Tuesday, July 24, 2012

(KATAKAIO) "Burned Up" or (HEURISKO) "Discovered" ?

     One of the most intriguing questions facing students of the sacred writings is
whether katakaio  ("burned up/down")  or  heurisko  ("discovered/laid bare")  is
the  correct reading in 2 Peter 3:10?

     English translations generally fall into two categories as to which reading they
accept as the original reading. The KJV, ASV, RSV,  NASB, and the  NKJV accept
katakaesetai  (will  be  burned  up")  as  the  more  probable  reading, while the
NIV-84,   NRSV,  ESV,  TNIV,  and   the   NIV-2011   accept   heurethesetai
(will be discovered/laid bare) as the correct reading. It is noteworthy that the
the ASV has "will be burned up" in the text, yet the translators have a footnote
that says, "The most ancient manuscripts read discovered." The footnotes of
the ASV are often a treasure-trove of exegetical information.

                                               Manuscript Testimony

      Codices Sinaiticus ( dated about 350-375 A.D.) and Vaticanus (dated about
350 A.D.) have "heurethesetai." Codex Alexandrinus (dated about the early fifth
century; 425-450 A.D.) reads katakaesetai. Papyrus 72, a small but important
codex that dates from the early fourth century (about 300 A.D.) has the reading  
heurethesetai, but adds the participle luomena "will be found dissolved." At  this
point in the manuscript tradition, the reading heurethesetai is the oldest of the
existing readings. 

                             The Reading of  Various Greek Text Editions

     Desiderius  Erasmus'  Greek  New  Testament,  Novum  Instrumentu  Omne,
has katakaesetai. The Textus Receptus, the Greek text underlying the King James
Version of 1611 has katakaesetai. Hermann Freiherr Von Soden's edition of the
Greek Testament, Die Schriften Des Neuen Testaments, contains the reading  
heurethesetai.  The Greek New Testament compiled by Constantinus Tischendorf,
Novum Testamentum Graece, reads katakaesetai. B. F. Wescott and F. J. A.
Hort's edition of the Greek New Testament contains the reading heurethesetai 
The Greek New Testament According To The Majority Text has katakaesetai.
The Nestle-Aland/UBS Greek Testaments have heurethesetai in the text. In some
editions  the  editors   give  this  reading  a  "D" rating, meaning there was/is a very
high degree of doubt concerning the reading selected for the text.

     There are a variety of readings among the existing witnesses to this portion of
the Greek New Testament among the manuscripts and ancient writers. As stated
earlier, heurethesetai is the oldest reading, and probably explains the origin of the
others, and especially why some scribes, ancient versions  and  writers "expanded"
or modified the reading.

     So, in context, Peter affirms the coming day of judgment, and that the wicked
will have no place to hide from the wrath of God. Human wickedness will be laid 
bare or exposed to God's "all-seeing eyes."  

     The NIV,  NRSV,  ESV,  and  NIV-2011 seem  to  have it right. The New Living 
Translation paraphrases in this way, "exposed  to  judgment."  The  Message says,
"exposed to the scrutiny of Judgment."

     Based  on  the  evidence  currently  available   I  believe  the  correct reading is
heurethesetai. Contrary  to  what  some  Bible  students  have  said,  accepting  
heurethesetai does not  lend support to the advocates of the false theory that says
the earth will exist forever. The context of 2 Peter  3:10 is decisive. The heavens
including the earth will be destroyed and cease to exist. The text explicitly says,
"the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire...the heavens will pass
away with a roar... all these things will be dissolved...the heavenly bodies will melt
as they burn!" (2 Peter 3:7,10-12; ESV)

                                                                                                                  R. Daly

Copyright 2012