Let's present a hypothetical situation. Say that both German and English have been in existence for 1900 years. A bilingual German missionary, Pastor Witt,having worked in England for several years, is directed by the Holy Spirit to return to his native Germany, to a certain church, named the Steuben Church.. Upon arriving there, he finds they have no complete Bible, so he decides to write one, but he can find only an English set of mss. Therefore he makes a translation from them, & when he's done, he asks several other literate members to make copies so all can have a German ms to read. These copies are themselves copied, sometimes by someone not as literate as other copyists. A few years later, a pastor from England, Pastor Smith from the Wessex Church, who is also fluent in German, pays the Steuben Church a visit. The church presents him a copy of their German ms as a gift, which he takes back to England, where it's carefully stowed in the Wessex Church library. Also, many Wessex members have copies the mss used in their services, and, like the German mss, are sometimes copied by a less-literate person. In turn, those copies in each nation are again copied, and this process of copy & recopy goes on for over a hundred years, with some copies, several of them inexact, are kept as heirlooms, or hidden & forgotten during a war. Three hundred years later, the Steuben Church is merged with a larger church, Bach Church, and the librarian goes to work to sort through the literature of the old Steuben Church. He finds the English ms brought from England by Pastor Witt, but he doesn't know about its history. He does, however, know Pastor Witt had worked in England & had known the people of the Wessex Church, so he writes them a letter. Wessex sends a man fluent in German to Bach to give the librarian the info he seeks. While there, this man, Deacon Jones, reads the old English ms & asks the librarian if he can copy it; he agrees, & Deacon Jones takes it to Wessex. At Wessex, the old German ms is found, and a copy written to be sent to Bach as a gift. This is because Deacon Jones can see the German of that old ms is a little different from the German of his day, just as the English see the old English ms is a little different from THEIR English. Both churches carefully place their respective mss in storage in their basements, & soon forget about them. Years pass, and both churches eventually dissolve, with their edifices becoming office buildings, being remodeled time and again, but with their basements being undisturbed & largely unnoticed. One day, a renovation worker finds the now-ancient literature in the basement of the old Bach Church, and, not knowing what it is, calls the University of Berlin. Meanwhile, in England, the storage of the old Wessex Church is discovered, and the workers call Cambridge. The two universities, each one knowing their respective nations have committees at work making new Bible translations, make exact copies of all the mss for the translators. What the translators immediately notice is that those old mss differ somewhat from the mss they'd been using. But they cannot discover the histories behind any of the mss they were using; all they know is that they differ. They have no idea that many of these mss are cross-translations. Also into the mix are more mss recently discovered in archaeological digs that are a little different from those already known. I write this hypothetical scenario to show one possibility of how the differing Scriptural mss could have come into being. We know that if we cross-translate a modern German Bible into modern English & translate the resulting English version back into German, that it will not match the original German version exactly. And who knows how many such cross-translations that the mss we have available have undergone? They could have easily gone from Judea to Greece to Parthia to Arabia to Egypt and back to Greece, being re-translated into the native tongue of each of those places, with the resultant changes from language to language factored in, until the only copy we often have is the final one, and in some cases we may have earlier ones that don't match the later ones. Thus, we have a potpourri of differing mss. The factor that makes this all work out is THE POWER OF GOD to preserve/present His word AS HE CHOOSES. We see VAST differences in the extant copies of "The Iliad" and other extand ancient literature that's been in constant use for many years. A significant fact in this regard is that God, who's preserved ancient Sumerian literature that predates the Scriptures by several millenia, has apparently chosen NOT to preserve any of the original writings by the men to whom God first gave His words. The Onlyist ignores this fact, and instead, tries to place all the "blame" for the differing mss upon men whom they sometimes accuse of making deliberate bogus copies. They just don't consider that GOD has full control over His word, and presents it as HE chooses, whether HIS way matches MAN's way or not. In Christ, C.P.R.