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1 John 5:7 is often used in defense of the trinity doctrine, and yet it is widely known to be an interpolation, and not an inspired verse. On this page we will share quotes from our Adventist pioneers regarding this verse, clearly showing their view on it and the truth of the matter.

REVIEW AND HERALD, September 2, 1873, p.95 - "Remarks on 1 John 5: 7 - A CORRESPONDENT asks for light on this passage. Dr. Clarke comments on this at considerable length ... The following extracts will give the reader a good idea of the argument on this subject."

"But it is likely this verse is not genuine. It is wanting in every MS. of this epistle written before the invention of printing, one excepted, the Codex Montfortii, in Trinity College, Dublin: the others which omit this verse amount to one hundred and twelve."

"It is wanting in both the Syriac, all the Arabic, Ethiopic, the Coptic, Sahidic, Armenian, Slavonian, &c., in a word, in all the ancient versions but the Vulgate; and even of this version many of the most ancient and correct MSS. have it not. It is wanting also in all the ancient Greek fathers; and in most even of the Latin."

"The words as they exist in all the Greek MSS. with the exception of the Codex Montfortii, are the following:-"

"6. This is he that came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. 7. For there are three that bear witness, the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree in one. 9. If we receive the witness of man, the witness of God is greater, &c."

"The words that are omitted by all the MSS., the above excepted, and all the versions, the Vulgate excepted, are these:- [In heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one: and there are three which bear witness in earth.]"

"To make the whole more clear, that every reader may see what has been added, I shall set down these verses, with the inserted words in brackets:- 6. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. 7. For there are three that bear record [in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one. 8. And there are three that bear witness in earth,] the Spirit, and the water, and the blood, and these three agree in one. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater, &c.' Any man may see, on examining the words, that if those included in brackets, which are wanting in the MSS. and versions, be omitted, there is no want of connection; and as to the sense, it is complete and perfect without them; and, indeed much more so than with them."

"It is wanting in the first edition of Erasmus, A. D. 1516, which is properly the editio princeps of the Greek text. It is wanting also in his second edition 1519, but he added it in the third from the Codex Montfortii. It is wanting in the German translation of LUTHER, and in all the editions of it published during his lifetime. In short, it stands on no authority sufficient to authenticate any part of a revelation professing to have come from God."

BIBLE ECHO AND SIGNS OF THE TIMES, June 3, 1889, p.171 - "BY the disciples of Athanasius, those who hold with the ultra-trinitarian view, this passage has been relied upon as furnishing their strongest evidence. But a remarkable fact has in late years been brought out of obscurity in reference to its authenticity."

"Concerning this remarkable interpolation the emphatic Diaglott says; 'These words concerning the heavenly witnesses do not occur in the writings of any of the Greek authors earlier than the 4th century; nor are they cited by any of the early Latin fathers even when the subjects on which they were writing would have led them to appeal to their authority. They are therefore evidently spurious. The Latin Fathers do not quote it even where it would have greatly strengthened their arguments; and where, had it existed, it might have been most naturally expected."

REVIEW AND HERALD, August 11, 1885, p.499 - "The most important verbal change coming under my notice is found in 1 John 5:7,8, which in the authorized version reads, '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, the water, and the blood; and these three agree in one.' In the revised version we have, 'For there are three that bear witness, the spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree in one;' the remainder of the text being a well-known fraudulent interpolation in the interest of the doctrine of the trinity."

REVIEW AND HERALD, January 19, 1892, p.38 - ",The question respecting the genuineness of the passage concerning the 'three heavenly witnesss' (1 John 5:7) is no longer an open one, there being nothing of any real value to plead in its favor. It is not found in any Greek manuscript written before the invention of printing, with a single unimportant exception. It is not found in any of the older Versions except the Vulgate, and even the older copies of that (before the eighth century) do not contain it; and it is never quoted or referred to by the Greek Fathers, and not certainly by any of the Latins. During the celebrated Arian controversy, which engaged all the learning of its age, and was extended over a long period of time, no writer refers to it, as would certainly have been the case had it been in existence."

"The way in which the words, under these circumstances, have crept into the common version of our English Bible, is stated as follows:- The words as a part of the text, began to appear in the Latin MSS. (of the Vulgate) in the eighth or ninth century. In the sixteenth century they were found in most copies of the Vulgate, and of course they appear in the translations made from that Version. It is first found in Greek in the famous Complutensiam Polyglot, prepared under the auspices of Cardinal Ximenes (A.D.1504 - 1514). The Greek MSS. used in constructing this work were of recent date and of but little authority, and the compilers in not a few cases, corrected the Greek text from the Vulgate, and by that means the text in question was carried over from the Latin of the Vulgate to the Greek of the Polyglot. Erasmus in his earlier editions rejected them, and so also did Aldus Mauntius in the Venetian edition of 1522 ... Luther never admitted the words to any of his translations; but they appear in the German Bible printed in Zurich in 1529, mutilated in part and in small print. ... The text came into our English Bibles from the Vulgate, which was the authority almost explicitly followed by the earliest translators; and their versions have been followed in all other generally accepted versions, though the best English scholars of the century have been agreed in rejecting them, as not sustained by any competent authority."

So we can clearly see that our pioneers rejected 1 John 5:7 and had very good reason for doing so.