“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.”
Read (1 John 5:10-13) [Immediate context]
“He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”
The immediate context is clearly speaking of testifying that Jesus is the Son of God. This testimony is diametrically opposed to the theory of the Trinity doctrine. The rest of First John, as well as the Gospel of John, bears indisputable proof that Jesus is the Son of God. You cannot read more than a few verses without coming back to the theme that Jesus is the Son of God. Notice some of the following verses:
(1 John 4:9) In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
(1 John 4:14, 15) And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
(1 John 5:1) Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.
This theme is what we find summarized in John’s Gospel in the following verse:
(John 20:31) But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
v Should we then take an interpretation of this text which teaches the very opposite of the immediate context, as well as the context of the whole book?
v Should we take an interpretation of this text which teaches the very opposite of the whole reason he tells us that he is writing the book and all of his books?
-That would most certainly be wresting the scriptures. Whatever interpretation we take from these verses, it must be in harmony with that obvious purpose of his writing.
What are these verses really teaching?
Ø In verse 8 we are told that there are “three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, the water, and the blood and that these three agree in one.” That is, they bear a united witness. The water bears witness and the blood bears witness, yet no one would suggest that the water and blood are persons or much less a trinity.
Ø Why then should we insist that because the spirit bears witness in heaven it must be a separate individual? There are three ways in which witness is borne to the truth in heaven. These witnesses are one because they bear a united witness. It does not mean that they are one person, one being, or one God.
Ø Jesus explained what this oneness means when he prayed that we all might be one as he and his Father are one. (See John 17:22.) Not that we might become one human but simply that we might be in perfect harmony, even as he and his Father are in perfect harmony.
Ø In heaven, God bears witness to the truth and so do Christ and the Holy Spirit! In heaven there are three avenues of witness–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
On the earth there are three–the water, the spirit, and the blood.
· Are the three on earth a Trinity because they are mentioned in the same breath or agree as one? By the same reasoning we would have to conclude that the Father, the Word, and the Spirit are not necessarily a Trinity simply because they bear a united witness in heaven or because they are mentioned at the same time. You have to apply the same logic as you do to 1 John 5:7 as you do with 1 John 5:8.
But how have they borne witness that Jesus is the Son of God?
The Father witnessed that Jesus was the Son of God at his baptism when he spoke from heaven: “This is my beloved Son.” (Matthew 3:17)
(John 10:36) Christ bore witness when he said, “Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?”
God’s Spirit (Holy)
In (John 10:25) Jesus tells us how the Spirit bears witness: “I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.”
(Matthew 12:28) These works which bore witness of Christ, he tells us were performed by the Spirit of God in him. “But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.”
It is of interest that most reputable authorities agree that a part of 1 John 5:7, 8 was most certainly added to the Bible during the period known as the “Dark Ages.” Specifically, the part added reads, “in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth.” If the questionable portion were taken out, the verse would read: For there are three that bear record, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.
What does SDA Bible commentary have to say about this verse?
· The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary states concerning these verses: The disputed words found their way into the KJV by way of the Greek text of Erasmus. 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 (The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 675).
Some people would object strongly to the very suggestion that errors may have crept into the text of the Bible in any way whatsoever. However, it is interesting to note what Ellen White had to say concerning this:
· 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. But I saw that the Word of God, as a whole, is a perfect chain, one portion linking into and explaining another. True seekers for truth need not err; for not only is the Word of God plain and simple in declaring the way of life, but the Holy Spirit is given as a guide in understanding the way to life therein revealed (Early Writings, pp. 220, 221).
*Even more interestingly, Ellen White, in all her thousands of pages of writing and thousands of Scripture quotations, never once quoted 1 John 5:7, the text which we are presently considering.
1Jn 5:7-10 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost:….He that believeth on the Son of God(the father, not the trinity) hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God(the father, not the trinity) hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record(that the father word and spirit bear) that God(the father, not the trinity) gave of his Son.
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