Johannine Comma - 1 John 5:7-8 - Jeffrey Khoo, Ph.D.

Some of you know after looking at this blog in the past know that I favor the Traditional Texts of the New Testament when it comes to the best source for Bible translation. Now my church uses the ESV, and I want to say that in my opinion it is the best church in my area. My Pastors and Sunday School teacher are friends and excellent expositors of the Word. My mentor is a great man and uses the NASB. I for one minute do not believe that they are deceived or hindered in their ministry. I like to read and listen to people like John Piper, Paul Washer, Voddie Bauchum, and the list goes on. I even like ole James White, and he wrote a book and has a ministry supporting his view of textual criticism promoting the Eclectic Text over the Traditional. The good thing about this issue is that the actual variations that are between the Eclectic and Traditional texts only add up to somewhere around 5-7%. No doctrine of Scripture is compromised between the literal translations of the two texts. So, even though I talk about this, it is not something that I would part fellowship over. In fact, I study the ESV and NASB often. They are the two best English translations of the Eclectic text that I know of. The KJV and NKJV are the two best English translations of the Traditional text as far as I know. The KJV is the translation of one of the best periods in American Church History. It was the text of Jonathan Edwards and D.L. Moody. The Puritans used the Geneva Bible that is derived from the Traditional text of the New Testament. So even if you disagree with it the Traditional over the Eclectic, I still recommend that you read it. The best modern translation of the Traditional is the NKJV. It is a good translation, and God has used it to help me through the years. I want to share with you an article that I read a few years ago concerning the Traditional text of 1 John 5:7 which is the clearest Biblical example of the Trinity in the New Testament. I will link the original page on the title. I agree with the author, and the History he presents. Even Bruce Metzger refuted his own story about the fictitious scribe named "Roy" who supposedly added 1 John 5:7 to Erasmus's Greek Text. He added it in a footnote of one of his books. Unfortunately, there are still some scholars promoting this story. It is kind of like how Evolutionists still promote scientific theories that have been refuted by science. I hope this will be helpful. God bless the truth.

Johannine Comma - 1 John 5:7-8

Does a Clear, Biblical Proof Text Exist for the Doctrine of the Trinity?

Jeffrey Khoo, Ph.D. (Date Posted: 6-2000)(Dr. Khoo serves as academic dean and lecturer at Far Eastern Bible Collegein Singapore.)

1 John 5:7-8 in the King James (Authorized) Version reads, "For there are three that bear record (witness) in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one." The italicized words constitute the Johannine Comma (Gk: koptein, "to cut of?). The Comma proves the doctrine of the Holy Trinity that "There are three persons in the Godhead: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory" (Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q 6).
Why is this verse seldom used to teach the doctrine of the Holy Trinity? Other references are often cited, but why not 1 John 5:7f? One will often reply, "How can I when my Bible does not have it?" Therein lies the problem. With 1 John 5:7f missing in so many of the modern Bible versions such as the New International Version, the Revised Standard Version and the New American Standard Bible, it is no wonder that many Christians are ignorant of this verse. And even if they do know that this verse exists, they hesitate to use it because they have been deceived into thinking that it is not part of Gods Word. The NIV Study Bible, for instance, says that 1 John 5:7f "is not found in any Greek manuscript or New Testament translation prior to the 16th century." On account of this they argue that 1 John 5:7 is spurious.
It is not true that 1 John 5:7 is absent in all pre-l6th century Greek manuscripts and New Testament translations. The text is found in eight extant Greek manuscripts, and five of them are dated before the 16th century (Greek miniscules 88, 221, 429, 629, 636). Furthermore, there is abundant support for 1 John 5:7 from the Latin translations. There are at least 8000 extant Latin manuscripts, and many of them contain 1 John 5:7f; the really important ones being the Old Latin, which church fathers such as Tertullian (AD 155-220) and Cyprian (AD 200-258) used. Now, out of the very few Old Latin manuscripts with the fifth chapter of First John, at least four of them contain the Comma. Since these Latin versions were derived from the Greek New Testament, there is reason to believe that 1 John 5:7 has very early Greek attestation, hitherto lost. There is also reason to believe that Jeromes Latin Vulgate (AD 340-420), which contains the Johannine Comma, was translated from an untampered Greek text he had in his possession and that he regarded the Comma to be a genuine part of First John. Jerome in his Prologue to the Canonical Epistles wrote, "Irresponsible translators left out this testimony [i. e., 1 John 5:7f] in the Greek codices." Edward F. Hills concluded, "It was not trickery that was responsible for the inclusion of the Johannine Comma in the Textus Receptus, but the usage of the Latin speaking church."
This leads us to the so-called "promise" of Erasmus. Westcott and Hort advocate Bruce Metzger made this claim, which became the popular argument against the Johannine Comma. He wrote, "Erasmus promised that he would insert the Comma Johanneum, as it is called, in future editions if a single Greek manuscript could be found that contained the passage. At length such a copy was foundor made to order." This view against the authenticity of 1 John 5:7f is parroted by many even today. Is this what truly happened? H. J. de Jonge of the faculty of theology, Leiden University, an authority on Erasmus, says that Metzgers view on Erasmus promise "has no foundation in Erasmus work. Consequently it is highly improbable that he included the difficult passage because he considered himself bound by any such promise." Yale University professor Roland Bainton, another Erasmian expert, agrees with de Jong, furnishing proof from Erasmus own writing that Erasmus inclusion of 1 John 5:7f was not due to a so-called "promise" but the fact that he believed the verse was in the Vulgate and must therefore have been in the Greek text used by Jerome." The Erasmian "promise" is thus a myth!
It has been suggested that the Johannine Comma did not come from the apostle John himself but from an unknown person who invented and inserted it into 1 John 5 so that Christianity would have a clear Trinitarian proof text. Up until this point in time, no one has been able to identify this mysterious person who tried to "help" the church. He is probably a fictional character. In any case, it is highly unlikely that 1 John 5:7f is the work of a well-meaning interpolator. When we look at the text itself, the phrase, "the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit," naturally reflects Johannine authorship (cf. John 1:1, 14). An interpolator would rather have used the more familiar and perhaps stronger Trinitarian formula"the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." "The Word" or "The Logos" of 1 John 5:7f points to the apostle John as its source, for it is distinctively John who used the term "the Word" to mean "Christ" in all his writings.
There is nothing in the Johannine Comma that goes against the fundamentals of the Christian faith. It is thoroughly Biblical and theologically accurate in its Trinitarian statement. There is no good reason why we should not regard it as authentic and employ it as the clearest proof-text in the Scripture for the doctrine of the Holy Trinity.
(Copied from Foundation Magazine)


  1. Jesus never verified what Paul wrote thus indicating any made up stories can be present in the New Testament.

    None of the Church Father ever quote Matthew 28:19 or 1John5:7 in their early days, however in the 4th century concept of 'three gods in oneness' were added to the original texts of Matthew 28:19 and 1John 5:7 thus showing how twisted were the minds of men inventing lies.

    Early Church Fathers believed that there is only One Father the creator, creating all including God Son and Holy Spirit.

  2. Jhn 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Jhn 1:2 He was in the beginning with God.

    Jhn 1:3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.


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