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Three generations of hands

Abide 1 John 5:6-12

When I was seminary, which was about the same time the earth’s crust hardened, like everyone in my particular program I had to take “baby” Greek. After you nail down some of the basics, one of the first books they have you translate is I John.

Why is that? Because the Greek in I John is comparatively simple. The vocabulary is modest, maybe a couple hundred words. The syntax isn’t particularly complicated. Easy.

The irony, though is this: While the translation of I John is relatively easy, the interpretation of it can be really hard. In other words, I John is the first book you translate and the last book you should try to teach. It turns out that what Spurgeon said of the Bible is true of I John. “It’s shallow enough for a child to wade in, but deep enough to drown an elephant.”

This week we come to the elephant drowning end of I John. This is what the Apostle writes in 1 John 5:6-8:

“This is the one who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.”

That’s deep. Alfred Plummer called this “the most perplexing passage in the Epistle and one of the most perplexing in the New Testament.” What in the world is he talking about? That’s what we’re going to find out.


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