The original texts of the Bible do not contain errors because they were inspired by God, but we cannot say the same about the copies that were made later or the translations that have been made of the latter. Translators are human, so it is inevitable that their own religious tendencies have influenced their work. Generally, such errors are relatively small, but in some cases there are big mistakes that cause erroneous teachings and doctrines.

One of those great mistakes is found in 1 John 5: 7-8. For more than a thousand years since the Scriptures were completed, the second part of verse 7 and the first part of verse 8 did not appear in the Greek manuscripts. Around the year 500 this fragment appeared in the Latin version known as the Vulgate. Apparently, this insertion was an attempt to strengthen the belief in the theological concept of the Trinity, which was being debated at the time. The words that were added are the following: “in heaven: the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. And there are three who bear witness in earth”.

Until the year 1300, these words did not appear in any of the Greek New Testament manuscripts. “All the textual evidence is against 1 John 5: 7. Of all the Greek manuscripts, there are only two that contain it. These two manuscripts are dated very recent, one from the 14th or 15th century and the other from the 16th century. Both clearly show that this verse was translated from Latin “(Neil Lightfoot, How We Got the Bible. , 1963, pp. 57-58).

It appears that monks who copied the New Testament text in the 14th or 15th century added this verse from the Vulgate. Even the Jerusalem Bible recognizes that this verse is not authentic and does not contain it. The following note appears at the bottom of the corresponding page: “The mss [manuscripts] of the Vulg. [Vulgate] add the following phrase: they bear witness: in heaven: the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one; and there are three who bear witness in earth: the Spirit, etc.”

The verse in 1 John 5 should say, as hundreds of the oldest Greek texts and most modern translations say: “For there are three that bear witness: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree”. This refers to the testimony that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (verses 5-6).


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