Saturday, 29 September 2012

Jesus Called Him "Peter" Only Twice

     The day that Jesus first met Andrew’s brother, he said to him, "You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas" (John 1:42, NKJV). But hereafter, whenever the Lord addresses this disciple in the New Testament record, it is almost always as Simon rather than by his new name. Why?
     The term Cephas is the Aramaic version of Peter, meaning "a stone" and projecting the imagery of firmness and stability. The name Simon is the Greek form of Simeon, derived from a Hebrew expression meaning "he has heard" (see Genesis 29:33). The idea of "listening" is an obvious connotation.
     It is of no small significance that the Gospels repeatedly depict Andrew’s brother as impulsive, slow to hear and quick to misunderstand. Thus, whenever the Lord addressed him by his given name, it doubled as a subtle reminder to Simon of his pressing need to pay attention. Jesus consistently called him Simon, in spite of the name change, except on two important occasions.
    A couple of years into the Lord’s ministry, popular opinion was divided concerning his identity. It was Simon Peter (as Matthew refers to him) who affirmed on this occasion: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16). Jesus then commended "Simon Bar [son of]-Jonah" for this great confession (v. 17) and went on to declare, "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church . . ." (v. 18a).
     The Greek text indicates an apparent play on words that is lost in the English translation. The masculine noun Petros ("Peter" or Aramaic "Cephas," the moniker Jesus had said "you shall be called") means "a stone," i.e. a piece of a larger rock. In contrast, the feminine petra is used to describe that upon which the church is built, i.e. a large foundational bedrock. Peter is merely a small (albeit significant) component, while Jesus himself is both the builder and the foundation of what he describes as "My church." The point is that the rock-solid substructure upon which the church stands is the enduring truth that Jesus is "the Christ, the Son of the living God." Or, as stated elsewhere: "For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 3:11).
     The only other recorded instance of Jesus using the name Peter is in the upper room on the evening prior to his crucifixion. The disciples had been arguing among themselves about who should be considered the greatest (Luke 22:24). The Lord singles out one of them and says, "Simon, Simon" (v. 31a). Notice the repetition of the name. Might this have been Christ’s way of emphasizing the importance of what he is about to tell Simon and/or a shrewd way of saying, "Listen, listen!"? Jesus knew the potentially devastating challenge that was about to confront Simon’s faith, so he offers these words of reassurance: "But I have prayed for you that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren" (v. 32).
     Instead of carefully and thoughtfully listening, however, impetuous Simon blurted out: "Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death" (v. 33). Irrespective of the sincerity of his intentions and the nobleness of his words, he evidently didn’t get it! How would his imprisonment at this time and premature death in any way contribute to the divine scheme of redemption? It was the perfect Lamb of God who had to suffer and die (vv. 19-22), but there was another purpose in God’s plan for Simon.
     Jesus responds to the impulsive outburst, saying: "I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me" (v. 34). Why did the Lord uncharacteristically address him here as Peter? Would not "Simon, Simon" ("listen, listen") be better suited to this occasion? Well, he had already tried that and apparently it didn’t work! Since Jesus was one to choose his words carefully, never misspoke, had good reasons for everything he uttered, and almost never used the name Peter, surely a point is being made. While we don’t know what facial expression the Lord had at the time or whether sarcasm was in his tone, perhaps this was a pointed reminder that Simon was expected to live up to his new name ("strengthen your brethren"), even though he obviously wasn’t there yet.
     Christ’s statement in John 1:42 appears to have been prophetic ("shall be called") rather than an immediate name change. Looking beyond Simon’s weaknesses and inadequacies, the Lord was able to see potential in him that was probably unnoticed by everyone else, including Simon. With a great deal of patience and fortitude Jesus continued working with this fallible human being, continually reminding him to close his mouth and open his ears until the rock-solid character that was needed for God’s purpose had developed.
     After the Lord’s personal ministry on earth was completed and the continuance of his work had been delegated to his loyal disciples, the only time in the biblical narrative that the apostle Simon is mentioned without the name Peter is in Acts 15:14. Here James refers to him as "Simeon" (the Hebraic form of his given name), although James is not speaking to him but rather about him. Note that the inherent meaning of this name ("listen") is not directed to Simon Peter but to those who had just heard him speak (vv. 7-11). Peter ("a stone") was now fulfilling his purpose as a strong, reliable representative of the Lord to whom others were encouraged to listen (cf. 2:14, 22).
     Is there a lesson to be learned here? Am I currently living up to my full potential in the Lord and fulfilling my purpose in his service? This depends, of course, on how attuned I am to God’s will. In other words, am I making a genuine effort to listen, to learn and to grow? Even if I am not yet where I need to be, am I moving forward and developing the potential the Lord sees in me? Moreover, despite all the rough edges, are we looking for the potential in each other? Are we patient enough and determined enough to help one another grow into the solid people of faith God expects us to be? As Peter himself reminds us, "Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 2:4-5). Are we listening?
--Kevin L. Moore

Related Posts: Christ's Inner Circle

Sunday, 23 September 2012

When the Greek New Testament is Translated into English

     Every book of the New Testament was originally written in Koinē Greek – the common language of the first-century Greco-Roman world.1 Beyond establishing the underlying text (see Text of the NT Part 1), the next big challenge is how to go about translating it into English. Seeing that New Testament Greek and the English language do not neatly correspond, an absolutely literal word-for-word translation would be unintelligible. On the other hand, a mere paraphrase is no better if it does not accurately capture the true sense of the text. Since the goal of translation is to clarify the biblical message and avoid distortion, most translators have opted for more practical approaches and employed one of the following translation philosophies.
     It is the aim of the Formal Correspondence method to translate the text as literally yet as intelligibly as possible, approximating a word-for-word translation.2 Formal correspondence versions include the American Standard Version, the King James and New King James Versions, the Revised Standard Version, the New American Standard Bible, and the English Standard Version. The principal merit of this approach is that it tries to remain as faithful to the original wording of the text as the translation process will allow. The biggest drawback is that ease of comprehension is reduced, i.e., the reading tends to be more arduous and cumbersome due to basic grammatical and syntactic differences between the two languages.
     Dynamic Equivalence is an attempt to convey the meaning of the text in free and idiomatic language, approximating a thought-for-thought translation.3 The principal merit of this method is that it makes the message of the Bible easier to read and clearer to the modern reader. The biggest drawback is that translational decisions are more contingent on the subjective preferences (theological biases?) of the translator, who essentially functions as an interpreter4 and commentator. Dynamic equivalence versions include the New International Version, the New Revised Standard Version, the New English Bible, the Contemporary English Version, Today’s English Version, and the New Living Translation.
     To illustrate the different approaches, compare the following renderings of Ephesians 6:12.
Greek Transliteration: hoti ouk estin hēmin hē palē pros haima kai sarka . . .
Literal Translation: "because not it is to us the struggle against blood and flesh . . ."
Formal Correspondence: "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood . . ." (NKJV).
Dynamic Equivalence: "We are not fighting against humans . . ." (CEV).
Paraphrase: "This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish . . ." (The Message)
     If a translation is too literal, the original sense is lost to the modern reader. For example, Philippians 1:8 reads literally: "I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ" (KJV). Seeing that ancient Greek-speakers understood splagchnon ("internal organs") figuratively as the seat of emotions, the actual sense is better expressed in contemporary western cultures by a more idiomatic rendering: "I long after all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus" (McCord).
     If a translation is too loose, the original sense is lost to the modern reader. For example, the NIV renders Acts 13:33, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father" (a quote from Psalm 2:7). However, the word "Father" (pater) is not in the original text, and the verse actually reads: "You are my Son, today I have begotten [gennaō] you" (ESV). The context concerns the resurrection of Christ (vv. 29-37), not his birth or the beginning of a Father-Son relationship, i.e., he was metaphorically "begotten" or "brought forth" from the tomb (cf. Romans 1:4).
     Realistically no standard English translation is entirely formal or entirely dynamic. While a mediating position between these two philosophies may be preferable, almost every Bible version more heavily favors one translation philosophy or the other. Optimal Equivalence has been touted as a more balanced alternative, but versions based on this translation philosophy (e.g. the Holman Christian Standard Bible) do no better in achieving this elusive balance.
     Admittedly all translations of the Bible have their share of strengths and inadequacies, though some are more accurate than others in conveying the sense of the biblical message. In view of the fact that the very "words" [logois] of the original text are inspired by God’s Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:12-13), it seems there is greater merit in a more literal (formal correspondence) translation. Surely it is a reasonable expectation for modern readers to have the opportunity to be exposed to the linguistic forms and images of the historical-cultural settings in which the message of scripture was first communicated. The bottom line is, I want to know what the inspired writers actually said rather than what an uninspired translator thinks they meant by what they said.
     As far as currently available English translations, I prefer the New King James Version for the following reasons. First of all, it is based on a more extensive Greek text and therefore provides readings that are omitted from other versions (see Text of the NT Part 2). Secondly, the NKJV contains marginal notes that inform me of important textual variants, prompting further investigation to make my own textual decisions rather than having to rely solely on text critics with whom I may disagree. Thirdly, the NKJV closely adheres to the formal correspondence translation philosophy, providing an English translation that essentially corresponds to the original text. The NKJV is not a perfect translation, but my own copy of it gets revised almost every time I use it by handwritten symbols, brackets and marginal notations from my own personal study.
Kevin L. Moore

    1 While there were reports of Matthew’s Gospel having been originally composed in Aramaic or Hebrew, the Greek of Matthew does not read like a translation and no early Aramaic or Hebrew text of the Gospel has ever been found.
     2 Although sometimes called "essentially literal" or "formal equivalence," the designation "formal correspondence" is preferred because it produces similarity of form but not necessarily of meaning (cf. E. A. Nida and C. R. Taber, Theory and Practice of Translation 202).
     3 Also known as "functional equivalence," the goal is to have the same impact on modern readers as the original message had on its initial audience.
     4 While a certain amount of interpretation is admittedly unavoidable in the translation process, the above criticism is aimed at translators who take unnecessary liberties with the word of God.

Related Articles: Martin & Julie Johnson's How to Choose the Best Bible for You; Wes McAdam's Things You Need to Know about Bible Translations; Tom Miller's The Best Translation; Greg Gilbert's Why So Many Versions?
Dewayne Bryant, "How Bad is the KJV?" <video>.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

The Text of the New Testament (Part 2 of 2)

     The main views concerning the underlying text of the New Testament have generally fallen into two categories. On one hand, there are advocates of the primacy of the Byzantine text (e.g., Textus Receptus, Majority Text = 98% agreement), a sample of which is available in Maurice A. Robinson and William G. Pierpont’s The New Testament in the Original Greek: Byzantine Textform (2005). On the other hand, there are advocates of the Alexandrian text’s superiority, with consideration given to all text-types to produce an eclectic text, samples of which are available in the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece (27th ed., 1993) and the UBS’s The Greek New Testament (4th rev. ed., 1994).
     The Byzantine text stands behind English translations such as the King James Version (1611), New King James Version (1979), and Revised Authorised Version (1979). In the New Testament text tradition, as the argument goes, there seems to be a scribal continuity of a basic standard text, preserving through the centuries a very pure and ancient text in the majority of manuscripts. The Byzantine textform shows a higher degree of consistency compared to the other groups, spans a far greater time period, and has a much larger proportional representation in contrast to the tiny handful of Alexandrian documents produced over a significantly shorter period.
     The eclectic text favoring the Alexandrian form is the basis of the Revised Version (1881), American Standard Version (1901), and nearly all modern English translations. Of the multiplied thousands of extant New Testament manuscripts, only about thirty represent the Alexandrian text-type. The basic rationale is that the older manuscripts, being closer in time to the originals, are necessarily more reliable than the later ones which are further removed. Since this is the majority opinion that seems to dominate text-critical discussions, an alternative view is presented here. The following hypothesis is not intended to make a dogmatic statement but rather to offer a plausible scenario from another perspective that is too often neglected by the scholarly majority.
     It is important to remember that even the later manuscripts were copied from documents that go back to an earlier time period. The best copies, produced with careful transcription, would have been more regularly used and thus susceptible to accelerated deterioration. The quality manuscripts closest in time to the originals would therefore not have survived due to normal wear and tear, the fragility of papyrus materials, and even destruction by enemies of the church. Nevertheless, it is reasonable to expect that the continuity of a standard text was maintained, resulting in the proliferation of reliable manuscripts that now comprise the majority of the textual evidence. Conversely, careless transmission would naturally produce more textual variation. Those recognized as inferior copies would be less frequently utilized, resulting in slower deterioration. The corrupt manuscripts would eventually be discarded and thus inadvertently preserved, especially in dry, arid climates like Egypt. If this proposal is realistic and plausible, the majority opinion ought to be reconsidered. When it comes to evaluating the textual evidence, "oldest" does not necessarily mean "the best" (see The Ending of Mark Part 2).
     In more recent years the traditional approach to how manuscript evidence has been classified and assessed is being called into question (see D. A. Black, ed., Rethinking NT Textual Criticism [2002]). The respective labels were coined and the transmissional/recension theories were in place before the papyri discoveries of the early twentieth century and beyond, yet very little has changed in most text-critical discussions. Irrespective of which Greek text one chooses to use, a willingness should be exhibited to do one’s own critical investigation and to appreciate that decisions made by any text critic are subject to scrutiny.
     When all is said and done, however, over 85% of the text of ALL editions of the Greek New Testament is identical. Apart from insignificant variations, the real concern of textual criticism hardly comprises more than a thousandth part of the entire text, and the few passages in question affect no fundamental biblical doctrine. There is no reasonable doubt that the Greek New Testament has been faithfully preserved (see Changes in the Bible? Part 1 and Part 2).
–Kevin L. Moore

Related PostsThe Text of the NT (Part 1)

Sunday, 9 September 2012

The Text of the New Testament (Part 1 of 2)

     Since none of the original autographs of the New Testament is extant, and the thousands of ancient copies (manuscripts, fragments, versions, etc.) differ among themselves with regard to certain words or sentences, textual criticism seeks to reconstruct as closely as possible the original Greek text (see Changes in the Bible? Part 1 and Part 2). When the documentary evidence is thoroughly evaluated and copyist errors are identified and eliminated, an amended text is then available.
     The earliest printed (yet unpublished) edition of the Greek New Testament was the fifth volume of Francisco Ximenes de Cisneros’ Complutensian Polyglot Bible in 1514, but it was not circulated until 1522. The first Greek New Testament to be printed and published, of which nearly all other early editions were copies or adaptations, was that of Desiderius Erasmus in 1516. Erasmus made use of no more than six late Greek manuscripts, relying heavily on two twelfth-century texts and also readings from the Latin Vulgate. Robert Estienne (a.k.a. Stephanus) published four editions (1546-1551), based on fourteen or fifteen Greek manuscripts and readings from Erasmus and the Complutensian. Théodore de Bèze (Beza) published nine editions (1565-1604), which were practically the same as the third and fourth editions of Stephanus and the fourth and fifth editions of Erasmus.
     The Textus Receptus is a label applied to multiple Greek texts. In 1624 the brothers Bonaventure and Abraham Elzevir published a Greek New Testament based largely on Beza’s first edition. The Elzevirs’ second edition (1633) contained these words in the preface: Textum ergo habes, nun cab omnibus receptum: in quo nihil immutatum aut corruptum damus, meaning "You have therefore the text now received by all: in which we give nothing altered or corrupt," i.e. the textus receptus ("received text") or standard text. Seeing that the works of Erasmus (1516), Stephanus (1550), Beza (1598), and Elzevir (1633) are essentially the same (with only slight variations), they have all been lumped together and labeled Textus Receptus. While this is the basic text that stands behind all English translations of the New Testament until 1881, the earliest and what many consider the better manuscripts had not yet been discovered.
     Over the past two centuries large numbers of manuscripts, many of which are much older than those previously available (and thus closer in time to the original writings), have been unearthed and utilized by text critics. In time more critical editions were produced by Lachmann (1831) and Tischendorf (1869-72), followed by Westcott and Hort (1881), paving the way for modern textual criticism. The critical approach classifies manuscripts into groups or families of texts that reflect agreement among themselves in a large number of variant readings, indicating that they stem from a common source. The available documentary evidence is generally grouped into at least three text-types,1 designated according to the geographical region(?) where each tradition is believed to have originated.
     The Byzantine text-type (a.k.a. Syrian, Koine, Ecclesiastical, Antiochian, A-text) was largely preserved in the Eastern or Byzantine Empire and represents the vast majority of surviving manuscripts. It is generally found in later copies and is believed to have stemmed from Syrian Antioch and then taken to Constantinople where it spread throughout the Byzantine Empire.
     The Alexandrian text-type (a.k.a. B-text) was largely preserved in the regions of Alexandria, Egypt and generally represents the earlier extant manuscripts. While Westcott and Hort improperly labeled it the "neutral text," the Alexandrian text-type is actually much more diverse than the Byzantine text-type. It is typically shorter by comparison and characterized by a larger number of abrupt endings, more variations between parallel synoptic passages, and has a greater number of difficult readings.2
     The Western text-type (a.k.a. D-text) is a less-than-consistent text characterized by what is often viewed as careless and undisciplined scribal activity. Traced back to the second century, it was used by Marcion, Tatian, Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Cyprian. It is generally longer than other text-types, and its rough form is regarded by some as indicative of an earlier stage of transmission rather than a later, corrupted form. The challenge is determining which of the variant readings is the earliest, since the manuscripts differ from each other almost as much as they differ from the other text-types.
     An eclectic text is the result of analyzing each reading on its own merits without exclusively relying on a single text-type, i.e., the quest for quality over quantity. The value of this approach notwithstanding, how one evaluates "quality" is admittedly somewhat subjective, as evidenced by the ongoing debates among text critics. It seems that most modern eclectic texts (and critical scholars) show a significant bias toward the Alexandrian text-type due to its comparative antiquity.
–Kevin L. Moore

      1 While the Caesarean (a.k.a. Eastern or C-text) is a potential fourth, in recent years it is being questioned as a separate text-type and simply regarded as a mixture of other forms (see E. J. Epp, "Issues in NT Textual Criticism," in Rethinking NT Textual Criticism [ed. D. A. Black] 38-39; also B. M. Metzger, Textual Commentary [2nd ed.] 6-7). 
      2 This raises the question of whether these distinctions evince the earliest form of the text that was later modified (the majority opinion among text critics) or a corrupted form of the text not replicated in other manuscripts in different areas (to be considered in the next post).

Related PostsThe Text of the NT (Part 2)

Sunday, 2 September 2012

The Missing Letters of Paul

     If the total number of letters written by the apostle Paul exceeds the thirteen ascribed to him in the New Testament, should this be a cause of concern for Bible believers? Are the scriptures incomplete without these other writings? Does this legitimize the charges of Bible critics (Mormons and Muslims included) that the Christian canon is therefore corrupted and deficient? Is human negligence to be blamed, and would it then call into question the providential working of God in the preservation of his complete revelation?
     These missing letters pose a potential difficulty only if one begins with the following assumptions: (1) everything composed by an inspired author had to be preserved; (2) the absence of any apostolic document from the biblical canon is a mistake; and (3) vital information needed by Christians is unavailable without these writings. But if these assumptions and consequent concerns go beyond what the evidence demands, what other explanations should be considered?

A Lost Letter to the Corinthians:
     In 1 Corinthians 5:9 Paul reminds his readers, " I wrote to you in the letter not to associate with [the] sexually immoral" (author's own translation). Taken at face value, this seems to be referring to something written to these believers prior to the composition of what is now called 1 Corinthians. It has been suggested that the use here of egrapsa ("I wrote") may be an epistolary aorist that refers to what had just been stated in the first part of the chapter rather than to a previous writing. However, in v. 11 the employment of egrapsa is preceded by nun de ("but now"), showing an apparent difference between what the apostle is currently writing and what had been communicated in an earlier document. Moreover, the use of the article in the phrase en tē epistolē ("in the letter") indicates that the Corinthians had received a prior written message from Paul.1
     Why, then, was this apostolic manuscript not kept and subsequently included with the rest of the Corinthian correspondence? First of all, in view of the fact that the contents of the former letter are summarized in 1 Corinthians, readers implicitly know what it was about. Second, the directives as they were initially conveyed had apparently been misunderstood by the Corinthians. Third, the apostle goes on to give further clarification and explanation. Therefore, nothing is lost and nothing would have been gained by preserving the first letter.

A Lost Letter to the Laodiceans:
     Another Pauline document not found in the New Testament is mentioned in Colossians 4:16. "And whenever this letter [Colossians] is read before you, make sure that it is also read in the church of [the] Laodiceans, and that you also read the [one] of Laodicea." Various attempts have been made to explain away this apparent allusion to a missing letter, but for the most part they are less than convincing.2 While it has been suggested that Paul may be referring to correspondence from Laodicea, why would it be considered on the same level as an apostolic transcript and thus necessary for the saints at Colosse to read?
      Another proposal is that the letter has in fact been preserved in the form of canonical Philemon or Ephesians. Against the former conjecture is the simple fact that Philemon is a personal letter addressed to an individual rather than to a congregation: "to Philemon the beloved and our fellow worker" (v. 1). Granted, the opening address also includes "Apphia the sister," "Archippus our fellow-soldier," and "the assembly in your house" (v. 2), but the message is written almost entirely in the second person singular ("you") form of address, apparently directed to Philemon alone. Furthermore, Onesimus (Philemon’s slave) was a resident of Colosse, not Laodicea (Colossians 4:9).
     Equating the document in question with Ephesians is based on the absence of the phrase "in Ephesus" (1:1) from some manuscripts and the non-personal nature of Ephesians, which, according to some, is indicative of a general circular letter. While these issues will be more fully addressed in future posts <link>, Ephesians is clearly written in letter-form and thus requires the identification of the recipient in the prescript. Note that the participial expression tois ousin ("the ones being . . .") always has an appended place-name in the openings of Paul’s other letters, and no location other than Ephesus is mentioned in any of the surviving manuscripts containing the epistle.
     Just as Jesus taught the same lessons to different audiences on different occasions (e.g. Matthew 10:38; 16:24; Luke 14:27), it is reasonable to expect that the apostle Paul wrote similar (or even identical) letters to various congregations who needed the same teaching. If his instructions to the Laodiceans were essentially the same as one of his other letters (e.g. Ephesians), there would have been no reason for both documents to be placed in the New Testament canon. While Paul himself may have preselected which of his writings to include in a published collection (see Collection and Canonization Part 1), the exclusion of the Laodicean letter would have been intentional (not accidental) and for obvious reasons.
Paul’s "Severe" or "Tearful" Letter to Corinth:
     In 2 Corinthians, as Paul makes reference to a previous letter he had sent to the Corinth church (2:3-9; 7:8-12), he affirms: "for out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you through many tears . . ." (2:4a). A number of scholars argue that this "tearful letter" must no longer be extant because 1 Corinthians does not match its description. Others propose that instead of being lost it is to be equated with the 10th and 11th chapters of 2 Corinthians. However, seeing that 1 Corinthians is replete with stern rebukes, solemn warnings, passionate pleas, and corrective instructions, there is no convincing reason to presume that it must have been penned without heartfelt and tearful emotion. Nothing in Paul’s description of this "tearful letter" definitively rules out 1 Corinthians (particularly chapter 5), and even if 2 Corinthians 10–11 is in view, the information still survives.
     References in 2 Corinthians 10:10, 2 Thessalonians 2:2, 15, and 2 Peter 3:15-16 have also been submitted as possible allusions to non-extant Pauline epistles, but none of these precludes the canonical writings. Rather than viewing the thirteen New Testament letters of Paul as the sum total of documents ever produced by him, a more realistic perspective is to regard them as a careful selection of his writings that represents the entirety of his inspired teachings needed for future generations. Anything not included in the biblical canon is therefore of no spiritual or eternal consequence.
–Kevin L. Moore

    1 See A. T. Robertson, Grammar 757, 846; D. B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics 563.
    2 Marcion’s canon included a Pauline letter to the Laodiceans, but it is no longer extant. Some later Latin Bibles contained a brief Epistle to the Laodiceans (eventually finding its way into other versions), but there is no Greek manuscript support for it. Rather, it appears to be a collection of various readings from the canonical Pauline letters and is therefore not included in the New Testament (see Jerome, De viris ill. 5).