top of page

General Info on 1 John 5 7

This is general info on 1 John 5:7.

Does 1 John 5:7-8 Have Added Text?

Some person or persons in centuries past were so zealous to find support for their belief in the Trinity that they literally added it. There are numerous Scholars in fact that inform us that this passage has a spurious comment which has been added. The textual Scholar Bart Ehrman described this forgery as follows: “…this represents the most obvious instance of a theologically motivated corruption in the entire manuscript tradition of the New Testament.”

Thus the scholarly consensus is that this passage is a Latin corruption that found its way into a Greek manuscript at an early date while being absent from the THOUSANDS of other manuscripts. This addition is so famous and hence so well known that it has even been given its own name and is called the “Comma Johanneum.” Comma means a short clause.

Modern Bible translations come from two manuscripts called the Codex Sinaiticus, which has more edits than any other manuscript in Biblical history (14800 edits), and the Codex Vaticanus which comes from the Vatican. These two manuscripts do NOT contain the Comma Johanneum and why this added text is not found in modern Bible translations other than the NKJV where it was added only to match the KJV.

The King James New Testament on the other hand was compiled from over 5000 copies of copies of the original manuscripts which have long since perished. Now please take careful note that this added text was found in only ONE of the 5000 plus manuscripts. THAT MEANS ADDED! And so there is not one major theologian that does not acknowledge this fact. And yet considering all the irrefutable facts, it is amazing that there are still some who go into denial rather than acknowledge this well-known corruption that is so famous that it has even been given its own name!

The English King James Bible translated in 1611 AD retains this Trinitarian forgery, but none of our modern translations have it except the NKJV where it was added to match the KJV. The King James Version reads as follows, “For there are three that bear record IN HEAVEN, THE FATHER, THE WORD, AND THE HOLY GHOST: AND THESE THREE ARE ONE. 8 AND THERE ARE THREE THAT BEAR WITNESS IN EARTH, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.” 1 John 5:7-8

Thus the words in CAPS are found in the KJV, NKJV but are missing from almost every other translation. Thomas Nelson and Sons Catholic Commentary, 1951, page 1186 states, “It is now generally held that this passage, called the Gomma 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.”

Here is how 1 John 5:7-8 reads from the NIV and most other Bible translations. “For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.”

Erasmus did not include the infamous Comma Johanneum of 1 John 5:7-8 in either his 1516 or 1519 editions of his Greek New Testament but made its way into his third edition in 1522 because of pressure from the Catholic Church. After his first edition appeared in 1516, there arose such a furor over the absence of the Comma that Erasmus needed to defend himself. He argued that he did not put in the Comma Trinitarian formula because he found no Greek manuscripts that included it. Once one was produced called the Codex 61, that was written by one Roy or Froy at Oxford in c. 1520, he reluctantly agreed to include it in his subsequent editions. Erasmus probably altered the text because of politico-theologico-economic concerns. He did not want his reputation ruined, nor his Novum Instrumentum to go unsold. Thus it passed into the Stephanus Greek New Testament in 1551 (first New Testament in verses), which came to be called the Textus Receptus, and became the basis for the Geneva Bible New Testament in 1557 and the Authorized King James Version in 1611. Note the image of the Codex 61 with the added words underlined in red.

“The passage as given in the KJV is in no Greek MS 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)

The Seventh day Adventist Biblical Research Institute also admits this text in 1 John 5:7 is added. So their final conclusion and advice to Seventh day Adventists was “ should NOT use this text.” So the SDA BRI and the SDA Bible Commentary both acknowledge this text is added and say it should not be used, and yet you constantly see Adventists and their key organizations using this verse anyway. So Seventh day Adventists are not following their own advice.

“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.” — (E.G. White, EW, 220.2)

bottom of page