But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court (Matthew 5:22a, NASB)
But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment (Matthew 5:22a, NKJV, emphasis mine)
Matthew 5:22 is a disputed text. At issue is whether the word εἰκῇ ("in vain, for nothing, thoughtlessly") should or should not appear in the sentence. The UBS Greek New Testament apparatus lists this as a B-class variant. It does not show the εἰκῇ in the text, even in brackets. Bruce Metzger, in his Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, had this to say about why the critical text stands as it does:
Although the reading with εἰκῇ is widespread from the second century onwards, it is much more likely that the word was added by copyists in order to soften the rigor of the precept, than omitted as unnecessary.
The external evidence does not exclude εἰκῇ. As to the question of date, both readings were in evidence before the third century (as Metzger acknowledged above), since Origen refers to both readings (personally favoring the omission). As to geographical distribution, the inclusion of εἰκῇ is diffuse. Irenaeus, Eusebius, Chysostom, Hilary, and Cyprian all included εἰκῇ. Augustine quoted the verse in both styles, although he seemed to favor the omission. The Vulgate omitted εἰκῇ, but an impressive array of relatively early texts from the various textual families support the inclusion of the word. The "rock star" for omission of εἰκῇ is P64+67. The external evidence is a mixed bag. Whatever happened to this verse, it happened very early.
The case against εἰκῇ seems to depend (as Metzger's commentary suggested) preponderantly upon speculative internal evidence. Metzger's theory was that a copyist was pulling a "What Jesus really meant to say was…" by adding the word εἰκῇ to "soften the rigor" of Matthew 5:22. But is that a safe assumption? I think I know as many people who delight in construing a passage in its MOST rigorous interpretation as I know people who engage in "softening." Are we concluding that the first and second centuries knew nobody in the church who enjoyed the proclamation of "hard sayings"? Might not such a person just as easily have omitted εἰκῇ as a "softener" would have added it?
Besides that, we've all (of those who've been to seminary) studied about how easy it was to skip a word inadvertently while copying a manuscript. For every good explanation of how the word might have been added, I can think of an equally plausible explanation for how the word might have been dropped. And with the variation taking place so early, how remarkable is it, really, that P64 came out one way or the other?
So now we come to my point. Is the case here so incredibly clear-cut that εἰκῇ/"without cause" does not even merit inclusion in brackets or mention in a footnote (in English translations like the NASB)? I think not. I think some preconceptions about the person and message of Jesus are on display here, not in the willingness to question εἰκῇ, but in the willingness to pretend that those questions are a lot more lopsided in favor of the shorter text than they really are.
Now, do you think that I ought to be angry about that? And if I were, would it be "without cause"?