The Comma Johanneum is a comma (a short clause) contained in most translations of the First Epistle of John published from 1522 until the latter part of the nineteenth century, owing to the widespread use of the third edition of the Textus Receptus (TR) as the sole source for translation. In translations containing the clause, such as the King James Version, 1 John 5:7-8 reads as follows (with the Comma in bold print):
- 5:7 "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit: and these three are one.
- 5:8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one."
The resulting passage is an explicit reference to the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It does not appear in the older Greek manuscripts, nor in the passage as quoted by many of the early Church Fathers. The words apparently crept into the Latin text of the New Testament during the Middle Ages, "[possibly] as one of those medieval glosses but were then written into the text itself by a careless copyist. Erasmus omitted them from his first edition; but when a storm of protest arose because the omission seemed to threaten the doctrine of the Trinity (although that doctrine had in fact been formulated long before the textual variant), he put them back in the third and later editions, whence they also came into the textus receptus, 'the received text'." Modern Bible translations such as the New International Version (NIV), the New American Standard Bible (NASB), the English Standard Version (ESV), the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) and others tend to either omit the Comma entirely, or relegate it to the footnotes. The official Latin text of the Catholic Church (a revision of the Vulgate) also excludes it. (more...)
1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
From Matthew 6, the Sermon on the Mount. LDS edition of the Bible