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The NIV footnotes indicate that some early manuscripts do not have "in Ephesus" in then. The NET has extensive notes on this, but they only state the the earliest and most important MSS "omit" the words. They go on to suggest a scenario in which copies may have gone out with a blank line for Tychicus to fill in later.

What do the MSS look like? Is there indeed a blank space or line in these manuscripts or do the words run together simply omitting the phrase εν εφεσω?

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The manuscripts that omit "in Ephesus" do not have a blank line. That is actually just a theory at this point with no manuscript evidence as far as I know. The words just run together, as you say.

If you want to know what this looks like, you can look at Codex Sinaiticus (4th century) for this. When Sinaiticus was originally copied, it was missing εν εφεσῳ. You can see an image here. The epistle to the Ephesians starts in the fourth column at the very top. You'll notice that εν εφεσῳ is written in margin between columns three and four, beside line four. This is the work of a later corrector. Later correctors aren't always obvious but in this case it is clearly not in the original text.

If you are interested in a slightly long explanation of what you see there, I wrote a blog post on this a while ago.

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    Thanks a lot. This is really helpful. And I appreciate the link to your blog post. Welcome to Biblical Hermeneutics.
    – Soldarnal
    Commented Feb 15, 2012 at 5:30
  • Thanks! Glad I found it. Looks like a fun place to hang out :)
    – Mallioch
    Commented Feb 15, 2012 at 5:50
  • both links are dead! Commented Aug 23, 2019 at 17:04
  • I really wanted to use the links to the image mentioned and see the blog post for the fuller explanation of this excellent answer. It took me some time but I did find a link that has this blog post. It also includes pictures that shows the image that he mentions: ericsowell.com/blog/2008/1/18/ephesians-to-ephesus
    – Pete
    Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 17:06

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