Tag Archives: Comma Johanneum

Sabbatum Excerpt: Daniel Wallace Thanking Bart Ehrman for Wake-up Call

The excerpt is taken from a journal review by Daniel B. Wallace on Dr. Bart D. Ehrman’s : Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why.


Letting the public in on scholarly secrets about the text of the Bible is not new. Edward Gibbon, in his six-volume bestseller, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, noted that the Comma Johanneum, or Trinitarian formula of 1 John 5.7–8, was not authentic. This scandalized the British public of the eighteenth century, for their only Bible was the Authorized Version, which contained the formula. “Others had done [this] before him, but only in academic and learned circles. Gibbon did so before the general public, in language designed to offend.” Yet by the time the Revised Version appeared in 1885, no trace of the Comma was to be found in it. Today the text is not printed in modern translations, and it hardly raises an eyebrow.

Ehrman has followed in Gibbon’s train by exposing the public to the inauthenticity of Mark 16.9-20 and John 7.53-8.11. The problem here, though, is a bit different. Strong emotional baggage is especially attached to the latter text. For years, it was my favorite passage that was not in the Bible. I would even preach on it as true historical narrative, even after I rejected its literary/canonical authenticity. And we all know of preachers who can’t quite give it up, even though they, too, have doubts about it. But there are two problems with this approach. First, in terms of popularity between these two texts, John 8 is the overwhelming favorite, yet its external credentials are significantly worse than Mark 16’s. The same preacher who declares the Markan passage to be inauthentic extols the virtues of John 8. This inconsistency is appalling. Something is amiss in our theological seminaries when one’s feelings are allowed to be the arbiter of textual problems. Second, the pericope adulterae is most likely not even historically true. It was probably a story conflated from two different accounts. Thus, the excuse that one can proclaim it because the story really happened is apparently not valid.

In retrospect, keeping these two pericopae in our Bibles rather than relegating them to the footnotes seems to have been a bomb just waiting to explode. All Ehrman did was to light the fuse. One lesson we must learn from Misquoting Jesus is that those in ministry need to close the gap between the church and the academy. We have to educate believers. Instead of trying to isolate laypeople from critical scholarship, we need to insulate them. They need to be ready for the barrage, because it is coming. The intentional dumbing down of the church for the sake of filling more pews will ultimately lead to defection from Christ. Ehrman is to be thanked for giving us a wake-up call.

Source: The Gospel According to Bart



Biblical Nuggets: Comma Johanneum

Comma Johanneum: A textual variant in 1 John that should be excluded from the text (Gk komma, “a piece, that which is cut off”). The disputed textual variant occurs in 1 John 5:7-8 (“There are three that testify in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one. And there are three that testify on earth“) and was inserted by Erasmus into his Greek text. It was subsequently included in the King James Version. The words in italics above are not authentic and should be “cut off,” that is, not be included in the NT.[1]


[1] Arthur G. Patzia; Anthony J. Petrotta. Pocket Dictionary of Biblical Studies (pp. 26-27). Kindle Edition.


Comma Johanneum – A Critical Textual Evaluation of 1 John 5:7-8

by Satya Maharjan

1 John 5:5-12

5:7 For three are the ones testifying in the heavens: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit and these three are one.

5:8 And three are the ones testifying in {the} earth: the Spirit and the water and the blood, and {the} three 2in 3the 4one 1are.

Only the Textus Receptus contains namely the “Trinitarian Statement” [letters in bold in the verses 7 and 8]concerning “the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost (5:7),” and “And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood” (5:8). This infamous interpolation is known as Comma Johanneum or Johannine Comma. The word Comma derived from Greek work Komma, meaning a single clause or phrase with comma in Ancient Greek rhetoric.[1] It gives sense of series of additional words being inserted within the sentence. The infamous Comma was first introduced in the 16th century by humanist Desiderius Erasmus in his 3rd and later editions of the Greek New Testament Bible. The King James translation embraces the Comma subsequently claiming that they are also inspired Word of God.[2] However, internal and external evidence point to other way. Continue reading Comma Johanneum – A Critical Textual Evaluation of 1 John 5:7-8

Scripture Reading: 1 John 5:5-12

1 John 5:5-12 (Maharzan’s Literal Translation)

5 Who [and] is the one overcoming except the one believing that Jesus is the Son of God?  6 This is the one coming by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not by the water only but by the water and by the blood; and the Spirit is the one testifying, because the Spirit is the truth. 7 For three are the ones testifying, 8 the Spirit and the water and the blood, and {the} three 2in 3the 4one 1are. 9 If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater; because this is the testimony of God that he has testified concerning his Son. 10 The one believing in the Son of God has the testimony in himself, the one not believing {the} God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony which {the} God has testified concerning his Son. 11 And this is the testimony, that {the} God to us gave eternal life, and this {the} life is in his Son. 12 The one having the Son has {the} life; the one not having the Son of God does not have life.


5:7 For three are the ones testifying in the heavens: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit and these three are one.

5:8 And three are the ones testifying in {the} earth: the Spirit and the water and the blood, and {the} three 2in 3the 4one 1are.

[Old Manuscripts do not have the words in bold.  Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament and United Bible Societies’ third edition (NU-Text) and Majority Text from the traditional text omit those words in bold.]