The Question of God as a Trinity:
One of the questions I ask the anti-Trinitarians is
“Can you please show me how the Trinity is illogical?”.
Usually, they respond with something like,
“It just doesn’t make sense,” or
“It simply can’t be.”
But making such statements doesn’t prove or disprove anything.
The question is, “How is it illogical?”
I have yet to hear a logical explanation.
It isn’t against logic for God to be three persons. It may be difficult to understand, and some may not like it, but it isn’t illogical. For it to be illogical, there must be some rule of logic that is violated that makes it impossible for God to exist as a Trinity.
For example, to say that one god is really three gods is illogical because the quantity of one is not the same quantity as three and since they (one and three) are mutually exclusive as to quantity in this situation, to say one god is three gods is illogical.
But that isn’t what the Trinity is anyway, so this can’t be used to demonstrate that the Trinity is illogical. Furthermore, there is no logical reason why God cannot be three persons.
Trinitarianism is monotheistic.
That means that it is a doctrine that teaches the existence of a single being who is God and that there is only one God in all existence.
This is sometimes ignored or not known when people (Muslims) criticize the Trinity by asserting that the Trinity teaches three gods. But, it does not. As is stated above, the Trinity is a monotheistic theological position.
When Muslims state that the Trinity isn’t logical, it is up to them to demonstrate how. If they are not able to do it, then they should stop making the claim.
In theology, the union of three persons in one Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God is the only Supreme Being in all existence, places, and time.
He is Holy (Rev. 4:8),
Eternal (Isaiah 57:15),
Omnipotent or All powerful (Jer. 32:17,27),
Omnipresent or Everywhere at once (Psalm 119:7-12),
Omniscient or All Knowing (1 John 3:20).
He is Love (1 John 4:8,16);
Light (1 John 1:5);
Spirit (John 4:24);
Truth (Psalm 117:2);
Creator (Isaiah 40:12,22,26), etc.
He is to be worshiped (Gen. 24:26; Exodus 4:31; 2 Chron. 29:28; 1 Cor.14:25; Rev. 7:11).
Christianity is monotheistic –Only one God in existence, anywhere, anytime. See Isaiah Isaiah 43:10; 44:6,8; 45:5,14,18,21,22; 46:9; 47:8; John 17:3; 1 Cor. 8:5-6; Gal. 4:8-9 for verses that teach monotheism.
One God verses:
“You are My witnesses, declares the Lord, And My servant whom I have chosen, in order that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me.”
“Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God besides Me.”
“Do not tremble and do not be afraid; have I not long since announced it to you and declared it? And you are My witnesses. Is there any God besides Me, or is there any other Rock? I know of none.”
“I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides Me there is no God.”
The Trinity is one God who exists simultaneously in three persons.
Each is coequal,
and co eternal with the other.
Each person, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is not the other.
Without either there is no God; all comprise the one God.
Analogy of the Trinity:
TIME itself is a trinity , the past is distinct from the present, which is distinct from the future.
Each is simultaneous:
Existing or happening at the same time; as simultaneous events.
Yet, they are not three TIME LINES, but one.
That is, they all share the same nature: time!
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name
(: Authority; behalf; part; as in the name of the people. When a man speaks or acts in the name of another, he does it by their authority or in their behalf, as their representative.
Character by report
Reputation; character; that which is commonly said of a person; as a good name; a bad name. Renown; fame; honor; celebrity; eminence; praise; distinction.)
of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,”
1 Cor. 12:4-6,
“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 6And there are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.”
2 Cor. 13:14,
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.”
Objections to the Trinity answered:
“The Word Trinity is not in the Bible. ”
Just because the word trinity is not in the Bible doesn’t mean that the concept is not taught.
The word monotheism is not in the Bible, yet the Bible teaches it (Isaiah 43:10; 44:6,8) Therefore, your criticism is invalid.
The Trinity is illogical: Ignorant or negligent of the rules of logic or correct reasoning; as an illogical disputant.Contrary to the rules of logic or sound reasoning; as an illogical inference.
The Law of logic:
According to the rules of logic; as a logical argument or inference. This reasoning is strictly logical.
The art of thinking and reasoning justly.
Logic is the art of using reason well in our inquiries after truth, and the communication of it to others.
Logic may be defined, the science or history of the human mind, as it traces the progress of our knowledge from our first conceptions through their different combinations, and the numerous deductions that result from comparing them with one another.
Correct reasoning implies correct thinking and legitimate inferences from premises, which are principles assumed or admitted to be just.
Logic then includes the art of thinking, as well as the art of reasoning.
The purpose of logic is to direct the intellectual powers in the investigation of truth, and in the communication of it to others.
What Logic does the doctrine of the Trinity violate?
If you cannot tell me, then your statement is meaningless.
Saying it is illogical does not mean it is.
“Isn’t The Trinity a pagan concept?”
Saying it is pagan means nothing ,because most things in life have been used or invented by pagans at some point in the past.
PAGAN simply means:
Heathen; heathenish; Gentile; noting a person who worships false gods.
I would make a note here that ANYONE including So-called Christians who pretend to worship the true God but really intermingle pagan rights within their worship are pagan with or without knowledge of their sin!
This includes ALL CHURCHES and RELIGIONS ON EARTH TODAY, because Satan’s greatest tool is Religion, brotherhoods of secrecy that hold more to traditions than God’s truth.
Pertaining to the worship of false gods. It is their worship of FALSE gods that is in question NOT their mis-use of TRUE DOCTRINES ,they used a real concept and SUPERIMPOSED it into their FALSE WORSHIP changing it to the point where it merely resembled the “Trinity” as they did a multitude of other concepts like “Baptism”,”Hell” and “Salvation” which does not make the TRUE doctrine any less real !
Maybe we should stop using STREETS and Sewers and a host of other modern conveniences because the PAGAN ROMANS INVENTED THEM?
After all these are PAGAN IN ORIGIN!
The REAL question is whether or not it is biblical.
Are there verses that show that the Father,Son,and the Holy Spirit are each God:
The Supreme Being
Jehovah; the eternal and infinite spirit, the creator,and the sovereign of the universe.God is a spirit; and they that worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth. John 4
Do each in-dwell:
remaining in the heart, even after it is renewed; as indwelling sin did before salvation. To take up residence within, or in the heart or soul.
Do each have a will:
That faculty of the mind by which we determine either to do or forbear an action; the faculty which is exercised in deciding, among two or more objects, which we shall embrace or pursue. The will is directed or influenced by the judgment. The understanding or reason compares different objects, which operate as motives; the judgment determines which is preferable, and the will decides which to pursue.
In other words, we reason with respect to the value or importance of things; we then judge which is to be preferred; and we will to take the most valuable. These are but different operations of the mind, soul, or intellectual part of man.
Great disputes have existed respecting the freedom of the will. Will is often quite a different thing from desire., each loves, etc.?
The answer is Yes there are.
The Father,The Son and The Holy Spirit are each called God
(Father., Phil. 1:2),
(Son., John 1:1,14; Col. 2:9),
(Holy Spirit., Acts 5:3-4).
Each has a will
(Father., Luke 22:42),
(Son., Luke 22:42),
Holy Spirit., (1 CO. 12:11)
Each is all-knowing
(Father., 1 John 3:20),
(Son., John 16:30; 21:17),
(Holy Spirit., 1 Cor. 2:10-11), etc.
Regarding the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Each has a will
(Father., Luke 22:42),
(Son., Luke 22:42),
Holy Spirit., (1 Cor. 12:11).
(Father., Matt. 3:17),
(Son., Luke 5:20.,
(Holy Spirit., Acts 8:29; 13:2).
“But didn’t The Trinity come from pagan trinities?”
There are no trinities in pagan theology anywhere.
This is a common mistake made by well meaning believers but is simply not true, I was a pagan and have studied it extensively………..
There are triads (three gods),………………….
but no Trinity’s (one God in three persons).
Therefore, your statement is inaccurate.
“The Bible does not say that God is three “who’s and one what”
That is incorrect, But the Trinity is a doctrine arrived at systematically (by looking at the whole of scripture), not by looking at a single verse.
Therefore, your complaint is misdirected and shows you don’t understand the Trinity.
Show me one verse in the Bible that says that God is three persons.
The Trinity doctrine is arrived at systematically (by looking at the whole of scripture), not by looking at a single verse.
Therefore, you won’t see a single verse that says it , except maybe THIS ONE, notice that ALL THREE bear record.
” 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 (of God in the earth or of Man in the Image of God), and the water (of the WORD and Baptism into Christ or the place where Life came out of in Genesis 1:2 “the face of the deep”), and the blood ( of God or The LIFE of the flesh): and these three agree in one.”
Proof that he is God!
Jesus, Who is He?
Jesus has two natures at the same time: divine and human at the same time.
He is both God and man (John 1:1,14; Col. 2:9).
This is called the Hypostatic Union.
“I believe that God did become a man, that Jesus had Gods Spiritual essence (That which made him God incarnate in a physical form ) and his own HUMAN spirit (That which made him completely man ).”
Jesus was born of the virgin Mary (Matt. 1:18; Luke 1:35).
“He was born under the Law (Gal. 4:4)
and fulfilled all of the Law of God (John 4:34 ; 8:29),
even to the point of death (Phil. 2:8).
In His death He bore the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us (Gal. 3:13).
Thus in the death of Christ the sins of His people were judged (Rom. 3:23-26) and forgotten (Heb. 8:12),
and the result of His act of righteousness was eternal life (Rom. 5:18).
Jesus is worshiped – (Matt. 2:2,11; 14:33; John 9:35-38; Heb. 1:6).
Jesus is prayed to – (Acts 7:55-60; Psalm 116:4 with 1 Cor. 1:1-2).
Jesus is called God – (John 20:28; Heb. 1:8).
He is the creator (John 1:1-3; Col. 1:15-17);
Jesus is uncreated (John 1:1-3; Col. 1:15-17).
Verses showing Jesus is divine:
He is God in flesh (John 1:1,14; 8:58 with Exodus 3:14; Col. 2:9; Phil. 2:5-8; Heb. 1:8).
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us…” This shows that Jesus is God in flesh.
If you say that John 1:1 should be “a” god, then… If Jesus is “a” god, then isn’t that polytheism?
If Jesus is “a” god, then how many gods are their in JW theology?
If Jesus is “a” god, then is he a true God or false god since the Bible says there is only one God (Isaiah 43:10; 44:6,8)?
If Jesus is “a” god, then why does he tell people to come to him and not the Father (Matt. 11:28)?
“Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.”
With Exodus 3:14
“God said to Moses, I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.”
Jesus uses the same title for Himself that God uses of Himself.
If you say that the verse is really, “I have been”, then why did the Jews want to kill him — especially when in John 10:30-33 they say they want to kill Him because He claimed to be God?
Where and what did Jesus say to cause them to think that?
“‘I and the Father are one.’ 31 The Jews took up stones again to stone Him. 32 Jesus answered them, ‘I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?’
33 The Jews answered Him, ‘For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.’”
In John 10:30-33, What was Jesus saying that caused the Jews to accuse Jesus of claiming to be God?
If you can’t say, then you don’t know the text or the culture well enough to address the issue of Christ’s deity.
Thomas called Jesus God by saying to Jesus, “My Lord and My God”. If Jesus is not God, then why did Jesus did not correct Thomas?
Four verses later, it says that this is written so you might believe that Jesus is the son of God, (John 20:31).
Therefore, we can see that the term Son of God is saying that Jesus is God.
“For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,”
“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”
“But of the Son He [The Father] says, “Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever…”
If Jesus is not God, why does God Himself call Jesus God in Heb. 1:8?
This is a quote from Psalm 45:6 which has the best translation of “Thy Throne O God…”
OTHER VERSES :
“‘I and the Father are one.’ 31 The Jews took up stones again to stone Him. 32 Jesus answered them, ‘I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?’ 33 The Jews answered Him, ‘For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.’”
Notice the Jews said, “You being a man, make yourself out to be God.” What did Jesus say that caused the Pharisees to say that Jesus was claiming to be God in John 10:30-33?
If you don’t know, then you don’t understand.
Regarding John 10:30-33, if you deny that Jesus is God in flesh, then you are agreeing with the Jews who killed Christ because they did not accept who He really was.
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.”
Firstborn is a transferable title and does not necessitate being first created.
Proof of this can be seen where Manasseh is the first born
(Gen. 41:51-52 and then his brother Ephraim is called the firstborn (Jer. 31:9).
“And Joseph called the name of the first-born Manasseh: For, said he, God hath made me forget all my toil, and all my fathers house. And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”
“…for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is My firstborn.”
1 Cor. 1:2,
“To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ their Lord and ours.”
Why is the phrase “Call upon the name of the LORD” (Hebrew, YHWH, i.e., Psalm 116:4) used only of God on the OT, and translated into the Greek in the LXX as “Call upon the name of the LORD (Greek, KURIOS),” applied to Jesus in the NT (1 Cor. 1:2) if Jesus is not God in flesh?
The LXX is the Septuagint which is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament done by Jews around 200 B.C.
“Then I called upon the name of the Lord [YHWH]: “O Lord [YHWH], I beseech Thee, save my life!”
The literal translation of 1 Cor. 1:2 is “…call upon the name of the Lord of us Jesus Christ.”
Son of God, Son of Man Does the term “Son of God” mean that Jesus is not God? If so, then does the term “Son of Man” mean that Jesus is not a man?
Likewise, if the term “Son of Man” means that Jesus is a man, then what does the term “Son of God” imply?
The Resurrection of Christ Jesus rose in the same body that He died in (John 2:19-21; Luke 24:36-43).
Jesus’ body is resurrected.’ We do not know exactly what His body is like, but the nature of the resurrected body is discussed by Paul in 1 Cor. 15:35-58.
“Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.’ 20 The Jews replied, It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days? 21 But the temple he had spoken of was his body.”
“Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
Right now Jesus is in heaven, eternally to be both God and man (1 Tim. 2:5; Col. 2:9).
This is important because Jesus is the High Priest forever:
“where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek,” (Heb. 6:20).
A spirit cannot be a high priest, only a man can do that. Furthermore, Jesus always lives to make intercession for us “Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them,” (Heb. 7:25).
The concept of the Trinity is well established in the Old & New testament UNLESS it goes against the grain of certain over zealous believers,but let’s be real ; if we would spend less time “Destroying our own foundations” and more time “Building upon them” we’d be better off!
A theophany is a manifestation of God in the Bible that is tangible to the human senses. In its most restrictive sense, it is a visible appearance of God in the Old Testament period often, but not always, in human form.
Some of the theophanies are found in:
1. Genesis 12:7-9–The Lord appeared to Abraham on his arrival in the land God had promised to him and his descendants.
2. Genesis 18:1-33–One day Abraham had some visitors: two angels and God Himself. He invited them to come to his home, and he and Sarah entertained them. Many commentators believe this could also be a Christophany, a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ.
3. Genesis 32:22-30–Jacob wrestled with what appeared to be a man, but was actually God. (vv. 28-30). This may also have been a Christophany.
4. Exodus 3:2–4:17–God appeared to Moses in the form of a burning bush, telling him exactly what He wanted him to do.
5. Exodus 24:9-11–God appeared to Moses, with Aaron and his sons and the seventy elders and in the transfer of leadership to Joshua (Deuteronomy 31:15).
6. Job 38–42–God answered Job out of the tempest and spoke at great length in answer to Job’s questions.
Frequently, the term, “glory of the Lord” reflects a theophany, as in Exodus 24:16-18; the “pillar of cloud” has a similar function in Exodus 33:9. A frequent introduction for theophanies may be seen in the words, “The Lord came down” as in Genesis 11:5; Exodus 34:5; Numbers 11:5; and 12:5.
Some Bible commentators believe that whenever someone received a visit from “the angel of the Lord” this was in fact the pre-incarnate Christ. These appearances can be seen in Genesis 16:7-14, Genesis 22:11-18, Judges 5:23, 2 Kings 19:35, and more.
Other commentators believe these were in fact angelophanies, or appearances of angels. While there are no indisputable Christophanies in the Old Testament, every theophany wherein God takes on human form foreshadows the incarnation, where God took the form of a man to live among us as Emmanuel, “God with us.”
THE FOLLOWING IS FROM THE COME LET US REASON WEB-SITE!
IS THE TRINITY PAGAN ?
“Many have adopted this accusation as the main complaint of hindrance to believing in evangelical Christianity. There is no other concept of God attacked more than this subject. There are many things about God that are not understood immediately, I’ve heard the same for predestination. I’ve heard it said “people don’t join the Evangelical church because they can’t understand the teaching on the Trinity”.
This is just one of many straw man arguments.
People do not come to Christ because they don’t understand the numerous doctrines. They refuse to because they cannot admit they are sinful and are in need of help outside themselves. Turning over their control to God is an act of faith. Instead faith is substituted with the carnal mind wanting to understand something from strictly a human perspective.
If I can’t fully understand it I will not believe, but this is only an excuse.
As Jesus stated in Jn.3:19-21
″ Men love darkness rather than light, they don’t come to Christ because their deeds will be exposed”.
Both Jews and Muslim’s emphatically deny that God has a Son, if one is going to find a doctrine offensive to them, I think this would be it. No one preaches the Trinity in salvation but what is preached is that Jesus is the Son of God, he is Lord. We learn about the nature of God and other basic doctrines as we grow in the faith, not before. The simple reason is we need the Holy Spirit to be our teacher in the deeper things of God.
Is the Trinity really pagan?
The pagan religions had what we call Trinity’s however on closer examination they are not the same in concept or substance.
In the same way we would not agree with all the other religions that have a strict monotheistic view of God to be embraced as the same God of the Bible. (Islam, Bahai)
The pagan concept was encapsulated with a Father, Mother, giving birth to a Son. They were three major Gods with many minor god’s as well.
Their trinity consisted of three Gods not one.
The Greek triad of Zeus, Athena, and Apollo, the Hindu triad of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva the Egyptian triad of Isis, Horus, and Sub bear no resemblance to the Biblical Trinity.
They were all separate not united as the one God and almost unanimously had a mother involved as in a heavenly family. This was really tritheism, which has more in common with Mormonism than a triune God. Anti Trinitarians make usage of the statues with three heads and saying that is our pagan God.
If one is going to discount the Trinity because of some similarities in name only and not in substance. Then maybe they should be looking at their own pagan similarities. One can still be in idolatry, if their one God is not the God of the Bible.
Anti Trinitarians make usage of the statues with three heads and saying that is our pagan God. If one is going to discount the Trinity because of some similarities in name only and not in substance. Then maybe they should be looking at their own pagan similarities. One can still be in idolatry, if their one God is not the God of the Bible.
Where did the pagans get a concept of three ?
Why not two or four ?
Where did they get the idea of a God in heaven anyway?
What about their belief in a virgin and a son, where did that originate from ?
tells us that man “from the beginning knew God.”… ‘and their foolish hearts were darkened” vs.25 “they exchanged the truth for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the creator.” When mankind fell into darkness of sin, they still retained some elements of the truth but distorted its meaning and it became lost.
As Walter Martin wrote
“In order to find out if the doctrine of the Trinity is true, we do not look to see if it resembles paganism, but to the bible, to see if God teaches it in his word.
Pagans also believe in the concept of God.
Does this mean that God must not be true?
Does that mean sleeping is wrong ?
We must not dismiss an idea merely because it is held in common with those whom we may not approve.” (the New Cults p.49)
Lets not try to find all kinds of perversions from the outside that have nothing to do with the Biblical record, let’s go to the Scripture to prove our major points.
Alexander Hislop, in his book, “the two Babylon’s”, traces the history of the practices and traditions of the Roman Catholic church. He writes on pg. 18,
“All these forms have existed from ancient times, while overcome with idolatry, the recognition of the Trinity was universal, proving how deep-rooted in the human race was the doctrine on the subject , which comes out so distinctly in Genesis”
Robert watts in New Apologetic says
“The Pagan triads are “residuary fragments of their lost knowledge of God, not different stages in a process of evolution. But evidence of a moral and spiritual degradation” (Augustus H. Strongs systematic Theology p.352)
While their are Pagan Trinity’s which can be traced back to Babylon, instead of supporting anti-Trinitarian views such as the Watchtower literature promotes, it is evidence for the triune God. Lets not try to find all kinds of perversions from the outside that have nothing to do with the Biblical record, lets go to the Scripture to prove our major points
Hislop writes that many pagan religions held to one infinite God the creator. Strict monotheism is found in Islam and a few other religions. Are we now to accept their view because God is called one (singular).
If we are to reject the concept of the triune God, a unified one, because of the pagan distortions, then we must reject much more than this. The pagan cultures also had a virgin birth and some even had a resurrection, Tammuz died and raised 40 days later. The pagan religions had a priesthood and sacrifices, this too became distorted with human sacrifices for Gods blessings. Some Pagans believed that certain gods became men.
They had Biblical symbology such as a dove, the lamb, altars, their are many religions that have distortions of the Bibles account of the flood. Are we now to reject Genesis because of their misrepresentations. They also practiced tongues ecstatic babble.
All of these are counterfeits and distortions of truth, yet we are told since they have a counterfeit Trinity, we are to reject the Biblical Trinity on the same grounds.
If you are going to do that, then you must reject all of it on the basis of it being found in some form in ancient paganism. You then annihilate the doctrine of Christ as the God/man, virgin birth, his sacrifice etc. All these are the proof of what Paul explained of what happened in history in Romans one, that mankind had a true knowledge but refused to worship him and sank into idolatry.
The God of the Bible is unique.
He is triune, which is neither polytheistic nor is it tri-theistic.
God is one in nature and is composed of three distinct eternal persons. They are one in substance with a difference in position. What makes all three the one God is that they share the same nature.
This is the simple description of the God of the Bible. There is one choice from the Bibles revelation, if one denies the tri-une God, they are either left with atheism or polytheism.
A Preliminary Examination of the Antiquity and Authenticity of
the Johannine Comma (I Jn 5:7f)
©By Jeffrey Khoo, Ph.D.
May-June 2000 FOUNDATION Magazine
FIRST JOHN 5:7-8 in the King James (Authorized) Version reads,
“For there are three that bear record (witness) 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.”
The italicized words constitute the Johannine Comma (Gk: koptein, “to cut off’).
The Comma proves the doctrine of the Holy Trinity that “There are three persons in the Godhead: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory” (Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q 6).
Why is this verse seldom used to teach the doctrine of the Holy Trinity?
Other references are often cited, but why not 1 John 5:7f ?
One will often reply, “How can I when my Bible does not have it?”
Therein lies the problem.
With 1 John 5:7f missing in so many of the modern Bible versions such as the New International Version, the Revised Standard Version and the New American Standard Bible, it is no wonder that many Christians are ignorant of this verse.
And even if they do know that this verse exists, they hesitate to use it because they have been deceived into thinking that it is not part of God’s Word.
The NIV Study Bible, for instance, says that 1 John 5:7f “is not found in any Greek manuscript or New Testament translation prior to the 16th century.” On account of this they argue that 1 John 5:7 is spurious.
It is not true that I John 5:7 is absent in all pre-16th century Greek manuscripts and New Testament translations.
The text is found in eight extant Greek manuscripts, and five of them are dated before the 16th century (Greek miniscules 88, 221, 429, 629, 636).
Furthermore, there is abundant support for I John 5:7f from the Latin translations. There are at least 8000 extant Latin manuscripts, and many of them contain 1 John 5:7f; the really important ones being the Old Latin, which church fathers such as Tertullian (AD 155-220) and Cyprian (AD 200-258) used.
Now, out of the very few Old Latin manuscripts with the fifth chapter of First John, at least four of them contain the Comma. Since these Latin versions were derived from the Greek New Testament, there is reason to believe that I John 5:7 has very early Greek attestation, hitherto lost.
There is also reason to believe that Jerome’s Latin Vulgate (AD 340-420), which contains the Johannine Comma, was translated from an untampered Greek text he had in his possession and that he regarded the Comma to be a genuine part of First John.
Jerome in his Prologue to the Canonical Epistles wrote, “Irresponsible translators left out this testimony [i. e., 1 John 5:7f] in the Greek codices.”
Edward F. Hills concluded, “It was not trickery that was responsible for the inclusion of the Johannine Comma in the Textus Receptus, but the usage of the Latin speaking church.”
This leads us to the so-called “promise” of Erasmus. Westcott and Hort advocate Bruce Metzger made this claim which became the popular argument against the Johannine Comma. He wrote, “Erasmus promised that he would insert the Comma Johanneum, as it is called, in future editions if a single Greek manuscript could be found that contained the passage.
At length such a copy was found-or made to order.”
This view against the authenticity of 1 John 5:7f is parroted by many even today.
Is this what truly happened?
H.J. de Jonge of the faculty of theology, Leiden University, an authority on Erasmus, says that Metzger’s view on Erasmus’ promise “has no foundation in Erasmus’ work. Consequently it is highly improbable that he included the difficult passage because he considered himself bound by any such promise.”
Yale University professor Roland Bainton, another Erasmian expert, agrees with de Jong, furnishing proof from Erasmus’ own writing that Erasmus’ inclusion of 1 John 5:7f was not due to a so-called “promise” but the fact that he believed “the verse was in the Vulgate and must therefore have been in the Greek text used by Jerome.”
The Erasmian “promise” is thus a myth!
It has been suggested that the Johannine Comma did not come from the apostle John himself but from an unknown person who invented and inserted it into I John 5 so that Christianity would have a clear Trinitarian proof text. Up until this point in time, no one has been able to identify this mysterious person who tried to “help” the church.
He is probably a fictional character.
In any case, it is highly unlikely that 1 John 5:7f is the work of a well-meaning interpolator.
When we look at the text itself, the phrase. “the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit,” naturally reflects Johannine authorship (cf. John 1:1, 14). An interpolator would rather have used the more familiar and perhaps stronger Trinitarian formula-”the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” “The Word” or “The Logos” of 1 John 5:7f points to the apostle John as its source, for it is distinctively John who used the term “the Word” to mean “Christ” in all his writings.
There is nothing in the Johannine Comma that goes against the fundamentals of the Christian faith.
It is thoroughly Biblical and theologically accurate in its Trinitarian statement.
There is no good reason why we should not regard it as authentic and employ it as the clearest proof-text in the Scripture for the doctrine of the Holy Trinity.
Jeffery Khoo, Ph. D., serves as academic dean and lecturer at Far
Eastern Bible College in Singapore.