First, I should state that I am of the persuasion that the manuscripts used in the NA26-28 and UBS4, commonly known as the Critical Text or Alexandrian Text, most closely resemble the Original Autographs. Those of the persuasion that the Textus Receptus is superior would disagree with this; and there are respectable arguments on both sides of the issue. Nevertheless, I do not believe that one's choice of manuscripts will affect the purpose and use of this Greek blog, especially as I will not be pointing out differences between the two sides. For more reading on the matter of manuscripts, I would suggest the following: The King James Only Controversy: Revised Edition – James R. White and The Text of the New Testament 3rd Edition 1992 used (not 4th Edition) – Bruce Metzger.
Apart from the difference in the textual apparatus, there is some variation in typesetting. This may not sound like much, but trust me it can be depending on the person. You may love the one and hate the other, or you may love them both. It depends on the reader's eyes. In the UBS4-5, there tends to be more spacing, slightly wider margins, and less of a “clutter feel” than that of the Nestle-Aland. The UBS4-5 tends to have a slightly larger font than the NA27-28, though it's font of choice is italicized, which for my eyes does not work well. These are just my opinions, so don't take them too seriously. For the average reader, pastor, preacher, missionary, or student of the Greek New Testament, I would recommend the UBS4, or better yet the UBS Reader's Edition, more below on that. I will nevertheless mention some of the versions of the NA27.
*I recommend purchasing Greek New Testaments through CBD, not Amazon, as the latter often mislabels them, and sells them at much higher prices. Everything below is linked to CBD.
Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece 27/28th Editions:
Standard Editions w/ and w/o dictionary, wide margin, large print, etc.
United Bible Societies 5th Edition:
(The UBS4 is no longer in print as of early 2014. You can still find used copies for a reasonable price, so be sure to look around before overspending on the UBS5.)
The Greek New Testament: UBS5 with dictionary
The Greek New Testament: UBS5 without dictionary
- A great text with a full textual apparatus. The first has a concise dictionary as an appendix, the second does not. The only drawback to this edition in my opinion is the font. It is very thin and italicized. For me, the italic font throughout makes it very difficult on the eyes to read for very long. This may not be a problem for you, but make sure to view a sample before purchasing. If it is a problem, thankfully there are other options with better fonts.
UBS5 Greek Reader's New Testament
- This is my personal favorite and the version I use for daily or devotional reading (I only use the UBS4-5 listed above for textual research). It is durable and well made despite what some may say. Nevertheless, I use a canvas cover on mine to protect it from normal daily wear. There is plenty of margin space, large easy to read, normal, non-italic 10 point font. This text is designed for reading and is very easy on the eyes for longer periods of time. One of the best features is that it has a “running dictionary” for all of those rarely used words and forms which appear in the GNT. It defines each word appearing less than 30 times with a simple, in context definition as well as parsings of rare forms; this is why it is called a "reader". This edition however, does not replace the standard UBS4 for textual criticism and variants. See this review for more.
- This is the original edition of the UBS Reader's GNT. There is nothing wrong with it, however the binding on the two that follow seems to be a bit better.
- This edition comes with a very nice leather-like cover and good binding. Otherwise is virtually the same as the one mentioned above. I actually prefer this edition out of all the others. This edition is hard to find now and close to being out of print.
- Crossway recently published the UBS Greek Reader in two different editions: one with Genuine Leather, the other in Cowhide. See my review of these at the link above.
As I said, using a canvas bible cover will greatly help preserve your GNT. The following fit well, with some extra room, on the UBS GNT Reader's Edition:
Black Canvas Cover XL
Navy Canvas Cover XL
Burgundy Canvas Cover XL
An Old Classic:
The Westcott-Hort Greek New Testament
This is a classic GNT, and the foundation from which the modern critical texts are derived. It has a comfortable font and is very readable. It also provides the variants between the WH and UBS/NA.
Hopefully this brief survey will be helpful to those seeking more information or needing to make a decision. I suggest finding someone who studies the language and speaking with them about the version/s which they have and use. If you are able to before purchasing a GNT, look at it, touch it, flip through it, read it, and make an informed decision. Usually on CBD you can view free samples of the text.