Is 1 John 5:7 a valid verse for the trinity doctrine?
1 John 5:7 is a verse used by the Christian world to prove the trinity doctrine. Most honest pastors, theologians and scholars would not use this verse as they know the problems with it. Unfortunately, they are not honest enough to tell the members of their churches! You have to go to their theological books to find out that there is a problem with this verse. I still don't understand why these people will lie to their members just to keep a false belief in who GOD is? This is deception and is breaking one of the commandments.
Exodus 20:16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
Here is the verse under question.
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 is what Adam Clarke said about this verse:
"There are three that bear record - The Father, who bears testimony to his Son; the Word or Λογος , Logos, who bears testimony to the Father; and the Holy Ghost, which bears testimony to the Father and the Son. And these three are one in essence, and agree in the one testimony, that Jesus came to die for, and give life to, the world.
But it is likely this verse is not genuine. 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 MSS. with the exception of the Codex Montfortii, are the following: -
"1Jo 5:6. 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.
1Jo 5:7. For there are three that bear witness, the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree in one.
1Jo 5:9. If we receive the witness of man, the witness of God is greater, etc."
The words that are omitted by all the MSS., the above excepted, and all the versions, the Vulgate excepted, are these: -
[In heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one, and there are three which bear witness in earth].
To make the whole more clear, that every reader may see what has been added, I shall set down these verses, with the inserted words in brackets.
"1Jo 5:6. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.
1Jo 5:7. For there are three that bear record [in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one. 1Jo 5:8. And there are three that bear witness in earth],the Spirit, and the water, and the blood, and these three agree in one.
1Jo 5:9. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater, etc."
Any man may see, on examining the words, that if those included in brackets, which are wanting in the MSS. and versions, be omitted, there is no want of connection; and as to the sense, it is complete and perfect without them; and, indeed much more so than with them. I shall conclude this part of the note by observing, with Dr. Dodd, "that there are some internal and accidental marks which may render the passage suspected; for the sense is complete, and indeed more clear and better preserved, without it. Besides, the Spirit is mentioned, both as a witness in heaven and on earth; so that the six witnesses are thereby reduced to five, and the equality of number, or antithesis between the witnesses in heaven and on earth, is quite taken away. Besides, what need of witnesses in heaven? No one there doubts that Jesus is the Messiah; and if it be said that Father, Son, and Spirit are witnesses on earth, then there are five witnesses on earth, and none in heaven; not to say that there is a little difficulty in interpreting how the Word or the Son can be a witness to himself."
It may be necessary to inquire how this verse stood in our earliest English Bibles. In Coverdale's Bible, printed about 1535, for it bears no date, the seventh verse is put in brackets thus: -
And it is the Sprete that beareth wytnes; for the Sprete is the truth. (For there are thre which beare recorde in heaven: the Father, the Woorde, and the Holy Ghost, and these thre are one.) And there are thre which beare record in earth: the Sprete, water, and bloude and these thre are one. If we receyve, etc.
Tindal was as critical as he was conscientious; and though he admitted the words into the text of the first edition of his New Testament printed in 1526, yet he distinguished them by a different letter, and put them in brackets, as Coverdale has done; and also the words in earth, which stand in 1Jo 5:8, without proper authority, and which being excluded make the text the same as in the MSS., etc.
Two editions of this version are now before me; one printed in English and Latin, quarto, with the following title: -
The New Testament, both in Englyshe and Laten, of Master Erasmus translation - and imprinted by William Powell - the yere of out Lorde M.CCCCC.XLVII. And the fyrste yere of the kynges (Edw. VI.) moste gratious reygne.
In this edition the text stands thus: -
And it is the Spirite that beareth wytnes, because the Spirite is truth (for there are thre whiche beare recorde in heaven, the Father, the Worde, and the Holy Ghost, and these thre are one.) For there are thre which beare recorde, (in earth), the Spirite, water, and blode, and these thre are one. If we receyve, etc.
The other printed in London "by William Tylle, 4to; without the Latin of Erasmus in M.CCCCC.XLIX. the thyrde yere of the reigne of our moost dreade Soverayne Lorde Kynge Edwarde the Syxte," has, with a small variety of spelling, the text in the same order, and the same words included in brackets as above.
The English Bible, with the book of Common Prayer, printed by Richard Cardmarden, at Rouen in Normandy, fol. 1566, exhibits the text faithfully, but in the following singular manner: -
And it is the Spyryte that beareth witnesse, because the Spyryte is truthe. (for there are three which beare recorde in heaven, the Father, the Woorde, and the Holy Ghost; and these Three are One) And three which beare recorde* (in earth) the Spirite, and water, and bloode; and these three are one.
The first English Bible which I have seen, where these distinctions were omitted, is that called The Bishops' Bible, printed by Jugge, fol. 1568. Since that time, all such distinctions have been generally disregarded.
Though a conscientious believer in the doctrine of the ever blessed, holy, and undivided Trinity, and in the proper and essential Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, which doctrines I have defended by many, and even new, arguments in the course of this work, I cannot help doubting the authenticity of the text in question; and, for farther particulars, refer to the observations at the end of this chapter."
Here we have a trinitarian believer that does not use this verse to defend the trinity doctrine!
Darby's translation is thus:
1 John 5:6 This is he that came by water and blood, Jesus the Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that bears witness, for the Spirit is the truth.
1 John 5:7 For they that bear witness are three:
1 John 5:8 the Spirit, and the water, and the blood; and the three agree in one.
American Standard version:
1 John 5:6 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood.
1 John 5:7 And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is the truth.
1 John 5:8 For there are three who bear witness, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and the three agree in one.
The Pershitta Bible, which is from the Aramaic texts is as follows:
1 John 5:6 This is He who came by water and blood, even JESUS CHRIST, not by water only, but by water and blood.
1 John 5:7 And the Spirit testifies that that the very Spirit is truth.
1 John 5:8 And there are three to bear witness, the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three are one.
As you can see from the above. This verse can't be used in defence for the trinity doctrine. As Christians we need to search for the truth, no matter how hard it is. Once we find the truth we need to embrace it and thank GOD for showing us the truth. As the Father showed Peter the truth about His Son.
Matthew 16:15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
Matthew 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Matthew 16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
It is the Father that reveals the truth about His Son to us. All we need to do is accept the truth. No matter the consequences!