Saturday, April 13, 2013

Re: 1 John 5:7 & refuting trinity

 Alleged Biblical Proof

"For there are three that bear record [ in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one]."
1 John 5:7
Is this not a fair testimony to acknowledge the `Doctrine of Trinity'?

1. The text quoted does appear in the Kings James Version but has been omitted by most of the editors of the recent versions e.g. Revised Standard Version, New American Standard Bible, New English Bible, Phillips Modern English Bible, because the quoted text does not appear in the older Greek manuscripts.

Greek manuscripts
About 300 existing Greek manuscripts contain the book of I John. Of these manuscripts, only 4 (manuscript numbers 61, 629, 918, 2318) contain the disputed words of v.7. All four are very late manuscripts (16th, 14th or 15th, 16th, and 18th centuries A.D. respectively); none gives the Greek text exactly as it appears in printed Greek NTs, and all 4 manuscripts give clear evidence that these words were translated into Greek from Latin. Four additional manuscripts (88, 12th century; 221, 10th; 429, 16th; 636, 15th) have the disputed words copied in the margin by much later writers.
Ancient writers:
No Greek-speaking Christian writer before the year 1215 A.D. shows any knowledge of the disputed words. Not once are these words quoted in the great controversy with the Arians (over the Deity of Christ and the doctrine of the Trinity) in the 3rd and 4th centuries; they certainly would have been quoted if they had existed in any Greek manuscript of that period. The disputed words are quoted as Scripture only by Latin-speaking writers, and only after the middle of the 5th century A.D.
Ancient translations:
the disputed words are not found in any of the ancient translations of the NT made in the 2nd-10th centuries A.D.--Syriac, Coptic, Armenian, Georgian, Gothic, Ethiopic, Arabic, Slavic--except in Latin. The words are found in some manuscripts (but not the earliest) of the Old Latin version, and in many manuscripts of the Latin Vulgate (but not the earliest).

Conclusion: the evidence of every kind is consistent and clear: the disputed words of I John 5:7 have no claim as an original part of John's letter, but were introduced into Greek from Latin in the very late Middle Ages.

2. Renowned historian Edward Gibbon calls the addition a "Pious Fraud" in his famous history book `Decline and Fall of Roman Empire'.

3. Peakes commentary on the subject reads;
"The famous interpolation after "three witnesses" is not printed even in RSVn, and rightly. It cites the heavenly testimony of the Father, the logos, and the Holy Spirit, but is never used in the early trinitarian controversies. No respectable Greek MS contains it. Appearing first in a late 4th-cent. Latin text, it entered the Vulgate and finally the NT of Erasmus."
4. The scripture translator Benjamin Wilson gives the following explanation for this action in his "Emphatic Diaglott."

"This text concerning the heavenly witness is not contained in any Greek manuscript which was written earlier than the fifteenth century. It is not cited by any of the ecclesiastical writers; not by any of early Latin fathers even when the subjects upon which they treated would naturally have lead them to appeal to it's authority. It is therefore evidently spurious."

The Wycliffe Bible Commentary
The text of this verse should read, Because there are three that bear record. The remainder of the verse is spurious. Not a single manuscript contains the trinitarian addition before the fourteenth century, and the verse is never quoted in the controversies over the Trinity in the first 450 years of the church era. 8. The three witnesses are the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. "The trinity of witnesses furnish one testimony" (Plummer, The Epistles, p. 116) namely that Jesus Christ came in the flesh to die for sin that men might live.

The New Bible Commentary: Revised:
"Notice that AV [the Authorized Version] includes additional material at this point. But the words are clearly a gloss [an added note] and are rightly excluded by RSV [the Revised Standard Version] even from its margins" (1970, p. 1269)

Dr. Neil Lightfoot, a New Testament professor ( How We Got the Bible, 2003, pp. 100-101).
"The textual evidence is against 1 John 5:7,"
"Of all the Greek manuscripts, only two contain it. These two manuscripts are of very late dates, one from the fourteenth or fifteenth century and the other from the sixteenth century. Two other manuscripts have this verse written in the margin. All four manuscripts show that this verse was apparently translated from a late form of the Latin Vulgate"

Theology professors Anthony and Richard Hanson, in their book Reasonable Belief: A Survey of the Christian Faith,
"It was added by some enterprising person or persons in the ancient Church who felt that the New Testament was sadly deficient in direct witness to the kind of doctrine of the Trinity which he favoured and who determined to remedy that defect . . . It is a waste of time to attempt to read Trinitarian doctrine directly off the pages of the New Testament" (1980, p. 171).

Hot Tip:
Notwithstanding the above rejections, the verse that follows the quoted text reads in KJV; "And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood; and these three agree in one." (1John5:8).
Are these three witnesses "co-equal"? Can blood be substituted with water? Can water be regarded as the same in any respect with the Spirit? Just as the spirit, the blood and the water are three separate entities, so are the first three witnesses, namely; the Father, the Son (Word, Logos) and the Holy Spirit (Ghost).

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