Search related sites

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

HS (Part 1)

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.


Holy Spirit

The evidence used by some trinitarians to “prove” that the Holy Spirit is not only a person (rather than an impersonal force from God) but a person who is equally God with the Father in heaven usually consists of 4 main parts:

(1) p. 4 - “The Holy Spirit is referred to as a Person in the masculine gender throughout the New Testament.” - p. 70, Kingdom of the Cults, 1985, W. Martin.

(2) p. 10 - “Only a person can be directly quoted and can call himself ‘I’, first person singular [as the Holy Spirit does].... When the Bible personifies things it does not directly quote them.”

(3) p. 13 - “Not only does Jesus show the Holy Spirit, the Father, and the Son to be God at Matthew 28:19, but he also shows that there is only one personal name (singular) for all 3 of them!”

(4) p. 17 - “When Ananias lied to the Apostles in Acts 5, he also was lying to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3). And since Acts 5:4 says Ananias ‘lied not to men, but to God,’ our only possible conclusion must be that the Holy Spirit is God!”

Before examining these points, a sincere Bible student should be aware of the alternate view held throughout recorded history by the Hebrews and by the first Christians (for the first two hundred years, at least - see the HIST and CREEDS studies) and by Jehovah’s Witnesses today.

They believe that the Father alone is the Most High, only true God (John 17:1, 3) and he alone is named Jehovah (Ps. 83:18, KJV). The first Christians (and Jehovah’s Witnesses today) further said that Jesus was the very first creation by Jehovah (and the only one directly by God) and was, and is, the second most important individual in existence and the highest of all created things.

They further say that ALL things thereafter were created BY the Father (Who, alone, is Jehovah) through Jesus who, following Jehovah’s will and spoken commands, used Jehovah’s special active force (the impersonal invisible force called Holy Spirit) to bring all other things (angels included) into existence. This Holy Spirit can be used to create, to motivate, to observe, communicate, etc. Although far from a perfect analogy, we might compare the many things electricity and radiant energy can do.

Electricity is used to communicate, create, destroy, operate (as in remote control devices), and motivate (as used by man in heart pacemakers, artificial hands, and as found naturally in man’s and animal’s nervous systems, etc.). Lasers (which use a form of radiant energy) can also perform similarly varied tasks. Holy Spirit, of course, is infinitely greater than these two puny examples familiar to humans.

In the Old Testament (OT) it is clear that the inspired Bible writers intended holy spirit to be understood as an invisible, powerful force from God. Even many trinitarian scholars will admit that.

(We can even see the same understanding when the word “spirit” is used for the activating power or force used by other creatures. For example, Ezekiel 1:19, 20, speaking about the angels or cherubim who control the movement of God’s chariot, says literally, “and when the living creatures went, the wheels went beside them; and when the living creatures rose from the earth, the wheels rose .... for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.” - RSV. It is clear that this means the controlling power of the cherubim moved the wheels. In fact the very trinitarian Good News Bible (GNB) paraphrases this to read: “the wheels did exactly what the creatures did, because the creatures controlled them.”)

For example, p. 269, The Catholic Encyclopedia, 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 God’s spirit] heart is the experience of a mysterious, awesome power - the mighty invisible force of the wind, the mystery of 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 Nicea] 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.” - v. 14, p. 326, 1957.
And Britannica agrees:
“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....” - Encyclopedia Britannica Micropaedia, 1985, v. 6, p. 22.
Yes, not only did God’s people, as described in the OT, believe the holy spirit was an active force and not a person, but that same belief prevailed from the time of the NT writers up until at least 325 A. D. when the Roman Church officially accepted and began promoting its new doctrine. To bolster this NEW doctrine they went to the NT to find “proof.” That vague, ambiguous “proof” is what we will investigate in this study.

Many historians and Bible scholars (many 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.
“The majority of NT texts reveal God’s spirit as something, not someone” - New Catholic Encyclopedia, p. 575, Vol. 13, 1967.
“It is important to realize that for the first Christians the Spirit was thought of in terms of divine power.” - New Bible Dictionary, p. 1139, Tyndale House Publishers, 1984.
“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.
“The true divinity of the third person [the holy spirit] was asserted...finally by the Council of Constantinople of 381 A. D.” - A Catholic Dictionary.

Yes, the Council of Constantinople (381 A. D.) first officially decreed “the personality of the Holy Spirit”. - Cairns, pp. 142, 145; also see Encyclopedia Britannica, v. 6, p. 22, 1985 ed.

Famed trinitarian Church historian Neander notes in History of Christian Dogma:
“Though Basil of Caesarea [famed late 4th century trinitarian bishop - one of the ‘Three Cappadocians’ who were instrumental in further developing the trinity doctrine to the final form adopted at the council of Constantinople in 381 A. D. - An Encyclopedia of Religion, p. 794; and p. 237, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 1990 printing] wished to teach the divinity [deity] of the holy spirit in his church, he only ventured to introduce it gradually.”
There was a very good reason for the reluctance of the early Christians to accept this new doctrine of the Spirit:
“In the N[ew] T[estament] there is no direct suggestion of a doctrine of the Trinity. The spirit is conceived as an IMPERSONAL POWER by which God effects his will through Christ.” - An Encyclopedia of Religion, Ferm (ed.), 1945, p. 344.
In fact, Gregory of Nazianzus (another of the ‘Three Cappadocians’ whom trinitarian historian Lohse praises as being essential to the final defeat of the Arians at the Council of Constantinople),
“declared that it was the destiny of his time [381 A. D.] to bring to full clarity the mystery which in the New Testament was only dimly intimated.” - p. 64, A Short History of Christian Doctrine, Bernard Lohse, Fortress Press, 1985.
Trinitarian Gregory also admitted,
“But of the wise men amongst ourselves [Christians], some have conceived of him as an Activity, some as a Creature, some as God; and some have been uncertain which to call Him, out of reverence for Scripture, they say, as though it did not make the matter clear either way. And therefore they neither worship Him nor treat Him with dishonor, but take up a neutral position, or rather a very miserable one, with respect to Him. And of those who consider Him to be God, some are orthodox in mind only, while others venture to be so with the lips also.” - “The Fifth Theological Oration,” section 5 (page 616, Vol. 7, The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, second series, The Master Christian Library, Version 5 (software).
Noted Bible scholar Joseph H. Thayer gives these 5 meanings for the NT Greek word Pneuma (“spirit”):
1. a movement of air, (gentle) blast.”.... “2. The spirit, i.e. the vital principal by which the body is animated.”.... “3. a spirit [person], i.e., a simple essence, devoid of all grosser matter, and possessed of the power of knowing, desiring, deciding, and acting....” [This definition includes] “c. a spirit[person] higher than man but lower than God, i.e. an angel.” “4. The Scriptures also ascribe a [pneuma] to GOD, i.e. God’s power and agency, - distinguishable in thought...from God’s essence [included in definition #3 above] in itself considered, - manifest in the course of affairs, and by its influence upon souls productive in the theocratic body (the church) of all the higher spiritual gifts and blessings.” [And] “5. Univ. the disposition or influence which fills and governs the soul of ANY ONE; the efficient source of any power, affection, emotion, desire, etc.” - pp. 520-523.
Obviously, Holy Spirit is placed by Thayer under definition #4 above: “God’s power” not “God’s essence”! On p. 522, Thayer further defines this Spirit:
“The Holy Spirit is a dunamis [Gr. - ‘power], and is expressly so called in Lk. xxiv. 49, and ... Lk. I. 35.”
Thayer also explains the occasional personification of this POWER from God:
“In some pass[ages] the Holy Spirit is rhetorically [‘used without regard to some actual condition or negating the literal significance of the statement’ - p. 1946, Webster’s 3rd New International Dictionary, 1962 ed.] represented as a Person...Jn. xiv. 16 sq. 26; xv. 26; xvi. 13-15 (in which pass[age] fr[om] Jn. the personification was suggested by the fact that the Holy Spirit was about to assume with the apostles the place of a person, namely of Christ)” [In other words the HS was personified in these passages because it was taking the place of a person in some respects.] - p. 522, Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Baker Book House, 1977 (10th printing, August 1984).

And Catholic Professor, John L. McKenzie, S.J., writes:

"It is the power which drives Jesus into the desert (Mk 1:12...) and the power by which Jesus expels demons (Mt 12:28; Lk 11:20 ...)  ....

"In [Acts] the spirit is a divine, dynamic force;....

And in Paul's writings, "the spirit is basically the divine and heavenly dynamic force". - pp. 842, 843, Dictionary of the Bible, Macmillan Publ., 1979 ed.

The following two trinitarian (Protestant) publications present the process that led to acceptance by the Church of a doctrine that finally included the holy spirit as a person equal to God:
“Trinity, a word not found in Scripture but used to express the doctrine of the unity of God as subsisting in 3 distinct persons. Not only is the word ‘Trinity’ not in scripture, but there is no isolated exposition on this attribute of God in either testament. It is an inferred doctrine, gathered eclectically from the entire Canon.” - p. 630, Today’s Dictionary of the Bible, Bethany House Publishers, 1982.
“The word Trinity is not found in the Bible.... It did not find a place formally in the theology of the church till the 4th century .... Although scripture does not give us a formulated doctrine of the Trinity, it contains all the elements out of which theology constructed the doctrine.” - The Illustrated Bible Dictionary. (For a detailed account about the period when the church eclectically chose elements of the scriptures and “constructed the doctrine” in the 4th century A. D., see the HIST study.)

Now let’s look at some of the eclectic gatherings “from the entire Canon” that were used as a basis for the “inferred doctrine” of the trinitarian Holy Spirit.

(1) Is the Holy Spirit really “referred to as a person in the masculine gender throughout the New Testament” as Walter Martin (and many others) insists? - KOTC, 1985.[1]

It is true that the word for God (theos) in the New Testament is masculine, and masculine pronouns (“he,” “him,” “himself”) are always used with it. The word “Father” is also in the masculine gender in the original Greek of the NT, and masculine pronouns are always used with it. The word “Son” is also in the masculine gender in the NT Greek, and masculine pronouns are always used with it. Certainly this is not surprising since God (Jehovah, the Father alone) has always been represented to his people as a living, conscious being, and Christ (Jesus, the Son) is always represented as a living, conscious person. It would be very strange, indeed, if they were not so described!

But “Holy Spirit” in the original Greek is neuter and therefore the neuter pronouns meaning “it,” “itself” are used with it in the original NT Greek! Any strictly literal Bible translation would have to use “it” for the holy spirit (since it is really not a person, but God’s active force, a literal translation would be helpful in this case).

As the trinitarian New American Bible (Catholic), 1970 ed. admits:
“The Greek word for ‘spirit’ is neuter, and while we [trinitarians] use personal pronouns in English (‘he,’ ‘his,’ ‘him’), most Greek manuscripts employ ‘it.’” - New American Bible, St. Joseph ed., (footnote for John 14:17).
And the revised NAB of 1991 has actually changed “he/him” back to the literal “it”!

Also see An American Translation by trinitarians Smith & Goodspeed which uses “itself” and “it” for the holy spirit at Romans 8:16, 26, 27.

Here are the rules of Greek grammar that govern this situation. Professor Machen, writing in his New Testament Greek For Beginners, tells us:
“(II.) The noun for which a pronoun stands is called its antecedent. Thus in the sentence, ‘I see the disciple and teach him’, the antecedent of ‘him’ is ‘disciple.’
(III.) A pronoun agrees with its antecedent in GENDER and number.

“Examples: (a) Bleto ton matheten kai didasko auton, [is translated] ‘I see the disciple and teach him.’ Here matheten [‘disciple’] is the antecedent of auton [‘him’], and since matheten is of masculine gender and singular number, auton [αὐτὸν] is also masculine singular.“(b) Meno en to oiko kai ginosko auton [is rendered in English as] ‘I remain in the house and know it.’ Here oiko [‘house’] is the antecedent of auton [‘him’ in the original NT Greek] and since oiko is of masculine gender and singular number auton also is masculine singular [in the NT Greek]. In English the neuter pronoun ‘it’ is used, because the noun ‘house’ like all nouns denoting inanimate objects, is neuter in English. But in Greek the word for house is masculine, and therefore the masculine pronoun is used in referring to it. Hence the translations, ‘he,’ ‘she,’ etc...for the masculine and feminine of the Greek pronoun of the third person are correct only when the antecedents are denoting persons. In other cases, the pronouns will be neuter in English even when they are masculine or feminine in Greek.” - pp. 47-48.

In other words, even if the Greek words for ‘holy spirit’ were in the masculine gender (and, therefore, the Greek masculine pronouns would be used with it), it still would not indicate that the holy spirit must be a person! Just as in many other languages things are often given feminine and masculine genders in Bible Greek.

However, since its literal title (“holy spirit”) is really neuter in the NT Greek and really uses the neuter pronoun (“it”) and takes the neuter definite article (Gr. to), there is the extremely high probability, from grammar alone, that it is not a person.

If we search through a concordance that shows the gender of Biblical Greek words, we will see that, in the vast majority of cases, words that are used mainly to literally describe mature persons use the appropriate gender for that person [similar to Spanish and other languages]: “husband” (masculine), “wife” (feminine), “daughter” (feminine), “son” (masculine), etc.

Often the same basic Greek word is used for both sexes, but it will be given a feminine ending when applied to female persons and a masculine ending when applied to male persons: For example, “god” (theos - masculine) and “goddess” (thea - feminine), “prophet” (prophetes - masculine) and “prophetess” (prophetis - feminine), “king/queen,” etc.

And even when, on occasion, we find a word that is applied equally to men or women, the gender of that individual is still shown by the gender of the article or pronoun used with it: For example, “doorkeeper” (thuroros) can be used for both men and women, but, when it is used in the NT for a male, the masculine article () comes before it: thuroros (John 10:3), and when it is used in the NT for a female, the feminine article () comes before it:

thuroros (John 18:17). - Compare Mark 13:34 and John 18:16.

So, you see, in the vast majority (if not all) of cases a mature person’s gender is shown by the gender of the Greek words and titles that literally[2] describe that person and/or by the gender of the article and pronouns that go with that Greek word. [3]

But not only is the literal “Holy Spirit” neuter in the original Greek, but so are the article (to - p. 34, Machen) and the pronouns (αὐτό [‘it’] and [“which”]- pp. 19, 68, Marshall) which go with it! [4] - See John 14:17 and 1 Cor. 12:4, 11 in any interlinear Bible or Greek text, for example. Cf. Ro. 8:16 in KJV, AT, and The Interlinear Bible, Jay P. Green, Baker Book House, 1982.

The only exception to this that I have found deals with young, immature persons and animals. Young children sometimes are called paidion (“young child” - Matt. 2:8) and brephos (“infant” - Luke 1:41). These two Greek words are neuter and so are the article and pronouns that usually accompany them! Why these words are exceptions, I’m not certain.[5] Perhaps one was not considered fully a person (at least as far as gender is concerned) until he reached maturity. (At any rate, the Holy Spirit would certainly be considered mature if it were really a person!)

It is quite clear, though, (from going through a New Testament Bible concordance that shows gender and examining an interlinear text) that it is extremely rare, if ever, that a mature person is not distinguished by a noun (or its article and pronouns) which shows the appropriate gender. And, although the word for an impersonal thing is often given a neuter ending, it is also very common for an impersonal thing to be given a masculine or feminine gender in all those areas!

Most trinitarian Bibles, then, go against the bulk of the literal grammatical evidence when they use “he,” “him,” etc. in translating the original Greek neuter pronouns with “holy spirit” as their antecedent. There are a very few places, however, where the Greek appears to use the masculine article and pronouns with “holy spirit.”

If, when you examine the Greek text (as found in interlinear Greek-English New Testament Bibles), you occasionally find a masculine pronoun seeming to refer to the holy spirit, you will find that the actual antecedent is not “holy spirit” but some other noun (which, although representing a thing, does have the masculine gender assigned to it in NT Greek).

Even modern English is similar. If, for example, we have been speaking about death (an impersonal thing) and suddenly begin using the common personified figure for death, “the Grim Reaper,” even in modern English we properly change pronouns from “it” to “he.” E.g., “Death was fast approaching Mary. She could feel it coming. But when the Grim Reaper actually placed his hand on her and said, ‘it’s time, Mary,’ she drew on her inner strength, pushed him back, and said, ‘not yet!’ She wasn’t ready to accept it [death].”

The Greek word paraclete, παράκλητος, (rendered “comforter” in KJV; “helper” in some other translations) is in the masculine gender. So when paraclete is the actual antecedent (even though we understand that it may figuratively represent the holy spirit), its pronoun in the Greek must also be masculine.

We know that the masculine paraclete may be figuratively applied to an impersonal (neuter) thing as is so frequently done by the Jews in the languages used in the Bible. (See p. 37, Barclay’s Letters of John and Jude, “The Daily Study Bible Series,” The Westminster Press, Revised Edition, 1976.)[6]

See John 14:16, 26; and 16:7 for all the uses of “comforter” (paraclete - masculine) applied to holy spirit. You can see that the masculine pronoun (αὐτὸν) does follow “comforter” after the word was introduced as the antecedent in John 16:7 (remember, the Greek pronoun, as well as the article, must agree with its antecedent in gender in NT Greek).

Sometimes it is not easy to determine what the actual antecedent is, as it may have been introduced sentences earlier.[7] If we look at John 14:16, for example, we see that paraclete is introduced. This means that, in spite of the introduction of “the spirit” (neuter) in John 14:17, the pronouns in that verse could have referred back to paraclete in verse 16 as their antecedent, and, in that case they would have to be masculine in the Greek! Instead, they obviously refer to the neuter “spirit” in verse 17 and, therefore, must be the neuter αὐτό

(‘it’).[8] - see AT, Ro, Byington, and The Zondervan Parallel New Testament in Greek and English (literal translation).

Just the opposite may be occurring at John 16:7, 13. Although paraclete is introduced in verse 7 and “spirit” is introduced in verse 13 itself, the masculine demonstrative pronoun ekeinos, ἐκεῖνος, in verse 13 refers back to paraclete in verse 7 as its antecedent. Therefore, “he” is grammatically accurate in verse 13.

In any case, there is no real reason to regard the holy spirit as a person because of the figurative use in a very few places of the masculine paraclete.[9] (It’s too bad paraclete wasn’t feminine in the Greek, as it could just as well have been. The feminine verbs and pronouns that would have resulted in the Greek would not have been literally translated then!) The much more frequent use of the neuter “holy spirit” and its neuter article and pronouns more strongly indicates just the opposite! (This is similar to the figurative use of the neuter “Lamb” in Rev. 5:6; 5:12; and 6:1 for Jesus. The masculine “Jesus” and “Christ,” etc. of his literal name and descriptions show that he is a male person in spite of the neuter articles and pronouns that must be used in the NT Greek to agree with the neuter “Lamb.”)

When we combine the gender use for the holy spirit in the New Testament Greek with the gender use for the holy spirit in the Old Testament Hebrew, we have a doubly significant statement.

The inspired Hebrew writers of the Old Testament also used masculine and feminine gender for impersonal nouns. “In Hebrew only masculine and feminine gender are distinguished. There is normally no neuter.” - Handbook of Biblical Hebrew, LaSor, p. 75, v. 2, 1979.

α 1. The Hebrew, like all Semitic languages, recognizes only two genders in the noun, a masculine and a feminine. Inanimate objects and abstract ideas, which other languages sometimes indicate by the neuter, are regarded in Hebrew as masculine or feminine, more often the latter [feminine]! – Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar, p. 222, Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1910. (Emphasis added.) Also (seventeenth edition):;view=image


Therefore, if the inspired Hebrew writers had understood the “third person of the ‘trinity’” to be equally God (masculine-Hebrew) with the Father (masculine-Hebrew) and the Son (masculine-Hebrew) or Messiah (masculine-Hebrew), they would have given the spirit a personal name, and literal titles and descriptions in the masculine gender!

Do we see a masculine designation and relationship for the holy spirit (as typified by “Father” and “Son” for the other “persons of the ‘trinity’”)? No, the holy spirit in the original Hebrew of the Old Testament is feminine! – Gesenius, Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon, pp. 571, 760. (Cf. W. E. Vine, p. 1077.)

This can be clearly seen merely by looking at the literal translations found in The NIV Interlinear Hebrew-English Old Testament (Zondervan Publ., 1985). For example, Nu. 11:26 is literally translated by this respected trinitarian reference work as: “And she [the Spirit] rested on them.” (Cf. Judges 3:10; 6:34; 1 Sam. 10:6; 11:6; Is. 11:2; 63:14; etc.)[10]

So, we can either take the feminine gender “spirit” in Hebrew to mean neuter (a thing), or we can take it literally to mean that “the trinity” has as its third “person” a Mother Goddess!

But how can we take the neuter holy spirit of the inspired Greek of the New Testament manuscripts and the feminine holy spirit of the inspired Hebrew of the Old Testament and insist that it is a person and that it should be interpreted as a person in the masculine gender?

Just as most trinitarian Bible translators don’t literally render the Greek as written by the inspired New Testament Bible writers as “it” for the holy spirit but instead render it “he,” they also don’t literally render the Hebrew as written by the inspired Old Testament Bible writers as “she.” Instead, many of them use the only other proper alternative: “it”!

At Numbers 11:17 we see: “I will take [some - NRSV, NJB, etc.] of the Spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them” - ASV (compare KJV, RSV, NRSV, AT, LB, NEB, REB, NAB, JB, NJB, Beck). The same usage is found at Numbers 11:25 in those trinitarian Bibles: “IT.” (Compare the Septuagint.) This is God’s Holy Spirit - Numbers 11:29. (Notice how the NKJV has avoided this truth.)

At Is. 34:16 the King James Version and the ASV render it: “my mouth, it hath commanded, and his Spirit, it hath gathered them.”

So, you see, even many trinitarian translations prefer the use of “it” in the OT to the only other honest pronoun alternative: “she”/“her.” Some trinitarian translations, however, care no more for the proper translation of the pronouns for the Spirit in the Old Testament than they do for it in the New Testament. So, some trinitarian translations such as the NASB and the MLB actually use “he”/”him” at those places in the Old Testament!

But there is something that is even more certain than the use of the gender with pronouns, articles, etc. associated with the holy spirit. That is the question of its/his personal name.

There is absolutely no doubt as to the extreme importance of a personal name in both the New and Old Testaments. A personal name took on an importance to the individual who bore it that we don’t totally comprehend today. If one were to die and his name be forgotten, this was considered much more horrible than the mere death itself! One’s personal name must be honorable, and it must be known and remembered!

We are urged over and over in the OT to know and respectfully use God’s personal name. Likewise, as important as the spirit is (whether it is God or not), if it is a person, it must have a personal name and we must know it! How could we even begin to know God - John 17:3 - and not even know his personal name(s)?

The literal title “High Priest” may be used as an excellent example. The title itself is masculine in the NT Greek to match the gender of the person holding that title. MASCULINE pronouns and articles always accompany that literal title. Being a title only it is often clarified by a personal name, especially if the person himself is considered to be of any importance. For example, the high priest is a nobody when compared with God Himself, and the term “high priest” is not used nearly as frequently in the Bible as “Holy Spirit.” And yet the “High Priest” is frequently further identified by his personal name: 2 Ki. 22:4; 2 Chron. 26:20; Ezra 7:5; Neh. 3:1; Jer. 52:24; Zech. 3:8; Matt. 26:57; Acts 24:1.

Surely, if the holy spirit were a person (especially a person who is God) he would be properly identified in at least one of the hundreds of scriptures which speak of the holy spirit! (We might also compare the title “God” [masculine form], which simply means “Mighty One.” This person is further identified nearly 7000 times, more than any other name, by the personal name “Jehovah” [masculine form] in the Holy Scriptures. We can also compare the title “Christ” and its further identification hundreds of times by “Jesus”.)

But, although we search both Testaments microscopically, we find no personal name for the neuter holy spirit. The personal name of God (”Jehovah” - the Father alone) is the most used personal name (by far) in the entire Bible! There can be no doubt about the extreme importance of the Messiah’s (or the Son’s) personal name (“Jesus”) and the frequency of its use by the inspired writers of the New Testament. But not once is the neuter holy spirit given a personal name! If those three are truly God, then the holy spirit has been grossly ignored and insulted by the inspired Bible writers!

But, some trinitarians insist, that is his personal name: “The Holy Spirit.” However, if we examine all the personal names in the New Testament, we will see that this is an impossible interpretation unless it is a “personal” name of an impersonal thing. (Some things are given proper names, for example: ‘The Titanic,’ ‘The Superchief,’ ‘The Holy Grail.’)

All actual personal names (compare the genders of hundreds of personal names listed in A Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament, published by the United Bible Societies, 1971) are given a gender that agrees with the gender of the person bearing that personal name as found in the New Testament scriptures - see Moulton, Vol. II, p. 152. So the name “Jesus,” for example, is in the masculine form in the New Testament Greek, and “Mary” is in the feminine form. God Himself is a spirit person in heaven whose literal descriptive title (“God”) is masculine and whose name (“Jehovah”) is masculine. The spirit persons who serve him in heaven have the literal descriptive title (“angels”) which is masculine, and all those angels whose names have been revealed to us have masculine personal names. (E.g. the Archangel [literal title - masculine form in NT Greek] has the personal name “Michael” [masculine form].) This is certainly not intended to indicate that they are masculine in a fleshly sense, but that they are truly individual persons of importance.

But “holy spirit,” as we have already seen, is in the neuter form. Therefore, if “holy spirit” is a “personal” name, that “person” has to be a neuter thing (or, in other words, “holy spirit” cannot be a personal name, but it could be a proper name for a special thing.)

There is no way around it. Either the holy spirit has no personal name (in which case it cannot be an extremely important person in Bible usage, and certainly not God Himself) or its proper name shows it to be a neuter thing. And, although ‘holy spirit’ is obviously a literal description, nevertheless, even if someone should insist that the neuter “holy spirit” is merely a figurative description of a person (such as Jesus being figuratively called “the Lamb” - Rev. 14:1 or “the Light” - Jn 8:12 - which are neuter), then, again, the holy spirit is never given a personal name and cannot be God whose personal name must be known, remembered, and respectfully used!

“Poured Out”

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

Mt. 9:17, the wineskins burst and wine pours [‘runneth,’ KJV] out [ekxeo]. (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. 16:6, 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.
“[Jehovah] came down in the cloud and spoke to [Moses], and took some of the spirit that was upon him and put it upon the seventy elders; and when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied.” - Nu. 11:25, RSV.
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, making them prophets in this case. See these trinitarian translations of Num. 11:17, 25: RSV, NEB, GNB, AT, NAB, JB, NRSV, REB, NJB, Mo, and Byington.

World-renowned trinitarian scholar, writer, minister, and Bible translator, Dr.William Barclay, discusses John 3:31-36 on pp. 144-146 of his book, The Gospel of John, Vol. 1, revised edition. He comments on Jn 3:34 (“[Jesus] speaks the words of God, for [God] does not partially measure [metron] out the Spirit upon him.” - p. 144):
“John goes on: we can believe what Jesus says, because on him God poured out the Spirit in full measure, keeping nothing back. Even the Jews themselves said that the prophets received from God a certain measure of the Spirit. The full measure of the Spirit was reserved for God’s own chosen one.” - From the popular The Daily Study Bible Series, The Westminster Press, 1975.
This is the proper interpretation of John 3:34, and even many other trinitarians will admit it. Some, however, realizing the importance of the meaning of metron here, attempt other renderings. But even the highly respected, trinitarian authority, the New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Zondervan, 1986, admits that Dr. Barclay’s translation “best fits the context.” - p. 403, vol. 3.

Yes, metron here means “A measure (of length or capacity)” - Young’s Analytical Concordance, p. 650, Eerdmans Publ., 1978 printing. And Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance tells us about metron: “a measure (‘metre’), lit. or fig.; by implication a limited portion (degree)”- #3358, Abingdon Press, 1974 printing.

Spirit, then, is a thing that may be poured out, measured out, or given out in portions - you simply do not pour out a person in measured portions upon other persons!

Similarly examine Acts 10:38:

" God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him." (RSV)

Notice that Jesus was anointed with holy spirit. You do not anoint persons with other persons! You anoint other people with things: oil, grease, blood, power, and holy spirit. Therefore the HS is a thing.

As a corollary, examine “baptize with HS” - Mark 1:8; Acts 1:5. And “Baptize in (literal translation) HS” - ASV; AT (Goodspeed); ERV; AUV; CLV; LITV; WEB; ACV; ABU; EJ2000; LIVING ORACLES; Noyes; Williams; .


Mind of the Spirit” - Ro. 8:27

Compare Ro. 8:5-9 (esp. note 8:6 & 8:27 in the interlinear) and …. Also see NASB 8:5-9, and f.n for 8:5-6 in NIVSB. 8:6 in KJV is ‘spiritually minded’ and ‘fleshly minded’ and NASB has “the mind set on the flesh” and “the mind set on the spirit.”(cf. RSV and NRSV.) “the spiritual outlook” (REB) “have their minds on spiritual things” - NJB. Also see Robertson’s Word Pictures, vol. 4, p. 373 (verse 6). Also see Insight-2, p. 405.

For Part two click here: 

No comments: