Doctrinal Significance of Matthew 5:44

In Doctrinal Differences in Scripture, Matthew, The Gospelsby Chris ThomasLeave a Comment

AV/Textus Receptus/Byzantine Priority

Matthew 5:44  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

Matthew 5:44 εγω δε λεγω υμιν αγαπατε τους εχθρους υμων ευλογειτε τους καταρωμενους υμας καλως ποιειτε τους μισουντας υμας και προσευχεσθε υπερ των επηρεαζοντων υμας και διωκοντων υμας

NA28/ESV

Matthew 5:44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

Matthew 5:44 ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν· ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν καὶ προσεύχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν διωκόντων ὑμᾶς,

Manuscript & Patristic Support

Support for removing the phrases ‘bless them that curse you’ and ‘pray for them that despitefully use you’ in NA28 – Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Vaticanus, and the early church father Origen.

Support for the Byzantine Text –

  • Athenagoras of Athensi, 2nd century Church Father T
  • The Didache of the Twelve Apostles 2nd century A. D.
  • Chrysostom 4th century.
  • In all the manuscripts of the Byzantine Text.

Doctrinal Difference

Patristic citations of Athenagoras and the Didache, which support the Byzantine Text, predate by almost two centuries Sinaiticus and Vaticanus

Though these words are found in the parallel verse of Luke 6:28, and are found in writings two centuries before the existence of codices Aleph & B, their deletion weakens the doctrine in this passage and presents us with an inaccurate portrayal of what Christ actually said in the Sermon on the Mount.  The 2nd century and 4th century (Chrysostom) attestation of this verse along with the overwhelming witness in the Byzantine mss, and the fact that without it we are left with an inaccurate portrayal of the Sermon on the Mount, demonstrate the authenticity of this verse.

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