Three Witnesses - 1 John 5:6-12

Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on 1 John 5:6-12

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Three Witnesses - 1 John 5:6-12

Three Witnesses to Christ: the Spirit, Water and Blood. John identifies three witnesses that support what he has written in his letter. The OT and later Jewish courts always required at least two dependable witnesses to decide a case (see notes on Deut. 17:6; 19:15). John lists the Holy Spirit, water and blood in support of his assurances to his readers

The Spirit and the water and the blood - 1 John 5:6-8

the Spirit and the water and the blood. See WCF 2.3; WLC 6, 9; WSC 6; BC 9, 34. In both the OT and the NT, important matters were resolved only with the testimony of two or three witnesses (see notes on Deut. 17:6; 19:15; Matt. 18:6; Jn. 8:17; 2 Cor. 13:1; 1 Tim. 5:9; Heb. 10:28). The first and most important witness: the Holy Spirit has confirmed the message John's readers have heard from the beginning (see notes on 2:20-27; ). The second and third witnesses operate together in Christ: blood and water signify his human body and death, as well as, his bodily resurrection (see notes on Jn. 19:34; 20:20, 25-27). Water and the Spirit are also referenced by Jesus as he spoke to Nicodemus (see notes on Jn. 3:5-8). There John affirms the necessity of both physical and spiritual birth to enter the kingdom of God. Here, the three witnesses agree about the identity of Jesus the Messiah as the God-man, fully human and fully divine.

Water and blood - 1 John 5:6

water and blood. See BC 34. See note on 4:13. In Greek mythology, the gods of Olympus did not have blood, but ichor, a watery substance. It is likely that those who left John's congregation recognized Christ's deity, but not his humanity. This reference to water and blood shows Jesus Christ was both God and man. In his Gospel, John uses the words by water three times in reference to John the Baptist (see notes on Jn. 1:26, 31, 33). Therefore, it is possible John is referencing Jesus' baptism with water at the beginning of his ministry, and the end of his earthly ministry with blood that references his crucifixion

Testimony of God - 1 John 5:9

testimony of God. See WCF 1.4. Because of the Spirit's part in the three witnesses, John identifies the source of this testimony as God. John's argument is from the lesser to the greater. If we accept human testimony, how much more should we accept God's testimony.

1 John 5:10-12

See WCF 14.2; WLC 32; BC 21; HC 61

A liar - 1 John 5:10

in himself… a liar. John provides yet another group of three witnesses: the Father, the Spirit and the believer. At the baptism of Jesus, the Spirit's descent on Jesus and the Father's voice both show that Jesus is the Son of God. The two testimonies always work together (see notes on Mk. 1:1; 15:39; Jn. 20:31). When a person believes that Jesus is the Messiah, they not only receive this message, they also receive the anointing of the Spirit (see notes on 1 Jn 2:20-27). To refuse these two sets of three witnesses, who attest that Jesus is the Messiah is to call God a liar (see note on 1:10)

Eternal life in his Son - 1 John 5:11

eternal life… in his Son. God's testimony about Jesus includes the benefits of his reign as Messiah to his people, namely eternal life. Risen from among the dead, Jesus is both alive and the life-giver (see note on Gal. 2:20). Eternal life is not the mere extension of this life, rather, it is life as the Messiah secures, cultivates and shares it

Does not have the Son - 1 John 5:12

does not have the Son. See WCF 10.3. Based on John's Gospel, to have the Son means to abide or remain in Christ (see notes on Jn. 6:56; 14:23; 15:4-7). The Father has eternal life in himself, and he gives it to those who believe in Jesus. God's Son, gives God's Spirit to those who believe God's testimony about the Son. Those who have the Son know the Father and the Spirit, but those who do not have the Son do not know God.

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