Jehovah`s Witness/cont from post dated 28th june.

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QUESTION: Hi Brenton,

Thank you for explaining the reason for why you think the Holy Spirit is not a person. I have gone through what you have said and carefully considered your points to see if there is any substance in what you say.

Firstly I must admit that I was actually taken aback by a couple of thing you said, one was where you used a 21st century analogy to try and explain a 1st century word, paraklētos. This is a trap a lot of people can find themselves in. The way we might use certain words is not necessarily  the way the early Christian would apply them. When we look at the Scriptures we notice that this word is used for Jesus in 1 John 2:1, and Jesus is a person.

The author of the Book of John happens to be the author of 1 John, and he uses the word for both Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and it is to him to show us its meaning wouldn’t you agree?

It’s quite interesting that John records that when Jesus reveals to His disciples the coming of the Holy Spirit He uses the term “another” John 14:16. And looking at the word parakletos we will notice that it includes a prefixed, para-, which means “alongside” and a root that is from the verb kletos, which means “to call”. The word signifies to standing alongside. I’d like to discuss this in more detail, but I think that you can see from this that an impersonal force cannot be viewed as “another paraklētos”. Let me know if you need more on this.

On a side note, I hope you achieve your goal to go back onto the water. Do you have and use a back brace, there are some good ones on the market.

From here I will look systematically at your points.

You begin your response by assuming that the Holy Spirit is not a person because of the genitive of the phase "the Spirit of God", that as your assumption goes, because the Spirit belongs to God therefore that means the Holy Spirit is not a person.

To use this same logic the way you employ the genitive phrase "the Word of God" (Rev 19:13) must also mean that Jesus is not a person, and because we read in 1 Cor. 1:24 that Christ is "the power of God" and also "the wisdom of God" this would confirm that Jesus is not a person. Would you say that this is the case? I think not.

The phase "the Spirit of God" is NOT a simple metonymy or synonym. If the Holy Spirit were not a person but a designation for some sort of influence (or active force) of God then we would not find passages where both the Spirit and an influence are co-ordinately named.

For example the metaphorical nature of the words in Acts 10:38 "anointed with the Holy Spirit and with power" makes the idea that the Holy Spirit is a mere "force" or "influence" as redundant,  "anointing with power and power" (?)

That the Spirit of God is distinct from God the Father (just as the Son is) is seen from passages were you can try to substitute the term "God" in place of where the Holy Spirit is present, here is an example,

Eph. 2:18 "For through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit" ["access to the Father by one Father.?!]

This should suffice to demonstrate that the claim regarding the phase "the Spirit of God" is not valid. For a more in depth exposition see the following:

www.christianthinktank.com/trin04a
www.tektonics.org/qt/quietthird.php
www.studyjesus.com/God_the_Spirit/

You then go on to say that to justify your claim on the term "the Spirit of God" by saying that we "need to look at how the original words in Hebrew and Greek are used" that because the words in Hebrew and Greek, you reason, means wind or something impersonal. But the fact that these words when used for the Holy Spirit brings forth clear evidence for the personality of the Spirit due to the presence of personal attributes therein ascribed to Him.

Let me try to explain something, and please tell me if it is not clear.

The words “ruach” and “pneuma” you claim when used for the Spirit  have in their basic meaning an invisible force like the wind. But the words can also apply to God, to Jesus, and to other invisible spirit creatures.

On the one hand you say “Spirit” (ruach/pneuma) is simply a force but on the other hand sentient beings can be rightly called “A Spirit”.  You would agree that God is a spirit, if not, you should, because it’s in the Bible. And you claim that “the Spirit of God” or “the Holy Spirit” is a different spirit "an active force" which proceeds from God. Surely if “God IS Spirit” and he sends forth HIS Spirit then the Spirit that comes from God must BE God not just a force? Yet you claim that the Holy Spirit must be categorised as a force rather than a person even though the Bible use the same words ruach/pneuma to describe Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

And also you will note that in the New Testament word translated “Spirit” (pneuma) is frequently used by Biblical authors to denote persons as well. For example, in Mt 8:16 -- “many who were demon-possessed; and [Jesus] cast out the spirits with a word”. In fact, “Holy Spirit” is meant to stand in juxtaposition with these personal “unholy spirits.” For example, Acts 19:15 -- the evil spirit answered and said to them, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?”

Then you move on to the Scriptures that describe being "filled with the Holy Spirit" and that this somehow means the Holy Spirit is not a person. And you ask, “is it reasonable that a person would be “filled” with another person?”

We have seen in your wonderful study how the Devil is presented in Scripture as a real personal being, and we are also told that he entered into Judas and also that he "filled" the heart of Ananias Acts 5:3.

In Eph. 2:19 we find Paul praying that we are "filled" with God. The fact that God can fill us does not mean He is not a person! Later in chapter 4, verse 10, Paul says that Christ "fill" all things. Again in Eph 1:23 Paul speaks of Christ as the One who "fills up all things" (NWT).

The fact that Christ can fill "all things" does not mean He is not a person! But that is how your reasoning runs.

If Jesus is a person and "fills" everything, then why can not the Holy Spirit have this same ability?

We must conclude that according to the Scriptures, it is very reasonable for a person to be “filled” with another person!

You then discuss being “baptised with the Holy Spirit” and that because at Matt 3:11 the context associate the Holy Spirit with water then this shows that the Holy Spirit is not a person, you then and ask; “Is it reasonable to conclude that John was referring to holy spirit as a person when he spoke of baptising people with it?”

But look at Romans 6:3 “Don’t you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death?” Does that mean that because “death” is not a person then Jesus is not a person?

As another side point here, consider Gal 3:27; “you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” And also God in general has been identified as water (Jeremiah 17:13) would you apply you reasoning here? I think not.

You then move on to Acts 2:17 were it says that the Holy Spirit is “poured forth” and that that shows that the Spirit is not a person.

If this were evidence then the apostle Paul would not be a person either, because he wrote about himself, “I am being poured out…” (Phil 2:17 NWT) and “…I am already being poured out…” (2 Tim 4:6 NWT).

Your line of reasoning with regard to the Holy Spirit being “poured forth” can hardly be used as proof against the Holy Spirits personality. I hope that you can see this?

With regard to Acts 10:38, I touched on this verse above, but let’s explore it more in light of what you say. Firstly considering the definition of the word “anointed” it is absurd to conceive of a literal anointing with an influence or active force. The real meaning here is that “anointing” is to set apart for, or inducted into ones office, as we see from its usage in the Scriptures, for a prophet, priest or king.

Next  Acts 10:44 where it mentions that the Holy Spirit “fell on all who heard the word”, the word “fell” means to take possession of, or seize, this passage show that the Holy Spirit is a real person that takes possession of us to use us as He wills, not some force that we are to somehow get a hold of to use.

Next you cite a passage in 2 Cor. 6:4-8 and infer that the Holy Spirit is not a person because He is “included among a number of different qualities.” But did you not see that God is included among these qualities as well?

Elsewhere we read that one can be “in (dia) Christ” and Christ is a person. Moreover, there is no pattern of impersonal virtues in the fully expanded list of 1 Corinthians 6:6. Instead, it is a free-for-all of things which Christians might be or can be said to be “in,” and Paul has a habit of saying we are “in” (dia) the Holy Spirit.

You go on to say that you find it interesting how the translation of most bibles have the definite article “the” before Holy Spirit, but you will notice that they do the same in 2 Cor. 6:7 for God’s quality but “the” it’s not in the Greek there either. Vines Expository Dictionary explains “Sometimes the absence is to be accounted for by the fact that Pneuma (like Theos) is substantially a proper name, e.g., in John 7:39. (Vines under the entry “Spirit”)

You say:

“One important aspect of the Greek gramma in regard to the  word  pneuma is, that it is never spoken of in the masculine gender.   The personal pronouns that accompany pneuma are always in the neuter gender because  pneuma is a neuter word.   Any Bible that refers to the holy spirit with masculine pronouns are being unfaithful to Greek Gramma and doing so out of theological bias.”

In Greek and English, words are either masculine, feminine or neuter. You argue that since the Bible uses neuter pronouns to describe the Holy Spirit, He must not be a person. You are correct that Spirit (pneuma) in Greek is a neuter form. However, the neuter in Greek does not imply personhood or non-personhood. For example, the word in Greek translated "demon" (daimonion) is also neuter. Demons are persons, though the Greek word is neuter. Also, the Greek word for child is neuter. In Greek, the personal pronoun must match the gender of the object it is referring to. Therefore, the Holy Spirit has neuter pronouns. However, scholars translate the Greek neuter pronouns as the English masculine pronoun "He" in those verses to keep with the rules of English, it has nothing to do with theological bias as you claim

Even if the above was not true, at times, the Bible does use masculine personal pronouns for the Holy Spirit as you have rightly noticed. In John 16:13 the demonstrative pronoun "that one" (ekeino) is used in the masculine to refer to the Holy Spirit. What Jesus is emphasizing here is that the Holy Spirit is a person.

I have briefly addressed your arguments, but there is much more on this that we will discuss, that is if you are not intimidated by my rebuttal. What I’ve noticed is that a lot of what you say is circular in reasoning and this can be a factor of a closed mind, I hope not.

You say;

“While some Bible texts say that the spirit speaks, when we look at other texts, we see that the spirit does not speak of its own, but speaks through others such as humans or angels.”   

Brenton I can, and will say the same about God. The Bible tells us that God speak, it also tells us that God spoke through others.

You go on to say;

“The point I wanted to highlight is. that taking the idea that the spirit is Gods breath it was actually God speaking via means of the spirit through Isaiah, and not an individual that is called the holy spirit.”

For if God “breathed it” then the Spirit is God. Not some force as you JWs want, see above.

Brenton, personification is the attributing of personal characteristics to inanimate objects for effect, right?

If the Holy Spirit were truly not a person as you claim, why would He be spoken of with personification? One must wonder at this point what the authors of scripture were trying to graphically illustrate by referring to the Holy Spirit as a person.

If one knows what a person is, and observes the characteristics of the Holy Spirit in the Bible, the result is obvious. The Holy Spirit can be nothing less than a person.

You quote from a Watchtower article on blasphemy the Holy Spirit, which says;

“So, too, since the holy spirit or active force emanates from God and is intimately connected with God’s person, Jesus could speak of “blasphemy against the spirit.””

This type of reasoning begs the question, why didn’t Jesus just say “blasphemy against God” if that is what is meant? No Brenton this is the type of ludicrous reasoning you’ll get from the Watchtower, don’t let it blind your mind.

I’ll Have a look at your other response the subject “koinonia” at a later date as I am very busy at this time, my apologies for this. But let me say that if you believe that I have overlooked any point then by all means show this to me for I have tried to keep this brief.

ANSWER: Hello Cos

Thank you for your in-depth reply. There are many aspects of what you wrote that I do not recall ever having seen or considered before.   That means that I have had to do a lot of research

I apologise that this is not a complete answer to all that you raised at this time.  To do an in-depth reply will take me some time to put together, and, so that I can try to remain in the criteria that is set for us to reply within 3 days, this is only a partial reply at this time.  I cover only a very small portion of what you asked. What points I do not cover now, please send as another question.

First you are correct that the word  paraklētos is used of Jesus  at 1 John 2:1 .   This is the same word used of the “helper” that is spoken of by John 14:26; 15:26 16:7  And, yes, Jesus is a person.  

If I understand what you said correctly, you did not agree with my analogy of the wind being a “helper” to aid a person get to their destination in my illustration about the kayaks, and,  the way I suggested that the word paraklētos can be seen as such a helper.

You touched on the meaning of the word  paraklētos  and suggested that it was a compound word made up form two  different Greek words  para =  “alongside” and a root that is from the verb kletos, which means “to call”.   It seemed as if, by giving that definition, you were suggestion my illustration of the wind helping did not quite fit the original word usage.    You said ”...The word signifies to standing alongside. ... but I think that you can see from this that an impersonal force cannot be viewed as “another paraklētos”. “    I take it you are saying that an impersonal force can not be another “standing alongside” .  

In John 14:16 I do not see that as saying the  paraklētos will be another person standing along side us. I understand that paraklētos is a helper in a broad sense of the word where a helper is “a  person or thing that helps or gives assistance, support,“ http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/helper Therefore the word paraklētos is showing that he holy spirit does not just stand along side but helps us on a spiritual journey.  Why do I say that in view of the meaning you gave? Because from what I have read, the word  paraklētos has a greater affinity to helping (being a helper) than to one standing alongside.

You see, there are  two other very similar Greek words that  are  derived from the same source and these words have different uses. The words are “parakaleo” and  “paraklesis” (numbers bellow in [] refer to Strongs number) After examining the way these other two words are used in the Bible, I have concluded that the use I gave of  paraklētos, meaning, to help one get to a destination, does fit the original meaning according to what Greek scholars have to say about the word. The three related words are

[3870] παρακαλέω parakaleo
[3874] παρακλησις̀̀ paraklesis
[3875] παρακλητος̀̀ paraklētos  – The one under consideration.

Stongs  gives these definitions  for  [3870] παρακαλέω parakaleo from “para” and “keletos” .  “to call near, i.e. invite, invoke (by imploration, hortation or consolation): —  beseech, call for, (be of good) comfort,..”  


An overview of Thayer,s  Greek Llexicon gives us this information

1) to call to one’s side, call for, summon
2) to address, speak to, (call to, call upon), which may be done in the way of exhortation, entreaty, comfort, instruction, etc.
  2a) to admonish, exhort
  2b) to beg, entreat, beseech
      2b1) to strive to appease by entreaty
 2c) to console, to encourage and strengthen by consolation, to comfort
     2c1) to receive consolation, be comforted
 2d) to encourage, strengthen
 2e) exhorting and comforting and encouraging
 2f) to instruct, teach


Liddell and Scott tells us

to call to one, ... to call to aid, call in, send for...to call on, invoke the Gods, ..  to summon one's friends to attend one in a trial …  to invite,.., exhort, cheer, encourage, ... to comfort, consol... to excite,..   to demand, require,

Vines tells us that it has the although this is a verb it has the same meanings as [3874]

So I looked up the way this word is used in in various forms (cases and tense), using the KJV and I found it used in the following ways...

[As you review this list please keep in mind the various definitions above, and that of this word,  Strongs says <<<from “para” and “keletos”>>>  ]

BESEECH
Mark 7:32; Romans 12:1; Romans 15:30 ; Romans 16:17 ;1 Corinthians 1:10 ;1 Corinthians 4:16 ;1 Corinthians 16:15; 2 Corinthians 2:8; 2 Corinthians 5:20; 2 Corinthians 6:1 ;2 Corinthians 10:1;   
Ephesians 4:1; Philippians 4:2   (2 times); 1 Thessalonians 4:10 ; Philemon 1:9; Philemon 1:10;
Hebrews 13:19; Hebrews 13:22; 1 Peter 2:11  

BESEECHING
Matthew 8:5;  Mark 1:40  

BESOUGHT
Matthew 8:31; Matthew 8:34; Matthew 14:36; Matthew 18:29; Mark 5:10, Mark 5:12; Mark 5:23;  Mark 6:56; Mark 8:22; Luke 7:4; Luke 8:31;  Luke 8:32; Luke 8:41; Acts 13:42 ;Acts 16:15 ;Acts 16:39, Acts 21:12; Acts 25:2; Acts 27:33; 2 Corinthians 12:8; 1 Timothy 1:3  

CALLED
Acts 28:20  

COMFORT
2 Corinthians 2:7; 2 Corinthians 13:11; Ephesians 6:22; Colossians 4:8; 1 Thessalonians 3:2; 1 Thessalonians 4:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:17  

COMFORTED
Matthew 5:4; Luke 16:25; Acts 2:40 ; Acts 16:40; Acts 20:12;1 Corinthians 14:31; 2 Corinthians 1:4  (3 times); 2 Corinthians 1:6; 2 Corinthians 7:7; 2 Corinthians 7:13; Colossians 2:2; 1 Thessalonians 3:7

COMFORTETH
2 Corinthians 1:4; 2 Corinthians 7:6

DESIRED
Acts 8:31; Acts 28:14; 1 Corinthians 16:12; 2 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 12:18; 2 Corinthians 12:18  

DESIREDST
Matthew 18:32  

DESIRING
Acts 9:38; Acts 19:31  

EXHORT
Acts 2:40; 2 Corinthians 9:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:14; 2 Thessalonians 3:12 1 Timothy 2:1; 1 Timothy 6:2; 2 Timothy 4:2; Hebrews 3:13; Titus 1:9; Titus 2:6; Titus 2:15 ; 1 Peter 5:1, Jude 1:3   

EXHORTED
Acts 11:23; Acts 15:32; 1 Thessalonians 2:11  

EXHORTETH
Romans 12:8   (word number 3874 also used in this verse)

EXHORTING
Acts 14:22; Hebrews 10:25;  1 Peter 5:12  

EXHORTATION
Luke 3:18;  Acts 20:2  

INTREAT
1 Corinthians 4:13;  1 Timothy 5:1

INTREATED
Luke 15:28  

PRAY
Matthew 26:53:  Mark 5:17;  Acts 24:4;  
Acts 27:34  

PRAYED
Mark 5:18,  Acts 16:9 .

As you can see, just because word [3870] parakaleo is derived from  <<<from “para” and “keletos”>>> it does not mean that it literally <<<” signifies to standing alongside ”>>> The same goes for the other two words as well.

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Now what about word [3874] παρακλησις̀̀ paraklesis

This time, it is Vines  that makes a point of telling us that this word is derived from para =  “alongside” and  kletos, which means “to call”.  (Strongs does not mention this here)

An overview of Thayers tells us this

1. properly, a calling near, summons (especially for help,...)
2. imploration, supplication, entreaty:  ...
3. exhortation, admonition, encouragement: ...
4. consolation, comfort, solace: 
5. universally, "persuasive discourse, stirring address -- instructive; admonitory, consolatory; powerful hortatory discourse": 

From Liddell and Scott

a calling to one's aid, summons,
2. a calling upon, appealing to one, .: intreaty, deprecation,
II. an exhortation, address, .. encouragement, N.T.

Strongs says

imploration, hortation, solace:—comfort

Now keeping the above in mind how does the KJV use this word.  I did the same exercise as I did for word 3870 παρακαλέω parakaleo and bellow are the renderings

COMFORT
Acts 9:31; Romans 15:4;   2 Corinthians 1:3;   2 Corinthians 1:4   ( 3 times verse includes word 3870), 2 Corinthians 7:4;  2 Corinthians 7:13  (verse includes word 3870)

CONSOLATION
Luke 2:25;  Luke 6:24;  Acts 4:36;  Acts 15:31;  Romans 15:5;  2 Corinthians 1:5;  2 Corinthians 1:6;  (2 times); 2 Corinthians 1:7;  Philippians 2:1;  2 Thessalonians 2:16;  Philemon 1:7; Hebrews 6:18

EXHORTATION
Acts 13:15;  Romans 12:8;  1 Corinthians 14:3;  2 Corinthians 8:17;1 Thessalonians 2:3;  1 Timothy 4:13;  Hebrews 12:5;  Hebrews 13:22

INTREATY
2 Corinthians 8:4


Is it not interesting how both words that are derived from the same source can have different applications.


________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Now the word under consideration [3875] παρακλητος̀̀ paraklētos needs to be looked at to see if  it supports the idea of a helper, helping one the journey  to a destination as I suggested by the illustration of a wind in a sail.

First Strongs definition simply is   an intercessor, consoler :—advocate, comforter (Italics original)

Vines says “ Called to ones side i.e. to ones aid” , then it goes on to explain how it was used to refer to the help one has in a court case.

Liddell and Scott also says “ called to one's aid,.... a legal assistant,” (Italics original)

Thayer's  is most interesting. It starts of by saying that parakletos means  “properly, summoned, called to one's side , especially called to one's aid;”  It then goes to give examples of what that means “hence, "one who pleads another's cause before a judge, a pleader, counsel for defense, legal assistant; an advocate" .  Now this part is very interesting as it describes the journey we are on [NOTE words in ( ) and italics   original, words in [ ] and underline mine)

...in the widest sense , a helper, succorer, aider, assistant ; so of the Holy Spirit destined to take the place of Christ with the apostles (after his ascension to the Father), to lead them to a deeper knowledge of gospel truth [the journey - destination] , and to give them the divine strength needed to enable them to undergo trials and persecutions on behalf of the divine kingdom:..

Notice that in the widest sense this word referes to a helper.  Now how does the KJV and other Bibles render this word? This word only appears 5 times in the Bible so for this word I list the five occurrences and show how some different Bibles render  paraklētos

John 14:16
Advocate
NIV, NLT

Comforter  ASV, Darby, ERV,  KJV,  YTL

Counselor  HSCB, NHEB, RSV

Helper  BBE, Diaglot, EMTV, ESV, GNBE, GWV, NJKV, NWT*

Paraclete  Douay

* footnote “or comforter”

John 14:26  
Advocate
NIV, NLT

Comforter ASV,  Darby,  ERV, KJV, YTL

Counselor  HSCB, NHEB, RSV

Helper  BBE, Diaglot, EMTV, ESV, GNBE, GWV, NJKV, NWT

Paraclete  Douay

John 15:26
Advocate
NIV, NLT  

Comforter ASV,  Darby,  ERV,  KJV, YTL

Counselor  HSCB, NHEB, RSV


Helper BBE, Diaglot, EMTV, ESV, GNBE, GWV, NJKV, NWT

Paraclete  Douay

John 16:7
Advocate
NIV, NLT

Comforter  ASV,  Darby, KJV, YTL

Counselor  HSCB, NHEB, RSV

Helper BBE, Diaglot, EMTV, ESV, GNBE, GWV, NJKV, NWT

Paraclete  Douay

1 John 2:1  
advocate
 ASV,  Douay, EMTV, ERV, ESV,  KJV, NIV, NHEB, NJKV, NLT, RSV, YTL    

patron  Darby,

Helper BBE, Diaglot, NWT *

someone who pleads   GNBE,

speaks on our behalf GWV,

* Foot Note “or an advocate”


The important part of the text reads
“And yet, if anyone does commit a sin, we have a helper with the Father, Jesus Christ, a righteous one.” (NWT)

“ And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous”  (KJV)

We are all born into sin and it is through the provision of the shed blood of Jesus that we can travel on the journey of eventually being free of sin. Jesus is our helper because he paved the way for us to have any hope of salvation, and he is also our advocate because by means of his blood he can plead for us

When Jesus ascended to heaven it was to be the active force (spirit) of God that would help us grow in a  deeper knowledge of truth and the strength to withstand the various trials,  That is the journey we need to be on, wanting to learn  about, and come to a closer relationship with our Heavenly Father and Creator.

You wanted me to contemplate the idea of the word “another”. You said "John records that when Jesus reveals to His disciples the coming of the Holy Spirit He uses the term “another”  .  The commentary above by Thayer highlights just what is meant by the word “another”  when it says... “so of the Holy Spirit destined to take the place of Christ with the apostles (after his ascension to the Father), to lead them to a deeper knowledge of gospel truth, and to give them the divine strength needed to enable them to undergo trials and persecutions on behalf of the divine kingdom: ...  That is the roll we see the holy spirit as taking.   The holy spirit was the same sort of comforter that Jesus was, that is, to provide spiritual comfort. What sort of spiritual comfort?

In 1 John 2:1 we are told that Jesus was here to help us become reconciled to God because of our sins “My little children, I am writing you these things so that you may not commit a sin. And yet, if anyone does commit a sin, we have a helper with the Father, Jesus Christ, a righteous one.” (NWT)  The  propitiatory sacrifice of Jesus  removes the charge of sin and the resulting condemnation to death for those that take advantage of this provision by exercising faith in the ransom sacrifice. (Not just believing in) .  

When Jesus ascended to heaven it was to be the active force (spirit) of God that would help us grow in a deeper knowledge of truth and the strength to withstand the various trials,  That is the journey we need to be on, wanting to learn  about, and come to a closer relationship with our Heavenly Father and Creator.

A quick summary

Gods love for mankind moved him to find a way to reconcile us back to him.

His only-begotten son was that means

Because of Jesus ransom sacrifice we can be reconciled to God

A part of his earthly ministry was to (help us) instruct us  on how to take advantage of his ransom sacrifice and learn about and draw close to God.

For those that were wanting to be reconcile back to God, they were not going to have to do it on their own, God would use is holy spirit (his breath, active force) to assist those that were wanting to be reconciled according to his will and standards.

It was this holy spirit (his breath, active force) that Jesus said that God would send to those that exercised faith in the provision for life.

We would need God breath/active force/ holy spirit as a helper because the journey would not be easy. How do we know it would not be easy?

Matt 7:14 “ the way is hard, that leads to life,” (RSV)
Matt 10:22 “  And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved..” (KJV)
Mark 13:13  “And you will be hated by all men, because of my name; but he who goes through to the end will have salvation.” (BBE)

________________________________________________________________________________________________________
There is just one other point I want to touch on and that is that you seem to have the impression that if the holy spirit was not a person, then that would equate it with Gods power.  You stated..

<<< For example the metaphorical nature of the words in Acts 10:38 "anointed with the Holy Spirit and with power" makes the idea that the Holy Spirit is a mere "force" or "influence" as redundant,  "anointing with power and power" (?)  >>>

It is true that there is a close relationship between the holy spirit and Gods power, but , they are not the same.

This is a quote from one of our publications.  I have  copied in all text from the KJV that are not quoted

QUOTE
Ruʹach and pneuʹma, therefore, when used with reference to God’s holy spirit, refer to God’s invisible active force by which he accomplishes his divine purpose and will. It is “holy” because it is from Him, not of an earthly source, and is free from all corruption as “the spirit of holiness.” (Ro 1:4) It is not Jehovah’s “power,” for this English word more correctly translates other terms in the original languages (Heb., koʹach; Gr., dyʹna·mis). Ruʹach and pneuʹma are used in close association or even in parallel with these terms signifying “power,” which shows that there is an inherent connection between them and yet a definite distinction. (Mic 3:8; Zec 4:6; Lu 1:17, 35; Ac 10:38) “Power” is basically the ability or capacity to act or do things and it can be latent, dormant, or inactively resident in someone or something. “Force,” on the other hand, more specifically describes energy projected and exerted on persons or things, and may be defined as “an influence that produces or tends to produce motion, or change of motion.” “Power” might be likened to the energy stored in a battery, while “force” could be compared to the electric current flowing from such battery. “Force,” then, more accurately represents the sense of the Hebrew and Greek terms as relating to God’s spirit, and this is borne out by a consideration of the Scriptures. (Italics original)
End Quote

Texts from that material not quoted. One can see the relationship between Gods power and his spirit and also see that they are not the same  

Mic 3:8  “But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the LORD,”
Zech 4:6 “This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.
Luke 1:17 “And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias,
Acts 10:38 “ How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power:




That is all for now.



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

QUESTION: Hi Brenton,

Thank you for giving a response, in part at least, to what I wrote. If you will I’ll address what you say here.  

Firstly, the analogy you used which I questioned was the one where you were speaking about going out on the water, kayaking, but because of your back problems you found kayak makers who employed mechanical devises on the kayaks to assist with sitting and using the oars to paddle, it was these mechanical devises fitted to the kayak that you termed as “helpers built into them” underlining the word “helpers”. And it was this modern analogy that I was pointing out to you.

What I’m saying is that using modern phraseology and then trying to imply that this is the way it should be understood in a first century environment is way off the mark! Also I don’t have a problem translating parakletos into English as “helper”; the problem is when you try to say that that “helper”  is not a reference to a person.

For you say;

“In John 14:16 I do not see that as saying the  paraklētos will be another person standing along side us. I understand that paraklētos is a helper in a broad sense of the word where a helper is “a  person or thing that helps or gives assistance, support,“ http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/helper Therefore the word paraklētos is showing that he holy spirit does not just stand along side but helps us on a spiritual journey.  Why do I say that in view of the meaning you gave? Because from what I have read, the word  paraklētos has a greater affinity to helping (being a helper) than to one standing alongside.”

Of course you have to understand the meaning of parakletos [helper] in a “broad sense” to include “things”. What we need to ask is whether the way you claim is the same way it would have been understood in the first century? The answer is no!

I think the problem when studying word meanings is you will look at other word meaning and then assume that because the word usage is different and varied that therefore parakletos must also be varied. You say;

“As you can see, just because word [3870] parakaleo is derived from  <<<from “para” and “keletos”>>> it does not mean that it literally <<<” signifies to standing alongside”>>> The same goes for the other two words as well…. Is it not interesting how both words that are derived from the same source can have different applications.”

The meaning or application of words is based on context, right? So the use of words do vary depending on the context and whether they are verbs or nouns. This is important when studying words. You have deduce that because words vary that is that, and therefore because of this, you imply that the meaning for parakletos when referring to the Holy Spirit as “helper” does not signify a person in John 14, even though the same word does in 1 John 2:1.

What’s interesting is that in other ancient Greek literature the use of the word parakletos is used to signify a person not a “thing”. I only say this to help you appreciate how the first century Christians would have understood parakletos.

A. T. Robertson described the Holy Spirit in John 14:16 as “another of like kind” (Robertson Word Pictures), see also Vincent’s Word Studies.

When John records Jesus’ words that His leaving will assure the sending of “ANOTHER parakletos” [another Helper] to take His place. The first parakletos [ first Helper], Jesus, a person; then “another parakletos” sent to the first century believers must be nothing less than another person.

Please consider how can a mindless active force “LEAD them to a deeper knowledge of gospel truth” (Thayer’s Greek Definitions)?

Your argument on parakletos, after quoting such lexicon as Strong’s, Vine’s, Liddell and Scott and then Thayer’s, does not help the case in claiming that parakletos is a non person, in fact all the definitions supplied can be applied to a person; something you may haveoverlooked.

I have no problem with the comment where you say that the Holy Spirit “was the same sort of comforter that Jesus was”, but I would add, “in every way”!

The problem is that you view one as a person and the other as some sort of puppet. I don’t. If the Holy Spirit is a mindless puppet, as alleged, then “it” would in no way be “the same sort of comforter” as Jesus!  

Let me try to help you understand what I believe you are not quite grasping.

Jesus promised to send "another" Helper after He leaves, I will content that He meant another somebody like Himself, a person.

Consider what Jesus said about Himself earlier that same night in the upstairs room . . .

John 12:49 “because I have not spoken out of my own impulse, but the Father himself who sent me has given me a commandment as to what to tell and what to speak." (NWT)

When Jesus said that He did not speak of His "own impulse", do you conclude that Jesus was not a person and incapable of thinking on His own, as if some kind of mindless puppet? Or when Jesus said that the Father had told Him what to say do you immediately think that maybe Jesus was some kind of supernatural parrot, only able to repeat what was heard?

Jesus said the very same thing soon after.....

John 16:13 “However, when that one arrives, the spirit of the truth, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak of his OWN IMPULSE, but what things he HEARS he will SPEAK, and he will declare to you the things coming. 14 That one will glorify me, because he will receive from what is mine and will declare it to you. 15 All the things that the Father has are mine. That is why I said he receives from what is mine and declares [it] to you." { NWT emphasis mine}.

Do you see that what Jesus said about Himself is the same as what He said about the "spirit of the truth"? Does this not imply that the Spirit has the capacity to speak on "His own" but Jesus was informing His disciples beforehand that the Spirit would not be acting on His own just as Jesus would not? When Jesus said that He could not do anything on His own that does not imply that He was a non-person. Likewise when Jesus said the same thing about the Spirit that does not mean that the Spirit is an impersonal force.

If the "spirit of the truth" is only a mindless active force that emanates from God's, like some kind mystical puppet, and Jesus' disciples knew this, why would Jesus bother to stress to them that the "spirit" would not be speaking on "his own impulse"?

Would they not already know this?

What was the point?

If someone that was about to die came to you and said in seriousness, “This is important, when you distinguish a puppet, you must remember that it is not really talking on his own.” Would you not wonder why this point was being made at such a time as this?

When Jesus said that the Spirit speaks what he hears. Does that not imply that the Spirit is capable of hearing something that comes from a separate person?

If the Spirit were only a force that transmits information from God, why did Jesus not simply say this? Why did he say that the Spirit hears and speaks as if it were a person? Why, at such an important time as this, does Jesus suddenly communicate in metaphors?

If the Spirit “emanates” from the Father, would it not always have everything the Father has?

Then why does the Spirit need to receive things from Jesus? Why would Jesus bother to explain that once he receives everything from the Father then the Spirit can take from what Jesus has? Does this not imply that the Spirit, like Jesus, is a submissive person that receives everything from the Father (or the Son once he has everything from the Father)?

These should be questions need to be worked through. The Holy Spirit, in every way, is the “same sort of comforter that Jesus” was!

Moving down to the end of your post, where you quote Watchtower material.

You know I seem to remember reading somewhere that the Watchtower says that the Holy Spirit “is God’s POWER in action”, that’s why they coined phrase “God’s active force”. http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/102006245

But the quote you supply from a Watchtower publication, say’s that the Holy Spirit “is NOT Jehovah’s ‘power’”. It seam the Watchtower wants it both ways on this matter.

Is it or is it not God’s power?

You know I especially enjoyed how the Watchtower publication tries to make a distinction between “power” and “force” in the analogy of energy. Energy is still energy whether its stored in a battery or flows from the battery, it is still energy! The “power” stored in the battery is the same that flows from the battery!

“Power” is the same whether its “dormant” or when it is put into use, it is still power…the Watchtower tries to confuse the issue be using other expressions like “energy projected”, “exerted” and the like. Don’t let them blind you on this with double talk.

You say;

Texts from that material not quoted. One can see the relationship between Gods power and his spirit and also see that they are not the same

Mic 3:8  “But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the LORD,”
Zech 4:6 “This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.
Luke 1:17 “And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias,
Acts 10:38 “ How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power:

Let’s do a simple experiment shall we. Now remember “active force” is “God’s power in action”.

Mic 3:8  “But truly I am full of power by [active force] of the LORD,”
Zech 4:6 “This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my [active force], saith the LORD of hosts.
Luke 1:17 “And he shall go before him in [active force] and power of Elias,
Acts 10:38 “ How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with [active force] and with power:

As you can see they make little sense, yet this is what you must read each and every time you come across these passages. I hope you will fully consider all this, I know that it can come across as confrontation, which I guess in a way it is, but it such an important topic that just can’t be neglected.

I see that another reply from you has arrived, I will try to get to it as soon as possible, til then. <><

Answer
Hello Cos,

Again you cover a lot of points and  unfortunately there are aspects of things that you said that I was unable to follow, as you paraphrased many texts without stating where they were from, and I could not find and follow through in the Bible some of you reasoning's. On those points I have not commented.



I might be of track here but it seemed to me that you were having an issue with my analogy of the wind being a helper because I said... “ I understand that paraklētos is a helper in a broad sense of the word... “  from your response to that, I got the feeling that you did not take kindly to the use of “broad sense”.  You said ...“Of course you have to understand the meaning of parakletos [helper] in a “broad sense” to include “things”... “  .  It seems that I did not make it clear in that reply where I got the wording “broad sense” from.  Sorry for that. That is my mistake as I had previously read Thayer's  definitions and he uses a different word which I just did not think of at the time I wrote what I did.  However, I did include Thayer's   definition further down the page.  You might remember it said  ““...in the widest sense a helper, succorer, aider, assistant; so of the Holy Spirit destined to take the place of Christ with the apostles (after his ascension to the Father), to lead them to a deeper knowledge of gospel truth  [the journey - destination] , and to give them the divine strength needed to enable them to undergo trials and persecutions on behalf of the divine kingdom:..”  (italics original, underline and [ ] mine)  (in case you want to see that in context, go back up to my previous reply under the line across the page where the words start of “Now the word under consideration [3875] παρακλητος̀̀ paraklētos ...”)

It was not my idea that paraklētos is used in a  broad (or wide) sense. Now to insist> that the word helper must<i> refer to a person, I would argue is insisting on something that is not in the context.  Why do I say that?  Because the spirit is grammatically always rendered as an “it”.  It is never refereed to as “him” or “he”.  (see my comments about this in http://en.allexperts.com/q/Jehovah-s-Witness-1617/2015/7/koinonia.htm )

<<< What’s interesting is that in other ancient Greek literature the use of the word parakletos is used to signify a person not a “thing”. I only say this to help you appreciate how the first century Christians would have understood parakletos. >>>

First we are not discussing “ other ancient Greek literature” we are discussing the Bible.  Can other writings have a bearing on the use of some Greek words? Absolutely. But we must do as you suggested and remember that  the “meaning or application of words is based on context, right? So the use of words do vary depending on the context and whether they are verbs or nouns. This is important when studying words.

I did that, and gave a study of the three related words [3870] παρακαλέω parakaleo [3874] παρακλησις̀̀ paraklesis and  [3875] παρακλητος̀̀ paraklētos that all seem to be  compound words of “para” and “keletos”.  The word study showed how different translators view those words.  The cimntext around the word paraklētos more strongly suggests a helper, of which you have no problem accepting

You go back to the word “another”    You nicely pointed to Robinson’s and Vincent’s commentaries. If we look at  http://biblehub.com/greek/243.htm we are told    “<i>another
of the  same   kind;  another  of  a similar  type.”  (italics original)  The question to ask is, what is meant by same kind, or, similar type?  In the context of the Bible and that verse does it mean that because Jesus was a person that the holy spirit must also be a person  (same kind)?  Or, does the context mean that Jesus and the holy spirit  had the same kind of commission (roll), to comfort and help the follower’s of Jesus.  In other words the help that was provided by Jesus and the holy spirit was of the same kind .  To comfort and help us in drawing close to God on our spiritual journey to salvation.

Going back to my illustration of the kayak.  You can buy a two person kayak with provision for a small sail.  The second person on that craft is a “helper” to aid one getting to a destination.  The wind in the sail is also a helper to aid one on the journey.   In life,  the journey we want to be on is a spiritual one.  Drawing close to God as we travel on the road (path) to salvation ( Matthew 7:13, 14 “Go in through the narrow gate; because broad and spacious is the road leading off into destruction, and many are the ones going in through it; 14 whereas narrow is the gate and cramped <u>the road leading off into life
, and few are the ones finding it.” [NWT]) Jesus was here to help us on that journey, including his death. in many ways and the holy spirit has the same roll, to help us travel that road.

Returning to your advice about context and word meaning, we need to look at what the NT Bible writers understood about the words “ruach” and pneuma.

It seems from this next statement, that you misunderstand what we understand the word “pnuema” to be referring too. You said

<<< The problem is that you view one as a person and the other as some sort of puppet. I don’t. If the Holy Spirit is a mindless puppet, as alleged, then “it” would in no way be “the same sort of comforter” as Jesus! >>>

No, we do not view the holy spirit as some sort of mindless puppet. A puppet suggest a separate entity   that someone is pulling the strings off, or is controlling it in some other way.  The holy spirit belongs to God and emanates FROM God  It is a vital part of him.  We need to understand what these words meant to the Bible writers. It is not a separate entity, and thus is not a puppet.  I presented some of this before but I am going to include it again to support this conversation.

You asked
When Jesus said that the Spirit speaks what he hears. Does that not imply that the Spirit is capable of hearing something that comes from a separate person?

If the Spirit were only a force that transmits information from God, why did Jesus not simply say this? Why did he say that the Spirit hears and speaks as if it were a person? Why, at such an important time as this, does Jesus suddenly communicate in metaphors?
 

The audience that Jesus spoke to were Hebrews.  The Hebrews already knew the meanings of ruach and pnuema.  We need to ask in the context of the Hebrew people, even the Greek speaking ones that penned the NT, what did they understand about the word “pneuma”?.  They never at any time in their history understand the Hebrew word “ruach” or the Greek word “pneuma” to refer to an individual.  

First, we know that they both  words have the very basic idea of  wind (but can refer to those that inhabit the unseen world) .  But that is not all.  A Hebrew Lexicon that I have attached to a Bible program that I use, gives the following list of the  Hebrew word “ruach”.  These definitions also apply to the Greek word “pneuma” (I have put some of the more little used definitions in bold because these ideas do have some bearing on the understanding the 1st century Christians had of the word “pneuma”)  

1) wind, breath, mind, spirit
   1a) breath
   1b) wind
         1b1) of heaven
         1b2) quarter (of wind), side
         1b3) breath of air
         1b4) air, gas
         1b5) vain, empty thing
   1c) spirit (as that which breathes quickly in animation or agitation)
         1c1) spirit, animation, vivacity, vigour
         1c2) courage
         1c3) temper, anger  
         1c4) impatience, patience  
         1c5) spirit, disposition (as troubled, bitter, discontented)  
         1c6) disposition (of various kinds), unaccountable or uncontrollable impulse
         1c7) prophetic spirit
   1d) spirit (of the living, breathing being in man and animals)
   1e) spirit (as seat of emotion)
        1e1) desire
        1e2) sorrow, trouble
 1f) spirit
       1f1) as seat or organ of mental acts
       1f2) rarely of the will
       1f3) as seat especially of moral character
 1g) Spirit of God,
       1g1) as inspiring ecstatic state of prophecy
       1g2) as impelling prophet to utter instruction or warning
       1g3) imparting warlike energy and executive and administrative power
       1g4) as endowing men with various gifts
       1g5) as energy of life
       1g6) as manifest in the Shekinah glory

(NOTE: To be fair here, I have missed out the theological exegesis details included in that dictionary that I personally see as unwarranted in a dictionary, but OK in a commentary)

Looking at that list of all the meanings of the ancient words, I do not know about you but I can see how the idea of an invisible force is to be understood.  Besides the obvious such as the wind breath, those items in bold also show an invisible “force” that we can not explain in any other way.  We can not feel them like we can the wind or breath, but we can see the effects those things. Looking at the items in bold I would put them under the category of  human thought and emotion. Even in our language we will speak of someone with a happy spirit, or a sad spirit, or a mean spirit.  Those phrases imply that the person displays attitudes or behaviour that are sad, happy or mean.

The Bible also uses the word spirit in a similar way.  In Ephesians 4:23 most Bibles read  as per the KJV or very similar “ And be renewed in the spirit of your mind”.  Followers of Christ are being asked to renew (literally rejuvenate) the “spirit” of their minds.  This is said in contrast to what Paul wrote a few verses earlier in verse 17  “that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity [inutility; figuratively, transientness; morally, depravity: — (unprofitablenes NWT) ] , of their mind,”  The influence of sinful desires means that we act out of harmony with Gods standards.  Paul tells us about this in Collossians 3:9 “Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices 10  and have put on the new nature , which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” (RSV).  Some Bibles say “put off the old man” and “put on the new man”  (KJV) Other interesting renderings are “gotten rid of the person you used to be“  and “you’ve become a new person.” (GWV)  “off the old self” and  “put on the new self” (ESV)


The NWT reads “9 Do not lie to one another. Strip off the old personality with its practices, 10 and clothe yourselves with the new personality , which through accurate knowledge is being made new according to the image of the One who created it.”

What has that got to do with Ephesians 4:23 ?  because that is what the context is discussing, the need for Christians to transform their way of thinking and moulding our thoughts to Gods standards.  The spirit of the mind, is as the 1984 NWT used to put it,  “ the force actuating YOUR mind”

Is the 1984 NWT out of place with that rendering?  Consider these other Bibles

“be made new in your dominant mental attitude” (2013 NWT)
“However, you were taught to have a new attitude.”  (GWV)
“Your hearts and minds must be made completely new,” (GNBE)
“ and, with yourselves mentally and spiritually re-made”  (Phillips)
“and to get yourselves renewed in the temper of your minds and clothe yourselves”  (Weymouth)
“and to have a new attitude of mind”   Williams (NIV)

I will use the 2013 NWT and put it in context of the passage and we will see how the force actuating the mind, the dominant mental attitude, is to  change ones personality , and thinking. The world of those that do not follow the Christ have a “vanity of their mind”  (KJV) and because of that they “given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.” (KJV)

It is interesting to take note of Isaiah 40:13  which reads “Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD,” (KJV). (Note the capitalised "S") Now to a person conditioned to believe that there is a third person to the trinity, what would they understand by the word “Spirit”.  Would they naturally think that if refers to this third person?  Some Bibles such as the BBE, Calvin, CLV, Douay, ERV, NWT,  use lower case “s” for spirit.   So reading that verse as  “Who hath forwarded the spirit of the Lord?” (Douay).

How did Greek speaking Hebrews understand that text. Lets look at the  Septuagint (LXX) done by  Greek speaking Hebrews about 2 centuries before Jesus we see that they wrote “mind”. The English rendering of the LXX says “Who has known the mind of the Lord?”  

Now the Apostle Paul twice quotes Isaiah 40:13 at Romans 11:34 and again in 1 Corinthians 2:16 .  What word did he use?  He used the word “nous” (mind) not “pnuema”.  The evidence is, then, that the Hebrews understood that significance of the word in context.  That is just one example of many.
 
 The chart bellow gives a few examples of the way a few different Bibles translate the word “ruach”.  The last column  demonstrates the various Greek words that the translators of Septuagint used, and an English translation of those words.


RSV = Revised Standard Version  1947
KJV = Authorised King James  1769
NWT = 2013 New World Translation
Tanakh = The Holy Scripture (Jewish Publication Society, 1985) http://www.taggedtanakh.org/Home/About
ABP = Apostolic Bible Polyglot (http://biblehub.com/interlinear/apostolic/genesis/1.htm)  -  Includes the relevant Greek word that replaces “ruach”

Some of these texts need to be read in order to understand how and why a word is used.


Text     ---- --         RSV  --      KJV   --       NWT  --        Tanakh    --        ABP
____________________________________________________________________________
Genesis 1:2  --    Spirit --     Spirit  --   active force   --   wind    --       πνεῦμα   spirit
____________________________________________________________________________
Genesis 3:8  --    cool  --      cool --     breezy part  --   breezy time   --    δειλινον   dusk
____________________________________________________________________________
Genesis 6:17  --   breath  --     breath   --  breath  --     breath    --       πνεῦμα   spirit
____________________________________________________________________________
Genesis 8:1   --    wind   --     wind  --     wind    --       wind      --       πνεῦμα  wind
____________________________________________________________________________
Genesis 26:35  --  bitter --      mind  --     great grief   -- bitterness   --     εριζουσαι contending
____________________________________________________________________________
Exodus 15:8   --    blast   --     blast   --     breath   --     blast   --        πνεῦμα   breath
____________________________________________________________________________
Exusod 28:3   --   able mind   --  spirit   --  spirit    --  gift of skill     --    πνεῦμα   spirit
____________________________________________________________________________
Joshua 2:11   --  courage    --   courage    --   courage    --   spirit    --   πνεῦμα   spirit
___________________________________________________________________________
Job 21:4   --   impatient    --   spirit    --  would   --   impatient     --  Qυμqωhsomai enraged
___________________________________________________________________________
Proverbs 14:29  --  temper   --  spirit    --  impatient   --  impatience    -- ὀλιγόψυχος faint-hearted
___________________________________________________________________________
Proverbs 17:22   --spirit   --  spirit   --  spirit   --   Despondency   --    Λύπηrou distressed
___________________________________________________________________________
Proverbs 25:28  --  self-control  --   spirit   -- temper  --     temper   --    Βουλή council
___________________________________________________________________________
Proverbs 29:11   --  anger  --  mind  --   feelings  --     rage    --        θυμός rage
___________________________________________________________________________
1 Samuel 1:15  --   troubled  --  spirit  -- great stress  --  unhappy  --   ψυχή   soul  
___________________________________________________________________________
Isaiah 37:7  --    spirit  --    blast   --    mind  --   delude   --   πνεῦμα   spirit  
___________________________________________________________________________
Isaiah 41:29  --   wind  --   wind   --   wind  --     nullity  --       ματην folly
__________________________________________________________________________
Ezekiel 11:5  --   Spirit --    Spirit   --   spirit  --    spirit     --  πνεῦμα  spirit
 --  (2x)    --    mind   --    mind     --   thinking   --    mind    --  πνεῦμα  spirit
__________________________________________________________________________
Micah 2:7  --  Spirit    --  spirit   --   spirit   --  patience   --    πνεῦμα  spirit
_________________________________________________________________________
Zechariah 6:8   -- my Spirit  -- my spirit  -- spirit    -- my pleasure   -- θυμός rage


The idea that the spirit of God was a person never entered the thinking of the Hebrews or Jesus.  When that expression was used, they knew it to refer to Gods mind, his thinking, will, ability to get things done. When the holy spirit, or the spirit of God, was said to have done something said something, they understood that to mean that is was something straight from their God, the father of Jesus. Jesus never explained to his disciples that the spirit of God  (holy spirit) now referred to a person.

You asked  how could the holy spirit not be a person like Jesus when Jesus made a comparison between the two of them as per ….” for he will not speak of his OWN IMPULSE, but what things he HEARS he will SPEAK, and he will declare to you the things coming... ”.   When we realise what audience understood by the word “pneuma” (as per definitions above) there is not difficulties. The  word holy describes  a quality of being  clean, or pure, as a characteristic of God, referring to God, Jesus, angels and other things or people dedicated to God.  Holy spirit refers to something that is pure and clean  a  “wind” or “breath” or “force” in the way that the Hebrews understood the word, as something belonging to and emanating from God and not a separate entity.


Keeping in mind now the various uses of the words ruach and pneuma, I want to turn my attention to this

<<< Let’s do a simple experiment shall we. Now remember “active force” is “God’s power in action”.

(1) Mic 3:8  “But truly I am full of power by [active force] of the LORD,”
(2) Zech 4:6 “This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my [active force], saith the LORD of hosts.
(3) Luke 1:17 “And he shall go before him in [active force] and power of Elias,
(4) Acts 10:38 “ How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with [active force] and with power: >>>


Lets  do as you have suggested and look at these in context  to see just how the “active force” of God is different to power.

(1)  “As for me, I am filled with power by the spirit [active force]  of Jehovah,” (NWT)  Because of the spirit of Jehovah, Micah had the power ( or vigour) to fullfill his assignment (finish his journey)   “To tell to Jacob his revolt and to Israel his sin”.  Not an easy thing to do, to speak out against the nation of God and pronounce Gods judgements.

(2) When a mountain like opposition threatened the completion of the temple building, Zechariah declared
“ ..“This is the word of Jehovah to Zerubbabel: ‘“Not by a military force, nor by power [vigour], but by my spirit, [active force]” says Jehovah of armies.”  (NWT)   When the Jews returned to their homeland  after captivity in Babylon, they had no military force, so it was the operation of Gods holy spirit [active force] that invigorated them to be able to stand against the opposition of opposing nations.   

In both these OT texts, different   bibles are mixed as to if they capitalise the “S” in spirit.  The KJV and many other’s uses lower case “s”. This shows that the translators did not consider the word “ruach” here to refer to a person, but something that belonged to God.  The ESV, GWV and HCSB for example decided to use “S”

(3) “Also, he will go ahead of him with Elijahs spirit and power”   In this context the word “spirit” is not referring to Gods active force.  Here it is telling us that John the Baptiser had  the same vigorous drive and energetic zeal that Elijah had shown in his roll as a judge of Israel. See points 1c) 1e) and 1f) above in the definitions of spirit.  It was this  vigorous drive that gave John the power to do his work.  The Greek word here for power is δυναμις̀̀ dunamis  with the meanings of

1) strength power, ability
     1a) inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth
     1b) power for performing miracles
     1c) moral power and excellence of soul
     1d) the power and influence which belong to riches and wealth
     1e) power and resources arising from numbers
     1f) power consisting in or resting upon armies, forces, hosts

(4) “...Jesus who was from Nazareth, how God anointed him with holy spirit  [active force] – remember what the meaning of pneuma was to the people] and power,...” The meaning of power I just gave. Refresh your memory on the accepted meaning of the words holy (hagios) and spirit  (pneuma) by the people at that time.

In this  text the KJV uses the term Holy Ghost, while other Bibles use Holy Spirit.  It is interesting why some Bibles at Micah and Zechariah show that the spirit of God with “s” but now they decide that the holy spirit of God has to be capitalised.  What this text is teaching us is that it was Gods active force that Jesus was anointed with.  He was also anointed with power. WHY” the verse goes on “ and he went through the land doing good and healing all those oppressed by the Devil ”.  How was he able to do these things “because God was with him”.

With those things in mind, go back to the WT quote I gave that those texts came from, and re read the context as to see how “spirit” and “power” differ.

Well I have been working on this for several days so I had better post what I have done.

Looking forward to your next question.  

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Brenton Hepburn

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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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