As Christians we believe that every word in the Bible is true; this is the foundation upon which we live our lives. Knowing what the Bible says about truth and hiding God’s word in our heart helps us to know when we are listening to the voice of truth.
The Christian faith claims great truths for itself. Christianity claims to be the one and only and the true faith. That Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to heaven: “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Christianity claims that its teachings are inspired by God, therefore they are infallible (incapable of making mistakes or being wrong). “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God (God breathed)…” (2 Timothy 3:16). “For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21). Christianity claims that its Teacher is God Himself, and therefore is to be reverenced and worshipped: “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power” (Colossians 2:9,10). Doubting Thomas testifies about Jesus: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28).
Why should we believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God? Why should we believe that He is God, the second member of the Trinity? Why should we believe that He is eternal, eternally perfect, uncreated? Why should we believe that?
“There is a group of people that claim to be the witnesses of God, they even call themselves Jehovah's Witnesses. And they claim to be propagating the truth that God wants revealed. They claim to be echoing the witness of God. But the truth that God once revealed, the true witness of Jehovah God is that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, God incarnate. And the so-called Jehovah's Witnesses are liars because they deny the very thing to which God gives witness in the New Testament, summed up in the text I just read (1 John 1). The Jehovah's Witness religious movement says that Jesus may be called a god, with small g, but not the God. They say He is mighty but not the Almighty. They say He was created by Jehovah, He is not a member of the Trinity, there is no Trinity. Elohim, which is a plural word, means plural in majesty, not in person. They say that the Son during His pre-human state was really an angel by the name of Michael. They further say that the Son did not even possess immortality. He was created and created to die. They teach that when Christ was born of Mary, He ceased being a spirit person all together and became nothing more than a human being. The Jesus that walked on earth had only one nature and that was the nature of a man. He was a perfect man, the equivalent of Adam before the Fall.
The Jehovah's Witnesses also teach that Jesus became, or took on, the role of Messiah when He was baptized. It was there that God made this human being His spiritual Son. And so He was first a created angel, then a created man, and finally the spiritual Son. The Jehovah's Witnesses deny that Jesus physically, literally arose from the dead. He was not raised as a human son, He was only raised as an immortal spirit, His body never came back to life. In fact, once He had sacrificed His body, they say, He could never get it back. Judge Rutherford, the demon-inspired man who invented the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses, said that the body of Jesus was disposed of and God who knows where it is will bring it back and put it on exhibit in some millennial museum. They say Christ once a mortal angel, then a mortal man, and finally an immortal spirit will live on forever as a spirit being. And from the way I understand their writings, has regained the original name of Michael. He is back enjoying angelic life.” –John MacArthur
People of His day called Jesus a liar and a deceiver, and implied that He was a drunkard. They called Him a fake, an insurrectionist, a rebel, a law-breaker, a fanatic, a madman, and a demoniac. He was seen as a religious fanatic, a lunatic who actually thought He was God. That was what popular culture said about Him. At best, they said He was a good man, a good teacher. Why should we believe that He is the promised Messiah of the Old Testament? The Jews today don't believe it, they never have believed it. Why should we believe that He is God the Son, second member of the Trinity, possessor and giver of eternal life, Savior of sinners? Why should we believe that? Answer: because of the infallible, incontrovertible, unassailable testimony of the Trinity. “the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one” (Verse 7).
Verse 6a: “This is He who came by water and blood–Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood.
John now gives a description of Jesus Christ as He that came by “water and blood.” No one knows exactly what John had in mind when he used these two symbols.
There are several explanations:
Water and blood came from Jesus side when the Roman soldier pierced His side when He was on the cross. John 19:34, “But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.”
2. His baptism: “The water is a reference to His baptism or inauguration, where the Voice from heaven declared, ‘This is my beloved Son,’ and established that Jesus was the Christ. The blood is a common symbol for His death, where there were also supernatural miracles to cause even the confirmed and cruel Roman centurion to realize that this man (Jesus) was more than a mere man (Matthew 27:54); also, by the Resurrection, the Father confirmed Jesus as the Son of God (Romans 1:4).” –Tertullian
“There's really only one possible way to interpret this. Water here refers to the baptism of Christ and blood refers to His death.” –John MacArthur
3. Natural birth: “Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit’” (John 3:5,6). Since we believe that the water here is natural birth (all births are accompanied by water), why can’t John be referring to natural birth?
4. “Water” is the Word of God. “Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word…” (Ephesians 5:25,26). For water is the truth and the blood is the application of that truth.
5. Some understand the water and the blood as a symbolic reference to the sacraments of baptism and communion. This was Luther’s view…
I can’t say I have a definitive answer that would satisfy all of my readers. I can attest to the truth of all positions. (Sounds like I have my feet firmly planted in mid air doesn’t it?) I know that blood and water came from Jesus side at His crucifixion. I respect John MacArthur’s position that the water is Christ’s baptism, that Tertullian referred to as His inauguration. And, of course I see the blood as representing His death. Natural birth is also true that every one of us was born of water. And I know that Jesus is the “Living Water” (John 7:38), and that I have been “washed by the water of the word.”
Since there are so many opinions I leave it up to you to decide which is the most plausible for you! Whatever is the truth it will not effect my relationship with my Savior!
Listen to The Prince of Preachers, Charles Spurgeon, “By the terms ‘water and blood’ we understand the purifying and the pardoning effects of Christ’s work for his people. He came to purify them from the power of sin, that they might no longer live in it; this is indicated by the declaration that he ‘came by water.’ He came also to put away the guilt of their sin, that they might not be condemned for it; this is set forth by to intimation that he also came ‘by blood.’ We might say that all the Lord’s prophet, who came before Christ in a certain sense ‘came by water.’ That is to say, they all sought the purification of the Lord’s people.”
Verse 6b: “And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth.”
“It is the Spirit who bears witness,” (who testifies): martureo in Greek, means, to be a witness, to bear witness, to affirm that one has seen or heard or experienced something, or that he knows it because taught by divine revelation or inspiration.
The Spirit continually (present tense) gives evidence, affirming the truth that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. He continually brings the truth about Jesus to the light, with a testimony based, not on opinion but based on historical facts. His testimony can be believed! Everything the Spirit says is truth. All spiritual truth is from Him. It is only as He teachers us that we come to know truth. When He testifies or bears witness about Jesus, what He says is true and we would do well to receive this truth and live by it! God has given us the witness of His Spirit of Truth to guide us through the treacherous paths of this world's lies and darkness!
Verse 7,8: “For there are three that bear witness [in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one].” And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.”
It is believed by some authorities that the above text in bold italics in the KJV and the NKJV is not in the original Greek and for that reason those words are not found in some modern translation (ESV, NAS, NIV).
This is kind of a moot point, because Verse 8 it essentially says the same thing, “the Spirit, the water, and the blood.” The point is, depending on what family of manuscripts one used for their translation, human beings that were doing the translating. Dr. Peter Connolly used to say, “The greatest languages in the world, Greek and Hebrew, crack under the weight of inspiration.”
Who are the three that testify or give witness? “The Spirit and the water and the blood” as recorded in 1 John 5:8. To what do they testify? In context they testify to the truths concerning Jesus Christ which John has just recorded... “That Jesus is the Christ” (Anointed One, Messiah) (1 John 5:1).
“A threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12 ). Here is that three-fold cord of deity, three mighty testimonies to the foundation upon which Christian faith rests. The third member of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, gives witness from the Father of the Son because He is “the Spirit of Truth.” He always speaks what is true.
John 16:13, “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth.”
John 14:17, Again, He is called, “The Spirit of truth…”
The Holy Spirit also bears witness to the true person of Jesus, as Jesus promised… “But I will send you the Advocate (one that pleads the cause of another) —the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about Me.” (John 15:26 NLT).
The false witnesses at the Jesus’ trial, were seeking to discredit Jesus, “For many bore false witness against Him, but their testimonies did not agree. Then some rose up and bore false witness against Him, saying, ‘We heard Him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.’ But not even then did their testimony agree,” (Mark 14:56-59). The true witnesses, however, the Spirit, the water and the blood, seeking to accredit him, are in perfect agreement.
“These three agree as one…” The verb are is in the present tense signifying the three witnesses are continually of one accord, in perfect agreement that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. The Greek reads: “the three are in the one.”
“John’s point is that God’s threefold witness to His Son—the Spirit, the water, and the blood—is trustworthy. In a court of law, truth is established when numerous witnesses say the same thing and when those witnesses are shown to have credible character. John shows us that the three witnesses all agree, and they are not just the testimony of men, but of God Himself.” –Steven Cole
Verse 9a: “If we receive the witness of men…” “If we are willing to take human authority…” (AMP).
When it comes to evaluating testimony, Jewish law required the presence of two or three witnesses to establish a fact in court. In the matter of church discipline, Jesus says, “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established” (Matthew 18:15,16); “By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established” (2 Corinthians 13:1); “Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses” (Hebrews 10:28).
We are accustomed to “receive the witness of men” in courts of law, and in our daily life. We are constantly acting on the belief that what others say is true; that what the members of our families, and our neighbors say, is true; that what we read in books, and what is sworn to in courts of law, is true. We would have a difficult in life if we didn’t act on this belief; nor are we accustomed to call it in question, unless we have reason to suspect that it is false.
Everybody, everyday trusts the testimony of fallen men, who are fallible at best. We couldn’t deposit money in a bank, ride in a car, buy food at the grocery store, take an aspirin for a headache, or do any of the many things we do in our daily lives if we did not trust the witness of men. John is saying, “If you trust in men every day, can’t you trust what God has testified concerning His Son?” Since we are in the habit of accepting as valid and reliable the testimony of men, how much more should we accept the greater testimony of God regarding the truth about His God’s, Jesus Christ!
Some writers think that the phrase “testimony of men” may refer to John the Baptist's testimony of Jesus, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). And in John 5:31-34, Jesus says, “If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true. There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know that the witness which He witnesses of Me is true. You have sent to John (the Baptist), and he has borne witness to the truth. Yet I do not receive testimony from man, but I say these things that you may be saved” (John 5:31-34).
A witness does not speak on his own behalf, though he may share his own experience, but primarily the purpose of the witness is to tell about another.
My personal salvation was on the testimony of man. I knew nothing about the Bible! My opinion of Christians was not good! I knew absolutely nothing about salvation, so I had to depend on the testimony of Dr. Combs as he talked about Jesus Christ and explained to me God’s plan of salvation. He explained the sacrifice of Christ to me, and I accepted that sacrifice for forgiveness of my sin.
Verse 9b: “the witness of God is greater for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son.” “the testimony of God is…of stronger authority” (AMP).
There is the testimony of the “three witnesses” mentioned in 5:8, so that the testimony of the three is in fact the testimony of God himself. This is the way the New English Bible translates the first clause: “and this threefold testimony is indeed that of God Himself.”
“The importance of this verse is that it declares explicitly what has so far only been hinted, namely that God is the subject and Christ the object of the threefold testimony. The Spirit, the water and the blood all testify to Christ, and the reason why they agree is that God Himself is behind them. In other words the Spirit, water and blood are in reality God's witness concerning His Son.” –John Stott
What is that testimony? “That Jesus is the Christ (the anointed one, Messiah)” (1 John 5:1). Some religions today like Jehovah Witnesses, Muslims and Jews deny Jesus is the Son of God and make the God of the Bible a liar. And as John said previously, “Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son” (1John 2:22).
The word “Christ” is the English transliteration of the Greek word Khristós. It has the same meaning as the word “Messiah” which is the English transliteration of the Hebrew word mashíach. Both words mean “the Anointed One.” Jesus is the one chosen by God to save His people. He is the Messiah who was promised to the children of Israel. He is the fulfillment of the prophecies.
“But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name” (John 20:31 NLT).
Verse 10a: “He who believes in the Son of God…”
“Believes in” in Greek is, pisteuo (believe), with the preposition, eis (in), which is used to convey motion or direction toward some object. In this case the object is the Son of God. To believe in Christ is to commit yourself to Him fully in faithful reliance on Him
“There is a wide difference between believing someone and believing in that person. If we believe someone, we do no more than accept whatever statement that person may be making at the moment as true. If we believe in someone, we accept the whole person and all that that individual stands for in complete trust. We would be prepared not only to trust the spoken word, but also to trust ourselves to that person. To believe in Jesus Christ is not simply to accept what he says as true; it is to commit ourselves into His hands, for time and for eternity. When we do that, the Holy Spirit within us testifies that we are acting aright. It is the Holy Spirit who gives us the conviction of the ultimate value of Jesus Christ and assures us that we are right to make this act of commitment to him. Those who refuse to do that are refusing the promptings of the Holy Spirit within their hearts.” –William Barclay
Verse 10b: “has the witness in himself…”
No doubt this refers to the work of the Spirit who indwells every believer.
Ezekiel 36:27, "I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes.”
Romans 8:9, “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.”
1 Corinthians 3:16, “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”
1 Corinthians 6:19, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?”
Galatians 4:6, “And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’”
2 Timothy 1:14, “Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.”
God seals (Ephesians 4:30) our new birth by giving us His Spirit of Truth in our inner being. John 16:13, “When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth…” If we believe in Jesus as the Son of God, we have the testimony in ourselves. Romans 8:16, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” “The Spirit Himself testifies and confirms together with our spirit [assuring us] that we [believers] are children of God” (AMP). Romans 8:16 speaks of two witnesses, the Holy Spirit and our human spirit. They both bear witness together. This is in keeping with the Old Testament principle that all matters need to be verified by at least two witnesses.
Verse 10c: “he who does not believe God has made Him a liar…”
Notice that John does not give an exact quote from the previous statement. In other words he does not say “does not believe in the Son of God,” but instead says that he “does not believe God,” which emphasizes whose testimony he is rejecting! The unbeliever in effect makes the non-lying God a liar!. “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began” (Titus 1:2)
“Rejecting God’s witness concerning His Son is not a misfortune to be pitied, or overlooked in the name of tolerance. It is a heinous, damning sin and an affront to God’s holy nature. Those guilty of it must not be patronized, comforted, or reassured, but confronted and called to repentance. This is no trivial issue; the integrity of God is at stake.” –John MacArthur
“The great sin of not believing in the Lord Jesus Christ is often spoken of very lightly and in a very trifling spirit, as though it were scarcely any sin at all; yet, according to my text, and, indeed, according to the whole tenor of the Scriptures, unbelief is the giving of God the lie, and what can be worse?” –Charles Spurgeon
Verse 10e: “because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son.”
This means he refuses to believe what God Himself says as true and worthy of his trust about Jesus the Son of God. Could there be a more trustworthy witness than God? Psalm 93:5, “Your testimonies are very sure…”
John here exposes the great sin of unbelief. Most everyone who refuses to believe God (in the full sense of the word believe) doesn’t intend to call God a liar. But they do it nonetheless.
Spurgeon said, “The great sin of not believing in the Lord Jesus Christ is often spoken of very lightly and in a very trifling spirit, as though it were scarcely any sin at all; yet, according to my text, and, indeed, according to the whole tenor of the Scriptures, unbelief is the giving of God the lie, and what can be worse?”
What if one says, ‘Well, I want to believe, but I can’t.’ Spurgeon answers: ‘Hearken, O unbeliever, you have said, ‘I cannot believe,’ but it would be more honest if you had said, ‘I will not believe.’ The mischief lies there. Your unbelief is your fault, not your misfortune. It is a disease, but it is also a crime: it is a terrible source of misery to you, but it is justly so, for it is an atrocious offense against the God of truth.”
You can trust God! You can take Him at His word!
“If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, ‘Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced…’ For Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:9-13 NLT).
1 Thessalonians 5:24, “He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.”
Hebrews 13:6 AMP, “I will never [under any circumstances] desert you [nor give you up nor leave you without support, nor will I in any degree leave you helpless], nor will I forsake or let you down.”
Joshua 1:5, and Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Dr. H. A. Ironside used to tell of a man who had doubts about whether he was a Christian. He got down on his knees and said, “Now, Father, I want to settle this question. Show me whether I have eternal life or not.” And opening his Bible, his eyes fell on this verse from 1 John 5:10. He said in his prayer, “Father, I don't want to make You a liar, and it says here that if I don't believe the testimony that You give about the Son, I'm making You a liar. I don't want to do that. What is the testimony?” And he read the next part, “And this is the testimony,” and he stopped right there. He was so overwrought that he put his thumb over the rest of the verse and said, “Lord, it says here that if I don't believe the testimony that You gave concerning Your Son, I'm making You a liar, and I don't want to make You a liar. I believe that I have what that testimony is right under my thumb here, and I'm going to take my thumb off and read it, and Lord, help me to believe it, because I don't want to make You a liar.” With great trepidation he raised his thumb and read, “God has given us eternal life, and this life is in the Son” (1 John 5:11). All of a sudden it came home to him. “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:12). No matter what else he may have, no matter how religious he may be, if he has not received the Son, he does not have life. He entered into peace and became a preacher of this great truth.
Unless otherwise noted, the New King James Version of the Bible was used. Also The New Living Translation (NLT); The New American Standard Bible (NASB); The Message (MSG); The New Century Version (NCV); The Amplified Bible (AMP); The King James Version (KJV), The New Life Version (NLV); English Standard Version (ESV); J.B. Phillips New Testament; Easy to Read Version (ERV); Common English bible (CEB); NET Bible (NET) and The Living Bible (TLB). Contemporary English Version (CEV).