For the budding New Testament Textual Critic there are numerous online line resources available: Evangelical Textual Criticism, the various Textual Criticism list groups, Wieland Willker’s Online Textual Commentary on the Greek Gospels, and so on.
Today I want to highlight another, Robert Waltz’s Encyclopedia of New Testament Criticism. This is a useful first stop for terminology, and has some very useful articles indeed. I refer especially to Critical Editions, which details for the novice the various features of the available Greek New Testaments, including a comparison of the apparatuses of the editions. This can save you time and money, obviously, though a true Text Critic is going to have them all, eventually, anyway.
Colossians figures into the subject thus: it is part of this quarter’s Sunday School lessons in the Lifeway Explore the Bible series, and it happens to be Waltz’s chosen NT book to survey the various editions more in depth. You want to get a feeling for how many variants there can be in a biblical book, take a look at this.
I’ve already mentioned Tischendorf’s eighth edition Greek New Testament in another post. It’s from the nineteenth century, its text is in Latin and its manuscript symbols are different from the current standard symbols. Nevertheless, as both the Colossians apparatus and the Critical Edition survey show, it’s a fairly indispensable edition, having more variants than almost any, and covering the range of manuscript witnesses better than almost any edition, as well. It’s almost certainly cheapest and mot useful in software version, such as the Logos edition.