1 John 5:7

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Pastor Larry, May 21, 2002.

  1. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    I know that we have had topics about this before but I want to bring it up again since I have recently studied it (this passage (5:5-12) was the paragraph for my Sunday morning message last week). In addition, Thomas referenced this passage in another thread so it prompted me even further to bring it up.

    Let me say at the outset that I will not engage in discussion about whether or not the MVs deny the trinity by excluding this verse. I will neither engage in discussions about whether or not this verse compromises inspiration or the like. This is purely about the comma's contribution to the argument of the passage and whether or not the grammatical argument is a strong argument in favor of its inclusion. I ask the moderator's to delete anything that does not deal with one of these two issues. (Start your own thread if you want to discuss something else:))

    Thomas recently said:
    Several things need to be considered.

    1. The argument of the passage. John is arguing that three things testify that Jesus is the Son of God: the water (baptism), the blood (crucifixion/atoning work), and the Spirit (illuminator). The Johannine Comma does not contribute in any way to this argument. John is not teaching that the Father, Son, and Spirit bear witness to the Son but rather that the Father bears witness through the Spirit to the Son. So in the argument of the passage, the Comma has no bearing. John is not arguing for "heavenly proof" but rather for the earthly proof... the water and the blood and the Spirit's convincing ministry. In the next verse, John does talk about the Father's witness but does not there include the Spirit and the Son.

    2. The grammar seems to lay out this way. There are three witnesses (masc plural participle): the Spirit (neut sing), the water (neut sing), and the blood (neut sing); these three (masc plural) are in agreement. It seems that the masc plurals (witnesses and three) are the summation of the three individual witnesses. John is thus saying: There are three witnesses (masc plural participle) ... these three (masc plural nom) are in agreement. The three neuters are a parenthetical statement. If Thomas is right, he would have to explain why "three" is masc plural describing the three neuters. In other words, you have the same problem with "three" that you do with "witnesses"--they are both masculine plural forms referring to neut singular objects.

    Other examples of this "grammatical error" (as Thomas would call it) are

    1. Acts 8:10 -- "this" is neuter clearly referring to a man;
    2. Rom 2:14 -- "These" is a neuter with a masc participle and a masc relexive pronoun;
    3. 1 Cor 6:10-11 -- "these things" is a neuter pronoun referring to the previous list of sins which are all in masculine form.

    Clearly, the constructio ad sensum is permissable in Greek and accounts for this very thing.

    In addition, Thomas's argument does not seem to help for according to Scrivener's text (1894), the masculine participle is present before "the Father, the Word, and the Spirit" (masc, masc, neut) and again before the "Spirit, the water, and the blood" (neut, neut, neut). In other words, Thomas's solution that the Johannine Comma is necessary gramatically does not appear to have dealt with the problem. It still exists--the three neuters are still preceded by a masc plural participle.

    3. Additionally, in first century culture, masculine witnesses were necessary to substantiate a point. Therefore, for John the masculine participle may be "subtly indicating ... that the Spirit, water, and blood are all valid witnesses" (Wallace, Grammar, 332).

    The mass of evidence against its inclusion is still massive and the grammatical argument is easily accounted for. The statement is contrary to the point of the passage and seems very out of place.

    Thomas, when you get a chance, tell me what I have missed here from your perspective.

    [ May 21, 2002, 10:16 AM: Message edited by: Pastor Larry ]
     
  2. DocCas

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    1 John 5 can be outlined as:</font>
    • 1-5 Faith in Christ</font>
    • 6-12 Evidence that He has come, with a statement of His identity (deity) in verses 7 and 8.</font>
    • A restatement of faith in Christ 13-19</font>
    • A restatement of evidence that He has come, with another statement of His identity (deity) in verse 20.</font>
    The argument from grammar is so strong that most will not deal with it at all. Three masculine adjectives τπεισ οι μαρτυρουντεσ are forced, without the comma, to refer to three neuter substantives το πνεθμα και το υδωπ και το αιμα.
    The serious grammatical problem is not something modern KJVOs have sucked out of their thumbs. It has been around for 1500 years, first being noted by Eugenius, and expounded upon by Dabney, Matthaei, and even Tregelles did not have an answer to the arguement from grammar!

    Now let's look at those who have supported the existance of the comman, historically: </font>
    • Cyprian 250 AD quoted it</font>
    • Priscillian 380 AD quoted it</font>
    • Jerome 385 AD quoted it</font>
    • Fulgentius 508 quoted it</font>
    • Cassiodorus 520 quoted it</font>
    • Isidore of Seville 625 AD quoted it</font>
    • Jaqub of Edessa 700 AD quoted it</font>
    • Thomas Aquinas 1260 strongly defended it</font>
    • John Wycliffe 1380 strongly defended it</font>
    • Edward Lee 1535 defended it</font>
    • Lopez de Zuniga 1550 strongly defended it</font>
    • John Calvin 1550 strongly defended it</font>
    • Theodore Beza 1600 strongly defended it</font>
    • Elias Hutter 1600 strongly defended it</font>
    • Johann Gerhard 1620 strongly defended it</font>
    • John Cotton 1640 strongly defended it</font>
    • Henry Hammond 1650 strongly defended it</font>
    And I could list over 60 more but I am tired of typing! so I will just hit the high points, John Owen, Peter Allix, Fuller, Middleton, Hezel, Hales, Butler, Burgess, ToddGaussen, Nolan, Wiseman, Forster, Birks, Besser, Samson, Vaugh, Dabney, Armfield, and I am not even up to the 20th century yet!
    No intellignet disucssion of the comma is complete without first having read "A History of the Debate Over 1 John 5:7-8" by Michael Maynard. Although somewhat pendantic, he has collected every historical cite, statement, manuscipts, etc., both pro and con regarding the comma. Read it, and we will talk.

    [ May 21, 2002, 01:54 PM: Message edited by: Thomas Cassidy ]
     
  3. Pastor Larry

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    My question though is that even with the comma included, it seems you still have this problem because those three masculine words in their second use still refer to three neuter nouns in v. 8. In other words, even with the comma you still have the problem. BTW, I am looking at Scrivener's 1894 text which I presume you agree gives the correct TR reading.

    Scrivener's has,
    v. 7 -- masculine plurals referring to the Father (masc), Son (Masc), Spirit (neut);
    v. 8 -- repeats the masculine plurals (identical phrase as above) referring to three neuters. Both clauses read treis eisin oi marturountes. I cannot see where the "grammatical problem" is solved by the inclusion.

    Additionally, the other verses I give, give clear uses of the construction that you say is incorrect. Are they also incorrect?

    I wonder if the grammatical argument is not addressed by most because it is a non-issue. There are clear precedents of similar constructions elsewhere and the inclusion doesn't do away with it.
     
  4. DocCas

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    If we leave the verse as it stands in most Greek texts, we are given "witnesses" in verse 7 which are masculine, with three neuter nouns in verse 8, which are then said to agree as one. In other words, by the rule of Greek syntax known as the "power of attraction" which says that the masculines among a group control the gender of a neuter connected with that group, we are given three masculine witnesses which are supposed to agree as one neuter witness. This is a grammatical impossibility. The genders don't match. On the other hand, if you accept the Comma as a part of the text, you would have two masculine subjects (the Father and the Word) to agree with the masculine witnesses.
     
  5. DocCas

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  6. Pastor Larry

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    I understand what you are saying this far. But let me quote the relevant part from Scrivener's TR:

    v. 7 -- oti treis eisin oi marturountes (masc plur nom part) en to ourano, ho pater (masc sing nom), ho logos (masc sing nom), kai to agion pneuma (nuet sing nom); kai outoi hoi treis (masc plur nom) eisi. -- In this verse, you are arguing that the masc plural participle is masc plural because of the two masc nouns (father and logos). So far so good.

    v. 8 -- kai treis eisin hoi maturountes (masc plural nom part ... just like above) en te ge, to pneuma (neut sing nom), kai to udor (neut sing nom), kai to aima (neut sing nom), kai hoi treis (masc plur nom) eis to en eisin. -- My point is that in this verse in the TR, you still have the "grammatical impossibility" that you have in the eclectic text (and most Greek mansucripts); you simply have injected a phrase in between it. You still have a masculine plural participle with the neuter nouns.

    My question is, If this masc plur nom part with neuter nouns is a grammatical impossibility, why is it still in the TR? It doesn't seem like you have done away with the problem.

    Perhaps you are missing my point or I am missing yours. Hopefully we will make contact soon.

    Also what about the verses listed above where the "grammatical impossibility" is clearly testified to?

    [ May 21, 2002, 07:56 PM: Message edited by: Pastor Larry ]
     
  7. DocCas

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    Because the TR contains two masculine nouns, 'ο πατηρ, 'ο λογοσ.

    The article in verse 8 is masculine. Thus it reads "το πνευμα (neuter), το υδωπ (neuter), and το αιμα (neuter) . . . and οι τρεισ (masculine!!) εισ το εν εισιν." Consequently three neuter nouns are being treated as masculine. That is a grammatical impossibility, unless there are masculine nouns between the neuter nouns and the masculine article which are the mechanism called the "power of attraction" to "attract" the masculine article. And the TR contains two masculine nouns, 'ο πατηρ, 'ο λογοσ. They are the mechanism for changing the article. If you remove the masculine nouns you introduce a grammatical error into the text.
     
  8. Pastor Larry

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    I appreciate the time you are taking here. I am continuing this because I am trying to figure out exactly what you are arguing the grammatical problem is.

    In v. 8, where are the masc nouns between the neuter nouns and the masculine article? Pater and logos are in v. 7 and they have their own masculine nominative there (hoi treis en eisi).

    I have just compared v. 8 in the TR with vv. 7-8 in the UBS4 and they are identical with the exception of the first word (kai vs. hoti) and the inserted phrase (en te ge). If it is a grammatical impossibility in the UBS4, why isn’t it a grammatical impossibility in the TR? In v. 8 in the TR, there are no masculine nominatives to attract the masculine article yet it still has the masculine article.

    Perhaps I can illustrate it in a chart that would make clear the problem I am seeing here (If the chart transfers to the post).

    v. 7 mp art – mp part – ms nom – ms nom – ns nom – mp nom
    v. 8 mp art – mp part – ns nom – ns nom – ns nom – mp nom

    Yet I understand you to say that the construction of v. 8 is a grammatical impossibility because three neut nouns cannot be governed by a masc article (hoi treis). However, if v. 8 is a possibility, then the grammatical need for the Comma disappears and we can let the text stand as the Greek evidence indicates.

    Any clearer as to my question?

    [ May 22, 2002, 09:43 AM: Message edited by: Pastor Larry ]
     
  9. TomVols

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    Just a quick note saying how much I am enjoying this. Keep up the good work gentlemen! Thanks to all who are respecting the theme of the thread. Since all my questions are presently being asked, I'll go back to my corner and sit quietly :D
     
  10. DocCas

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    Larry, one last time then I am going to quit before this thread goes the same direction as every discussion we have ever had seems to go.

    The masculine nouns in verse 7 are the mechanism to allow the masculine article in verse 8. Without the masculine nouns in verse 7, which the UBS leaves out, there is no mechanism to "attract" the masculine article, which, without the masculine nouns of verse 7, must, according to the rules of Greek grammar, be neuter. It is not neuter in either text, therefore only one text is grammatically correct, the TR.
     
  11. TomVols

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    Larry,
    Can I ask you to try to clarify one more time what you're asking? I think I know, but I'd like to have you try to iron it out. I know what Thomas is saying and I think he'd be better able to answer your question if the question was a bit clearer. Then again, maybe my flu has clouded my brain :D But can you clarify a bit? It seems as if you're arguing that the supposed "grammatical problem" is a problem regardles of the reading. I'm at a disadvantage because most of my language works are at the office

    [ May 22, 2002, 01:38 PM: Message edited by: TomVols ]
     
  12. Pastor Larry

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    Let me ask you this: At the end of v. 8, it says, hoi treis (these three).... What do you think "hoi treis" (masculine) refers to? In the verse, it refers to the three neuters (udor, haima, pneuma). The two masculines, pater and logos, have their own masculine article in v. 7.

    I do not understand how you are arguing that two masculines in the first set of three drives a masculine reference to the second set of three neuters when there is so much interventing material between. Furthermore, I do not understand how the hoi marturountes (masc plural) in v. 8 (TR) governs three neuter nominatives. It seems clear that if you are right, that participle should be a neuter participle.

    In other words, I think you are missing my point Thomas. There are two masculine articles: One in v. 7 summing up the pater, logos, hagios pneuma and one in v. 8 summing up the udor, haima, pneuma. I agree with you that that first masculine article (hoi treis in v. 7)is driven by the two masculines. However, it seems a stretch to say that the second hoi treis which clearly refers to three neuters is driven by the masculine nominatives. They are two far removed and there is a clear intervening antecedent.

    Perhaps others are clearly understanding you. I certainly am not.
     
  13. TomVols

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  14. Pastor Larry

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    Yes, that is exactly what I am saying. The grammatical problem is there no matter which you choose. If you choose the TR, you have three neuter nouns governed by a masc participle and a masc nominative. The masc nouns to which Thomas is referring are a part of the previous clause with its own masc particple and masc nominative.

    In verse 7, you have the following: masc plur particple, masc sing nom, masc sing nom, neuter sing nom, masc plural articular nominative. Thomas is saying that the masc plural articular nominative is masc because there are two masculine nominatives. So far so good.

    In v. 8, you have the following: masc plural participle, neut sing nom, neut sing nom, neut sing nom, masc plural articular nominative. Here Thomas appears to be saying that the masc plural articular nominative at the end is masculine by virtue the two masc sing nominatives in v. 7, which have their own masc plural articular nominiative.

    The masc plural nominative in vv. 7 and 8 clearly refers to the previous list of three things. In v. 8, that list is neuther and is referred to by the masc plural articular participle.

    The grammer of v. 8 in the TR is the same as the grammar of vv. 7-8 in the UBS. I cannot see how two masc nominatives already governing a masc plural nominative, then govern another masc plural nominative with which the masc nominatives have nothing to do.

    Any clearer?

    Thomas is right in that no one in the commentaries addresses this issue. I wonder if it is not because it is a "non-issue."
     
  15. Pastor Larry

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    Thanks for that link Tom. That is what I thought but I was trying to ascertain more about exactly what Thomas was saying because I wasn't (am still am not) fully understanding how he is getting his point.
     
  16. DocCas

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    Tom, the link you gave is terrible. It is so filled with error, misdirection, and just plain idiocy that it is useless.

    There are some good links to the facts regarding the grammatical problem in 1John 5:7-8, including honest statements of the arguement's antiquity, dating clear back to Gregory of Nazianzus in 385 AD, who discusses the grammatical construct and states,
    Gregory is objecting to verse 7 m:pl = 8 n+n+n, which is the equation when 1 John 5:7 is omitted. Gregory of Naziazus objected to the omission of 1 John 5:7 on the basis of the grammatical argument in 385 AD.

    Again, beware of anything by Gary Hudson. He was a full fledged Ruckmanite for many, many years, and when he discovered he had been deceived by Ruckman, and was just as guilty as Ruckman for not checking his sources, he reacted by swinging clear over to the position of Doug Kutilek who not only hates the Byzantine textform with a terrible passion, but denies the inspiration of the bible in anything other than those passages relating to salvation. Kutilek said,
    I don't think that is the position either one of you wish to champion!
     
  17. TomVols

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    Ok. Care to elaborate?

    Interesting theory regarding Kutilek & Hudson. Hudson is a grad of Luther Rice, where you are shot if you ever go liberal after graduating from there :D All the links on Kutilek and Hudson's page link to churches and ministries which hold to inerrancy. From where do you get that Kutilek quote, btw? Here is one from Kutilek on the website:
    Also, I have not read where he veraciously attacks the Byz mss. Can you cite?

    Even if one or both holds to a less than orthodox view of inerrancy, I'd still like to see your refutation of the article.

    [ May 22, 2002, 03:51 PM: Message edited by: TomVols ]
     

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