The translators of the KJV may have incorporated many of Erasmus’ corrections but not all of it. One example is that the KJV contains Matt. 6:13 even though it is not in Erasmus’ Textus Receptus (a correction Jerome’s old Latin Vulgate). So why do we continue to keep it in the Lord’s Prayer? Tradition I guess. The KJV translators also incorporated some of Erasmus’ later errors too. The 3rd edition of his Greek-Latin New Testament added the clause of 1 John 5:7-8. The KJV translators must have used the 3rd edition rather than the 1st or 2nd editions because the KJV also contains the short clause of 1 John 5:7-8. This is one of the numerous errors that eventually got inserted into the KJV, which still remains in the NKJV too. This clause is an issue in the KJV-only movement but they claim that non-KJV bibles have erroneously removed this vital clause that supports the trinitarian theology of Father-Son-Holy Spirit. All modern translations using the newer critical Greek manuscripts, e.g., T/NIV, NASB, N/RSV, NLT, have removed the erroneous clause. The NKJV has stuck loyally with the outdated Textus Receptus.
KJV: For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. (also in NKJV)
TNIV: For there are three that testify: the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.
NASB: For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.
NRSV: There are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood, and these three agree.
The NKJV footnote says: “NU-Text and M-Text omit the words from in heaven (verse 7) through on earth (verse 8). Only four or five very late manuscripts contain these words in Greek.” It is probable that St. Cyprian, a 3rd century Church father, added this clause in his sermon to elaborate on the Latin Vulgate. He quoted John 10:30 and added in this clause. It is also interesting that he did not quote this from the book of First Epistle of John but that he added it while quoting from the Gospel of John. It is most likely that St. Cyprian’s sermon, which contained this clause, eventually got included into the Latin Vulgate later on, which in turn, got translated back into some of the Greek manuscripts.
The TNIV footnote says: “Late manuscripts of the Vulgate testify in heaven: the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one. 8 And there are three that testify on earth: the (not found in any Greek manuscript before the fourteenth century).” The early Church Fathers who debated the Arians concerning the trinity would have loved this clause but even they did not ever mention this in their writings. Clement of Alexandria, who debated about the trinity, did not include the clause of 1 John 5:7-8. Neither did Tertullian nor St. Jerome use it. The writings of St. Jerome (4th c.) did not contain this clause either.
If earlier manuscripts and Church Fathers knew nothing of this 1 John 5 clause, why should the KJV-only movement keep insisting that it should be in the bible? I wonder if the translation committee of a future updated NKJV will ever use the newer critical Greek manuscripts? People seem to keep buying these N/KJV bibles (according to CBA bible sales) even though they are not based on the oldest manuscripts. Maybe it’s all perception as to which is supposed to be the most accurate or truest version? (above picture: Erasmus)