Included as holy:
1 John is a theological letter ("epistle") that talks about what the correct beliefs of Christians are. It is written anonymously, but was given the title of "John" because it accepts the theology of the Gospel of John. Not a lot of ancient Bible manuscripts included 1 John in their copies. Dr Thomas Holland notes that of a selection of 400 ancient Greek New Testament manuscripts used by the Nestle-Aland Text (out of 6,000), only 100 contain the collection of Epistles known as the Catholic Epistles. Of these 100, only some include 1 John1. 1 John was either written quite removed from primary sources (hence its adoption of features of the Gospel of John, itself written quite late), or, considered unlikely to be authentic, or, only accepted for a long while by a minority of Christians who believed in particular things about the nature of God and Jesus. Nonetheless, rising Pauline Christians found it very useful in arguing their case, and when the official New Testament was established, the 3 epistles of John were included.
One the more simple teachings of 1 John is that Christians must love each other, and hate darkness and sin.
|1||Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.||Every one who is believing that Jesus is the Christ, of God he hath been begotten, and every one who is loving Him who did beget, doth love also him who is begotten of Him:|
1 John was written specifically to counter ideas that the author disagreed with, and to assert that only its author's ideas were the correct ones. 1 John 5:1 (same as John 8:42) says that if you don't believe in Jesus then you can't actually love God. Not exactly a tolerant endorsement of the likes of Moses, Abraham, and other Jewish heroes of the Old Testament! 1 John 5:2-6 adds that "God's testimnoy" is greater than "man's" and that God's testimony is that Jesus is its son - only those who believe in that have God's testimony in their heart. Verse 10 says that if you don't believe in Jesus, you must believe that God is a liar. Verses 12-13 finish by saying that only those who believe in Jesus can survive death.
So 1 John 5 makes it clear that Jews (for example) do not love God because they don't accept Jesus, and, also, if you don't believe in Jesus, you can't carry out God's commandments. It is not about your behaviour, about whether you love God as much as you can, about whether you are kind to others: it is all about whether or not you believe that the creator of the universe, and untold billions of planets, happened to choose to have his only son here on Earth. If you don't believe that, then, you believe that God is a liar, and you follow man's testimony, not god's: all your other attempts to be good and godly are useless, according to 1 John 5:1-13.
This kind of blank-and-white thinking about them-and-us prepared Christianity for its 1600-year spate of heresy-hunting and intolerance of even the slightest divergences of belief. If you didn't believe exactly the right things about Jesus then you couldn't love God, couldn't do what God wanted, and in other words, were agents of Satan, who could rightly be pursued and oppressed, because anyway, they had no chance of attaining immortal life if left to their ways.
1 John 5:2-6 comments: Anti-Semitism: 2000 Years of Christian Love: 8. Biblical Reasons for Christian Anti-Semitism
1 John 5:12-13 is mentioned on Anti-Semitism: 2000 Years of Christian Love: 8. Biblical Reasons for Christian Anti-Semitism
|2||By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.||in this we know that we love the children of God, when we may love God, and His commands may keep;|
|3||For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.||for this is the love of God, that His commands we may keep, and His commands are not burdensome;|
|4||For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.||because every one who is begotten of God doth overcome the world, and this is the victory that did overcome the world -- our faith;|
|5||Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?||who is he who is overcoming the world, if not he who is believing that Jesus is the Son of God?|
|6||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.||This one is he who did come through water and blood -- Jesus the Christ, not in the water only, but in the water and the blood; and the Spirit it is that is testifying, because the Spirit is the truth,|
|7||For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.||because three are who are testifying `in the heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these -- the 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.||and three are who are testifying in the earth', the Spirit, and the water, and the blood, and the three are into the one.|
|9||If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.||If the testimony of men we receive, the testimony of God is greater, because this is the testimony of God that He hath testified concerning His Son.|
|10||He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.||He who is believing in the Son of God, hath the testimony in himself; he who is not believing God, a liar hath made Him, because he hath not believed in the testimony that God hath testified concerning His Son;|
|11||And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.||and this is the testimony, that life age-during did God give to us, and this -- the life -- is in His Son;|
|12||He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.||he who is having the Son, hath the life; he who is not having the Son of God -- the life he hath not.|
|13||These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.||These things I did write to you who are believing in the name of the Son of God, that ye may know that life ye have age-during, and that ye may believe in the name of the Son of God.|
1 John 5:7-8 Expanded version (KJV):
7For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 8And 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 Original version (NIV):
7For there are three that testify: 8the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.
1 John 5:7 is no longer included in modern Bibles (for example the English Standard Version and New American Standard Bible), and it is universally acknowledged to be an improper addition to the original text of 1 John chapter 5, except by some Christians. No Greek manuscript before the 9th century includes this text, and of those that do, half of them have it only as a marginal sidenote. When early Christians formulated the idea of the Trinity and debated it, such as Augustine, they quoted 1 John 5 without including the expanded text. It appears in Latin texts, especially those authored in Spain or in places influenced by Spain. It became codified and well known when it appeared in the King James Version.
How did this verse come to be in the Bible?
It could have been done by copyists who thought that the note was in the margin because a previous copyist had missed it but realized his error, and wrote it in the margin. When later copyists saw this, they moved it back into the text, not knowing they were adding a personal note into the text of the Bible.
Or it was accidentally moved into the text of the Bible during a session where multiple copyists wrote whilst the Bible was read out aloud. The oralist has read out the marginal note, and the copyists duly wrote it, not knowing it was set apart from the text.
There have been frequent debates in Christendom about the nature of Jesus (to what extent should he be considered human or divine? Is he supposed to be an eternal being, or was he temporally created?). Using typical John language (i.e. the Greek word logos), the extra phrase of 1 John 5:7 was intentionally inserted in order to strengthen the position of Trinitarians in their debates against other Christians - a ploy which, over time, proved very successful).
Some still argue that 1 John 5:7 is authentic; some argue that particular (and complicated) Greek rules of grammar mean that 1 John 5:7-8 makes more grammatical sense with the extra verse than without it2, or that the inserted verse is so important to the meaning of 1 John 5 that it cannot be omitted. These arguments allow a prediction to made: Those Greek manuscripts that lack 1 John 5:7 must be deficient. However the vast majority of Greek authors did not have it, and, there are no Bible commentaries against these versions complaining of their poor grammar or lack of meaning. In other words, 1 John 5:7 was not noticeable by its absence.
“In the revised versions it is omitted, because it seems quite certain that it was not in the original writing [...] While it appears in most of the best manuscripts which were available for the King James translators, earlier manuscripts found since that time have shown that it was formerly written at the side as a gloss, and was by some transcriber set over in the text itself.”
"The Grestest English Classic: A Study of the King James Version of the Bible and its Influence on Life and Literature" by Cleland Boyd Mcafee, D.D. (1912)3
|14||And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:||And this is the boldness that we have toward Him, that if anything we may ask according to his will, He doth hear us,|
|15||And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.||and if we have known that He doth hear us, whatever we may ask, we have known that we have the requests that we have requested from Him.|
|16||If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.||If any one may see his brother sinning a sin not unto death, he shall ask, and He shall give to him life to those sinning not unto death; there is sin to death, not concerning it do I speak that he may beseech;|
|17||All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.||all unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not unto death.|
|18||We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.||We have known that every one who hath been begotten of God doth not sin, but he who was begotten of God doth keep himself, and the evil one doth not touch him;|
|19||And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.||we have known that of God we are, and the whole world in the evil doth lie;|
|20||And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.||and we have known that the Son of God is come, and hath given us a mind, that we may know Him who is true, and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ; this one is the true God and the life age-during!|
|21||Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.||Little children, guard yourselves from the idols! Amen.|
The Bible (NIV). The NIV is the best translation for accuracy whilst maintaining readability. Multiple authors, a compendium of multiple previously published books. I prefer to take quotes from the NIV but where I quote the Bible en masse I must quote from the KJV because it is not copyrighted, whilst the NIV is. [Book Review]