1 John 5:7 KJV (With Strong’s)

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7
For
hoti (Greek #3754)
demonstrative, that (sometimes redundant); causative, because
KJV usage: as concerning that, as though, because (that), for (that), how (that), (in) that, though, why.
Pronounce: hot'-ee
Origin: neuter of 3748 as conjunction
there are
eisi (Greek #1526)
they are
KJV usage: agree, are, be, dure, X is, were.
Pronounce: i-see'
Origin: 3d person plural present indicative of 1510
three
treis (Greek #5140)
"three"
KJV usage: three.
Pronounce: trice
Origin: τρία (tree'-ah) a primary (plural) number
that bear record
martureo (Greek #3140)
to be a witness, i.e. testify (literally or figuratively)
KJV usage: charge, give (evidence), bear record, have (obtain, of) good (honest) report, be well reported of, testify, give (have) testimony, (be, bear, give, obtain) witness.
Pronounce: mar-too-reh'-o
Origin: from 3144
in
en (Greek #1722)
"in," at, (up-)on, by, etc.
KJV usage: about, after, against, + almost, X altogether, among, X as, at, before, between, (here-)by (+ all means), for (... sake of), + give self wholly to, (here-)in(-to, -wardly), X mightily, (because) of, (up-)on, (open-)ly, X outwardly, one, X quickly, X shortly, (speedi-)ly, X that, X there(-in, -on), through(-out), (un-)to(-ward), under, when, where(-with), while, with(-in). Often used in compounds, with substantially the same import; rarely with verbs of motion, and then not to indicate direction, except (elliptically) by a separate (and different) preposition.
Pronounce: en
Origin: a primary preposition denoting (fixed) position (in place, time or state), and (by implication) instrumentality (medially or constructively), i.e. a relation of rest (intermediate between 1519 and 1537)
heaven
ho (Greek #3588)
the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom)
KJV usage: the, this, that, one, he, she, it, etc.
Pronounce: ho
Origin: ἡ (hay), and the neuter τό (to) in all their inflections
ouranos (Greek #3772)
the sky; by extension, heaven (as the abode of God); by implication, happiness, power, eternity; specially, the Gospel (Christianity)
KJV usage: air, heaven(-ly), sky.
Pronounce: oo-ran-os'
Origin: perhaps from the same as 3735 (through the idea of elevation)
, the Father
ho (Greek #3588)
the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom)
KJV usage: the, this, that, one, he, she, it, etc.
Pronounce: ho
Origin: ἡ (hay), and the neuter τό (to) in all their inflections
pater (Greek #3962)
a "father" (literally or figuratively, near or more remote)
KJV usage: father, parent.
Pronounce: pat-ayr'
Origin: apparently a primary word
f, the Word
ho (Greek #3588)
the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom)
KJV usage: the, this, that, one, he, she, it, etc.
Pronounce: ho
Origin: ἡ (hay), and the neuter τό (to) in all their inflections
logos (Greek #3056)
something said (including the thought); by implication, a topic (subject of discourse), also reasoning (the mental faculty) or motive; by extension, a computation; specially, (with the article in John) the Divine Expression (i.e. Christ)
KJV usage: account, cause, communication, X concerning, doctrine, fame, X have to do, intent, matter, mouth, preaching, question, reason, + reckon, remove, say(-ing), shew, X speaker, speech, talk, thing, + none of these things move me, tidings, treatise, utterance, word, work.
Pronounce: log'-os
Origin: from 3004
g, and
kai (Greek #2532)
and, also, even, so then, too, etc.; often used in connection (or composition) with other particles or small words
KJV usage: and, also, both, but, even, for, if, or, so, that, then, therefore, when, yet.
Pronounce: kahee
Origin: apparently, a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force
the Holy
hagios (Greek #40)
sacred (physically, pure, morally blameless or religious, ceremonially, consecrated)
KJV usage: (most) holy (one, thing), saint.
Pronounce: hag'-ee-os
Origin: from ἅγος (an awful thing) (compare 53, 2282)
Ghost
pneuma (Greek #4151)
a current of air, i.e. breath (blast) or a breeze; by analogy or figuratively, a spirit, i.e. (human) the rational soul, (by implication) vital principle, mental disposition, etc., or (superhuman) an angel, demon, or (divine) God, Christ's spirit, the Holy Spirit
KJV usage: ghost, life, spirit(-ual, -ually), mind. Compare 5590.
Pronounce: pnyoo'-mah
Origin: from 4154
h: and
kai (Greek #2532)
and, also, even, so then, too, etc.; often used in connection (or composition) with other particles or small words
KJV usage: and, also, both, but, even, for, if, or, so, that, then, therefore, when, yet.
Pronounce: kahee
Origin: apparently, a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force
these
houtos (Greek #3778)
the he (she or it), i.e. this or that (often with article repeated)
KJV usage: he (it was that), hereof, it, she, such as, the same, these, they, this (man, same, woman), which, who.
Pronounce: hoo'-tos
Origin: οὗτοι (hoo'-toy), nominative feminine singular αὕτη (how'-tay), and nominative feminine plural αὕται (how'-tahee) from the article 3588 and 846
three
treis (Greek #5140)
"three"
KJV usage: three.
Pronounce: trice
Origin: τρία (tree'-ah) a primary (plural) number
are
eisi (Greek #1526)
they are
KJV usage: agree, are, be, dure, X is, were.
Pronounce: i-see'
Origin: 3d person plural present indicative of 1510
one
heis (Greek #1520)
a primary numeral; one
KJV usage: a(-n, -ny, certain), + abundantly, man, one (another), only, other, some. See also 1527, 3367, 3391, 3762.
Pronounce: hice
Origin: (including the neuter (etc.) ἕν)
.*
ho (Greek #3588)
the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom)
KJV usage: the, this, that, one, he, she, it, etc.
Pronounce: ho
Origin: ἡ (hay), and the neuter τό (to) in all their inflections

More on:

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Cross References

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bear.
The Father.
Psa. 33:6• 6By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. (Psa. 33:6)
;
Psa. 33•  (Psa. 33)
:*Heb:;
Isa. 48:16‑17• 16Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord God, and his Spirit, hath sent me.
17Thus saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the Lord thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.
(Isa. 48:16‑17)
;
Isa. 61:1• 1The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; (Isa. 61:1)
;
Matt. 3:16‑17• 16And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
17And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
(Matt. 3:16‑17)
;
Matt. 17:5• 5While 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. (Matt. 17:5)
;
Matt. 28:19• 19Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: (Matt. 28:19)
;
John 5:26• 26For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; (John 5:26)
;
John 8:18,54• 18I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me.
54Jesus answered, If I honor myself, my honor is nothing: it is my Father that honoreth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God:
(John 8:18,54)
;
John 10:37‑38• 37If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.
38But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.
(John 10:37‑38)
;
John 12:28• 28Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. (John 12:28)
;
1 Cor. 12:4‑6• 4Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
6And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
(1 Cor. 12:4‑6)
;
2 Cor. 13:14• 14The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen. <<The second epistle to the Corinthians was written from Philippi, a city of Macedonia, by Titus and Lucas.>> (2 Cor. 13:14)
;
Rev. 1:4‑5• 4John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;
5And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
(Rev. 1:4‑5)
the Word.
the Holy.
and these.

J. N. Darby Translation

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7
For they that bear witness are threeb:

JND Translation Notes

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b
What is omitted here has no real manuscript authority.

W. Kelly Translation

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7
aBecause three are those that bear witness,

WK Translation Notes

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a
[whole verse]: [See note to 1 John 5:6]
witness ^: It is well known that there are passages printed at scripture which have no real title to be in the Bible, as the three heavenly witnesses, for instance, in 1 John 5. This also, I think, was then referred to; where every serious and unbiassed student would agree with him, because it is only ignorant prejudice that accepts these verses. Men versed in the diplomatic evidence of the New Testament know that the same grounds which demand our reception of the apostolic prophetic writings in general compel us to reject those clauses as an interpolation. Besides, I am assured that internally they weaken the truth, and do not help but hinder the effect of the full light on the capital truth of the Trinity. Testimony in heaven (to whom, and for what end?) is a strange doctrine. Again, the phraseology is unexampled in scripture; there is never such a correlation in it as "the Father and the Word." When the "Father" is spoken of, we hear of "The Son," if named in the same context; never of "The Father and the Word." For this answers not to "Father" but to "God." Wherever scripture treats of these terms, the true correlates are "God and the Word," or "The Father and the Son;" never, as in the spurious insertion, "The Father and the Word." I am not reasoning now on mere à priori grounds; for if a passage comes with sufficient outward authority, whether understood or not, I hold myself bound to receive it. Where there is evidence that it was originally given and received as an inspired document on God's authority, I receive it without dispute, question, or reasoning whatever. But in this case the fact is that the only Greek manuscripts known to support this particular portion are proved to be either forgeries or valueless from their want of antiquity. There is not one ancient Greek copy that contains the passage.
Hence it was very properly left out in Luther's translation of the Bible into German, as also in the first Greek Testaments edited by Erasmus.
That it was subsequently brought in was mainly due to the clamor of Roman Catholics, who were naturally anxious to have it accredited in Greek, because the Latin Vulgate, with some Latin ecclesiastical witnesses, vouches for it; and expecially since the Council of Trent pronounced the Latin version to be authentic scripture. Consequently, if we are compelled by truth to give it up, their authentic scripture is seriously wrong. Thus Romanists have a palpable interest ecclesiastically in supporting it, whereas nobody else ought to have. (Lect. Intro. to the Minor Prophets, p.415-6) [See also note to Matt. 1:18.]
witness ^: It is plain that "the Spirit" (τὸ πνεῦμα) means the Holy Ghost. He only is truth (ver. 6). Allow me to take this opportunity of expressing my regret that Prof. Gaussen (Plenary Inspiration, pp.
192,193) should venture to defend the text. rec. of the two preceding verses, and in doing so to misstate, of course through inadvertence, the evidence. He ought to have known that the alleged testimonies of some early Latin fathers are very questionable, and that the most ancient MSS. of the Latin Vulgate are against the insertion of the disputed clause, not to dwell on the fact that the three Greek MSS. containing it, against near 150 which omit it, are not older than the fifteenth or sixteenth century; at least, if the Cod. Neapol. belong to the eleventh century, the reading here is a correction made 500 years later.
As to the two grammatical considerations which he borrows from Bishop Middleton, I would briefly reply: That the words τρεῖς οἰ μαρτυροῦντες, and οἰ τρεῖς (verses 7,8) are no insuperable difficulty. They are masculine, it is true, while the words to which they relate are neuter; but the difficulty is nearly if not altogether the same, if the passage remained entire, as in the common text. If in that case the principle of attaction is used to justify this irregularity, the principle of rational concord applies to the correct text; and the more especially, as τὸ πνεῦμα, that well-known personal object whose power wrought in the saints, is the first of the three witnesses who are specified immediately after. They are, as it were, personified as witnesses, and the gender is accommodated to the sense rather than in strict grammatical form.
The next objection is founded on the article being coupled with ἔν, as if it necessarily supposed a previous mention, which only occurs in the retrenched clause. But this is so far from being necessary that, even if ἔν were rightly read in verse 7, the object and force of τὸ ἓν in verse 8 is wholly different. In other words, supposing the passage in question to be spurious, the anarthrous form would be an error, and the article is required (i.e. τὸ ἓν) in verse 8; for the idea intended is not the numerical unity, but the uniform testimony of the Spirit, the water, and the blood.
It may be added, that all three, I believe, of these MSS. which contain the passage, omit the article before πατήρ, λόγος, and τν. ἄγ., which I venture to say is not even correct Greek, but just such phraseology as might come from an unlearned forger translating from the Latin. It was Erasmus who supplied the article to each of these words, with no other warrant than his own erudition. (Bible Witness & Review 1:271-2)
witness ^: But the text here has suffered, whether by inadvertence or by design. Be it said briefly that from "in heaven" in ver. 7 to "on earth" in ver. 8 is not scripture but an interpolation. It may have been at first a mere marginal note, copied afterward as the text by men that did not understand the truth. The history of the case has been fully and minutely traced, the result of which is that the same grounds which make the New Testament text certain elsewhere prove this insertion as certainly to be a human accretion. Let me however show that any Christian who does not know one Greek word ought to be satisfied that it is spurious. Such a one requires neither men of learning nor even the fruit of their researches to decide the question for himself. The word of God itself is amply sufficient and perfectly conclusive.
First, what is the meaning of bearing witness "in heaven"? When you weigh the thought, is it not (I will not say unscriptural only, but) rather folly? How could there be such a need or fact as to "bear witness in heaven"? The natural denizens in heaven are angels who never needed witness borne to them.... (There is another internal proof that the three who bear witness in heaven is human error, and not the revealed truth of God. No inspired man ever wrote, "The Father, the Word." They are not correlative terms. In scripture we have the "Word" with "God," and the "Son" with the "Father." The editors of the Complutensian Polyglot first printed the unauthorized words from some recent MS. of no account, even if not written since printing came into use, and perhaps to authenticate the Latin Vulgate for Romanists' use against its old and best MSS. One of the Greek MSS. represents it in such bad Greek as only an ignorant and non-Hellenist can have written, omitting the article where required.)... (It was a blundering idea after all to make six witnesses, three for heaven and three for earth. It supposes the Spirit in heaven answering to the Spirit in earth. It is as awkward to conceive the Holy Spirit an earthly witness also, as to imagine Spirit in the second triad to mean another, as some defenders of the importation contended. But it is needless to say more than that the Codex Ravianus as well as one of the Wolfenbüttel copies (in Berlin), is an evident forgery which copies the Complutensian Polyglot in its misprints and the peculiar letters. The Codex Regius Neapolitanus (173 in Scholz' list) confirms the true text, and gives the clause in a correct shape only in the margin. The other two (Codd. Ottob. or Vat. 298, and Cod. Montfort. or Trin. Coll. Dubl. G. 97) grossly omit the article and are otherwise quite in error.) (Exp. of Epist. of John, p.367-369)
witness ^: It is much to be regretted that excellent persons in all ages have been prone to rest some of their defenses of the truth on untenable ground. The danger is that when any of these mistakes in proof are set aside, especially by foes of the truth, not only are such uninformed and incautious disputants apt to fight stubbornly for what is indefensible (i.e., really for self), but others, partly through timidity, partly through ignorance, may dread that the truth itself is imperiled, or be even disposed to stand in doubt of it, confounding the ill-conduct of its advocates with its own impregnable evidence.
Thus one hears with humiliation that any man of learning should seek to shelter the famous passage of the three heavenly witnesses from the reprobation which to say the least an interpolated gloss deserves, and from none so heartily as from pious men jealous for the divine glory of the Lord Jesus. Truth is itself too sacred to admit of giving quarter to that which is spurious, the continued sanction of which is hostile to the authority of the Bible, and in particular to the very point which the suspicious article is meant to support. Let us remember that the study of the authorities on which the Greek Testament rests has greatly developed during the last seventy years, and especially perhaps the last thirty.
During this time many fresh manuscripts, some of great value and antiquity, have been brought to light, along with a fuller and more exact collation of all that had been previously known; and this makes an error of the kind less excusable and more painful, if it be in a quarter one respects.
I will not cite, however, from any volume of the day, but confront a sentence of the famous J. Calvin with the facts, that every intelligent Christian who may want information, but values nothing but the truth, may be enabled to judge for himself. "Since, however, the passage flows better when this clause [from "in heaven" to "in earth" inclusively] is added (!) and as I see that it is found in the best and most approved copies (!!) I am inclined to receive it as the true reading." (Calvin, Translation Soc. Comment. on the Cath. Epistles, p. 257. Edinburgh, 1855.) ("Quia tamen optime fluit contextus si hoc membrum addatur, et video in optimis ac probatissimis fidei codicibus haberi, ego quoque libenter amplector."—Comm. in loc. Ed. Genev. p. 74.) Then, again, Beza, who ought to have known more of the manuscripts, follows in the wake of his leader. Such statements, I confess, are inexplicable, save on the supposition both of strong prejudice and of surprising inattention to the facts of the case. For so decisive is the testimony of ancient documents (whether manuscripts, versions, or citations by the earliest ecclesiastical writers), that if this portion can be allowed to be scripture against their testimony, a fatal blow is inflicted on all certainty of evidence for the rest of the New Testament; for all the uncials preserve a dead silence as to it, more than 160 cursives, all the lectionaries, all the ancient versions except the Latin, and even of the Latin more than fifty of the oldest and best copies, and of the rest it is in some cases inserted by a later hand, and with that uncertainty of position which often accompanies an interpolation; while it is not once quoted in any genuine remains of the early Greek or even Latin fathers, even where the occasions seem most to call for it. Its supposed citation by Tertullian, Cyprian, Jerome, etc., is an illusion.
Hence Erasmus, in his first (1516) and second (1519) editions of the Greek New Testament, so far faithfully followed his MS., and did not print verse 7. It would seem that the Complutensian editors must have boldly translated the Latin version as it stands in the majority of the extant copies; for in the captious attack now before me (Annotations Jacobi Lopidis Stunicae contra Erasmus Rot. in defers. translationis N.T. Complut. 1520), the ablest of them does not pretend to diplomatic authority for the Greek they venture to print, but arraigns the Greek MSS. as corrupted, and backs up the common text of the Vulgate by a quotation from Jerome's (?) Prologue to the Canonical Epistles. "Sciendum est hoc loco graecorum codices apertissime esse corruptos: nostros (!) vero veritatem ipsam ut a prima origine traducti sunt continere. Quod ex prologo beati Hieronymi super epistolas canonicas manifeste apparet. Ait enim Quae si sic ut ab eis digestae sunt ita quoque ab interpretibus fideliter in latinum verterentur eloquium: nec ambiguitatem legentibus facerent: nec sermonum sese varietas impugnaret illo praecipue loco ubi de unitate trinitatis in prima Ioannis epistola positum legimus. In qua etiam ab infidelibus translatoribus multum erratum esse a fidei veritate comperimus trium tantummodo vocabula hoc est aquae sanguinis et spiritus in ipsa sua edition ponentibus et patris verbique ac spiritus testimonium ommittentibus in quo maxime et fides catholica roboratur et patris et filii et spiritus sancti una divinitatis substantia comprobatur." [I give the quotation as S. cites it, not as it stands in the Benedictine edition of Jerome's works.]
Erasmus had already replied to our notorious countryman, Edward Lee (afterward Popish archbishop of York), that he did not find in the Greek what was so common in the Latin, and edited accordingly, without expressing approval or blame; that he had at different times seen seven manuscripts, in none of which was anything that answered to the ordinary Vulgate. "Porro quod Hieronymus in Praefatione sua testatur hunc locum ab haereticis depravatum, si velim uti jure meo, possem appelare ab Hieronymi auctoritate, quod Leus facit quoties ipsi commodum est." And then he proceeds to expose the exaggeration of Lee, and to propose a conjectural correction in the citation from the prologue. (Desid. Erasmi. Opp. tom. ix., coll. 275, 276.) The truth is, that, by the common consent of the learned, including the Benedictine and other editors of Jerome's writings, this prologue is confessed not to be his production, but of a much later age, and by an inferior hand. To his Spanish critic he answers, "Hic ex auctoritate Hieronymi [which we have just seen is no authority at all, being a forgery], docet Stunica Graecos codices palam esse depravatos. Sed interim ubi dormit codex ille Rhodiensis? Porro nos non susceperamus negotium emendandi Graecos codices, sed quod in illis esset, bona fide reddendi." Then, after a long argument intended to neutralize the alleged statement of Jerome's (which Erasmus says, and no wonder, he does not quite understand), he adds, "Cum Stunica meus toties jactet Rhodiensem codicem, cui tantum tribuit auctoritatis, minim est, non hic adduxisse illius oraculum, praesertim cum ita fere consentiat cum nostris codicibus, ut videri possit Lesbia regula. Veruntamen ne quid dissimulem, repertus est apud Anglos Graecus codex unus, in quo habetur, quod in vulgatis deest. Scriptum est enim hunc ad modum: ‘΄Οτι τρεῖς εἰσὶν οἰ μαρτυροῦντες ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ, Πατὴρ, Λόγος, καὶ Πνεῦμα [ἄγιον is omitted], καὶ οὖτοι οί τρεῖς ἒν εἰσίν. Καὶ τρεῖς εἰσὶν [οἰ is omitted] μαρτυροῦωτες, ἐν τῆ γῇ, πνεῦμα, ὔδωρ, καὶ αἶμα, εἰ τὴν μαρτυρίαν τῶν ἀνθρώπων etc. Quanquam hand scio an case factum sit, ut hoc loco non repetatur, quod est in Graecis nostris, καὶ οἰ τρςεῖς εἰς τὸ ἒν εἰσίν. Ex hoc igitur codice Britannico reposuimus, quod in nostris dicebatur deesse: ne cui sit causa calumniandi. Quanquam et hunc suspicor ad Latinorum codices fuisse castigatum. Posteaquam enim Graeci concordiam inierunt cum Ecclesia Romana, studuerunt et hac in parte cum Romanis consentire" (Ib. coll. 351-353.)
Therefore Erasmus in his third edition (1522) inserted verse 7, correcting two errors and supplying the omission at the end of verse 8 in what he called the Cod. Brit. (or Montfort MS.), which probably had the Acts and Epistles added about this very time to the Gospels written a few years before, as the Revelation was added by another hand later still—copied, it would seem from the well-known Leicester MS. Erasmus put in the passage to keep his promise, not because he counted it genuine. Is it too strong to fear that a document so framed, which cannot be traced beyond a friar named Froy, and which came in so opportunely to supply an apparent authority for a Greek text (of which more presently) for the three heavenly witnesses, points to a dishonest source?
It is remarkable too, as Sir I. Newton noticed long ago, that there is a marginal note by the side of this passage in the Complut. Polyglot, as in 1 Cor. 15:51 and Matt. 6:13, where the Vulgate is in conflict with the Greek MSS. It is a pity, however, that they were not as explicit on 1 John 5:7 as there, and that they did not cleave to the Greek against the Latin, as they did in rejecting its absurd misrepresentation of 1 Cor. 15:51. They do indeed cite Thomas Aquinas for 1 John 5:7. "Now to make Thomas thus in a few words do all the work was very artificial" (says Sir. I. N., Works, vol. v. p. 522); "and in Spain, where Thomas is of apostolical authority, it might pass for a very judicious and substantial defense of the printed Greek. But to us Thomas Aquinas is no apostle. We are seeking for the authority of Greek manuscripts.”
To what then is the passage due? It is as clear as anything of the sort can be, that what we call verse 7 sprang from Augustine's remarks on what now stands as verse 8, possibly suggested by words of Cyprian to a similar effect. Compare his treatise contra Maximinum Arian, Episcop. 1. ii. c. 22. (Tom. viii. col. 725, ed. Ben.) Not that the celebrated bishop of Hippo cites the passage: what he says is professedly his comment or gloss on the words spirit, water, and blood. "Si vero ea, quae his significata sunt, velimus inquirere, non absurde occurrit ipsa Trinitas, qui unus, solus, verus, stunmus est Deus, Pater, et Filius et Spiritus sanctus, de quibus verissime dici potuit, Tres sunt testes, et tres unum sunt: ut nomine Spiritus significatum accipiamus Deum Patrem: de ipso quippe adorando loquebatur Dominus ubi ait, Spiritus est Deus. (Id. iv. 24.)
Nomine autem sanguinis Filium quia, verbum taro factum est. (Id. i. 14.) Spiritum sanctum," etc. From the reputation of Augustine this fanciful idea at first gained currency and acceptance, though not always in precisely the original shape; then it seems to have been inserted in the margin as a gloss, till at length, through the ignorance of the transcribers and the clergy in general, it positively crept into that text which the Council of Trent, with a temerity as amazing as the lack of knowledge it betrays, pronounced authentic. (Jerome (Epist. cvi. ad Sunn. et Fret.) speaks of a similar course of mistake in copying his own version. "Et miror quomodo e latere Adnotationem nostram nescio quis temerarius scribendam in corpore putaverit, quam nos pro eruditione legentis scripsimus hoc modo," etc. (S. Hieronymi Opp. tom. i. p. 659, Ed. Ben.) But we need not go outside the commonly received text of the Greek New Testament in order to find another instance of what was first a marginal gloss, which at length crept into the text; for such seems to be the history of Acts 8:37. It is curious that here the conditions are reversed as between Erasmus and the Complutensian editors; for he owns the verse wanting in his Greek copies, yet inserts it in deference to the Latin, whilst they follow the Greek spite of the Latin.) Hence the danger of demoralizing Roman Catholic scholars, some of whom, like R. Simon, were deemed to do a perpetual violence to their conscience, while others, bolder in evil, misdirect every weapon that ingenuity can devise to make the worse appear the better reason. Most, no doubt, entrench themselves with a sort of blind honesty in their last stronghold: they believe what the church believes—a pitiful answer where it is a question of revealed truth.
As to internal evidence, it is equally conclusive against the passage foisted in. To bear witness "in heaven" is nonsense; to say "on earth" is superfluous; for earth is the constant scene of testimony. Again, the Father and the Son are the true scriptural correlatives—never the Father and the Word, which last is in correlation with God, as we see in John 1. Further, since Pentecost the Holy Ghost is distinctively said to be sent down from heaven, and this with a view to the testimony of the gospel, instead of bearing record in heaven with the Father and the Son. Lastly, those who adopt the passage as it stands in the vulgar Latin copies are led to lower the character of the witness borne; for as they of course treat the first three as divine, so they regard the last three as earthly and created witnesses, making the πνεῦμα to be no other than "the created soul of Christ which he breathed forth on the cross, thus witnessing that he was true man." It would be awkward to make the same Spirit witness both in heaven and on earth.
Objections to the omission of verse 7 have been imagined, as many are aware, for various reasons, all of which seem to me weakness itself. 1. As to the supposed breach of connection, one has only to read verse 6 in order to be convinced that, on the contrary, the three heavenly witnesses come in most strangely between the water and the blood and the Spirit, of which that verse treated, and verse 8, which pursues the same subject. Internally therefore, as much as externally, verse 7 can only be viewed as an intrusion. The Trinity (fundamental a truth as it is, and without it Christianity is a myth) has no possible link with the context. Christ in death, yet withal life eternal, is the point of which the three witnesses converge with their one testimony. 2. The expression μαρτυροῦντες, said of the Spirit, the water, and the blood, is no difficulty without verse 7, because they are evidently personified. 3. The wonder is great how Bishop Middleton, the able investigator of the usage of the Greek article, could have so palpably erred as to say that the τὸ before ἒν in verse 8 presupposes ἒν in verse 7, and therefore that both verses stand or fall together. Previous reference is only one of the sources of the article. Ἐν, I grant, might be used of the persons in the Trinity (compare John 10:30 for the Father and the Son); but τὸ ἒν is absolutely necessary for the Spirit, the water, and the blood, where identity of nature is not in question but unity of scope. Compare Phil. 2:2. Other arguments, such as that founded on two editions of the Epistle, or on the influence of Arians, or on the negligence of transcribers, do not call for a detailed consideration in this place if at all.
Of the state and manner in which the passage is found in the few real or factitious Greek manuscripts that contain it, we may observe, (1) that both in the Graeco-Latin Cod. Ottobon. (Vat. 298) and in the Greek Cod. Montfort. (Trin. Coll. Dubl. G. 97) the three heavenly witnesses are set down without the Greek article to any one of them (πατἠρ, λόγος, καὶ πνεὺμα ἄγιον)!—a construction which indicates not obscurely the hand of one used to Latin (which has no article) and grossly ignorant of Greek; (2) that the same Cod. Ottobon. gives ἀπὸ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, translated in the corresponding Latin by in celo, though not ἀπὸ, as Scholz has strangely read, but, έπὶ τῆς γῆς; (3) that whilst the Cod. Ottobon. represents that the Father, Word, and Holy Spirit (εἰς τὸ ἒν εἰσὶ) "are to one purpose," or agree in one, (translated by itself unum sunt!) the Cod. Montfort. says ἂν εἰσὶ, "are one;" and both (like the Complut. Polyglot) leave out the grand point of the genuine scripture; for neither gives the smallest hint of the revelation that the three witnesses, the Spirit and the water and the blood, conspire in one testimony. I may say that the Montfort MS. unquestionably Latinizes elsewhere in 1 John, and in the immediate context, in opposition to all other Greek manuscripts.
As for the only other documents as yet produced in favor of the amplified text, suffice it to say that the Codex Ravianus of Berlin is now (as well as one of those at Wolfenbüttel) acknowledged to be a forgery, copying the very characters (in themselves peculiar) of the Complutensian Polyglot, and even repeating some of its misprints! That which Scholz cited as 173 in his list is the Codex Regius Neapolitanus, which in the text really confirms the truth, but adds on the margin in more recent characters the disputed clause. Here only, as compared with Codd. Ottobon. and Montfort., the article is duly inserted; but there is this unfortunate flaw in its value, that while the manuscript was written in the eleventh century, the addition cannot claim a higher antiquity than the sixteenth, if indeed so high. Such evidence as this might be easily multiplied by dishonest hands; but the weight of it all would be nil.
It may be worth while to mention, as corroborating the testimony to the source of this mistake, not without fraud, that its earliest known occurrence in Greek is in the Greek version of the Acts of the fourth Lateran Council (in 1215) where it stands thus: ὄτι τρεῖς εἰσὶν οἰ μαρτυροῦντες ἐν οὐρανῷ ὀ πατὴρ, λόγος, καὶ πνεῦμα ἄγιον καὶ πνεῦμα ἄγιον καὶ τοῦτοι (sic!) οἰ τρεῖς ἒν εἰσίν. εὐθύς τε προστίθησι...καθὼς ἐν τιςὶ κώδηξιν (sic!= ἀντιγράφοις) εὐρίσκεται. So the passage stands both in Hardouin's Collection (tom. vii. p. 18) and in Mansi’s (tom. xxii. p. 984). I can hardly doubt that this it was which encouraged the Complutensian editors to venture on the daring importation into the Greek New Testament of a passage which, however well meant doctrinally, bears the indelible trace of human infirmity, even after Stunica and his companions did their best to make decent Greek of it by inserting τῷ before οὐρανῶ, ὀ before λόγος, and τὸ before (not πν. but) ἄγιον πνεῦμα, correcting also τοῦτοι, which was no doubt a blunder for οὖτοι. (Hence Calecas in the fourteenth century, and Bryennius in the fifteenth, as Bishop Marsh noticed, being native Greeks, and feeling the deficiency of the Lateran Acts in Greek, wrote ὀ λόγος καὶ τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἄγιον. The copyist of the Montfort MS. omitted the article even before πατὴρ, not to speak of the other words which require it.) But they went a little too far when they changed ἒν into εἰς τὸ ἒν after the first three, and left out εἰς τὸ ἒν after τὸ πνεῦμα καὶ τὸ ὔδωρ καὶ τὸ αἶμα where these words beyond controversy ought to be. No doubt they were guided by Latin copies made since Th. Aquinas' day and that council. They refer in their marginal note to the perverse doctrine of Joachim on the Trinity, which was condemned at this very council of the Lateran.
If we turn to Thomas Aquinas, as referred to, the erroneous statement is sufficiently startling. He cites verse 7 as it stands in the later Latin copies, and reasons on the heterodoxy of Joachim, who applied the unity there, not to essence, but to affection and consent. Then, quoting verse 8, he says, "In quibusdam Libris attexitur: et hi tres unum sunt; sed hoc in veris exemplaribus non habetur(!), sed in quibusdam Libris dicitur esse appositum ab haereticis Arianis ad pervertendum intellectum sanum auctoritatis praemissae de unitate essentiali trium personarum (!!)." (Divi Thomae Aquinatis. Opera, tom. viii. p. 83, Venetiis, 1776.) This probably accounts for the omission of the clause that concludes verse 8 in the Complutensian Polyglot, as well as in some of the Greek copies manufactured after the fourth Lateran Council. Some excuse may be allowed for one like the "angelic doctor," who was unacquainted with the Greek scriptures; but why then did he dogmatize on so serious a subject? Total ignorance is the only conceivable palliation of his assertions, which are notoriously opposed to truth. And what can one think of the deliberate sanction given to all this by Cardinal Ximenes and his editors in the renowned Polyglot of Alcala? Are we to shelter them also under such a plea? If not, what then?
Again, what can one judge of the knowledge or the moral integrity of keeping up such an note to 1 John 5:7 in modern reprints of Jerome's works (e.g the Abbe Migne's, Paris, 1845) as the following? "Caeterum nota sunt pro ejus versiculi germanitate testimonia Patrum Africanorum, Tertulliani, Cypriani, Eugenii, Fulgentii, Vigilii, Victoris, e[t] quatuor centum Episcoporum in fidei professione, quam Vandalorum regi obtulerunt. Major omni exception est Cassiodorus," etc. (Patrologiae Curs., tom. xxix., coll. 846.) Not to speak of the silence of the Greek fathers on a question of the Greek text, it has been proved repeatedly and minutely that not one of these could have read the passage in the Greek as it now appears in the Vulgate. All that can be fairly drawn from Victor Vitensis' story of the symbol of faith presented by the African bishops to Hunneric is that the three heavenly witnesses must have been then read in their Latin copies. But it is certainly not so in the oldest and best Latin manuscripts that are extant, as all intelligent Romanists must know. (Lect. Intro. to Acts, Cath. Epist. and Rev., p.337-347)
witness ^: It is needless to discuss verses 7, 8, as it is clear and known that the last half of the former and the first half of the latter are spurious: three (not six) witnesses, and one testimony. (Bible Treasury 14:112) [See note to 1 John 2:23]