1 John 5:7-8

King James Version (KJV)

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.

retained as:

New King James Version (NKJV)

7 For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.

8 And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.


English Standard Version (ESV)

7 For there are three that testify:

8 the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree.

The Johannine Comma is widely considered as inauthentic. I'm curious as to why this was retained in the NJKV?

  • 1
    I could not help but notice one thing regarding 1st John 5: 7 & 8: In Bible translations where the Trinity clause has been omitted ("and these three are one"), it takes BOTH verses (7 & 8) to form a complete sentence. Nowhere else in all the Bible have I yet been able to find another example of that. And that makes me skeptical!
    – user5785
    Aug 25, 2014 at 23:55
  • The verse numbers are not in the original autographs, they were added in the mid-16th century and therefore can't be used to justify a position on what this passage originally said.
    – jaz9090
    Mar 9, 2017 at 22:09
  • @jaz9090 Not sure if you were addressing my question the comment previous to yours. Mar 9, 2017 at 22:15
  • 1
    Sorry for the lack of clarity, I was addressing the comment previous to mine, I should have replied directly to that rather than left another comment!
    – jaz9090
    Mar 9, 2017 at 22:50

1 Answer 1


Probably for continuity.

The translation philosophy of the NKJV version was to essentially follow the original King James Version but update the language.

They did realize that there was textual discrepencies. That particular passage included words found in later Greek editions of the text but not in earlier editions.

Regarding textual discrepancies of the NKJV, Arthur L. Farstad, the Executive Editor of the NKJV version addressed some of these concerns stating:

"None of the three [textual] traditions on every page of the New Testament ... is labeled 'best' or 'most reliable.' The reader is permitted to make up his or her own mind about the correct reading."



They knew about it, but left it the way it was in order to maintain the original translation as much as possible.

  • 2
    Ugh. This is such a terrible translation decision. I enjoy reading and listening to the NKJV, but this choice makes me want to throw my copies away. The footnote on this particular passage reads: "1 John 5:8 NU-Text and M-Text omit the words from in heaven (verse 7) through on earth (verse 8). Only four or five very late manuscripts contain these words in Greek." Oct 6, 2011 at 19:26
  • 5
    Admittedly, it's not ideal, but they weren't trying to "fix" the authorized version, but rather they were just trying to make it more understandable. I think this comes from the desire to preserve the KJV as much as possible for the love of the old, poetic phrasing. I agree it is a bit annoying, but it's not like the trinity is solely based on this verse.
    – Richard
    Oct 6, 2011 at 19:32
  • 2
    Its is ideal because the point is for people who want to stick with the KJV but in more readable form. People who want a translation of the latest Nestle-Aland are going to be using something else anyway. And big time Nestle-Aland elitists would turn their nose at anything that still has the letters "KJV" in it, so obviously the NKJV is not targeted at them. What's lamentable is that the NKJV didn't stick closer to the KJV in the OT, particularly Psalms. Aug 7, 2014 at 3:27

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