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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Bowman's Holy Spirit


Jehovah's Witnesses know that the Bible describes God's holy spirit as a thing, not a person. It was understood by the Bible writers as God's active force. It is the impersonal agent by which God creates, for example. When he deals with man it is often through this force. He uses it to communicate, motivate, see, hear, etc. For obvious reasons trinitarians (who teach that holy spirit is a person who is equally God with the Father and Son, and therefore worthy of our worship as God!) do not like this.

Robert Bowman's Why You Should Believe in the Trinity - An Answer to Jehovah's Witnesses, December 1993 (7th printing):

The JWs admit that the word spirit can refer to a person. Thus, they recognize that Jehovah is a person; they regard Jesus as a spirit, and also as a person; they hold that the devil and his demons, all evil spirits, are also persons; and they believe that some Christians will be resurrected as spirits and live in heaven as spirit persons.
It must be admitted as possible, then, that "the Holy Spirit" is a person. As we have seen, there is some evidence for this conclusion. Another important line of evidence comes from the fact that the Bible contrasts the Holy Spirit with unholy spirits. There are at least three passages in the New Testament where this contrast is explicit.

In Mark 3:22 the scribes accuse Jesus of casting out demons "by means of the ruler of the demons" (NWT), that is, with the help of the devil. After arguing that it is self-contradictory to say that Satan casts out Satan (vv.23-27), Jesus warns them, "Truly I say to YOU that all things will be forgiven the sons of men, no matter what sins and blasphemies they blasphemously commit. However, whoever blasphemes against the holy spirit has no forgiveness forever, but is guilty of everlasting sin." Mark then adds, "This, because they were saying: `He has an unclean spirit'" (vv. 28-30 NWT).

There are two things here of note. The first is that the Holy Spirit can be blasphemed. This does not by itself prove that the Holy Spirit is a person or that he is God, since, for example, "the word of God" can be blasphemed (Titus 2:5). However, the fact that this is the worst sort of blasphemy that can be committed suggests strongly that the Holy Spirit is God himself. Also, in the parallel passage in Matthew Jesus says that "whoever speaks a word against the Son of man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the holy spirit, it will not be forgiven him..." (Matt. 12:32 NWT). Here, speaking against the person of the Son of man is contrasted with speaking against the Holy Spirit, which is considered far worse. The implication is that the Holy Spirit is a divine person. [* See note at end of paper.]

Second, and perhaps even more important, the Holy Spirit is contrasted with an unclean spirit (Mark 3:29-30). That is, to the charge that Jesus had an unclean spirit, Jesus responds that in fact he has a holy spirit - the Holy Spirit, in fact. As the unclean spirits that Jesus cast out were personal entities and not impersonal forces, so also the Holy Spirit by whose power Jesus cast them out was also a person.

Another passage containing a similar contrast is 1 Timothy 4:1, which reads, "But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons" (NASB). The contrast between "the Spirit" and "deceitful spirits" invites the conclusion that "the Spirit" is a person, not a force; and this understanding is reinforced by the fact that "the Spirit" is said to have spoken.

This text so clearly indicates the personhood of the Spirit that the NWT mistranslates it to read, "However, the inspired utterance says definitely that in later periods of time some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to misleading inspired utterances...." That this is a mistranslation can be seen from the fact that the "deceitful spirits" are linked with "doctrines of demons," indicating that these "spirits" are actual evil beings and not merely utterances.
Another text where a similar mistranslation of "spirit" occurs is 1 John 4:1-6, where the phrase "inspired expression" is used eight times in place of the simple word "spirit" (pneuma, as in all of the above passages). What makes this significant in this context is that in the previous verse John talks about "the spirit which he gave us" (1 John 3:24
NWT), that is, the Holy Spirit. His point in 1 John 4:1, then, in warning Christians not to "believe every spirit," is that there are counterfeit spirits claiming to be from God but which are really from the devil. This implies that the Spirit whom God has given to every Christian, "the Spirit of truth" (1 John 4:6, cf. John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13), is a personal spirit, just as the demonic "spirit of error" (1 John 4:6). - pp. 117-120.

Whether there is really an intended contrast between Holy Spirit and unholy spirit persons may be arguable in Mark 3:22-30. It certainly is not an intended contrast in Bowman's second scripture (1 Tim. 4:1). And if Bowman's third and final scripture (1 John 4:1-6) can only be understood as speaking of spirit persons as he insists, then this may be a proper example for his point of view. So Bowman has found two (at most) examples that might show a contrast between Holy Spirit and wicked spirit persons: Mk 3:22-30 and 1 Jn 4:1-6.

But with very little effort anyone can find numerous examples of the Holy Spirit being contrasted with or compared to or associated with things. (Also see the HS study paper.)

First, notice this example where Holy Spirit is also contrasted with "a spirit" - "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God" - 1 Cor. 2:12, KJV. The NIV Study Bible (Zondervan, 1985) tells us in a footnote for 1 Cor. 2:12 that `the spirit of the world' is "the attitude of the sinful nature." Thus Holy Spirit is clearly contrasted here with "the spirit" which is a thing: the inclination toward sinfulness. Respected trinitarian NT Grammarian A. T. Robertson also tells us that "the spirit of the world" in this scripture is a thing ("probably a reference to the wisdom of this age in verse 6 [1 Cor. 2:6, KJV]"). - p. 87, Vol. 4, Word Pictures in the New Testament, Broadman Press, 1931.

Here are a few of the many other instances of the Holy Spirit being compared with or contrasted to things (let's even limit ourselves to "power" at first):
1. "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you." - Lk 1:35, RSV. Not only is Holy Spirit compared to "power" but this is an actual parallelism!

2. "I [Jesus] am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city [Jerusalem] until you are clothed with power from on high." - Luke 24:49, NASB. And just what was this power that the Apostles were to wait in the city for after Jesus' resurrection?

"And gathering [his apostles] together, [Jesus] commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised ...'for ... you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.'" - Acts 1:4, 5, NASB.
In other words: "Don't leave the city until you are clothed with power, that is, baptized with Holy Spirit."

Not only does Jesus tell them they will be baptized with Holy Spirit (you can only be baptized with things: water, fire, power, etc.), but he specifically identifies that Holy Spirit as power!

3. "to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man.... according to the power that works within us." - Eph. 3:16, 20, NASB. Again power working in Christians is clearly equated with Holy Spirit working within them!

4. A. "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power;

B. how he went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed....

C. both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem." - Acts 10:38, 39, RSV.

We can easily see how Holy Spirit is compared to or at least strongly associated with power in the first line above (A.). But look at Luke's style of writing here. Instead of the parallelism he used in Luke 1:35 above, he is clearly using the related style wherein the writer first names a thing and then gives the major component within that thing.

For example in line B. above Jesus is said to be "doing good." This is immediately coupled with the major component in the composition of his "doing good": healing.

And in line C. we are told he was doing this good in "the country of the Jews." This is immediately coupled with the major component in the composition of the "country of the Jews": Jerusalem.

And so we can see that in line A., Luke has named the Holy Spirit and (in addition to comparing it to "power") has immediately coupled it with the major component in the very composition of Holy Spirit: power. And of course (like "baptized with") one is "anointed with" things, not persons.

5. "And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God." - 1 Cor. 2:4, 5, NASB.

Again Spirit is strongly associated with power in verse 4. And in verse 5 Paul tells his readers not to depend on their own wisdom but on the Holy Spirit which he has demonstrated and which is power. He also says that their faith should rest on that power of God (Holy Spirit) - compare 1 Cor. 12:9 - "through the Spirit one receives Faith" - NAB. Cf. MLB, JB, NEB.

6. "I am filled with power - with the Spirit of [Jehovah]" - Micah 3:8, NASB. Cf. RSV; NJB (`strength'); NRSV; NAB (`70); NAB ('91); LB; NIV; AT.
Although very closely related to power, there is a technical distinction here. We could say the Spirit is power (probably the major element of the Spirit). More accurately, however, we should say the Spirit is a force. As the JWs explain it:

" 'Power' is basically the ability or capacity to act or do things and it can be latent, dormant, or inactively resident in someone or something. `Force,' on the other hand, more specifically describes energy projected and exerted on persons or things, and may be defined as `an influence that produces or tends to produce motion, or change of motion.' `Power' might be likened to the energy stored in a battery, while `force' could be compared to the electric current flowing from such battery. `Force,' then, more accurately represents the sense of the Hebrew and Greek terms as relating to God's spirit, and this is borne out by a consideration of the Scriptures." - p. 1020, Vol. 2, Insight on the Scriptures.

The distinction is not always made, but technically the Spirit is an active force from God with unlimited power as its most distinguishing characteristic.
In the Old Testament (OT) it is clear that the inspired Bible writers intended holy spirit (ruah or ruach in Hebrew) to be understood as an invisible, powerful force from God. Even many trinitarian scholars will admit that.

For example, The Catholic Encyclopedia, p. 269, 1976, admits: "In the OT the Holy Spirit means a divine power..."

And the New Bible Dictionary, Tyndale House Publishers, 1984, pp. 1136,1137, says:
"Spirit, Holy Spirit. OT, Heb. ruah 378 times ...; NT, Gk. pneuma 379 times." And "Divine power, where ruah is used to describe ... a supernatural force...." And "At its [the Old Testament's concept of ruah, God's spirit] heart is the experience of a mysterious, awesome power - the mighty invisible force of the wind, the mystery of its vitality, the otherly power that transforms - all ruah, all manifestations of divine energy." And "at this early stage [pre-Christian] of understanding, God's ruah was thought of simply as a supernatural power (under God's authority) exerting force in some direction."

The Encyclopedia Americana tells us:

"The doctrine of the Holy Spirit [as a person who is God] is a distinctly Christian [?] one.... the Spirit of Jehovah [in the OT] is the active divine principle in nature. .... But it is in the New Testament [NT] that we find the bases of the doctrine of the Spirit's personality." And "Yet the early Church did not forthwith attain to a complete doctrine; nor was it, in fact, until after the essential divinity of Jesus had received full ecclesiastical sanction [in 325 A.D. at the Council of Nicaea] that the personality of the Spirit was explicitly recognized, and the doctrine of the Trinity formulated." Also, "It is better to regard the Spirit as the agency which, proceeding from the Father and the Son, dwells in the church as the witness and power of the life therein." - Vol. 14, p. 326, 1957 ed.

And the Encyclopedia Britannica Micropaedia, 1985 ed., Vol. 6, p. 22 says:

"The Hebrew word ruah (usually translated 'spirit') is often found in texts referring to the free and unhindered activity of God, .... There was, however, no explicit belief in a separate divine person in Biblical Judaism; in fact, the New Testament itself is not entirely clear in this regard....
"The definition that the Holy Spirit was a distinct divine Person equal in substance to the Father and the Son and not subordinate to them came at the Council of Constantinople in AD 381...."

Many historians and Bible scholars (most of them trinitarians) freely admit the above truth. For example:

“On the whole, the New Testament, like the Old, speaks of the Spirit as a divine energy or power.” - A Catholic Dictionary.

And An Encyclopedia of Religion agrees:
"In the New Testament there is no direct suggestion of the Trinity. The Spirit is conceived as an impersonal power by which God effects his will through Christ." - p. 344, Virgilius Ferm, 1945 ed.

Even the trinitarian New Bible Dictionary tells us:

"It is important to realize that for the first Christians the Spirit was thought of in terms of divine power." - p. 1139, Tyndale House Publishers, 1984.

And the respected (and trinitarian) New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology confirms:

"As in earlier Jewish thought, pneuma ['spirit'] denotes that power which man experiences as relating him to the spiritual realm of reality which lies beyond ordinary observation and human control. Within this broad definition pneuma has a fairly wide range of meaning. But by far the most frequent use of pneuma in the NT (more than 250 times) is as a reference to the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, that power which is most immediately of God as to source and nature." - p. 693.

"The Spirit in the earliest Christian Communities and in Acts. `Holy Spirit' denotes supernatural power, altering, working through, directing the believer .... This is nowhere more clearly evident than in Acts where the Spirit is presented as an almost tangible force, visible if not in itself, certainly in its effects. This power of the Spirit manifests itself in three main areas in Luke's account of the early church [Acts]. (a) The Spirit as a transforming power in conversion. [p. 698] .... (b) The Spirit of prophecy. For the first Christians, the Spirit was most characteristically a divine power manifesting itself in inspired utterance. The same power that had inspired David and the prophets in the old age (Acts 1:16; 3:18; 4:25; 28:25) [p. 699] .... (c) The Spirit was evidently experienced as a numinous power pervading the early community ....

"The Spirit in the Pauline Letters. [p. 700] .... It is important to realize that for Paul too the Spirit is a divine power whose impact upon or entrance into a life is discernible by its effects." - pp. 693-701, Vol. 3, Zondervan, 1986.


"The emergence of Trinitarian speculations in early church theology led to great difficulties in the article about the Holy Spirit. For the being-as-person of the Holy Spirit, which is evident in the New Testament as divine power ..., could not be clearly grasped.... The Holy Spirit was viewed NOT AS A PERSONAL FIGURE BUT RATHER AS A POWER" - The New Encyclopedia Britannica.


I think most Christians realize that Jesus performed his healing miracles by using holy spirit. And when that holy spirit was used to heal, POWER [dunamis] went out of Jesus: Mark 5:30; Luke 6:19; 8:46. These are the only places in the KJV where dunamis [power] is mistranslated as "virtue." Oddly enough KJV does correctly translate dunamis as “power” in Luke 5:17 (“…and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.”).

Famed trinitarian Church historian Neander notes in his History of Christian Dogma:

"Though Basil of Caesarea [late 4th century A.D. Church leader] wished to teach the divinity [deity] of the holy spirit in his church, he only ventured to introduce it gradually."

Here are a few other equations of holy spirit with things:

7. The frequent comparison or contrast of the motivation of ‘flesh’ with the motivation of ‘spirit.’

Here are a few:
a) Matt. 26:41/Mk14:38
b) John 3:6
c) Ro. 8:4-13
d) 2 Cor. 7:1
e) Gal. 4:29
f) Gal. 5:17
g) Gal. 6:8
h) 1 Peter 4:6

“I baptize you with water for repentance, but...he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” - Matt. 3:11, RSV.

We see not only a contrast with Holy Spirit but also a comparison with Holy Spirit all in the same verse. First, Holy Spirit is contrasted with water (obviously a thing not a person)! Then it is compared to (or at least strongly associated with) fire (obviously a thing not a person - more closely related to power or energy)! And, of course, again, you “baptize” with a thing not a person!

Acts 11:15,16: “The Holy Spirit fell upon them ... John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” - RSV.)

“unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” - John 3:5, RSV. Again the Spirit is closely associated with a thing!

“men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom.... They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit....” - Act 6:3, 5, RSV.
“Stephen, full of grace and power” - Acts 6:8, NASB.
“[Stephen] being full of the Holy Spirit- Acts 7:55, NASB.
Stephen was filled with things: faith, wisdom, grace, and the Spirit (which is again equated with power)!

“we serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter [of the Law].” - Ro. 7:6, NASB. Contrasts “Spirit” and “letter” (things)!

“If you, bad as you are, know how to give good things [e.g., fish, egg] to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” - Luke 11:13, REB. Compares human fathers giving things with heavenly Father giving Spirit.

“Because three there are bearing witness, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood, and the three are in one.” - 1 John 5:7, 8, literal reading from The Zondervan Parallel New Testament in Greek and English.

These three are not only things, but they are “in one”!

Excerpt from my CREEDS study paper concerning 1 Jn 5:8:

“For there are three who bear witness [this is the only place in the entire Bible where we find a ‘trinitarian’ formula that even mentions the word ‘three!], The SPIRIT [which is God according to trinitarians], and the water, and the blood: and THE THREE [ARE] IN ONE.” - ASV.

This is by far the clearest “trinitarian” statement in the entire Bible!! It is the only one that even mentions “three” (although by using trinitarian-style “evidence” we could easily work in “seven” at Rev. 4:5 or “four” at Rev. 4:6 which has 4 living creatures “in the midst of” God’s throne). And to top it all off it says “THE THREE ARE IN ONE.” (The ASV renders “agree in one,” but the word “agree” is not really found in the Bible manuscripts here. It literally says “the three are in [or ‘into’] one.” - Compare the MLB: “the three are one.”)
And who are these three equal “persons” (who bear witness) who are equally God himself, the holy spirit (since the three are all “in one” with the holy spirit)? Why these three “persons” who are equally God (according to trinitarian doctrine) are the Spirit, the water, and the blood! (Notice how verse 9 also shows that these three are “really” God: the witness of these three is really the witness of God!)

Obviously this scripture is really saying that three things are “witnesses” to (or “testify to”) Jesus being the Christ, the Son of God: “the Spirit (Greek, τὸ πνεῦμα: singular, neuter - a thing) and the water (Greek, τὸ ὕδωρ: singular, neuter - a thing) and the blood (Greek, τὸ αἷμα: singular, neuter - a thing).” And these three things are “ONE” (Greek, ἕν: singular, neuter - ‘one thing’) in that they all “witness” to the same fact that Jesus is Christ. The Spirit “testified” to Jesus being the Christ by visibly descending upon him at his baptism. “Water symbolizes Jesus’ baptism, and the blood symbolizes his death” (NIVSB f.n.) These 3 things, then, all “testified” to the same thing. But they are all things! This is why trinitarian copyists in earlier centuries actually added the words of 1 John 5:7 as found in the KJV to the inspired words of John in the translations and copies of manuscripts they were making. They were desperate to find actual scriptural evidence of the trinity concept. And since it didn’t honestly exist, they had to manufacture it!

Of course an honest, clear statement of a trinity would be: “For there are three persons who are the only true God: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And the three are the One [εἷς, singular, masculine] God.” (You see, it isn’t a difficult statement for anyone to write, let alone an inspired Bible writer. Even “God is three” would be honest, clear evidence, but you will never see even that in the inspired scriptures. In fact, “three” is never used in any description concerning God. And the number “three,” in strong contrast to such numbers as “one,” “seven,” “twelve,” and “forty” has little or no importance in the religious content of the Bible! - pp. 565, 566, Vol. 3, A Dictionary of the Bible, Hastings, ed., Hendrickson Publ. - - -and see the IMAGE study paper, f.n. #8.) But 1 John 5:8 is, by far, the closest the Bible ever comes to such a statement!

Therefore, this clearest of trinitarian “proofs” (1 John 5:8) shows “conclusively” that if the Holy Spirit is God, His two equal partners are not Jesus and Jehovah, but the “persons” of “the Holy Water” and “the Holy Blood”!

15. Let’s also examine Acts 2:17,18 where God pours out [ekxeo, ekxew] from [apo] his Spirit upon all people. This should be clear enough that the Holy Spirit is a thing not a person. However, let’s look at all other uses of ekxeo used in the NT as listed in Young’s Exhaustive Concordance.

(Mark 2:22 does not use ekxeo in the best manuscripts.)
John 2:15, “poured out [ekxeo] the coins of the money changers.”
Acts 2:17, 18, God “pours out [ekxeo] from [apo] His Spirit upon all people.”
Acts 2:33, “he has poured out [ekxeo] this (thing) [touto, neut.] which you see.”
Acts 22:20, the blood of Stephen was poured out [ekxeo].
Ro. 3:15, Feet swift to shed (“pour out” - ekxeo) blood.
Titus 3:6, “Holy Spirit which he [God] poured out [ekxeo] upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior” (RSV). [This is also translated by noted trinitarian Beck as “He poured a rich MEASURE of this Spirit on us through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Beck NT)].
Rev. 16:1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 10, 12, 17, pour out [ekxeo] (the contents of) the bowls of the wrath of God. In other words “wrath” was being poured out.
Rev. 16:16, they poured out [ekxeo] the blood of saints and prophets.

Certainly in all other cases ekxeo (“poured out”) refers to things. It would be unreasonable to insist that this is not the case in Acts 2 (and Titus 3:6) also. We can see that if we pour out something from something, it can mean one of two things. If we said we poured out from our bowl, for instance, we actually mean we poured from a container which contained some substance (thing). We may have poured some of it or all of it. But if we said we poured out from our wine onto your roast beef, it can only mean that we poured a portion of our wine (out of some container, of course) onto the meat. We would not say we poured from our wine if we had poured it all out.

What was it that God poured out from his Spirit? Well, what did the people receive when God poured out from his Spirit? Acts 2:4, 33 tells us they received holy spirit! If, then, God poured Holy Spirit from his Holy Spirit as described in Acts 2:17, 18, it means he poured out a portion of his Holy Spirit, as rendered in the very trinitarian translations of the New American Bible (1970 and 1991 editions ), the New English Bible, and the Revised English Bible. (It is similar to our pouring out some wine from our wine.) So God poured out some of his spirit here, some of it there, but certainly he still kept an infinite supply. 

Also see Numbers 11:17, 25. The literal from the Spirit” here in the inspired Hebrew Bible language (see the trinitarian The NIV Interlinear Hebrew-English Old Testament, Zondervan Publ.) also means “a portion of God’s Spirit was taken from one person and given to others. See these trinitarian translations of Num. 11:17, 25: RSV, NEB, GNB, AT, NAB, JB, NRSV, REB, NJB, Mo, and Byington. Spirit, then, is a thing that may be poured out in portions - you simply do not pour out persons in measured portions upon other persons!

I’m sure there are many more examples of the close association of Holy Spirit with things, but surely you can see that the very few examples that Bowman managed to find in his attempt to show some kind of connection between the Holy Spirit and persons are pathetic in comparison with the many, better examples of its connection with things

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Now let’s examine Bowman’s charge that the NWT has mistranslated 1 Tim. 4:1 and 1 Jn 4:1-6. He claims that in 1 Tim. 4:1 (“paying attention to deceitful spirits [pneumasin] and doctrines of demons” - NASB) pneuma must be rendered “spirit” (not “inspired utterance”) because “deceitful spirits” are linked with “doctrines of demons.” Implying, I suppose, that it would be inappropriate to equate “things” (“utterances”) with “persons” (“demons”). And since demons are persons, then deceitful spirits must be persons. This is not the case, of course, since persons are clearly compared, contrasted, and equated with things in the Bible (and things are even personified). But in this case he is clearly wrong anyway: the link is actually between pneumasin (“inspired expressions” or “spirits”) anddoctrines” (things)!

So, according to Bowman’s reasoning, we would have to use a meaning for pneuma which is a thing to match the things it is linked with (“spirits” and “doctrines”). This would not be “Spirit” or “spirits” with the meaning of persons! 

As for the similarly “mistranslated” 1 John 4:1-3, 6 in the NWT (“inspired expression”), let’s look at some trinitarian Bibles:
“Dearly beloved, stop believing every so-called spiritual utterance  [pneuma].... Every spiritual utterance [pneuma] which owns that Jesus Christ has come in human form comes from God... This is the way to distinguish a true spiritual utterance [pneuma] from one that is false.” - The New Testament in the Language of the People, Charles B. Williams.
“Dear friends, do not believe every inspired utterance [pneuma], but test the utterances to see whether they come from God.... every inspired utterance [pneuma] that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in human form comes from God, and every inspired utterance [pneuma] that does not acknowledge Jesus does not come from God” - An American Translation, Smith-Goodspeed.

(Charles B. Williams and Dr. Goodspeed quoted here are both recognized by Bowman as “noted Biblical scholars” - p. 140, JWJCandTGOJ. In fact, on p. 126 of Understanding Jehovah’s Witnesses Bowman states: “Edgar J. Goodspeed was without question one of America’s finest Greek scholars.” He also notes that Goodspeed was a trinitarian Christian - p. 129.)
“Dearly loved friends, don’t always believe everything you hear just because someone says it is a message from God [pneuma]: test it first to see if it really is..... the way to find out if their message is from the Holy Spirit is to ask.... If so, then the message [pneuma] is from God” - Living Bible.
Surely these trinitarian translators would have used “spirits” if they thought it was a proper translation here!

And compare 2 Thess. 2:2: 
“not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy [pneuma], report or letter” - NIVSB (a footnote says: “Prophecy. Lit[erally] ‘spirit,’ denoting any inspired revelation.”)
“... some pretended spiritual revelation” - Weymouth.
“... at some oracular utterance [pneuma], or pronouncement or some letter” - New English Bible.
“... by any prophetic utterance [pneuma], any pronouncement, or any letter” - Revised English Bible.
“... by any prediction [pneuma] or rumor or any letter” - Jerusalem Bible. Also see LB, TEV, Mo, CBW, and Phillips.

Also see 1 Cor. 14:32 where the literal word “spirits” is understood by respected trinitarian translators and scholars as “gifts of the spirit”; “prophetic inspiration”; etc.
“It is for prophets to control prophetic inspiration [‘spirits’]....” - NEB; REB.
The gift of proclaiming God’s message [‘spirits’] should be under the speaker’s control” - GNB.
“14:32 control of prophets. Prophecy (and tongues as well) was not an uncontrollable emotional ecstasy. Paul insists that these gifts [literally ‘spirits,’ meaning ‘gifts of the spirit’] should be controlled by the recipients themselves.” - NIVSB footnote for 1 Cor. 14:32.

Bowman’s charge of “mistranslation” of pneuma by the NWT at 1 Tim. 4:1 and 1 John 4:1-6 is uncalled for. He may well disagree with it, but that does not make it a mistranslation. And the fact that any trinitarian translator (let alone the highly respected Dr. Goodspeed or Dr. Williams) would be willing to agree with the NWT’s rendering here makes it not only a proper rendering but highly likely that it is the correct rendering. 

So Bowman’s statement: “This text so clearly indicates the personhood of the Spirit that the NWT mistranslates it to read, ‘... the inspired utterance’” is clearly wrong.
If we wish to point out texts concerning the Holy Spirit which are clearly mistranslated, we should look at the trinitarian translations of Ro. 8:16 in RSV, NASB, NIV, CBW, JB, GNB, etc. They say: “it is the Spirit himself bearing witness...” when the actual New Testament manuscripts they are “translating” really read, “it is the spirit ITself [auto] ”! - Cf. KJV; AT; Darby; and Webster.

The same mistranslation occurs repeatedly at John 14:17 and also at 1 Cor. 12:4, 11 in many trinitarian Bibles. 

We could, therefore, rephrase Bowman’s accusation into a more honest statement: “These texts so clearly indicate the non-personhood of the Spirit that these trinitarian Bibles mistranslate them to read, “himself .... he .... him ....”

note from p. 1

As Bowman notes, one can blaspheme things, including the word of God (Titus 2:5: "word," KJV, RSV, NRSV, NASB; "message," JB, NJB; AT, GNB, CBW; "Gospel," NEB, REB). This also includes the name of God (James 2:7 b., Rev. 16:9), the dwelling place of God (Rev. 13:6 b: "tabernacle," KJV, NASB; "dwelling," RSV, NRSV, NEB; "tent," JB; "home," Beck).

Since the holy spirit (the impersonal force: power/direction/communication from God) comes directly (and perfectly) from God himself, then, no matter what one does against that holy spirit, it is always equivalent to doing that very thing against God himself. For example, if I spit in disgust on the letter - the impersonal thing providing direction/communication to me - from the king, it will always be understood as equivalent to my spitting on the king himself. If, on the other hand, I spit on a messenger from the king, it might not be considered such a serious offense IF I were merely expressing a dislike for the person of the messenger himself, not his message from the king.

That is why Matthew 12:32 is so important to our understanding of God, Jesus, and the holy spirit. There Jesus says to his disciples, "Anyone who says something against the Son of Man [which includes the heavenly, glorified Jesus - see f.n. #11 in the HS study] can be forgiven; but whoever says something against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven - now or ever." - TEV, cf. Living Bible; also see Luke 12:10.

Now if the glorified Son of Man were actually a person who is God himself (or "equally God" in any sense), this scripture would not make sense. Anything we spoke against the person of the Son of Man in that case would have to be against the person of God himself and would have to be equivalent (at least) to speaking against the holy spirit! But if Jesus were not God himself (or equal to God) but a different person, someone might speak against him (for something he said or did or the way he looks, etc.) as a person subordinate to God and not be speaking against God.

Therefore, this scripture (and Luke 12:10) shows Jesus is not equal to God and explains that the Father alone (who produces or sends the non-personal force/communication/motivator: holy spirit) is the God we dare not blaspheme. If this were not the proper interpretation, not only would the statement about blasphemies against Christ (as equally "God") being forgiven be nonsensical, but the Most High and Only True God, the Father, would be completely ignored, and the worst blasphemy would be against only "God the Holy Spirit"! This would be completely inconsistent with Jesus' continual glorification and honor of the Father alone!

Also note Matt. 24:36 where

('... no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.' - NASB.)

Here, again, we are being told of the highest persons in all creation, and only one is the highest of them all: the Father. The holy spirit is not even mentioned - - - - Why? Because it is not a person. It is merely an extension of the Father, his power, or active force. If 'he' were another person who was equally God, it would have been blasphemous to ignore 'him' altogether here as Jesus has done. Only the correct knowledge of God can explain such things:
`Father, .... This is eternal life: to know thee who alone art truly God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.' - Jn 17:1, 3; NEB.)

Note: Although Watchtower Society (WTS) research and scholarship is usually at least the equal of (and often superior to) that of other sources, I have tried to rely most heavily on other sources in Christendom itself (preferably trinitarian) or my own independent research to provide evidence disproving the trinitarian `proof' being examined in this paper. The reason is, of course, that this paper is meant to provide evidence needed by non-Witnesses, and many of them will not accept anything written by the WTS. They truly believe it is false, even dishonest. Therefore some of the following information, all of which helps disprove specific trinitarian "proofs," may be in disagreement with current WTS teachings in some specifics (especially when I have presented a number of alternates). Jehovah's Witnesses should research the most recent WTS literature on the subject or scripture in question before using this information with others. – RDB.

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