For there are three that testify in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one. The Trinitarian Claim Trinitarian scholars now admit this verse was not written by the hand of John. Having access to collections of hundreds of manuscripts, modern scholars are able to determine this verse was introduced into the Bible long after John wrote this letter. However, there are still Trinitarians who are unwilling to accept the facts on this matter and claim this verse is authentic. Examination of the Claim 1. Trinity prooftext? What? Trinitarians of all stripes seem to somehow think this passage would otherwise be a powerful proof for Trinitarian doctrine. This likely happens with Trinitarians because John uses the words "three" and "one" in one breath. But would it really serve to support the Trinity? Trinitarians tend to read the passage as if John were saying, "and these three are one [God]," or "these three are one [being]" or some similar idea. As such, they imagine a preconceived idea into the passage which is not present anywhere in the context. The text says there are three that testify, indicating the subject matter of the verse concerns a united witness between these three and there is no reason one should suppose it would imply anything else. 1 John 5:7 literally says, "and these three are one." The very next verse, concerning the Spirit and the water and the blood, literally says, "the three are unto the one" meaning these too have a common and united testimony. To be consistent, the Trinitarian advocate of 1 John 5:7 should also then conclude these three, the water, the Spirit, and the blood, are also a Trinity of one being. It is quite reckless to interpret this text as declaring the Father, Word and Holy Spirit are one God when all the verse says is the three are a united witness, one testimony. The oneness in question is a oneness of purpose and function, not a oneness of identity or ontology and substance of being. In other words, the three, the Father, the Word, and the Spirit are in one united agreement concerning their witness/testimony. In a similar sense, Jesus prayed for this same unity of oneness between himself the Father and the church. We would not therefore assume these three are "God." I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one just as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one. (John 17:20-23). As we can see, Jesus prayed that he and the Father and all the disciples would be one. Shall we then suppose all these are God? Of course not. And there is not reason to do so with this passage either. Both of these passages, John 17:20-23 and 1 John 5:7, are referring to function, not substance of being. This passage simply does not suggest a Triune God even if it was valid. It simply says that there are three who testify and these three are one. It also says the Spirit, water, and blood are one in the same sense. Neither of the two groups of three are to be understood one other thing but as one unified testimony. 2. It Just Isn't There I John 5:7, also known as, the Comma Johanneum, is found in only eight late Greek manuscripts, four of which have the words in a marginal note. These marginal glosses were added after the original copy was made. Most of these manuscripts originate from the sixteenth century and the earliest manuscript, includes the reading in a marginal note which was added sometime after the original composition. There is no sure evidence the Comma Johanneum existed in any Greek manuscript until the early sixteenth century or perhaps the fifteenth century at best. From what we do know, it seems the Comma somehow found its way into Latin manuscripts sometime in the fourth or fifth century. It does not appear in any Greek script of any kind until 1215 A.D. where we find it in a Greek translation of the Acts of the Lateran Council, a work originally written in Latin. 3. The Significance of Distinguishing between the Greek and Latin Manuscripts The European church was essentially split into two halves. The western church spoke Latin and used Latin Bibles and the eastern church spoke Greek and used Greek Bibles. So the question of Greek versus Latin manuscripts is basically a geographical issue. It is also important to recognize the primacy of the Greek manuscripts. The New Testament was originally written in Greek. Early Christians also primarily used the Greek Old Testament (Septuagint), not the Hebrew Old Testament, and this tradition lasted for several centuries. Christians later translated the Greek into the Latin for the Latin speaking church in the western part of the Roman Empire, including northern Africa. Now because the Greek language is the original language, and it would create numerous translation errors for copyists to translate from Greek to Latin and then translate from Latin back into Greek, scribal copyists did not translate from the Latin back into the Greek but only translated from the original Greek into Latin. Latin copies were made from both Greek copies and already translated Latin copies. >/p> However, Greek copies were only made from Greek copies and no translation was necessary at all. Since 1 John 5:7 does not appear in any early Greek manuscripts, it shows us the verse simply was not there but was somehow introduced into the western Latin manuscripts independently from the Greek manuscripts in circulation. We also know this because the error was first localized to Spain and North Africa and then later made its way into Italy and Gaul (France). All these locations are in the locality of the western Latin speaking church. 4. Nobody noticed? Now here is how we can be certain that 1 John 5:7 never existed in the early church. Because of the Arian controversy in the fourth century, we know for certain the church was especially guarded concerning teachings and any Scriptural evidence they thought they had concerning the Trinity. After the end of the fourth century, these manuscripts were the canonized writings of the status quo church who fought for Trinitarian teaching and it is an unthinkable proposition to suggest the eastern Greek speaking church would have let such a passage inadvertently escape from all their Greek manuscripts spread throughout the eastern half of the Roman empire. If 1 John 5:7 had been authentic, the first omission of this verse would have created an immediate outcry and church leaders would have been looking for the culprit. Indeed, blood was spilled over far less in the fourth century. It is an absolutely ludicrous fantasy to suppose the entire eastern Greek speaking Trinitarian church could have allowed 1 John 5:7 to somehow escape from all their Bibles completely unnoticed for over a thousand years.