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In "An Historical Account of Two Notable Corruptions of Scripture", Isaac Newton argued that 1 John 5:7 was a corruption of the early church and did not appear in the original Greek scriptures. He makes a similar claim regarding 1 Timothy 3:16. 1 John 5:7 is the strongest biblical reference to the trinity. Is there an objection to Newton's historical analysis of these verses?

1 John 5:7 -- For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

1 Timothy 3:16 -- And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

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    I don't think anyone other than KJV-only people think 1 John 5:7 is authentic. I wouldn't have ever even thought of Newton in relation to this verse. – curiousdannii Jan 19 at 3:19
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    1 Timothy 3:16 is a very different matter, the question being one single word, and should be asked about separately. In fact it's already been asked about at the Biblical Hermeneutics site. – curiousdannii Jan 19 at 3:22
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    Matthew 28:19 is a far stronger expression, in my view, of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, which needs no other support. The Johannine comma is well documented as Erasmus' reluctant and unwarranted addition. I Timothy 3:16 is also hugely documented by such as Dean John Burgon. – Nigel J Jan 19 at 6:49
  • Are you asking about modern understandings of these Bible verses? Or are you more specifically interested in Newton's work in particular, his methods and his other conclusions - e.g. that they were inserted deliberately as a Roman Catholic pious fraud? – davidlol Jan 19 at 21:14
  • Is “theos” of the Textus Receptus of 1 Timothy 3:16 the original reading? This is the BH.SE question that @curiousdannii refered to. – Alex Strasser Jan 19 at 22:19
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1 John 5:7, 8

The evidence for and against this "comma" is a follows. The manuscripts are identified, as usual, by their catalogue number according to the Gregory-Aland system with a date in brackets. See the list in UBS5 and NA28. See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_manuscript

01 (4th) omit

03 (4th) omit

02 (5th) omit

048 (5th) omit

024 (6th) omit

044 (800) omit

018 (9th) omit

020 (9th) omit

33 (9th) omit

2464 (9th) omit

1739 (10th) omit

81 (1044) omit

2138 (1072) omit

323 (11th) omit

436 (11th) omit

945 (11th) omit

1175 (11th) omit

1243 (11th) omit

1846 (11th) omit

2298 (11th) omit

2344 (11th) omit

1241 (12th) omit

1505 (12th) omit

1611 (12th) omit

1735 (1200) omit

1852 (13th) omit

1292 (13th) omit

1067 (14th) omit

1409 (14th) omit

1881 (14th) omit

322 (15th) omit

Late (post 15th cent) MSS (undated)

61 include

88 include

221 include

429 include

629 include

636 include

918 include

2318 include

It is NOT included in Wescott & Hort, NA28, UBS5, SBL, Majority Text, Byzantine Text, F35, Jerome's Vulgate (~400 AD), THGNT, NIVGNT.

It is included on the Orthodox text (by edict), TR and Clementine Vulgate. It is clearly a late addition from the vulgate.

1 Tim 3:16

The difference in this verse is "theos" (= God in TR and majority Byzantine text) vs "hos" (= he or who in NA28, UBS5 etc). In any case the sense of the verse is scarcely changed.

The problem with Newton's critique is his dependence on a straw-man argument. Because two texts supporting the Trinitarian view are dubious, then is Trinitarianism dubious? Hardly. There are numerous other arguments in favour of Trinitarianism in the NT.

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    Could you perhaps explain what all these numbers mean, please? – davidlol Jan 19 at 21:19
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    These "numbers" are the catalogue designations of the various manuscripts according to the usual Gregory-Aland catalogue. – Mac's Musings Jan 19 at 21:33
  • In addition, those who argue in favour of including 1 John 5:7,8 would argue that the verse was removed early on in the Greek versions, probably by Arians in the early centuries, and that the Vulgate Latin retained the original text. – Andrew Shanks Apr 7 at 12:36
  • Except that even the early Latin versions do not have it as Jerom's version of 400 AD suggests. – Mac's Musings Apr 7 at 18:45

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