Bible Query Early Manuscripts of Colossians

April 29, 2012 version

 

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

A: Here are many of them.

p46 Chester Beatty II 100-150 A.D. has 79 verses of Colossians. Specifically it has Col 1:1-2,5-13,16-24; 1:27-2:19; 2:23-3:11; 3:13-24; 4:3-12,16-18 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.

Vaticanus 325-350 A.D.

Sinaiticus 340-350 A.D.

Bohairic Coptic 3rd/4th century

Sahidic Coptic 3rd/4rth century

Gothic 493-555 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

048 Fifth century

 

Q: In Col, 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 19 words between the Textus Receptus and the majority text. These are in 16 places (Colossians 1:2,14,20,24,24,27; 2:13,13,16,17,20,20; 3:21,20,24; 4:16). In addition, he also records approximately 3 words in 1 place of alternates.

 

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

A: Paul's Letter to the Colossians has a total of 1,582 Greek words in 95 verses. This is the count in both Aland et al. 3rd edition and Aland et al. 4th revised edition, including 10 words in brackets. The text of the 3rd edition is on-line at http://www.greekbible.com. Colossians has an estimated word-for-word accuracy of 97.6%, with 38 words in question. These are in 25 verses (33 places). 31 places are 1 word, 1 place is 3 words, and 1 place is 4 words.

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.

Col 1:2a "Christ" vs. "Jesus"

Col 1:2b "our Father" vs. "our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" (4 words)

Col 1:3 "to God" vs. "to [the] Father"

Col 1:6 "is" vs. "and is" Metzger's Textual Commentary on the New Testament p.553 says the adopted reading is "decisively supported"

Col 1:7 "our behalf" vs. "your (plural) behalf"

Col 1:12a "giving thanks to the Father" vs. "giving thanks together to the Father"

Col 1:12b "made fit/competent" vs. "called" (3 letters different in original Claromontanus, Sahidic Coptic, Gothic, Armenian) vs. "called and made fit/competent" (Vaticanus) (2 words, but only 1 word counted in the totals)

Col 1:12c "us" vs. "you (plural)"

Col 1:14a "redemption" (most manuscripts, including Byzantine Lectionary, Wordsworth-White Vulgate, Stuttgart Vulgate) vs. "redemption through his blood" (Slavonic, Armenian, Clementine Vulgate) (4 words not counted in the totals)

Col 1:14b "sins" vs. "sins through his blood" (3 words not counted in the totals)

Col 1:20a "Him" vs. "Him" (1 letter different, like an English v' vs. u' (1 word not counted in the totals)

Col 1:20b "cross, through/by him" vs. "cross"

Col 1:22 "reconciled" vs. "has reconciled"

Col 2:2 "of God, the Father" vs. "of the Father"

Col 2:7a "the faith" vs. "in the faith"

Col 2:7b "in/with thanksgiving" vs. "in/with him" vs. "in/with him in thanksgiving"

Col 2:12 case of the Greek word for "baptism"

Col 2:13a "you being dead" vs. "being dead"

Col 2:13b "being in the offenses" vs. "being the offenses"

Col 2:13c "forgiven us" vs. "forgiven you (plural)"

Col 2:18 "which he has seen" vs. which he has not seen"

Col 2:23 "humility of mind" vs. "humility"

Col 3:4 "your (plural) life" vs. "our life"

Col 3:6 "coming wrath of God on the sons of disobedience" vs. "coming wrath of God" (3 words)

Col 3:13 "lord" vs. "Christ" vs. "God"

Col 3:16a "Let the word of (the) Christ" vs. "Let the word of the Lord"

Col 3:16b "with the grace" vs. "with grace"

Col 3:16c "in your hearts to (the) God" vs. "in your hearts to the Lord"

Col 3:17 "God[,] Father" vs. "God and Father"

Col 3:21 "do not provoke" (apparently p46, Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, 2nd corrector Claromontanus, Byzantine Lectionary, Slavonic, Chrysostom) vs. "rouse to wrath" (Alexandrinus, Ephraemi Rescriptus, original Claromontanus)

Col 4:3 "mystery of Christ" vs. "mystery of God"

Col 4:8 "of us" vs. "of you" (1 letter difference)

Col 4:10 "if he should come" (most manuscripts) vs. "in order that he may come" (Adamantius (c.300 A.D.) Dialogue on the True Faith first part ch.6p.43)

Col 4:12 "Christ Jesus" (Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Alexandrinus, Bohairic Coptic) vs. "Christ" (p46, Claromontanus, Chrysostom)

Col 4:13 "much pain" vs. "much trouble" vs. "much zeal"

Col 4:15 "her house" vs. "his house"

Col 4:18 "amen" at the end vs. absent

Postscript in some manuscripts: "To Colossians written from Rome, by/of/through/via Tychicus and Onesimus" (9 words not counted in the totals)

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 Col, 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 Colossians. 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. * on Col 4:15 on Origen means conflicting data from different sources. Other writers who should be included are Marcion (per Tertullian), Adamantius, Methodius, Eusebius, Victorinus-Rome, Didymus, Cyril-Alex., Gregory-Nyssa, Ambrose-Milan, Priscillian.

Place of variant

words

p46

Iren

Clem Alex

Tertull.

Origen

Cyp

B

Si

Hilary

Lucifer

Chrysost

Pelag.

A

C

048

D

I

Syr H

Syr Pal

Sahidic

Bohair.

Ital b

Ital d

Vulgate

Ethiop

Armenian

Georg'n

Syr P

p61

Byzant

Col 1:2a

1

1

-

-

-

-

-

 

 

-

 

 

 

2

 

-

2

 

 

 

2?

2?

 

 

 

 

 

 

(2)

-

 

Col 1:2b

4

1

-

-

-

-

-

1

3

-

-

1

2

3

3

-

1

3

4

1

1

(3)

(3)

-

1/3/4?

(3)

1?/3?

1/ 3

1

-

3

Col 1:3

1

-

-

-

-

-

-

1

3

-

-

(1)

3

3

1

-

2

3

-

-

1

1

1

1

1?/3

1

3

3

-

1?

3

Col 1:6

1

1

-

-

-

-

-

1

1

-

 

 

 

1

1

-

1

-

2

 

1

1

2

 

2

1

1

 

2

1?

 

Col 1:7

1

2

-

-

-

-

-

 

2

-

-

1

1

2

1

-

2

-

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

 

1

1

1

 

1

Col 1:12a

1

2

-

-

-

1/ 3

-

2

3

-

-

-

3

1

1

-

1

-

4

1

1?/3?

1/3?

1

1

1/ 3

-

3

1

3

1

1

Col 1:12b

1

1

-

-

-

1

-

3

1

-

-

1

2

1

1

-

2

1

1

1

2

1

2

2

1/ 2?

1

2

1

1

1?

1

Col 1:12c

1

1

-

-

-

2

-

1

1

-

-

2

1

2

2

-

2

-

2

1

1

2

2

2

1?/2

2

1

2

2

 

2

Col 1:14a

4

-

-

-

-

-

-

1

1

-

-

1

1

1

1

-

1

-

2

1

1

1

1

1

1/ 2

1

2

1

1

-

1

Col 1:14b

3

-

-

-

-

-

 

 

 

-

-

 

1

 

 

-

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

1

 

 

 

 

 

-

 

Col 1:20b

1

1

-

-

-

2A

-

2A

1

1

-

1/ 2A

2A

1

1

1

2A

-

1

2A

2A

1

2A

2A

2

2A

2A

1

1

-

1

Col 1:22

1

5

6

-

-

-

-

4

1

4

-

1

1

1

1

1

6

-

1

-

-

-

6

6

1/ 6?

1

1

1

1

-

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Col 2:2

1

1

-

(5)

-

-

-

1

7

1

-

8

1

6

6

7

4

-

10

-

2?

6

-

4

1?/4?/(6?)8

-

-

-

8

-

10

Col 2:7a

1

1

-

3

-

3

-

1

3

-

-

-

1

2

2

4

1

2

-

-

4

4

1

1

1/ 3?

3

3

-

-

-

3

Col 2:7b

1

1

-

-

-

-

-

3

 

-

-

3

4

1

1

2?

5

1?

4

-

1?/4?

4

(4)

4

1/ 2?/4

1

-

1/ 2

4

-

4

Col 2:12

1

1

-

-

-

-

-

1

2

-

-

1

-

2

2

-

1

-

3

-

-

3

-

-

-

-

3

3

3

-

2

Col 2:13a

1

2

-

-

3A

2

-

2

1

2/ 3A

-

3A

3A

1

1

-

3A

-

1

2

1

1

3A

3A

1?/2?/3A

1

3A

1/ 3

1

-

1/2/3A

Col 2:13b

1

1

-

-

-

-

-

2A

2A

-

-

-

-

1

1

1

1

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

2A?

-

-

-

-

 

-

Col 2:13c

1

1

-

-

2

-

-

1

1

1/ 2

-

1

1

1

1

1

1

-

1

1

1?/2?

1

1

1

1?/2

2

1

1

1

-

1

Col 2:18

1

1

-

-

-

1/ 3

-

1

1

-

1

2

3

1

3

-

1

-

-

-

1

1

1

1

1?/2

3

3

3

-

-

3

Col 2:23

1

3

-

-

-

3

-

3

1

4

-

1

1

1

1

-

1

-

1

3

1

3

4

2

2?

-

1

1

1

-

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Col 3:4

1

1

-

-

-

1/ 2

1

2

1

1/ 2

-

1

1

-

1

-

1

-

2

1

2

1

1

1

1

1

1

2

2

-

2

Col 3:6

3

2

-

-

-

-

2

2

1

-

-

1

1

1

1

-

1?

1

1

2

2

1

2

1

1

1

1

1

1

-

1

Col 3:13

1

1

-

2

-

-

-

1

3

-

-

2

1

1

2

-

1

-

2

-

2

2

1

1

1

2

4

1/ 2

2

-

2

Col 3:16a

1

1

-

3

-

-

-

1

3

-

-

1

1

2

2

-

1

3

1

-

1

3

-

1

1/ 2?

2

1

1

(1)

-

1

Col 3:16b

1

1

-

-

-

 

-

1

2

-

 

 

 

2

2

-

1

-

 

 

-

-

-

-

 

 

 

 

 

-

 

Col 3:16c

1

1

-

1

-

-

-

1

1

-

-

1/ 2

-

1

1

-

1

-

1

-

1

1/2?

1

1

1

-

1

1/ 2

1

-

2

Col 3:17

1

1?

-

2

-

-

-

1

1

-

-

2

2

1

1

-

2

-

2

-

1

1

1

2

2

1

2

2

1

-

2

Col 3:21

1

1?

-

1

-

-

-

1

1

-

-

1

2

2

2

-

2

-

-

-

-

-

1

2

1/ 2?

1

2

2

-

-

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Col 4:3

1

1

-

1

-

-

-

2

1

-

-

1

1

1

1

1

1

-

1

-

1?/2?

1

1

1

1/ 2?

2

1

1

1

-

1

Col 4:8

1

3

-

-

-

-

-

1

2

-

-

3

-

1

3

1

1

-

3

1

1?/3?

3

1

1

2?

(1)

1

3

3

-

3

Col 4:12

1

3

-

-

-

-

-

1

1

-

-

3

1

1

1

-

3

1

3

2

2

1

3

3

1

3

1

 

3

-

3

Col 4:13

1

-

-

-

-

 

-

1

1

-

 

 

 

1

1

-

2

 

3

 

 

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

3

-

 

Col 4:15

1

-

-

-

-

1*

-

1

3

-

-

2

-

3

3

-

2

-

1

1?/3?

1

3

-

-

-

-

-

-

2

-

2

Col 4:18

1 amen

1

-

-

-

-

-

1

1

-

-

2

-

1

1

1

2

-

2

1?/2?

1

2

2

2

-

2

2

2

2

-

2

Postscript

9

1A

-

-

-

-

-

1A

1A

-

-

-

-

3

1A

1A

2

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Place of variant

words

p46

Iren

Clem Alex

Tertull.

Origen

Cyp

B

Si

Hilary

Lucifer

Chrysost

Pelag.

A

C

048

D

I

Syr H

Syr

Pal

Sahidic

Bohair.

Ital b

Ital d

Vulgate

Ethiop

Armenian

Georg'n

Syr P

p61

Byzant

by Steven M. Morrison, PhD.