Search related sites

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Note (4.) to HS - "Is the Holy Spirit a Person, God or an Impersonal Force From God?"

4. It is important to understand that only the third person definite article, personal pronoun, and relative pronoun in the singular nominative and accusative cases show a distinction between masculine and neuter gender.

For example, the definite article ("the" in English) in the third person genitive singular is tou for masculine gender and it is also tou for neuter gender. But the article in the third person nominative singular is ho () for masculine and to for neuter.

So, to be sure of the gender intended by the writer in the original NT Greek ("he" or "it") we must see the article in the nominative or accusative cases (to in both cases for neuter - p. 34, Machen), or we must see the personal pronoun in the nominative or accusative cases (auto in both cases for neuter - Machen, p. 47), or we must see the relative pronoun in the nominative or accusative case ( in both cases for neuter - Machen, pp. 173, 174). (The mentioned in the paragraph above for the masculine article is distinguished from the just mentioned for the relative pronoun by apostrophe-like marks written above them in the Greek.  There is a single c-shaped mark above the masculine article [] and two similar marks above the neuter relative pronoun [].

Otherwise, if the personal pronoun, relative pronoun, or article is in a different case (genitive or dative), we cannot distinguish its intended gender (masculine or neuter) unless we already know the gender of the noun to which it refers.

(The distinction between masculine and neuter in the reflexive pronoun eautou ["of himself"/ "of itself"] - is clear only in the accusative case: eauton, masculine ["of himself"] and eauto, neuter ["of itself"]. - Machen, p. 154. The same word is used in the other cases for both masc. and neuter.)

The same principles hold true when translating a Greek verb into English. For example, akouei in John 16:13, by itself, can be translated "he hears," "she hears," or "it hears." If we can tell that a masculine noun referring to a person (remember, many masculine and feminine nouns in NT Greek also refer to things) is definitely the subject of that verb, then we can be sure that akouei should be translated "he hears."

I believe NT Greek grammar could justify translating it "it hears" at John 16:13 (also the reflexive pronoun eautou, since it is in the genitive case, may be honestly translated "itself"). However, the NWT has evidently translated it as masculine (1) because it is being personified in this verse, or (2) they may have taken the masculine "paraclete" in verses :7 and :8 as the understood subject (or antecedent for the pronoun).

Entire Study File

Trinity Index

No comments: