1 John 5:7


"For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one."

The passage is called the Johannine Comma. It is not found in the majority of Greek manuscripts and is limited to few late manuscripts in Greek. For this reason, modern version do not contain the verse. However, it should be remembered that there are not a large number of Greek manuscripts containing 1 John. Our final authority for this verse, or any other verse, does not rest in the hands of textual critics or the number of manuscripts, but in the promise of God to keep and preserve His words.

The Comma did not appear in the first two editions of Erasmus' Receptus but was added to his third. Some have stated that Erasmus added the Comma reluctantly. Erasmus had been criticized for his earlier editions which did not contain the passage. Metzger writes, "In an unguarded moment Erasmus promised that he would insert the Comman Johanneum, as it is called, in future editions if a single Greek manuscript could be found that contained the passage. At length such a copy was found--or was made to order!" (The Text Of The New Testament, [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1968], 101.) This statement, however, is in question. Others have shown that Erasmus did not add the verse aversly, but was in fact searching for a Greek text which supported what was already in the Old Latin texts. (Donald L. Brake indicates this in his thesis present to Dallas Theological Seminary and reprinted in the book Counterfeit Or Genuine, edited by Dr. David Otis Fuller [Grand Rapids: Grand Rapids International Publication, 1978], 205. This is futher varified by both Dr. Fuller and by Dr. Edward F. Hills in his book The King James Version Defended, 209.)

The first Greek manuscript found which contained the verse was minuscule 61 which dates to the late fifteenth century. However, three other Greek minuscules contain the verse, 88 (twelfth century), 629 (fourteenth century), and 635 (eleventh century). It is, nonetheless, supported by the Old Latin manuscripts which read, "Quoniam tres sunt, gui testimonium dant in coelo: Pater, Verbum, et Spiritus sanctus: et hi tres unum sunt. Et tres sunt, qui testimonium dant in terra: Spiritus, et aqua, et sanguis: et hi tres unum sunt." (verses 7-8). This Latin wording (which matches the English of the KJV) is important because of the like wording made by Cyprian (250 AD). Cyprian writes "Dicit Dominus: 'Ego et Pater unum sumus,' et iterum de Patre et Filio et Spiritu sancto scriptum est: 'Et tres unim sunt.'" (The Lord says, "I and the Father are One," and again, of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost it is written: "And the three are One."). Thus we see that the reading is found not only in the Old Latin manuscripts, but was also cited by Cyprian sometime before 250 AD. All of which disproves the popular myth that the reading is without textual support until sometime in the fifthteenth or sixteenth century.

Reina-Valera:

"Porque tres son los que dan testimonio en el cielo, el Padre, el Verbo, y el Espiritu Santo; y estos tres son uno." (1 Juan 5:7)

Tyndale:

"(For ther are thre which beare recorde in heaven, the father, the worde, and the wholy goost. And these thre are one)." (1 John 5:7)

Bishops' Bible:

"For there are three which beare record in heaven, The Father, the Word, and the Holy ghost, and these three are one." (1 John 5:7)

More informaton on this verse can be found at the 1John 5:7 Web Site by Michael Maynard.

 

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