About those variants in the Bible manuscripts

Alternate title: Textual critic Bart Ehrman is petty, malicious and misleading.

He makes a living trying to discredit the Bible by pointing out slight differences in manuscripts found throughout the world from various centuries.  Via 400,000 Variants in the Bible?

The problem is that the number of variants in the original manuscripts, whether they are 50,000 or 400,000 really is not that big of a problem. Let me explain. A variant in manuscripts means that when we find two manuscripts from the same book, and we read them both, then we find that in one, it reads, “Our Lord Jesus Christ,” and at the same point in the other manuscript it reads “Jesus Christ Our Lord,” that counts as a variant even though the order of the words doesn’t change the meaning one iota.

In fact, what Blomberg and others have pointed out ad nauseum is that of all the variants, only about 1,250 of them need some sort of explanation. If you have a study Bible, you know this because these variants are listed in the footnotes of your Bible. The footnotes will tell you that the UBS reads one way and NA reads another. (The USB and NA are compilations of the Greek texts put out by the United Bible Society and Nestle Aland.)

These variants are listed in plain sight for all to see and are not kept secret from anyone who wishes to know the truth, despite what men like Ehrman would have you believe.

But back to the number of variants in the Greek manuscripts we have. Another detail you need to know is that of all these variants, only about 50 of them rise to the level of changing the meaning of the text one way or another. All these are dealt with by scholars and theologians quite thoroughly.

Yet, of these 50, not a single variant changes a thing when it comes to the doctrines of our faith. None of them affect the salvation found in Christ, the atonement He makes for His children, or the hope we have when we are in Him. The doctrine of the Trinity remains steadfast. The doctrine of justification, changes not a whit. The doctrine of the return of Christ, the resurrection, the birth of Christ, the miracles, etc., none of these things change at all with any of these variants. Our faith remains intact despite the claims of apostates like Ehrman.

“Former Christian* Ehrman is still a useful enemy in the sense that we can note how even he will strenuously argue over finer points of what they originals really said. Hey Bart, thanks, because we agree that the text has been transmitted accurately!

That said, he is unethical and malicious in playing up the “400,000 variants” nonsense. He knows better than anyone that more manuscript evidence is always better than less and that the Bible has so many more manuscripts than other works of antiquity that it will obviously have more variants. In other words, more manuscripts is better than less, but more manuscripts = more variants.

Ehrman just abuses his position for profit and to attack Christianity.  No surprise there.  What is said is how easy he is to refute and how few people are equipped to do it.  But now you are!

*There are as many former Christians as they are unicorns, but there are many former atheists.  If you aren’t a Christian now, you never were one. 1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. You may have gone to church, etc. but you weren’t a Christian — but by the grace of God you can become one.and have all your sins forgiven and the righteousness of Christ imputed to you.  But you must repent and believe.

2 thoughts on “About those variants in the Bible manuscripts”

  1. A lot of those variants come from the corrupted Alexandrian texts, so there are quite a few less than what he has said if we stick with the Received Text, the Byzantine text. Amen!


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