Last Saturday’s Daily Confession was WCF2 on the Trinity. Down in paragraph 3 the three persons of the Godhead are named “God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost,” with a lead-off scripture proof of 1 John 5:7, which is simply (ESV) “For there are three that testify:” Having filed that incomplete scriptural snippet in my mental “What the?” drawer, I thought no more of it.
That is, until I read today’s Daily Confession, which is BCF9, on the Trinity, which also uses 1 John 5:7 as a scripture proof. However, BCF doesn’t just footnote with chapter and verse; it actually quotes the verse, thusly:
“There are three who bear witness in heaven– the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit– and these three are one.” [1 John 5:7]
Well that doesn’t look like the 1 John 5:7 I had recently read! This triggered me to go rummaging around in my “What the?” drawer and dig a little deeper. 1 John 5:7 also shows up as a scripture proof in LC9 and HC25.
The ESV has this larger context for vv 6-8:
6This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7For there are three that testify: 8the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree.
So where is BCF getting this quote? It turns out that KJV has a significant chunk of extra text:
6This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. 7For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 8And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.
Late manuscripts of the Vulgate: “testify in heaven: the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one. 8And there are three that testify on earth: the” (not found in any Greek manuscript before the sixteenth century).
Anybody know of current scholarship on how/when that extra snippet got into the Latin (or fell out of the Greek!) texts? If the ESV is correct that, not only should the snippet be omitted, but its absence should not even be noted, do the standards (WCF2.3, LC9, BCF9, HC25) need to be updated to strike 1 John 5:7 as a proof text?