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Scrivener's Abomination Part III

Updated: Feb 15, 2020

This is the third installment

There remains a one more colossal blunder by Scrivener that is much less easy to forgive and one which left the minute seed which eventually blossomed into Cambridge’s ultimate rejection of their own text. Scrivener had become enthralled with the revision work being done to the English Bible and he had bought into the concept that I John 5:7 was a spurious text. I John 5:7 appears in the pre Jerome Latin versions of the Bible. Tatian quoted it in the year 180 AD. The 2nd century Syrian texts and the 3rd century Coptic texts quote it. Yet as most students of manuscript evidence know, the 4th and 5th century Greek texts of Alexandria, Egypt in accordance with the Arian or Unitarian thinking of their time omit the verse. These manuscripts mesmerized Westcott and Hort and apparently snared Dr. Scrivener. In the 1873 Paragraph Bible he put I John 5:7 in italics. He knew that was not a restoration of the 1611 text but it suited his private fancies. In essence, it was invisible to him. He placed it in the text of his bible but with apparent revulsion. By placing it in italics he could signal his buddies on the RV committee that he was modern and enlightened. That led to another error. To understand that error it will be necessary for us to spend some time familiarizing ourselves with Jesus as the Son of God and how to know whether an “S” should be capitalized or left in the lower case.

The great theme of the fifth chapter of I John is contained in verse 5 when it says, Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? We are speaking here of the incarnation of God. Had Jesus Christ been born in Allegany County, New York where I presently dwell there would have immediately been a paternity test. Search as they might, the good people at social services would never have found the Father through a DNA search of any data base on earth. The mother’s DNA would have proved her to be from the line of David. So here would be a child who came not by water only, but by water and blood. He came not just as the pure water of the word as predicted, but he also came from the water sack in Mary’s womb and just like all births there was blood. I am a Christian. I believe that Mary was a virgin and that the only father that will ever be found for Jesus Christ is the Father in heaven. I believe this inwardly. My belief is miraculous. It is a belief wrought by the Spirit of God. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

When Peter was asked by Jesus Christ, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answered; Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God, Matt 16:15, 16. Jesus didn’t tell him that he had made a good deduction or commend him on his reasoning skills. Instead he said; Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven, Vs.17. We will find from I John 5 that there is a threefold witness to Jesus being the Son of God and the first of them is an inward witness by the Spirit of God. This is he that came by water and blood; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth, vs. 6. The first great witness to Jesus being the Son of God is the Spirit of truth and that witness takes place inside of the true believer. It is not an outward witness visible to all men. It is a private internal witness that transforms anyone who has it.

This brings up the first rule of capitalization. When the word spirit refers to God’s Spirit doing a transforming work of grace on the inside of a believer it always capitalized. This will apply whether we are talking about the Spirit of Jesus Christ, Phil 1:19; the Spirit of your Father, Matt: 10:20; the Spirit of adoption, Rom 8:15; or the Spirit of grace, Heb. 10:29. The first great work of grace done in a believer’s heart is for the Spirit to bear personal witness in that believer’s heart that Jesus is the Son of God. Therefore, the Spirit of I John 5:6 is a capitalized Spirit.

The second great witness in scripture that Jesus Christ is the Son of God took place in heaven and was made visible on earth. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, Matt 3: 16, 17. I John 5:7 says: For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. There is perhaps no verse in scripture more despised than that verse. According to that verse, when the heavens opened all three of the trinity bore witness from heaven. I know Jehovah Witnesses and some addled Baptists have trouble seeing how Jesus Christ could be coming out of the water and be in heaven at the same time, but he is both places at once. He told Nicodemus even as he stood on earth with him that he was simultaneously in heaven at the same time, And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man, which is in heaven, John 3:13. Of course that verse is hacked and altered in new bibles to coincide with their hatred of I John 5:7.

Is there a third form of witness in the word of God that Jesus is the Son of God? Yes there is. When Jesus Christ hung on the cross three things came out from him. But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water, John 19:34. Beside blood and water he yielded up his spirit. And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit, Luke 23:46a. When the Roman centurion watched this earthen vessel hang on the cross, forgive the repentant thief and call unto the Father, and when he saw that the earth went into darkness, he realized that this was a righteous man. Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man, Luke 23:47. The combination of the blood, the water and the spirit in an earthen vessel bore witness that this was the son of God. Now when the centurion and they that were with him watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God, Matt 27:54.

This brings us to another rule for capitalizations. When Jehovah God is isolated from the trinity as the creator in the Old Testament, his spirit is represented with a lower case “s”. And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, Gen 6:3a. By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens, Job 26:13. When the creator was made flesh and abode in an earthen vessel on this earth and walked among men his spirit is always manifest with a small “s”. It’s not like some passages use a capital “S” while others use a lower case ”s”. There are no exceptions.

  1. And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit, Mark 2:8

  2. And he sighed deeply in his spirit, Mark 8:12

  3. And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, Luke 2:40

  4. In that hour Jesus rejoiced in his spirit, Luke 10:21

  5. Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit, Luke 23:46

  6. He groaned in the spirit, John 11:33

  7. He was troubled in spirit, John 13:21

And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one, I John 5:8. When I see a man in scripture who is called the Son of God, I too can bear witness that he is made of flesh and blood. When he died water and blood came forth from him. Also the spirit of the creator came forth from him. In an earthen vessel filled with water and blood, the spirit bears a sevenfold witness that this man is the son of God. There is a threefold witness in I John 5:6-8 that Jesus is the Son of God. I know that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh because when they pierced him blood and water came out. I know that he is God because his spirit is the same spirit that garnished the heavens.

To get a better look at this I will refer to a scriptural study guide that the Lord built into scripture. Authoress Gail Riplinger refers to this principal as Parallelism.[1] By parallelism she means the tendency of scripture to repeat everything twice, but in such a way that the second mention makes the first mention clearer. Most scripture is written in a style in which a statement is made and then a short discussion of that statement explains it further. It is by this means that the careful reader can keep his doctrine straight by making sure the context of the scripture agrees with what he believes a passage is saying. Every doctrine taught by men and reputing to be from God’s word must make sense in the context it is given. We will take a moment to look at I John 5:6-8 through Scrivener’s eyes, and then look at it as it should stand. We will see which one makes sense in context and can give us an unbroken understanding throughout.

Scrivener could not see I John 5:7. Remember, he put it in italics. What would I John look like wearing Scrivener’s special glasses and I John 5:6 was immediately followed by I john 5:8? This 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. For there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water and the blood: and these three agree in one. Notice that in this context there is no choice but to make the Spirit of verse 8 agree with the Spirit of verse 6. One is a repetition of the other. But what if verse 7 was really meant to be in the text? What if we are dealing with a tri-fold witness to Jesus Christ being the Son of God? What if the seven times that the spirit of Jesus Christ is made manifest in the gospels really should be a lower case “s” just like every King James Bible has printed for centuries? What if this earthen vessel filled with water and blood really was the Son of God and his spirit was the same spirit that strove with man in Gen 6:3 and garnished the heavens in Job 26:13? Let’s look at this again.

  1. This 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.

  2. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

  3. For there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water and the blood: and these three agree in one.

Does the scripture really give us a threefold witness that the truth is witnessed ……?

  1. ……Within us?

  2. ……In heaven?

  3. ……In Jesus Christ?

Yes, it most certainly does.

  1. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself, Vs. 10

  2. He that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son, vs. 10b

  3. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son, vs.11

The “s” in I John 5:8 has been a small “s” since Dr. Paris standardized the spelling and punctuation of scripture in 1762. It was kept that way by Benjamin Blaney in 1769. It was changed by Scrivener because he did not believe I John 5:7 belonged in the text. It was changed to a capital “S” by Oxford in 1893 when they chose to diverge from Cambridge and publish their own text of which A. W. Pollard ultimately found to be wrong in 260 places all of which are corrected in the Cambridge text. It was restored to a small “s” by A.W. Pollard when he corrected Scrivener’s over exuberance. It remained a small “s” until 1985 when the printers without help of an editor became confused and as we shall see turned to Scrivener. That same confusion helped lead to the hiring of David Norton who threw out the traditional Cambridge text and substituted his own.

[1] For a more complete discussion of parallelism go to In Awe of thy word

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