Tools for pastors & scholars alike

From our Critical Apparatus to our Exegetical Commentary, HCNTTS is developing a range of text-critical tools to serve researchers, students, pastors, and laymen alike. The goal of all of our projects is to give greater access to the text of the New Testament for all who are interested whether pastor, teacher, scholar, or student.

Screenshots of the Center's electronic apparatus on Accordance

For Pastors & Teachers

An online textual
commentary for pastors

The Center is in the process of developing an English-based, searchable commentary for the purposes of exegesis. Two prototypes are being constructed on 1 Peter and Philippians. The idea behind this project is that variations in manuscripts can sometimes act as a commentary on the text. For instance, certain variants seem to shed light on how that community may have understood a particular portion of the Bible, although other manuscripts contain the original reading.

Initial development

The initial phase of this project is to create an English-based tool for pastors, teachers, and lay people to help understand a little more about the footnotes that can be found in most English translations. Our staff are isolating places in the text where non-original variants of substance offer a difference in meaning the helps us understand how the original text might have been understood in the early church. The variants being isolated are ones that cannot be easily explained as accidental and are helpful for understanding how the early church might have been interpreting scripture.

The goal

The goal of the English-based commentary is to help with exegesis. This tool is not meant simply to be a database of variants but is being designed in order to help better understand the biblical text. Some places of variation act as ancient commentaries on difficult places of interpretation in the text. In some places, these variants act as our oldest interpretation!

Currently under development.

For Scholars & Students

A first-of-its-kind
electronic critical apparatus

Available with Accordance Bible Software and BibleWorks software, the Center’s electronic apparatus provides a wealth of information covering the entire NT.

A Greek papyrus manuscript transforming into an electronic apparatus.

Our Critical Apparatus for the Greek New Testament has gone through two major phases.

Phase 1: Initial Completion

Ten years went into the making of the world’s first comprehensive searchable, electronic database of variants in the entire Greek New Testament. The database is available as a module in Accordance Software and soon in BibleWorks Software. The HCNTTS Critical Apparatus includes variants of all types (including even orthographic shifts, nomina sacra, etc.) with a sampling of at least 50 manuscripts for each book of the New Testament. One of the more impressive capabilities of the apparatus is the search capability associated with the Accordance module. Search capabilities of the apparatus include isolating the readings for a specific passage, a specific manuscript, several manuscripts at once, or even a specific type of variant (such as additions or omissions of text).

Phase 2: Continuous Development

Upon completion, The Center has been actively engaged in adding manuscripts and editing content. This development is carried on by at least two staff members at this point, including project director David Champagne. The Center tries to release major updates to the Apparatus before the annual meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Society for Biblical Literature meetings around the end of November.

Graduate & post-graduate training

Graduate students at work.Numerous course offerings in the area of New Testament textual criticism are offered at NOBTS on both the Master’s and Ph.D. levels in connection with The Center. Inquiries about these courses are welcome. Also, while NOBTS does not offer a Ph.D. specifically in New Testament Textual Criticism, the seminary does offer the opportunity for students in our New Testament Ph.D. program to acquire a substantial amount of specialization in the area and to write their dissertations in the area. Workshops and independent continuing education opportunities for visiting scholars and students are available as well. Interested persons should contact Dr. Bill Warren for more information.

Workshops on the Bible’s rich history

The Center offers History of the Bible Workshops hosted both at The Center and in other settings, such as churches or schools. The main focus of the workshops is to demonstrate and explain the process of how we have come from papyrus Greek manuscripts to having various translations of the Bible in English.

Our History of the Bible Workshops feature three main stages throughout the history of the Bible. First, the early writing process is featured through a demonstration and explanation of the early writing tools, including how papyrus, ink, and pen were made in the ancient world. Second, the transmission of the text throughout the centuries is featured through visual aids and an explanation of how the text was passed down, copied, and preserved. Third, our workshops help explain how the Bible has been made available in English, including the various stages of English translations from the 1500s until now.

Meticulous papyrus reproductions

A reproduction of P52, the earliest known fragment of the New Testament

A reproduction of P52, the
earliest New Testament papyrus.

One of the newest undertakings at The Center has been the creation of replica New Testament papyri for the purposes of study and display. Working with genuine papyrus imported from Egypt, our specialist Steven Whatley has mastered the art of creating replica papyri of the New Testament text for the purpose of study.

The Center also has developed decorative bookmarks and displays for purchase. Bookmarks are available for purchase in packages of 4, which include a passage from each of the four gospels. The bookmarks are hand-crafted and laminated for protection. Also available are framed “Favorite-Verse Papyrus Artwork.” These customizable displays are personalized with your favorite verse printed on a piece of “aged” papyrus in Greek with an English translation provided in a script font underneath.

If you’re interested in purchasing any of these items, please contact us.

Creating a papyrus reproduction is meticulous and painstaking work.Some of the decorative bookmarks, displays, and mugs for sale through the Center.A reproduciton of Papyrus 50 (P50)Tools used for our papyrus reproductions