Bible Textual Integrity The Bible

The Con­tro­ver­sy of I John 5:7 (Johan­nine Comma)

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The strongest evi­dence” for the Trin­i­ty in the Bible is the verse 1 John 5:7 or oth­er­wise known as the Johan­nine Com­ma’. Unfor­tu­nate­ly for the Trini­tar­i­ans, it has long been known by schol­ars that it is not part of the orig­i­nal text. It was nev­er in the Greek man­u­scripts, but sur­faced in the Latin trans­la­tion in the fifth cen­tu­ry, after the Trin­i­ty doc­trine had been accepted. 

It appears that a gloss’ — a mar­gin­al com­ment in a Bible — had found its way into the Latin Bible. Due to some unfor­tu­nate pol­i­tics”, Eras­mus, who com­pared var­i­ous man­u­scripts in the 16th cen­tu­ry to select what he thought was the best Greek text, includ­ed the verse against his bet­ter judg­ment in his third edi­tion of the New Tes­ta­ment. From there, it found its way into the King James Ver­sion, which was based on Eras­mus’ text. 

Chris­t­ian schol­ars have also agreed that the verse was fab­ri­cat­ed. This is fur­ther evi­dent when we com­pare the King James Ver­sion (KJV) with the more mod­ern Bible trans­la­tions, the Revised Stan­dard Ver­sion (RSV), the New Inter­na­tion­al Ver­sion (NIV), the Good News Bible (GNB), and the Liv­ing Bible Ver­sion (LBV) and con­trast this par­tic­u­lar verse with­in these Bibles :

K.J.V.: For there are three that bear wit­ness in Heav­en, the Father, and the word and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one”

R.S.V.: (not included)

N.I.V.: For there are three that tes­ti­fy ; the Spir­it, the Water, and the Blood and these three are in agreement.”

G.N.B.: There are three wit­ness­es ; the Spir­it, the Water, and the Blood.”

L.B.V.: (not included)

The rea­son why the Johan­nite Com­ma’ is not includ­ed in the most recent ver­sions of the Bible is evi­dent when we read in The Inter­preter’s Dic­tio­nary of the Bible that

The text about the three heav­en­ly wit­ness­es (I John 5:7 KJV) is not an authen­tic part of the NT.The Inter­preter’s Dic­tio­nary of the Bible, Vol. 4, p. 711, Abing­don Press

Fur­ther, it also states that

1 John 5:7 in the KJV reads : There are three that bear record in heav­en, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost : and these three are one’ but this is an inter­po­la­tion of which there is no trace before the late fourth cen­tu­ry.ibid., Vol. 4, p. 871, Abing­don Press

The Eerd­man’s Bible Dic­tio­nary states an almost sim­i­lar objection :

1 John 5:7 in the Tex­tus Recep­tus (rep­re­sent­ed in the KJV) makes it appear that John had arrived at the doc­trine of the trin­i­ty in explic­it form (‘the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost’), but this text is clear­ly an inter­po­la­tion since no gen­uine Greek man­u­script con­tains it.Allen C. Myers (ed.), The Eerd­mans Bible Dic­tio­nary, p. 1020

The great lumi­nary of West­ern lit­er­a­ture, Mr. Edward Gib­bon, explains the rea­son for the dis­cardal of this verse from the pages of the Bible with the fol­low­ing words :

Of all the man­u­scripts now extant, above fourscore in num­ber, some of which are more than 1200 years old, the ortho­dox copies of the Vat­i­can, of the Com­pluten­sian edi­tors, of Robert Stephens are becom­ing invis­i­ble ; and the two man­u­scripts of Dublin and Berlin are unwor­thy to form an exception…In the eleventh and twelfth cen­turies, the Bibles were cor­rect­ed by Lan­Frank, Arch­bish­op of Can­ter­bury, and by Nicholas, a car­di­nal and librar­i­an of the Roman church, secun­dum Orto­dox­am fidem. Notwith­stand­ing these cor­rec­tions, the pas­sage is still want­i­ng in twen­ty-five Latin man­u­scripts, the old­est and fairest ; two qual­i­ties sel­dom unit­ed, except in manuscripts.…The three wit­ness­es have been estab­lished in our Greek Tes­ta­ments by the pru­dence of Eras­mus ; the hon­est big­otry of the Com­pluten­sian edi­tors ; the typo­graph­i­cal fraud, or error, of Robert Stephens in the plac­ing of a crotch­et and the delib­er­ate false­hood, or strange mis­ap­pre­hen­sion, of Theodore Beza.Edward Gib­bon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, IV, p. 418

Peake’s Com­men­tary on the Bible says that :

The famous inter­po­la­tion after three wit­ness­es’ is not print­ed even in RSV, and right­ly. It cites the heav­en­ly tes­ti­mo­ny of the Father, the logos, and the Holy Spir­it, but is nev­er used in the ear­ly Trini­tar­i­an con­tro­ver­sies. No respectable Greek MS con­tains it. Appear­ing first in a late 4th-cent. Latin text, it entered the Vul­gate and final­ly the NT of Erasmus.

It was only the hor­rors of the infa­mous Church inqui­si­tions which held back Sir Isaac New­ton from open­ly reveal­ing these facts to all :

In all the vehe­ment uni­ver­sal and last­ing con­tro­ver­sy about the Trin­i­ty in Jerome’s time and both before and long enough after it, the text of the three in heav­en’ was nev­er once thought of. It is now in every­body’s mouth and account­ed the main text for the busi­ness and would assured­ly have been so too with them, had it been in their books…Let them make good sense of it who are able. For my part I can make none. If it be said that we are not to deter­mine what is scrip­ture and what not by our pri­vate judg­ments, I con­fess it in places not con­tro­vert­ed, but in dis­put­ed places I love to take up with what I can best under­stand. It is the tem­per of the hot and super­sti­tious part of mankind in mat­ters of reli­gion ever to be fond of mys­ter­ies, and for that rea­son to like best what they under­stand least. Such men may use the Apos­tle John as they please, but I have that hon­our for him as to believe that he wrote good sense and there­fore take that to be his which is the best.Sir Isaac New­ton, as cit­ed by Muham­mad Ata’ Ur-Rahim, Jesus : A Prophet of Islam, p. 156


We have seen how Chris­t­ian schol­ars them­selves have agreed that 1 John 5:7, the most sig­nif­i­cant verse in the New Tes­ta­ment to depict the Trin­i­ty, was insert­ed into the text and not part of the original. 

Hence, with this Trini­tar­i­an” verse being con­firmed as a fab­ri­ca­tion, where is the jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the Trini­tar­i­an beliefs held by Chris­tians today ?Endmark

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