Bible Query Early Manuscripts of 1 Thessalonians

Feb. 12, 2019 version

 

Q: In 1 Thess, what are early New Testament manuscripts we have preserved today?

A: Here are many of them.

p30 1 Thess 4:12-13,16-17; 5:3,8-10,12-18,25-28; 2 Thess 1:1-2; 2:1,9-11 (early 3rd century)

3rd century - 1968 - The Text of the New Testament.

p46 Chester Beatty II 100-150 A.D. has 17 verses of 1 Thessalonians. Specifically, it has 1 Thess 1:1; 1:9-2:3; 5:5-9,23-28 and other parts of Paul's letters and Hebrews. The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts has a photograph of part of p46 on p.192. It also says on p.197-198 that the quality and the stichiometric marks show that a professional scribe wrote this.

First half of 3rd century - 1936 - Frederic G. Kenyon according to The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts.

2nd century, 200 A.D. - 1935 - Ulrich Wilken according to The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts.

200 A.D. - 1968 - The Text of the New Testament.

81-96 A.D. - 1988 - Young Kyu Kim according to The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts.

About 200 A.D. - 1975 - Aland et al. Third edition.

About 200 A.D. - 1998 - Aland et al. Fourth revised edition.

Early to middle 2nd century - 1999 - The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts. This is based in part on the handwriting being very similar to Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 8 (late first or early second century) and Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 2337 (late first century).

p61 Romans 16:23,25-27; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2, 2-6; 5:1-3, 5-6, 9-13; Philippians 3:5-9, 12-16, Colossians 1:3-7, 9-13, 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3; Titus 3:1-5, 8-11, 14-15 Philemon 4-7. c.700 A.D.

c.700 A.D. - 1968 - The Text of the New Testament.

About 700 A.D. - 1975 - Aland et al. Third edition.

About 700 A.D. - 1998 - Aland et al. Fourth revised edition.

p65 1 Thess 1:3-2:1; 2:6-13. Middle 3rd century The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts has a photograph of part of p49 on p.348. It also says that p49 and p65 were written by the same scribe. They are Alexandrian texts.

3rd century - 1968 - The Text of the New Testament.

Alexandrinus [A] c.450 A.D.

Vaticanus [B] 325-350 A.D.

Sinaiticus [Si] 340-350 A.D.

Ephraemi Rescriptus [C]

Claromontanus [D] 6th century

I Washington, D.C. 5th century

Bohairic Coptic [Boh] 3rd/4th century

Sahidic Coptic [Sah] 3rd/4rth century

Fayyumic Coptic [Fay]

Italic [Ital] 4th to 13th centuries

Vulgate [Vulg] 4th and 5th centuries

Gothic 493-555 A.D.

Armenian [Arm] from 5th century

Georgian [Geo] from 5th century

Ethiopic [Eth] from c.500 A.D.

Palestinian Syriac [Syr Pal] from c.6th century

Peshitta Syriac [Syr P] 411-435 A.D. Over 350 manuscripts.

Harclean Syriac [Syr H] 616.A.D Thomas of Harkel

 

Q: In 1 Thess, what are the textual variations with the Textus Receptus, the basis for the KJV?

A: Jay P. Green, Sr. in the Interlinear Bible records variations in approximately 17 words between the Textus Receptus and the majority text. These are in 16 places (1 Thessalonians 1:8,10; 2:2,6,8,11,14,18; 3:3,5,8; 4:1,6,8,13; 5:21). He does not record any additional alternates.

 

Q: In 1 Thess, what are some of the textual variations?

A: Paul's First Letter to the Thessalonians has a total of 1,481 Greek words in 89 verses. This is the count in both Aland et al. 3rd edition and Aland et al. 4th revised edition, including 11 words in brackets. The text of the 3rd edition is on-line at http://www.greekbible.com. 1 Thessalonians has an estimated word-for-word accuracy of 98.1%, with 28 words in question. These are in 15 verses (15 places).

Below are the variations with the primary choice and the top alternate choice. Aland et al. 4th revised edition and 3rd edition, from which this primarily is based, also give a judgment of the degree of certainty per variation. The list below does not include many places where the evidence for a particular reading is so strong that the alternatives are very unlikely. See the next question for which manuscripts support which variants.

1 Thess 1:1 "peace" (p46, Vaticanus, Sahidic Coptic, Fayyumic Coptic) vs. "peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" (Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, Byzantine Lectionary) (7 words)

1 Thess 1:5 "our gospel/good news" (p65, Vaticanus, Alexandrinus, Claromontanus, Byzantine Lectionary, Sahidic Coptic, Bohairic Coptic, Chrysostom) vs. "gospel/good news of God" (corrected Sinaiticus, Ephraemi Rescriptus) vs. "our gospel/good news of God (original Sinaiticus) (most are the first, so 3 words not counted in the totals)

1 Thess 1:7 "type/pattern" vs. "types/patterns" (2 letters different)

1 Thess 1:8 "Achaia" (Vaticanus, Vulgate (mss)) vs. "in [the] Achaia" (sinaiticus, Ephraemi Rescriptus, Bezae Cantabrigiensis) (2 words) (no change in meaning)

1 Thess 2:7 "childlike/infants" vs. "gentle" (1 letter difference) The Text of the New Testament by Bruce Metzger p.192 says the oral pronunciation of the two is almost the same. One long Medieval manuscript has "like horses" (two letters different. See Revisiting the Corruption of the New Testament p.41)

1 Thess 2:9 "gospel of God" vs. "gospel of Christ" (only in one late Medieval manuscript so 1 word not counted in the totals.) (Revisiting the Corruption of the New Testament p.42)

1 Thess 2:12 "calling you" vs. "who calls you" (2 words)

1 Thess 2:15 "the prophets" vs. "their own prophets" (Aland, NRSV)

1 Thess 2:16 "wrath (most manuscripts) vs. "wrath of God (Claromontanus, Italic, Priscillian) (2 words not counted in the totals)

1 Thess 3:2 "minister and" vs. "minister of God and" vs. "brother and minister of God" vs. "God's fellow worker" (5 words)

1 Thess 3:13 "amen" is absent as the last word.

1 Thess 4:1 "even as you are walking" vs. "even as you received" (2 words)

1 Thess 4:11 "with your own hands" (original Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, corrected Claromontanus, Byzantine Lectionary) vs. "with your hands" (Sinaiticus 2nd corrector, Vaticanus, original Claromontanus, Chrysostom)

1 Thess 4:13 "fall asleep" vs. "sleeping"

1 Thess 4:17 "we the living who remain" vs. "we the living" (Tertullian, "F" (9th century) so 2 words not counted in the totals)

1 Thess 5:4 change case of Greek word for "thief" (nominative singular) (only in 3 Alexandrian manuscripts, so 1 word not counted in the totals)

1 Thess 5:21 "all things test" vs. "all things but test"

1 Thess 5:25 "pray for us" vs. "pray and for us"

1 Thess 5:27 "all the brothers" (Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Bezae Cantabrigiensis, Sahidic Coptic) vs. "all the holy brothers" (2nd correctror Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, Byzantine, Vulgate, Harclean Syriac, Bohairic Coptic, Armenian, Chrysostom). One can see a very legible rendering of the Greek of 1 Thess 5:27 in Codex Sinaiticus in The Journey from Texts to Translations p.231.

1 Thess 5:28 "amen" at the end (Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, Claromontanus corrected, Byzantine Lectionary, some Italic, some Syriac, Bohairic Coptic, Gothic, Ethiopic) vs. absent (Vaticanus, original Claromontanus, some Italic, some Syriac, Sahidic Coptic, Armenian)

1 Thess 5:28 Absent vs. some manuscripts have "To Thessalonians First written from Athens." (Alexandrinus, corrected Vaticanus, Textus Receptus) (6 words not counted in the totals)

Conclusion: 1 Thessalonians would have very high precision (99.5%), except for 7 words in 1 Thess 1:1.

Bibliography for this question: The Greek New Testament Third Edition by Kurt Aland et al., The Greek New Testament Fourth Edition by Kurt Aland et al., Interlinear Greek-English New Testament by George Ricker Berry, the Interlinear Bible by Jay P. Green, The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 8, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament 2nd edition by Bruce M. Metzger, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture by Bart Ehrman, The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts edited by Philip W. Comfort and David P. Barrett, The Expositor's Greek Testament edited by W. Robertson Nicoll, and footnotes in the NASB, NIV, NKJV, and NRSV Bible translations. Manuscripts of the Greek Bible : An Introduction to Paleography by Bruce M. Metzger also has interesting information on the characteristics and quality of the copying of each manuscript.

 

Q: In 1 Thess, how do the early manuscripts compare with each other?

A: The table below shows each of the places in question, and the number says which variant is in each manuscript.


This chart shows variants of early writers and manuscripts of 1 Thessalonians. The darker the shading the later the writing. Shaded verses mean we are virtually certain of the correct reading. For each verse, the variant Aland et al. views as correct is labeled as "1", the next choice "2", and so on. Corrections to manuscripts by later scribes are not included. "A" after a choice simply means the choice with the fewest words. A question mark means it is probably but not certain the manuscript had these words. Parentheses means fragmentary or hard to read. Where there is more than one number, such as "1 /2?", this means that one or more manuscripts in the family give the first choice, and one or more manuscripts are not clear, but appear to give the second choice. A parenthesis, such as (6), means that through translation or loss of letters are not sure, but it appears to support reading 6.

No Irenaeus or Lucifer of Cagliari

Place of variant

words

Hipp

Origen

p30

p46

p65

B

Si

A

C

D

I

Sah

Boh

Fay

Ital b

Ital d

Vulgate

Chrys

Pelag.

Eth

Arm

Geo

SyrP

SyrH

Syr Pal

Byz

1 Thess 1:1

7

 

1

-

1

-

1

4

4

 

2

4

1

 

1

1

-

 

1/ 4

3

1

1

1/4

1

4

1/ 4?

4

1 Thess 1:5

3

 

1

-

-

1

1

3

1

2

1

 

1

1

1

-

-

 

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1 Thess 1:7

1

 

-

-

-

-

1

2

2

-

1

-

1

1

1

-

1

1

 

-

1

1

 

1

2

1

 

1 Thess 1:8

2

 

 

-

-

-

1

2

 

2

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 (mss)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 Thess 2:7

1

 

1/ 2

-

-

1

1

1

2

1

 

1

1?/2?

1

2

1

1

 

2

1

1

2

 

(2)

(2)

-

2

1 Thess 2:12

2

 

-

-

-

-

1

2

 

 

1

 

2

2

2

1

1

2?

2

2

 

2

2

2

2

-

1

1 Thess 2:15

1

 

1

-

-

-

1

1

1

 

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

 

2

1

1

1

1/2

2

2

-

2

1 Thess 2:16

2

 

1

-

-

-

1

1

1

 

2

 

1

1

1

(2)

2

 

1

(2)

1

1

1

1

1

-

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 Thess 3:2

5

 

-

-

-

-

~1

2

2

 

1

 

2

2

2

1

1

 

4

1

4

 

2/4

4

4

-

4

1 Thess 3:13

1

 

-

-

-

-

2

1

1

 

1

 

2

1/2

 

2

1

 

2

2

2?

2

2

2

2

2

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 Thess 4:1

2

 

-

-

-

-

1

1

1

 

1

 

1

1

 

1

1

 

2

1

1

1

2

2A

(1)

(1)

2

1 Thess 4:11

1

 

-

-

-

-

2

1

1

 

2

 

2

2

 

2

2

 

2

2

2

2

2

-

2

-

1

1 Thess 4:13

1

2

 

 

 

 

1

1

1

 

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 Thess 4:17

2

 

1

1?

-

-

1

1

1

 

1

1

1

1

 

2

1

 

1

1/ 2

1

1

1

(1)

1

1

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 Thess 5:4

1

 

1

-

-

-

2

1

2

 

1

 

1

1/2

 

1

1

 

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

-

1

1 Thess 5:21

1

 

 

-

-

-

1

2

2

 

1

 

1

2

 

 

 

 

1/ 2

 

1

2

 

2

1

2

1/2

1 Thess 5:25

1

 

-

1

-

-

1

2A

2A

 

1

 

1

2A

 

-

-

 

1

-

2A

1

1

2A

1

1

2A

1 Thess 5:27

1

 

-

-

2?

-

1

1

2

 

1

 

1

2

 

1

1

 

2

2

2?

2

 

2

2

2

2

1 Thess 5:28

1 amen

 

-

-

-

-

1

2

2

 

1

 

1

2

 

-

-

 

2

1

2

2

2

2

2

1

2

Postscript

6

 

 

-

-

-

2

2

3

 

 

 

 

4

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

 

 

 

 

 

 

Place of variant

words

Hipp

Origen

p30

p46

p65

B

Si

A

C

D

I

Sah

Boh

Fay

Ital b

Ital d

Vulgate

Chrys

Palag.

Eth

Arm

Geo

SyrP

SyrH

Syr

Pal

Byz