I’m always fascinated by footnotes in the Bible. While I don’t pay as much attention to footnotes as I should, I endeavor to read every footnote I see in the Bible. Those notes usually deal with units of measure, like telling us how many feet or meters are in a cubit. However, sometimes, those notes tell us the text in the translation we read is different or could be different if we read it from another translation.

Such is the case with Acts 24:7. Acts 24:7 is one of those verses that’s not in every Bible, and some Bibles don’t have footnotes, so you might see something like this.


Acts 24:7 (NET)

Others, like the NIV or ESV, will include a footnote telling you that Acts 24:6 and 8 read differently in other translations and Acts 24:7 isn’t included as a regular part of your translation. Such footnotes should also contain the “missing” text. Other translations like the NASB (1995) include the “full” text of Acts 24:6-8. As seen below.

6 “And he even tried to desecrate the temple; and then we arrested him. [We wanted to judge him according to our own Law. 7 “But Lysias the commander came along, and with much violence took him out of our hands, 8 ordering his accusers to come before you.] By examining him yourself concerning all these matters you will be able to ascertain the things of which we accuse him.”

Acts 24:6-8 NASB (1995)

However, note that the NASB (1995) and most modern translations that include the missing elements do so in brackets. The brackets indicate this text is included in the version but not in others.

Why are Acts 24:6,8 different in some versions, and Acts 24:7 is missing while not in others?

The earliest manuscripts before the fourth century don’t have the parts about wanting to judge Paul by their law and Lysias’ interference. In other words, the addition to the text makes it appear as if Lysias stopped the law-abiding Jews from judging Paul by their law. This is why Paul is now in Roman hands and taking up Felix’s valuable time.

Since the added text isn’t found in any of the earliest manuscripts, many believe it wasn’t in the original. After all, if Luke did write it, it should have been found in some earlier texts. Right? Acts 24:6-8 is different in most modern translations because they are translated from different sources than the King James, NASB (1995), and other translations.

You might be wondering how this impacts the inerrant nature of the Bible. It doesn’t. Firstly, the addition or subtraction of words in Acts 24:6-8 keeps the meaning behind the text the same, which is historical. Additionally, the book of Acts isn’t doctrinal, so there’s no impact on doctrine. In fact, those texts that indicate a question regarding the original text support the Bible’s inerrant nature by telling the reader, “We’re not sure if this text was in the original manuscript, but here it is for your edification.”

If your Bible doesn’t give you a footnote or any indication of why the text is missing or missing from some translations, you might want to buy a study Bible or a Bible with footnotes. As far as I know, even the earliest translations, like the King James, have study Bibles and or Bibles with footnotes.