Jehovah`s Witness/apology accepted

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QUESTION: Hi Brenton,

I accept your apology, and I do hope you are more careful before making false actuation.

You know I still find it strange that you say you want to discuss the Bible only, but in your resent post which you sent me you list a number of web sites, one a philosophical web site.

Modern philosophy is anti-bible in their “physiological” analyse of many of the doctrines contain therein, modern philosophy is not a avenue to venture down to try and support your claims.

You also link a number of web site which more or less claim the same theological mind set you display and who quote from other sources (many out of context)  to try and reinforce their stance.

You have seen for yourself (even just briefly) that in the writings of the early church they believed what most Christians believe today, long before certain dates which some of those web site get hooked up on.

So in acceptance of your apology, we can now concentrate on the Bible only.

The apostle Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit possesses a mind (Romans 8:27).

“And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit...” NIV

The context here shows that the Holy Spirit is the referent.

The Greek word in this verse  translated “mind” is φρονημα  (phronéma). The word appears 4 times in the NT, and in these other 3 passages (all in Romans 8) the word is appropriated to persons.

Now, I know you are not against word definition dictionaries and Lexicons so here is how they define “phronéma”.

Strong’s Greek Dictionary
φρόνημα phronēma, fron'-ay-mah
From 5427 (mental) inclination or purpose:--(be, + be carnally, + be spiritually) mind(-ed).

Strong's Electronic Concordance
phronéma: the thought (that which is in the mind)
Original Word: φρόνημα, ατος, τό
Part of Speech: Noun, Neuter
Transliteration: phronéma
Phonetic Spelling: (fron'-ay-mah)
Short Definition: thought, purpose
Definition: thought, purpose, aspirations.

NAS Exhaustive Concordance
Word Origin
from phroneó
Definition
the thought (that which is in the mind)
NASB Translation
mind (1), mind set (3).

THAYER'S GREEK LEXICON 5427: φρόνημα
φρόνημα, φρονηματος, τό (φρονέω, which see), what one has in mind, the thoughts and purposes (A. V. mind): Romans 8:6f, 27. (Hesychius φρόνημα. βούλημα, θέλημα. In various other senses also from Aeschylus down.)

Vines Dictionary Noun,5427,phronema
denotes "what one has in the mind, the thought" (the content of the process expressed in phroneo, "to have in mind, to think"); or "an object of thought;" in Rom 8:6 (AV, "to be carnally minded" and "to be spiritually minded"), the RV, adhering to the use of the noun, renders by "the mind of the flesh," in Rom 8:6-7, and "the mind of the spirit," in Rom 8:6. In Rom 8:27 the word is used of the "mind" of the Holy Spirit.

Discovery Bible Word Studies
5427 phrónēma (a neuter noun) – properly visceral opinion (the innermost, personal level of opinion); inner perspective as it determines (regulating) outward behavior, especially as it bears on the outward results (i.e. of exercising personal insight). Note the suffix, -ma, pointing to the result of the verbal idea.
5427 /phrónēma ("the results of gut-insight") connects how the individual processes opinion-making to how they act.

Dodson Greek-English Lexicon
φρόνημα, ατος, τό
Noun, Neuter
thought, purpose

Abbot-Smith Manual Greek Lexicon of the NT
φρόνημα, -τος, τό
that which is in the mind, the thought: Rom 8:6-7; Rom 8:27.

The NWT has “he who searches the hearts knows what the meaning of the spirit is”

The Watchtower’s own Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the  Greek Scriptures  has “minding” as the direct translation for phronéma at Romans 8:27.

The other Interlinear I consulted all had “mind” as the translation.

Interesting also how the NWT has the word “minding” at the other three places where this word appears but not here in Romans 8:27, and the word in these other passages clearly indicates the mindfulness or thought patterns of persons; worldly (fleshly) ones in contrast to those persons who are near to God.  

We also note in Romans 8:27 that there is a distinction between the first Person “who searches the hearts” and “knows” the thoughts of this second Person who is pleading on behalf of the saints.

Makes no sense when you substitute (AS ALL JW’s MUST DO WHEN THEY READ THIS) the second Person in the passages with a mindless active force;

“he who searches the hearts knows what the meaning of the active force is”

Claiming that this passage is a personification of God’s power ignores the contrast of the passage and which in turn is a very thin argument.

The identification of the Holy Spirit in this verse proves personality, from the consideration of having a mind (phronēma).


Other translations have;

God can see what is in people's hearts. And he knows what is in the mind of the Spirit. NCV

And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit. NET

and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, NASB

and he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit. RV

Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is. NKJV

And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit. NRS

and the one who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit. ISV

And He who searches the hearts knows the Spirit's mind-set. HCSB

He that searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is. EMTV

And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit. ESV

And God, who sees into our hearts, knows what the thought of the Spirit is. GNB

And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit. KJV

And the one who searches our hearts knows what the mindset of the Spirit is, LEB

And He that searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit. NSB

And he searching hearts knows what the thought of the Spirit. SLT

But he who searches the hearts, knows the mind of the Spirit. LONT

and the explorer of hearts, he knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit. MURDOCK

And he who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the Spirit. RSV

And he who searches the hearts knows what is the mentality of the Spirit. ACV

And he who is the searcher of hearts has knowledge of the mind of the Spirit. BBE

And he who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the Spirit. CVNT

But he who searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit. DARBY BIBLE

He but searching the hearts, knows what the mind of the spirit. EMPHATIC  DIAGLOTT

He who searches the hearts knows what is on the Spirit’s mind. WEB

and He who is searching the hearts hath known what is the mind of the Spirit. YOUNG’S LITERAL TRANSLATION

I’ve kept this brief and concise please respond in a likewise manner. <><

ANSWER: Hi Cos,

Thank you for bringing Romans 8:27 to my attention. That is an interesting verse. I also appreciate the effort in finding the various meanings according to those lexicons,. They are very helpful in truly understanding what that verse is about.


I have prepared a reply to what you have said about Romans 8:27, but before I send it, may I please ask for a clarification.


You said

“The apostle Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit possesses a mind”

Is it your understanding here, that the word mind is speaking of a literal mind, that is, to have the ability to think and or reason, ie intellect?



---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Brenton,

To possess a mind means to have the ability of thoughts, which in turn indicates consciousness.

What do you think it means to possess a mind?

Looking forward to your reply. <><

ANSWER: Hi Cos,

I gather from your answer to my question that you have agreed with the idea that, when we usually think of the word mind, that we understand it refers to the ability to think and or reason ie have  intellect.

With that in mind, you know I have to agree with your answer.

“To possess a mind means to have the ability of thoughts, which in turn indicates consciousness”

It is also my intention to show that this particular word [“φρονημα  (phronéma)”] does not refer to ones intellect, or ability to reason.
______________________________________________
But first I want to comment the way most Bibles incorrectly use the personal pronoun “he” in that verse referring back to the word “spirit”

Of the Bibles I looked at, only these Bibles did I find were careful enough to  avoid using that personal pronoun (he).

The CEV says “as the Spirit”

The CLV – uses “it”

The Diaglot – uses “it”

ESV says “because the Spirit

ERV says “because the Spirit”

Goodspeed – uses “it”

Gods Word says “The Spirit”

GNB says “because the Spirit

The NWT – uses “it”

There is no pronoun in the Greek at that point. We only have the verb ἐντυγχάνει (entynchanei ) The pronoun, if the translated wanted to use one, should be of the same gender as the word the verb modifies. Spirit is neuter, and the only pronoun that rightly should be used is a neuter pronoun (it)


What I gather from those bibles is two things. 1)The translations that say “he” are inferring something that is NOT in the text, 2) given readers the distorted and erroneous idea that the word spirit here is a “he”,

________________________________________

In the KJV there are 21 words (that I found) rendered as mind. Bellow are the first occurrences of each word (numbers refer to Strongs lexicon)

Matt 22:27 mind <1271>
Mr 5:15  in his right mind <4993>
Mr 14:72  called to mind <363>
Lu 1:29   cast in her mind <1260>
Lu 12:29   be ye of doubtful mind <3349>
Ac 17:11  readiness of mind <4288>
Ac 20:19   humility of mind <5012>
Ro 1:28   mind <3563>
Ro 8:5  do mind <5426>
Ro 8:7 mind <5427>
Ro 15:6  with one mind <3661>
Ro 15:15  in mind <1878>
2Co 7:7 fervent mind <2205>
2Co 8:12 a willing mind <4288>
Php 1:27  mind <5590>
2Ti 1:7 a sound mind <4995>.
Tit 3:1  in mind <5279>
Phm 1:14  mind <1106>
1Pe 3:8  of one mind <3675>
1Pe 4:1 mind <1771>
1Pe 5:2 of a ready mind <4290>

It was a fascinating exercise looking up those meanings. They all have different shades of meaning, and some do not refer to intellect at all.


It was, in fact, the various Lexicon meanings that you provided that shed light on the true meaning of “φρονημα  (phronéma)” and the best way it should be rendered into English

I would like to put forward a few other translations of this verse

what is the disposition of the spirit (CLV)

what the Spirit desireth: (Douay)

what the Spirit is saying (ERV)

the meaning of the Spirit: (Geneva)

knows what the Spirit means (Godspeed)

knows what the thought of the Spirit is (GNB)

knows the Spirit’s mind-set, (HCSB) – you used this one, but think about the word mind-set

what is the desire of the Spirit, (JB2000)

understands the Spirit’s intention (Phillips)

knows what the Spirit’s meaning is, (Wey)

what is the meaning of the spirit: (WTNT)

The paraphrased Bible “The Message” has an interesting way of expressing the thoughts of Paul “He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God.”


Here are some of the words used by the Greek Lexicons you quoted

inclination or purpose
(mental) inclination
purpose, aspirations
properly visceral opinion


The definition from the “Discovery Bible Word Studies” is most beneficial.  It has told us that phrónēma  
is "the results of gut-insight". It was interesting that dictionary also used the English words “visceral opinion” Looking up the word visceral we find...

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/visceral
“relating to deep inward feelings rather than to the intellect.


An internet search of various dictionaries tells us that visceral does not relate to intellect.

The Bibles that render the Greek word rendered “ φρόνημα ( phronéma) “ as “mind”, have used a very short meaning of the word and not what the writer was actually saying.

Based on the meanings given in your list, the Bible that has used the best English word to convey the thought of the Paul was the CLT. That Bible used the word  “ disposition”. In fact, that Bible uses that word in all 4 occasions. Here are the other 3 occurrences

Rom 8:6 For the disposition of the flesh is death, yet the disposition of the spirit is life and peace,
Rom 8:7 because the disposition of the flesh is enmity to God, for it is not subject to the law of God, for neither is it able."

The English word “Disposition” has these meanings http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/disposition

1.
the predominant or prevailing tendency of one's spirits; natural mental and emotional outlook or mood; characteristic attitude:
a girl with a pleasant disposition.
2.
state of mind regarding something; inclination:
a disposition to gamble.
3.
physical inclination or tendency:
the disposition of ice to melt when heated.


So just what is Romans 8:26,27 teaching us. Back in verses 6,7 we are told that the human “mind” (JKV) or better still our disposition (CLT), that is our imperfect human inclination, is fleshly that leads to death. As such we often get into a spot of trouble where we really need Gods help.

Verses 26 and 27 reads as per the NWT, “In like manner, the spirit also joins in with help for our weakness; for the problem is that we do not know what we should pray for as we need to, but the spirit itself pleads for us with unuttered groanings. 27 But the one who searches the hearts (that is God, see Jeremiah 11:20) knows what the meaning of the spirit is, because it is pleading in harmony with God for the holy ones”

Under certain circumstances, Christians will not know just what to pray for; but our unuttered groanings are actually understood by God.   Because we may not fully understand our situation, or we are at a loss as to what to present to God in prayer, our own inward groans often may remain unexpressed. It is here that the holy spirit can intercede for us.  Remember, that it was by his spirit that God inspired the Scriptures. (2Ti 3:16, 17; . 16 All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.”

God also knows what his servants need. He has in the past caused many inspired prayers to be recorded in his Word, expressing his will or mind for them. He therefore accepts these inspired prayers as being what his people should like to ask and pray for, and accordingly, he fulfills them. God knows what id in our hearts, and also knows the meaning of the things that he caused his spirit to speak through the Bible writers.

It is my understanding that in verse 27 that the word “spirit” here does not refer to the holy spirit, but to us, our vital force. Why do I think that? Because the verse says “ the one who searches the hearts [God] knows what the meaning [disposition] of the spirit  is”.  So he is telling us that because we may not know how to express ourselves in difficult situations, but our hearts are wanting to be in tune with Gods standards, that God actually knows and understands our disposition – or inclinations,  purpose, visceral opinion .  As long as we remain in union with Gods will, and  even when we are unable to express our thoughts (unuttered groanings) in prayer to him, due to our fleshly inclinations (dispositions), what prayers have been rerecorded under inspiration, are accepted in our behalf.


So no, Romans. 8:27 is not telling us that the holy spirit has a mind, that is reasoning or intellect.




---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Brenton,

Thanks for your response. There is a lot going on in the context of John 8:27, and whether the personal pronoun is applicable hinges on who is the referent of the Greek word phrónēma…right?

You say;
“It is my understanding that in verse 27 that the word “spirit” here does not refer to the holy spirit, but to us, our vital force. Why do I think that? Because the verse says “ the one who searches the hearts [God] knows what the meaning [disposition] of the spirit  is”.  So he is telling us that because we may not know how to express ourselves in difficult situations, but our hearts are wanting to be in tune with Gods standards, that God actually knows and understands our disposition – or inclinations,  purpose, visceral opinion.  As long as we remain in union with Gods will, and  even when we are unable to express our thoughts (unuttered groanings) in prayer to him, due to our fleshly inclinations (dispositions), what prayers have been rerecorded under inspiration, are accepted in our behalf.”

There is one big problem with your final conclusion and that is the last part of verse 27.

From the NWT, even though this version uses the word “it” to refer back to “THE SPIRIT” just mentioned, we can see that the referent of “it” does something “for holy ones”. How does this fact fit in with your claim that “spirit” in the verse refers to “us”?

Look forward to your further elucidation. <><

Answer
Hi Cos,

You  asked

“ whether the personal pronoun is applicable hinges on who is the referent of the Greek word phrónēma…right?”

Just wondering, did you intend to use the word “pneumatos” in the above? Well, that is what I have assumed, as that makes sense to me in the context of our converstaion.

It is true that the referent “it” does something for the holy ones. The question is who is the “it” in reference to?”


Your understanding is, even when using the the NWT, that the person pronoun “it” refers to the Spirit that has only just been mentioned. Even I, when reading the NWT, can see how that may be the case.  I may be wrong, but, as I mentioned in my previous answer, I  personally see the personal pronoun “it” as referring to the pneuma of verse 26 and not to the  pneumatos  in verse 27.

For me it is the  spirit (pneuma) as mentioned in verse 26 that “also joins in with help for our weakness”. The our weakness, for me, as I understand that passage, is our spirit, our imperfect human nature. Leading up to verse 26,27 Paul says a lot about our corrupt human flesh and the need to try to bring it in line with the workings of the spirit from God. For me, that is the thrust behind why at times we may not know what to pray for (words unuttered) but the inspired writings via the holy spirit are there for our benefit.

If my assumption is wrong, and the personal pronoun “it” refers to the spirit (pneumatos) in verse 27, and, the spirit here is actually a reference to the holy spirit, (something I am not convinced of) the text still does not show that the spirit has intelligence. The wrong rendering of the Greek word “φρόνημα “ as “mind” in many Bibles does not mean intellect.

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I AM one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and I am always learning. I am NOT an expert in the full sense of the word but I can answer questions on the reliability of the NWT - the so called mind control problems-so called prophecies - how being a JW affects the individual and relatives and general practices and history of Jehovah’s Witnesses. >>WARNING<< Please be aware that there are people here who ARE NOT practicing JWs. By all means ask these ones questions. Depending on the question you will get an honest answer, but, generally the answer you get, will mislead you as to what we believe, often because, they do not give ALL the relevant details. These ones will, have an agenda against JWs., and will at times give answers that are not correct in regard to JW teachings and practices. If you are after a answer from one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, please read some of the answers that the various experts have published before choosing someone. If you want to ask one of the NON JWs a question, that is fine, BUT if you want a balancing view after asking one of the NON JWs, ask a JW the same question. PLEASE ALSO NOTE: There(have been)and are, some "experts" here who are NOT always the most courteous and polite, at times are actually quite rude, that applies to both JW's and non JW's and their answers may offend, especially when they get personal and attack the character of the person and not the message. Unfortunately some here that have done that. So it IS IMPORTANT to chose an "expert" that YOU feel will best suit YOU by reading some of their past answers . . . . .

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I have been a publisher since 1964. When I first went on the internet I found a lot of negative information dealing with Jehovah’s Witnesses covering prophecy, mind control and what many said was a very bad translation of the Bible known as the NWT. It shook my faith. After may hours researching these topics I could see why some felt that way, but, I was also able to explain why there were these misleading views. I can now set matters straight for anyone that has negative information about Jehovah’s Witness to show them that such information is at best misleading and at worst dangerous lies.

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I have been a student of the Bible for many years, am trying to teach myself Biblical Greek. Was a public tax accountant for many years untill SEP 2009 when I gave it up due to health problems.

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