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Monday, April 1, 2013

1 John 5:7 and the King James Version

The King James Version (A. D. 1611) says at 1 Jn 5:7: "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."

Of course even this would not mean the three are the one God as trinitarians want. The word for "one" here is in the neuter form, hen, which cannot mean "one God" since "God" is always in the masculine form in NT Greek, and grammatically adjectives (such as "one") applied to it must also be masculine (heis, masculine form).

NT Greek words meaning "one":

- hen is the neuter form for "one."
- heis is the masculine form for "one."
- mia is the feminine form for "one."

When the neuter "one" (hen) is applied to persons, it means "one thing." In other words they have become united in some thing such as "purpose," "will," etc. That is why Jesus prays to the Father "that they [Jesus' followers] may be one [hen, neuter] just as we are one [hen - neuter]." - Jn 17:22. Jesus, the Father, and Jesus' followers are all one [hen, neuter] in something. Of course they are all united in the Father's will and purpose! - see the study paper ONE.

Even though Christians have one will with Jesus and the Father, it certainly is not their wills which dominate; it is the will of the Father which they make their will also. And Jesus, too, subordinates his will to that of the Father so that, therefore, their will and purpose become one: the Father's alone. ("Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." - Luke 22:42, NIV. cf. Mark 14:36.)

There is no way that Jesus would pray at Jn 17:22 that Christians may be one "just as we (Jesus and the Father) are one" if he were truly God. In that case he would be praying that these Christians become "equally God" with him and the Father!

But even more important is the fact that John did not write the words found at 1 Jn 5:7 in the KJV! And we must consider why trinitarian scholars and copyists felt compelled to add it to the Holy Scriptures.
The only other Bibles which include this passage that I am aware of are the Catholic Douay Version (A. D. 1609), the New Life Version (1993), the New King James Version (1982), and the King James II Version (1982). These last two are modern translations which have as their stated purpose the preservation of the text and traditions of the King James Version and which, therefore, translate from the discredited Received Text.

Of these four Bibles the KJIIV at least indicates the unscriptural addition of 1 John 5:7 by writing it in all italics. And buried in the Preface is the admission that 1 Jn 5:7 (among others) is not to be accepted as true Scripture.

The New Life Version, however, claims to put an asterisk (*) to mark words or passages which are "missing in some of the early writings." And it does so in such passages as Mark 16:9-20 and John 8:1-11, but it does not do so at 1 Jn 5:7.

Since Greek was the "universal language" at the time the New Testament writers wrote and for many years thereafter, the earliest copies of the manuscripts of the New Testament were most often written in Koine Greek. Therefore the very best manuscripts (and the oldest) of New Testament writings in existence today are the most ancient (4th and 5th century) Greek manuscripts. These early Greek manuscripts were later translated into various other languages, including Latin. Although Bible translators often compare these ancient Greek manuscripts with NT manuscripts of other languages, they nearly always translate from a text that was composed from the oldest and best Greek manuscripts.

Highly respected trinitarian scholar, minister (Trinity Church), Professor (University of Glasgow and Marburg University), author (The Daily Study Bible Series, etc.), and Bible translator Dr. William Barclay states the following about this passage:

Note on 1 John 5:7

"In the Authorized Version [KJV] there is a verse which we have altogether omitted [in Barclay's NT translation]. It reads, "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one."

"The Revised Version omits this verse, and does not even mention it in the margin, and none of the newer translations includes it. It is quite certain that it does not belong to the original text.

"The facts are as follows. First, it does not occur in any Greek manuscript earlier than the 14th century. The great manuscripts belong to the 3rd and 4th centuries [most scholars date them to the 4th and 5th centuries], and it occurs in none of them. None of the great early fathers of the Church knew it. Jerome's original version of the [Latin]Vulgate does not include it. The first person to quote it is a Spanish heretic called Priscillian who died in A. D. 385. Thereafter it crept gradually into the Latin texts of the New Testament although, as we have seen, it did not gain an entry to the Greek manuscripts.

"How then did it get into the text? Originally it must have been a scribal gloss or comment in the margin. Since it seemed to offer good scriptural evidence for the doctrine of the Trinity [and since there was no good scriptural evidence for this new doctrine introduced by the Roman church in 325 A. D.], through time it came to be accepted by theologians as part of the text, especially in those early days of scholarship before the great manuscripts were discovered. [More likely it was written in the margin of an existing manuscript with the intention that future trinitarian copyists actually add it to all new copies. - RDB.]

"But how did it last, and how did it come to be in the Authorized [King James] Version? The first Greek testament to be published was that of Erasmus in 1516. Erasmus was a great scholar and, knowing that this verse was not in the original text, he did not include it in his first edition. By this time, however, theologians [trinitarians, of course] were using the verse. It had, for instance, been printed in the Latin Vulgate of 1514. Erasmus was therefore criticized for omitting it. His answer was that if anyone could show him a Greek manuscript which had the words in it, he would print them in his next edition. Someone did produce a very late and very bad text in which the verse did occur in Greek; and Erasmus, true to his word but very much against his judgment and his will, printed the verse in his 1522 edition.

"The next step was that in 1550 Stephanus printed his great edition of the Greek New Testament. This 1550 edition of Stephanus was called - he gave it that name himself - The Received Text, and it was the basis of the Authorized Version [KJV] and of the Greek text for centuries to come. That is how this verse got into the Authorized Version. There is, of course, nothing wrong with it [if the trinity were really true as trinitarians like Barclay himself want!]; but modern scholarship has made it quite certain that John did not write it and that it is a much later commentary on, and addition to, his words; and that is why all modern translations omit it." - pp. 110-111, The Letters of John and Jude, The Daily Study Bible Series, Revised Edition, The Westminster Press, 1976. [Material in brackets and emphasis added by me.]

Highly respected (and highly trinitarian) New Testament Bible scholar Dr. A. T. Robertson writes:

"For there are three who bear witness (hoti treis eisin hoi marturountes). At this point the Latin Vulgate gives the words in the Textus Receptus [Received Text], found in no Greek MS. [Manuscript] save two late cursives (162 in the Vatican Library of the fifteenth century, 34 of the sixteenth century [1520 A.D.] in Trinity College, Dublin). Jerome [famed trinitarian, 342-420 A. D.] did not have it. Cyprian applies the language of the Trinity [ ? - - see UBS Commentary below] and Priscillian [excommunicated 380 A. D., executed 385 A. D.] has it. Erasmus did not have it in his first edition, but rashly offered to insert it [in his next edition of 1522] if a single Greek MS. had it and [ms.] 34 [1520 A.D.] was produced with the insertion, as if made to order. The spurious addition is: en toi ouranoi ho pater, ho logos kai to hagion pneuma kai houtoi hoi treis hen eisin kai treis eisin hoi marturountes en tei gei (in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and the three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth). The last clause belongs to verse 8. The fact and the doctrine of the Trinity do not depend on this spurious addition." - p. 240, Vol. VI, Word Pictures in the New Testament, Broadman Press, 1960.

The highly respected (and trinitarian) United Bible Societies has published a commentary on the New Testament text. It discusses 1 John 5:5-7 as follows]:

"After marturountes "bearing witness"] the Textus Receptus [Received Text] adds the following: en to ourano, o Pater, o Logos, kai to Agion Pneuma kai outoi oi treis en eisi. (8) kai treis eisin oi marturountes en te ge. That these words are spurious and have no right to stand in the New Testament is certain in the light of the following considerations.

"(A) EXTERNAL EVIDENCE. (1) The passage is absent from every known Greek manuscript except four, and these contain the passage in what appears to be a translation from a late recension of the Latin Vulgate. These four manuscripts are ms. 61 [this is ms. 34 in the earlier numbering system used by Robertson above], a sixteenth century manuscript formerly at Oxford, now at Dublin; ms. 88, a twelfth century manuscript at Naples, which has the passage written in the margin by a modern hand; ms. 629 [ms. 162, Robertson], a fourteenth or fifteenth century manuscript in the Vatican; and ms. 635, an eleventh century manuscript which has the passage written in the margin by a seventeenth century hand.

"(2) The passage is quoted by none of the Greek Fathers, who, had they known it, would most certainly have employed it in the Trinitarian controversies (Sabellian and Arian [certainly at the Nicene Council of 325]). Its first appearance in Greek is in a Greek version of the (Latin) Acts of the Lateran Council in 1215.

"(3) The passage is absent from the manuscripts of all ancient versions (Syriac, Coptic, Armenian, Ethiopic, Arabic, Slavonic), except the Latin; and it is not found (a) in the Old Latin in its early form (Tertullian Cyprian Augustine), or in the Vulgate (b) as issued by Jerome (codex Fuldensis [copied A. D. 541-46] and codex Amiatinus [copied before A. D. 716]) or (c) as revised by Alcuin (first hand of codex Vercellensis [ninth century]).

"The earliest instance of the passage is in a fourth century Latin treatise entitled Liber Apologeticus (chap. 4), attributed either to the Spanish heretic Priscillian (died about 385) or to his follower Bishop Instantius. ....

"(B) INTERNAL PROBABILITIES. (1) As regards transcriptional probability, if the passage were original, no good reason can be found to account for its omission, either accidentally or intentionally, by copyists of hundreds of Greek manuscripts, and by translators of ancient versions.

"(2) As regards intrinsic probability, the passage makes an awkward break in the sense." - pp. 716-718, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, United Bible Societies, 1971.

Notice the comments concerning this disputed passage found in the respected trinitarian reference work, The Expositor's Greek Testament:

It says in a note for 1 John 5:7 (as found in the Received Text and the KJV):

"A Latin interpolation, certainly spurious. (I) Found in no Gk. MS. [Greek Manuscript] except two late minuscules - 162 (Vatican), 15th c., the Lat. Vg. [Latin Vulgate] Version with a Gk. text adapted thereto; 34 (Trin. Coll., Dublin), 16th c. (2) Quoted by none of the Gk Fathers. Had they known it, they would have employed it in the Trinitarian controversies (Sabellian and Arian [325 A.D.]). (3) Found in none of the early versions - in Vg. but not as it [originally] left the hands of St. Jerome." - p. 195, Vol. 5, Eerdmans Publishing Co.

The very trinitarian Zondervan Publishing House has published a book by trinitarian scholars Dr. Sakae Kubo and Prof. Walter Specht entitled So Many Versions? It is an examination and critique of the most popular Bible translations of the 20th century. In the chapter devoted to the New King James Version [NKJV] this book says:

"In the original printing of the NKJV, the famous Trinitarian passage in 1 John 5:7-8a had the only textual footnote - one that advised the reader that these words "Are from the Latin Bible, although three Greek mss. [manuscripts] from the fifteenth century and later also contain them" (the note has since been revised to read "four or five very late Greek manuscripts...."). It is well known that the first and second editions of Erasmus's Greek New Testament lacked this passage because he did not find it in any Greek manuscripts available to him. He was so certain that it was a recent addition to the text that when he was criticized for not including it he promised to insert it in his next edition if anyone could produce a single [Greek] manuscript that contained it. Such a manuscript (Codex Montfortianus, #61 of the sixteenth century) was finally shown him in England, and he kept his promise in his third edition of 1522 [the early sixteenth century]. But this passage clearly had no place in the autograph [actual writings by John] of John's first epistle." - pp. 293-294.

So, even those who finally added this spurious text to the English Bible translations knew it was not written by John! But, even with many revisions and thousands of changes to the KJV, this trinitarian tampering with the word of God has remained for nearly 400 years!

The trinitarian authors of So Many Versions? (who were very biased in favor of trinitarian interpretations in other parts of their book) were so upset by this modern Bible's use of clearly spurious passages such as this that they continued:

"The brochure advertising this revision [the NKJV] gives as the purpose of the project "to preserve and improve the purity of the King James Version." To improve the purity would surely include the removal from the text of any scribal additions that were not a part of the autographs [original writing]. No devout reader of the Bible wants any portion of the sacred text as penned by the original authors removed. But neither should he want later additions, in which some passages have crept into the text, published as part of the Word of God." - p. 294, So Many Versions?, Zondervan Publ., 1983 ed.

I find that my more recent copy of the NKJV does not even contain the note that So Many Versions? mentioned above. There is no indication whatsoever in my New King James Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers, #412B that 1 John 5:7 is anything but the original inspired writing! And, yet, the publishers and editors found room for many other notes and references in this same copy (see Hosea 1:6, 9, for example.) They also found room to furnish an explanation of the symbol they used on the title page:
"Title page logo:The triquetra (from a Latin word meaning 'three-cornered') is an ancient symbol for the Trinity. It comprises three interwoven arcs, distinct yet equal and inseparable, symbolizing that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three distinct yet equal Persons and indivisibly One God." - p. ii.

I also see that my trinitarian-edited and published King James Version, Collins Press, 1955 (with center column of notes and references) also gives no indication whatsoever of the clear, spurious nature of 1 John 5:7! This is in spite of the fact that the original translators of 1611, themselves, and all the many revisers for the last 380 years have known that this verse was not added to the scriptures until many hundred years after John wrote this letter. Even the earlier English Bibles on which the KJV was based (and from which much was copied) did not include this spurious passage.

Trinitarian scholar Robert Young [Young's Analytical Concordance of the Bible; Young's Literal Translation of the Bible; etc.] writes in his Concise Critical Commentary:

"These words are wanting [lacking] in all the Greek MSS except two, in all the oldest Ancient Versions, and in all the quotations of v. 6-8 in the ancient Fathers before A.D. 475" - Note for 1 John 5:7, Baker Book House, 1977.

Noted Lutheran scholar and Bible translator, William F. Beck (trinitarian, of course) states in a footnote for 1 John 5:7 in his The New Testament in the Language of Today, 1964 printing:
"Our oldest manuscripts do not have vv. 7b-8a: "in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one. And there are three testifying on earth." Early in the 16th century an editor translated these words from Latin manuscripts and inserted them in his Greek New Testament. Erasmus took them from this Greek New Testament and inserted them in the third edition (1522) of his Greek New Testament. Luther used the text prepared by Erasmus. But even though the inserted words taught the Trinity, Luther ruled them out and never had them in his translation. In 1550 Bugenhagen objected to these words "on account of the truth." In 1574 [about 30 years after Luther's death] Feyerabend, a printer, added them to Luther's text, and in 1596 [in spite of the fact that scholars knew it was spurious] they appeared in the Wittenberg copies. They were not in Tyndale's or Coverdale's Bible or in the Great Bible [which were used by the KJV translators, and often copied nearly verbatim by them]."

The following modern trinitarian Bibles do not include the spurious words found in the KJV at 1 Jn 5:7: Revised Standard Version; New Revised Standard Version; American Standard Version; New International Version; New American Standard Bible; Living Bible; Good News Bible; New English Bible; Revised English Bible; New American Bible (1970 and 1991 editions); Jerusalem Bible; New Jerusalem Bible; Modern Language Bible; Holy Bible: Easy-to-Read Version; An American Translation (Smith-Goodspeed); and translations by Moffatt; C. B. Williams; William Beck; Phillips; Rotherham; Lamsa; Byington; Barclay; etc.

[[Added from information found on an internet site:

Edward Gibbon (1737-1794), "one of the greatest historians who ever lived" explains the reason for the removal of 1 Jn 5:7 (as found in KJV) from most modern Bibles:

"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." - Decline and fall of the Roman Empire, IV, Edward Gibbon, p. 418.

Gibbon was defended in his findings by his noted contemporary, British scholar Richard Porson who also published conclusive proofs that the verse of 1 John 5:7 as found in the KJV was only first inserted by the Church into a few Latin texts around 400 C.E. - Secrets of Mount Sinai, James Bentley, pp. 30-33).

Regarding Porson's clear proof, Gibbon later said:

"His structures are founded in argument, enriched with learning, and enlivened with wit, and his adversary neither deserves nor finds any quarter at his hands. The evidence of the three heavenly witnesses would now be rejected in any court of justice; but prejudice is blind, authority is deaf, and our vulgar Bibles will ever be polluted by this spurious text."

To this day, the Bible in the hands of the majority of Christians, the King James Version (KJV), also known as the Authorized Version (AV), still unhesitatingly includes this verse as the "inspired" word of God (often without so much as a note to inform the reader that nearly all respected scholars of Christendom acknowledge it as a non-scriptural late addition by uninspired trinitarian copyists).
also tells us:

Peake's Commentary on the Bible:

"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."]]

did trinitarian copyists and scholars think it necessary to construct this "scripture" and actually add it to the Holy Scriptures? What, then, does this tell us about the evaluation of the rest of the "evidence" for a trinity by these very same trinitarians? Isn't this most terrible, blasphemous action by them actually an admission that the rest of the "evidence" for a 3-in-one God is completely inadequate? Why else would they do such a desperate, terrible thing?

does this tell us about those men who first constructed the "trinity doctrine" and forced it on an unwilling Roman Church in 325 A. D. at the Nicene Council? (See HIST and CREEDS study papers.)

WHYdo so many trinitarians feel it necessary to "preserve" this clearly dishonest King James Version tradition in not only the most-used King James Version itself (which has been revised many times with thousands of changes in its 400-year history while still leaving this spurious verse), but even in at least three modern translations (NKJV, KJIIV, NLV)?

For more, see:

1 John 5:7 (KJV) (Examining the Trinity)

Bible Book Number 62—1 John (si pp. 256-258; Watchtower Online Library)

1 John 5:7, 8 rs p. 405-p. 426; Watchtower Online Library)

Spirit (Insight-2 pp. 1017-1027; Watchtower Online Library)

The 'Johannine Comma' - 1 John 5:7 (IN Defense of the NWT)

But Your Bible's Been Changed! (From God's Word)

Newton proved that the words in 1 John 5:7 were spurious... (Pastor Russell)

How does the accuracy of the New World Translation Bible compare to other translations? (Search For Bible Truths)

1 John 5:7 proof of the Trinity? (Search For Bible Truths)

"Word" and 1 John 5:7, KJV ("Oneness") (Jehovah's Witnesses Questions and Answers)

"Jehovah" in the New Testament (end notes) (SFBT, 10th par. end note #1, 10th par. "Zondervan" ) (Search For Bible Truths)

(Also see the SCRIPTURE INDEX.)


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