From God to Us:  Inspiration to translations

Where did my NIV come from?

Inspiration [God spoke to prophet]

Canonicity [Books collected]

Copied by Scribes:  Text Criticism

Translation into English



2 Tim 3:16; 2 Pet 1:21

Advantages of Written records

Orality of Jesus




Why the Formation of the NT Canon?

Death of the apostles as eyewitnesses

Geographical spread of Christianity (unity/diversity/preservation)

Heresy Pressures: Motanism, Gnosticism, Marcion (deletes OT)

Pastoral concerns:  which documents are from God to help people in Xn life

Persecution: which books do you die for?

Basis of Books collected:    Key Questions--Canonicity

Is it inspired?

Does it agree with previous revelation?

Is it prophetic/apostolic?

Was it received by the people of God?—by apostles, church—

Is it dynamic?  Does it come with the power to change lives?

Circulation and Collection problems

Early Church process of recognizing canon

                Muratorian Canon, Eusebius (ca. 325 AD)


Church Councils: 

Church fathers:

Text Criticism:  Copies and Scribes, Manuscripts

                External Evidence

Copies: types






   Papyri                                  Uncials                              Miniscules (TR)

AD 120-300                           AD 300-500                        AD 500-1500

P52, P46                                  A, B, א, D                         1059, 1087

#96                                               299                                       2,812


External Evidence Amounts

5,700 Greek Manuscripts – some as early as 125 AD within 30 years of apostles,
Wallace just announce fragment from Mark from 1st century AD ????

10,000 Latin Vulgate (ca. 400 ADà )

1,000 early versions (Coptic, Syriac…)

Million quotes from church father quotes

Lectionaries (church readings texts)

Compare Plato = 7 manuscripts (900 AD)

Aristotle = 5 (1100 AD)

4 Manuscript Families

Alexandrian Family: Uncials;   Caesarean Family;     Western Family

Byzantine (Textus Receptus TR) or Majority Text—9th century AD; miniscule, KJV

Rules of Evaluating manuscripts

Earlier the better

Wider geographical spread better

Family type:  Alexandrian best,  Byzantine the worst

Types of Copyist Errors

Errors of Sight

         Similar letters: s / o;  in English r, v;  o and 0 (zero)

         Homoeoteleuton: same endings so skipped

         Haplography: written 1x should be 2x

         Dittography: written 2x should be 1x

         Metathesis: thier   elabon// ebalon

         Fusion:  CHRISTISNOWHERE

         Fission: Am 6:12 with oxen NIV//with oxen the sea GNB  BBQRYM // BBQR YM

Errors of sound: lite/light; αὐτῶν =αὐτόν

Errors of mind

         Substituting a synonym

         Harmonizing corruptions

         Conflation: Title of Revelation

Rules for evaluating variants

More difficult reading is preferred

Shorter reading preferred

Reading best fits style of writer preferred

3 Big NT Examples

Mk 16:8ff—gone in some mss.

Jn 8—floating à Luke 21:38ff

1 Jn 5:7—added later

No major doctrine effected




             OT                                                                                            NT



MT                    LXX                                            Papyri                     Uncials                               Miniscules

(Hebrew)         Gk                                              120-300 AD       300-500 AD                         500 ADà

800 AD           250 BC




            100 BC

                                                                                   Vulgate (Latin)

                                                                       Jerome AD 400-1400




                                                       Wycliffe (1380) / Tyndale (1536), KJV 1611



                                                                     NIV, NRSV, ESV, NLT, etc.

English Bible

Early:  John Wycliffe  (1330-1384 ;) Gutenberg Printing press (1450); Tyndale (1494-1536)
Great Bible (1539) chained in churches; Geneva Bible (1560); King James Bible (1611)

Modern Eclectic Text: NIV (1973); NRSV (1989) based on the RSV (1952); NLT (1996), ESV (2002)—RSV based; The Message (2002) E. Peterson; DASV 2011 (free online text/audio),
NET Bible