the spirit, and the water, and the blood - small "s" - earthly witnesses.

Steven Avery


A capital "S" there is the largest mistake that you will find in many AV editions, since this is not meant by the apostle John as a Holy Spirit reference. (In the mangled versions, without the heavenly witnesses, anything goes.)


1 John 5:7-8
For there are three that bear record in heaven,
the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost:
and these three are one.

And there are three that bear witness in earth,
the spirit, and the water, and the blood:
and these three agree in one.


King James Bible Debate (modified a bit)
Steven Avery - Oct 14, 2014

....the capital S in some editions is a real concern, since it forces the spirit of the earthly witnesses to be the Holy Spirit (awkwardly duplicating verse 7).

Good interpretations of verse 8 can have a couple of ideas, including a reference to the crucifixion and these witnesses.

Luke 23:46
And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said,
Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit:
and having said thus,
he gave up the ghost.

John 19:30
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar,
he said, It is finished:
and he bowed his head,
and gave up the ghost.

John 19:34
But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side,
and forthwith came there out blood and water.

These last two verses covering the three component earthly witnesses and being written by John is a strong indication of interpretation strength.

Notice that the Johannine 1 John theme of bearing record comes forth in the very next verse.

John 19:35
And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true:
and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.


Even if your interpretation is different, e.g. sacramental, the Holy Spirit is not the proper understanding there.

And if I have an AV with the capital "S", I change it either mentally or by pen.
Generally, I am pro-PCE as a type of "Received Text" edition of the AV. However, beyond 1 John 5:8, differences tend toward microscopic, and I recommend first and foremost going to any good, solid AV.



Cambridge University Press 1985 Blunder
Jerry L. Hooper

LCBP - Local Church Bible Publishes - joins in error

Matthew Verschuur on Cambridge Blunderama Letter

Gail Riplinger gets this wrong:


2015 - more Brent Riggs Absurdity (village idiot special) .. on this topic

"You could print the Scriptures upside down in all block capital letters with no spaces between letters and words and would not effect the inerrancy, purity, perfectness, completeness, exactness, etc. etc. etc. of the Scriptures one iota."{%22tn%22%3A%22R9%22}

"When you mess with the book.."
To the charlatan, it does not matter whether the Bible refers to the spirit of the Lord Jesus given up at the crucifixion or the Holy Spirit given to men for regeneration. "It's all good".


AV 1611 had Spirit, Water and Blood all capitalized, equivalent to none being capitalized

This has been on Univ of Penn page, which has been down


BibleProtector, Matthew Verschuur, is for the proper small "s", however in a quirky manner.
This is one example I found.

"Also, I might add that 1 John 5:8 talks about the born again spirit, related to the conscience, which KNOWS it is born again, see 1 John 5:9. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." (John 3:6). Clearly, I do not deny the Holy Ghost's active, important, paramount role in this."


The info in Guide to The Matthew's PCE is mixed, right result, reasoning is far too unnecessarily complicated:

Guide to the Pure Cambridge Edition

The same basic ideas from Matthew you can find here:

The spirit case: an overview


Henry Thomas Armfield gives the strong explanation, that only works with the pure Bible text. (many Reformation scholars as well.)
If you have the capital "S", you have to fish around for an interpretation, because your text is wrong.

Henry Armfield Capital S Johannine Comma.jpg


From the earlier BibleProtector forum back in 2011:

1 John 5:8 - "spirit..water..blood" - lower case s


The true church of the Bible (1895)
Part II, Instruction for Jews and Unitarians
Chapter II, The Incarnation of God the Son

William Fleming

The Spirit or Holy Ghost in verse 7 must not be taken as identical with the spirit in verse 8. SS. Athanasius and Augustine teach that the spirit in the latter verse refers to the last dying breath of our Lord when He 'gave up the ghost' (John, xix. 30); and ' the water and blood' to that which issued from His side, opened by the soldier's lance (John, xix. 34), both of which prove that Jesus is truly man. On the other hand, the Father, the Word, and the Spirit in verse 7 testified at Christ's baptism that He is truly God. That testimony is given by

St. Matthew (iii. 16-17): 'And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go. (John, viii. 14).

Hence the Father, the Holy Ghost, and our Lord Himself testify to His divinity; and the water and blood, together with our Lord's last breath, bear witness to His sacred humanity

Matthew Verschuur shows 1637 Cambridge:

"1 John 5:8 correctly has lowercase “s” on the word “spirit”, as was published in 1638, 1769 and in the Pure Cambridge Edition. Most historical editions of the KJB have lower case “s” on “spirit” at 1 John 5:8, this is a scan from the 1637 Cambridge. "

1637 Cambridge Johannine Comma small S.jpg


Will Kinney brought up some counterpoint in defense of the capital "S". Will's post is here:{%22tn%22%3A%22R4%22}

And leads to this article.

“Spirit” or “spirit”?

And I have four posts after that, that I will plan on placing in here. For now, here is a key pic,
from the 1612 Confession of Faith of the English Baptists in Amsterdam! One year after the publication of the AV.

Amsertam Confession.jpg

Please note that this works ONLY with the spirit (small "s") as the context of the earthly witnesses.


Baptist Confessions of Faith
William Joseph McGlothlin

Confession of Faith of Certain English People Living in Amsterdam (1612)

6. That there are three which bear witness in the earth, the spirit, water and blood, and these three are one in testimony,
witnessing that Christ truly died (1 John v. 8) for He gave up the ghost (John xix. 30);
and out of His side pierced with a spear came water and blood (verse 34. 35),
the cover of the heart being pierced, where there is water contained.

John Smith the se-Baptist, Thomas Helwys, and the first Baptist church in England :
with fresh light upon the Pilgrim Fathers' church (1911)
Walter Herbert Burgess


One of the greatest defenders of the heavenly witnesses authenticity was Thomas Burgess (1756-1837). And Burgess was familiar with the exegesis in Greek, Latin, English and more and had a real heart for the meaning within the Bible text. Please read Thomas Burgess on this question of the sense of the earthly witnesses, and how important is the majestic Bible symmetry. (These two books have the same material.)


An introduction to the controversy on the disputed verse of st. John, as revived by mr. Gibbon. To which is added, Christian theocracy, or, A second letter to mrs. Joanna Baillie, on the doctrine of the Trinity (1835)
Thomas Burgess

... the disputed Verse has the same internal evidence of its authenticity, as that which authenticates the whole of the Epistle of St. John ; namely, the coincidence of its diction and doctrine with the language and reasoning of St. John in his Gospel, with this additional proof in its favour, that the threefold testimony of the Heavenly Witnesses, in the seventh verse, and the name by which the second Person of the Trinity is there distinguished, are peculiar to the Gospel and the Epistle of St. John. The eighth verse is also remarkable as an evidence of the Epistle by its coincidence with the three signs of Christ's death on the Cross, contained in the 19th ch. of the Gospel, ver. 30, 34 : "And he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost,"—yielded up his spirit,—" And one of the soldiers, with a spear, "pierced his side ; and forthwith came thereout "blood and water." The seventh and eighth verses, therefore, are summary confirmations of the two great doctrines of the Epistle.
Please read through p. 73. Beautiful. Amazing.

4. "The sense of the Apostle is very complete without it." [Samuel Clarke]

If the object of the Apostle in this Epistle be

(1.) to assert the Divinity and Incarnation of Christ, and
(2.) to condemn the two heresies, which were opposed to that doctrine; and
(3.) if the seventh Verse contains the threefold testimony of the Heavenly Witnesses to the Divinity of Christ, as recorded in St. John's Gospel; and
(4.) the eighth has the three evidences of the death of Christ on the Cross, recorded in the same Gospel (if these several
positions be evident, as I have endeavoured to prove), then the sense of the Apostle is not complete without both Verses. p.87

** the sense of the Apostle is not complete without both Verses.**


Christian theocracy, or, The doctrine of the Trinity, and the ministration of the Holy Spirit, the leading and pervading doctrine of the New Testament, a letter (1834)
Thomas Burgess

.... To this threefold testimony of the heavenly witnesses, St John refers in his First General Epistle, v. 7:

"There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one."

The three evidences of Christ's death on the Cross, are, his expiration, and the blood and water which issued from his side. " And " he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost" (John xix. 30); that is, "yielded up" his spirit, according to our Saviour's own words:

"Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit " (Luke xxiii. 46.) And one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came thereout blood and water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true; and he knoweth that he saith " true, that ye might believe" (John xix. 34,35).

The evidences of Christ's death, and. therefore of his human nature, St. John has so emphatically confirmed by the assurance of his own personal knowledge of what he saw, as to leave no doubt that he had in view the heresy that denied that the Son of God was come in the flesh; the heresy which he has twice reprobated in his Epistles as the work of " deceivers and antichrists *' (1 Ep. iv. 2, and 2 Ep. ver. 7). The Gospel and the Epistle, by their numerous correspondences in doctrine and diction, mutually prove that they were written by the same person. And of the many coincidences and references which contain the evidence of such identity, none are more decisive than the coincidence of the diction and doctrine of the threefold testimony in both verses with the Gospel of St. John.

Of the external and internal evidences of the disputed Verse of St. John (as far as they can be brought within the view of an unlearned reader), more will be said in a subsequent part of these pages.

These internal evidences and consistency elements are truly amazing and beautiful.
They are helpful in understanding heavenly witnesses authenticity.And some of them (there are many) really impel us to understand the proper small "spirit" in verse 8.


There are two posts that are less salient that can stay over on Facebook. One is some comments on Will's post, the other is a quick look at the Plummer commentary.

Steven Avery
Sept 10, 2015
Last edited:


New member
Hi Steven

I have long participated in various discussion forums, and countless times I have quoted 1 John 5:v.7 and always do it with an observation/correction, as follows:

1 John 5:v.7 - For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word (Word made flesh-JESUS), and the Holy Spirit (who is a Person and not a Ghost as is written in English language): and these three are One.

In my understanding, Holy Spirit seems more apropriate than Holy Ghost, because Scripture is referring to the Person of the Comfort, the Counselor, the Paraclete, as One with GOD the Father and JESUS, according John 16:v.7 to 15.

I would like to know what your opinion is about