The Text of the New Testament: Recent Discoveries

Posted by Greg Monette on January 24 2014

The Bible Has a History!

When you open your personal Bible in whatever language, you are reading a translation from the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. What many people don’t realize is that when the King James Version (English translation) of the Bible was completed in 1611, the translators of this famous text had around half a dozen manuscripts to work with, the earliest going back no further than the tenth century. Since then scholars have been working in overdrive to translate thousands of newly discovered manuscripts, some dating as far back as the early-mid first century. It’s possible that we may even have a first century fragment of Mark’s Gospel. As it stands now, we have more than 5,800 ancient Greek manuscripts to work with when reconstructing the text of the earliest possible form of the New Testament.  

My friend Professor Daniel B. Wallace (Professor of New Testament at Dallas Theological Seminary) is the Executive Director of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts. The goal of the center is to digitally photograph every known Greek New Testament manuscript in the world for the purpose of preserving the contents of the text for future generations. This is a crucial work for the study of the Bible and for textual criticism (the study of reconstructing the earliest form of a text when the originals no longer exist). I invited Dan to be one of the keynote speakers at the annual Religion Soup event in Halifax, Nova Scotia that I organize (in partnership with the Navigators of Canada and Acadia Divinity College). Dan gave two fascinating presentations on the text of the New Testament. The first was titled “Recent Discoveries of New Testament Manuscripts.” I provide the video here for your personal education and enjoyment!

Recent Discoveries of New Testament Manuscripts: Daniel B. Wallace


For anyone interested in the study of Textual Criticism (how we got the New Testament), and New Testament Manuscripts, I recommend the following books: 

  1. B. Metzger & B. Ehrman, The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration
  2. C. E. Hill & M. J. Kruger (eds.), The Early Text of the New Testament
  3. P. W. Comfort & D. P. Barrett, The Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts 

​Lots of work yet to be done!

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