Water and Blood in 1 John 5:6
- The question I want to propose is this should water and blood in 1 John 5:6 be interpreted somewhat generically 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. This suggests that the terms flesh and blood are interchangeable. FG substantiate this (1:13 6:53).
Concerning the water, John 7:37-39 explicitly defines it as the Spirit. Though not every reference to water in FG can be so defined (e.g. John 1:26, 31, 33, 2:6-7, 3:23, 5:7), those references that don't specifically make this connection often still foreshadow 7:37-39's more explicit link.
Together spirit and flesh makes sense of the unity of water and blood found in the first half of 5:6 and at the same time explains the distinction made in the second half. John testifies to union of Spirit and flesh (John 1:14; 1 John 1:1). His opponents on the other are culturally and or philosophically predisposed to keep these two categories distinct.
The only objection I can find to this premise is of course found in the following verses. In 5:7-8 spirit, water, and blood stand alongside one another as distinct witnesses. How can water mean spirit and at the same time remain distinct from an explicit reference to the spirit? This question only helps to further define the meaning of water? 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, could the spirit specifically mentioned in 1 John 5:7 refer to the Holy Spirit, the witness which John's community shares?
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 needs to be established to make this interpretation a credible hypothesis?
Canby Bible College
> I believe that I understand your argument: You want to interpret the first thingEssentially.
> in the comparison (water) in a literal fashion- as normal earthly "water" that
> can only do what it was meant to do in whatever context it is found within John,
> and then you want to interpret the second thing being compared/contrasted as
> referring to something "symbolic"- something "more" than what the first thing
> can do that is being compared/contrasted. Thus your "earthly" and "heavenly"
> descriptions. Am I correct?