We need your help. Please consider supporting Reasons for Hope*Jesus

Two Manuscript Lines of New Testament

In 200 AD, an early church father named Tertullian wrote that the churches in Corinth, Ephesus, Phillipi, Thessalonica, and Rome still had original documents written by Paul and other disciples. At that time, many would have been more than 130 years old. That’s an indication of the importance the early church put upon these documents and the care they took in handling and preserving them. However, they also knew that none of the documents would last forever. Therefore, they made copies, which they carefully copied from the originals.  The copies were kept in book chests, in homes, and copies were also made to share with other churches.

{Check out the Manuscript Lines Chart below. Downloadable to print.]

Along with the written copies of the original texts, there was also an oral tradition that accompanied them.  That confirmed the dates of the writing and the writer’s authority.  Today we have well over 5,000 Greek manuscript documents (or portions of the ancient documents); the earliest being circa 100 AD when many eyewitnesses of Jesus’ life, death, burial, and resurrection would still have been alive.

The Preserved Word

The copyists of the original manuscripts were meticulous in their endeavor for accuracy in the copies they produced.  Their dedicated work preserved God’s Word. We can be certain of this because, first and foremost, God promised His Word would be preserved forever.

Isa 40:8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand forever.
Mat 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
Luke 21:33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
1 Pet 1:25  the word of the Lord endureth forever.

The original Bible manuscripts came from two different sources.  One line is called the Antioch Line, having originated with the documents from Antioch, Syria.  The other line originated in Alexandria, Egypt, and is called the Alexandrian Line.  There are significant differences between the two lines, but no disagreement in the messages.  Different doesn’t necessarily mean wrong. However, the differences have caused people over the centuries to question which manuscript line is best or at least which is more accurately copied from the original documents.

Our English  Bibles

The translations of the Bible that we have today are easily traceable to one of the two lines of manuscripts. From the Antioch manuscripts, we have the following English translations (not an all-inclusive list):

Wycliffe Bible (1388), Martin Luther Bible (1522), Tyndale Bible (1522), Coverdale Bible (1535), Matthews Bible (1537), Great Bible (1539), Geneva Bible (1560), Bishops Bible (1568), King James Bible (1611), and New King James Bible (1982)

From the Alexandrian manuscripts, we have the following English translations (not an all-inclusive list):

Rheims-Douay (1582), Revised Version (1881), American Standard Version (1901), RSV, NASV, LB, NSRB, JB, TEV, NEB, NIV, GNB, NRSV, NAB, NCV, NBV, HCSB, NLT, ISV, ESV.

This simple chart will help you see the transmission of the New Testament from the first century until today.

Click on the Image to Enlarge or Download

Reading and Studying the Bible

Take some time to understand the differences between the two manuscript lines and varying translations of our English Bibles.  It is important when studying the Bible because the difference in words can affect your understanding and your ability to cross-reference.  Cross referencing is critically important for understanding God’s Word because cross-referencing lets the Bible explain the Bible.

It’s also important to understand the diferences in word-for-word, literal translations and dynamic, thought-by though translations.  For more about this, read Which Bible Translation is Best?


Jesus is the Reason this Ministry Exists

Thank you to all who contributed in 2020. Your generosity is a blessing and encouragement to us.  We did not meet expenses in 2020 and still need your help to continue our global outreach in 2021.  Our mission is to glorify God by equipping, encouraging, and empowering YOU to understand the Bible and grow in faith. If our online resources have blessed you, we hope you will support Reasons for Hope* Jesus. Our ministry outreach has grown significantly and. . .

Please support Reasons for Hope* Jesus with a donation of $5, $10, $20, or more. A donation of any amount is needed and greatly appreciated.

to Reasons for Hope*Jesus(a 501c3 Ministry)
Use a Credit Card or PayPal for safe, secure giving.


***A Hidden Message in Psalm 23?***  

Hidden in the six verses of Psalm 23 are 11 names for Jesus.  When you subscribe to our newsletter, we’ll send you The Names of God in Psalm 23 PDF that reveals all 11 names and Scripture verses of comfort and hope (link will be sent in your confirmation email).

A Room with a View of Eternity—The Last Will & Testament of Jesus Christ   Take a seat at the Master's table. Learn about the riches He gives to all who are His. This book will bless and encourage you, give you hope, and help you live in the joy of your salvation and the riches of Christ that are yours.


The Top Ten Got Questions? in 2020

  1.  The Meaning of NUMBERS in the Bible?
  2. The Meaning of COLORS in the Bible?
  3. Did The Wise Men Arrive 12 DAYS AFTER JESUS’ BIRTH? Or Was It Much Later?
  4. What is the Significance of the Wise Men's THREE GIFTS? And were they kings? 
  5. How are the Shepherd’s Rod and Staff Different?
  6. What Does It Mean to TASTE & SEE That God Is Good? (Psalm 34)
  7. What do the 12 stones UNDER the JORDAN River mean? (Joshua 4)
  8. Is Leonard Cohen’s “HALLELUJAH” a Christian Song?
  9. How was Jesus Like a Worm? What’s the CRIMSON (OR SCARLET) WORM? Psalm 22
  10. Is my TATTOO a sin?

This is not a Got Questions? article. But it's so popular it ranked among the top pages viewed:

More Popular Got Questions & Articles

Was Jesus CRUCIFIED on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday?
Where did OT Saints go at death? ABRAHAM'S BOSOM
If BAPTIZED as an Infant, Do I Need to Be Re-Baptized?
What Does it Mean to Be A CHILD OF GOD?
Which OT Book Did JESUS QUOTE Most Often?
How Did the Wise Men Know This Was the Messiah and KNOW TO FOLLOW HIS STAR?
What Did Jesus Say About HEAVEN (and HELL)?
How long did JOB SUFFER?
Three Heavens? Where is the THIRD HEAVEN?
What are the “I Will ” STATEMENTS of Satan, God, and Jesus?
SIN, INIQUITY, TRANSGRESSION? How are they different?
Should we call HIM JESUS? Or Yahweh? Or Yeshua?
Is Satan’s Real Name LUCIFER?
Is There a Remez (HIDDEN MESSAGE ) in Revelation 7? Why is Dan Missing?
Is It a Sin to Drink ALCOHOL?
Is SUICIDE an Unforgivable Sin?

Something ALL Christians must know:  IVDARR

Reasons for Hope* Jesus video banner

TOP TEN Videos from Reasons for Hope* Jesus
  1. Memorial Day BAGPIPES TRIBUTE: Amazing Grace
  2. Christian Version of Leonard Cohen's HALLELUJAH
  3. RISE AND SHINE and Give God the Glory, Glory!
  4. WERE YOU THERE When They Crucified My Lord?
  8. THE LEGEND OF THE CANDY CANE - A Christmas Story to Share
  9. TASTE AND SEE that the Lord is Good ~ Psalm 34
  10. Hark! the Herald Angels Sing -- CHARLIE BROWN Christmas


We need your help. Please consider supporting Reasons for Hope*Jesus
Reasons for Hope* Jesus


Yes, send me answers to interesting and challenging questions about Jesus and the Bible.  Help me get equipped and be encouraged so I am empowered to know, live, and share my faith.  <*}}}><


Get equipped with knowledge!

Be encouraged in hope!

Live empowered with love! 

You have Successfully Subscribed!