Three Bear Witness in Heaven

1 John 5:7b-8a

“in heaven : the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness on earth”

These two “half-verses” exist in many Bible translations (such as the New King James Version from which I typically quote) as part of 1 John 5:6-8:

“This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear witness (in heaven : the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness on earth) : the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.”

However, the half-verses 1 John 5:7b-8a apparently only exist in Greek in a few “late” manuscripts, such that many scholars highly doubt that they were originally present in John’s epistle. If the “half-verses” are removed from the text, it remains nevertheless clear, such that the “half-verses” aren’t actually needed (for more info see Jesus Came by Water and Blood). Nevertheless, these “suspicious” half-verses, possibly introduced by a copyist at some time in church history, present an interesting doctrinal truth which is easier to see if the wording is rearranged:

“the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit (are) in heaven; and these three are one.”

In essence, this is the doctrine of the Trinity: there is one God consisting of three Persons who are co-eternal yet eternally distinct. The Father, the Son (called the Word in John 1:1 and John 1:14), and the Holy Spirit, are God. There aren’t three gods in Christianity, nor is there one God who appears in three different manifestations : there is one God who is three distinct Persons at all times. To read more about the doctrine of the Trinity, click here.

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Published in: on January 5, 2009 at 9:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

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