Bill Mounce

For an Informed Love of God

You are here

Monday, November 21

ETS and NA28

I just came home from the national meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society in San Antonio. The general topic was the Trinity, but for me the highlight was Dr. Daniel Wallace’s presidential address on current issues relating to textual criticism and the work of his ministry, the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts ( One of the things I learned is how active women were as scribes, a fact rarely discussed.

I also met with a ministry that is working on a Greek text of the New Testament that more accurately reflects manuscript evidence in terms of spellings.

Did you know that our current Greek texts standardize spellings?

Westcott and Hort worked to show the variation of spellings evidenced in the manuscripts, especially when you can see different tendencies in different authors. So for example, “David” can be spelled Δαυίδ or Δαυείδ (see BDAG). The name occurs 54 times, always Δαυίδ in NA28 and always Δαυείδ in WH. γίνομαι can be spelled γίγνομαι (BDF #34.4). Apparently NA28 also added a significant number of nu moveables in the name of standardization (see the change from ἐστί to ἐστίν in Acts 18:10).

The change I was delighted to see in NA28 was in Jude 5. “Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus (Ἰησοῦς), who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe” (ESV). NA27 has κύριος, reflected in the NIV. “I want to remind you that the Lord” (with a footnote, “Some early manuscripts Jesus”). You should read Metzger’s comments where he says that the committee went with κύριος for theological reasons, not textual, since it declares the pre-existence of Jesus.

Overall, I left San Antonio with deep appreciation for scholars who work in different areas such as textual criticism and whose work is trustworthy. The body of Christ has a multiplicity of needs, and hence a multiplicity of gifts and professional callings to meet those needs.