Gradual of Precious Blood

1 John 5:6-9

This is He that came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. V. There are three who give testimony in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one. And there are three that give testimony on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three are one.


Verse 6. Came by water and blood. The sense seems to be, by water, with which he ordered every one to be baptized and made Christians; 2ndly, by his blood shed on the cross for our redemption. Wi. — Blood: not only to wash away our sins by the water of baptism, but by his own blood. Ch. — And it is the Spirit that testifieth that Christ[2] is the truth. By the Spirit, which is not here called the Holy Spirit, or the Holy Ghost, as in the next verse, is either meant the Spirit or soul of Christ, which dying he recommended into the hands of his Father, and which shewed that he was truly man, against Cerinthus, and some heretics of those times; or else it may signify the spirit of grace, given in this world to the faithful, in the same sense as S. Paul says, (Rom. viii. 16.) that the Spirit himself giveth testimony to our Spirit, that we are the sons of God: and of which may be understood what is said here, (v. 10.) He that believeth in the Son of God, hath the testimony of God in himself. Wi.

Verse 7. There are three that give testimony in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one: i.e. one in nature, in substance, and in all perfections, in the same sense as when Christ himself said, (Jo. x. 30.) I and the Father are one, or one thing. The Socinians object that this verse is wanting in many Greek manuscripts; and even Erasmus in one edition, and Mr. Simon in his Critics, have questioned it, or rejected it, as a false reading, but without any sufficient proofs and grounds, as hath been shewn by many learned Catholics, and also by Protestant writers, who receive in their translations this verse as canonical. It is easy to account for the omission of this verse; for as both the seventh and eighth verse begin and end with the same words, this gave occasion to the oversight and omission of the transcribers, whereas it is not credible that such a whole verse could be added. And that it was only by the mistake and oversight of transcribers may further appear, because we find part of the seventh verse, to wit, and these three are one, cited by Tertul. l. cont. Praxeam. c. xxiii. p. 515. Ed. Rig. and twice by Cyprian, Epist. 73. ad Jubaianum. p. 125. Ed. Rig. in the Oxford Edition, p. 310. and in his Treatise de Unit. Ecclesiæ, p. 181. Ed. Rigal. and in the Oxford Ed. p. 79, where also Dr. Fell defends this verse of S. John to be genuine. Tertul. and Cyp. wrote long before the dispute with the Arians. The Socinians also object that this passage is not brought by S. Athanasius and some other fathers against the Arians, which they could scarce have omitted had they read this verse, but this only proves that this omission had happened in some MSS. in their time, or, as some conjecture, that the Arians had corrupted some copies. S. Fulgentius made use of it against the Arians, and also others about that time. See the Benedictines of S. Maur against Mr. Simon, in the first tome of S. Jerom, p. 1670. Both Catholics and Protestants, after a diligent examination, have received this verse, which is found in the best MSS. See Greek Test. at Amsterdam, an. 1711. The three divine Persons, who are present everywhere, though said to be in heaven, gave testimony concerning Christ. The Father by a voice from heaven, both at his baptism (Mat. iii. 17.) and at his transfiguration, (Mat. xvii. 5.) saying: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him:” and also by all the miracles wrought by the same power of all the three divine Persons. 2. The Son testified to the Jews on many occasions, that he was sent from God, that he was the only Son of God, that he and his Father were one, &c. as in the annot. on John iii. The Holy Ghost confirmed the same, particularly by coming down upon the disciples on the day of Pentecost, and inspiring them to teach the same doctrine concerning Jesus Christ. Wi. — An express proof of the three distinct persons and unity of nature and essence in the blessed Trinity.

Verse 8. And there are three that give testimony on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three are one. This is a repetition of what was before said, v. 6, to be expounded in the same manner. But when it is added, these three are one, the sense is, that they witness one and the same truth. Wi. — As the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, all bear witness to Christ's divinity; so the spirit, which he yielded up, crying out with a loud voice upon the cross, and the water and blood that issued from his side, bear witness to his humanity, and are one; that is, all agree in one testimony. Ch.

Verse 10. He that believeth not the Son, maketh him (God) a liar, by refusing to believe the testimonies given by the three divine Persons, that Jesus was the Messias and the true Son of God, by whom eternal life is obtained and promised to all that comply with his doctrine. In him we have also this lively confidence, that we shall obtain whatever we ask, according to his will, when we ask what is for our good with perseverance and in the manner we ought. And this we know and have experience of, by having obtained the petitions that we have made. Wi.