1 John 5:7 manuscript evidence....

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BlackCalvinist

Puritan Board Senior
Cyprian quotes 1 John 5:7 in the year 250 A.D.

ANF05. Fathers of the Third Century: Hippolytus, Cyprian, Caius, Novatian, Appendix | Christian Classics Ethereal Library

"The Lord warns, saying, "He who is not with me scattereth." He who breaks the peace and the concord of Christ, does so in opposition to Christ; he who gathereth elsewhere than in the Church, scatters the Church of Christ. The Lord says, "I and the Father are one;" and again it is written of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit," And these three are one." And does any one believe that this unity which thus comes from the divine strength and coheres in celestial sacraments, can be divided in the Church, and can be separated by the parting asunder of opposing wills? He who does not hold unity does not hold God's law, does not hold the faith of the Father and the Son, does not hold life and salvation."


Thoughts on the topic ? I know most people just instantly blow off 1 John 5:7 thanks to the manuscripts we commonly know of (greek) 1 from 11th century and the rest from the 1400, 1500's and so on.
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
I think Metzger is right on when it comes to this passage. There are only 8 manuscripts that have the passage, 4 of which have it is a variant reading in the margin, and none of the manuscripts are older than the 10th century. The 10th century manuscript is one of the mss that have it as a variant reading. The Cyprian quotation might not actually be referring to 1 John. The last phrase "and these three are one" could just as easily by Cyprian's comment on Matthew 28, with "of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" being from the Great Commission. Why would such a passage be omitted if it was original?
 

christianhope

Puritan Board Freshman
What convinces me that 1 John 5:7 is indeed scripture, is the internal evidence. The words spirit, water, and blood in the greek are all neuter. Yet previously the words 'bear witness' are a masculine participle. Now, I don't know greek, but I do know that men who do know greek say this is improper greek grammar to have 3 neuter nouns supported by a masculine part. However if you insert verse seven which reads the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost- you have the answer to the improper greek- for 'Father and Word' are masculine answering to the masculine participle before.

Further, if it was an addition, the scribe most likely would have just written the "The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost" not 'The Word' which is typical of John, who uses the same language in John 1.

Also the historical context of the early church does make an explanation readily evident.

I would direct you to Jerusalem Blade's partial composition thread which has this topic well hashed out for your perusal.

http://www.puritanboard.com/blogs/j...rusalem-blades-posts-partial-compilation.html

Just look under: Johannine Comma thread
 

Romans 8 Verse 28

Puritan Board Freshman

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
But again, why would such a clear testimony to the Trinity be omitted by any scribe? This argumentation does not explain why well over 99% of Greek manuscripts do not have the comma Johanneum. It is not enough to make an argument for why a passage might be original. The best reading will always be able to have an explanation as to why the other readings originated. If the passage is not original, it can be attributed to pious scribes wishing to defend the doctrine of the Trinity. Given the fact that four of the eight manuscripts that have the passage have it in the margin, and NOT in the body of the text itself, it seems likely that the passage originated as commentary that made its way into the text itself, because some scribes confused the commentary for a variant reading. Thus, an explanation for why it was added is very easy. A reason for why it was omitted in the vast majority of manuscripts (including the vast majority of Byzantine manuscripts!) is not easy to come up with.
 

christianhope

Puritan Board Freshman
Rev Keister,

I know the historical treatment of this passage has been treated elsewhere in-depth, so, I will simply provide a brief overview of the idea. Sabellianism (sp?) the teaching that God is one with no distinct Persons, was one of the heresies during the time of the early church, which could have influenced some scribes who thought otherwise to omit the passage.

Further, Arianism ruled also for a time before 400AD (the writing of A, and B.) which also would have been a cause for their omission. The Arians forced people to confess that the Christ was not God- how much more then would they do to the Word of God which said He is?

These two points do give ample reason for why the passage is lacking in greek manuscripts, due to the nature of copying, if the first copies were removed due to the above heresies, naturally our later copies would lack them in numerical superiority. But if you want to go purely by numbers, should we not consider that only 500 of the 5000 greek manuscripts even have 1 John? Should we therefore doubt the authenticity of all of 1st John just because they have a lesser majority?

It would also be much easier for a scribe to omit a passage by accident than for one to add the passage. The pious and godly character of a true christian would be far more apt to omit something from the Word of God than to impiously add to it. Think about it, would you ever add something to the Word of God Rev Keister? Christians who know the word of God surely would not, for the scriptures themselves in Deut. and Rev. testify against doing so with a great warning and threat.

Based upon this reasoning I do not feel the numberical insufficiency is something that should cause the passage to be omitted. It is theologically helpful, God glorifying, and aids the internal rendering of the scripture itself- whereas an external consideration on this point is simply speculation. The external argument against, cannot compete with the internal evidence of the scripture itself- God didn't inspire His Word with grammatical errors in the greek.

Respectfully to my elder Rev Keister.
 

dr_parsley

Puritan Board Freshman
What convinces me that 1 John 5:7 is indeed scripture, is the internal evidence. The words spirit, water, and blood in the greek are all neuter. Yet previously the words 'bear witness' are a masculine participle. Now, I don't know greek, but I do know that men who do know greek say this is improper greek grammar to have 3 neuter nouns supported by a masculine part. However if you insert verse seven which reads the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost- you have the answer to the improper greek- for 'Father and Word' are masculine answering to the masculine participle before.

Does anyone know whether the manuscripts which omit 5:7 gets the genders to match as well? If they do, then this internal evidence means nothing. I don't have an opinion on it, not knowing nearly enough, but this would be the first question I would ask if I was interested, oh, I just have :)
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
Rev Keister,

I know the historical treatment of this passage has been treated elsewhere in-depth, so, I will simply provide a brief overview of the idea. Sabellianism (sp?) the teaching that God is one with no distinct Persons, was one of the heresies during the time of the early church, which could have influenced some scribes who thought otherwise to omit the passage.

Further, Arianism ruled also for a time before 400AD (the writing of A, and B.) which also would have been a cause for their omission. The Arians forced people to confess that the Christ was not God- how much more then would they do to the Word of God which said He is?

These two points do give ample reason for why the passage is lacking in greek manuscripts, due to the nature of copying, if the first copies were removed due to the above heresies, naturally our later copies would lack them in numerical superiority. But if you want to go purely by numbers, should we not consider that only 500 of the 5000 greek manuscripts even have 1 John? Should we therefore doubt the authenticity of all of 1st John just because they have a lesser majority?

It would also be much easier for a scribe to omit a passage by accident than for one to add the passage. The pious and godly character of a true christian would be far more apt to omit something from the Word of God than to impiously add to it. Think about it, would you ever add something to the Word of God Rev Keister? Christians who know the word of God surely would not, for the scriptures themselves in Deut. and Rev. testify against doing so with a great warning and threat.

Based upon this reasoning I do not feel the numberical insufficiency is something that should cause the passage to be omitted. It is theologically helpful, God glorifying, and aids the internal rendering of the scripture itself- whereas an external consideration on this point is simply speculation. The external argument against, cannot compete with the internal evidence of the scripture itself- God didn't inspire His Word with grammatical errors in the greek.

Respectfully to my elder Rev Keister.

If Sabellianism were causing scribes to omit the passage from every single manuscript before the 10th century, then why didn't they also omit the far more difficult-to-defend-from-Sabellianism passages from John's Gospel which say "The Father and I are one"? And it wasn't "some scribes." It was every single scribe during the time period of Sabellianism. There are no manuscripts that have the passage that are older than the 10th century. So, even if Sabellianism caused some to omit it, that would not explain why all omitted it before the 10th century. There are no unambiguous traces of the passage older than the 10th century.

The argumentation regarding Arianism is fallacious. How can Arianism influence people to omit the passage when Sabellianism, the equal and opposite heresy, also caused scribes to omit the passage? For Arianism says that Jesus is not God in any sense. Sabellianism says that Jesus is the same as the Father in personhood. Arianism could actually be argued to be a reason why the passage would be added, as it is a strong testimony against Arianism. It cannot be used as an argument for why the passage would be omitted.

Your argument on the total number of Greek manuscripts that have 1 John is a complete straw man argument from one to the other. The manuscripts that do not have 1 John were never intended to be complete manuscripts of the New Testament in the first place. Not every center of Christianity had access to all of the NT books. They copied what they had access to. So, that argument doesn't wash at all. Furthermore, I have never argued that bare majority is even the main criterion for determining the right reading. However, if NONE of the manuscripts before the 10th century have the passage, then how did the reading originate? Where are the traces of it in the early manuscripts? All true readings presumably come from the autograph. But if there is no traceable line from autograph to apograph all through history, then the line of testimony is broken.

It is not easier to omit than to add. Commentary on the text was written in the margin, and then it was later confused for a variant reading. That is just as easy as a scribe omitting something. One is not more easy than the other. They are both equally likely. The comment about adding to the Word of God implies intentional addition. I am not arguing for intentional addition. The piety of an earlier scribe would put a comment about the Trinity in the margin. This would later become interpreted as a variant reading that then crept into the text. No one necessarily thought of themselves as adding to the Word of God.

As to grammatical errors, it is exceedingly difficult to determine what should be "proper" style. If classical Greek be the judge, then half of the NT is grammatically inferior. If readability is the judge, then the NT has it all over classical Greek. The NT is written in street Greek, common Greek, Koine Greek. There are things all over the Greek NT that do not fit with proper grammatical style, defined classically. That is zero argument for or against a particular reading. Gender, in particular, is not something that always matches up in the NT. For instance, in Eph 2:8, the word "this" refers to the faith immediately preceding, even though "faith" is feminine and "this" is neuter. Masculine participles often refer to people generically, even women. Besides, the beginning of 1 John 5:6 refers to the one coming through water and blood. So, there is a compound referent: the one coming in water and blood (masculine!), and the Holy Spirit (neuter). Any participle referring to all three would of necessity be masculine, which is the default when referring to a group. So, even the grammatical argument doesn't wash, and the text as it currently stands in the critical text is perfectly understandable. The end of verse 5 refers to God the Father (again, masculine!). So there you have the three that are the antecedent of the three witnessing.
 

SolaGratia

Puritan Board Junior
According to this site 1 John 5:7-8

Some of the other evidences where 1 John 5:7-8 can be found are as follows:
Some Syriac Peshitto manuscripts, The Syriac Edition at Hamburg, Bishop Uscan’s Armenian Bible, the Armenian Edition of John Zohrob, the first printed Georgian Bible.

Early Latin witnesses include:
1) Tertullian who died in 220 A.D.
2) Cyprian of Carthage who died in 258 A.D.
3) Priscillan who died in 358 A.D.
4) The Speculum - Fifth century
5) A creed called Esposito Fidei - Fifth or sixth century
6) Old Latin - Fifth or sixth century
7) A Confession of Faith of Eugenius, Bishop of Carthage (484 A.D.)
8) Cassiodoris of Italy (480-570 A.D.)


Also,


1 John 5:7-8 is found in the Old Latin Vulgate and Greek Vulgate (90-150 A.D.), plus the Syriac Peshiito (150 A.D.) It is also found in many first century church lectionaries. Lectionaries were used in churches for readings and liturgy for church services especially for special days of the year. They are akin to the responsive readings which we find in today’s hymn books. Tatian’s Diatesseron which was a harmony of the four gospels written about 150 A.D. When Taitian was writing the book of John, he had referenced 1 John 5:7 which proves that 1 John 5:7 antedates Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, by 200 years, where the verse is omitted.

Dr. John Overall, who was one of the King James translators was a scholar in the teachings of the early Church Fathers. His contribution concerning 1 John 5:7 was vital since manuscript evidence was lacking because of the Alexandrian school where it was mutilated. He knew that the early church fathers had referenced those verses quite frequently. The modern version proponents only look to Vaticanus and Sinaiticus as their authorities and reject the massive amount of other evidences such as the church lectionaries. If 1 John 5:7-8 did not exist in the originals, then how could they have been quoted by the church fathers if it was non-existent? A simple question of logic.


Bible Comparison also from the same link:

1 John 5:7-8
(KJV) For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. {8} And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

(NIV) 7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.
(NASV) 7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.
(ESV) 7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree.
(CEV) 7 In fact, there are three who tell about it. 8 They are the Spirit, the water, and the blood, and they all agree.
(1901 ASV) 7 And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is the truth.
8 For there are three who bear witness, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and the three agree in one.
(HCSB) 7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit, the water, and the blood —and these three are in agreement
(RSV) [7] And the Spirit is the witness, because the Spirit is the truth. [8] There are three witnesses, the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree.
(NAB-Roman Catholic) 7 So there are three that testify, 8 the Spirit, the water, and the blood, and the three are of one accord.
(NWT) 7 For there are three witness bearers, 8 the spirit and the water and the blood, and the three are in agreement.
(NKJV) Footnote - NU-Text and M-Text omit the words from in heaven (verse 7) through on earth (verse 8). Only four or five very late manuscripts contain these words in Greek. (The NKJV is a notorious version with their doubt casting footnotes which have the same devastating effect as if they just mutilated the text itself. Do you see they claim only 4 or 5 late manuscripts have the verse in them? We saw a lot more evidence than 4 or 5 which means they are deceiving their readers which means the NKJV also qualifies as a false version.)


Textus Receptus
1 John 5:7 oti treiV eisin oi marturounteV en tw ouranw o pathr o logoV kai to agion pneuma kai outoi oi treiV en eisin

1 John 5:8 kai treiV eisin oi marturounteV en th gh to pneuma kai to udwr kai to aima kai oi treiV eiV to en eisin


Hort Westcott
1 John 5:7 oti treiV eisin oi marturounteV

1 John 5:8 to pneuma kai to udwr kai to aima kai oi treiV eiV to en eisin
 

christianhope

Puritan Board Freshman
Rev Keister,

Thank you for your thoughtful response, I will try to respond.

If Sabellianism were causing scribes to omit the passage from every single manuscript before the 10th century, then why didn't they also omit the far more difficult-to-defend-from-Sabellianism passages from John's Gospel which say "The Father and I are one"? And it wasn't "some scribes." It was every single scribe during the time period of Sabellianism. There are no manuscripts that have the passage that are older than the 10th century. So, even if Sabellianism caused some to omit it, that would not explain why all omitted it before the 10th century. There are no unambiguous traces of the passage older than the 10th century.

Here I would just respond that there are certain early figures in church history who referenced the passage- so it was not wholly unknown or held to be a added reading, otherwise they surely would not have quoted it. Below are the references: Gill: 9 or 16 'ancient' copies of Stephens had it. Fulgutius 500-600AD cited it, Jeromes translation 4th century, Athanasius 350AD, Cyprien 250AD, Tertullian 200AD, the Varimadum 380AD, Cassian 435AD, Cassidorus 580AD, the latin support of this passage is very strong, and a host of African and western bishops cite the passage. - This is the info I've compiled concerning this verse as I researched the issue for myself. I realize it's still a minority compared to the greek manuscript evidence we have today, however, this evidence does show how far back this scripture goes, even back to a time where the originals still may have existed. I don't think we can simply say that because "We" don't have the manuscripts today, that doesn't mean that none existed previously that 'they' had. Again, we don't have Stephens ancient copies that had the verse, and the majority 9/16 of his copies had it.

The argumentation regarding Arianism is fallacious. How can Arianism influence people to omit the passage when Sabellianism, the equal and opposite heresy, also caused scribes to omit the passage? For Arianism says that Jesus is not God in any sense. Sabellianism says that Jesus is the same as the Father in personhood. Arianism could actually be argued to be a reason why the passage would be added, as it is a strong testimony against Arianism. It cannot be used as an argument for why the passage would be omitted.

I'm not sure why you don't see the meaning here, I will try to explain, Arianism because they don't acknowledge Christ to be God, would obviously not be desirous to have 1 John 5:7 in the scripture, therefore implying they would have the gumption to remove the reading from manuscripts prior to 400AD. That was all my point was. Sabellianism would also have the same effect but in a different way, as Sabellists would have used the scripture to support their position therefore some well meaning scribes may have either suppressed the reading, or didn't reference it in order to avoid the controversy? Certainly, I'm just speculating here to try and find reasoning for why things are the way they are. I'm not trying to be dogmatic on this point.

Your argument on the total number of Greek manuscripts that have 1 John is a complete straw man argument from one to the other. The manuscripts that do not have 1 John were never intended to be complete manuscripts of the New Testament in the first place. Not every center of Christianity had access to all of the NT books. They copied what they had access to. So, that argument doesn't wash at all. Furthermore, I have never argued that bare majority is even the main criterion for determining the right reading. However, if NONE of the manuscripts before the 10th century have the passage, then how did the reading originate? Where are the traces of it in the early manuscripts? All true readings presumably come from the autograph. But if there is no traceable line from autograph to apograph all through history, then the line of testimony is broken.

You got me on the strawman- although I didn't know it was a stawman but it obviously is so thanks for correcting me. :)

The last point you made though about there being no traceable line from autograph to apograph I don't think can stand however, being we do not have the manuscripts that the reformers had- some of their copies had it, Gill referred to Stephens copies as 'ancient' I'm not sure how old they were, but, obviously in the reformers judgment, 1 John 5:7 was considered to be scripture. Which I believe holds more weight than most scholars today will warrant.

It is not easier to omit than to add. Commentary on the text was written in the margin, and then it was later confused for a variant reading. That is just as easy as a scribe omitting something. One is not more easy than the other. They are both equally likely. The comment about adding to the Word of God implies intentional addition. I am not arguing for intentional addition. The piety of an earlier scribe would put a comment about the Trinity in the margin. This would later become interpreted as a variant reading that then crept into the text. No one necessarily thought of themselves as adding to the Word of God.

That certainly appears to be sound reasoning Rev Keister. Something to consider in the issue, however, based upon my previous historical reasoning there were obviously godly men even in the early church that held the reading to be legitimate which would imply, even possibly as early as 200AD with Tertullian or 250AD with Cyprian the reading was considered genuine. Being your reasoning here would likely take a longer period of time than just 200 or less years, I think one can logically infer around it.

As to grammatical errors, it is exceedingly difficult to determine what should be "proper" style. If classical Greek be the judge, then half of the NT is grammatically inferior. If readability is the judge, then the NT has it all over classical Greek. The NT is written in street Greek, common Greek, Koine Greek. There are things all over the Greek NT that do not fit with proper grammatical style, defined classically. That is zero argument for or against a particular reading. Gender, in particular, is not something that always matches up in the NT. For instance, in Eph 2:8, the word "this" refers to the faith immediately preceding, even though "faith" is feminine and "this" is neuter. Masculine participles often refer to people generically, even women. Besides, the beginning of 1 John 5:6 refers to the one coming through water and blood. So, there is a compound referent: the one coming in water and blood (masculine!), and the Holy Spirit (neuter). Any participle referring to all three would of necessity be masculine, which is the default when referring to a group. So, even the grammatical argument doesn't wash, and the text as it currently stands in the critical text is perfectly understandable. The end of verse 5 refers to God the Father (again, masculine!). So there you have the three that are the antecedent of the three witnessing.

Being I don't know greek Rev Keister, I cannot dialogue with you on this point- however, I know there have been many greek scholars including Matthew Henry and R.L Dabney who would have disagreed with you here concerning your exegesis. Not to imply anything against you here, maybe your right? I, as a simpleton, must simply look at people and determine who I should believe. I know Henry and Dabney, and other greek scholars who I must obviously side with on this issue being I cannot make a infallible judgment on the greek text grammatical style. My sincere apologies to you brother, I do not in anyway intend this against your integrity on this issue.

Thank you for your thoughts, I do not think I will dialog any more on this issue being I've given my reasoning for why I'm convinced this verse is scripture and doubt I could add anything more that would helpful towards those who are watching.

Blessings!
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Professor
This is from a post of VirginiaHuguenot quoting E.F. Hill: http://www.puritanboard.com/f63/johannine-comma-37481/#post465687

And this below is from Frederick Nolan’s book, Inquiry Into the Integrity Of the Greek Vulgate, Or Received Text Of the New Testament, where he examines the causes of a number of omitted verses as exhibited in the Critical Text of M. Griesbach. After discussing Mark 16:9-20 and John 7:53-8:11, he proceeds on to 1 John 5:7:

From these circumstances, I conceive, we may safely infer, that Eusebius’s copies agreed with his canons in omitting this passage (John 7:53-8:11): from which it was withdrawn by him in strict conformity to the powers with which he was vested by Constantine.

As it is probable that he omitted those passages, it is not less probable that he omitted at least one of those verses, 1 John v.7, the authenticity of which has been so long a subject of controversy. Indeed, the whole three inculcate a doctrine, which is somewhat at variance with what we know, on the most indisputable testimony, to have been his peculiar opinions. The doctrine of Christ being of one substance with the Father is asserted in all of them [the omitted Scriptures]; though most particularly in St. John’s Epistle. But on the subject of this doctrine, it is notorious that Eusebius shamefully prevaricated in the celebrated Council of Nice. He first positively excepted against it, and then subscribed to it, and at length addressed a letter to his Church at Caesarea, in which he explained away his former compliance, and retracted what he has asserted. On a person of such versatility of principle no dependence ought to be placed; not that I am inclined to believe what has often been laid to his charge, that he was at heart an Arian. The truth is, as he has himself placed beyond a doubt,—he erred from a hatred to the peculiar notions of Sabellius, who, in maintaining that Christ was the First Person incarnate, had confounded the Persons, as it was conceived he divided the substance. [Note: The Sabellian heresy, also known as Modalism, or Monarchianisn, taught that there were not three Persons in the Godhead, but only one, and that Christ was the Father Himself incarnate. Thus Nolan thinks Eusebius omitted 1 John 5:7 to withdraw supposed Scriptural support to the Sabellians rather than the Arians. –SMR] Into this extreme he must have seen that the Catholicks [i.e. orthodox] were inclined to fall, in combating the opposite errour in Arius; and on this very point he consequently maintained a controversy with Marcellus of Ancyra, who was however acquitted of intentional errour, by St. Athanasius and the Council of Sardica. Whoever will now cast but a glance over the disputed texts, as they stand in our authorized version, will directly perceive that they afford a handle by which any person may lay hold who was inclined to lapse into the errours of Sabellius. Will it be therefore thought too much to lay to the charge of Eusebius to assert; that in preparing an edition of the Scriptures for general circulation, he provided against the chance of that danger which he feared, by canceling one of those passages, 1 John v.7; and altering the remainder, 1 Tim iii.16. Acts xx.28? [1]​

Nolan has shown a) the power of Eusebius to edit the texts for “use in doctrine”, b) the will – motive – to do so (believing his act would benefit the church), and c) the “textual fingerprints” of this omission pointing to his very own manuscripts. (This from an earlier discussion of Emperor Constantine’s commission to Eusebius to produce 50 Bibles for him after the destruction of many Scriptures during Diocletian’s persecution, and the theological pressures upon him during this production.)

Later in his investigation he looks again at why the orthodox believers did not use these disputed three verses, especially 1 John 5:7, against the Arians, as well as commencing a demonstration of the potency of the internal evidences manifest of their deliberate removal (which are lightly glossed over by many today):

The determination of the integrity of the Greek Vulgate, now turns on the decision of this question, whether those texts relative to the doctrine of the Incarnation, Redemption, and Trinity, which have already been mentioned, as impugned by the advocates of a more correct text than exists in our printed editions, must be considered authentick [sic] or spurious.

I have hitherto laboured to no purpose if it is not admitted, that I have already laid a foundation sufficiently broad and deep for maintaining the authenticity of the contested verses. The negative argument arising in their favour, from the probability that Eusebius suppressed them in his edition, has already been stated at large [footnote #188: see pages 27-42]. Some stress may be laid on this extraordinary circumstance, that the whole of the important interpolations, which are thus conceived to exist in the Received Text, were contrary to his peculiar notions. If we conceive them cancelled by him, there is nothing wonderful in the matter at issue; but if we conceive them subsequently interpolated, it is next to miraculous that they should be so circumstanced. And what must equally excite astonishment, to a certain degree they are not more opposed to the peculiar opinions of Eusebius, by whom I conceive they were cancelled, than of the Catholicks [orthodox (with a small “o”) believers –SMR], by whom it is conceived they were inserted in the text. When separated from the sacred context, as they are always in quotation, the doctrine which they appear most to favour is that of the Sabellians; but this heresy was as contrary to the tenets of those who conformed to the Catholick as of those who adhered to the Arian opinions. It thus becomes as improbable that the former should have inserted, as it is probable that the latter suppressed those verses; and just as probable is it, that both parties might have acquiesced in their suppression when they were once removed from the text of Scripture. If we connect this circumstance with that previously advanced, that Eusebius, the avowed adversary of the Sabellians, expunged these verses from his text, and that every manuscript from which they have disappeared is lineally descended from his edition, every difficulty in which this intricate subject is involved directly vanishes. The solution of the question lies in this narrow space, that he expunged them from the text, as opposed to his peculiar opinions: and the peculiar apprehensions which were indulged of Sabellianism, by the orthodox, prevented them from restoring those verses, or citing them in their controversies with the Arians.

Thus far we have but attained probability, though clearly of the highest degree, in favor of the authenticity of these disputed verses. The question before us is, however, involved in difficulties which still require a solution. In order to solve these, and to investigate more carefully the claims of those verses to authenticity, I shall lay them before the reader as they occur in the Greek and Latin Vulgate; subjoining those various readings which are supposed to preserve the genuine text. [2]​

Nolan then renders these disputed Scriptures in the two languages, as well as the texts from which they have been removed. He continues,

In proceeding to estimate the respective merit of these readings, the first attention is due to the internal evidence. In reasoning from it, we work upon solid ground. For the authenticity of some parts of verses in dispute we have that strong evidence which arises from universal consent; all manuscripts and translations supporting some part of the context of the contested passages. In the remaining parts we are given a choice between two readings, one only of which can be authentick. And in making our election, we have, in the common principles of plain sense and ordinary language, a certain rule by which we may be directed. Gross solecisms in the grammatical structure, palpable oversights in the texture of sense, cannot be ascribed to the inspired authors. If of any two given readings one be exposed to such objections, there is but the alternative, that the other must be authentick. [3]​

He continues with a close scrutiny of the selected passages in their respective Greek and Latin: Acts 20:28, 1 Timothy 3:16, and 1 John 5:7, examining both the sense of the passages in their contexts, and the grammar. As may be understood by those considering the grammar of the passage 1 John 5:6 and 5:8 when verse 7 is omitted, it is incorrect, but is perfect when 7 is included. But this is not all. Later in his work investigating the integrity of the Greek Vulgate (Received Text), he presents positive external evidence.

On 1 John v.7 we may cite [its use in] Tertullian in the age next the apostolical, and St. Cyprian in the subsequent era. In the following age, we may quote Phoebadius, Marcus Celedensis, and Idatius Clarus; and in the succeeding age, Eucherius, Victor Vitensis, and Vigilius Tapsensis. Fulgentius and Cassiodorus occur in the next age; and Maximus in the subsequent: to whom we might add many others, or indeed the whole of the Western Church, who, after this period, generally adopted this verse in their authorized version…

With respect to 1 John v.7 the case is materially different [than the cases of 1 Tim 3:16 and Acts 20:28]. If this verse be received, it must be admitted on the single testimony of the Western Church; as far at least as respects the external evidence. And though it may seem unwarrantable to set aside the authority of the Greek Church, and pay exclusive respect to the Latin, where a question arises on the authenticity of a passage which properly belongs to the text of the former; yet when the doctrine inculcated in that passage is taken into account, there may be good reason for giving even a preference to the Western Church over that of the Eastern. The former was uncorrupted by the heresy of the Arians, who rejected the doctrine of the passage in question; the latter was wholly resigned to that heresy for at least forty years, while the Western Church retained its purity. And while the testimony borne by the latter on the subject before us, is consistent and full; that borne by the former is internally defective. It is delivered in language, which has not even the merit of being grammatically correct; while the testimony of the latter is not only unexceptional in itself, but possesses the singular merit of removing the forementioned imperfection, on being merely turned into Greek, and inserted in the context of the original. But numberless circumstances conspire to strengthen the authority of the Latin Church in supporting the authenticity of this passage. The particular Church on whose testimony principally we receive the disputed verse, is that of Africa. And even at the first sight, it must be evident, that the most implicit respect is due to its testimony.

In those great convulsions which agitated the Eastern and Western Churches, for eight years, with scarcely any intermission; and which subjected the sacred text to the greatest changes, through the vast tract of country which extends round the Levant, from Libya to Illyricum, the African provinces were exposed to the horrours of persecution but for an inconsiderable period. The Church, of course, which was established in this region, neither required a new supply of sacred books, nor received those which had been revised by Eusebius and St. Jerome; as removed out of the range of the influence of those ancient fathers.

As the African Church possessed this competency to deliver a pure unsophisticated testimony on the subject before us; that which it has borne is as explicit as it is plenary: since it is delivered in a Confession prepared by the whole church assembled in council. After the African provinces had been over-run by the Vandals, Hunnerick, their king, summoned the bishops of this church, and of the adjacent isles, to deliberate on the doctrine inculcated in the disputed passage. Between three and four hundred prelates attended the Council, which met at Carthage; and Eugenius, as bishop of that see, drew up the Confession of the orthodox, in which the contested verse is expressly quoted. That a whole church should thus concur in quoting a verse which was not contained in the received text, is wholly inconceivable: and admitting that 1 John v.7 was generally thus received, its universal presence in that text is only to be accounted for by supposing it to have existed in it from the beginning.

The testimony which the African church has borne on the subject before us, is not more strongly recommended by the universal consent, than the immemorial tradition of the evidence, which attests the authenticity of the contested passage. Victor Vitensis and Fulgentius, Marcus Celedensis, St. Cyprian, and Tertullian, were Africans, and have referred to the verse before us. Of these witnesses, which follow each other at almost equal intervals, the first is referred to the age of Eugenius, the last to that nearly of the Apostles. Thus they form a traditionary chain, carrying up the testimony of the African Church, until it loses itself in time immemorial.

The testimony of the African Church, which possesses these strong recommendations, receives confirmation from the corroborating evidence of other churches, which were similarly circumstanced. Phoebadius and Eucherius, the latter of whom had been translated from the Spanish to the Gallican Church, were members of the latter; and both these churches had been exempt, not less than the African, from the effects of Dioclesian’s persecution. Both these early fathers, Phoebadius and Eucherius, attest the authenticity of the contested passage: the testimony of the former is entitled to greater respect, as he boldly withstood the authority of Hosius, whose influence tended to extend the Arian opinions in the Western world, at the very period in which he cited the contested passage. In addition to these witnesses we have, in the testimony of Maximus, the evidence of a person, who visited the African Church; and who there becoming acquainted with the disputed passage, wrote a tract for the purpose of employing it against the Arians. The testimony of these witnesses forms a valuable accession to that of the African Church.

We may appeal to the testimony of the Greek Church in confirmation of the African Churches. Not to insist on positive testimonies, the disputed verse, though not supported by the text of the original Greek, is clearly supported by its context. The latter does not agree so well with itself, as it does with the testimony of the African Church. The grammatical structure, which is imperfect in itself, directly recovers its original integrity, on being filled up with the passage which is offered on the testimony of this witness. Thus far the testimony of the Greek Church is plainly corroborative of that of the Western…

…I shall now venture to conclude, that the doctrinal integrity of the Greek Vulgate is established, in the vindication of these passages. It has been my endeavor to rest it upon its natural basis; the testimony of the two Churches, in the eastern and western world, in whose keeping the sacred trust was reposed…[4] [Bold emphasis added.]​

In this unusual demonstration Frederick Nolan has shown how major portions of the Christian Church did not lose the use – the presence – of this verse in their Bibles. It is clear this is not a “well-meant” but unlawful addition to God’s Word, but a part of it that stood in John’s 1st Epistle from the beginning.

To conclude Nolan’s contribution to our investigation on what is authentic and what is false regarding the texts, some of his own conclusions are drawn from his preface:

Another point to which the author has directed his attention, has been the old Italick translation…on this subject, the author perceived, without any labour of inquiry, that it derived its name from that diocese, which has been termed the Italick, as contradistinguished from the Roman. This is a supposition, which receives a sufficient confirmation from the fact,—that the principal copies of that version have been preserved in that diocese, the metropolitan church of which was situated in Milan. The circumstance is at present mentioned, as the authour thence formed a hope, that some remains of the primitive Italick version might be found in the early translations made by the Waldenses, who were the lineal descendants of the Italick Church; and who have asserted their independence against the usurpations of the Church of Rome, and have ever enjoyed the free use of the Scriptures. In the search to which these considerations have led the authour, his fondest expectations have been fully realized. It has furnished him with abundant proof on that point to which his Inquiry was chiefly directed; as it has supplied him with the unequivocal testimony of a truly apostolical branch of the primitive church, that the celebrated text of the heavenly witnesses was adopted in the version which prevailed in the Latin Church, previously to the introduction of the Modern Vulgate. [5] [emphasis added]​

In a lengthy footnote at this point, he documents the progress of the text of this primitive Italick version up into the mountain communities of the Waldenses and into the French language in a number of texts, and he states, “It thus easily made its way into Wicklef’s translation, through the Lollards, who were disciples of the Waldenses.” [6]
-----------
1 Inquiry Into the Integrity Of the Greek Vulgate, Or Received Text Of the New Testament; in which the Greek Manuscripts are newly classed; the Integrity of the Authorised Text vindicated; and the Various Readings traced to their Origin, by Fredrick Nolan ((London: F.C. and J. Rivington, 1815), pages 38, 39, 40, 41. Reprint available at Bible for Today ministry (see bibliography above). Nolan’s complete book online (save Preface): An Inquiry into the Integrity of the Greek Vulgate
2 Ibid., pages 252-253.
3 Ibid., pages 254-255
4 Ibid., pages 291, 292, 293-305, 306.
5 Ibid., pages xvii, xviii.
6 Ibid., Footnote #1, pages xviii, xix.
 

CharlieJ

Puritan Board Junior
2 Things

First, on the grammar of 1 John 5:7:

In this portion, John is giving reasons to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, or at least reasons why Christians' faith is well founded. Now, a witness is a person, so he calls three events to the witness stand, so to speak. Jesus' baptism (water), Jesus' death (blood), and the giving of the Holy Spirit [all recorded or predicted in John's Gospel] form a united testimony that Jesus is indeed the Son of God. So, in calling these events witnesses, he personalizes them, thus using the masculine participle. It is an elegant literary device, not a grammatical error.

Second, just because it seemed interesting, here is part of the NET translation's textual criticism note:

Indeed, the Comma appears in no Greek witness of any kind (either ms, patristic, or Greek translation of some other version) until A.D. 1215 (in a Greek translation of the Acts of the Lateran Council, a work originally written in Latin). This is all the more significant since many a Greek Father would have loved such a reading, for it so succinctly affirms the doctrine of the Trinity. The reading seems to have arisen in a 4th century Latin homily in which the text was allegorized to refer to members of the Trinity. From there, it made its way into copies of the Latin Vulgate, the text used by the Roman Catholic Church. The Trinitarian formula (known as the Comma Johanneum) made its way into the third edition of Erasmus' Greek NT (1522) because of pressure from the Catholic Church.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Professor
Charlie, you said:

In this portion, John is giving reasons to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, or at least reasons why Christians' faith is well founded. Now, a witness is a person, so he calls three events to the witness stand, so to speak. Jesus' baptism (water), Jesus' death (blood), and the giving of the Holy Spirit [all recorded or predicted in John's Gospel] form a united testimony that Jesus is indeed the Son of God. So, in calling these events witnesses, he personalizes them, thus using the masculine participle. It is an elegant literary device, not a grammatical error.​

That certainly is a novel point of view! It’s a wonder more Greek scholars haven’t noticed it!

Let me enter into evidence a brief passage from a writer on the topic, Timothy W. Dunkin, regarding a Greek father on the grammar with the Comma missing:


One last patristic writer, this one a Greek, provides some circumstantial evidence for the Comma being native to the early Greek manuscript tradition. Gregory of Nazianzus, in addressing certain objections from Greek pagans concerning the unity of the Godhead, says this,

"What about John then, when in his Catholic Epistle he says that there are Three that bear witness, the Spirit and the Water and the Blood? Do you think he is talking nonsense? First, because he has ventured to reckon under one numeral things which are not consubstantial, though you say this ought to be done only in the case of things which are consubstantial. For who would assert that these are consubstantial? Secondly, because he has not been consistent in the way he has happened upon his terms; for after using Three in the masculine gender he adds three words which are neuter, contrary to the definitions and laws which you and your grammarians have laid down. For what is the difference between putting a masculine Three first, and then adding One and One and One in the neuter, or after a masculine One and One and One to use the Three not in the masculine but in the neuter, which you yourself disclaim in the case of Deity...." [see webpage – url below – fn #61] (emphasis in original —SMR)​

Though it seems that Gregory does NOT know of the Comma, it is also apparent that he recognises the grammatical error that is present in the text if the Comma is not included. Far from being discovered "lately" by Dabney, the grammatical difficulty for the Critical text supporter in this passage was recognised by a Greek-speaking patristic writer over sixteen centuries ago, though he apparently did not know what to make of it.

The grammatical difficulty which is found in this passage if the Comma is deleted rests on a rule of Greek grammar (as well as in many other languages) which demands gender agreement among parts of a sentence. If the Comma is left in place, the masculine article, participle, and number in the apodosis of verse 7 then agree with the two masculine (Father, Word) and one neuter (Spirit) nouns in the protasis. This agreement is made by means of the principle of attraction, a rule of Greek syntax by which a masculine noun in a series of nouns within the same clause determines, or "attracts" to itself, the gender for the series as a whole. This gender of the clause, usually subordinate, agrees with the predicate of the preceding clause within that sentence. Hence, the two masculine nouns in the protasis force the whole list to take on a de facto masculine gender, which is then in agreement with the masculine predicate in the apodosis. The problem for those who support the deletion of the Comma is that, if the Comma does not appear in the text, then the masculine predicate in the apodosis of verse 7 is mated with the three neuter nouns (water, blood, spirit) found in verse 8 (which then becomes the subordinate clause), a serious grammatical error. The problem disappears with the Comma in place, because not only does verse 7 agree throughout in gender via the attraction principle, but the mating of the three neuter nouns in verse 8 with the masculine TREIS MARTUROUNTES (three witnesses) in verse 8 is then also explained by the attraction principle by, as Dabney says,

"...the fact that the pneuma, the leading noun of this second group, and next to the adjectives, has just had a species of masculiness superinduced upon it by its previous position in the masculine group." [fn #62 – see url below]​

Hence, this close proximity and the fact that the pneuma is a carryover noun from the previous list of nouns and was made de facto masculine by the Power of Attraction rule in verse 7, cause the nouns in verse 8 to be treated as masculine as well. This all falls apart if the Comma is deleted, as there are no truly masculine nouns from verse 7 directing the attraction phenomenon.

It may reasonably be suggested that the reason Gregory did not know of the Comma directly was because of the efforts by Arians in his time to expunge the verse from the copies of Scripture which either fell into their hands, or were of their own manufacture. As there are no other known grammatical errors in the Greek Gospel and epistles of John, it seems more reasonable to suppose that the existence here of such an egregious grammatical error (one noted by a *GREEK* patristic, remember) is due to the deletion of the relevant portion of the Scripture, rather than an original unique error in John's inspired writing.​

Taken from: Timothy W. Dunkin, Defence of the Johannine Comma

Dunkin's home page: Study To Answer.Net
 
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greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
Josh, thanks for your irenic response. Always a pleasure to debate with brothers like yourself and Steve Rafalsky.

Josh first, then Steve.

On the early church fathers. How do we know that they were quoting 1 J 5:7 and not some other passage? Each supposed quotation would have to be shown that it could not be from any other source (like Matthew 28, for instance, or one of Paul's Trinitarian beatitudes).

On the second point, in order for your argument to work, you have to assume that Arians and Sabellians were doing most if not all the manuscript copying. I do not think this is a valid assumption. At any rate, it would have to be proven, and I think such proof would be difficult, to say the least.

On your third point about our not having manuscripts the Reformers had, we have most of them. We have most of the texts that made up the TR, and we have Codex Bezae. Plus, this would be an argument from silence, when it is precisely the lack of links that I am arguing. You are then seeking to use the lack of links to prove the opposite. Besides, although the opinion of Reformers carries great weight (and I agree it should carry more weight than most modern textual critics give it), textual criticism is one area where we have a LOT more information at our disposal than the Reformers had. It is speculation to think that they would or would not make the same judgment on textual matters today as they did then. But this is one area where I am slightly more inclined to depart from the Reformers. Even in the Byzantine manuscript tradition, we have loads more manuscripts than the Reformers had.

I certainly do not interpret you, Josh, as having cast any kind of aspersion on my integrity. I believe we arguing the points here, and not attacking persons (I certainly have not felt attacked by you). Counting scholars, however, is not necessarily the best way to come to a conclusion. While the balance of probability might favor the majority of Reformed scholars, finding that consensus would be difficult. If anything, today's Reformed world would definitely favor the critical text.

Steve, Let's go into the church fathers in a bit more depth. Tertullian absolutely cannot be labelled a quoter of the verse. The context of his quotation (in Against Praxeas, ch 25) is as follows:
So the close series of the Father in the Son and the
Son in the Paraclete makes three who cohere, the one attached
to the other: And these three are one <thing>, not one <person>,
in the sense in which it was said, I and the Father are one,

In context, it is clear that he is not quoting 1 John 5:7, but rather John 10:30. The wording "these three are one" are present in the Latin texts even without the Comma being present, since it is present after "Spirit and water and blood, and these three are one." "tres unum sunt" do not prove a quotation from the Comma. Tertullian, therefore, must be struck from the list of those quoting the Comma.

On Cyprian, it is evident that he did not quote "qui testimonium dicunt in caelo, pater, verbum et spiritus, et his tres unum sunt." Rather he says, "The Lord says, ‘I and the Father are one’; and again it is written of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, ‘And these three are one.’” Again, he could be interpreting the passage without the comma just as easily as with the comma, and the phrase is applied to what he says about the Trinity; it is not part of the text quoted. See Wallace for a good argument on Cyprian.

I have tried to find some of the more obscure fathers, like Phoebadius. But given the less than proven nature of the quotations from Tertullian and Cyprian, I am inclined to say that we should have the proof set before us in quotations of the original sources.

As to the argument from grammar, I have already answered that before. I'm afraid that the source quoted doesn't understand how Greek works in the NT. It is NOT and infallible rule that gender always has to agree. Otherwise Ephesians 2:8 would make zero sense, as I have already argued. Besides, the passage makes perfect sense grammatically without the Comma, because the first part of verse 6 introduces a masculine element of the compound subject. When one has a compound subject, a further reference to all three is NORMALLY in the MASCULINE. So, the grammatical argument falls completely to pieces.
 

CharlieJ

Puritan Board Junior
Misused Quote

Steve,

I have a feeling that Cyprian quote is not being used correctly. Even from the portion you gave me, it is clear that Cyprian is laying out the argument of his opponents, i.e. "Do you think he is talking nonsense.... contrary to the definitions and laws which you and your grammarians have laid down." In other words, it seems that just where the quote cuts off, Cyprian is about to introduce his own resolution of the issue, and that he does not believe that there is a real grammatical error. I would very much like to read the rest of that discourse.

Lane,

I think we are arguing the same grammatical point, just slightly differently. The introduction of Jesus and the Spirit as witnesses in v. 6, and/or the personalization of the events in v.7, should be entirely sufficient to argue that the grammar does indeed match.
 

BlackCalvinist

Puritan Board Senior
I am learning much from this conversation, brothers. Thank you all for your contributions.

I'd like to point out something, though - if all or most of our manuscripts are coming from the same area, we should expect them to all have similar readings. So it really isn't an argument to say 'all the greek manuscripts we have don't have it' and all of the greek manuscripts come from one area where a scribal error in one of the 2nd generation copies may have become the exemplar for a repeated omission throughout the rest of copies. So this, in my opinion, is not a 'good' reason to reject 1 John 5:7.

There's still the question (unless I missed the answer) of where did this reading come from in other early translations the predate the Vulgate, Sinaiticus and other 'major' authorities we consider on the topic of TC. And how is it being 'cited' (and I've seen most of these citations before and they all look to be in context in my opinion)...if it didn't exist ?
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
If the three earthly witnesses are the only witnesses in the passage, then the a minori argument in verse 9 makes no sense because no witness of God has been adduced. Verse 9ff is unintelligible without verse 7.
 

CharlieJ

Puritan Board Junior
Issues Addressed

I'd like to point out something, though - if all or most of our manuscripts are coming from the same area, we should expect them to all have similar readings. So it really isn't an argument to say 'all the greek manuscripts we have don't have it' and all of the greek manuscripts come from one area where a scribal error in one of the 2nd generation copies may have become the exemplar for a repeated omission throughout the rest of copies. So this, in my opinion, is not a 'good' reason to reject 1 John 5:7.

Our manuscripts don't all come from the same area. Some are from Egypt, some from Asia Minor, some from the "Byzantine text-type," etc. We have manuscripts from Ireland to Russia. How could one explain that verse simultaneously dropping out of ALL the relatively independent text-types? It would have had to have been excised before the early 2nd century, from which time we can observe the independent development of text traditions. No heretical group (or any group) had that kind of sweeping power. Ironically, a recension of that magnitude would actually fit well with many Critical Text advocates' proposed history of manuscripts.

There's still the question (unless I missed the answer) of where did this reading come from in other early translations the predate the Vulgate, Sinaiticus and other 'major' authorities we consider on the topic of TC. And how is it being 'cited' (and I've seen most of these citations before and they all look to be in context in my opinion)...if it didn't exist ?

Lane addressed some of the citations above, showing that some of them aren't from the passage being discussed. However, what would a citation prove, except that it was in some person's manuscript, or lectionary, or it was his personal paraphrase (a common problem in appealing to the Fathers for text critical purposes)? You can find citations to support almost every manuscript variant in the GNT; just look at the bottom apparatus of a UBS4 or NA27. In fact, the same Father is often a witness to several different variants of the same verse!

Even if it could be absolutely proven that some Greek father cited from 1 John 5:7 the text as it stands in the TR, it would prove nothing other than that manuscript contained the reference; that would not mean it is necessarily original. The NET textual note suggests that the passage originated in the Latin liturgy and from its ecclesiastical usage made its way into some Greek copies.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
However, what would a citation prove

Presumably a source. If the citation claims that it is written, then it is a written source. If Cyprian appeals to a written source, then it proves Cyprian knew of a written source with the words he has cited. One may not explain this away on the supposition that he is providing explanation or midrash on the baptismal formula, because he is specifically citing what is written of the Trinity, not offering comment on what is written.
 

reformedminister

Puritan Board Sophomore
It's in my Bible! That is all I will say, and will say very little because I don't want this thread to turn out like the one on Mark 16. :popcorn:
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
If the three earthly witnesses are the only witnesses in the passage, then the a minori argument in verse 9 makes no sense because no witness of God has been adduced. Verse 9ff is unintelligible without verse 7.

You seem to be forgetting that the Spirit is called a witness in many places. The Holy Spirit is all over this passage. If you have Spirit, water, and blood, these three are one, and the Spirit is from God, then this witness is greater than the witness of men. Verses 6 and 10 seems to me fairly conclusive in pointing to the Spirit as witness (verse 6 is absolutely explicit in identifying the Spirit as witnessing), since the one believing in the Son of God has the witness IN HIMSELF (vs 10). Surely, the Holy Spirit is a candidate for the identity of the witness, isn't He, since He is explicitly identified as a witnessing agent in verse 6? This makes the passage completely understandable without verse 7. Your error is in assuming that the three things that are one in verse 8 are all earthly things. I do not accept that assumption. The spirit in verse 6 has to be the Holy Spirit, because it says that the Spirit is the truth. So, unless there is a complete contextual shift in the middle of the passage, there is no reason to change our understanding of spirit in verse 6 to verse 8. It means the same thing in both places.
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
However, what would a citation prove

Presumably a source. If the citation claims that it is written, then it is a written source. If Cyprian appeals to a written source, then it proves Cyprian knew of a written source with the words he has cited. One may not explain this away on the supposition that he is providing explanation or midrash on the baptismal formula, because he is specifically citing what is written of the Trinity, not offering comment on what is written.

This argument doesn't wash, because when Cyprian says "of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost," that isn't part of the quotation. It's the difference between saying "of the imputation of Adam's sin, Paul says x" versus saying "Paul says, 'Adam's sin is imputed.'" The phrase "Adam's sin is imputed" is part of the quotation in the second case, but not the first. Similarly with Cyprian. He says "and of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, it is said (this is the beginning of the quotation) 'these three are one.'" One cannot prove that three words (tres unus sunt) prove a quotation from 1 John 5:7.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
The Holy Spirit is all over this passage.

This reads the divinity of the "Spirit" into the passage on the basis of a dogmatic theology which John is supposed to have left unspoken. It's certainly not coming from the text as presented. Place verse 7 back into the text for the sake of contextual exegesis and it will be seen that the witness of God is not left to be assumed by some dogmatic category but explicitly forms a part of the complex argument of the passage. Without verse 7 the only witness in the passage is the witness of the Spirit in association with the accomplishment of salvation through the historical, earthly work of Christ. Verse 8 cements the fact that the witness of the Spirit is not independent of, but connected with, the water and the blood as one voice. God certainly stands at the back of this witness, as indeed he stands behind the witness of all truth, as John 5 makes evident. But John's a minori argument in verse 9 does not refer to God as standing behind the witness, but as Himself bearing witness.

It should also be noted that the a minori argument requires that the witness of God be received on the same basis that the witness of men would be received, namely, multiplicity and agreement of testimony. Even if the "Spirit's" divinity is assumed in the passage, He would still only be one.
 
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MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
One cannot prove that three words (tres unus sunt) prove a quotation from 1 John 5:7.

The words used to introduce the quotation prove a quotation; "of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit" is the object referenced by the quotation; "these three are one" are the quotation. Canonical Scripture only provides one place where "these three are one" may be found.
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
The Holy Spirit is all over this passage.

This reads the divinity of the "Spirit" into the passage on the basis of a dogmatic theology which John is supposed to have left unspoken. It's certainly not coming from the text as presented. Place verse 7 back into the text for the sake of contextual exegesis and it will be seen that the witness of God is not left to be assumed by some dogmatic category but explicitly forms a part of the complex argument of the passage. Without verse 7 the only witness in the passage is the witness of the Spirit in association with the accomplishment of salvation through the historical, earthly work of Christ. Verse 8 cements the fact that the witness of the Spirit is not independent of, but connected with, the water and the blood as one voice. God certainly stands at the back of this witness, as indeed he stands behind the witness of all truth, as John 5 makes evident. But John's a minori argument in verse 9 does not refer to God as standing behind the witness, but as Himself bearing witness.

It should also be noted that the a minori argument requires that the witness of God be received on the same basis that the witness of men would be received, namely, multiplicity and agreement of testimony. Even if the "Spirit's" divinity is assumed in the passage, He would still only be one.

I'm sorry, but is flat out wrong, and I'm surprised that you are making this argument. First of all, my argument that verse 6 refers to the Holy Spirit was exegetical, not systematic-theological. The exegetical argument goes like this: the last phrase of the verse says that the Spirit is truth. That statement can only be made concerning the Holy Spirit. No other definition of "spirit" could be said to be truth. Therefore the reference in verse 6 is to the Holy Spirit. Unless any great reason can be adduced as to why the referent of pneuma should change by the time we get to verse 8, we can conclude that the reference to pneuma in verse 8 is also to the Holy Spirit. I have not found a single commentator who disagrees with me here, including Calvin, who accepts the genuineness of the Comma, though with some degree of hesitation. So I suppose you will argue that every one of these commentators (Kruse, Brown, Marshall, Burge, Johnson, Kysar, Schnackenburg, Smith, Sott, Bruce, Candlish, Clark, Lias, Lloyd-Jones, Akin, Brooke, Strecker, Smalley, Yarbrough, Calvin, Barnes, Kistemaker, and Lenski) is also reading dogmatic categories into the text, since ALL OF THEM acknowledge the reference in verse 6 to be to the Holy Spirit? To what does the reference point in verse 6 if it does not point to the Holy Spirit? I conclude that it is you, actually, who are reading the Holy Spirit out of the passage when He is clearly there. This seems to be because it doesn't fit your theory of the genuineness of the Comma, and you want the grammatical argument that verse 7 has to be there to stick. You've got blinkers on, Matthew. Whatever other arguments might be made in favor of the comma, the grammatical one doesn't wash, at least not in the form you have made it.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I'm sorry, but is flat out wrong, and I'm surprised that you are making this argument. First of all, my argument that verse 6 refers to the Holy Spirit was exegetical, not systematic-theological. The exegetical argument goes like this: the last phrase of the verse says that the Spirit is truth. That statement can only be made concerning the Holy Spirit. No other definition of "spirit" could be said to be truth. Therefore the reference in verse 6 is to the Holy Spirit.

Your argument presumes the conservative evangelical interpretation which is based upon dogmatic categories. "Spirit" in the Johannine writings can refer to the resurrection life of the Saviour. See Milligan on the Resurrection of Christ and especially on the breathing of Christ on the disciples. If the reference to the Holy Spirit is removed in verse 7, there is no internal marker in the passage that indicates the Divine Person of the Holy Spirit is being referenced. That the Spirit "is truth" does not of itself indicate Divine Personality because the Christians to whom John is writing would have accepted the true nature of the resurrection life which Jesus procured for them.

Now, I don't accept this argument, but it is only because the traditional verse 7 provides an internal marker which requires "Spirit" to be taken as a Divine Person; it is certainly not because evangelical commentators have argued persuasively in the absence of verse 7, for they are often contradictory. On the one hand they say the Spirit is divine, but on the other hand they argue that the Spirit is bearing witness for God. They are left in a position of incoherence precisely because they reject the traditional reading.

Unless any great reason can be adduced as to why the referent of pneuma should change by the time we get to verse 8, we can conclude that the reference to pneuma in verse 8 is also to the Holy Spirit. I have not found a single commentator who disagrees with me here, including Calvin, who accepts the genuineness of the Comma, though with some degree of hesitation. So I suppose you will argue that every one of these commentators (Kruse, Brown, Marshall, Burge, Johnson, Kysar, Schnackenburg, Smith, Sott, Bruce, Candlish, Clark, Lias, Lloyd-Jones, Akin, Brooke, Strecker, Smalley, Yarbrough, Calvin, Barnes, Kistemaker, and Lenski) is also reading dogmatic categories into the text, since ALL OF THEM acknowledge the reference in verse 6 to be to the Holy Spirit?

I highlight the name of Smalley because he is ready to hand, provides indepth, scholarly discussion, accepts your view that Spirit is the Holy Spirit, and rejects the traditional text. He states on verse 8, "'The three of them' give united witness to the reality of God's work in Christ by the Spirit" (270). He clearly states that the Spirit is bearing witness to the work of God; He is therefore not being called in by John as God to witness the accomplishment of salvation. John 5:31, "If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true."

Secondly, he says verse 9 "caps the teaching of vv 6-8 by showing that behind the 'divine testimony' of 'the Spirit and the water and the blood' lies the sovereign being of God himself." If that is the case, then the being of God himself does not stand at the fore of the witness in verses 6-8.

Thirdly, in examining the argument of John, Smalley notes, "The threefold witness of which John has spoken in vv 6-8 'satisfies the conditions of human testimony' (Westott, 185). All the more then, it is implied, 'does a threefold divine witness meet all claims' (Westcott, 185, emphasis added.)" Both Smalley and Westcott therefore see the inherent need in the argument for a threefold divine witness in order for the argument to make sense. In summarising the sense of verses 5-8 as it applies to verse 9, Smalley comments, "The testimony of God, whose divine being incorporates the divinity of the Son and the Spirit (vv 5-8), is superior in status and force to mortal testimony because it is more trustworthy." Both Westcott and Smalley reject the text that provides the explicit internal marker which referenced the divine triunity, and so they can only suggest it as something which needs to be assumed; but they acknowledge it is a part of the essence of John's argument.

Smalley and Westcott are not trying to make their exegesis fit with the Johannine Comma since they reject the reading; they have no prejudice towards the Johannine comma. They honestly deal with the text as they see it. I don't see why a defender of the Comma should have partiality imputed to him when he expresses the same understanding of the text as those which reject the Comma. To the pure all things are pure.
 

ThomasCartwright

Puritan Board Freshman
Worth adding in counterpoint to Rev Keister's arguments that many of the manuscripts available to the Reformers and the KJV translators are not extant today. Indeed, we do not even know what many of these were so arguing on the grounds of our supposed superior resources is fraught with danger.

Lest, I be accused as not adducing proof, let me add what the venerable John Gill wrote in his commentary on the disputed passage:

The genuineness of this text has been called in question by some, because it is wanting in the Syriac version, as it also is in the Arabic and Ethiopic versions; and because the old Latin interpreter has it not; and it is not to be found in many Greek manuscripts; nor cited by many of the ancient fathers, even by such who wrote against the Arians, when it might have been of great service to them: to all which it may be replied, that as to the Syriac version, which is the most ancient, and of the greatest consequence, it is but a version, and a defective one. The history of the adulterous woman in the eighth of John, the second epistle of Peter, the second and third epistles of John, the epistle of Jude, and the book of the Revelations, were formerly wanting in it, till restored from Bishop Usher's copy by De Dieu and Dr. Pocock, and who also, from an eastern copy, has supplied this version with this text. As to the old Latin interpreter, it is certain it is to be seen in many Latin manuscripts of an early date, and stands in the Vulgate Latin edition of the London Polyglot Bible: and the Latin translation, which bears the name of Jerom, has it, and who, in an epistle of his to Eustochium, prefixed to his translation of these canonical epistles, complains of the omission of it by unfaithful interpreters. And as to its being wanting in some Greek manuscripts, as the Alexandrian, and others, it need only be said, that it is to be found in many others; it is in an old British copy, and in the Complutensian edition, the compilers of which made use of various copies; and out of sixteen ancient copies of Robert Stephens's, nine of them had it: and as to its not being cited by some of the ancient fathers, this can be no sufficient proof of the spuriousness of it, since it might be in the original copy, though not in the copies used by them, through the carelessness or unfaithfulness of transcribers; or it might be in their copies, and yet not cited by them, they having Scriptures enough without it, to defend the doctrine of the Trinity, and the divinity of Christ: and yet, after all, certain it is, that it is cited by many of them; by Fulgentius (z), in the beginning of the "sixth" century, against the Arians, without any scruple or hesitation; and Jerom, as before observed, has it in his translation made in the latter end of the "fourth" century; and it is cited by Athanasius (a) about the year 350; and before him by Cyprian (b), in the middle, of the "third" century, about the year 250; and is referred to by Tertullian (c) about, the year 200; and which was within a "hundred" years, or little more, of the writing of the epistle; which may be enough to satisfy anyone of the genuineness of this passage; and besides, there never was any dispute about it till Erasmus left it out in the, first edition of his translation of the New Testament; and yet he himself, upon the credit of the old British copy before mentioned, put it into another edition of his translation.

So 9 out of 16 of out of the ancient copies that Robert Stephens' had contained the passage! Metzger overlooked his research (as he also did when he accused Erasmus of backtranslating the last verses of Revelation). Shows the dangers in trusting spiritual issues to autonomous thinkers who reject the inerrancy of Scripture!
 

christianhope

Puritan Board Freshman
Dr. Ferguson,

I'd be real interested to know where it is shown Erasmus 'did not' back-translate the last verses of Revelation. Can you tell me where you got this?

I've had a friend tell me that and I'd love to hear it's not true.

Blessings,

Josh
 

ThomasCartwright

Puritan Board Freshman
Here is one of Metzger's myths exposed by Dr Jeffrey Khoo:

Metzger’s Myth

Many an evangelical textual critic are impressed by the “awesome” footnotes of Metzger’s scholarly writings. Metzger’s texts and his annotated footnotes are said to be indispensable stuff in scholarly text-critical research. O, how we must be wary! Metzger’s “Bible” of textual criticism is filled with unbelief and deception. One example of deception is the myth Metzger concocted to question the authenticity of the Trinitarian verse called the “Johannine Comma” (1 John 5:7).

Metzger in his textbook—The Text of the New Testament—pontificated, “Erasmus promised that he would insert the Comma 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!” For decades, Metzger’s story has been parroted by anti-preservationists, TR/KJV opponents as if it was gospel truth. Erasmian expert, Henk J de Jonge of Leiden University, in his paper on “Erasmus and the Comma Johanneum” has convincingly proven that Metzger’s story on Erasmus is utterly baseless. This was no small embarrassment to Metzger and all his followers. Metzger, however, did not remove his misleading story about Erasmus in subsequent editions of his book, but placed a corrigendum in a footnote on a distant page (p291) in his third, enlarged edition confessing that what he had written on page 101 about Erasmus and 1 John 5:7 “needs to be corrected.”

Far Eastern Bible College | BRUCE METZGER AND THE CURSE OF TEXTUAL CRITICISM
 
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