMENTS: The replacement of "not itself" with "and" is obviously not original, for it misses the point that the writer is making.

Hebrews 10:1:

TEXT: "it can never, by the same sacrifices"
EVIDENCE: p46 D*,c H K Psi 630 1739 1881 some Byz most lat vg
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: C

NOTES: "they can never, by the same sacrifices"
EVIDENCE: S A C Db P 33 81 104 614 1241 2495 some Byz Lect two lat syr(p,h) cop
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn NASVn

COMMENTS: Apparently the change from "it can" to "they can" was influenced by the verb "they offer" later on in the verse.

Hebrews 10:11:

TEXT: "·And every priest stands every day ministering"
EVIDENCE: p13 p46 S D K Psi 33 81 1241 1739 1881 2495 Byz Lect lat vg syr(h) cop(north)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: B

NOTES: "·And every high priest stands every day ministering"
EVIDENCE: A C P 104 614 630 syr(p,h+) cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn

COMMENTS: Apparently the word "high priest" was borrowed by copyists from Hebrews 5:1 or 8:3.

Hebrews 10:34:

TEXT: "since plyou know that plyou plyourselves had better"
EVIDENCE: p13 p46 S A H(vid) Psi 33 81 1739 2495 lat vg syr(p,h)?
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn RSV NIV
RANK: B

NOTES: "since plyou know that plyou had for plyourselves better"
EVIDENCE: D K 104 614 630 1241 Byz Lect syr(p,h)?
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV NASV

NOTES: "since plyou know that plyou had better"
EVIDENCE: P cop?
TRANSLATIONS: NEB TEV

OTHER: "since plyou know that plyou had in plyourselves better"
EVIDENCE: 1881

COMMENTS: The text reading is found in early manuscripts of both the Alexandrian and Western types of ancient text. It may be literally translated "plyou had as to plyourselves." Since it may also be translated "plyou had plyourselves as better and abiding belongings," copyists who understood it in this way were tempted to change it.

Hebrews 10:38:

TEXT: "·but my righteous one shall live by faith"
EVIDENCE: p46 S A H* 33 1175 1739 most lat most vg one cop(north) cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV ("righteous people")
RANK: C

NOTES: "·but the righteous one shall live by faith"
EVIDENCE: p13 Dc Hc I K P Psi 81 104 614 630 1241 1881 2495 Byz Lect two lat some vg syr(pal) some cop(north)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASVn NIVn? ("the righteous shall")

OTHER: "·but the righteous one shall live by my faith"
EVIDENCE: D* two lat syr(p,h)

COMMENTS: Although it is possible that "my" was added by copyists from Habakkuk 2:4 in the Greek Old Testament, it is more likely that it was omitted to make it read like Romans 1:17 and Galatians 3:11.

Hebrews 11:4:

TEXT: "he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts"
EVIDENCE: p13* p46 Sc Dc K P Psi 81 104 614 630 1241 1739 1881 2495 Byz Lect most lat vg syr(p,h) cop(north)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: C

NOTES: "he was righteous, testifying about his gifts to God"
EVIDENCE: S* A D* 33
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn ("text . . . uncertain")

OTHER: "he was righteous, God testifying about gifts to him"
EVIDENCE: p13c cop(south)

OTHER: "he was righteous, testifying about gifts to God"
EVIDENCE: three lat

COMMENTS: The reading "to God" was probably borrowed by copyists from the first part of the verse.

Hebrews 11:11:

TEXT: "·By faith even barren Sarah herself"
EVIDENCE: p46 D*,b P Psi 81 104 1241 1739 1881 2495 lat vg syr(p,h) cop
TRANSLATIONS: NIV TEV
RANK: D

NOTES: "·By faith even Sarah herself"
EVIDENCE: p13vid S A Dc K 33 614 630 Byz Lect
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV NASV NIVn NEB TEVn

COMMENTS: Although it is possible that "barren" was added by copyists, it is more likely that it was accidently omitted through a mistake of the eye, since the words translated "Sarah" and "barren" end in the same two letters and "Sarah" precedes "barren" in Greek. The question as to whether Sarah or Abraham is the subject of the sentence is a translational one, not a textual one.

Hebrews 11:37:

TEXT: "they were sawn in two, they died from murder"
EVIDENCE: p46 1241 syr(p) cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: RSV NASVn NIV NEB TEV
RANK: D

NOTES: "they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they died from murder"
EVIDENCE: p13vid {S} A Dc K {P} Psi? ("burned") {048 33 81} 104 614 630 1739 1881 {2495} Byz Lect lat most vg {syr(h)} syr(pal) cop(north)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSVn NASV {NIVn NEBn}

OTHER: "they were tempted, they were tempted, they died from murder"
EVIDENCE: D* some vg (have only one "they were tempted")

COMMENTS: The evidence and translations listed above in braces gives "they were tempted" before "they were sawn in two." Two manuscripts read "they were burned" instead of "they were sawn in two" (the words are only one letter different). The Greek word for "they were sawn in two" is EPRISTHESAN, while the Greek word for "they were tempted" is EPEIRASTHESAN. It is easy to see how one of them could have been accidently omitted through a mistake of the eye. On the other hand, it is also possible that the rare word "they were sawn in two" was accidently read by copyists as the common word "they were tempted" and thus was accidently added to the list when copyists saw it twice.

Hebrews 12:1:

TEXT: "and sin which clings so closely, and"
EVIDENCE: p13 S A D K P Psi 33 81 104 614 630 1241 1881 2495 Byz Lect most lat vg syr(p,h) cop
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: B

NOTES: "and sin which easily distracts, and"
EVIDENCE: p46 1739 three lat?
TRANSLATIONS: NEBn

COMMENTS: The reading in the notes apparently originated when EUPERISTATON was misread as EUPERISPASTON.

Hebrews 12:3:

TEXT: "endured such opposition by sinners against himself"
EVIDENCE: A Dc K P Psi* 104 614 630 1241 1739c 1881 2495 Byz Lect five lat later vg syr(h)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV NASV
RANK: D

NOTES: "endured such opposition by sinners against themselves"
EVIDENCE: p13 p46 S D* Psic 048 33 81 1739* one lat earlier vg syr(p) cop(north)
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn

NOTES: "endured such opposition by sinners"
EVIDENCE: cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: NIV NEB TEV

COMMENTS: Although it is possible that the difficulty in understanding the plural led to its being changed by copyists to the singular, a majority of the UBS Textual Committee felt that it was so difficult to understand that it could not be original. The omission of the prepositional phrase by several translations is probably translational rather than textual.

Hebrews 12:18:

TEXT: "plyou have not come to what may be felt of"
EVIDENCE: p46 S A C 048 33 81 lat earlier vg syr(p) cop
TRANSLATIONS: {ASV} RSV {NASV NEB}
RANK: C

NOTES: "plyou have not come to a mountain that may be felt of"
EVIDENCE: D K P Psi 104 614 630 1241 1739 1881 2495 Byz Lect later vg syr(h)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV NIV TEV

COMMENTS: The translations in braces have either "mountain" in italics, indicating that the word is not in the Greek text, or "Sinai" (NEB). Since NIV and TEV do not use italics to indicate added words, it is likely that they also follow a text that omits "mountain." Since the word "mountain" is found both before and after "felt of" in the evidence supporting it, it is likely that it was added by copyists to make the meaning clear.

Hebrews 13:15:

TEXT: "·Through him then let us always keep offering"
EVIDENCE: Sc A C Dc K 81 104 614 630 1241 1739 1881 2495 Byz Lect most lat vg syr(h) cop
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: D

NOTES: "·Through him let us always keep offering"
EVIDENCE: p46 S* D* P Psi one lat syr(p)
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn

COMMENTS: The Greek word for "then" or "therefore" is enclosed in brackets in the UBS text because of the early manuscripts that omit it. Although it is possible that the word was added by copyists to make a smoother transition, it is more likely that it was accidently omitted when copyists read AUTOUOUNANA- as AUTOUANA-.

Hebrews 13:21:

TEXT: "·equip plyou with everything good"
EVIDENCE: p46 S D* Psi lat vg cop(north)
TRANSLATIONS: ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: A

NOTES: "·equip plyou with every good work"
EVIDENCE: A ("work and word") C Dc K P 33 81 104 614 630 1241 1739 1881 2495 Byz Lect syr(p,h) cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASVn

COMMENTS: The addition of the word "work" seems to be a homiletic gloss by copyists. The extra words "and word" in manuscript A are taken from 2 Thessalonians 2:17.

Hebrews 13:21:

TEXT: "working in us that which is pleasing in his sight"
EVIDENCE: p46 S A D K 33 81 104 614 1241 1739 1881 some Byz syr(p) cop
TRANSLATIONS: ASV RSVn NASV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: B

NOTES: "working in plyou that which is pleasing in his sight"
EVIDENCE: C P Psi 630 2495 some Byz Lect lat vg syr(h)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASVn RSV

COMMENTS: In later Greek the words for "us" and "plyou" were pronounced alike. It is likely that the change from "us" to "plyou" was due to a mistake of the ear, when copyists were influenced by the "plyou" in the first part of the verse.

Hebrews 13:25:

TEXT: "·Grace be with all of plyou."
EVIDENCE: p46 S* I(vid) 33 cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV
RANK: C

NOTES: "·Grace be with all of plyou. Amen."
EVIDENCE: Sc A C D* ("of the saints") Dc H K P Psi 81 104 614 630 1241 ("of us") 1739 1881 2495 Byz Lect lat vg syr(p,h) cop
TRANSLATIONS: NASV NIV NEB TEV

COMMENTS: It was common for copyists to add "Amen" at the end of a letter.


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