As Christ-followers we all read the Bible as part of our faith walk. However, have you ever stopped and asked how accurate your translation of the Bible is? There are various manuscripts (of the original documents or autographs) and copies of the Bible. If there are other manuscripts with textual variants how do they affect the translation that I am reading?
In the various Bible translations you will notice somewhere on the page there may be a small number beside the passage or verse. That number can indicate that there is a variation between the manuscripts. In the Old Testament ‘MT’ is the Masoretic Text and ‘LXX’ is the Septuagint or the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament. While in the New Testament, an ‘M’ stands for the Majority of all texts, while ‘NU’ is the Nestle-Aland Greek Text. It has been estimated that there are over 5400 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament and another 13000 copies of bits of it.
Before the invention of the printing press (mass printing from the Gutenberg printing press from 1452) both the New and Old Testaments were hand copied. This sometimes led to minor copyist errors within the copies - some accidental and others intended (such as grammatical amendments). These errors slowly became less and less due to the inventing of the printing press. Today the printing process is a lot better, and the mistakes are far less. Although the textual variants are small little things, they can become stumbling blocks to some. Consequently, let me encourage you that, although there are some minor variances with some of the manuscripts, they do not influence any key biblical doctrine.
“Because of who God is, and because of what God has done to preserve his Word, we have confidence the events described in Scripture are accurate and historical.”
To help with this matter why not watch, “Why do the footnotes in my Bible say, “Some manuscripts say...?”
Pause in His presence for a moment and think this over…