Tag Archives: Textual Criticism

Exegetical and Theological Issues: Mark 4:10-12

10 As soon as He was alone, His followers, along with the twelve, began asking Him about the parables. 11 And He was saying to them, “To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God, but those who are outside get everything in parables, 12 so that while seeing, they may see and not perceive, and while hearing, they may hear and not understand, otherwise they might return and be forgiven.” (Mark 4:10-12 NASB95)

This text sits awkwardly in its present context. The previous context is about Jesus teaching the crowd in a boat (4:1-2). Without further explanation, Mark shifts the narrative that takes place in private with those around his Twelve disciples (4:10-12), a small group of disciples. Another textual issue that occurs in the passage is the use of plural form of parables, whereas Jesus completes one parable (4:3-9). The placement of the discourse between Jesus and “those around him” also interrupts the sequence of parable. Jesus was still on the boat in the sea (4:1-2), but he and “those around him” appear to be in a private (4:10-12) and the clarification of the parable occurs again in the boat in the sea (4:35-36). At this point, Jesus is again in the public setting with his disciples in the boat. With few exceptions, some scholars believed this passage to be a latter insertion. But this inconsistency is more likely due to tradition, so he decided to leave the setting the way it is now.

Many ascribed the Markan redaction to traditional material. One cannot avoid the questions no matter whether Mark inserted his independent tradition unit or borrowed from the tradition within the parable collection. If he borrowed it from Pre-Markan tradition, where did he find it and what qualified him to apply this text there (4:10-12)? His form, materials within his redaction, and context show that he found it in tradition. Yet there are some questions to be asked. Why did Mark quote Isaiah 6 here? Is the text is about double predestination that only elect or insiders are foreordained to hear the message while outsiders’ ears divinely closed? Some people think that v. 7:17 supports it. But what do we do with 12:12 when outsiders also knew that the parable was about them? As Robert A. Guelich asserts that the text is not about the “double predestination” but about the hardness of heart of those who constantly rejected Jesus and his message.[1]

[1] Guelich, Robert A. Mark 1–8:26. Vol. 34A. Word Biblical Commentary. Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1998.

Sabbatum Excerpt: Darrell Bock and Daniel Wallace on NT Textual Variants

Regarding Ehrman’s claim that all manuscripts are filled with errors; we noted the kinds of errors that are to be found in the copies. The vast majority of them are quite inconsequential. And less than 1 percent  of all textual variants both affect the meaning of that verse (though none affects a core doctrine) and have some plausibility of authenticity. [1]


Darrell L. Bock and Daniel B. Wallace, Dethroning Jesus: Exposing Popular Culture’s Quest to Unseat the Biblical Christ, (Nashville, TN.: Thomas Nelson, 2007), 71. Print.

Comma Johanneum – A Critical Textual Evaluation of 1 John 5:7-8

by Satya Maharjan

1 John 5:5-12

5:7 For three are the ones testifying in the heavens: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit and these three are one.

5:8 And three are the ones testifying in {the} earth: the Spirit and the water and the blood, and {the} three 2in 3the 4one 1are.

Only the Textus Receptus contains namely the “Trinitarian Statement” [letters in bold in the verses 7 and 8]concerning “the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost (5:7),” and “And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood” (5:8). This infamous interpolation is known as Comma Johanneum or Johannine Comma. The word Comma derived from Greek work Komma, meaning a single clause or phrase with comma in Ancient Greek rhetoric.[1] It gives sense of series of additional words being inserted within the sentence. The infamous Comma was first introduced in the 16th century by humanist Desiderius Erasmus in his 3rd and later editions of the Greek New Testament Bible. The King James translation embraces the Comma subsequently claiming that they are also inspired Word of God.[2] However, internal and external evidence point to other way. Continue reading Comma Johanneum – A Critical Textual Evaluation of 1 John 5:7-8

Terminology: Lower Criticism

Terminology: Lower Criticism

It is also known as “textual criticism.” It is a discipline of science for sorting and comparing the existing original manuscripts of an ancient document and reconstructing the text of the original as accurately as possible.