Re: Wallace & 1 John 5:20

From: GregStffrd (
Date: Tue May 12 1998 - 10:49:33 EDT

Dear Braulio:

In a message dated 98-05-12 00:09:01 EDT, you write:

<< Dear Greg:
 Thank for your comentary. Grammaticaly and theologically I'm in one of the
 two sides that make up this verse.
 Please read Rev.3:7
                         Braulio Barillas >>

Thank you for the reference. I am not sure what you intended by it, except
perhaps to show that Jesus could be called "true," and I don't think anyone
disagrees with this. However, we all acknowledge that hO ALHTINOS in 1 John
5:20, at least in the first instance (and I believe the second instance, also)
is a reference to the Father, the One the Son came to tell us about. According
to Revelation 3:7 Jesus is a holy and true one, but that does not mean he is
the only holy and true one, for his followers are frequently referrred to as
"holy ones," (cf. Rev 5:8) and, again, we all agree that the Father is called
the true one in at least part of 1 John 5:20.

The question is, how are "holy" and "true" used? I cannot see any reason to
understand their use in Rev 3:7 as a reference to Jesus as the "holy and true
God." But that is what we are faced with in 1 John 5:20, vis-a-vis Jesus'
restriction of this title to the Father in John 17:1-3. Again, there appears
to be a clear correlation with TON ALHTHINON and TWi ALHTHINWi in 1 John 5:20,
and, given John's use of hOUTOS elsewhere, there is no reason why hOUTOS could
not refer back to either of these two referents, or even AUTOS, and remain
consistent with Jesus' words in John 17:3.

However, since we all seem to agree that this verse may grammatically refer to
either Jesus or the Father, but it is my contention that the immediate context
and larger theological context of John will only permit a reference to the
Father as "the true God," perhaps it is time we take the theological
discussion off the list, if you would like to continue talking about this


Greg Stafford
University of Wisconsin

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