1 JOHN 5:7 - 8 - These Three are One. One What? One Who?
“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.”
These texts are best understood when the reader has a better understanding of the context. However, practically no one is led to study the whole testimony of Christ let alone read the entire chapter of 1 John 5. Let’s investigate some of Christ’s record given. We will start this study by ready John 8:12-20. It takes a lot to strip away easily given preconceived ideas about these verses without actually reading and studying the whole subject matter.
"Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. 13 The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true. 14 Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go. 15 Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. 16 And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me. 17 It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. 18 I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me. 19 Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also. 20 These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come."
This portion of John 8 sets up the context and understanding for 1 John 5. We can see the Father and Son bear witness or record, but we will see going forward that the Father is especially bearing witness of His Son, and Jesus testifies to this.
Additionally we see in the chapter of John 5:30-38:
“30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. 31 If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. 32 There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. 33 Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. 34 But I receive not testimony from man; but these things I say, that ye might be saved. 35 He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. 36 But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. 37 And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. 38 And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.”
Here we see that the Father is bearing witness of His Son that he hath sent.
Now lets go to 1 John 5:9-20 and read it. We are building up a foundation of information to make a better informed belief. Not just taking one verse and using it to support dogma.
"If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. 10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. 11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. 14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. 16 If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. 17 All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death. 18 We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. 19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. 20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life."
“Him that is true,” is God the Father. And eternal life originates from Him, and is then given to His Son for us to have if we chose to have it. But not if we have a false understanding of “Him” through Scripture. The context here so far, is that God has given us a record, a witness that He hath given us His Son. And through His Son is eternal life. If you don’t have the real begotten Son of God (not a metaphor as many theologians now are teaching), then there is no chance for eternal life.
Pay close attention to this:
1 John 5:10 – “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of His son.”
Here in verse 10, the title “God” is used and refers to the Father. “God” is never used in Scripture to refer to “The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.”
The record being shown here is that God gave His son. Not God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit gave THEIR son. God is the Father, and that is a part of the context of 1 John 5.
Now come back around to verses 1 - 5 in 1 John 5.
"Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. 4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?"
As you read 1 John 5, you will realize it is all about the testimony of who Jesus is, the Son of God. And as you will see in the above texts from John chapter 8, that Jesus is bearing witness and he includes his Father when he does this.
Something of great significance to ponder on is found in the next verse, 1 John 5:6:
“This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.”
The human body is made up of water and blood. But lets look at who this is identifying in a special way when it says “he that came by water and blood.” This is part of the testimony or record. The water represents Jesus’ baptism. And at the time, God anointed Jesus with His Spirit. (Matthew 3:16 – “…the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him.”
The blood represents the crucifixion, death and sacrifice that Jesus made for our sins. So far we see that the Father bears record or a witness of His Son, over and over. So when it comes to the Spirit mentioned in verse 6, why would it be any different? Is God the Father a spirit being? Yes. Nowhere else in the Scripture would we come up with the idea that the Spirit could be anyone else without adding to the Scripture. Unless we were to mystify God and add additional personality or personhood to his God head.
The Spirit is Truth. God is a Spirit:
John 4:23-24 – “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
Romans 8:16 – “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” The context of “The Spirit” in Romans 8 is the Father’s Spirit, the Spirit of God."
So why is this so hard to understand? Because we have serpent theology being whispered in our ears in the very church buildings that we go to for trust, wisdom, learning and understanding. We see all through what we have viewed so far, it is all about the Father bearing witness of His Son. The Son is a reflection of the Father, his express image. There is no one else involved. Why would that change all of a sudden? It doesn’t.
When we think about the Centurion piercing the side of Christ as he was dying on the cross: Water and blood spilled out of Christ upon the spearing. The Spirit (his breath, mind and personality) had left its life in the body of the Son of Man, who was also the Son of God.
John 19:34-37: “But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. 35 And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. 36 For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. 37 And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.”
Now, lets read verses 7 through 8. You should have a completely different outlook on these verses by examining the whole chapter more fully. The entire chapter is about witnessing that Jesus is truly the Son of God. And the Father bears that as a witness.
SIX TIMES in this one chapter alone we are told that Jesus is the Son of God!!
So by the time we come to the troubled verses of 7 and 8, we will now see it in the light that the Bible gives us, not in the dribble of learned men from the Universities. While there is deep historical record of an issue with the authenticity of verses of 7 and 8, as far as their completeness as they were printed in the King James Bible, we will first address it as if they are authentic and nothing is wrong.
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.”
This verse does NOT say that these three are one God. The title “God” is missing completely. It is NOT teaching us that God is a community of three persons, or that God is a Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Many try and approach this verse as support for a trinity doctrine. But if you approach the word trinity, that word by itself only represents a number; the number of “three.” If you try and apply it to this Scripture, then three what? The chapter doesn’t tell us. It doesn’t apply here. And the chapter doesn’t support a “trinity doctrine” either. Not even close.
There are three that bear record in heaven. They are one in the record that they bear. In other testimony or references we have seen it referred to as bearing witness. So what is the record?
The Father “bears record” that God the Father gave his Son and gave us eternal life which is in his Son.
The Word “bears record” that God the Father gave his Son and gave us eternal life which is in his Son.
The Holy Ghost “bears record” that God the Father gave his Son and gave us eternal life which is in his Son.
The Father is the Supreme being of the universe. But what is this "Word" and "Holy Ghost" that the verse references? We will first address "the Word." We live in a trinitarian world, and everything is reconciled through those glasses. Trinitarian Christianity didn't start until 300 years after Christ's death. That should be an alarm signal that something is wrong. If we look up the Greek for the “Word” in this Scripture, Strong’s Concordance G3056 states:
logos: a word (as embodying an idea), a statement, a speech
Original Word: λόγος, ου, ὁ
Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine
Transliteration: logos Phonetic Spelling: (log'-os)
Definition: a word (as embodying an idea), a statement, a speech
Usage: a word, speech, divine utterance, analogy
"The Word" is commonly used to express the Logos, or as Jesus in John 1:1. But there was a source, an original for this "Word." In the context of this Passage, when understanding all else that has taken place in the witness and record that is being given, what the Greek says and how it is interpreted, needs to be considered.
Additionally Strong’s says:
3056 lógos (from 3004 / légō, "speaking to a conclusion") – a word, being the expression of a thought; a saying.
[3056 (lógos) is a common term (used 330 times in the NT) with regards to a person sharing a message (discourse, "communication-speech"). 3056 (lógos) is a broad term meaning "reasoning expressed by words."]
And Thayer’s Greek Lexicon does not differ in this.
λόγος, λόγου, ὁ (λέγω) (from Homer down), the Septuagint especially for דָּבָר, also for אֹמֶר and מִלָּה; properly, a collecting, collection (see λέγω) — and that, as well of those things which are put together in thought, as of those which, having been thought i.e. gathered together in the mind, are expressed in words. Accordingly, a twofold use of the term is to be distinguished: one which relates to speaking, and one which relates to thinking.
So here it is the physical commands or voice of God. In other words, His speech, or even His message. And this is recognized at the baptism of Christ when we read in Matthew 3:17, “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” How else could God bear record other than by His mouth (voice) and Spirit (omnipresence) being sent?
And when it comes to the Holy Ghost, or preferably the Holy Spirit, it is the Father’s own Spirit as the Spirit of God. It is the Father that is bearing witness in all of these things about His Son. No one or nothing else.
We have seen where the Father is a Spirit. How about Holy? There are 32 Scriptures to be considered in the King James that tell us the Father is “Holy,” or has a holy name. But his identity is NOT ‘God the Holy Spirit,’ however this ID has been added to make up many of today’s trinity doctrine creeds as a third divine being that is not the Father or Son.
Here are just a few Scriptures to consider in regards to the Father as Holy.
Psalms 99:5 – “Exalt ye the LORD our God, and worship at his footstool; for he is holy.”
Isaiah 5:16 – “But the LORD of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and God that is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness.”
Hosea 11:9 – “I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city.”
Ephesians 4:30 – “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”
Getting back to our three that bear record, all three bear record that “God” is a Father, not a Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
1 John 5 is telling us that God is a Father alone. And that God gave his Son. Verse 7 is all about the Father. And when we understand verse 8, it is all about the Son of God. Read and study all of this until this sinks in. A third of something or someone else does not fit the chapter or topic at all. Look at the totality of everything. Everything is about the Father and the Son.
In verse 8, it says that, “And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.”
It would have been better if this verse was written as “on earth.” All through the life of Christ while he was on earth, we have the testimony that he gave. If you read the Scripture as it is plainly laid out without having colored lenses to look thru, you will see the witness of Jesus in these verses that these three testimonies agree as one:
Water = the baptism of Jesus.
(God annointed Jesus with His Spirit. That was the Spirit of God that descended "like a dove" upon Christ.
It wasn't a dove, but came down slow and fluttery like a dove descends down to the ground.)
Blood = the crucifixion of Jesus.
Spirit = the resurrection of Jesus.
They agree as one, as they are in harmony with everything that God has laid out for us, which is “the plan of salvation,” through His Son, Jesus Christ.
It is important to understand Christ’s identity as the Son of God. That is what John is telling us and reinforcing over and over. But he is also telling us the identity of God. Since Christ is the Son of God, this would identity God as our Father. And that is who God is here in this context in all of these passages. These three bear record that our God is a Father. Again, these verses cannot be repeated enough until it sinks into us.
1 John 5:11-13 - "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. v13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God."
And who is 1 John 5 all about?
1 John 1:3 - That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
John was a Jew and had first hand account of who Jesus was. Jews ARE NOT trinitarians. And John never taught trinitarianism! The verse above reinforces that there is a specific relationship and it involves a Father and a Son. Is this role playing? No, this is real and literal. It says that our fellowship is with the Father and the Son. No one else is mentioned here. Just two, not three.
1 John 4:9 - "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him."
This is how God manifested his love. God is love. He did this by giving up his only begotten Son to save mankind and to save the world. That is how he has shown us his love.
By receiving God’s love, it draws us to make a change to our character. Love is what draws us to repentance. By holding onto his love, we become changed into the image of him. By receiving God’s love, it draws us to make a change to our character. Love is what draws us to repentance.
1 John 4:14-15 - "And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. 15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God."
Confession of Jesus being the Son of God is important. Also refer to the following Scripture texts as God the Father bore witness of his Son: Matt. 3:17, 17:5 and Mark 1:11, 9:7.
Matthew 3:17 – “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Matthew 17:5 – “While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.”
Mark 1:11 – “And there came a voice from heaven, [saying], Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Mark 9:7 – “And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.”
1 John 5:1 – "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him."
So Christ is born of him, begotten. The Father is the begetter, Christ is begotten of Him. This theme is what we find summarized in John's gospel, in John 20:31.
John 20:31 – "But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."
This is important to our salvation. Our eternal life. This is not a side issue. The question comes down to, “Is God three co-eternal, co-equal beings?”
Is God a loving Father who begat a Son, who had to sacrifice his Son in order to save us? Yes! Did God the Father give Christ equality? Yes. Or did this Son possess it of himself, totally on his own? No.
John 5:26 - "For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself."
Is this an act performed by 3 co-eternal beings? No. Is this a show, a theatrical performance? No. Is God really a Father, or is he just pretending to be a Father? Is this role playing like some Adventist affiliated publications have claimed in the past? In recent times we have theologians publicly making statements that they don’t believe the Bible to be literal. They don’t believe that the Father and Son is a literal relationship even thou it is stated hundreds of times in the Bible. They say the Son of God is to be taken metaphorically or as a role that Jesus takes on. The definition of Jesus Christ taking on a role and not the literal Son of the Father is actually anti-Christ according to the Bible.
Below, you will see that the serpent has been busy influencing our own people within our denomination. Here are examples of Serpent Theology in their books:
“A plan of salvation was encompassed in the covenant made by the Three Persons of the Godhead, who possessed the attributes of Deity equally. In order to eradicate sin and rebellion from the universe and to restore harmony and peace, one of the divine Beings accepted, and entered into the role of the Father, another the role of the Son. The remaining divine Being, the Holy Spirit, was also to participate in effecting the plan of salvation.” - Gordon Jenson, Spicer Memorial College, Pune, India, Adventist Review, October 31, 1996, p. 12.
THIS IS CALLED GARBAGE! HERETICAL TEACHING!
A book sold thru the Adventist Book store, is called “Understanding the Trinity” by Max Hatton, p. 97. Quote: “The Father-Son relationship in the Godhead should be understood in a metaphorical sense, not in a literal sense.... Jesus became the Son of God at His human birht."” This is blasphemy. But wait, there is more……
“They also took certain positions or roles to carry out the provisions of the plan.” – Pastor Holbrook – These Times – Our Times, Frank Answers – June 1981
“The Father seems to act as source, the Son (act) as mediator, and the Spirit (act) as actualizer or applier.... In the economy of function, different members of the Godhead perform distinct tasks in saving man.” – Seventh-day Adventists Believe… A Biblical Exposition of 27 Fundamental Doctrines, 1988 – p. 24
“They have taken different roles or positions in the Godhead’s work of creation, redemption and the loving administration of the universe.” – Woodrow Whidden – The Trinity, p. 243
“The Son is not the natural, literal Son of the Father. ... The term “Son” is used metaphorically when applied to the Godhead.” - Angel Manuel Rodriguez, Adventist World, November 2015 issue, p. 42
“Christ has always been the Son of God; and there never was a time when He emerged from the Father. That statement appears to solve all the problems about Christ’s Sonship.” - Vance Ferrell, Defending the Godhead, p. 17
The above statements are anti-Christ. And these statements are from leading men in the denomination, which is NOT what the SDA church believed for over 100 years. We had always believed that God the Father and Jesus Christ was a literal relationship. And that started sometime in eternity. So you can start to see how “serpent theology” has crept into our beloved denomination. If Christ is not a Begotten Son, then how can he be a Son? He cannot be a Son then. You see, many believe today that Christ existed for the exact same existence as the Father from all of eternity. That would make the Father and the Son, brothers then. It would actually make them TWINS! And that is the deception of the evil one [Lucifer] who wants to be worshipped above God. He wanted to be the Son of God. If you think he is not working against truth, you are kidding yourself. He is striving to diminish the sacrifice made by both the Father and the Son in giving us what has been given to us; to save us from our sins.
It is true that Christ existed in eternity. But the bible says that he “came out from God”, “proceeded forth and came from God”, “came out from thee”, “whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting”, "set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was”, I was brought forth”. (John 8:42, 16:27, 17:8, Micah 5:2, Prov. 8:23-24)
Did the Father really have a literal Son? Yes. Can you be drawn to him if you cannot see the manifestation of the Father’s love? No. If we don’t believe, we make him a liar if we don’t believe that he gave his literal Son.
1 John 2:22 - "Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son."
John 17:3 – "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."
Jesus spoke these words to his Father in John 17:3. And it was the Father that sent Jesus Christ to us.
Ellen White in Letter 13 in 1893 said:
“…for it is impossible to elevate man except through a knowledge of God.”
To know the only true God is the only way that he can be made like God in character. This is life eternal.
“A knowledge of God is the foundation of all true education and of all true service. It is the only real safeguard against temptation. It is this alone that can make us like God in character.” –
Ellen White, Ministry of Healing, p. 409-410
Knowledge of God is the most important thing in making us like God in character. If we are following a mystery god, then the only thing that follows is confusion and delusion. The most reputable authorities agree that part of 1 John 5:7-8 was most certainly added to the Bible during the period known as the “Dark Ages.” And we have plenty of comments about that in Study Bibles and historical statements..
Some people would object strongly to the very suggestion that errors may have crept into the text of the Bible in any way whatsoever. However, it is interesting to note what Ellen White had to say concerning this:
“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 to guide in understanding the way of life revealed in his Word.” - Spiritual Gifts, vol. 1, 117.1, 1858
Now we will address some troubling history pertaining to our key text topic. Regarding 1 John 5:7-8, SDA Theologian - Angel Manual Rodriguez from the Biblical Research Institute admits “you should not use this text.” - May 14, 1998, Biblical Research Institute.
Why? Let the following explain accordingly, as you will see there is authentic text that was inspired by the Spirit of God to John. And then there was a spirit from another that inspired translators. The text in (Brackets) is text that was not found in the original manuscripts, but later added.
v7 "For there are three that bear record (in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one. v8 And there are three that bear witness in earth), the Spirit, and the water, and the blood, and these three agree in one.”
If the questionable portion were taken out, 1 John 5:7-8 would read:
“For there are three that bear record, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.”
Now we can see that the misconception of these verses has disappeared. As you can see, this matches up well with all the other versions of Bibles whose translators chose not to add the controversial text. They knew the historical addition to the text and was on guard not to use it.
Other Bible versions confirm EXACTLY what is being shown and illustrated here. Compare them to the King James. Most people would have no idea that a few verses in the King James have been played with.
1 John 5:7
New International Version - For there are three that testify:
New Living Translation - So we have these three witnesses--
English Standard Version - For there are three that testify:
Berean Study Bible - For there are three that testify:
New American Standard Bible - For there are three that testify:
Holman Christian Standard Bible - For there are three that testify:
International Standard Version - For there are three witnesses —
Now compare the above translations with the King James version:
"For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."
Now for 1 John 5:8:
New International Version - the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.
New Living Translation - the Spirit, the water, and the blood--and all three agree.
English Standard Version - the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree.
Berean Study Bible - the Spirit, the water, and the blood--and these three are in agreement.
New American Standard Bible - the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.
Holman Christian Standard Bible - the Spirit, the water, and the blood--and these three are in agreement.
International Standard Version - the Spirit, the water, and the blood—and these three are one.
Now compare the above translations with the King James version:
"And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one."
Shocking news to some is the revelation by the Seventh-Day Adventist Bible Commentary among many, many other sources that will tell you that some of the text in 1 John 5:7 and verse 8 is NOT authentic.
Here is the SDA Bible Commentary on 1 John 5:7.
“The passage as given in the KJV is in no Greek manuscript earlier than the 15th and 16th centuries. The disputed words found their way into the KJV by way of the Greek text of Erasmus (see Vol. V, p. 141). It is said that Erasmus offered to include the disputed words in his Greek Testament if he were shown even one Greek MS that contained them. A library in Dublin produced such a MS (known as 34), and Erasmus included the passage in his text. It is now believed that the later editions of the Vulgate acquired the passage by the mistake of a scribe who included an exegetical marginal comment in the Bible text that he was copying. The disputed words have been widely used in support of the doctrine of the Trinity, but, in view of such overwhelming evidence against their authenticity, their support is valueless and should not be used. In spite of their appearance in “the Vulgate A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture” freely admits regarding these words: “It is now generally held that this passage, called the Comma Johanneum, is a gloss that crept into the text of the Old Latin and Vulgate at an early date, but found its way into the Greek text only in the 15th and 16th centuries” (Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1951, p. 1186).” — The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 675
Interesting tidbit in that the one library in Dublin, Ireland that produced this supposed manuscript came from ‘Trinity College.’
In the following commentary, the words “it is wanting” means that they are looking. They searched, but it was not found. It is simply missing. Only in one manuscript could the words in question of this controversy be found, and that was in all places called, “Trinity College” in Dublin. However, in 112 other manuscripts, it could not be found.
Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible. Adam Clarke, LL.D., F.S.A., (1715-1832) explains in detail:
“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 manuscripts with the exception of the Codex Montfortii, are the following: 1 John 5:6-9 - "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. v7 For there are three that bear witness, v8 the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree in one. v9 If we receive the witness of man, the witness of God is greater, etc.”
The words that are missing in 112 manuscripts, but found in only one that is in question is:
“In heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one, and there are three which bear witness in earth.“
Even Seventh-day Adventist Pioneer John Norton Loughborough had this to say:
"The word Trinity nowhere occurs in the Scriptures. The principal text supposed to teach it is 1 John 5:7, which is an interpolation. Clarke says, 'Out of one hundred and thirteen manuscripts, the text is wanting in one hundred and twelve. It occurs in no MS. before the tenth century. And the first place the text occurs in Greek, is in the Greek translation of the acts of the Council of Latern, held A.D. 1215.'- Com. on John 1, and remarks at close of chap." – John N. Loughborough, Review and Herald, Nov. 5, 1861.
So even our Pioneers were educated enough on this topic to know not to build a doctrine on one or two texts. However they were diligent Bible students and knew what the entire chapter was teaching as we are reading and learning today.
What is the Comma Johanneum as mentioned in the previous quote from the SDA commentary also referred to as an “interpolation” from John Loughborough?
The Comma Johanneum, also known as the Comma Johannine, is a textual variant in regards to 1 John 5:7-8. The word comma simply means “short clause,” and Johanneum means “pertaining to John.” Without the “comma,” 1 John 5:7-8 reads, “For there are three that bear record, the spirit, the water and the blood; and these three agree in one.” With the “comma,” 1 John 5:7-8 reads, “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.”
As many do today teaching this Comma Johanneum, reading this by itself you could make up all kinds of variations of doctrine. But as we have read previously, looking at the totality of the witness of Christ, and the record that His Father gave, this is not teaching anything to do with a God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit as found in Trinity doctrines.
None of the oldest Greek manuscripts of 1 John contain the comma, and none of the very early church fathers include it when quoting or referencing 1 John 5:7-8. The presence of the Comma Johanneum in Greek manuscripts is actually quite rare until the 15th century A.D. Imagine that, the 15th century. That is well over a thousand years later after Christ was on earth and the writings of the New Testament were recorded by Paul, Luke, Matthew, Mark and John. It is primarily found in Latin manuscripts. While some of the Latin manuscripts containing the Comma Johanneum appear to be ancient, the Comma Johanneum did not appear in the original Latin Vulgate written by Jerome.
In the 16th century, when Desiderius Erasmus was compiling what became known as the Textus Receptus, he did not include the Comma Johanneum in the 1st or 2nd editions. Due to intense pressure from the Catholic Church and others who wanted it included because of its support for trinitarianism, Erasmus included the Comma Johanneum in later editions of the Textus Receptus. His decision resulted in the Comma Johanneum being included in the King James Version of the Bible and later in the New King James Version. None of the modern Greek texts (UBS 4, Nestle-Aland 27, Majority Text) contain the Comma Johanneum. Of all the modern English translations, only the New King James Version and Modern English Version include the Comma Johanneum.
While it would be convenient for there to be an explicit statement confirming some kind of a Trinity doctrine in the Bible, but the Comma Johanneum was not originally part of 1 John. Some scribe, either intentionally or accidentally added it to a Latin manuscript, and then that addition was copied thousands upon thousands of times. Latin manuscripts came way after the original Greek writings of the New Testament. This eventually resulted in the Comma Johanneum appearing in the vast majority of Latin manuscripts. Whatever the scribe’s motives, whether intentionally or by accident, it is absolutely wrong to add to God’s Word. The Comma Johanneum is not a God-breathed statement nor a writing from the apostle John, and does not belong in the Bible. The doctrine of the Trinity is taught and implied from using human construction and man made additions to many other biblical passages. If God thought an explicit mention of Him being apart of a trinity god was necessary, He Himself would have made sure it was very clear in His Word, and with the weight of evidence.
“The textual evidence is against 1 John 5:7,” explains Dr. Neil Lightfoot, a New Testament professor. “Of all the Greek manuscripts, only two contain it. These two manuscripts are of very late dates, one from the fourteenth or fifteenth century and the other from the sixteenth century. Two other manuscripts have this verse written in the margin. All four manuscripts show that this verse was apparently translated from a late form of the Latin Vulgate,” - How We Got the Bible, 2003, pp. 100-101.
Theology professors Anthony and Richard Hanson, in their book Reasonable Belief: A Survey of the Christian Faith, explain the unwarranted addition to the text this way: “It was added by some enterprising person or persons in the ancient Church who felt that the New Testament was sadly deficient in direct witness to the kind of doctrine of the Trinity which he favoured and who determined to remedy that defect … It is a waste of time to attempt to read Trinitarian doctrine directly off the pages of the New Testament.” (1980, p. 171).
Peake’s Commentary on the Bible is very incisive in its comments as well: “The famous interpolation after ‘three witnesses’ is not printed in RSV and rightly [so]…. No respectable Greek [manuscript] contains it. Appearing first in a late 4th century Latin text, it entered the Vulgate [the 5th-century Latin version, which became the common medieval translation] and finally NT [New Testament] of Erasmus [who produced newly collated Greek texts and a new Latin version in the 16th century].” (p. 1038).
"The Expositor’s Bible Commentary also dismisses the King James and New King James Versions’ additions in 1 John 5:7-8 as “obviously a late gloss with no merit.” - Glenn Barker, Vol. 12, 1981, p. 353.
The Big Book of Bible Difficulties tells us: “This verse has virtually no support among the early Greek manuscripts . . . Its appearance in late Greek manuscripts is based on the fact that Erasmus was placed under ecclesiastical pressure to include it in his Greek NT of 1522, having omitted it in his two earlier editions of 1516 and 1519 because he could not find any Greek manuscripts which contained it.” - Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe, 2008, pp. 540-541.
As you can see, 1 John 5 has NOTHING to do with God being a Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The word Trinity did not come into common use as a religious term until after the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D., several centuries after the last books of the New Testament were complete. It is simply NOT a Biblical concept.
Surely hellfire awaits those who take one verse, or even a few from the Bible and manipulate it for use of a false doctrine brought in by man’s fables, placed on the mind of the unsuspecting soul who just wants to worship God honestly in Spirit and in Truth. But the result is that they are led astray by Satan’s deceptions, falling for a strange god. Here are some warnings from Ellen White in regards to those that take searching the Scriptures for themselves lightly or not important.
Satan is leading people to look to Pastors:
“Satan is constantly endeavoring to attract attention to man in the place of God. He leads the people to look to bishops, to pastors, to professors of theology, as their guides, instead of searching the Scriptures to learn their duty for themselves. Then by controlling the minds of these leaders he can influence the multitudes according to his will.” - Ellen White, Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, p. 413.3, 1884; Review & Herald, June 7, 1906, par. 6
“Religious teachers read the Bible in the light of their own understanding and traditions; and the people do not search the Scriptures for themselves, and judge for themselves as to what is truth; but they yield up their judgment, and commit their souls to their leaders.” - Ellen White, Desire of Ages, p. 459
Don’t rest your faith on them:
“There are many who have a merely nominal faith, but this faith will not save you. Many believe in Christ because somebody else does, because the minister has told them this or that; but if you rest your faith only on the minister’s word, you will be lost. You must not do as did the foolish virgins, who, when the cry came, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh,” found no oil in their vessels. When they discovered their lack, they sought those who were wise, and applied to them for oil for their dying lights; but it was too late to supply them. The wise had only enough for their own use, and they told the foolish virgins they must go and buy oil for themselves. We all must buy oil for ourselves. We must not be content with a mere profession. We are to take a stand for the truth by profession, and the principles of truth must become a part of our life.” – Ellen White, Review and Herald October 1, 1889, par. 4
Here are just a few references to touch lightly on the history of the most pointed doctrine within all of Christendom, and that is on the Trinity.
“To briefly summarize what was pertinent, we start with mention of the famous Greek philosopher Plato (ca. 429-347 B.C.). He believed in a divine triad of “God, the ideas, [and] the World-Spirit,” though he “nowhere explained or harmonized this triad.” - Charles Bigg, Christian Platonists of Alexandria, 1886, p. 249.
As Bible scholars John McClintock and James Strong explain: “Towards the end of the 1st century, and during the 2d, many learned men came over both from Judaism and paganism to Christianity. These brought with them into the Christian schools of theology their Platonic ideas and phraseology.” -Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, 1891, Vol. 10, “Trinity,” p. 553.
“The Alexandria catechetical school, which revered Clement of Alexandria and Origen, the greatest theologian of the Greek Church, as its heads, applied the allegorical method to the explanation of Scripture. Its thought was influenced by Plato: its strong point was [pagan] theological speculations. Athanasius and the three Cappadocians [the men whose Trinitarian views were adopted by the Catholic Church at the Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople] had been included among its members.” - Hubert Jedin, Ecumenical Councils of the Catholic Church: an Historical Outline, 1960, p. 28.
“The doctrines of the Logos [i.e., the “Word,” a designation for Christ in John 1] and the Trinity received their shape from Greek Fathers, who . . . were much influenced, directly or indirectly, by the Platonic philosophy . . . That errors and corruptions crept into the Church from this source can not be denied.” - The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Samuel Macauley Jackson, editor, 1911, Vol. 9, p. 91).
The preface to historian Edward Gibbons’ History of Christianity sums up the Greek influence on the adoption of the Trinity doctrine by stating: “If Paganism was conquered by Christianity, it is equally true that Christianity was corrupted by Paganism. The pure Deism [basic religion, in this context] of the first Christians … was changed, by the Church of Rome, into the incomprehensible dogma of the trinity. Many of the pagan tenets, invented by the Egyptians and idealized by Plato, were retained as being worthy of belief.” (1883, p. xvi). (See “How Ancient Trinitarian Gods Influenced Adoption of the Trinity.)
As published in the Seventh-day Adventist publication in 1861, the Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, Vol. XVIII, Third-Day, November 5, 1861, No. 23.
A reader by the name of W.W. Giles from Toledo, Ohio wrote into the publication with a question for Brother John Loughborough to answer.
“Questions for Bro. Loughborough on the Trinity:
BRO. WHITE: The following questions I would like to have you give, or send, to Bro. Loughborough for explanation. W. W. Giles. Toledo, Ohio.
QUESTION 1. What serious objection is there to the doctrine of the Trinity?
ANSWER. 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.
These positions we will remark upon briefly in their order.
1. It is not very consonant with common sense to talk of three being one, and one being three. Or as some express it, calling God “the Triune God,” or “the three-one-God.” If Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are each God, it would be three Gods; for three times one is not one, but three. There is a sense in which they are one, but not one person, as claimed by Trinitarians.
2. It is contrary to Scripture. Almost any portion of the New Testament we may open which has occasion to speak of the Father and Son, represents them as two distinct persons. The seventeenth chapter of John is alone sufficient to refute the doctrine of the Trinity. Over forty times in that one chapter Christ speaks of his Father as a person distinct from himself. His Father was in heaven and he upon earth. The Father had sent him. Given to him those that believed. He was then to go to the Father. And in this very testimony he shows us in what consists the oneness of the Father and Son. It is the same as the oneness of the members of Christ’s church. “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one.” Of one heart and one mind. Of one purpose in all the plan devised for man’s salvation. Read the seventeenth chapter of John, and see if it does not completely upset the doctrine of the Trinity.
To believe that doctrine, when reading the scripture we must believe that God sent himself into the world, died to reconcile the world to himself, raised himself from the dead, ascended to himself in heaven, pleads before himself in heaven to reconcile the world to himself, and is the only mediator between man and himself. It will not do to substitute the human nature of Christ (according to Trinitarians) as the Mediator; for Clarke says, “Human blood can no more appease God than swine’s blood.” Com. on 2 Sam. 21:10. We must believe also that in the garden God prayed to himself, if it were possible, to let the cup pass from himself, and a thousand other such absurdities.
Read carefully the following texts, comparing them with the idea that Christ is the Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Supreme, and only self-existent God: John 14:28; 17:3; 3:16; 5:19, 26; 11:15; 20:19; 8:50; 6:38; Mark 8:32; Luke 6:12; 22:69; 24:29; Matt. 3:17; 27:46; Gal. 3:20; 1 John 2:1; Rev. 5:7; Acts 17:31. Also see Matt. 11:25, 27; Luke 1:32; 22:42; John 3:35, 36; 5:19, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26; 6:40; 8:35, 36; 14:13; 1 Cor. 15:28, &c.
The word Trinity nowhere occurs in the Scriptures. The principal text supposed to teach it is 1 John 5:7, which is an interpolation. Clarke says, “Out of one hundred and thirteen manuscripts, the text is wanting in one hundred and twelve. It occurs in no MS. before the tenth century. And the first place the text occurs in Greek, is in the Greek translation of the acts of the Council of Lateran, held A. D. 1215.”—Com. on 1 John 5, and remarks at close of chap.
3. Its origin is pagan and fabulous. Instead of pointing us to scripture for proof of the trinity, we are pointed to the trident of the Persians, with the assertion that “by this they designed to teach the idea of a trinity, and if they had the doctrine of the trinity, they must have received it by tradition from the people of God. But this is all assumed, for it is certain that the Jewish church held to no such doctrine. Says Mr. Summerbell, “A friend of mine who was present in a New York synagogue, asked the Rabbi for an explanation of the word ‘Elohim’. A Trinitarian clergyman who stood by, replied, ‘Why, that has reference to the three persons in the Trinity,’ when a Jew stepped forward and said he must not mention that word again, or they would have to compel him to leave the house; for it was not permitted to mention the name of any strange god in the synagogue.” (Discussion between Summerbell and Flood on Trinity, p. 38) Milman says the idea of the Trident is fabulous. (Hist. Christianity, p. 34)
This doctrine of the trinity was brought into the church about the same time with image worship, and keeping the day of the sun, and is but Persian doctrine remodeled. It occupied about three hundred years from its introduction to bring the doctrine to what it is now. It was commenced about 325 A. D., and was not completed till 681. See Milman’s Gibbon’s Rome, vol. 4, p. 422. It was adopted in Spain in 589, in England in 596, in Africa in 534.—Gib. vol. 4, pp. 114, 345; Milner, vol. 1, p. 519. J. N. Loughborough, November 5, 1861, Advent Review & Sabbath Herald, vol. 18, page 184, par. 1-11.