The new generation of critical editions of the New Testament – Nestle-Aland 28 and Greek New Testament 5 – are brilliant tools with a selection of variae lectiones and main attestation. At the same time, textual criticism is in danger of becoming obsolete among students and scholars alike and is even sometimes regarded as having become redundant at all. With the help of a famous case study (Luke 14,5: 'son', 'donkey', 'sheep', or 'pig') the significance of systematic and methodical textual criticism for the interpretation of the text of the New Testament is demonstrated. The assessment of manuscripts and variants and the plausibility of the genesis of variants are pivotal for subsequent hermeneutics. Consequently, some shortcomings of critical editions with incomplete apparatuses become apparent, which prompts the question how a 'perfect' edition of the New Testament should look like. In addition, the exegete gets to know something about the various texts that circulated in early Christianity.