Bob Turner and Allen Black – Bible Manuscripts

Dr. Allen Black and Bob Turner talk about two important New Testament manuscripts. The New Testament was copied by hand for centuries, and today we look at two of the most important of these early manuscripts. These facsimiles and others are found in the HST Library.

Key take-aways:

  • A codex (plural codices or codexes) is a manuscript in book form as opposed to a scroll. It may be that the longer New Testament books were actually written in codex form. The Old Testament was preserved in scrolls.
  • The chapters we use came about in the 1200s and the verses in the 1500s.
  • Uncials were written in all capital letters with no punctuation, space between sentences, or even spaces between words. Minuscules were written in a small, cursive Greek letters.
  • Codex Vaticanus is the oldest copy of the Bible, dating to the 300s. It contains the Septuagint (Greek version of the Old Testament). Both the Old and New Testaments were incomplete, but had the missing portions added back in the 1400s.
  • Codex Sinaiticus is the oldest copy that contains the complete New Testament. You may see Codex Sinaiticus here.

Dr. Allen Black is the dean of HST and Professor of New Testament. He has been at HST since 1983, and teaches the Gospels, Hebrews, 1 Peter, and New Testament Exegesis. Black has served as Adult Education Minister at the Highland Church of Christ for over 35 years.

Bob Turner preaches twice each month at the Church of Christ at White Station in Memphis. He has been with HST since 2009. He publishes a newsletter of curated resources for ministers called Footnotes. Subscribe here.

Harding School of Theology (HST), a seminary in Memphis, TN, has been equipping ministers since 1958. Accredited by the Association of Theological Schools, and offering degree programs at the master’s and doctoral levels, HST equips Christian leaders to higher standards of ministry scholarship and challenges them to a deeper faith in God. Combining academic rigor and interpersonal connections, HST emphasizes student engagement in ministry as they study. HST is associated with Churches of Christ, is part of the Stone-Campbell Movement, and is part of Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas.