«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)
The crucial verse 1 John 5:7 (a.k.a. the Johannine Comma) is widely disputed by textual critics. Modern Bible translators following the 1881 Greek Text of Westcott and Hort are united in their efforts in omitting the Johannine Comma in their texts. There are several legitimate reasons for believing that 1 John 5:7 was penned by the Apostle John under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
The first consideration is THE HISTORICAL ARGUMENT. 1 John 5:7 as it reads in our King James Bible stood unchallenged in earlier English Bibles for a full five hundred years! It was in the very first English Bible of John Wycliffe in 1380, in William Tyndale’s New Testament of 1525, in Coverdale’s Bible of 1535, in Matthew’s Bible of 1537, the Taverner’s Bible of 1539, the Great Bible of 1539, the Geneva New Testament of 1557, the Bishop’s Bible of 1568, and in the Authorized Version of 1611. Were the countless godly preachers, theologians, church leaders, editors, translators, etc., who accepted the Trinitarian statement in 1 John 5:7 of those early English Bibles through all those five centuries really so ignorant and deceived? Hardly so!
The second consideration is THE THEOLOGICAL ARGUMENT. Textual interpolation or forgery is made highly credible through its striking similarity with the original documents and not through its uniqueness. The Trinitarian formula, “the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost» is distinctly exclusive for the Apostle John but the formula «the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost» is quite common for all other New Testament writers. The usual formula, «the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost» would have been most assuredly used by a forger instead in 1 John 5:7.
The third consideration is THE GRAMMATICAL ARGUMENT. The omission of the Johannine Comma will render the passage in 1 John 5:7-8 incomplete. It is common scriptural practice to present solemn biblical truths or warnings in groups of three or four parallel verses. Examples are the repeated phrase “three things, yea four” of Prov. 30:15, 18, 21, 29, and the constantly recurring refrain, “for three transgressions and for four,” of the prophet Amos (Amos 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 13; 2:1, 4, 6). In Gen. 40:6-19 the butler saw “three branches” and the baker saw “three baskets.” In Matt. 12:40 Jesus said, “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” It is in accord with biblical procedure therefore to expect that in 1 John 5:7-8 the formula, “there are three that bear record (or witness),” will be repeated at least twice -one witness in heaven and another in earth- to complete the parallel. When the Johannine Comma is included, the formula is repeated twice and completes the thought sequence. When it is omitted, the formula is repeated only once and leaves the passage wanting which seems strange.
The fourth consideration is THE MANUSCRIPT ARGUMENT. The current United Bible Societies New Testament (UBSNT) lists six MSS (61, 88mg, 429mg, 629, 636mg, and 918) containing the Johannine Comma. Moreover, D.A. Waite cites evidence of some twenty MSS containing it (those confirmed are 61, 88mg, 629, 634mg, 636mg, omega 110, 429mg, 221, and 2318) along with two lectionaries (60, 173) and four citations by the Church Fathers (namely, Tertullian, Cyprian, Augustine, and Jerome). E. F. Hills cites Codex Ravianus as proof positive for 1 John 5:7.
The fifth consideration is THE MATHEMATICAL ARGUMENT. Believe it or not, when we collate the Bible’s First Verse (Gen. 1:1) and the Bible’s Last Verse (Rev. 22:21) with the Bible’s Central Trinitarian Verse (1 John 5:7), and carefully counting and comparing their individual words, letters, vowels, and consonants, we discover to our great amazement and delight a divinely designed mathematical code embedded within the structure of these three related verses!
THE BIBLE’S FIRST VERSE — Genesis 1:1
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”
THE BIBLE’S CENTRAL TRINITARIAN VERSE — 1 John 5:7
“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father,
the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”
THE BIBLE’S LAST VERSE — Revelation 22:21
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”
These three salient verses of the King James Bible form not only a three-fold cord of scriptural truth that cannot be broken but also some astoundingly precise mathematical phenomenon that defies human explanation. The King James Bible though written in English (and obviously not in the “original languages” of Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic) will demonstrate for us its plenary verbal inspiration as we take a closer look at these three fundamental verses. Thus, we are about to get a very pleasant foretaste into the incredible world of latest biblical discoveries in these last days.
Now observe carefully. If we count the exact number of words, letters, vowels, and consonants of the Bible’s First Verse (BFV) and the Bible’s Last Verse (BLV), it is so astonishing to discover that their sums are all equal to the number of words, letters, vowels, and consonants of the Bible’s Central Trinitarian Verse (BCTV)! It must be further noted that the numbers of the letters, vowels and consonants of BFV and BLV are perfectly equal to each other!! Can you explain that?
These parallel equations and equalities which demonstrate the precise mathematical design within the text of the English Authorized Version could not be the result of isolated coincidence nor of cunning human device. No doubt, this is by divine intent. It is very obvious that we cannot find this observable mathematical-scriptural fact we have just witnessed in any of the modern English perversions of the Bible for they are all imperfect translations of imperfect texts! We maintain that the King James Bible is perfect, pure, inerrant, and infallible not only in its thoughts and meaning but also in the structure of its words, letters, vowels, and consonants.
It is very tragic that so many professing conservatives and fundamentalists are quite prepared to surrender to oblivion what is in fact the Bible’s Central Trinitarian Verse, but it is here that a clear stand must be made, and it is with gratitude that we have now identified such an old landmark (Prov. 23:10). No matter what the critics and enemies of the King James Bible will say, 1 John 5:7 will remain inspired scripture and God has preserved it for us to treasure now and forever!
* * * * * * *
B I B L I O G R A P H Y
(The following is a listing of the reference materials that were helpful in the preparation of this article.)
Burgon, John William, The Causes of Textual Corruption (London, England: George Bell and Sons Publishing, 1896).
Esplana, Periander A., The A.V. 1611 Arithmographica (Camarines Norte, Philippines: Unpublished work).
Grady, William P., Final Authority: A Christian’s Guide to the King James Bible (Schererville, Indiana, U.S.A.: Grady Publications, Inc., 1993).
Hills, Edward F., The King James Version Defended (Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.A: The Christian Research press, 1984).
Ruckman, Peter S., The Christian’s Handbook of Manuscript Evidence (Pensacola, Florida, U.S.A: The Bible Believers Press, 1970).
Sightler, James H., A Testimony Founded Forever (Greenville, South Carolina, U.S.A.: Sightler Publications, 1999).
Waite, Donald A., Defending the King James Bible (Collingswood, New Jersey, U.S.A: The Bible for Today Press, 1996).