What’s the difference between the NA28 and the UBS5? Plus a FREE printable resource.

by Meg Rusick, Marketing & Communications Manager

Recently we attended Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary’s orientation week, to meet with students and showcase our array of biblical studies and language reference books. One of the most common questions we heard was about the main differences between the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece (NA28) and Greek New Testament, 5th Revised Edition (UBS5).


Dr. Amy-Paulsen Reed and Levi Bakerink at the Hendrickson Publishers book table at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

Both editions use the same Greek text (differing only in some details of punctuation and capitalization). What, then, sets them apart from one another? What are their main distinctives?

What it really comes down to is how the pages have been laid out, and what your overall objective is.  While the NA28 is often considered to be the best choice for scholarly research, the UBS5 is specifically designed for translators and students. Let’s break down some of these design differences, so you can see for yourself.

Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece (NA28):

NA28 Large Print Edition

  • Contains exhaustive textual notes and variants. In­tended for students, teachers, and scholars who desire to study the Greek NT thoroughly
  • Greek text itself is identical with UBS5
  • Apparatus contains evidence for and against the textual reading (positive apparatus), and at times only contains evidence against textual reading (negative apparatus)
  • Cross references are extensive and in the outer margin
  • Old Testament quotations are in italics
  • Uses the Eusebian section and canon numbers and kephalaia in the inner margin

Greek New Testament, 5th Revised Edition (UBS5)


  • Contains only textual variants that impact transla­tion. Provides a streamlined apparatus and thus is intended for students and teachers who desire to do translation work and understand better their mod­ern English translations
  • Greek text itself is identical with NA28
  • Apparatus always contains evidence for and against the textual reading (positive apparatus)
  • Cross references are limited to only those most im­portant, shown at the bottom of the page
  • Old Testament quotations are in bold
  • Contains English subject headings with information about segmentation (punctuation, etc.) of the text in editions of the Greek NT and in modern Bible trans­lations (Discourse Segmentation Apparatus)

Page Comparisons: NA28 vs. UBS5

For the visual learners amongst us (I’m raising my hand), here is a free downloadable flyer that showcases the main differences in page design. There are also a few helpful reviews circling, like this one on the UBS5, that show in more detail what each page looks like and break down the features in more detail.

NA28 UBS5 Page Comparison

Page comparisons of the NA28 and the UBS5

So which do you prefer, the NA28 or the UBS5? Do you have any questions about either edition? Let us know in the comments! Our team is standing by this week to answer all your questions.

Meg Rusick is Marketing & Communications Manager at Hendrickson Publishers. She lives on the North Shore of Massachusetts with her husband and baby daughter, and loves hiking, reading, and being outside as much as possible.

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