Bible Study

1 John Bible Study, Day 26: Three Witnesses Give Testimony

Today’s passage: 1 John 5:6–12

Focus verse: For there are three that testify: the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. (1 John 5:7–8)

The Old Testament gives a rule that to convict someone requires two or three witnesses (Deuteronomy 19:15). The testimony of one person is not enough. Two people must agree; three are better. This principle of multiple witnesses repeats throughout the Bible.

John builds on this standard of three witnesses by telling us of those who testify about Jesus. These are not human witnesses but supernatural ones. In this case, the trio testifying of Jesus is comprised of the Spirit, the water, and the blood. 

The first witness is the Spirit, as in the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth. The Old Testament testifies often about Jesus, but most people in Jesus’s day miss it (John 5:39–40).

It takes the work of the Holy Spirit for them to understand what Scripture says about Jesus. The same is true today. The Holy Spirit serves as Jesus’s first witness.

The second to give testimony is the water. This references Jesus’s baptism. Many were baptized around the time of Jesus and many more have been baptized since. What makes Jesus’s baptism special?

First, sinless Jesus doesn’t need to repent for his sins, which is the purpose of John’s baptism.

More important is that after John baptizes Jesus, Father God speaks from heaven. He testifies about Jesus, as his Son whom he loves and is most pleased with (Matthew 3:16–17, Mark 1:10–11, and Luke 3:21–22).

The Father, speaking at Jesus’s baptism, serves as the second witness.

The third to give testimony is the blood. This references Jesus’s death. Though not common, it’s possible one person—any person—could choose to die in place of another.

Yet this sacrifice would be incomplete, just like the annual sin sacrifices prescribed in the Old Testament.

What makes Jesus’s sacrificial death different? What makes his death the ultimate sacrifice to end all sacrifices? Quite simply, Jesus doesn’t just die. He overcomes death by rising from the dead.

His resurrection shows his mastery over death, both his and ours (Romans 6:9).

This serves as the third witness.

These three witnesses—Spirit, water, and blood—agree in their testimony of Jesus. 

If we’re willing to believe in the witness of three people, we should put even more confidence in the testimony of three supernatural witnesses.

Jesus died so that we may live.


  1. How willing are we to believe what God says over what people say? 
  2. What does the witness of the Holy Spirit mean to you?
  3. What does the witness of the water mean to you?
  4. What does the witness of the blood mean to you?
  5. Which of the three witnesses for Jesus do we best connect with? Why?

Discover what else John writes about witnesses for Jesus in John 8:18.

Tips: Check out our tips to use this online Bible study for your church, small group, Sunday school class, or family discussion. It’s also ideal for personal study. Come back each Monday for a new lesson.

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Discover practical, insightful, and encouraging truths in Love One Another, a devotional Bible study to foster a deeper appreciation for the two greatest commandments: To love God and to love others.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

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