Text Criticism and the Pulpit: Should one Preach on the Woman Caught in Adultery?

“While there are many ways to consider this topic, this study will look at the issue through the lens of one highly debated passage, the pericope adulterae (John 7:53–8:11). This passage … has been chosen not only because it is one of the longest text-critical passages in the New Testament, but also because its beloved status presents peculiar challenges.” - Tim Miller


I didn’t preach the longer ending of Mark, and provided a bulletin insert explaining why. That insert is the bottom two-thirds of this article. A couple was visiting and literally ran away after thr service, enraged. I didn’t and dont particularly care about that, but pastors should be prepared to deal with fallout.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government.

The person who disliked my post, above, is funny.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government.

My pastor has been teaching through the Lord’s Prayer. He didn’t preach the last clause and some people left. He explained why and did a good job with it. I believe he called them and they were back the next week. Very difficult issue.
My wife met a new believer and offered to do a bible study with her this week and the girl said “We can’t use the NIV. It removes verses from the Bible.” Hard to know how to approach that one without being offensive but still helping someone along.

The other pastor and I will be teaching a six-week Sunday School series on (1) preservation, (2) canon, (3) textual criticism, and (4) translation. It’ll begin in October, and wrap up by the beginning of December. Few people talk about this stuff. Of course, it’ll be low-level. The other pastor and I aren’t equipped to discuss this as technical experts (few are), but we know the issues and the languages.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government.

It all depends on which position you take on the Greek Text. If you hold to the Eclectic Critical Text of Nestle-Aland you are going to exclude the verses (and others). If you believe the Majority Byzantine Text is the best you are going to keep them in.

I hold to the latter. As an example, here is a link to a lecture on the Last Twelve Verses of Mark.

I hold that the Pericope de Adultera is authentic. Therefore, I preach it.

Dr. Paul Henebury

I am Founder of Telos Ministries, and Senior Pastor at Agape Bible Church in N. Ca.

I haven’t looked at it. When I preached the Gospel of John, several years ago, I preached the passage. I think the Eclectic and MT positions both can make sense. I really like the way Stanley Porter and Andrew Pitts laid out the positions in their book. Reading Robinson’s introduction to his Greek Text is about a good intro to that position as you’re ever likely to get! David A. Black edited a good book titled Rethinking New Testament Textual Criticism that presents multiple views.

I’m certainly no expert. But, I know languages, have read a respectable amount on the topic, and have done my own translations over the years. I’m fine with eclecticism, and certainly have no issue with MT either.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government.