Written by the Holy Ghost?

Harold R. Holmyard III hholmyard at ont.com
Sun Feb 18 19:10:19 EST 2001

Dear Raymond and Liz,

I agree, Raymond, that the gender of PNEUMA is neuter, and the NT almost
always uses the neuter with reference to it, but some passages suggest that
the masculine would be appropriate in English.

In John 14-16 Jesus made promises to his believers about the holy spirit.
He said that he would ask the Father, and He would send another helper like
himself (PARAKLHTON), the spirit of truth (John 14:16). The noun "helper"
is a masculine noun. In this place Jesus uses the neuter TO with "spirit"
and the neuter pronoun AUTO in subsequent references. But in verse 25 he
mentions the helping spirit again, but uses the masculine EKEINOS ("that
one") in reference to him. The next time he mentions the helper, he also
uses the the masculine EKEINOS, perhaps in agreement with PARAKLHTOS. Jesus
says that when he goes, he will send him (AUTON) to the disciples (16:7).
In the next paragraph, he says,

Yet many things do I  have to tell you, but you are unable to bear them.
But when that one (EKEINOS) comes, the spirit of truth, he will guide you
in all truth. For he will not speak from himself (hEAUTOU), but whatever he
hears he will speak, and will announce to you the things which are coming.
That one (EKEINOS) will glorify me . . .

The paragraph uses masculine terms with regard to the spirit, although it
may do so with reference to the earlier mentioned PARAKLHTOS.

The way that Jesus describes the spirit is as a person. The spirit is like
Jesus. He speaks. He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment
(John 16:8-9).

Another relevant text is Acts 5:3-5:

"But Peter said, Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the
holy spirit (neuter gender) and to keep back for yourself part of the price
of the field? Did it not remain yours when it belonged to you, and was it
not at your disposal when you sold it? Why have you put this thing in your
heart? You have not lied to men but to God."

Later the wife of Ananias comes and Peter says to her,

"Why have you agreed to tempt the spirit of the Lord?" (Acts 5:9)

Peter equates the holy spirit with God here. He also speaks of lying to the
spirit and tempting the spirit. These are things that one does to a person.

The holy spirit is described in ways most suitable for a person. He can be

Eph. 4:30 "And do not grieve the holy spirit of God, by whom you were
sealed unto the day of redemption."

He prays:

Rom. 8:26 Likewise the spirit also helps our infirmities: for we do not
know what we should pray for as is necessary: but the spirit himself makes
intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

(The KJV uses "itself" instead of "himself")

He often speaks:

Acts 8:29 Then the spirit said unto Philip, "Go near, and join this chariot."

Acts 10:19 While Peter thought about the vision, the spirit said unto him,
"See, three men seek you."

He permits:

Acts 16:7 After they came to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia: but the
spirit did not permit them.

He dwells in people:

Rom. 8:11 But if the spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead
dwells in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also give life
to your mortal bodies by his spirit that dwells in you.

He bears witness:

Rom. 8:16 The spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the
children of God:

He searches:

1Cor. 2:10 But God has revealed them to us by his spirit: for the spirit
searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.

God is also said to be spirit:

John 4:24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit
and in truth.

Since Christians understand the spirit to be a person, a part of God, and
since they use masculine pronouns of God, they refer to the spirit as "him."

				Harold Holmyard
				Dallas, TX

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