The Numerical Repetition Argument Regarding 1 John 5:7-8 (TR)

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by 1jim, Sep 13, 2005.

  1. 1jim

    1jim
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    Hello,


    Edward Hills:

    In the second place, the omission of the Johannine comma seems to leave the passage incomplete. For it is a common scriptural usage to present solemn truths or warnings in groups of three or four, for example, the repeated Three things, yea four of Proverbs 30, and the constantly recurring refrain, for three transgressions and for four, of the prophet Amos. In Genesis 40 the butler saw three branches and the baker saw three baskets. And in Matt. 12:40 Jesus says, 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 usage, therefore, to expect that in 1 John 5:7-8 the formula, there are three that bear witness, will be repeated at least twice. When the Johannine comma is included, the formula is repeated twice. When the comma is omitted, the formula is repeated only once, which seems strange.

    http://www.godglorified.com/edward_hill.htm

    (ASV) Genesis 40:5 And they dreamed a dream both of them, each man his dream, in one night, each man according to the interpretation of his dream, the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt ... 9 And the chief butler told his dream to Joseph ... 12 And Joseph said unto him, This is the interpretation of it: the three branches are three days; 13 within yet three days shall Pharaoh lift up thy head, and restore thee unto thine office ... 16 When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good, he said unto Joseph, I also was in my dream ... 18 And Joseph answered and said, This is the interpretation thereof: the three baskets are three days; 19 within yet three days shall Pharaoh lift up thy head from off thee, and shall hang thee on a tree ...

    (ASV) Proverbs 30:15 The horseleach hath two daughters, [crying], Give, give. There are three things that are never satisfied, [Yea], four that say not, Enough: 16 Sheol; And the barren womb; The earth that is not satisfied with water; And the fire that saith not, Enough. ... 18 There are three things which are too wonderful for me, Yea, four which I know not: 19 The way of an eagle in the air; The way of a serpent upon a rock; The way of a ship in the midst of the sea; And the way of a man with a maiden. ... 21 For three things the earth doth tremble, And for four, [which] it cannot bear: 22 For a servant when he is king; And a fool when he is filled with food; 23 For an odious woman when she is married; And a handmaid that is heir to her mistress. 24 There are four things which are little upon the earth, But they are exceeding wise: 25 The ants are a people not strong, Yet they provide their food in the summer; 26 The conies are but a feeble folk, Yet make they their houses in the rocks; 27 The locusts have no king, Yet go they forth all of them by bands; 28 The lizard taketh hold with her hands, Yet is she in kings' palaces. 29 There are three things which are stately in their march, Yea, four which are stately in going: 30 The lion, which is mightiest among beasts, And turneth not away for any; 31 The greyhound; The he-goat also; And the king against whom there is no rising up.

    (ASV) Amos 1:1 The words of Amos, who was among the herdsmen of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel, two years before the earthquake. ... 3 Thus saith Jehovah: For three transgressions of Damascus, yea, for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof ... 6 Thus saith Jehovah: For three transgressions of Gaza, yea, for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof ... 9 Thus saith Jehovah: For three transgressions of Tyre, yea, for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof ... 11 Thus saith Jehovah: For three transgressions of Edom, yea, for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof ... 13 Thus saith Jehovah: For three transgressions of the children of Ammon, yea, for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof ... 2:1 Thus saith Jehovah: For three transgressions of Moab, yea, for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof ... 4 Thus saith Jehovah: For three transgressions of Judah, yea, for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof ... 6 Thus saith Jehovah: For three transgressions of Israel, yea, for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof ...

    (ASV) Matthew 12:40 for as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (The number three is repeated.)

    (ASV) Matthew 26:61 and said, This man said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days. (The number three is not repeated.)

    (ASV) Matthew 27:40 and saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself: if thou art the Son of God, come down from the cross. (The number three is not repeated.)

    (ASV) Matthew 27:63 saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said while he was yet alive, After three days I rise again. (The number three is not repeated.)

    (ASV) Mark 8:31 And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders, and the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. (The number three is not repeated.)

    (ASV) Mark 9:31 For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered up into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and when he is killed, after three days he shall rise again. (The number three is not repeated.)

    (ASV) Mark 10:34 and they shall mock him, and shall spit upon him, and shall scourge him, and shall kill him; and after three days he shall rise again. (The number three is not repeated.)

    (ASV) Mark 14:58 We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another made without hands. (The number three is not repeated.)

    (ASV) Mark 15:29 And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ha! Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, (The number three is not repeated.)

    (ASV) John 2:19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. (The number three is not repeated.)

    (ASV) John 2:20 The Jews therefore said, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou raise it up in three days? (The number three is not repeated.)

    (ASV) 1 John 5:8 For there are three who bear witness, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and the three agree in one. 9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for the witness of God is this, that he hath borne witness concerning his Son. (The number three is not repeated.)

    (NKJV) 1 John 5:7 For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one. 9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son.

    I don’t see Mr. Hills’ correlation between 1 John 5:7-8 (TR Greek text) and Genesis 40, Proverbs 30 and Amos 1-2. Whereas the numerical repetition “three and three” is expressed within the single context of the witness that Jesus is the Son of God in 1 John 5:7-8 (TR Greek text), I don’t see any such repetition within a single context either in Genesis 40 or in Proverbs 30 or in Amos 1-2. In Genesis 40, the number “three” is expressed once within each of two different contexts, the two contexts being the two dreams of the butler and the baker. In Proverbs 30, the number “four” (“three ... even four” is “four”) is expressed once within each of five different contexts, the five contexts being (1) things which are never satisfied, (2) thing which are too wonderful, (3) things which the earth cannot bear, (4) things which are small but wise and (5) things which are stately in their going. In Amos 1-2, the number “four” (“three ... even four” is “four”) is expressed once within each of eight different contexts, the eight contexts being (1) the transgressions of Damascus, (2) the transgressions of Gaza, (3) the transgressions of Tyre, (4) the transgressions of Edom, (5) the transgressions of the children of Ammon, (6) the transgressions of Moab, (7) the transgressions of Judah and (8) the transgressions of Israel, all of whom (Damascus, Gaza, Tyre, Edom, the children of Ammon, Moab, Judah and Israel) will be punished with an earthquake in two years’ time.

    The only passage cited by Mr. Hills in which a numerical repetition occurs within a single context, other than 1 John 5:7-8 (TR Greek text), is Matthew 12:40, where the duration of Christ’s death is stated to be “three days and three nights,” the single context being the duration of Christ’s death. Therefore, if Mr. Hills’ assertion that “it is in accord with biblical usage ... to expect that in 1 John 5:7-8 the formula, there are three that bear witness, will be repeated (expressed) at least twice” were to be validated, then, as far as I can see, it could be validated only on the basis of Matthew 12:40, as neither Genesis 40 nor Proverbs 30 nor Amos 1-2 expresses a numerical repetition within a single context. However, an examination of the facts reveals that Matthew 12:40 does not validate Mr. Hills’ assertion, as explained below.

    The duration of Christ’s death is discussed in Matthew 12:40, 26:61, 27:40 and 27:63, Mark 8:31, 9:31, 10:34, 14:58 and 15:29 and John 2:19 and 2:20 (quoted above). In the first verse, it is said to last “three days and three nights.” In the other ten verses, it is said to last “three days.” The subject of discussion can’t be any more of a “solemn truth” in the first verse than it is in the other ten verses, because the subject of discussion is exactly the same thing in all eleven verses, namely, the duration of Christ’s death. If a discussion of such a “solemn truth” called for a repetition of the number “three,” certainly there would have been a repetition of the number “three” in all eleven verses instead of just the one verse. This observation demonstrates the likelihood of a numerical repetition in a discussion regarding a given “solemn truth” to be one out of eleven, or 9.09%. If this observation is applied to 1 John 5:8, then one can conclude that there is a 9.09% likelihood that the number “three” in 1 John 5:8 would be repeated. This observation is inconsistent with Mr. Hills’ assertion that “it is in accord with biblical usage ... to expect that in 1 John 5:7-8 the formula, there are three that bear witness, will be repeated (expressed) at least twice.”

    In 1 John 5:8, John says, “Because three are the ones who bear witness ....” It appears to me that this is a reference to the three-witness model of Deuteronomy 17:6 and 19:15. In none of the Biblical references to this three-witness model is the number “three” repeated; in each reference, it is simply stated once, as shown below.

    (ASV) Deuteronomy 17:6 At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is to die be put to death; at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.

    (ASV) Deuteronomy 19:15 One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall a matter be established.

    (ASV) Matthew 18:16 But if he hear [thee] not, take with thee one or two more, that at the mouth of two witnesses or three every word may be established.

    (ASV) 2 Corinthians 13:1 This is the third time I am coming to you. At the mouth of two witnesses or three shall every word established.

    (ASV) 1 Timothy 5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, except at [the mouth of] two or three witnesses.

    (ASV) Hebrews 10:28 A man that hath set at nought Moses law dieth without compassion on [the word of two or three witnesses:

    (ASV) 1 John 5:8 For there are three who bear witness, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and the three agree in one. 9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for the witness of God is this, that he hath borne witness concerning his Son.

    John’s reference in 1 John 5:8—“three are the ones who bear witness”—to the three-witness model of Deuteronomy 17:6 and 19:15 appears to me to be confirmed in 1 John 5:9, where John goes on to say, “If we accept the witness of men (an apparent reference to the three-witness model), the witness of God is greater.”

    In my opinion, what John means in 1 John 5:8, where he says, “... three are the ones who bear witness, the Spirit and the water and the blood, and the three are for the one thing,” is explained in verse 5:9, where he says, “If we accept the witness of men, the witness of God is greater.” Here, John appears to me to be comparing “the witness of God,” which is comprised of “the Spirit and the water and the blood,” to “the witness of men” (the three-witness model of Deuteronomy 17:6 and 19:15), which is comprised of “the (three) ones who bear witness,” hence the masculine gender (in reference to persons) of this phrase. When John says that “the three are for the one thing,” he appears to me to mean that “the Spirit and the water and the blood” comprise “the witness of God,” the “one thing” for which “the three” witnesses are intended being “the witness of God” that Jesus is His Son.


    Jim
     
  2. billwald

    billwald
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    THEORIGIONALTEXTHADNEITHERPUNCTUATIONSPACINGORLOWERCASELETTERSINTHESAMESTYLEOFTHISPOSTTHISISONE REASONWHYBIBLEONELYDOESNOTCOMPUTEANINERRANTTEXTISMEANINGLESSWITHOUTANINERRANTTRANSLATIONANDINTERPRETATION
     
  3. 1jim

    1jim
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    Hi billwald,

    Whether the Greek was written in uncial (uppercase print) or miniscule (lowercase print), whether spaced or not, whether punctuated or not, the same words were used to express the same meaning. So I don’t see your point. I especially don’t see your point with regard to how it relates to this thread, as it is not the Greek but the interpretive logic—whether one should expect numerical repetition in 1 John 5:8—that is addressed in this thread.

    Jim
     

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