It often surprises people to know that the Bible they hold in their hands may deviate in some rather significant ways from the Bible as it was originally composed. The text evolved (teehee) in a number of different ways, but the one I want to briefly go over today is mostly an issue for the New Testament.



In the original Greek, there was no punctuation. Also, every letter was capitalized (called “majuscule” – the lower case letters I’m using now were unheard of until the Carolingian minuscule script invented in the 8th century). Worse yet, there were no spaces between words!

So the 9th century scribe trying to convert the text of the Bible into the newfangled script had quite the task in front of him. This poor hapless fellow, born to the wrong generation as far as scribes are concerned, had to try to figure out where to put in spaces.

Now, most of the time, this was probably pretty easy. Even if there were several possibilities, the right interpretation could usually be guessed from the context. But sometimes, it wasn’t so simple.

To illustrate this point, Bart Ehrman often uses this example: lastnightatdinnerwesawabundanceonthetable. How do you read this? Is there a lot of food, or is it just frisky?

When I was in university, the best professor ever used this example: GODISNOWHERE. You can see how something as simple as putting spaces in the right place can have a pretty significant theological impact!