© 2001 by David W. Daniels
Question: Is it true that 1 John 5:7 is not in any Greek manuscript before the 1600s? If it is true, why is it in the King James Bible?
Answer: 1 John 5:7 belongs in the King James Bible and was preserved by faithful Christians. But the passage was removed from many Greek manuscripts, because of the problems it seemed to cause.
It is true that there is a small number of Scriptures that are not the same between the King James Bible and the so-called "Majority" Greek text. There are a number of reasons for this:
So why then is 1 John 5:7 in the King James Bible, but not in many of the existing Greek manuscripts? To understand the answer, we must look at the history of what happened shortly after the Bible was written.
The Greek and Roman Institutions
During the early growth of the Christian church, ministers (whether saved or not) wrote down doctrines that they said were Christian and Biblical. Starting after the death of the apostles (about 100 AD) many people taught the lie that Jesus was not God the Son and Son of God, or that Jesus became God at His baptism, or the false doctrine that the Holy Spirit was not God or was not eternal.
The growing religion that became known as Roman Catholic, after many debates eventually agreed on the doctrine of the Trinity. So they had no reason to remove 1 John 5:7 from their Bibles, since it supported what they taught.
A Trail of Evidence
But during this same time, we find mention of 1 John 5:7, from about 200 AD through the 1500s. Here is a useful timeline of references to this verse:
Now the "Waldensian," or "Vaudois" Bibles stretch from about 157 to the 1400s AD. The fact is, according to John Calvin's successor Theodore Beza, that the Vaudois received the Scriptures from missionaries of Antioch of Syria in the 120s AD and finished translating it into their Latin language by 157 AD. This Bible was passed down from generation, until the Reformation of the 1500s, when the Protestants translated the Vaudois Bible into French, Italian, etc. This Bible carries heavy weight when finding out what God really said. John Wesley and Jonathan Edwards believed, as most of the Reformers, that the Vaudois were the descendants of the true Christians, and that they preserved the Christian faith for the Bible-believing Christians today.
Who Has the Most to Gain? Who Has the Most to Lose?
The evidence of history shows us that the Roman Catholic religion was relentless in its effort to destroy the Vaudois and their Bible. It took them until the 1650s to finish their hateful attacks. But the Vaudois were successful in preserving God's words to the days of the Reformation.
Now we have to ask ourselves a question: Who had the most to gain by adding to or taking away from the Bible? Did the Vaudois, who were being killed for having their Bibles, have anything to gain by adding to or taking from the words of God? Compromise is what the Roman religion wanted! Had the Vaudois just followed the popes, their lives would have been much easier. But they counted the cost. This was not politics; it was their life and soul. They above all people would not want to change a single letter of the words they received from Antioch of Syria. And they paid for this with their lives.
What about the "scholars" at Alexandria, Egypt? We already know about them. They could not even make their few 45 manuscripts agree. How could we believe they preserved God's words?
The Reformation itself owes a lot to these Christians in the French Alps. They not only preserved the Scriptures, but they show to what lengths God would go to keep his promise (Psalm 12:6-7).
And that's only part of the story about the preservation of God's words.