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Major Critical Texts of the New Testament
Byz RP: 2005 Byzantine Greek New Testament, Robinson & Pierpont
TR1550: 1550 Stephanus New Testament
Maj: The Majority Text (thousands of minuscules which display a similar text)
Gries: 1774-1775 Johann Jakob Griesbach Greek New Testament
Treg: 1857-1879 Samuel Prideaux Tregelles Greek New Testament
Tisch: 1872 Tischendorf’s Greek New Testament
WH: 1881 Westcott-Hort Greek New Testament
NA28: 2012 Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament
UBS5: 2014 Greek New Testament
NU: Both Nestle-Aland and the United Bible Society
SBLGNT: 2010 Greek New Testament
THGNT: 2017 The Greek New Testament by Tyndale House
GENTI: 2020 Greek-English New Testament Interlinear
WH NU ἐθρέψατε τὰς καρδίας ὑμῶν ἐν ἡμέρᾳ σφαγῆς
“you have fattened your hearts for a day of slaughter”
א* A B P 33 it cop
Variant 1/TR ερθεψατε τας καρδιας υμων ως εν ημερα σφαγης
“you fattened your hearts as for a day of slaughter”
א2 1739 Maj
Variant 2 ερθεψατε τας σαρκας υμων ως εν ημερα σφαγης
“you fattened your flesh as for a day of slaughter”
The original words were the WH NU reading (ἐθρέψατε τὰς καρδίας ὑμῶν ἐν ἡμέρᾳ σφαγῆς) “you have fattened your hearts for a day of slaughter,” which has superior manuscript support (א* A B P 33 it cop). Two variant readings are variant 1/TR (ερθεψατε τας καρδιας υμων ως εν ημερα σφαγης) “you fattened your hearts as for a day of slaughter” supported by (א2 1739 Maj) and variant 2 ερθεψατε τας σαρκας υμων ως εν ημερα σφαγης) “you fattened your flesh as for a day of slaughter” supported by (Ψ syr). The scribes of variant 1 and variant 2 were attempting to change what they perceived was James insulting wealthy persons’ eating, drinking, or ingesting of appetizing food as they live the good life, merely fattening themselves up for the slaughter. Philip W. Comfort observes, “The first variant, with the insertion of ως (‘as’), emphasizes that this is a simile; the second variant makes it even more explicit by saying that one’s ‘flesh’ (not one’s ‘heart’) is being fattened for slaughter. But if ως is not present, as in the original text, the poetic image is still clear, as well as the allusion to the day of judgment.”
Edward D. Andrews gives is what James meant in 5:5:
You have lived on the earth in luxury and in sensual indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. (James 5:5)
You have lived on the earth in luxury. The rich are particularly addicted to their wealth as the value of their worth, which provides them with a lifestyle that few people share. (Cf. Luke 12:19; 16:19) The word translated luxury, (τρυφάω truphaō) occurs only here in the New Testament. It means to live in pleasure, to be or become characterized by an excess of action and immoderate indulgence of bodily appetites, revel, lead a life of self-indulgence. These wealthy ones live for the moment, immediate gratification, all about the enjoyment. They lived a life of ease and privileged circumstances on the backs of the labors of others. They are spoiled, pandered, and pampered in the pleasures of Satan’s fallen world and seek what is pleasing to the ear and the eye. All the while, those who provide for this lifestyle of wealth are groaning under oppression. A life such as this is nowhere tolerated in the Bible. Even if we remove the oppression and wronging of others, such an opulent, lavish, luxurious lifestyle is considered incompatible with the reasons God created man and gave him the earth. (See Luke 12:19-20) Not to negate what has just been said, but it is not biblically wrong to be wealthy or even filthy rich. It is the love of that money, the chasing after that money, and the abuses that can come with having so much wealth.
These wealthy ones have failed to treat their workers justly, let alone helping the downtrodden; rather, they have lived on the earth in luxury and in sensual indulgence. These were living sensual and indulgent lives, who had unnecessary excesses that evidenced no regard for those they had to take from to live such a life. The mindset of these ones was enveloped in the fleshly living as opposed to spiritual life. The apostle Paul also showed where such a lifestyle would lead when talking of widows, “she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives.” A person with this mindset and who seeks his own self-gratification over and others will eventually lead to immorality as well. This is not just sexual but includes many things that are contrary to accepted moral principles. (See 2 Timothy 3:2-6) For example, one who is focused only on his sensual indulgences could commit acts of cruelty, persecution, and brutality to gain and retain riches to continue one’s luxurious lifestyle.
You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter, describes taking in enormous amounts of something with no regard, not even considering there will be a day of slaughter that awaits them. In ancient times, fatness was actually considered a positive quality because it was a sign of wealth, as it meant that the person had enough money to eat enough to be fat. When fattening a pig, we know that it will eat both meat and vegetables. It will consume anything, including bones, fish heads, and table scraps. Think of the parallel, the pig gorges himself not knowing that there is a day of slaughter at the end of all of his self-indulgence. One would think that the wealthy would have used the intelligence that made them rich to see that things were not going to end well, but they acted like senseless, oblivious animals. While they lived out this luxurious lifestyle, the day of slaughter (divine judgment) was watching, waiting and would soon condemn them for their evil ways.
A day of slaughter. Clinton E. Arnold writes, “The Greek of this phrase does not occur in the LXX, but the Hebrew equivalent is found as a reference to the Day of the Lord in Isaiah 30:25. It also occurs in a similar way in 1 Enoch 90:4. Almost certainly, then, James refers to the time of final judgment.” Keener observes, “The rich and their guests consumed much meat in a day of slaughter, i.e., at a feast (often at sheep-shearing or harvest; cf. 1 Sam 25:4, 36); once an animal was slaughtered, as much as possible was eaten at once, because the rest could be preserved only by drying and salting. Meat was generally unavailable to the poor except during public festivals. The picture here is of the rich being fattened like cattle for the day of their own slaughter (cf., e.g., Jer 12:3; Amos 4:1-3); similar imagery appears in parts of the early apocalyptic work *1 Enoch (94:7-11; 96:8; 99:6). As often in the Old Testament (e.g., Amos 6:4-7), the sin in verse 5 is not exploitation per se (as in v. 4) but a lavish lifestyle while others go hungry or in need.” (Keener 1993)
Edward D. Andrews, THE LETTER OF JAMES, vol. 17, An Apologetic and Background Exposition of the Holy Scriptures (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2022), 231-233.
Variant Reading(s): differing versions of a word or phrase found in two or more manuscripts within a variation unit (see below). Variant readings are also called alternate readings.
Variation Unit: any portion of text that exhibits variations in its reading between two or more different manuscripts. It is important to distinguish variation units from variant readings. Variation units are the places in the text where manuscripts disagree, and each variation unit has at least two variant readings. Setting the limits and range of a variation unit is sometimes difficult or even controversial because some variant readings affect others nearby. Such variations may be considered individually, or as elements of a single reading. One should also note that the terms “manuscript” and “witness” may appear to be used interchangeably in this context. Strictly speaking “witness” (see below) will only refer to the content of a given manuscript or fragment, which it predates to a greater or lesser extent. However, the only way to reference the “witness” is by referring to the manuscript or fragment that contains it. In this book, we have sometimes used the terminology “witness of x or y manuscript” to distinguish the content in this way.
TERMS AS TO HOW WE SHOULD OBJECTIVELY VIEW THE DEGREE OF CERTAINTY FOR THE READING ACCEPTED AS THE ORIGINAL
The modal verbs are might have been (30%), may have been (40%), could have been (55%), would have been (80%), must have been (95%), which are used to show that we believe the originality of a reading is certain, probable or possible.
The letter [WP] stands for Weak Possibility (30%), which indicates that this is a low-level proof that the reading might have been original in that it is enough evidence to accept that the variant might have been possible, but it is improbable. We can say the reading might have been original, as there is some evidence that is derived from manuscripts that carry very little weight, early versions, or patristic quotations.
The letter [P] stands for Plausible (40%), which indicates that this is a low-level proof that the reading may have been original in that it is enough to accept a variant to be original and we have enough evidence for our belief. The reading may have been original but it is not probably so.
The letter [PE] stands for Preponderance of Evidence (55%), which indicates that this is a higher-level proof that the reading could have been original in that it is enough to accept as such unless another reading emerges as more probable.
The letter [CE] stands for Convincing Evidence (80%), which indicates that the evidence is an even higher-level proof that the reading surely was the original in that the evidence is enough to accept it as substantially certain unless proven otherwise.
The letter [BRD] stands for Beyond Reasonable Doubt (95%), which indicates that this is the highest level of proof: the reading must have been original in that there is no reason to doubt it. It must be understood that feeling as though we have no reason to doubt is not the same as one hundred percent absolute certainty.
NOTE: This system is borrowed from the criminal just legal terms of the United States of America, the level of certainty involved in the use of modal verbs, and Bruce Metzger in his A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (London; New York: United Bible Societies, 1994), who borrowed his system from Johann Albrecht Bengel in his edition of the Greek New Testament (Tübingen, 1734). In addition, the percentages are in no way attempting to be explicit but rather they are nothing more than a tool to give the non-textual scholar a sense of the degree of certainty. However, this does not mean the percentages are not reflective of certainty.
- Edward D. Andrews, FROM SPOKEN WORDS TO SACRED TEXTS: Introduction-Intermediate New Testament Textual Studies (Cambridge, Ohio), 2021.
- B. F. Westcott and F. J. A. Hort, Introduction to the New Testament in the Original Greek: Appendix (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1882)
- Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Biblical Studies Press, 2006)
- Bruce Manning Metzger, United Bible Societies, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Second Edition a Companion Volume to the United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament (4th Rev. Ed.) (London; New York: United Bible Societies, 1994),
- Eberhard Nestle and Erwin Nestle, Nestle-Aland: NTG Apparatus Criticus, ed. Barbara Aland et al., 28. revidierte Auflage. (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2012).
- Dirk Jongkind, ed., The Greek New Testament: Apparatus (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2017).
- Dirk Jongkind, ed., The Greek New Testament (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2017), Matt. 6:8.
- Eberhard Nestle and Erwin Nestle, Nestle-Aland: Novum Testamentum Graece, ed. Barbara Aland et al., 28. revidierte Auflage. (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2012)
- Philip Wesley Comfort, A COMMENTARY ON THE MANUSCRIPTS AND TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic, 2015).
- Philip W. Comfort, New Testament Text and Translation Commentary: Commentary on the Variant Readings of the Ancient New Testament Manuscripts and How They Relate to the Major English Translations (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2008).
- Philip Wesley Comfort and David P. Barrett, The Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts: Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts, 2 Volume Set The (English and Greek Edition) (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic, 2019)
- Rick Brannan and Israel Loken, The Lexham Textual Notes on the Bible, Lexham Bible Reference Series (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2014).
- Roger L. Omanson and Bruce Manning Metzger, A Textual Guide to the Greek New Testament: An Adaptation of Bruce M. Metzger’s Textual Commentary for the Needs of Translators (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2006).
- Wallace B., Daniel (n.d.). Retrieved from The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts: http://csntm.org/
- Wilker, Wieland (n.d.). Retrieved from An Online Textual Commentary on the Greek Gospels: http://www.willker.de/wie/TCG/index.html
 Philip W. Comfort, New Testament Text and Translation Commentary: Commentary on the Variant Readings of the Ancient New Testament Manuscripts and How They Relate to the Major English Translations (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2008), 732.
 Clinton E. Arnold, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Hebrews to Revelation., vol. 4 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002), 113.
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