New Testament Text and Translation Commentary  -     By: Philip W. Comfort
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New Testament Text and Translation Commentary

Tyndale House / 2007 / Hardcover

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Product Description

Particularly useful for pastors and teachers whose congregations use varying Scripture versions, this unique resource includes passage-by-passage commentary as well as a helpful introduction to the art of textual criticism. Also features discussion of the challenges faced by translators of English language Bibles and a survey of all major English versions. 800 pages, hardcover from Tyndale.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 750
Vendor: Tyndale House
Publication Date: 2007
Dimensions: 9 X 6 (inches)
ISBN: 141431034X
ISBN-13: 9781414310343
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

This commentary is especially useful for pastors and teachers who know that the members of their audiences use a variety of different English versions. It is also a helpful tool for serious students of the Bible, including laypeople and seminary students. In addition to this passage-by-passage commentary, the reader is introduced to the art of textual criticism, its importance for studying the New Testament, and the challenges translators of English versions face.
Presented in a clear, easy to read manner. All major English translations are surveyed and tabulated.

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  1. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    NT Text and Translation Commentary
    January 21, 2015
    Jim
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This is a welcome resource in exegesis and homiletics, as one attempts to be faithful to the sacred text in drawing out and communicating what the Holy Spirit is saying. Part of a many pronged effort, this commentary draws together and improves upon a number of resources, so that the minister may ensure that he is faithfully handling the Word of Truth.
  2. St. Paul, MN
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Fantastic resource, accessible to all
    May 16, 2011
    Bob Hayton
    St. Paul, MN
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    My thanks go out to Christy Wong at Tyndale House Publishers for supplying me with a review copy of Philip Comfort's New Testament Text and Translation Commentary.

    I have always been intrigued by textual criticism and the study of how we got our Bible. The Bibles we have today are the descendants of hand written manuscripts, written on papyri, vellum or paper, and in either large (uncial) or small (miniscule) letters. Those manuscripts were written originally in Hebrew, Greek or Aramaic, and later translated into Latin, Syriac, Coptic, Armenian, and other languages. Today we have English Bibles finely produced from the magic of printing presses and publishing houses. But how can we know that these Bibles accurately represent what was originally written? This is where textual criticism comes in - a highly disputed field, especially in today's skeptical age. Textual scholars referred to as critics, take the time to compare all the hand written manuscripts that have been preserved down to our day. Using various methods of comparing, contrasting and evaluating the readings of numerous manuscripts (over 5700 for the NT!), they help guide today's church in deciding which textual variants are the likely original readings.

    Philip Comfort is one of these scholars, and he has provided a fabulous resource for Bible scholars, pastors, and others to study the textual data on all the 3,000 or so places in the New Testament where we find textual variants that may affect the Bible translations we have in our hands. Comfort focuses primarily on the variants which result in differences between the various English Bible versions in use today (KJV, NKJV, NASB, NIV, ESV, HCSB, NLT, TNIV, NRSV, etc.). He also highlights some of the intriguing variants and places where the Western family of manuscripts often expands the text. What makes Comfort's work so especially valuable is that his discussion is all in English! He discusses the Greek and other languages, but is mindful of the non-technical, English speaking reader. This makes New Testament Text and Translation Commentary (NTTTC) very accessible, opening up the intricacies of textual critical studies to the average Bible student.

    While Comfort may not include all the textual data accessible to scholars in the UBS4 or NA27 Greek texts and other scholarly resources, he does format his work and provide relevant information in a much more user-friendly format. In places where there are two or more variants that have affected the English Bibles, Comfort will first give each variant reading in Greek and English, then he lists the Greek manuscripts and other supports for each variant, and he also adds which English Bibles follow that variant in their text or margin. Following all of this, he offers a brief discussion of that particular variant, taking us step by step through how a conservative, evangelical scholar will assess this textual evidence to arrive at a conclusion concerning this particular reading.

    This detailed analysis of each major variant in the Greek New Testament makes up the bulk of the book and provides an easy to look up reference for practically any passage where one might encounter a variant. Comfort also provides a brief overview of textual criticism and a very interesting assessment of the major textual witnesses for each section of the New Testament. He displays an extensive understanding of the papyri manuscripts in particular as well as the history of textual criticism and all the relevant data. A few appendices are also included for more specialized discussions.

    NTTTC doesn't stick to strictly textual critical matters. In Mk. 7:3 a discussion of manners and customs of Bible times is required to understand the Greek phrase "wash their hands with a fist". Exegetical matters are also addressed, such as in the conservative and delicate handling of the variant at 1 Cor. 14:34-35. NTTTC's format makes difficult and highly technical discussions much easier. When discussing the ending of Mark, he helpfully lays out all 5 variations of the ending providing a few pages of discussion. At Acts 20:28 he discusses two variants together, by first delineating all the various combinations of the two variants, and helpfully summarizing the options and discussing each option in light of exegetical matters as well.

    The discussions in NTTTC prove enlightening. One learns the importance of understanding the patterns of particular scribes when discussing variants such as Luke 24:3 where Comfort explains why Wescott and Hort were wrong. The major passages like the ending of Mark and John 7:53-8:11 are covered in depth. Comfort is honest about some variants being driven by theological considerations, such as in Heb. 2:9. Interestingly, the theological bias in textual variants was almost always rejected by the church in days of old as well as today.

    One excerpt of this work will serve to illustrate its value well. Regarding Jude 4, Comfort states:

    The reading in TR, poorly attested, is probably an attempt to avoid calling Jesus despoten ("Master"), when this title is usually ascribed to God (Luke 2:29; Acts 4:24; Rev. 6:10). Hence, theos ("God") was appended to despoten. However, 2 Pet. 2:1, a parallel passage, identifies the redeemer, Jesus Christ, as the despoten. So here also the WH NU reading, which is extremely well documented, shows that Jude considered Jesus to be the absolute sovereign.

    As one well attuned to the issues relating to King James Onlyism, I found this volume especially helpful. 26 times I found a KJV reading to be supported by no Greek manuscripts. Western additions such as "full of the Holy Spirit" at Acts 15:32 and "Jesus" at Acts 17:31 reveal that "omissions" are in the eye of the beholder. Does the TR omit these important phrases or the Western texts add them? It was through my KJV Onlyism debate lenses that I discovered a few minor errors in Comfort's text. He wrongly claims the KJV followed Stephanus' 1550 TR (along with the WH/ NU modern Greek Text) at Rev. 16:5 when in fact they followed Beza's conjectural emendation "and shall be" instead of "holy one". He also seems to state that a variant at Rom. 7:6 was introduced by Elzevirs' TR and then later adopted by the KJV, however the KJV was translated 22 years prior to the Elzevirs' work. The reading in question was introduced by Beza in one of his editions used by the KJV translators. Also at Luke 2:38 he lists the Vulgate as the sole support for the KJV reading, but Robinson-Pierpont's Majority Text edition includes the KJV reading "Lord".

    I would have liked Comfort to address more passages relevant to the KJV Only debate. It would have been great if he had mentioned which variants the printed Greek Majority Text's of Hodges-Farstad or Robinson-Pierpont adopted as well. But space constraints are totally understandable. I also wish he had somehow indicated if the manuscript listings given for a particular passage are complete or not. If more evidence is available (or not) for a given variant, it would be nice to know. Perhaps using an asterisk when all the known witnesses to a variant were listed would help.

    All in all, I can't recommend Comfort's work more highly. This is an important volume and I will be referring to it often in years to come.

    Disclaimer: This book was provided by Tyndale House for review. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.
  3. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    May 9, 2009
    Robert Livengood
    I own Bruce Metzger's "A Textual Commentary on the N. T." and Roger L. Omanson's "A Textual Guide to the Greek N. T." as well as this book and this is the best of the three. He gives all the variants on the texts, quotes them in Greek text with a translation underneith; then he lists which translations use which reading. Then he gives his analysis of the variants and which he prefers. His analysis is straightforward and easy to understand.
  4. Cottage Grove, MN
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    April 30, 2009
    Shaun Tabatt
    Cottage Grove, MN
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    The aim of this commentary is to show how and why our English translations differ, especially when there are variations in the underlying Greek manuscripts. The commentary lays out where there are differences in the English translations and shows which Greek manuscript \ variant they follow. Comfort offers many insightful comments throughout the book, helping the reader understand how a particular Greek text or variant reading underlying the English translations may have influenced the translators decisions.Serious Bible students from interested laypeople to seminary students and even pastors will benefit from the New Testament Text and Translation Commentary. My own New Testament studies have been greatly enhanced by this volume. Im sure it will become a mainstay at your desk as much as it has on mine.
  5. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    March 9, 2009
    Dejan
    I bought another one and gave one to my pastor. A very consice, scholarly tool- highly profitable for all Bible teachers, scholars, and lay-persons who wish to know about the "type" of textual variants that exist in the New Testament. Textual Criticism is of high importance- yet remember dear reader, Christ alone is always our foundation.
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