As followers of Christ and believers in the Bible as the inerrant Word of God, the materials used in the original transmission of these holy texts bear a significance that echoes through history. One such material, papyrus, has played an irreplaceable role in preserving the New Testament. As early as the Exodus, papyrus was already used as a writing material.
Today there are about two billion people who call themselves Christians, who own or are aware of the Bible. Most are unaware of just how that book came down to them, yet many if not most would acknowledge that it is inspired by God and free of errors and contradictions.
Discover the significance of textual criticism in ensuring the accurate and reliable transmission of biblical texts. Learn about the methodologies and advancements made in this complex field, providing Christians with a dependable source of revelation.
The New Textual Scholars of today would say that this is wishful thinking, as there is no way of knowing how many copies removed the manuscript may be. They would go on to tell you that a 9th-century manuscript might have fewer copies in between than a 3rd-century manuscript. There is a sense today that "optimism" and "hope" are bad words that we should set aside because they will only cloud our objectivity. If you doubt, look ...
The papyri are documents written on papyrus, a material prepared in Ancient Egypt from the pithy stem of a water plant, used in sheets throughout the ancient Mediterranean world for writing. The early papyri of about 100+ manuscripts that date from 110-390 C.E. are said to be the most important for establishing the original.
This makes more certain for us the Apostle Peter’s words: “But the word of the Lord endures forever.” (1 Peter 1:25) We can have the same confidence that the One who inspired the Holy Scriptures, giving us His inerrant Word, has also used his servants to preserve them, irrespective of the intentional and unintentional textual variants that entered the copies of the text, throughout the last two thousand years, and especially those many dozens of textual scholars that restored the text to its original form, “who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim. 2:4)
In the case of the New Testament papyri manuscripts, our early evidence for the Greek New Testament, size is irrelevant. They range from centimeters encompassing a couple of verses to a codex with many books of the New Testament. But all of them add something significant.
Why is this fragment of John’s Gospel so valuable to those who love the Bible today? What did the experts conclude about it?
The latest calculations have all known Greek manuscripts at about 5,898, written from as early as 110 C.E. to as late as the end of the fifteenth-century. P52 although a fragment is one of the most important.