the context of Cyprian's passage in the Unity of the Church using the heavenly witnesses

Steven Avery


"First John 5:7 and Greek Manuscripts"
Comment by Demian

1. Cyprian wrote several letters and treatises addressing the Novatian schism during the Decian persecution that broke out around the year 250AD. One of the issues that he got heavily involved with was the controversy on what to do with the lapsed, those who had capitulated under persecution, but repented and want to return to the fellowship of the church. He defended that those Christians who had repented should be received back into the fellowship of the church. On the other hand, Novatian disagreed and a schism took place between them. For Cyprian, it was a grievous error to destroy the unity of the church by means of a schism like that. In his first treatise, he argues for the unity of the church from several different angles. One of them was the essential unity of the divine persons. He then goes on to quote two passages that affirm the essential unity of the persons of the Trinity. The first passage is: "I and the Father are one" (Jn 10:30). There is no allegory here, right? He is simply quoting scripture to prove his point. But, then he found another place where it is written of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit that these three are one. Where do you think that he could possible have found this idea written in his bible? He found some place where it is written of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit that these three are one (1 Jn 5:7). I am going to give you the quote so you can see for yourself what he is doing in context:

The Lord says, “I and the Father are one;” (Joh 10:30) and again it is written of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, “And these three are one.” (1Jn 5:7) And does any one believe that this unity which thus comes from the divine strength and coheres in celestial sacraments, can be divided in the Church, and can be separated by the parting asunder of opposing wills? He who does not hold this unity does not hold God’s law, does not hold the faith of the Father and the Son, does not hold life and salvation (Treatises of Cyprian - Tr. 1, paragraph #6)
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Steven Avery


When I read Cyprian, I could not get around the fact that he quoted 1 John 10:30 immediately before 1 John 5:7 in order to build his case. Two scriptures quoted side by side in context to prove the essential unity of the persons of the Trinity, which was part of his appeal to unity in the body of Christ. The essential unity between the divine persons of the Trinity in 1 John 5:7 is the very same argument defended by Jerome in his prologue of the catholic epistles and a little later by Fulgentius as he appeals to Cyprian's treatise saying that Cyprian was quoting those "scriptures" in his treatise. Interestingly enough, Fungentius was aware that Cyprian appealed to the essential unity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but had "Word" in his text of 1 Jn 5:7 for his public battles against the Arians.

I have more to say about 1 Jn 5:7 like why this scripture was not the go-to text by the defenders of the deity of Christ in Nicea and so on. Please, share the link so I can interact with your post and your audience.

Just do me a favor, brother. You have full authority to correct my typos. I have noticed that I have been writing too fast lately without proper attention to grammar.