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In the Johannine Comma, i.e: 1John 5:7, the Greek texts which contain the trinity mention εν which means in, look:

1550 Stephanus New Testament:

7 οτι τρεις εισιν οι μαρτυρουντες εν τω ουρανω ο πατηρ ο λογος και το αγιον πνευμα και ουτοι οι τρεις εν εισιν

Almost, all translations say:

These Three are One

While the literal translation is:

These Three in are. "these three in are", is possible translation hermeneutically. Supposing presence of a guessed word, possibly: the One, i.e: the three in the One are. as I looked an Arabic translation stating this: "**الثلاثة هم **في الواحد" which means: "these Three are in One".

Are there English translations which mention:

In One or in the One?

3 Answers 3

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εν, which means in

It does. It also means one. The Greek text reads:

οι τρεις εν εισιν

If we are to translate εν as in, then it would render as:

the three in are

which makes little sense, contextually, in both Greek and English; however, it is theoretically possible to do so.

If we are to translate εν as one, then it would render as:

the three one are

which is not merely possible, but also makes sense.

What is however impossible is to render it as:

the three in one are

inasmuch as, for that to happen, the text would have to be amended to read:

οι τρεις εν εν εισιν

which simply isn't the case, in any known manuscript or patristic reference.

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  • what's translation of εισιν?. I looked Arabic translation stating this: "الثلاثة هم في الواحد" which means: "these Three are in One".
    – salah
    Dec 15, 2021 at 5:26
  • "the three in are", is possible translation hermeneutically. Supposing presence of a guessed word, possibly: the One, i.e: the three in the One are.
    – salah
    Dec 15, 2021 at 6:09
  • @salah: εἰσίν is a form of the verb to be; not to be confused with εἰς, meaning in.
    – Lucian
    Dec 15, 2021 at 7:26
  • thanks a lot, Lucian.
    – salah
    Dec 15, 2021 at 8:00
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Expressed in Erasmus’ 1516 edition of [1 John 5] is a blatant addition to NT scripture, inserting three class properties by the editor to classify Elohim. - The 16th Century amendment of [1 John 5:7] was not originally written in the Ancient Greek Codex Sinaiticus of 330 CE : https://codexsinaiticus.org/en/manuscript.aspx?book=55&chapter=5&lid=en&side=r&verse=7&zoomSlider=0

“For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.” [NKJV]

“ὅτι τρεῖς εἰσιν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες εν τῷ οὐρανῷ, ὁ πατήρ, ὁ λόγος, καὶ τὸ Ἅγιον Πνεῦμα· καὶ οὗτοι οἱ τρεῖς ἕν εἰσιν” [Textus Receptus]

The 1599 Geneva Bible maintained the words as : “For there are three, which bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the holy Ghost: and these three are one”. — See Footnote [R] 1 John 5:7 [Agree in one]. — https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20John%205&version=GNV

  • This new edition of [1 John 5:7] generates a definitive set of three class properties which “are one” (eisi heis) entity.
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To add on to Lucian's answer, there are two unrelated Greek words at play here: ἕν hén "one", and ἐν en "in". Most manuscripts don't indicate this distinction, but the words behave very differently in the grammar.

Syntactically, ἐν needs to be followed by a nominal of some sort, not a verb: "the three in are" is just as weird in Greek as it is in English. So this must be ἕν, which can come before a verb just fine.

P.S. You'll also see these words cited as én and en, because the h sound was lost by Koine times at the latest. But many modern editions include the breathing marks because scholars still used them even if they weren't pronounced. Either way, the accent difference persisted all the way to Modern Greek; these words were always pronounced differently, even if scribes didn't always write the difference.

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