What are variant reading(s)? They are 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.
“… coming to the baptism” א* B cop Origen; “… coming to his baptism” א1 C D L W 0233 f1, 33 565 579 700. 892 1241 1424 Maj it syr cop. The earliest textual support and likely the original reading of Matthew is
The harmonization of passages is likely an intentional change by a copyist, who is seeking have a passage agree with a similar passage from another book. Again, these are generally found in what are known as the Synoptic Gospels,* names Matthew, Mark, and Luke. ...
The process of attempting to ascertain the original wording of a text is important, regardless of how minor the textual variant may seem. Our primary purpose is to give the Bible readers what God said by way of his human authors, Our primary goal is to be accurate and faithful to the original text. Therefore, we must have the original words.
Many students of textual criticism became interested in it because they wondered whether the Bible is trustworthy, in the sense that what we have today is what the original writers wrote; and, whether variations in the ancient manuscripts could affect our theology.
What is the original reading: (1) “you may devote yourselves to prayer” or the longer (2) “you may devote yourselves to fasting and to prayer”?
What is the original reading: (1) “This kind does not come out except by prayer” or the longer (2) “This kind does not come out except by prayer and fasting”?
Because there are so many individual manuscripts, textual critics are hard-pressed to know the individual characteristics of each manuscript. Consequently, many textual critics categorize the manuscripts into text-types, which they then use in their evaluation of textual variants.
It is my opinion that scribal gap-filling accounts for many of the textual variants (especially textual expansions) in the New Testament—particularly in the narrative books (the Four Gospels and Acts). What is scribal gap-filling?