The numerous manuscripts have been cataloged and located in what the specialists call «families of texts». These "families" were formed in relation to an important center of ancient Christianity: Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople, Carthage and Rome. The copies that were made from the first copy of a biblical writing that arrived in Rome reflect characteristics peculiar to this important center. And so it is with the rest of the key places. So we have the following families of texts:
Its characteristics are brevity and austerity. That is, the Alejandrino is generally shorter than other kinds of text, and does not exhibit the degree of grammatical acridity that characterizes the type of Byzantine text and to a lesser degree the type of Cesarian text.
This type of text was current in Italy, Gaul, North Africa and other parts, including Egypt. It can also be traced back to the second century.
In the same way, the old Latin versions are notorious witnesses of the Western type of text, and are found within main groups, such as the African, Italian and Hispanic forms of the ancient Latin text. The main feature of the Western text type is its intense paraphrase (comments).
It seems to have originated in Egypt. It was perhaps brought by Origen to Caesarea, where it was used by Eusebio and others. From Caesarea he was taken to Jerusalem, where he was used by Cyril and by Armenians who in early times had a colony in Jerusalem. The Armenian missionaries brought the type of Cesarian text to Georgia, where it influenced the Georgian Version, as well as the Greek manuscript of the ninth century, the Korideti codex. It seems, then, that the Cesarian type of text had a long and eventful career. According to the views of the majority of scholars, it is an oriental text, and is characterized by a mixture of Western and Alexandrian readings.
It characterizes it by appearing complete and with great lucidity. This type of text was taken to Constantinople, where it was widely distributed throughout the Byzantine Empire. During the period between the sixth century until the invention of the printing press in the fifteenth century, the type of Byzantine text was recognized as the authorized text, was the most widely circulated and the most accepted.
It is easy to realize the variety of texts found in the Bible. Those who have had the opportunity to read all the books have experienced this reality. Beginning with a book that narrates in an amazing simple and direct language the origins of everything created (The Genesis) and end up reading a book that projects in a symbolic and enigmatic language as it will be the end of time (The Apocalypse). In the midst of these two books, they could read law codes, epics of Hebrew heroes, beautiful poetry, wise sayings, painful laments, deep philosophical reflections, prophetic discourses and shocking biographies.
The understanding of the Bible can be greatly facilitated to the extent that we can understand well the different types of texts with which we find ourselves in reading. If we knew, for example, what are the distinctive characteristics of narrative, poetic or proverbial texts, then we could read its content with greater possibility of understanding. That is why we need to guide our reading within the framework of these different textual typologies.