Debunking Erasmus’ inclusion of 1 John 5:7 (also known as the Johannine Comma or Comma Johanneun) into the third
edition of the Textus Receptus is considered a trump card in the discrediting of both Erasmus and his text.
The treatment of the subject in this chapter will be brief and will deal
only with the most frequently made allegation that the comma should not be included in scripture, because it is not included
in ancient manuscripts.
The passage in question says, “For there are three that bear record
in heaven, The Father, The Word and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
Below, is a false statement which shows up in almost any online search
concerning 1 John 5:7:
“… it is not present in any manuscripts (Greek
or otherwise) dating prior to the 16th century, and is not present in the passage as quoted by any of the early Church fathers—even
though they would have had plenty of reason to quote it in the Trinitarian debates, had it really existed back then….”
Now, anyone who has researched the subject at all knows this is simply
not true. In this instance, “Wikipedia” is certainly guilty of presenting false evidence as fact, but because
they carry the title “encyclopedia,” there are those who automatically assume they must be both correct and impartial,
when in fact it is quite obvious neither of these assumptions is true.
If the comma was not present in any manuscript dating prior to the 16th century, how could...:
· It have been found in a Syriac manuscript
dated from around A.D. 170 (2nd century), or in a Latin manuscript from around 200 A.D. (3rd century)?
· It have been included in resolutions
made at the Counsel of Carthage in A.D. 415?
· It have been quoted by Cassiodorus
in A.D. 480 ?
· 400 Bishops have quoted, and
discussed it at length, in their defense of the trinity in A.D. 484?
Cyprian wrote about it around
A.D. 250, “The Lord says, ‘I and the Father are one’ and likewise it is written of the Father and the Son and the
Holy Spirit, ‘And these three are one.’”
The truth is, that 1 John 5:7 has been found in manuscripts and quotes
dating from the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th centuries. So any claims it can’t
be found before the 16th century are both irresponsible and usually--maliciously--false.
When Erasmus was presented with proof that the comma was not only
seen in antiquity, but that it had also been very widespread, he was convinced that it was indeed part of the true
Word of God and included it in the third edition of his Textus Receptus.
The translators of the King James Version were being neither irresponsible
or bowing to Trinitarian pressures when they included 1 John 5:7 in their translation. They were simply acknowledging the
facts, and the common consensus of the priesthood of believers, that from the earliest days of the church, the words
of the Johannine Comma were indeed the Word of God and were rightly attributed to the apostle John, who consistently defended—in
all of his writings—the deity, and the rightful place in the Godhead, of the Lord Jesus Christ.