I have 2 questions:
1) As you know, in the earlier Bible translations 1 John 5:7 ‘these three are one’ (referring to the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit) and this is not found in the later Bible versions. But when I read this verse in the Interlinear Bible, it corresponds to the verse of the older versions as it contains ‘these three are one’.  Does this mean that the Interlinear Bible uses outdated manuscripts? Also, can you comment on the reliability of the Interlinear? Lastly, please say if ‘these three are one’ should be in our Bibles or not.

2) Is the law of Moses divided into ceremonial laws and moral laws? We are sure that when we are in Christ, we don’t have to eat kosher food, get circumcised, keep the Sabbath etc.. These laws can be considered as ceremonial. But Jesus and His apostles firmly opposed anything against moral laws such as murder, adultery, fornication, homosexuality etc. So is there really a division in the law of Moses between the ceremonial and the moral? Can we find that in the scriptures?


1. None of the early manuscripts include 1 John 5:7-8.  This was an interpolation (a marginal comment which later was included, either by accident or mistake) to the original text some time no earlier than the tenth century.  No scholar believes it was in the original of 1 John as far as I know.  Of course, it was included in the textus receptus,  the received Greek text in the sixteenth century, and therefore was included in the King James Version in the early seventeenth century.  All translations today either put the passage as a footnote or include it with a comment explaining that it was not in the original of 1 John.  I assume that the interlinear you are using also mentions that this was not in the original, but include it for completeness.  The interlinear does not use outdated manuscripts, but includes this for completeness.  Those who produce your Interlinear Bible assume that you are looking carefully, including at the footnotes.

I am not sure what you mean when you ask about the reliability of an interlinear text.  Are you asking about the reliability of the Greek in the interlinear or are you asking about the reliability of the English translation of the Greek words?  I will assume that you are asking about the Greek text.  In this case, the most accurate record we have of the autographs of the New Testament are found in the most current Greek texts, like the one you will find in your interlinear.  Therefore, you can assume that the Greek of your interlinear is VERY reliable.  However, in the case of 1 John 5:7-8, John 8:1f, Mark 16:9f  and others, you need to pay careful attention to the marginal notes about the small number of passages in the Greek New Testament about which there is some question.

If you are asking about the reliability of the English translations found above the Greek words in  your interlinear, using an interlinear is one of the most accurate ways you can study the Bible in English, but you should remember that no translation is perfect.  For any given Greek word, there is no English word, generally, which is exactly equivalent to the Greek.  So, you may want to also use a Greek/English dictionary if you want to have the most accurate possible English version of the original in Greek.  It is helpful to use an interlinear with one or two other translations in hand so that you can get the best feeling for the meaning of the Greek.

Should “these three are one” be incluced?  The answer is clear.  No, it should not.  Of course, the fact is that from other passages in the New Testament we know that the three are one, so whether or not we include 1 John 5:7-8 really has no effect on Christian belief.  Whether it should be included or not is a good question, but we should remember that, ultimately, it has no effect on our Christian beliefs.

2. The answer is that the Hebrew Bible does not make a clear distinction between the supposed “ceremonial” law and the “moral” law.  This is a distinction made by Christian interpreters.  Some groups, notably Jehovah Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists try to bind parts of the Old Testament law on Christians.  Actually, some main-line Protestant groups do this to a lesser extent as well.  All agree that Christians do not need to make blood sacrifices and that we can eat cheeseburgers (which Jews may not).  So, how do we distinguish the parts of the Mosaic Law which Christians must observe from those they do not need to observe (ask those who would impose Old Testament Law on us)?  They propose that we are subject to the moral but not the ceremonial law.  The problem is that this is a bogus distinction.  It is never made in the Old Testament.  No two groups agree on the exact list of laws are in the ceremonial and which are in the moral law, for the simple reason that the Bible does not make the distinction!  Some might say that, by definition, the Old Testament laws that we Christians must obey are, by definition, the moral law, but this is circular reasoning.  Why not just say that we obey the teachings of Jesus?

Jehovah Witnesses want to impose laws about eating blood.  Seventh Day Adventists want to impose obedience to the Sabbath.  Some more mainstream Protestants want to impose the Ten Commandments (except for the Sabbath).  Others say that Sunday is the Christian “Sabbath”.  None of these are justified biblically.  Jesus fulfilled the Law, according to Matthew 5:17.  We are not subject to the Law of Moses.  Period.  According to Colossians 2:14 we are free of obligation to law.  This includes the Law of Moses.  We are not under the Law of Moses, but the Law of Christ (Gal 6:2).

Of course, there are things that are commanded on the Old Testament, both things we need to do and we need to not do, that we are subject to as Christians.  Greed, drunkenness, adultery and pride are sinful and wrong for us.  Both Jews and Christians are commanded to love God, pray, give from what we have earned and so forth, but this is because these things are mentioned in both the Old and the New Testament.  You mention things which are sinful for us as Christians.  The reason is that these things are sinful.  It is not because they are part of the “moral law” of the Old Testament, as this is not a distinction even made in the Old Testament, as far as I know.  They are sinful for us because they are sinful and God has told us they are sinful.  I personally suggest you not use the terminology “moral law” because this is not a biblical term, but I would not make a big stink about those who use this term.  This is a debatable matter, but that is my advice.

John Oakes

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