What happened to 1 John 5:7


#1

I was researching the Trinity to defend the Catholic position to a pentecostal friend of mine. I found a couple of tracts on Catholic Answers, God in Three Persons was one of them.

Fulgentius of Ruspe refers to 1 John 5:7:
“And there are three who give testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost. And these three are one.” (Douay-Rheims version only)

This same passage is not found in other versions. I had an RSV-CE version I was looking at, and it did not appear. I check the New American, not there. New Jerusalem, again, that passage does not exist. What happened to this mention of the Trinity in these other translations?

Douay-Rheims: 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 which testifieth, that Christ is the truth. 7 And there are three who give testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost. And these three are one. 8 And there are three that give testimony on earth: the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three are one.

RSV-CE: 6 This is he who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water only but with the water and the blood. 7 And the Spirit is the witness, because the Spirit is the truth. 8 There are three witnesses, the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree.

NAB: 6 This is the one who came through water and blood, Jesus Christ, not by water alone, but by water and blood. The Spirit is the one that testifies, and the Spirit is truth. 7 So there are three that testify, 8 the Spirit, the water, and the blood, and the three are of one accord.

NJ: 6 He it is who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with water alone but with water and blood, and it is the Spirit that bears witness, for the Spirit is Truth. 7 So there are three witnesses, 8 the Spirit, water and blood; and the three of them coincide.


#2

That text is not found in earlier manuscripts. The oldest known citation is in a fourth-century Latin treatise entitled Liber apologeticus.


#3

Article on the Comma Johanneum


#4

Which means what for the Douay-Rheims version of the Bible?


#5

Most translators prefer the older manuscripts.


#6

The NAB was written using c sources considered most reliable. We have more ancient documents to consult now than were to be had when the D-R was written. Sometimes, the notes of priests were incorporated into copies of Scripture. So, the more modern translations are more accurate because they are able to compare many more sources from more times and places.


#7

The Douay-Rheims is a translation of the Latin Vulgate. The Church, in a decree of the Council of Trent, said this about the Vulgate:

Moreover, the same sacred and holy Synod,—considering that no small utility may accrue to the Church of God, if it be made known which out of all the Latin editions, now in circulation, of the sacred books, is to be held as authentic,—ordains and declares, that the said old and vulgate edition, which, by the lengthened usage of so many ages, has been approved of in the Church, be, in public lectures, disputations, sermons and expositions, held as authentic; and that no one is to dare, or presume to reject it under any pretext whatever.

It would be of interest to ask Protestants who prefers the King James Bible what they would think of the removal of this verse as it is found there as well.


#8

From my knowledge of the Challoner revision of the Douay-Rheims, I think it would be more accurate to say that it is a revision of the King James Bible according to the Vulgate. It does not read at all like the original 1582/1609 DR translation.


#9

Not at all like the original? There is no doubt Bishop Challoner utilized the King James Version—itself influenced by the original Douay-Rheims—in his work, but you exaggerate.

The original Douay-Rheims:

In the beginning God created heaven and earth.
And the earth was void and vacant, and darkness was upon the face of the depth: and the Spirit of God moved over the waters.
And God said : Be light made. And light was made.
And God saw the light that it was good: and he divided the light from the darkness.
And he called the light, Day, and the darkness, Night: and there was evening and morning, that made one day.
God also said : Be a firmament made amidst the waters: and let it divide between waters and waters.
And God made a firmament, and divided the waters that were under the firmament from those that were above the firmament. And it was so done.
And God called the firmament Heaven : and there was evening and morning that made the second day.

The Challoner revision of the Douay-Rheims:

In the beginning God created heaven, and earth.
And the earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God moved over the waters.
And God said: Be light made. And light was made.
And God saw the light that it was good; and he divided the light from the darkness.
And he called the light Day, and the darkness Night; and there was evening and morning one day.
And God said: Let there be a firmament made amidst the waters: and let it divide the waters from the waters.
And God made a firmament, and divided the waters that were under the firmament, from those that were above the firmament, and it was so.
And God called the firmament, Heaven; and the evening and morning were the second day.

The King James Version:

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.


#10

Yes, in relation to other versions, in 1576 it was the best to be had. Now we have new information and it isn’t.


#11

[/quote]

And Trent said that the Latin Vulgate may not be rejected as unauthentic under pretext.

A pretext is a reason given for a course of action which is not the real reason. A pretext saying that you are doing something for a reason which really isn’t the true reason. Any correction to individual verses in the Latin Vulgate by newer translations approved by the Church are not done under pretext, but rather for real and justifiable reason such as better scholarship, older manuscripts, etc.

The Church has never said that the Vulgate is not authentic. No one has rejected the Latin Vulgate.


#12

In trying to defend the Trinity to a pentacostal who denies the 3 Persons in one God then, I should probably not use that verse, eh?


#13

You are debating a Oneness Pentecostal.

You can also add:

[bibledrb]John 14:25-26[/bibledrb]

[bibledrb]John 15:26[/bibledrb]

[bibledrb]1 Corinthians 2:13-16[/bibledrb]

Plus the Councils of the Church :)


#14

Probably not, unless you want to get into an argument about which translation is valid. I have learned that it is often best to meet people where they are, and unless they use a wildly inaccurate version of the Bible such as the Jehovah’s Witness New World Translation, then go with what they are familiar with.

For most people however, I have learned that arguing individual Bible verses is really an exercise where no one wins, and is often just a big waste of breath on both sides.

***We have to act in such a way that others will be able to say, when they meet us; this man is a Christian, because he does not hate, because he is willing to understand, because he is not a fanatic, because he is willing to make sacrifices, because he shows that he is a man of peace, because he knows how to love. **

  • St. Josemaria Escriva*

The best way to convert is to show people by your life that you are a Christian, and they will be attracted to you like moths to a flame. When the world is raging and everyone else is in a state of despair or panic, and you go about your work with an air of calmness and in a state of peace, people will notice. They will want to be like you, and they will ask how you do it.

Then is the time to answer, “I have the sacraments.”

-Tim-


#15

I’m not aware that decrees of Church councils have expiration dates.


#16

[quote="TimothyH, post:11, topic:312866"]
And Trent said that the Latin Vulgate may not be rejected as unauthentic under pretext.

A pretext is a reason given for a course of action which is not the real reason. A pretext saying that you are doing something for a reason which really isn't the true reason. Any correction to individual verses in the Latin Vulgate by newer translations approved by the Church are not done under pretext, but rather for real and justifiable reason such as better scholarship, older manuscripts, etc.

The Church has never said that the Vulgate is not authentic. No one has rejected the Latin Vulgate.

[/quote]

Because the Council taught authoritatively the Vulgate is authentic, any reason for rejecting it is by definition a pretext. And the Council taught any pretext is out of bounds, not just claims of inauthenticity.


#17

[quote="Julia_Mae, post:6, topic:312866"]
The NAB was written using c sources considered most reliable. We have more ancient documents to consult now than were to be had when the D-R was written. Sometimes, the notes of priests were incorporated into copies of Scripture. So, the more modern translations are more accurate because they are able to compare many more sources from more times and places.

[/quote]

How sure are you that we have more ancient documents now than what St. Jerome had when he wrote the Vulgate? As far as I know, St. Jerome made his translation from the best Greek copies available to him at that time. Modern translators do not even have access to those same copies that were available to him!

There is a theory among modern biblical scholars that 1 John 5:7 was missing from the original Greek text, and that it was merely inserted by somebody who wanted to provide a scriptural basis for the Catholic belief in the Blessed Trinity. However, that theory is just that - an unverified theory. The truth is, a deletion could have occurred rather than an insertion. Why, is it not possible that the verse was actually there in the original epistle of St. John, and that it was purposely deleted by some copyist (who happened to have some leanings for the Arian heresy) in those so-called "earlier manuscripts"?

Let us remember that the original epistles are now gone. What we have are old copies, some of which contain the verse, and others don't. There is no way to verify actually which copy is more accurate. The earlier copy is not necessarily the more accurate. In addition, the earliest copies available to us today may not be earlier than the copies that St. Jerome based his translation on. So, which copy is more accurate?

In this issue I prefer to side with the resources and scholarship of St. Jerome. He spoke biblical Greek fluently, and knew the context of the words in a degree that would be difficult to match in our time. Also, he had access to more books and manuscripts than those that are available to us today.

Many scholars argued that the alleged verse was not quoted by the Church Fathers. Again, how did they know that? We don't have all the writings that had ever been written by the Church Fathers. Only a few of them survived the ravages of time. The fact is, the Church Fathers defended the Blessed Trinity eloquently. Tertullian, for example, did not directly quote 1 John 5:7. But in his treatise Against Praxeas, Ch. 25, he said that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit - distinct divine Persons - that *these three are one *(essence). It is remarkable that he used almost the same language employed by St. John! Could it be because he read it from St. John's epistle so many times, as they were read in the Churches? So, as early as the close of the second century Tertullian was teaching and defending the Trinity, for it was the content of the gospels and the epistles. Knowing how close Tertullian was to the Age of the Apostles, I don't find it difficult to believe that verse 7 is authentic. In my opinion, it is more likely that the verse was deleted from, rather than inserted into, the text of the original epistle.

For Tertullian's treatise, see this: newadvent.org/fathers/0317.htm


#18

You may use that verse, but be sure you are quoting it from the King James Version, which protestants accept.


#19

Yes, I’m exaggerating, but Challoner purged much of the unusual and Latinate English from the DR to the point where it does not retain in my eyes the original flavor, not to mention all the notes.

"And “THE WORD WAS MADE FLESH, and dwelt in us (and we saw the glory of him, glory as it were of the only-begotten of the Father) full of grace and verity.”

Compare with Challoner’s.

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”


#20

Thank you for all of your replies. I asked him what his preferred version of the Bible is, and he said, "Oh, King James by far!" So I think I will use the verse in my reply to him. I'll do it subtly, though. I'll include it, but I won't point it out with a "See! See! See! Look, I told you!" type of response. It seems to be the type of verse that hits you over the head when you read it, especially if you deny the Trinity.

The guy I'm talking to has been a friend since the 1980s. His background is that he believed in God & Jesus but was never formally part of any Christian religion. He wasn't a church-goer. He married a pentecostal maybe 15 years ago & was baptized in her church. (I learned a few days ago that he was not baptized previously.) I don't know much about that faith other than they are not too keen on Catholics, and they speak in tongues.

Years ago, not long after he joined the pent. church, I asked him if he believed in the Trinity, and he said no. I pointed out Jesus' command to baptize in the name of the Trinity, and he said that it only appears one time in the Bible. I asked, "how many times does Jesus need to say it for it to be true?" No response. Since then, I haven't really talked about religion with him.

It's only the last few years, that I've really taken the time to learn my Catholic faith well. Like other people, I'm sure, I wish I'd have learned the faith well when I was young. The profundity of the Catholic faith is infinite. I'm amazed, and the more I learn, the more I want to know, and the more I want my friends and family to convert or (if already Catholic) take the time to learn the faith better.

He said this "oneness" thing attracted him. That's good to the point he is drawn to God, but bad if he believes something that is false.

When I read the scriptures, the Trinity seems obvious to me, especially in verses that recount Jesus' baptism: He's coming out of the water, the Holy Spirit descends as a dove, the Father speaks from the heavens--one, two, three, Trinity, right? Of course, there are also the verses about "the one who sent me" and "I will send the Holy Spirit" and where Jesus prays to His Father. These, to me, sound like nonsense if Jesus is praying to Himself or says "I will send me" or "I who sent me" or the most ridiculous sounding "And Jesus being baptized, forthwith came out of the water: and lo, the heavens were opened to him: and he saw himself descending as a dove, and coming upon himself. And behold He threw His voice as a voice from heaven, saying: This is my beloved Self, and I am pleased with myself."

I pray for the Holy Spirit to speak through me, so that my friend will hear the words he needs to hear to bring him around to believing in the Trinity--and eventually the Catholic faith. His goes regularly to his pent. church, and his wife and all her family are pentecostals. I know that if he actually did come to believe, it would be a very difficult thing for him to convert & leave the pent. church given his pentecostal wife & in-laws.

I wish there were such a thing as evangelization classes.


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