Tricky New Testament Textual Issues

This site grew out of one of many 'side-tracks' that interrupted my attempt to write a book chronicling the events that led to the current English language Bible. For example: Why do some Bibles not contain Mark 16:9-20, or John 7:53-8:11? Why does it look as though Luke has a second beginning, at Luke 3:1? Why do Mark, Matthew, and Luke have so much text in common, but at the same time so much that is different? Why are the so-called heretics (such as Marcion) important? After much work on these and other issues I realized that in order to complete such a book I needed to research many questions that I had assumed were already resolved. 

Eventually, as explained in About MeI stopped writing the book altogether, and started to focus instead on trying to find answers to my questions, many of which involve The Synoptic Problem in one way or another. This site attempts to answer just a few of my questions, on the assumption of Markan Priority (i.e. that Mark was written before Matthew or Luke). This is not because Markan Priority on its own completely solves the synoptic problem, but because it leaves unsolved the smallest number of issues, many of which are discussed in this website. If you have any comments, questions, suggestions, etc. regarding anything here please email me at

In the navigation links on the left of this sentence, click the small triangle against a subject title to either show or hide the pages under that heading.

Luke Chapters 1 and 2 - Luke 3:1 reads like an introduction. Did Luke originally omit chapters 1 and 2, and begin at v. 3:1?

Capernaum or Nazareth First? - Did the first version of Luke have Capernaum before Nazareth, as in both Mark and Matthew?

Well Known in Galilee - Twice - Why does Jesus preach throughout Galilee both before and after Capernaum and Nazareth?

The Great Omission - Approximately 75 contigous verses of Mark (usually given as Mk 6:45-8:26) have no parallel in Luke. Why is this? 

Luke 22:17-20 - The Last Supper - These verses have many variants, with vv. 22:19b-20 not present in some mss. What was their original form?

Marcion - Did Marcion edit Luke's Gospel, or did he just promote an early version of Luke?

Summary - What can we tell about Marcion's Gospel from what has been written about it, both in the past and today?

Conclusions - Where does Marcion's Gosepl 'fit' in terms of its relationship to other New Testament documents?

Fatigue in Mark – or Something Else? - Do various odd errors in Mk indicate 'fatigue' by aMk when using Mt as a source, or something completely different?

Mark 1:1-3 - The Short Beginning - Was the beginnging of Mk defective at some point? What we see in Mk today suggests that it was.

Mark 2:27-28 - The Sabbath - Was The Sabbath Made for Man, or for The Son of Man?

Mark 11:11 The Missing Multitude: The multitude who travel to Jerusalem with Jesus disappear when he enters the city. Where did they go?

Mark 16:9-20 - The Long Ending - What is the origin of the long ending of Mark, and how does this impact The Synoptic Problem?

The Not So Great Omission - A large percentage of the text of The Great Omission has no parallel in Mt either. What does this say about what aMt saw in Mk?

The Order of the Paulines - What was the original order of Paul's epistles?.

Codex P46 - P46 is an early papyrus codex of many of the Pauline epistles. The end is damaged, so what did the missing pages contain?

The Synoptic Problem - The gospels attributed to Mark, Matthew, and Luke have much text in common. Which of them came first?

Stylometrics And The Synoptic Problem - An analysis of the synoptic gospels by looking at the frequency with which words are used.

The MwEL Theory: A New Synoptic Solution - A possible synoptic solution based on there having been an early version of Luke.

Marcion's Gospel and the Synoptic Problem - How would the synopic problem be impacted if Marcion's gospel was earlier than Luke?

The Western Text - There are a number of Greek, Syriac, and (predominately) Old Latin mss of the New Testament that contain a text-type with unusual characteristic readings, some of which may well be older than those found in almost all Bibles.