The only verse in the Bible that was taken as an evidence for the Concept of the Trinity is:
- “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.” (1 John 5:7-8 KJV)
However, it is very well known now that this verse is a later insertion of the Church. All recent versions of the Bible and most others do not include this verse.
Bart Ehrman said:
- “…,this represents the most obvious instance of a theologically motivated corruption in the entire manuscript tradition of the New Testament.”
This passage is a Latin corruption that found its way into a Greek manuscript at an early date while being absent from the thousands of other manuscripts.
This addition is very famous and hence so well known that it has even been given its own name and is called the “Comma Johanneum.” Comma means a short clause.
Modern Bible translations come from two manuscripts:
- Codex Sinaiticus, which has more edits than any other manuscript in Biblical history (14800 edits).
- Codex Vaticanus which comes from the Vatican.
Neither of these two manuscripts contain the Comma Johanneum and this added text is not found in modern Bible translations other than the NKJV where it was added only to match the KJV.
The King James New Testament on the other hand was compiled from over 5000 copies of copies of the original manuscripts which have long since perished.
This added text was found in only one of the 5000 plus manuscripts. There is no one from the major theologian that does not acknowledge this fact.
In The King James Version we read:
- “(7) for there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. (8) And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.” (1 John 5:7-8)
Verse number (7) ( the Comma Johanneum ) is found in the KJV, NKJV, but it is missing from almost all other translation.
Thomas Nelson and Sons Catholic Commentary, 1951, page 1186 states:
“It is now generally held that this passage, called the Comma Johanneum, is a gloss that crept into the text of the Old Latin and Vulgate at an early date, but found its way into the Greek text only in the 15th and 16th centuries.”
The verse (1 John 5:7-8) in NIV ( the New International Version ) and most other Bible translations is:
- “(7) for there are three that testify: (8) the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.”
Desiderius Erasmus in “Novum Instrumentum omne”- the first New Testament in Greek was published- did not include the infamous Comma Johanneum of 1 John 5:7-8 in neither his 1516 or 1519 editions of his Greek New Testament. But it made its way into his third edition in 1522 because of pressure from the Catholic Church.
After his first edition in 1516, arose such a furor over the absence of the Comma that Erasmus needed to defend himself. He argued that he did not put the Comma Trinitarian formula in his edition because he found no Greek manuscripts that included it. Once one was produced called the Codex 61, which was written by one Roy or Froy at Oxford in c. 1520, he reluctantly agreed to include it in his subsequent editions.
Erasmus probably altered the text because of politico-theologico-economic concerns. He did not want his reputation to be ruined, nor his Novum Instrumentum to go unsold. Thus it passed into the Stephanus Greek New Testament in 1551 (first New Testament in verses), which came to be called the Textus Receptus, and became the basis for the Geneva Bible New Testament in 1557 and the Authorized King James Version in 1611.
- “This text concerning the heavenly witness is not contained in any Greek manuscript which was written earlier than the fifteenth century. It is not cited by any of the ecclesiastical writers; not by any of early Latin fathers even when the subjects upon which they treated would naturally have lead them to appeal to its authority. It is therefore evidently spurious.”
In fact, it is only the KJV and the NKJV Bible that have included the added text.
Martin Luther kept out the passage from his German Bible (1545). But in 1574 the printer Feyerabend added it to later editions of Luther’s translation.
The Expositor’s Bible Commentary also dismisses the King James and New King James Versions’ additions as:
- “Obviously a late gloss with no merit.” 
Edward Gibbonsays: 
- “Of all the manuscripts now extant, above fourscore in number, some of which are more than 1200 years old, the orthodox copies of the Vatican, of the Complutensian editors, of Robert Stephens are becoming invisible; and the two manuscripts of Dublin and Berlin are unworthy to form an exception. In the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the Bibles were corrected by LanFrank, Archbishop of Canterbury, and by Nicholas, a cardinal and librarian of the Roman church, secundum Ortodoxam fidem. Notwithstanding these corrections, the passage is still wanting in twenty-five Latin manuscripts, the oldest and fairest; two qualities seldom united, except in manuscripts.The three witnesses have been established in our Greek Testaments by the prudence of Erasmus; the honest bigotry of the Complutensian editors; the typographical fraud, or error, of Robert Stephens in the placing of a crotchet and the deliberate falsehood, or strange misapprehension, of Theodore Beza.”
Gibbon was defended in his findings by his contemporary, the brilliant British scholar Richard Porson who also proceeded to publish conclusive proof that (1 John 5:7) was first added by the Church in 400 A.D.
No modern Bible now contains the interpolation called the Comma Johanneum. However, just as Gibbon had predicted, the simple fact that the most learned scholars of Christianity now unanimously recognize this verse to be a later interpolation of the Church has not prevented the preservation of this fabricated text in our modern Bibles. To this day, the Bible in the hands of the majority of Christians such as the KJV still unhesitantly includes this verse as the inspired word of God without so much as a footnote to inform the reader that all scholars of Christianity of note unanimously recognize it as a later fabrication.
It was only the horrors of the great inquisitions which held back, Sir Isaac Newton from openly revealing these facts to all. According to Newton, this verse first appeared for in the third edition of Erasmus’s (1466-1536) New Testament.
Thomas Nelson and Sons Catholic Commentary, 1951, page 1186 explains:
- “It is now generally held that this passage, called the Comma Johanneum, is a gloss that crept into the text of the Old Latin and Vulgate at an early date, but found its way into the Greek text only in the 15th and 16th centuries.”
The Comma Johanneum (or Johannine Comma or Heavenly Witnesses) is a comma (a short clause) in the First Epistle of John, 1 John 5:7–8. The scholarly consensus is that the passage is a Latin corruption that entered the Greek manuscript tradition in subsequent copies.
The text in (1 John 5:7) does not exist in every known Greek manuscript except eight, and these contain the verse in what appears to be a translation from a late recension of the Latin Vulgate. Four of the eight manuscripts contain the verse as a variant reading written in the margin as a later addition to the manuscript.
The passage is quoted by none of the Greek Fathers, who had they known it, would most certainly have employed it in the Trinitarian controversies (Sabellian and Arian). Its first appearance in Greek is in a Greek version of the (Latin) Acts of the Lateran Council in 1215.
The text does not exist in the manuscripts of all ancient versions (Syriac, Coptic, Armenian, Ethiopic, Arabic, Slavonic), except the Latin; and it is not foundin the Old Latin in its early form (Tertullian Cyprian Augustine), or in the Vulgate, as issued by Jerome (codex Fuldensis [copied a.d. 541-46] and codex Amiatinus [copied before a.d. 716]) or (c) as revised by Alcuin (first hand of codex Vallicellianus [ninth century]).
The earliest instance of the passage being quoted as a part of the actual text of the Epistle is in a fourth century Latin treatise entitled Liber Apologeticus (chap. 4), attributed either to the Spanish heretic Priscillian (died about 385) or to his follower Bishop Instantius.
- J.N. Loughborough says:
“The word Trinity does not appear in anywhere in the Scriptures. The principal text supposed to teach it is (1 John 5-7) which is an interpolation.”
Sda sabbath school quarterly 2009:
“The only problem with the text ‘ the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit’ and these three are one, in (1 John 5:7, 8) (NKJV)’ , is that it is a later addition, it is not found in the original manuscripts. Among biblical scholars there is agreement that this statement is not genuine and has been added, probably to support the doctrine of the Trinity. ”
In fact, the text is not a “strong scriptural argument” after all. The text does not appear in any ancient Greek manuscript earlier than about the 13th century A.D. That is, despite its inclusion in the 1611 original of the King James Version translation into English, it is highly unlikely that it was in the original version of 1 John as John wrote it. No modern Bible translation that I am aware of includes it in the text except the New King James Version, and even this version carries a footnote about the text’s absence from Greek manuscripts until relatively recent times. Apparently, it is some scribe’s note to himself about the trinity, originally written in the margin of the manuscript he was copying, and later incorporated into the text by another scribe who may have been uncertain about whether or not it was a correction that belonged in the text; in any case, he opted to include it there.
“The New Testament does not have any explicit statement on the Trinity apart from 1 John 5:7, which has been rejected as a medieval addition to the text.”
When thirty-two Biblical scholars backed by fifty collaborating Christian denominations work together to compile the Revised Standard Version of the Bible based upon the most ancient Biblical manuscripts available to them today, there were some very extensive changes made. Among these was the unofficial rejection of the text of 1 John 5:7 as the fabricated insertion that it is which never belonged in the inspired Word of God.
In any way this addition do not confirm the doctrine of the Trinity. The illegitimate addition as it is, presents the Father, Word and Holy Spirit as witnesses. This says nothing about the personhood of all three since verse (7) originally shows inanimate water and blood serving as such.
The word (Trinity) did not come into common use as a religious term until after the Council of Nicea on May 20, 325 A.D. Several centuries after the last books of the New Testament were completed, and in fact it is not a Biblical concept, but it has been proven that it came from pagan sun worship.
James White (husband of Ellen G. White) made numerous
anti-Trinitarian statements and never changed his anti-Trinitarian stance even
in the year of his death in 1881 when he said, “The Father was greater than the
Son in that he was first.”
A textual Scholar
This Greek text is also referred to it as the Textus Receptus.
Scripture translator, “Emphatic Diaglott.”
(A Conservative Version) “Because those who testify are three.”
(Analytical-Literal Translation) “Because three are the Ones testifying.”
(An Understandable Version-The New Testament) “For there are three who give their testimony [about Jesus].”
(American Standard Version) “And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is the truth.”
(Bible Basic English) “And the Spirit is the witness, because the Spirit is true.”
(Contemporary English Version) “In fact, there are three who tell about it.”
(The Complete Jewish Bible) “There are three witnesses.”
(Common Edition, New Testament) “And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is the truth.”
(Darby) “For they that bear witness are three.”
(English Majority Text Version) “For there are three that bear witness.”
(English Standard Version) “For there are three that testify.”
(Good News Bible) “There are three witnesses.”
(God’s Word) “There are three witnesses.”
(Holman Christian Standard Bible) “For there are three that testify.”
(The Hebrew Names Version) “For there are three who testify.”
(International Standard Version) “For there are three witnesses.”
(Living Oracles New Testament) “And it is the Spirit who testified; because the Spirit is the truth.”
(The Message) “A triple testimony.”
(New American Standard Bible) “For there are three that testify.”
(New Century Version) “So there are three witnesses that tell us about Jesus.”
(NET Bible) “For there are three that testify.”
(New International Reader’s Version) “There are three that give witness about Jesus.”
(New International Version) “For there are three that testify.”
(New Living Translation) “So we have these three witnesses .”
(New Revised Standard Version Bible) “There are three that testify.”
(Revised Standard Version) “And the Spirit is the witness, because the Spirit is the truth.”
(Revised Version) “And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is the truth.”
(The Scriptures 1998) “Because there are three who bear witness.”
(Twentieth Century New Testament) “It is a three-fold testimony.”
(Updated Bible Version) “For there are three who bear witness.”
(World English Bible) “For there are three who testify.”
Glenn Barker, Vol. 12, 1981, p. 353.
An English historian.
 Decline and fall of the Roman Empire, IV, Gibbon, p. 418.
Wikipedia, Comma Johanneum.
The eight manuscripts are as follows:
- 61: codex Montfortianus, dating from the early sixteenth century.
- 88: a variant reading in a sixteenth century hand, added to the fourteenth-century codex Regius of Naples.
- 221: a variant reading added to a tenth-century manuscript in the Bodleian Library at Oxford.
- 429: a variant reading added to a sixteenth-century manuscript at Wolfenbüttel.
- 629: a fourteenth or fifteenth century manuscript in the Vatican.
- 636: a variant reading added to a sixteenth-century manuscript at Naples.
- 918: a sixteenth-century manuscript at the Escorial, Spain.
- 2318: an eighteenth-century manuscript, influenced by the Clementine Vulgate, at Bucharest, Rumania.
J.N. Loughborough, Review and Herald November 5, 1861.
Sabbath School Bible Study Guide: July – Sept 2009 pg. 108.
 Professor of Historical Theology, (Dennis Fortin, “God, the Trinity and Adventism.”
James White, Review and Herald, January 4, 1881, found in EGW Review and Herald Articles, vol. 1, p. 244.