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The Comma Johanneum was a clause present in most translations of the First Epistle of John published from 1522 until the later part of the 19th century, owing to the widespread use of the third edition of the Textus Receptus as a sole source for translation. In readings containing the clause, verses 5:7 through 5:8 read as follows (KJV; the Comma is rendered with emphasis):
- 5:7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: 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 bears a heavy Trinitarian implication, and for this reason many Christians are resistant to the elimination of the Comma from modern Biblical translations—despite the fact that it is not present in any manuscripts (Greek or otherwise) dating prior to the 16th century, and is not present in the passage as quoted by any of the early Church fathers -- even though they would have had plenty of reason to quote it in the Trinitarian debates, had it really existed back then. Nonetheless, nearly all recent translations have dispensed with the TR in favor of older, more accurate texts which have recently been (re-)discovered, none of which include the Comma. Most current churches agree that the theology contained in the Comma is indeed true, but that it is not a true part of the Epistle of John.
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