I'm new to the list. By the number of recent posts I'm hoping I haven't arrived with the party at an end.
The question I want to propose is this should water and blood in 1 John 5:6 be more accurately interpreted as spirit and flesh?
Here are some arguments for the affirmative.
1 John 5:6 corresponds both verbally and conceptually tothe denial found in 1 John 4:2-3 and 2 John 7. Thus, Christ's coming in blood strongly correspond to His coming in flesh. The interchangeability of these two words is further established in FG (1:13; 6:53). John 3:37-39 explicitly defines water as the Spirit. And while not every reference to water in John refers to the Spirit (e.g. John 1:26, 31, 33, 2:6-7, 3:23, 5:7), those that don't often in some way foreshadow 7:37-39's more explicit connection. In addition, substituting spirit and flesh for water and blood makes sense of the paradoxical union and thendisunion of these two elements. John centers theologically on the union of Spirit and flesh (John 1:14) despite the fact that many people would philosophically hold to there distinction.
The only objection I can find to this premise is obvious. In the verses that follow (5:7-8) water and spirit standalongside one another as distinct witnesses. How can water mean spirit and not mean spirit at the same time? Instead of overturning the premise however It may in fact help to further define it? According to Raymond Brown, "'flesh'" in the writings of John "is the human as distinct from the divine." Could it be that water in 1 John 5:6-7, while still referring to "spirit" refers more specifically to Christ's divine nature? If this is the case the spirit mentioned in 1 John 5:7 could possiblyrefer to the Holy Spirit, the Spirit which John's community has received.
Do these arguments hold water? (The pun is of course intended.) Are there other objections to this view besides the one mentioned here? What else would need to be argued to establish this interpretation as a credible hypothesis?
Canby Bible College