Andy Ansell - May, 2021“ὅτι τρεῖς εἰσιν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες εν τῷ οὐρανῷ, ὁ πατήρ, ὁ λόγος, καὶ τὸ Ἅγιον Πνεῦμα• καὶ οὗτοι οἱ τρεῖς ἕν εἰσιν”
“For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one”
Since 1881 and the Revised Version, this verse reads: “οτι τρεις εισιν οι μαρτυρουντες”, “For there are three that testify”. Which is continued in verse 8, “το πνευμα και το υδωρ και το αιμα και οι τρεις εις το εν εισιν”, “the Spirit and the water and the blood, and these three agree in one”
In the reading that excludes these words in verse 7, it reads: "οτι τρεις εισιν οι μαρτυρουντες”, which is in the masculine, though "το πνευμα και το υδωρ και το αιμα", are neuters. Some argue that because John mentions the Holy Spirit, so the masculine is used because the Spirit is Personal. However, when John speaks of the Witness of the Holy Spirit in verse 6, he writes, “το μαρτυρουν”, which is in the neuter, because "τὸ πνεῦμά" is neuter. Why would John, who had already mentioned the Witness of the Holy Spirit, in verse 6, using the neuter, then use the masculine in verse 7? It can only be because of "ο πατηρ ο λογος", two masculines and "τὸ πνεῦμά", grouped with them.
In verse 8, with the reading, “και οι τρεις εις το εν εισιν”, “and the three agree in one”. How do we account for John’s use here, of the Greek definite article, “το”? It is clear here is used for renewed mention. There is no problem when we read verse 7, “καὶ οὗτοι οἱ τρεῖς ἕν εἰσιν”, (and these Three are one), where we have “ἕν” (one) used a previous time, and the article in verse 8, is referring back to this use in 7. However, when these words in verse 7 are removed, there is a distinct problem with the Greek, as it stands in verse 8. Bishop Thomas Middleton, in his excellent work on the Greek Article, had this to say on the article in verse 8;
“But the difficulty to which the present undertaking has directed my attention, is of another kind : it respects the Article in εις το εν in the final clause of the eighth verse : if the seventh verse had not been spurious, nothing could have been plainer than that το εν of verse 8, referred to hen of verse 7 : as the case now stands, I do not perceive the force or meaning of the Article” (The Doctrine of the Greek Article Applied to the Criticism and Illustration of the New Testament, page 441)
Because the “το εν” in verse 8, refers back to that in verse 7, that their “meanings” do not have to be identical, as Dr Plummer argues in the Cambridge Greek Testament. As Dr Green says in his grammar on “renewed mention”, “Sometimes the reference is implicit, the second expression, bearing the article, being equivalent to the former, though not identical” (Handbook to The Grammar of The Greek Testament, page. 181).
SA: This is the new section.
Then we have verse 9
“If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son” (KJV)“η μαρτυρια του θεου ην μεμαρτυρηκεν περι του υιου αυτου” (the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son)
Here we have the relative pronoun, “ἥν” (which), as found in the Received Greek Text. This has been corrupted to the conjunction, “ὄτι”. The former reading is used by Tertullian in the early 3rd century, in the Latin, but Tertullian translated himself from the Greek text. Of the latter reading, B F Westcott, who prefers the reading with the conjunction, says, “The second ὅτι is ambiguous… No one of the explanations is without difficulty” (Commentary on 1 John). And, A T Robertson, says that this reading is, “a harsh construction” (Word Pictures). With the reading “ἥν”, this takes us back to the “αὕτη”, in the verse, “THIS is the Witness of God”, which is to the Heavenly Witnesses in verse 7. That the relative pronoun is the correct reading, is confirmed by verse 10, “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that (ἥν) God gave of his Son”. The only Witnesses that God the Father has given, concerning Jesus Christ, is the Witness that we have in the words of verse 7. In verse 6 we have the Witness of the Holy Spirit, concerning Jesus Coming in the flesh, which is again confirmed in verses 7 and 8. Verses 9 and 10 speak of the Witness of the Father,
Also posted on the James Snapp page