WHAT ABOUT 1 JOHN 5:7? DOES IT SUPPORT THE IDEA OF A TRINITY?

An interesting question is answered by Angel Manuel Rodriguez (Seventh-day Adventist theologian and director of the Biblical Research Institute) concerning 1 John 5:7.

 

Angel manuel Rodriguez on 1 John 5:7
Angel Manuel Rodriguez on 1 John 5:7

From this, it is evident that the bracketed part which is often used in support of the “trinity” doctrine is but a fraud.

This statement by Angel is true and is corroborated by Adam Clarke and Henry Alford on their commentaries of the same verse.

Adam Clarke says:

“There are three that bear record – The Father, who bears testimony to his Son; the Word or Λογος, Logos, who bears testimony to the Father; and the Holy Ghost, which bears testimony to the Father and the Son. And these three are one in essence, and agree in the one testimony, that Jesus came to die for, and give life to, the world.

But it is likely this verse is not genuine. It is wanting in every MS. of this epistle written before the invention of printing, one excepted, the Codex Montfortii, in Trinity College, Dublin: the others which omit this verse amount to one hundred and twelve.

It is wanting in both the Syriac, all the Arabic, Ethiopic, the Coptic, Sahidic, Armenian, Slavonian, etc., in a word, in all the ancient versions but the Vulgate; and even of this version many of the most ancient and correct MSS. have it not. It is wanting also in all the ancient Greek fathers; and in most even of the Latin.

The words, as they exist in all the Greek MSS. with the exception of the Codex Montfortii, are the following: –

Jo1 5:6. This is he that came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness because the Spirit is truth.

Jo1 5:7. For there are three that bear witness, the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree in one.

Jo1 5:9. If we receive the witness of man, the witness of God is greater, etc.”

The words that are omitted by all the MSS., the above excepted, and all the versions, the Vulgate excepted, are these: –

[In heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one, and there are three which bear witness in earth].

To make the whole more clear, that every reader may see what has been added, I shall set down these verses, with the inserted words in brackets.

Jo1 5:6. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.

Jo1 5:7. For there are three that bear record [in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one. Jo1 5:8. And there are three that bear witness in earth],the Spirit, and the water, and the blood, and these three agree in one.

Jo1 5:9. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater, etc.”

Any man may see, on examining the words, that if those included in brackets, which are wanting in the MSS. and versions, be omitted, there is no want of connection; and as to the sense, it is complete and perfect without them; and, indeed much more so than with them. I shall conclude this part of the note by observing, with Dr. Dodd, “that there are some internal and accidental marks which may render the passage suspected; for the sense is complete, and indeed more clear and better preserved, without it. Besides, the Spirit is mentioned, both as a witness in heaven and on earth; so that the six witnesses are thereby reduced to five, and the equality of number, or antithesis between the witnesses in heaven and on earth, is quite taken away. Besides, what need of witnesses in heaven? No one there doubts that Jesus is the Messiah; and if it be said that Father, Son, and Spirit are witnesses on earth, then there are five witnesses on earth, and none in heaven; not to say that there is a little difficulty in interpreting how the Word or the Son can be a witness to himself.””

 

Henry Alford states in his book, ‘The Greek Testament – vol. 4‘:

The Greek Testament - vol. 4 by Henry Alford page 503 paragraph 1
The Greek Testament – vol. 4 by Henry Alford page 503 paragraph 1

 

The Greek Testament - vol. 4 by Henry Alford page 503 paragraph 2
The Greek Testament – vol. 4 by Henry Alford page 503 paragraph 2

 

The Greek Testament - vol. 4 by Henry Alford page 505 paragraph 1
The Greek Testament – vol. 4 by Henry Alford page 505 paragraph 1

 

It is therefore evident that the “evidence” in support of a ‘trinity’ is not valid.

What does Angel say in conclusion?

Angel manuel Rodriguez on 1 John 5:7 Again
Angel manuel Rodriguez on 1 John 5:7 Again

 

 

The same thought was expressed by one of the SDA Pioneers, J. N. Loughborough in “The Advent Review & Sabbath Herald” of November 5, 1861. Asked for what serious objection was there to the doctrine of the Trinity, Loughborough answered: “There are many objections which we might, urge, but on account of our limited space we shall reduce them to the three following: 1. It is contrary to common sense. 2. It is contrary to scripture. 3. Its origin is Pagan and fabulous.

We pick it up on his second point of the answers given, viz., “2. It is contrary to scripture.” and highlight the last portion of his explanation of this point.

 

Bro. Loughborough, What serious objection is there to the doctrine of the Trinity? - "The Advent Review & Sabbath Herald" of November 5, 1861
Bro. Loughborough, What serious objection is there to the doctrine of the Trinity? – “The Advent Review & Sabbath Herald” of November 5, 1861

 

2. It is contrary to scripture. - "The Advent Review & Sabbath Herald" of November 5, 1861
2. It is contrary to scripture. – “The Advent Review & Sabbath Herald” of November 5, 1861

 

Further to that, in one of our SDA Sabbath quarterlies, quarter 3 in the year 2009.

 

2009_Q3

 

Lesson 9 of this quarterly, in the Wednesday part (August 26, 2009), the lesson writer had this to say:

 

Wednesday, August 26, 2009 - The Issue of the Trinity (1 John 5:7, 8)
Wednesday, August 26, 2009 – The Issue of the Trinity (1 John 5:7, 8)

 

I quote the lesson:

 

In some versions of the Bible the words “in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness on earth” appear in 1 John 5:7, 8 (NKJV). The only problem is they are a later addition, not found in the original manuscripts.
Among biblical scholars there is agreement that this statement is not genuine and has been added, probably to support the doctrine of the Trinity. Of course, biblical texts should never be tampered with, for many reasons (Rev. 22:18), one of the most important being that people may start having doubts about the reliability of Scripture as a whole and start to mistrust God’s Word.

 

The fact is, even without these words the doctrine of the Trinity is firmly established in Johannine literature. Although the authors of the New Testament believe that God is one, they portray Jesus and the Holy Spirit as God. To reconcile the oneness of God with the divinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the concept of the Trinity is crucial.

 

 

The fact that parts of 1 John 5:7,8 are a human addition to the inerrant Word of GOD is proved. It should have no authority with true Christians.

 

 

Early Writings p. 220.2, “I saw that God had especially guarded the Bible; yet when copies of it were few, learned men had in some instances changed the words, thinking that they were making it more plain, when in reality they were mystifying that which was plain, by causing it to lean to their established views, which were governed by tradition. But I saw that the Word of God, as a whole, is a perfect chain, one portion linking into and explaining another. True seekers for truth need not err; for not only is the Word of God plain and simple in declaring the way of life, but the Holy Spirit is given as a guide in understanding the way to life therein revealed.

 

 

The Great Controversy page 56, paragraph 1, “Notwithstanding that vice prevailed, even among the leaders of the Roman Church, her influence seemed steadily to increase. About the close of the eighth century, papists put forth the claim that in the first ages of the church the bishops of Rome had possessed the same spiritual power which they now assumed. To establish this claim, some means must be employed to give it a show of authority; and this was readily suggested by the father of lies. Ancient writings were forged by monks. Decrees of councils before unheard of were discovered, establishing the universal supremacy of the pope from the earliest times. And a church that had rejected the truth greedily accepted these deceptions.

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3 Comments

  1. Erasmus translated the Greek new testament in the 16th century. One passage not included by Erasmus caused a great storm of controversy. That passage was the so-called Trinitarian passage, which in the King James Version reads, “in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost. And these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth” (found in 1 John 5:7- 8). The exclusion of these words from Erasmus’ text was not from carelessness or haste, but was based on solid evidence: these words were not in the Greek manuscripts that Erasmus had used for his text; indeed, they were not found in any Greek text Erasmus had ever seen. When asked why he had deleted this proof text for the trinity, he replied that he didn’t find it at all in the Greek manuscripts. The combination of accusations of Arianism, with Erasmus’ thin-skinned sensitivity to criticism, caused him to rashly vow that if any Greek manuscript could be found to include the words in question, he would add them to his text. A manuscript was duly manufactured in Britain to suit the conditions of Erasmus’ vow, so in his third edition (1522), Erasmus added the words to his text, but added a marginal note declaring his belief that the manuscript had been deliberately doctored.

    Martin Luther never included the passage in any German translation produced in his lifetime. Both Tyndale and Coverdale indicated that they thought the suspect words were spurious.

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