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This article was originally published in the Letters Section of
Pasugo: God's Message, January 2002 issue

The Johannine Comma dilemma

I John 5:7-8 says, "For there are three that bear record 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" (King James Version).

Isn't this a clear proof that the teaching on Trinity is indeed found in the Bible? How then do you explain I John 5:7-8?

Editor's reply:

I John 5:7-8 of the King James Version cannot be validly used as a basis for the alleged Trinitarian doctrine. The authenticity of I John 5:7-8 of the King James Version has long been in question.

The statement in the said verses--"... in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth"--is what scholars commonly call the "Johannine Comma." Scholars seriously question the authenticity of the Comma because it is absent in all the ancient Greek manuscripts of the New Testament:

"The Comma is absent in all the ancient Greek manuscripts of the NT with the exception of four rather recent manuscripts that date from the 13th to 16th centuries. The Comma is lacking in such ancient Oriental versions as the Peshitta, Philoxenian, Coptic, Ethiopic, and Armenian. ...

"The Fathers of the East do not quote or refer to the Johannine Comma in their Christological controversies. This omission indicates that the Comma was not part of the Bibilcal text of their time. For they surely would have used it had it been in the text." (New Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 7, p. 1004)

Moreover, the use of the Johannine Comma was apparently influenced by a pre-conceived belief in the Trinity. Starting as a gloss or a commentary, the Johannine Comma eventually found its way into the text itself:
"The development of the Comma can be followed in the ecclesiastical writers of the late 4th and 5th centuries, especially in Spain and Africa. Apparently, it developed as a result of the Trinitarian interpretation of the triad: spirit-water-blood found in I John 5:8b. By way of a gloss on the sacred text it eventually found its way into the text itself." (Ibid.)

The rendition of I John 5:7 in the King James Version is clearly erroneous. Even the Catholic Church, a major proponent of the doctrine of Trinity, denies the authenticity of the verse. The Vatican said:

"In recent times the doubts concerning its authenticity have grown and the Holy Office, in 1927, declared that, after careful examination of the whole circumstances, its genuineness could be denied." (Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, p. 56)

No properly-translated version of the Bible teaches about the Trinity. Christ explicitly taught that there is only one true God, the Father in heaven (Jn. 17:1,3), who Himself proclaimed, "... there is no other god besides me" (Is. 45:21, Revised Standard Version).

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