[B-Greek] Spirit or spirit

Iver Larsen iver_larsen at sil.org
Wed Feb 26 12:56:46 EST 2003

> I like your explanation, because you tend to see what direction I am
> coming from. What would you then say about my previous post? Basically,
> I want to know who's "mind" Rom 8:27 is referring too. The Holy Spirit
> or our spirit.
> Could you please give me a direct translation if possible similar to the
> one you gave me on Rom 8:10, if you don’t mind.
> Regards,
> Andy

Well, I am not sure "mind" is the best translation here. The normal word for
"mind" in Greek is NOUS or sometimes DIANOIA, but what is used here is

The Greek text of 8:27 is:


But the one who searches/investigates/fathoms the (our) hearts/innermost
beings knows what the thinking of the (our?) s/Spirit is, because it
appeals/pleads for the saints according to (the thoughts/will of) God.

FRONHMA is derived from FRONEW "to think". The -MA ending normally indicates
the result of the verb, and the results of the thinking process is your
thoughts. This particular word only occurs in Rom 8:6,7,27 within the corpus
of the GNT. Although most English versions use "mind" I believe "thoughts"
or "thinking" is slightly better as GNB has it:
"And God, who sees into our hearts, knows what the *thought* of the Spirit
is; because the Spirit pleads with God on behalf of his people and in
accordance with his will."

NLT says: And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit *is
saying*, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God's own

We need to look at v. 27 in the context of the paragraph starting at v. 26.
The context is that we do not know how to pray or what to say, but then the
Holy Spirit comes along and helps us (our spirit) by praying for/with us
with "unspeakable groanings". Whatever that is, it is not normal words and
communication, but God will understand it anyway, because the Spirit prays
according to the thoughts of God, so God will understand what the Spirit is
thinking/saying (what is on his mind, if you want), even though the person
speaking in this way by the Spirit, does not himself understand the meaning
of it.

In this particular case, I think it is impossible to separate the activity
of the Holy Spirit and our spirit, because I believe the Holy Spirit
inspires and works with our spirit and uses our speech faculties (bypassing
our mind) to express those groanings. But I am afraid I cannot go further
without getting myself entangled in theological issues.

A similar problem between spirit and Spirit occurs in 1 Cor 14:15 where NLT

I will pray in the spirit, ‡ and I will pray in words I understand (Greek:
NOUS - mind). I will sing in the spirit, and I will sing in words I
understand. ( ‡ note: Or in the Spirit; also in 14:15b,16.)

Does that help?

Iver Larsen

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