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7There are three that testify:

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7. There are three than bear record in heaven The whole of this verse has been by some omitted. Jerome thinks that this has happened through design rather than through mistake, and that indeed only on the part of the Latins. But as even the Greek copies do not agree, I dare not assert any thing on the subject. Since, however, the passage flows better when this clause is added, and as I see that it is found in the best and most approved copies, I am inclined to receive it as the true reading. 9494     Calvin probably refers to printed copies in his day, and not to Greek MSS. As far as the authority of MSS. and versions and quotations goes, the passage is spurious, for it is not found in any of the Greek MSS prior to the 16th century, nor in any of the early versions, except the Latin, nor in some of the copies of that version; nor is it quoted by any of the early Greek fathers, nor by early Latin fathers, except a very few, and even their quotations have been disputed. These are facts which no refined conjectures can upset; and it is to be regretted that learned men, such as the late Bishop Burgess, should have labored and toiled in an attempt so hopeless as to establish the genuineness of this verse, or rather of a part of this verse, and of the beginning of the following. The whole passage is as follows, the spurious part being put within crotchets, —
   7. “For there are three who bear witness [in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one:

   8. And there are three who bear witness in earth,] the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree in one.”

   As to the construction of the passage, as far as grammar and sense are concerned, it may do with or without the interpolation equally the same. What has been said to the contrary on this point, seems to be nothing of a decisive character, in no way sufficient to shew that the words are not spurious. Indeed, the passage reads better without the interpolated words; and as to the sense, that is, the sense in which they are commonly taken by the advocates of their genuineness, it has no connection whatever with the general drift of the passage. — Ed.
And the meaning would be, that God, in order to confirm most abundantly our faith in Christ, testifies in three ways that we ought to acquiesce in him. For as our faith acknowledges three persons in the one divine essence, so it is called in so really ways to Christ that it may rest on him.

When he says, These three are one, he refers not to essence, but on the contrary to consent; as though he had said that the Father and his eternal Word and Spirit harmoniously testify the same thing respecting Christ. Hence some copies have εἰς ἓν, “for one.” But though you read ἓν εἰσιν, as in other copies, yet there is no doubt but that the Father, the Word and the Spirit are said to be one, in the same sense in which afterwards the blood and the water and the Spirit are said to agree in one.

But as the Spirit, who is one witness, is mentioned twice, it seems to be an unnecessary repetition. To this I reply, that since he testifies of Christ in various ways, a twofold testimony is fitly ascribed to him. For the Father, together with his eternal Wisdom and Spirit, declares Jesus to be the Christ as it were authoritatively, then, in this ease, the sole majesty of the deity is to be considered by us. But as the Spirit, dwelling in our hearts, is an earnest, a pledge, and a seal, to confirm that decree, so he thus again speaks on earth by his grace.

But inasmuch as all do not receive this reading, I will therefore so expound what follows, as though the Apostle referred to the witnesses only on the earth.




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