Brian Winter refutes the Gary Hudson grammatical gender argumentation (now used by Bill Brown)

Steven Avery


Earlier I pointed out that Gary Hudson was the first one who made the blunder of trying to use the masculine and feminine noun verses as a counter to the grammatical argument.


Syriac Peshitta, KJVO "pure" line, and the Comma

Incidentally, the error of using this Corinthians verse to make a false counter against the grammatical argument goes back many years. In addition to Bill Brown, we have Gary Robert Hudson and a fellow named Jim with many blogs and posts. Hudson goes back to 2002, maybe earlier, so he was likely the first.

Gary Hudson in 2002
An Answer to Dabney, Hills, Strouse, & Cloud by Gary R. Hudson

The irregular agreement of the masculine here with three neuter antecedents Dabney termed “an insuperable and very bald grammatical difficulty.” Irregular gender agreement, however, is never a “very bald grammatical difficulty” in Greek. It may be seen, for example, in I Cor. 13:13, where the antecedents, “faith, hope, and love” (feminine genders) are followed immediately by “these three” (neuter, “tauta”)


Brian Winter was well aware of the grammatical gender problem in the short Greek text that we are discussing. Brian was one of the first writers to refute modern contra grammatical error. Including what is now the Bill Brown 16 Blunder Verses that were placed in CARM and in his thesis. Here are two posts from Brian that are preserved by the wonders of the Internet.


Early evidence, Quotes, 1 John 5:7, etc... (April 5, 2001)

Here in 2001 Brian quoted the Robert Lewis Dabney argumentation (1820-1898).
Brian omitted the source, presumably an oversight.


Brian's writing in 2002 on BVDB was more important, because afawk Brian was the first one to refute the type of blunder now made by Bill Brown. Brian actually did a far better job than that of Jeffrey Nachimson some years later, c. 2005.

And I will add some bold and formatting/spacing and also some quote marks that are in the Gary Hudson article quoted by Brian. And an ellipsis .... where Brian abbreviated the text from Gary Hudson (quite properly.) The full Gary Hudson text can be seen in a url at bottom.

The Trinity - Page 4 - May 8, 2002 -

Kristi, the following sites are filled with misinformation, half-truths, overstatements, and outdated arguments, as well as arguments that have long since been refuted:

The Textual Problem in 1 John 5:7-8 /Daniel B. Wallace, Th.M., Ph.D. Associate Professor of New Testament Studies Dallas Theological Seminary. (I hate reading Wallace. He's terrible at even getting his facts straight).

Gary Hudson's "Grammatical Argument Refuted" (none of his arguments are relevant; one he refutes on his own; another is through failure to note the context of a word in a verse. And the grammatical difficulty was noted by Gregory of Nazanzinus in the 4th century. He's left with nothing to stand on.)

Kutilek's A Simple Outline on 1 Jn 5.7 (his treatment of the ancient versions is downright deceptive--even including versions which don't contain the book of 1 John, much less 1 John 5:7)

I've not read the rest (or have, but don't really feel compelled to address). The problem is that little attention has been payed to the subject in the last century, and yet there really is a wealth of information available--vastly more than what is commonly sighted. I'm terribly bogged down right now, but I'd wish to post a couple refutations of these once I get a chance...What you will find on the internet is largely just a reiteration of things stated, and argued upon ad nauseum.


I was hoping to have some time to write it out a second time--so the following information is from a copyrighted (2001) work of mine--so I'm kind of nervous about having it lifted: (SA: quoted under fair use, for the purpose of analysis.)

Nevertheless, Gary Hudson, in a very long, repetitious, smug, and abrasive work entitled 1 John 5:7 Grammatical Argument Refuted: An Answer to Dabney, Hills, Strous, & Cloud, claims that,

Any "known rule of syntax" about "the masculines among the group" that "control the gender over a neuter connected with them" is completely irrelevant here. .... John in his Gospel narrative uses the masculine ekeinos (he) to refer to the neuter, Spirit in John 16:13.

On this reasoning, he attempts to dismiss the mismatched gender completely apparently failing to note that the beloved Apostle John is specifically employing the masculine demonstrative pronoun ekeinos here to agree with the masculine parakletos, Comforter, in John 16:7. While ekeinos is often placed in apposition to the noun it is intended to modify, it can also be used as a substantive which ought to be clear in this place where the genders would otherwise be mismatched.

Even in the preceding verses (such as auton in v. 7 and ekeinos, as a substantive, in v. , the noun referred to by each pronoun is clearly and unambiguously the masculine parakletos, Comforter, and so it should be understood contextually in vv. 13 and 14. To pneuma tes aletheias (the Spirit of truth), ought then to be understood parenthetically. Hence, its placement in apposition to the Spirit here is contrary to Hudsons argument proving the rule rather than refuting it. Accordingly, the rest of his long, repetitious argument now begins to fall apart.
Additionally, in that same work, he notes that,
"It may be seen, for example, in I Cor. 13:13, where the antecedents, faith, hope, and love (feminine genders) are followed immediately by these three (neuter, tauta). Matt. 23:23 proves the point further, that judgment (feminine), mercy (masculine), and faith (feminine) are the implied antecedents of the demonstrative pronoun these (neuter) ought ye to have done."
In this argument, hes trying to prove that the constructions f + f + f = n and f + m = n disprove this argument which has absolutely nothing to do with the grammatical syntax at hand (m + m + m + n + n + n = m[pl]). It would be superfluous for me to address these issues. The argument hes attempting to refute deals with masculines controlling the neuters of a group, not neuters in connection with the feminine gender, or masculine controlling the feminine gender, or feminine controlling the neuter gender, or any other construction one could conceive of (real or imagined).
SA: Brian then switches to the question of why scribes did not correct the mss., and then the Middleton grammatical argument, that was used by Thomas Strouse and attacked by Gary Hudson.


Here is the blunder argumentation to which Brian was responding.
I JOHN 5: “GRAMMATICAL ARGUMENT” REFUTED: An Answer to Dabney, Hills, Strouse, & Cloud (2002)
by Gary R. Hudson
Bill Brown is still trying to find a way to defend the same blunder argumentation that was refuted by Brian in 2002. :)

Steven Avery

To be fair to Gary Hudson, he makes only two significant errors in his paper.

1) using the two irrelevant verses 1 Corinthians 13:13 and Matthew 23:23 as his analogy refutation
2) using the Johannine paraclete verses to argue for masculinizing the spirit of the three (earthly) witnesses

However, correcting these two errors eviscerates and shreds his argument. :)
Putting those errors aside, Gary Hudson makes some solid points against Dabney et al.
He deserves “college try” credit.

Steven Avery

Gary Hudson Article
I JOHN 5:7
An Answer to Dabney, Hills, Strouse, & Cloud
by Gary R. Hudson

Much has already been posted on this website regarding the I John 5:7 issue (see Kutilek, “A Simple Outline Regarding I John 5:7,” et al.). There is, however, one further question that needs to be addressed on this subject. The last ditch effort of KJO advocates to retain the “Johannine Comma” in our Bibles as “genuine” is their most popular “grammatical difficulty” argument. This is heralded by them as “unanswerable” and one of the “most convincing of all reasons” for including the disputed verse in Greek which most scholars recognize as an aberration from the Latin.


As far as we have been able to discover, this argument was first suggested by Robert L. Dabney in 1871. Aware of the fact that the manuscript (external) evidence for the verse is extremely scant, Dabney introduced a new argument in its favor based upon what he believed to be an important internal consideration:

“The internal evidence against this excision [removing I John 5:7], then, is in the following strong points; First, if it be made, the masculine, article, numerical, and participle, hoi treis marturountes, are made to agree directly with three neuters--an insuperable and very bald grammatical difficulty. But if the disputed words are allowed to stand, they agree directly with two masculines and one neuter noun, ho pater, ho logos, kai to hagion pneuma where, according to a well known rule of syntax, the masculines among the group control the gender over a neuter connected with them. Then the occurrence of the masculines treis marturountes in the eighth verse agreeing with the neuters. Pneuma hudor and haima may be accounted for by the power of attraction, so well known in Greek syntax, and by the fact that the pneuma, the leading noun of this second group, and next to the adjectives, has just had a species of masculineness superinduced upon it by its previous position in the masculine group.”
Robert Louis Dabney, The Works of Robert L. Dabney, Vol. I, cited in A History of the Debate Over I John 5:7-8, by Michael Maynard, pp. 200-201, as “The Doctrinal Various Readings of the New Testament Greek,” pp. “377-82” (Gk. transliteration ours).

Are Dabney’s words here really the “strong points” he purports them to be? He claims first of all that if v. 7 be removed, the “masculine, article, numerical and participle hoitreis marturountes are made to agree with three neuters,” i.e., spirit, water, and blood in v. 8. But, “hoi treis marturountes” is not even the proper arrangement of these words anywhere as they appear in the passage. “Treis eisin hoi marturountes” (“three are the ones bearing witness”) is the proper wording of the phrase Dabney refers to. The irregular agreement of the masculine here with three neuter antecedents Dabney termed “an insuperable and very bald grammatical difficulty.” Irregular gender agreement, however, is never a “very bald grammatical difficulty” in Greek. It may be seen, for example, in I Cor. 13:13, where the antecedents, “faith, hope, and love” (feminine genders) are followed immediately by “these three” (neuter, “tauta”). Matt. 23:23 proves the point further, that “judgment (feminine), mercy (masculine), and faith” (feminine) are the implied antecedents of the demonstrative pronoun “these (neuter) ought ye to have done.”

Any “known rule of syntax” about “the masculines among the group” that “control the gender over a neuter connected with them” is completely irrelevant here. In v. 6, the “Spirit” has been introduced as the witness bearer, and John in his Gospel narrative uses the masculine ekeinos (“he”) to refer to the neuter, “Spirit” in John 16:13. There is no reason why John would not use a masculine participle here where the third Person of the Godhead was “connected” with the two other neuters in I John 5:8. Dabney, here, thus destroys his own argument by correctly stating that “pneuma” (Spirit) is “the leading noun of this second group” in v. 8--that being the case, John would certainly ascribe a masculine gender to the entire “group” since he has already been known to ascribe a masculine gender to the Holy Spirit in John 16:13.

Dabney is also quite incorrect in suggesting that “Spirit” (“pneuma”) needed a “species of masculineness superinduced upon it by its previous position in the group,” namely, by its position in the Trinitarian formula. John never needed to “superinduce masculineness” on the Holy Spirit when he referred to Him with a masculine pronoun in John 16:13. Dabney’s argument is exegetically flawed.

Another point is in order that is almost entirely overlooked by KJOnlys who parrot Dabney’s “argument” about the “insuperable and very bald grammatical difficulty” of leaving out I John 5:7. Why did the Greek scribes who transmitted and copied multiple hundreds of Greek manuscripts of I John allow such a “grammatical difficulty” to remain in the text if it was so “insuperable” and “very bald?” In addition to that, why did not the original “corrupter” of the passage change hoi marturountes to the neuter plural ta marturounta, which would have made it “agree with three neuters” and completely covered his tracks?--If he could have “removed an entire verse” so successfully, he certainly could have made this change unnoticed and thus avoided the “very bald grammatical difficulty.” Greek-speaking copyists down through the centuries likewise had this opportunity but left both the omission and the genders stand in virtually every Greek manuscript of the passage, and their reason for doing so was obvious: the “grammatical difficulty” did not exist.

Edward F. Hills

The next “grammatical defense” for the inclusion of I John 5:7, no doubt borrowed somewhat from Dabney, came from Edward F. Hills:
“In the third place, the omission of the Johannine comma involves a grammatical difficulty. The words spirit, water, and blood are neuter in gender, but in I John 5:8 they are treated as masculine. If the Johannine comma is rejected, it is hard to explain this irregularity. It is usually said that in I John 5:8 the spirit, the water, and the blood are personalized and that this is the reason for the adoption of the masculine gender. But it is hard to see how such personalization would involve the change from the neuter to the masculine. For in verse 6 the word Spirit plainly refers to the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity. Surely in this verse the word Spirit is “personalized,” and yet the neuter gender is used. Therefore, since personalization did not bring about a change in verse 6, it cannot be fairly treated for a reason for such a change in verse 8. If, however, the Johannine comma is retained, a reason for placing the neuter nouns spirit, water, and blood in the masculine gender becomes readily apparent. It was due to the influence of the nouns Father and Word, which are masculine. Thus the hypothesis that the Johannine comma is an interpolation is full of difficulties.”
Edward F. Hills, The King James Version Defended!, pp. 211-212.

Most of Hills’ argument has already been answered in the above response to Dabney. Hills first wants to know why spirit, water, and blood are “treated as masculine” in v. 8 if there is no masculine “Father” and “Word” to supply as antecedents. We have already dealt with this above in our remarks about (1) Greek irregular gender agreement, and (2) John’s other references to the Spirit with a masculine pronoun. Secondly, however, Hills sets up a straw man about spirit, water, and blood being “personalized” by some and relates how “personalization” failed to change the gender to masculine in v. 6. He is perhaps correct in saying this argument is not consistent, but he overlooks his own inconsistency by failing to note John’s other treatments of the Holy Spirit with a masculine gender.

A. T. Robertson, in remarking on the use of ekeinos in John 16:13, says,
“Note ekeinos (masculine demonstrative pronoun), though followed by neuter pneuma in apposition” (Robertson’s Word Pictures).

According to Robertson, pneuma is in “apposition” to ekeinos in John 16:13. “Apposition,” according to the dictionary, when used in grammar, means “the placing of a word or expression beside another so that the second explains and has the same grammatical construction as the first” (Webster’s New World Dictionary). Thus, “the Spirit” (neuter) explains “he” (masculine) in John 16:13.

Furthermore, in John 16:14, ekeinos (“he”) is used once again and has the direct antecedent of “the Spirit of Truth” in verse 13. Jesus said, “He [ekeinos--“the Spirit (neuter) of Truth”] shall glorify me” (verse 14). Robertson remarks:

“Christ is both the way and the Truth (14:6) and the Holy Spirit is the Guide who shows the way to the Truth (verse 14)” (ibid., referring to John 16:14).

Trinitarian Bible Society and David Cloud

David W. Cloud, a King James Only advocate and member of Waite’s “Dean Burgon Society,” has a summary of an article from the Trinitarian Bible Society on his website that uses the grammatical argument favoring I John 5:7. Cloud presents his summary as follows: “The following is summarized from Discussions of Robert Lewis Dabney (The Banner of Truth Trust, 1967), by the Trinitarian Bible Society, 217 Kingston Road, London, SW19, 3NN England.” Thus, we find most of Dabney’s arguments repeated which have already answered above (“an insuperable and very bald grammatical difficulty,” “the masculines among the group control the gender,” “the power of attraction, well known in Greek syntax,” etc.). The TBS only rubber-stamps Dabney. The material here is no different than what we have already dealt with in the foregoing directly from Dabney himself.

Thomas Strouse and David Cloud

As we continue to browse David Cloud’s website for some original thought on a I John 5:7 “defense” we find him providing none, but simply echoing the standard KJO “party lines.” One would expect to find at least something original on this from Cloud, especially when he states, “OUR PRIMARY PURPOSE IS TO PROVIDE INFORMATION TO ASSIST PREACHERS IN THE PROTECTION OF THE CHURCHES IN THIS APOSTATE HOUR” (emphasis his). But, what “information” on I John 5:7 does Cloud himself “provide?“ Regarding I John 5:7, he has only “assisted” with material that “preachers” could have found for themselves from the same sources that Cloud consults.

Cloud cites more “information” for us on “the grammatical argument” from Dr. Thomas Strouse as follows, “The following is excerpted from A CRITIQUE OF D. A. CARSON’S THE KING JAMES VERSION DEBATE by Thomas Strouse, 1980, Tabernacle Baptist Seminary, 717 N. Whitehurst Landing Rd., Virginia Beach, VA 23464.” Under “THE GRAMMATICAL ARGUMENT,” Strouse simply repeats Hills (already refuted above), regarding the “Spirit” being “personalized” as the “weak argument,” and throws a little Dabney into the mix about “the power of attraction principle” (also discussed above). So far, nothing new is presented from Strouse on this.

Then, Strouse adds this final word: “Moreover, the words ‘that one’ (to hen) in verse 8 have no antecedent if verse 7 is omitted, [Marshall calls this construction ‘unparalleled,’ p. 237] whereas if verse 7 is retained, then the antecedent is ‘these three are one’ (to hen).” But, Strouse is incorrect in insisting that “to” must be strictly understood in the since of “that” because “to” simply means “the.” “To” is a neuter definite article, and simply means “the”-something neuter. This neuter article directly modifies the neuter numeral “hen,” meaning “one.” “To” in v. 8 neither “that” nor does it take any “antecedent.” Rather, it directly modifies the numeral “one” it immediately precedes (“the one”). The four words in Greek, eis to hen eisin (“into the one are”), necessarily form an idiomatic phrase which together mean, “are in agreement.”

A Recent “Grammatical Convention"

Out of nowhere came a circulated email a month ago carrying the above title from a King James Only by the name of Scott Jones. Jones attempted what turned out to be a new (but short lived) ploy with the “grammatical argument.” He claimed that I Cor. 13:13 was not analogous to I John 5:8 because “tauta” (neuter) in I Cor. 13:13 was “an isolated demonstrative pronoun.” To prove his point, he quoted William D. Mounce as follows: “Demonstratives can be either pronouns or adjectives. If they are functioning as pronouns, they are in the isolated position, which means they have nothing to modify” (Mounce, Basics of Biblical Greek, p. 104). Jones further cited Matt. 23:23, again for “tauta,” and claimed that since it was a “demonstrative pronoun” it was “automatically in the isolated position” and “does not modify any antecedents.”

What Mr. Jones did was to play the game of “bait and switch.” Mounce did not say in the above quote that the “demonstrative pronoun” never has implied “antecedents” in its context. The fact that a demonstrative can function in the isolated position is true in both Greek and English. For example: “Those who went to sleep were rested”-- “those” can mean “those persons,” “those children,” etc., functioning as isolated. But, if “children” were under discussion as the subjects, “those” would have implied antecedents in the immediate context. Mr. Jones wants to declare “tauta” in the “isolated position without antecedents” in I Cor. 13:13, which it is not when it has the clear antecedents faith, hope, and love in the immediate context. The Matt. 23:23 passage using “tauta” only serves to prove the point further, not functioning as “isolated,” but having the clear antecedents of judgment, mercy, and faith. Jones has apparently forgotten or is ignorant of the fact that pronouns are substitutes for nouns and may have antecedents implied or stated in the context--exactly the case we find in both I Cor. 13:13 and Matt. 23:23.

Mr. Jones went on to argue that “hoi” in I John 5:8 is “a definite article” and is not the same as “a demonstrative pronoun” and that we “bible correctors don’t know the difference.” But, Jones himself failed to note two uses of “hoi” in v. 8: the first “hoi” is not referring to “masculine antecedents” but is directly and grammatically tied to the nominative plural masculine participle it modifies, “marturountes” (“the ones bearing fitness”); and, the second “hoi” is functioning with demonstrative force, and is substituted for “marturountes,” reading, “and these (the ones bearing witness) three into the one are.” Yes, “hoi” is a “definite article” and “tauta” is a “demonstrative pronoun,” but articles may sometimes retain their original “demonstrative force” as the second “hoi” does in I John 5:8 (see Dana & Mantey, A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament, Macmillan, 1955, pp. 128, 136, 139, which give evidence of the article’s “frequent use in the papyri purely as a demonstrative pronoun,” p. 136). Again, no “grammatical difficulty” here, but a grammatical usage completely and syntactically consistent in Greek.


In conclusion, we would here offer the passage, I John 5:6-8, as it reads in the critical Greek text, based upon the best evidence from the vast majority of witnesses, and as it is both grammatically and exegetically correct:

(6) Houtos estin ho elthon di hudatos kai haimatos, Yesous Christos, ouk en to hudati monon all en to hudati kai en to haimati kai to pneuma estin to marturoun, hoti to pneuma estin he aletheia. (7) hoti treis eisin hoi marturountes, (8) to pneuma kai to hudor kai to haima, kai hoi treis eis to hen eisin (United Bible Societies 3rd Edition Greek New Testament).

Literal Translation:

(6) This is He Who came 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 bearing witness, because the Spirit is the truth. (7) Because three are the ones bearing witness, (8) the Spirit and the water and the blood, and these three into the One are.

Thus wrote the original inspired pen of the Apostle John concerning God’s threefold testimony to the Lord Jesus Christ. The “gnostic heresy,” which developed in the first century of the Christian church, tried to divorce the material nature of “Jesus” from the “Christ” idea, which had compelled John to write, “Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son” (I John 2:22; see also I John 4:2; 5:1). The gnostics, on the other hand, rejected the idea of the “Christ” dying on the cross, so John reinforces his argument in 5:6-8. John’s appeal is clearly to the Spirit’s witness together with the witness of the “water and blood” which came forth from the very wounded side of our Saviour as He hung on the cross (John 19:34). Concerning this, John wrote in the narrative, “And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe” (John 19:35, NKJV).

The expression in v. 6, “He who came...Jesus Christ” has a significant place in John’s Gospel narrative (John 1:11, 15, 27). When John the Baptist “bore witness of Him,” he said, “He who comes after me...,” i.e., after John the Baptist, who also “saw Jesus coming unto him” and who was told to recognize Jesus as “He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining” (John 1:15, 29, 33). As A. T. Robertson points out, “These two incidents [i.e., “water” at baptism and “blood” at the cross] in the Incarnation are singled out because at the baptism Jesus was formally set apart to his Messianic work by the coming of the Holy Spirit upon him and by the Father’s audible witness, and because at the Cross his work reached its culmination (‘It is finished,’ Jesus said)” (Robertson’s Word Pictures).--Indeed, and in that grand culminating work of Christ, water and blood issued from our Saviour’s pierced side, giving their coronation witness to Him Who is Himself Incarnate Deity!

Thus, the singular testimony of the Spirit and the water and the blood are set forth by John as “the one” sufficient proof of Jesus as the Incarnate Son of God. This threefold testimony led John to conclude, “If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for the witness of God is this, that He has borne witness concerning His Son” (I John 5:9, NASV). In the next verse (v. 10), “The one who believes has the witness in himself”--namely, the Holy Spirit of God. HE is the “Witness Bearer” within the child of God Who also has “borne witness” to Jesus Christ in unison to the sacred testimony of “the water and the blood.”

To introduce the “Trinitarian Formula” into verse 7 is to make an aberration into the passage that diverts the reader’s attention away from the point John is making. John is not arguing or discussing the Doctrine of the Trinity anywhere in the context. It is thus impossible to do an accurate and consistent exegesis of the passage as it stands in the Textus Receptus!

I John 5:6-8 in the critical text presents no “grammatical difficulty” whatsoever, and is completely consistent both in exegesis and in Greek grammatical structure. It is a wonder that KJO advocates, who arbitrarily assert the “infallibility” of the KJV’s English, would assume credence to their arguments by appeals to “the Greek.” Alas, their “Greek appeals” only turn out more misconceptions, misrepresentations, flawed exegesis, and falsifications of the facts.
Last edited: