6

I have been doing a lot of reading of books from the 1700s and 1800s on google books, and I came across a claim that there are 6 different variants in Acts 20:28. (Sorry, don't remember exactly where I saw this.) I know what 3 of them are, but what are the other 3?

"...feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood."

"...feed the church of the Lord, which he hath purchased with his own blood."

"...feed the church of the Lord and God, which he hath purchased with his own blood." (I know this is the Majority Text reading, despite being the most obviously inauthentic)

Aside from just listing the other 3 variants, maybe some information about number of manuscripts would be nice. Unfortunately this isn't something you can just look up in a standard Nestle-Aland text, since they didn't consider any variant worth listing apparently. I guess you'd need a Critica Maior edition, or some older critical text that had a fuller apparatus, maybe on of Tischendorf's.

Also, on what basis has "God" been chosen as the best reading?

  • 2
    Good question. Is it possible that the number 6 arises due to 3 variants that you list and 2 variants in "his own blood" (a word order difference that wouldn't usually be translated)? See manuscript evidence here (using English translations) and here (using Greek). – Susan Aug 31 '14 at 5:58
  • @Susan, In context it was a unitarian arguing there are 6 variants of this particular word. But he may have also been counting Latin variants. – david brainerd Sep 1 '14 at 23:13
3

In the critical apparatus of my UBS3, the 7 variant readings for 20:28 are:

  1. Θεοῦ (א, B, 056, 0142, 104)
  2. κυριου (p74, A, C*, D, E)
  3. κυριου και Θεοῦ (C3, P, 049, 326, 1241)
  4. κυριου του Θεοῦ (88, 330, 1877, Byzpt)
  5. κυριου Ἰησοῦ (Ambrosiaster)
  6. Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ (itm)
  7. Χριστοῦ (Athanasius, Theodoret)

NB: I have only listed the top 5 manuscripts for each reading.

According to Bruce Metzger in his A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, 2nd Edition:

the [United Bible Societies Editorial] Committee judged that the reading Θεοῦ was more likely to have been altered to κυριου than vice versa.

If you want more details on why Θεοῦ was chosen, and the arguments for and against each variant, I recommend reading Bruce M. Metzger's A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament.

  • As a side note, I would be interested to know whether UBS4 has all of those readings. My understanding is that the critical apparatus underwent a considerable revision in the fourth edition. – Peter Sep 13 '14 at 4:04
  • This is great, thanks! Nope, the UBS4 does not have all of them, only the first four you listed. Metzger also only mentions these that I see. I was sort of doubting they all existed until you brought this and David found the article he linked in his answer. (Although....#5 and #7 are citations rather than mss, and #6 I think is Latin....) – Susan Sep 14 '14 at 6:08
  • So UBS3's apparatus is better than UBS4...good to know. – david brainerd Sep 14 '14 at 6:14
  • I don't think it's better - it's just different. According to their website: "the selection of passages for the apparatus has undergone considerable revision. The evaluations of all sets of variants cited in the apparatus have been reconsidered." – Peter Sep 14 '14 at 6:16
  • No opinion on that one, but @davidbrainerd, the article you linked seems to essentially discount all of those that were dropped in UBS4! (That was a helpful narrative summary, by the way, thanks.) – Susan Sep 14 '14 at 6:22
2

I have found a source that shows what the six variants are, with some information on the number of manuscripts. The Panoplist (and Missionary magazine), Volume III, June 1st 1811, on page 508 (google books).

(1) of God.

(2) of the Lord.

(3) of the Lord and God.

(4) of the Lord God.

(5) of the God and Lord.

(6) of Christ.

1

Here are the variants That I see.

Nestle GNT 1904, Westcott and Hort 1881, Westcott and Hort / [NA27 variants]
προσέχετε ἑαυτοῖς καὶ παντὶ τῷ ποιμνίῳ, ἐν ᾧ ὑμᾶς τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ Ἅγιον ἔθετο ἐπισκόπους, ποιμαίνειν τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἣν περιεποιήσατο διὰ τοῦ αἵματος τοῦ ἰδίου.

  • the God which

RP Byzantine Majority Text 2005, Greek Orthodox Church 1904
Προσέχετε οὖν ἑαυτοῖς καὶ παντὶ τῷ ποιμνίῳ, ἐν ᾧ ὑμᾶς τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ἔθετο ἐπισκόπους, ποιμαίνειν τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ κυρίου καὶ θεοῦ, ἣν περιεποιήσατο διὰ τοῦ ἰδίου αἵματος.

  • the Lord and God which

Tischendorf 8th Edition
προσέχετε ἑαυτοῖς καὶ παντὶ τῷ ποιμνίῳ, ἐν ᾧ ὑμᾶς τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ἔθετο ἐπισκόπους, ποιμαίνειν τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ κυρίου, ἣν περιεποιήσατο διὰ τοῦ αἵματος τοῦ ἰδίου.

  • the Lord which

Stephanus Textus Receptus 1550, Scrivener's Textus Receptus 1894
προσέχετε οὖν ἑαυτοῖς καὶ παντὶ τῷ ποιμνίῳ ἐν ᾧ ὑμᾶς τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ἔθετο ἐπισκόπους ποιμαίνειν τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ θεοῦ ἣν περιεποιήσατο διὰ τοῦ ἰδίου αἵματος

  • the God which

On what basis has "God" been chosen as the best reading?
I don't know, but I can tell you that I would have chosen that as the way to translate it based off the Greek that I am accessing, since it would come from the oldest source. There may be variables that I do not know of however. If someone wants to point that out for me that would be great. Thanks.

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