New Testament Textual Criticism in the 21st Century

56 minutes

Daniel B. Wallace discusses the challenges facing New Testament textual criticism in the 21st century.  Join us for this interesting discussion of this fascinating discipline.  Many listeners will be familiar with Dr. Wallace from his introductory textbook and his textbook on intermediate Greek grammar.  Dr. Wallace is the senior New Testament editor of the NET Bible and coeditor of the NET-Nestle Greek-English diglot.  He has also founded The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts, an institute with an initial purpose to preserve Scripture by taking digital photographs of all known Greek New Testament manuscripts.

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16 Responses to “New Testament Textual Criticism in the 21st Century”

  1. rfwhite says:

    Hey, guys. Dr. Wallace is a remarkably accomplished scholar in the fields of NT text criticism and NT Greek; he deserves our thanks for his work. Interestingly, he published an essay in which he denies the doctrine of preservation. It’s called “Inspiration, Preservation, and New Testament Textual Criticism” and can be found here:

    Any light on whether he still holds to the thesis he presented there?

  2. John Coleman says:

    He does not hold to the cultic doctrine of preservation. He explains this is depth in his lecture last year (look for audio online). He holds to the Christian doctrines of truth and inspiration, which are not compatible with the cultic and anti-scientific doctrine of preservation.

  3. robert says:

    I have the dvd of that lecture, it’s really good.

    I don’t know what you mean by “cultic” but if you’re referring to “god preserved his word in an english bible translation” or “god magically made all of the manuscripts match!” yes…i’d say that was a false statement, but…

    I’d say that God DID preserve His word in the NT manuscripts by making available so many witnesses scattered over such a broad area geographically, that we can be assured of having “essentially” what was written originally.

    How do you see it?

  4. robert says:

    I wish I could edit my previous post…yes..I read what Dr. Wallace had to say and he was denouncing the “God inspired a particular family of manuscripts” andor “God inspired one English bible version”

    I would agree that that’s lunacy.

    I think that Dr. Wallace would agree that God preserved his word in the rich abundance of manuscripts available….he calls it an “embarrassment of riches”….

    Did I get that right?

  5. int3grity says:

    The download and player only plays or downloads 19 seconds of the file…

  6. int3grity says:

    hmmm. it works now. nevermind…

  7. I read Dr. Wallace’s article and even discussed it online with a KJV onlyist (or TR onlyist) and Wallace believes, as he said on Christ the Center, that the classic proof texts for the confessional doctrine of preservation (see WCF) are misinterpreted. He believes the doctrine of preservation was invented during the Reformation. He does believe it was preserved, just not that the Bible revealed that it would be, or how. He does not believe in the preservation of every word, as he said on CtC, and that’s based not on Scripture, but his research of the evidence. If you’re listening for it, it’s all very clear on CtC. I tend to agree that the context of those classic preservation verses make other points. But I’m staying on the fence until I learn more, as I aspire to be faithful to the system of doctrine contained in Scripture as expressed in the WCF. By the way, just posted about it. But I guess my post will show up in this thread anyway.

  8. Jesse T says:

    Since the Scriptures are not infallibly preserved, what part should Catholic Tradition play in doctrine?

  9. Jeff Riddle says:


    I’m a regular listener and enjoy the program, but don’t you think there are some major problems with some of the things that Wallace said from a Reformed/orthodox perspective?


    He reinterprets the doctrine of divine preservation of Scripture (contra article one of the WCF and 2LBC).

    He makes the old claim that contemporary text criticism has no impact on doctrine. How about the doctrine of providence (preservation) and the doctrine of the canon of Scripture. Canon involves not only books of the Bible but also the text of the Bible (e.g., Mark 16:9-20 is roughly the same length as 2 John). While we’re on the issue of canon, what would happen if Dr. Wallace discovered an ancient copy of Romans in a library somewhere that omitted chapters 9-11, and the world’s best academic text critics (neo-evangelicals among them) decided this was the most ancient text of Romans. Would we then remove these chapters from our Bible?

    He says that the Gospel record of Christ’s words contain merely the ipsissima vox and not the ipsissima verba of the Lord. Do you concur?

    He drives an artificial wedge between Jesus and the Bible, claiming that he does not want to make Jesus the handmaiden of the Bible but the Bible the handmaiden of Jesus. But, from where does he learn about Jesus but from the Bible? The two are not at odds.

    I was glad that someone challenged his views on the “incarnational” approach to inerrancy, but I wish some of these others issues had also been raised as well.


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I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naïve. (Romans 16:17-18)

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