I John 5:8 Part II
Updated: Feb 14, 2020
In the previous post I promised to demonstrate how the verses I John 5:6-8 reveal the trinity and by doing so I hope to persuade my readers why the form of capitalization that prevailed between 1638 to c1985 are the proper forms and bring the greatest glory to Jesus Christ. Remember, the rules of English capitalization were not settled until the early 1700's. The labors of both F.S. Parris and Benjamin Blayney installed the punctuation and capitalizations that we know today. Without their intervention to set the translators' words in a comprehensible punctuation format the AV1611 would be what its critics call it, outdated.
What is commonly called The Holy Spirit in modern jargon is represented in three different forms in verses I John 5:6-8. In verse 6 the word "Spirit" is used. It is capitalized. Why? Because it is the inward work of the third member of the trinity bearing witness inside of a born again believer that the man Jesus Christ had a divine birth. He is the Son of God. Think of Jesus Christ's words to Peter, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven, Matt 16:17. How did the Father reveal to Peter that Jesus was the Son of the Living God? He did it by giving Peter the Spirit in his inward parts.
We are promised that same witness. That gives us the first rule for capitalizing the word "Spirit" in the AV1611. Any time the Spirit is doing a work on the inward parts of a person to regenerate or strengthen them, or to change them into something better, the word is capitalized. Certainly that is going on in verse 6.
The second rule is a rule that is found in all Germanic languages and in translations translated directly out of the King James Bible. When the third member of the trinity is being spoken of as a person as opposed to the working of that person, he is called The Holy Ghost . Therefore we see two rules demonstrated in verses 6 and 7. The inward working of the Holy Ghost is the way in which God bears witness with believers that Jesus is the Son of God. When it is the working of God the word "Spirit" is used. When it is the actual third person of the Godhead being spoken of, the term Holy Ghost is used.
In fact, without that inward working of the Spirit of God a person does not really have faith, he only has a flesh and blood belief, not the belief that the Father gives to repentant sinners. Yet on occasions God opened up the heavens and the entire Godhead was manifested. At Jesus Christ's baptism the heavens opened and the Holy Ghost was present while the Father bore witness that Jesus was the Son of God. In heaven right now the Father, the Word (Jesus Christ) and the Holy Ghost bear constant witness that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. We are not talking here about the influence of the Holy Ghost, we are talking about him as a person.
There is one other way in the word of God where Jesus is proclaimed to be the Son of God. We will take a moment here to discuss what is meant by the the term the Son of God. Quite often we hear the statement that Jesus is God's only son. That statement is wrong. God has many sons. Adam is called the son of God in Luke 3:38. The angels are called sons of God. What makes Jesus Christ different is that he is the only begotten Son of God. All of the other sons of God were sons of God by creation. Jesus Christ is unique in that he was in a body of flesh but the only father a DNA search would ever find is God the Father.
God was manifest in the flesh. The man standing in an earthen vessel of flesh was the Son of God. He, like us, had his treasure in an earthen vessel, II Cor. 4:6 He was made of the seed of David according to the flesh, but the only father he has is our heavenly Father. There was one man who saw that vessel of earth die and knew that he was the Son of God because three things bore witness in that earth that is his flesh. The word of God tells us that three things came out of Jesus Christ on the cross, his blood, water and he yielded up his spirit. (John 19:34 and Luke 23:46) When the centurion saw those three things he proclaimed, Truly, this was the Son of God, Matt 27:54.
There are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one, I John 5:8. Why is that a small "s" spirit that came out of him? Because it is a small "s" spirit that came out of Jesus on the cross, Luke 23:46. That is what is being witnessed in the passage. Why did Scrivener come along and change it in 1873 to a capital "S"? Because he put verse 7 in italics as if it shouldn't be there. He saw verse 8 as just repeating what verse 6 said. There is no truth to that. Jesus was not giving up the Spirit of God in the same sense that we have the Spirit of God inside of us bearing witness. He was yielding up his own personal spirit, the same spirit as Gen. 6:3.
In 1893-94 Oxford abandoned the Blayney Text and began publishing the text that they use today. It differs from the Cambridge in over 250 places. Some are mere spelling differences and some are errors. In I John 5:8 they made an error. They followed Scrivener and capitalized Spirit. In 1985 Cambridge followed suit. We have discussed their error and why they got sidetracked in a previous post. Today it almost impossible to find a bible published that makes the earthen vessel of I John 5:8 to be the Lord of Genesis 6:3. I believe that Jesus is the Lord, how about you?