The task of copying manuscripts was generally done by scribes who were trained professionals in the arts of writing and bookmaking. Some manuscripts were also proofread, and scholars closely examining a text can sometimes find the original and corrections found in certain manuscripts. In the 6th century, a special room devoted to the practice of manuscript writing and illumination called the scriptorium came into use, typically inside medieval European monasteries. Sometimes a group of scribes would make copies at the same time as one individual read from the text.
The New Testament books appear to have been completed within the 1st century. The original manuscripts of the New Testament books have not survived. The autographs were lost or destroyed a long time ago. What survives are copies of the original. Generally speaking, these copies were made centuries after the originals from other copies rather than from the autograph. Paleography, a science of dating manuscripts by typological analysis of their scripts, is the most precise and objective means known for determining the age of a manuscript. Script groups belong typologically to their generation; and changes can be noted with great accuracy over relatively short periods of time. Dating of manuscript material by a radiocarbon dating test requires that a small part of the material be destroyed in the process; it is less accurate than dating from paleography. Both radiocarbon and paleographical dating only give a range of possible dates, and it is still debated just how narrow this range might be. Dates established by radiocarbon dating can present a range of 10 to over 100 years. Similarly, dates established by paleography can present a range of 25 to over 125 years.
Earliest extant manuscripts
The earliest manuscript of a New Testament text is a business card sized fragment from the Gospel of John, Rylands Library Papyrus P52, which dates to the first half of the 2nd century. The first complete copies of single New Testament books appear around 200, and the earliest complete copy of the New Testament, the Codex Sinaiticus dates to the 4th century. The following table lists the earliest extant manuscript witnesses for the books of the New Testament
There are a few differences among them, here are a few between the Sinaiticus and the Vaticanus:
The story of the stoning of the adulterous woman “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” is not there.
Nor are Christ’s words about his executioners from the cross: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”.
And its Gospel of Mark ends abruptly omitting the 12 final verses.
Gospel of Matthew 12:47, 16:2b-3, 17:21, 18:11, 23:14, 24:35;
Gospel of Mark 7:16, 9:44, 9:46, 11:26, 15:28, 16:9–20 (Long ending of the Gospel Mark, referring to the appearance of Jesus to many people following the resurrection, believed by most scholars to be a forgery)
Gospel of Luke 17:36
Gospel of John 5:4, Pericope adulterae (7:53–8:11), 16:15, 20:5b-6, 21:25
Acts of the Apostles 8:37; 15:34; 24:7; 28:29;
Epistle to the Romans 16:24
Page of the codex with text of Matthew 6:4–32
Matthew 5:44 εὐλογεῖτε τοὺς καταρωμένους ὑμᾶς, καλῶς ποιεῖτε τοῖς μισοῦσιν ὑμᾶς (bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you);
Matthew 6:13 – ὅτι σοῦ ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία καὶ ἡ δύναμις καὶ ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας. ἀμήν (For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.) omitted.
Matthew 10:39a – ο ευρων την ψυχην αυτου απολεσει αυτην, και (Ηe who finds his life will lose it, and);
Matthew 15:6 – η την μητερα (αυτου) (or (his) mother);
Matthew 20:23 και το βαπτισμα ο εγω βαπτιζομαι βαπτισθησεσθε (and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with)
Matthew 23:35 – υιου βαραχιου (son of Barachi’ah) omitted; this omission is supported only by codex 59 (by the first hand), three Evangelistaria (ℓ 6, ℓ 13, and ℓ 185), and Eusebius.
Mark 1:1 – υιου θεου “the Son of God” omitted.
You may read more looking for codex Sinaiticus in Wikipedia.
large number of these differences are due to iotacisms and variants in transcribing Hebrew names. These two manuscripts were not written in the same scriptorium. According to Hort Sinaiticus and Vaticanus were derived from a common original much older source, “the date of which cannot be later than the early part of the second century, and may well be yet earlier”.
B. H. Streeter remarked a great agreement between the codex and Vulgate of Jerome. According to him Origen brought to Caesarea the Alexandrian text-type which was used in this codex, and used by Jerome.
Between the 4th and 12th centuries, seven or more correctors worked on this codex, making it one of the most corrected manuscripts in existence.
So what if important verses concerning the end of times have been omitted?