Spirit and Greek Gender

Many note that certain translations refer to the Holy Spirit as “he”, “him”, “his”, etc., and present such scriptures as an argument that the Holy Spirit is a male person. Some even have made the erroneous claim that the Textus Receptus never refers to the Holy Spirit as an “it”, or that the Greek New Testament always refers to the Holy Spirit with masculine pronouns. Actually, the Textus Receptus does indeed refer to the Holy Spirit with neuter pronouns, not masculine pronouns, as is also true of all the known New Testament Greek manuscripts that are usually used for translation.

The only exception I know of is when the holy spirit is being associated with being the Comforter, as in John 15:25. Since the Greek word for “Comforter” is masculine, masculine pronouns are used to agree with this. This is often called “gender agreement”, but such agreement in Koine Greek does not necessarily mean that what is being spoken of is actually being designated as a “he” or “she” or “it”. The same is true of Biblical Hebrew, and is also true of many other languages.

The Koine Greek word for “spirit” is neuter in form, and thus it usually takes neuter forms of pronouns.

The Biblical Hebrew word for spirit is feminine, and thus usually takes feminine forms of pronouns.

If translators view the Holy Spirit as being a person, they may supply the words “he”, “his”, “him”, etc., even though the Greek form is neuter, and thus, strictly speaking would be “it”. The usage of such as proof that God’s Holy Spirit is a person, however, would actually be “circular reasoning”, for it would be saying, in effect, that since we believe that the Holy Spirit is a person, we have supplied masuculine pronouns related the Holy Spirit, and thus, because we have supplied these masucline pronouns, these masculine pronouns prove that the Holy Spirit is a person. Such is actually a form of fallacious reasoning.

The King James Version uses the neuter pronoun “it” of “the Spirit” four times. — John 1:32; Romans 8:16, 26; 1 Peter 1:11.

In reality, the usage of either masculine and/or neuter pronouns in Koine Greek cannot be used to determine whether the Holy Spirit is a male person or an “it”. Likewise, in Biblical Hebrew the usage of feminine pronouns certainly does not designate the Holy Spirit as being a female person.

Some online helps related to the above:

Gender of the Holy Spirit

Little Greek 101: Pronouns, subjects, objects, and owners
Under: “Pronouns and Gender”

Restoration Light Home Site: http://rlbible.com

         
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