Study Guide

The key to careful use of the textual evidence on this site is exposure to a great deal of that evidence. The site is designed to provide an inductive view; conclusions about what the evidence points to should not be reached until the student has been exposed to a sufficient sampling of variants. Coming to the site with no presuppositions is impossible and therefore undesirable, of course, but “wisdom that is from above” is “easy to be intreated”—it is open to reason. Our presuppositions should be shapeable by the facts God has actually given us.
Exposure to those facts is necessarily tedious when it comes to textual variants in the Greek New Testament. A successful project will motivate students—in undergraduate, graduate, and even Sunday School classes—to look at as much of the evidence as possible. It will also provide the structure necessary for them to categorize the kinds of differences they’ll discover without predetermining their conclusions about what they amount to. Students will need that structure lest their eyes glaze over from too much data input.

All this is true no matter what position one starts or ends with. Below are two project ideas which will provide necessary structure without predetermining students’ conclusions.

Group Project

The most and least significant differences between the TR and the CT
Instructions for Students

For each chapter assigned to you, list the five most significant differences between the TR and the CT and the five least significant differences.

Read the explanation in Metzger’s Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament or Philip W. Comfort’s New Testament Text and Translation Commentary for each difference (if it is covered in the text). Suggest brief explanations for those differences that do not appear in Metzger. (Note: There is no textual commentary like Metzger’s from a TR perspective, or it would be a perfect complement to Metzger/Comfort in this assignment.)

Be prepared to discuss and defend your choices in class.

Note to Teachers

“Significant” is purposefully vague; perceptive students will recognize that there are several kinds of significance: variants that bear theological significance, differences in meaning that are not theological, and the mere numerical level of significance. When you evaluate their answers, help them see the definition(s) of “significant” that they assumed.

Guide students in class to discuss the results of their study. Several students will have chosen the same chapters; ask them to defend their choice of the most and least significant variants—if they differ.