There are literally thousands of manuscripts of the Greek New Testament in existence. The science of textual criticism studies these manuscripts, comparing them with one another to analyze how the text has been transmitted to us. Good textual criticism can trace transmission errors and provide us with the most reliable manuscripts for translation.
Textual criticism shows that there were two versions of Romans circulating in the first few centuries after Jesus: the 16-chapter version we have now, and a 14-chapter version (chapters 15 and 16 omitted). The questions for you to ponder are: 1) which one is the authentic version, and why? and 2) how did the other one come into existence, and why?
Give it some thoughtful study. No off-the-cuff blogosphere ignorance, please… make an informed conjecture. As you read Romans in your Bible, how do the last 2 chapters fit in the flow of the argument? What would the letter gain if they were added, or what would the benefit be if they were subtracted? Can you envision a context in which an “edited” version would be useful?
Let’s hash it out. Post your thoughts.