Seven interesting facts about the Greek text of Revelation

  1. There are not nearly as many Greek manuscripts for Revelation as there are for the other books of the New Testament (NT).
  2. The Greek manuscripts of Revelation circulated separately from the manuscripts of the other books of the NT, and have even been found in collections of nonbiblical books.
  3. The ancient lectionaries used in Christian worship services are normally a helpful source for the Greek text of the books of the NT, but they do not contain any portions of Revelation.
  4. Revelation is not quoted very often by the early church fathers.
  5. The book of Revelation contains many grammatical errors, which some scribes tried to clean up as they copied the book. Text critics use this fact to help them determine the original reading.
  6. The Greek manuscripts that are the most reliable for the other books of the NT are not the most reliable for Revelation.
  7. Renaissance scholar Erasmus was preparing a Greek NT for publication in the 16th century. But he lacked access to Greek manuscripts for a few verses in Revelation, so he translated the verses from the Latin Vulgate back into Greek!

Sources: David Aune, Word Biblical Commentary: Revelation 1-5. (Waco, TX: Word, 1997); Carson, Moo and Morris, An Introduction to the New Testament. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992).

Leave a Comment