Jehovah`s Witness/continued from 2nd of Jan

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Question
QUESTION: Hi Brenton,

To continue with our discussion we need to establish, first of all, the identity of tou pneumatos in Romans 8:27 before we can fully discuss the implication of Paul’s usage of the word phronema in the verse and its best denotation.

You say
“We can discuss the semantics for ever and a day, it is not going to change the out come that you want, and, this is to prove that this verse teaches the “holy spirit” as personality and intellect.”

That comment to me sounds like you are not willing to maintain an open mind.

We have not even really got into a discussion on the implication of Paul’s usage of the word phronema for tou pneumatos, we have only, so far, partially touch on this point. In fact all you did was ask a question regarding my disposition on the implication of the phrase, which I gave, that’s not a discussion.

To date on this subject, we have mainly discussed the identification of tou pneumatos, and as can be seen your disposition on this is not in accord with the context, nor with the Watchtower’s perspective.

My hope is that you are not going to be so closed minded as you imply, and in fact it is quite ironic how you tag these words at the end of all your posts;

“May you keep an opened mind and continue seeking truth”

You are asking others to do, what you, it seems, are not willing to do.

We have seen what is the Watchtower’s perspective regarding the identification of tou pneumatos in Romans 8:27.

You say
“The only aspect that I see different to the WT, at this time, is the identity of the  “spirit” in verse 27”

That pretty much puts you at odds with the Watchtower whereas you had claimed otherwise.

You know I find myself in strange territory, usually it is the non JW [ME] who is at odds with the Watchtower, yet I’m the one agreeing in part with the Watchtower here, while a JW, who supposedly must follow and promote current Watchtower teaching is “at this time” at odds with them.

Anyway we need to establish whether your disposition that tou pneumatos in Romans 8:27 is “us, our vital force”, which is very different to the Watchtower identification of tou pneumatos, as being the correct interpretation.

You say
“In verse 27 the Greek words  “entugchanei” (a verb) and “hoti” (a conjunction) do not have an antecedent. Neither are pronouns, and neither word takes the place of some thing (someone) else. Translators add the pronoun “it” (or “he”) to that verse to make sense in English.”

Using your reasoning the verb “oiden” in the first part of verse 27 does not have an antecedent either...and any causal reading of the first part of the sentence shows that this is not the case.

I know that translators place other word in sentences to bring out the clear meaning of the sentence. Yet you can remove the word “it” or “he” from the present indicative verb “entugchanei” even with hoti as “that”, and the word entugchanei will still refer to the antecedent “tou pneumatos”.

“Now He Who is searching the hearts is aware what is the disposition of the spirit, THAT in accord with God is pleading for the saints."

The present indicative verb must have a referent and that can only be tou pneumatos, the immediate antecedent. Please show me how this is not the case?

As always, I look forward to hearing back from you on the above. <><

ANSWER: Hi Cos,


Cos, I do have an open mind. Before answering you, I looked at what was written in WT publications, looked at various interlinears, examined meanings of words, and the context of the chapter.

I will repeat what I have already said before
QUOTE
“The NWT uses  the English rendering  “meaning” for the Greek word “φρόνημα”. (personally I do not think that is a good English rendering). The particular English word used by different translations would effect the way readers understand that verse.  As discussed before the evidence that I have seen leads more heavily toward the CLV rendering of disposition . The disposition is what I see as our human failings as in the context of the chapter
End Quote

In researching an answer for you I discovered that many different Bibles have rendered the Greek word “φρόνημα” in different ways. The way that it is translated does effect the way a conclusion may be reached by a reader. It is because I have an inquiring mind that I tried to find what evidence I could as to what English word best represents the Greek word “φρόνημα”. What I have come across, leads me to conclude that the CLV used the most appropriate word  which was  disposition , and they used in in all four places where it appears. The context of the chapter and where the word appears is what I worked on.

You say

QUOTE
Anyway we need to establish whether your disposition that tou pneumatos in Romans 8:27 is “us, our vital force”, which is very different to the Watchtower identification of tou pneumatos, as being the correct interpretation.
End Quote

Sorry Cos, but I disagree that we have to determine the identification of the “ pneumatos “ here. Just who or what it refers to will make no difference to the original intent of your question, and, that was to show that the word “pneumatos “ (sprint)  had personality, a conscious existence ie intellect. You were relying on the English word “mind” as the meaning for “phronema”. The whole line of reasoning is based on the meaning of that Greek word. I have presented information that it does not mean mind (ie intellect). I discussed Paul's use of the word  in verse 6 and 7  

Now, please, go and read our first set of exchanges on this text. I had spent some time concentrating on the word “phronema” to demonstrate that it does not mean “intellect”. If you read that exchange you will find it was you that shifted the main thrust to the word “pneumatos”.

I do not like doing this but here is a cut down version of events
COS
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.

REMARK
You then give some definitions and some various Bibles that mainly use the word “mind”. In reply I wanted clarification as to just what it was you were getting at so I asked

Brenton
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?

REMARK
It was a request for  specific confirmation that you saw that text as meaning that the holy spirit had intellect thus, in your view, supporting the idea that the holy spirit was indeed a person. Your response was

COS
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?

REMARK
So you confirmed the idea, that, to you Romans 8:27 teaches that the holy spirit was indeed a person with consciousness. You asked what I thought mind meant. At the start of my next reply I both agreed with you and disagreed

Brenton
“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.

REMARK
I then show a few Bibles that do not use the personal pronoun “he” when referring the spirit. I next give a list of 21 places in the KJV where they have rendered 21  different Greek words as mind. Thus casting doubt on the Bibles that render “phronéma” as mind. I then list a few different Bibles that render “phronéma” differently to “mind” to demonstrate that there are other viable English words that describe ““phronéma””. Using words from the definitions that you gave of “phronéma” I demonstrated by other dictionaries that intellect was not a meaning of “phronéma”. I then explained why in the context of Romans 8 the use of the word “phronéma” to me shows that the the word “pneumatos” in verse 27 best fits the idea of us. (Please re read why I came to that conclusion”)

In your next follow up,  you now put the focus on the word “pneumatos”  You said... (Bold mine)

COS
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? …...

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”?

REMARK
Now the focus is has been put on the word pneumatos (spirit) and if a personal pronoun (he) should be used. You also want to know if "it" or "he" is a reference to the the word "spirit" just mentioned in verse 27.

When I read your comment I was a little confused about your use “phrónēma” (disposition, or meaning, or mind depending on Bible) as you seemed to be associating the use of a personal pronoun with it,  of So I asked

Brenton
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 conversation. 

REMARK
As you see, I assumed you made a mistake and actually intended to use the word “pneumatos”. Any way the conversation continued as if you had meant “pneumatos” (spirit). I explained why I understood that the neuter pronoun “it” referred back to the word spirit as used in verse 26. That is where that thread ended and a new thread was started.

Here you asked about my use of the neuter pronoun “it” and you were unsure as to if I meant that “it” refereed to the “spirit” in verse 27. You evidently assumed that, because I quoted various Bibles that used the pronoun “it” that I had agreed with them that it was referring to the word “spirit” in verse 27. So you asked

COS
Then you listed some translation that use “it” as referring back to “THE SPIRIT” of verse 27.

Now you say that you “personally see”  the “it” as referring back to verse 26 and not “THE SPIRIT” mentioned in verse 27.

Please clarify which is the case because you nowhere mentioned that you regarded the “it” as referring to verse 26 in your “previous answer”.

REMARK
In my next reply I hope I cleared that up for you...

Brenton
All I said was, that the pronoun (“he” or “it”) was in reference to the word “spirit”. The word “spirit is used in both verses, and both times it is neuter. It was a general statement about the nature of the word “spirit” and not to any particular instance of the word.

REMARK
The bottom line is, is that the word “spirit” in Verse 27 (or anywhere else) is always an “it”, and is never to be referred to as “he”

You had also asked if...

COS
 Is the verb ἐντυγχάνει (entynchanei ) referring back to verse 26?

REMARK
My reply to that was

Brenton
For me, the verb does refer back to the “spirit” in verse 26 , as it is the spirit that joins in with help (verb συναντιλαμβανεται = literally “is together supporting” or “is aiding”)  for our  weakness. Because  it is helping us, it is pleading ( εντυγχανει ) our case.

REMARK
A similar verb is also used in verse 26 “ὑπερεντυγχάνει” which is rendered as “makes intercession” (or is-OVER-pleading). Hence, I linked  the verb ἐντυγχάνει (entynchanei ) as referring back to verse 2

That basically brings us to where we are up to. The antecedents of a few words. You asked about the word “οιδεν”

COS
Using your reasoning the verb “oiden” in the first part of verse 27 does not have an antecedent either...and any causal reading of the first part of the sentence shows that this is not the case. 

REMARK
As far as I understand this, the Greek verb “οιδεν” does not have an antecedent. It is a verb.  That is because it does not take the place of a noun. Like  “entugchanei” (also a verb) it tells us what a noun is doing. That is different to taking the place of a noun, it is simply telling us what a noun is doing.

Here is an example

'John' (noun) lost 'his' (pronoun – replaces John) 'hat' (noun) when the wind (noun)  blew (verb - telling us what the wind did) it (pronoun -replaces hat) of his (pronoun – replaces John) head. He (pronoun – replaces John) chased (verb – tells what John is doing)  after 'it'. (pronoun -replaces hat)


John is the  antecedent of “his” and “he”
Hat is the antecedent of “it”
The verbs just tell us what the nouns did.  They do bot replace the nouns.

The Greek word “hoti” is a conjunction. It joins two thoughts together. I will re write the above example, saying the same thing in a different way

John chased after his hat because  (conjunction) the wind blew it of his head.

So what about “οιδεν”. What is its connection to the verse.

The literal reading of the Greek in the first part of the verse is ....

 ὁ  (the) δε (yet ) ερευνων (one-searching) τας (the) καρδιας (hearts) οιδεν (has-perceived) 

The KJV reads “And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth..”

The NIV reads “And he who searches our hearts knows...”

The NWT reads “But the one who searches the hearts knows ...”


The Greek word “ οιδεν” literally meaning "has-perceived", is rendered as “knoweth” or “knows” in English. It does not take the place of a noun but it does tell us what a noun is doing. Which noun? I will now explore that.

You notice that the NWT closely reflects the Greek by using the word “one” (one searching).

The other two Bibles used the pronoun “he” (he that searches). The pronoun “he” is not in the Greek, but, it is implied just as the NWT uses the word “it” later on in the verse in reference to the “spirit”.

The question is, who, or what, is the “he” or the “one”. The nearest noun is in verse 26, the word “spirit”, and it is used twice in that verse. Is it the spirit that is being refereed to here? NO. It goes back further that that. In verse 23 there are four nouns (including spirit) yet, none of these are connected to the first part of verse 27. The noun we are looking for is back in verse 21. It is “GOD”

We could re write the beginning of verse 27 as
“and God searches the hearts and knows...”

Why do the KJV and the NIV put in the personal pronoun “he” when it is not in the Greek text. The other words there give us a clue.

For readers who may not know, in Greek, words are assigned gender. For example take the word “the”. It has several masculine forms such as ὁ , ton and feminine forms such as τὴν;  ἡ as well as neuter forms τὸ. They all mean the same thing but the different forms are used according to the nouns that they work with.

Now when we look  at the first part of verse 27 the word “the” in Greek is masculine, and “one-searching” is also masculine. So it is not out of place to insert the masculine pronoun “he” even though it is not there. There was no real need to insert “he” as can be seen from the NWT that it still makes sense in English. (the “he” just clarifies the meaning a little better)

Latter in the verse we have the words “τὸ (the – neuter) φρόνημα (disposition – neuter) τοῦ (of-the – neuter) Πνεύματος (spirit – neuter)

Therefore if the translators wanted to add a pronoun to make sense in English it had to be a neuter pronoun such as “it”. To insert "he" shows either poor translation ability, or, theological bias.

So, just what word does “(it) is-pleading” [present indicative verb] refer to. Cos you asked

COS
The present indicative verb must have a referent and that can only be tou pneumatos, the immediate antecedent. Please show me how this is not the case? 

REMARK
There is no personal pronoun in Greek with this verb. The pronoun is implied, and in this case it is the word “it”. So in reality this verb does not have an immediate antecedent, but, it does have an effect on a noun.  

The nearest noun is the word “GOD”. The verb “entugchanei” does not effect what God is doing. It tells us what another noun is doing.

The question is which noun  (spirit) “is pleading”? I believe that there is a good argument the exact noun many not be able to be determined. It could be either the one in verse 27 or verse 26, depending on how one understand the context of the chapter.

Remember the word “spirit” is used twice in verse 16 to refer to two different “things”, so, just having the word “spirit in both verse 26, and 27 does not necessitate (though it might) that it refers to the same thing.

I can see arguments for both ideas,

1) that it refers to Gods holy spirit, and it is that spirit that is mentioned in both verses 26 and 27, and ….

2) I also see the idea that in verse 27 the word spirit is not referring to Gods holy spirit but the imperfect force that compels us, where our disposition ( φρονημα)  is refereed to back in verse 6 and 7. That God knows our hearts as he reads them and he can see through our imperfect disposition and allows his spirit to interceded for us when we are unable to do ourselves.

The apostle Paul was an educated man. In today’s terminology, Paul's education would be that of being a lawyer. The word  “φρονημα” is used only 4 times in the Bible. All by Paul in Romans chapter 8. For me,  the connection of “φρονημα” in verse 27 is so closely linked to the other three occasions in verses 6 and 7, that explanation 2 above best fits the context of the chapter. But I would not rule out explanation 1

So, basically, the  “present indicative verb” may refer to either the spirit in verse 26 or 27 depending on how one understands the context of the chapter.

Either way, the grammar and construction of this text can not be used to teach that the holy spirit has intellect on its own, which is what you started of trying to demonstrate. The word  “φρονημα” (phronēma) does not mean mind, does not teach intellect. It is not teaching that holy spirit is a separate and distinct person if one take the view that the word "spirit" in verse 27 is the holy spirit.

I don't know how else to say what I have said any clearer. I have said all that I can say about that verse. There is nothing else to say on this verse.


 

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

QUESTION: Hi Brenton,

I’m very pleased to hear back from you. You ask me to “go and read our first set of exchanges on this text”. Ok I did.

You asked me a question on what I had put forward;
“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?”

I answered your question.

You then said
“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.”


You said also that “you agreed” with my answer. But you were going “to show that this particular word [“φρονημα  (phronéma)”] does not refer to ones intellect, or ability to reason.”

But before you do this you said that you “want to comment the way most Bibles incorrectly use the personal pronoun “he” in that verse referring back to the word ‘spirit’.”

And it was in this lengthy discourse that on summing up, you said,
“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.”


I made no comment with regard to what you had claimed regarding the word “phronéma” in this discourse. My attention, if you will, was drawn to these last 5 paragraphs, your identification of tou pneumatos.

I did not want to go headlong into what you allege about the word “phronéma” until this other claim was sorted; let me put it this way, how can we discuss what you allege regarding the word “phronéma” when you are not even sure on the identity of tou pneumatos in verse 27?

Thus it is quit presumptuous of you to say;
“We can discuss the semantics for ever and a day, it is not going to change the out come that you want, and, this is to prove that this verse teaches the “holy spirit” as personality and intellect.”

You say;
“Sorry Cos, but I disagree that we have to determine the identification of the “ pneumatos “ here. Just who or what it refers to will make no difference to the original intent of your question, and, that was to show that the word “pneumatos “ (sprint)  had personality, a conscious existence ie intellect. You were relying on the English word “mind” as the meaning for “phronema”. The whole line of reasoning is based on the meaning of that Greek word. I have presented information that it does not mean mind (ie intellect).”


What? Of course we have to determine the identification of tou pneumatos, you brought up the claim that tou pneumatos does not refer to the Holy Spirit, so what you allege about the word “phronéma” involves your disposition of tou pneumatos!

You say
“Now, please, go and read our first set of exchanges on this text. I had spent some time concentrating on the word “phronema” to demonstrate that it does not mean “intellect”. If you read that exchange you will find it was you that shifted the main thrust to the word “pneumatos”.”


Brenton, I understand that you “spent some time” on what you allege about the word “phronéma” and I do appreciate that, if you can take any consolation, we will get around to discussing your claims on the matter, but I would suggest that you go back and re-read the “exchange” and note that it was YOU that placed the emphasis on the identity of tou pneumatos; in fact you contributed 5 paragraphs to this claim.

So, if anything the “shift” was instigated by you - by your claim, so please do not blame me for what you brought up.

You then go into giving what you call “a cut down version of events”.

Yep, it was cut down, for you skipped over where YOU brought up, in 5 substantial paragraphs, your claim regarding the identity of tou pneumatos.

Now is that all sorted, or are you going to blame me for something else that you initiate?

You tell me how you claim to have an open mind, I really hope that you hold true to this claim, and in time we shall see.

So let’s move on.

You say,
“As far as I understand this, the Greek verb “οιδεν” does not have an antecedent. It is a verb.  That is because it does not take the place of a noun. Like  “entugchanei” (also a verb) it tells us what a noun is doing. That is different to taking the place of a noun, it is simply telling us what a noun is doing.”

I agree the verb tells us what a noun IS DOING. So the noun that is doing the doing would be the closest preceding referent (adjectively antecedent) to the verb. In the examples of Romans 8:27 we have two such verbs.

Both these verbs imply a pronoun, “oiden” can be translated “he knows”,

“and the one searching the hearts He knows the thoughts of the Spirit” (my translation).

Just as “entugchanei” can be translated “He intercedes” or if you like “it intercedes” with the implied pronoun, just as you say the NWT (and the CLV) uses in reference with “THE SPIRIT”.

Then what you state gets confusing because you say that you have to go all the way back to verse 21 to locate the nearest noun – God for “oiden”.

But later you RIGHTLY say;
“Now when we look  at the first part of verse 27 the word “the” in Greek is masculine, and “one-searching” is also masculine. So it is not out of place to insert the masculine pronoun “he” even though it is not there.

Next you say;
“There was no real need to insert “he” as can be seen from the NWT that it still makes sense in English. (the “he” just clarifies the meaning a little better)”

I guess the NWT you are referring to here is that new version, because my 1984 version has the word “HE” at the start of verse 27.

The reason the noun God in verse 27 is not the preceding referent of entugchanei is because of the preposition “kata’. If you remove “kata” then the noun God would be the referent.

On all that you say the closest proceeding referent to the verb, the noun that is doing the action of the verb entugchanei is tou pneumatos.

You say;
“The question is which noun  (spirit) “is pleading”? I believe that there is a good argument the exact noun many not be able to be determined. It could be either the one in verse 27 or verse 26, depending on how one understand the context of the chapter.”

And,
“I can see arguments for both ideas”

Also,
“explanation 2 above best fits the context of the chapter. But I would not rule out explanation 1”


And;
“So, basically, the  “present indicative verb” may refer to either the spirit in verse 26 or 27 depending on how one understands the context of the chapter.”


These comments reveal that you are still not sure.

My observation is that your “explanation 2” which you claim “best fit” (but still not too sure) requires you to ignore everything you have said in regard to the nearest noun for the verb entugchanei, and that also you have a mixed up (please excuse the bluntness) understanding of the context.

Please note that all the translations I have consulted correctly render the action of the verb entugchanei as the role of tou pneumatos of verse 27 (even the NWT), I have not come across any [NOT ONE], translation that implies otherwise.

Please translate the following to show how your “explanation 2” “best fits” the context. I really would like to see the way the verse should be rendered to reflect your position.

ο  δε εραυνων τας καρδιας οιδεν τι  το φρονημα του πνευματος οτι κατα θεον εντυγχανει υπερ αγιων


You must be able to show this from the verse itself. Otherwise the verse is saying something different to what you think the context is saying. <><

ANSWER: Hi Cos,

I am sorry, but this is the last time I will engage in this discussion about Romans 8:27. We are getting no where, and, it seems, we will get no where.

Cos you asked

“..let me put it this way, how can we discuss what you allege regarding the word “phronéma” when you are not even sure on the identity of tou pneumatos in verse 27?”

REMARK
I have written a couple of different replies to this, and have scrapped them both, because I find that what I wrote is just taking us around in circles.

It just does not matter what the identity of the word spirit is verse 27 (“ tou pneumatos”) the context shows that there is no intellect associated with this word “spirit”, which was your argument.

According to the various dictionaries that we both used, the Greek word “phronema” does not have a connection with intellect. The word means disposition, which intern means ones usual mood or temperament even habitual inclination or a tendency.

ie he has a nervous disposition, that is, he displays a temperament or tendency to be nervous. Of such a person we could say “the movie  is not recommended to people of a nervous disposition"  

Another example, he has a violet disposition – meaning that he has a habitual inclination or  a tendency to be violent, hence, he  is easily aroused to  violence.

OR

He has a happy disposition – which usually indicates that persons mood, or temperament is generally happy.

In verse 6, with  the use of the word “phronema” we are told the  we can have a fleshly disposition – mood or temperament. That was contrasted with the disposition equal to that of the spirit.  When our disposition is of the spirit we would be trying to display these qualities   “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith,  mildness, self-control”.  They are contrasted with the disposition of the flesh such as “are sexual immorality, uncleanness, brazen conduct, idolatry, spiritism, hostility, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, dissensions, divisions, sects, envy, drunkenness, wild parties” (Galatians 5:16-24)

Even of the wind, we can say that, a destructive wind storm has a violent disposition. On the other hand a cool breeze on a hot day has a  refreshing disposition, or a tendency to make us feel better.

There is no “he” associated with the word spirit. The correct pronoun is it .

The only other thing I want to mention is that of your assumption that the nearest noun must be the one that the verb refers to is not so. You said...

COS
I agree the verb tells us what a noun IS DOING. So the noun that is doing the doing would be the closest preceding referent (adjectively antecedent) to the verb. In the examples of Romans 8:27 we have two such verbs.

Both these verbs imply a pronoun, “oiden” can be translated “he knows”, 

“and the one searching the hearts He knows the thoughts of the Spirit” (my translation).

REMARK
To translate that passage directly into English  according to the grammar of the Greek words, the insertion of the pronoun “he” would need to be attached to the  word “εραυνων” (searching). That verb has a masculine gender, whereas “oiden” is not assigned a gender.  

Think about the translation and the  insertion of the pronoun he . Here is a rhetorical question. Just who do you think is the “He” refereeing to  here. Lets look at your argument.   You say that....

COS
So the noun that is doing the doing would be the closest preceding referent (adjectivally antecedent) to the verb

REMARK
If we take your reasoning there, then the  nearest noun to “oiden” (according to your placement of "he") is pneuma (spirit) is in verse 26. If that is the case, the text is saying that “...the spirit is searching the hearts...”

I was showing that is not the case. To determine just who the “he”, or, the “one” is, that is referred to here, we must go back past several nouns to verse 21 to find the referent that is implied by the either the words “he” or “one”, and that noun is God. The argument I was putting forward is, that we can not look to the  nearest  noun for the referent. The context is what we have to consider.  

At the start of verse 27, the Greek verb that is telling us what a noun is doing is “ερευνων” . The 1984 NWT reads “Yet he who searches the hearts knows ...” the 2013 NWT reads “But the one who searches the hearts knows...”  (Why the change I do not know, but the pronoun "he" is what seems to be the best fit seeing “ερευνων” is the the masculine gender )

My argument was that we do not have to look to the nearest noun, but the context.

The bottom line is, no matter what the identity of the word “spirit” is, the text is just not teaching that intellect is associated with that word. You and I can come up with all the reasons there are for our understandings of the identity of "the spirit" in verse 27 it makes no difference at all because what ever the identity is, it has no intellect, is not a person on its own

Finally, out of courtesy for the fact that you asked for my translation of verse 27.  I will give you first a one English word for one Greek word translation

I am listing each Greek word, an English rendering as well as the parts of speech. I will then give a translation that is consistent with English grammar.


Ο   = the [this is the singular masculine, definite article in the nominative case  ]
δε = yet [a conjunction]
εραυνων = searching [verb particle  present tense  Active Voice  nominative case  masculine]  
τας = the [plural feminine definite article in the Accusative case ]
καρδιας = hearts [ plural feminine noun, in the Accusative case ]
οιδεν = aware [verb indicative  Perfect tense  active]
τι  = what [single neuter interrogative pronoun  nominative case]
το = the [single neuter definite article, nominative case ]
φρονημα = disposition [single neuter noun, nominative case ]
του = the [single neuter definite article, genitive case ]
πνευματος = wind [single neuter noun, genitive case ]
οτι = that [conjunction]
κατα = according [preposition]
θεον = God [singular masculine noun, accusative case]
εντυγχανει = pleading [3rd person singular, verb indicative present tense, active]
υπερ = over [ preposition]
αγιων = worthies [plural masculine adjective, genitive case ]

So using one English word for one Greek word we get

“the yet searching the hearts aware what the disposition the wind that according God pleading over worthies.”

Ok Now adding the occasional extra word to better express the Greek

“the yet one-searching the hearts is-aware what the disposition of-the wind that according-to God is pleading over saints.”

Now an English translation using our grammar

But he (who) is searching hearts knows (just) what the disposition of the spirit (is), that according to God, is pleading over the saints

The text MUST be read in the context of the chapter.

Thank you for an interesting discution we have had on this verse.


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

QUESTION: Hi Brenton,

The problem as I see it is the fact that you initiate dialogue, and when the conversation does not go the way you want then you want to drop it, just like the discussion on the writings of the early church.

You blame me for what you instigate, and make comments like “this is the last time I will engage in this discussion about Romans 8:27” which amounts to saying “I don’t want to discuss this anymore because my mind is made up", when clearly you are not even sure on the identity of the Spirit in the verse.

How can you claim to want meaningful dialogue when you robustly blame me for what you bring up, but then want to drop the topic like a hot potato?

That does not display an open mind.

Why bring up topics when you have no inclination to follow through on them?

You say,
“We are getting no where”

I have found out some things that I consider interesting, notably your idea on the identity of “the Spirit” in verse 27, which is not collaborated by any translation. I guess to you that’s “getting nowhere” because you have no verification to justification that idea.

Remember how I said that there is a lot going on in the verse? We only just touch on the fact the Spirit is said to be “pleading” for the saints, even you admit that this is what it says (claiming that this refers back to the Spirit in verse 26). This very personal action is another proof that the Holy Spirit is a person.

You say,
“It just does not matter what the identity of the word spirit is verse 27 (“ tou pneumatos”) the context shows that there is no intellect associated with this word “spirit”, which was your argument.”


Brenton, I don’t quite fathom why you think that the identity of tou pneumatos in Romans 8:27 does not matter? Your unsureness of the identity of the Spirit gives rise to the fact that this does matter, it matters very much.

You say,
“According to the various dictionaries that we both used, the Greek word “phronema” does not have a connection with intellect. The word means disposition, which intern means ones usual mood or temperament even habitual inclination or a tendency.”

This claim is wrong. To have phronema, according to the Expository Dictionary of Bible Words, refer to “a way of thinking”. It is the inclination of the mind which includes the act of understanding. Phronema like the verb, phroneo, refers to thought.

Hastings New Testament Dictionary say that phronema denotes “thoughts and purposes”.

As does Strong’s Dictionary.

As does Thayer’s Lexicon.

As does Vines’s Dictionary. (Just to name a few.)

So I’m wondering which “various dictionaries” you have in phronema (mind)?

The word “disposition” can and does have a wide, and varied meanings, the word also means “state of mind regarding something” or as Webster’s Dictionary has “Conscious inclination”.  

These definitions are in line with the above Greek dictionaries and lexicons.

I have touched on a few titbits above in order to continue this discussion. The ball is in your court. <><

Answer
Hi Cos,

Finally got time to finish this reply. I had had to edit it several times to try to make it flow, but I was still not happy with the way it flows, but it is time I sent it

I see this discussion as going no where because we are going around in circles. You keep asking about things already covered, and I keep trying to reword what I have already said. So it appears as if I can not make my self clearly understood. I have written a lot more than what is here but have deleted it because I just do not know how to say the same things again in a better way.

To me it seems as if you are really trying hard to win an argument and convince me that the holy spirit is a person with intellect. The general meaning of the word pneuma is wind, or breath which is an unseen force. God, Jesus, angels and demons are unseen forces. They can be shown to have personality and are referred to in the masculine gender.  The holy spirit belongs to God . it eliminates from him,  and is not a separate entity. The word  pneuma is never accompanied by the personal pronoun “he” (which you seem to like using – that in itself shows a bias). It is those things that must always be kept in mind when discussing the nature of the holy spirit.


I will start with

COS
Brenton, I don’t quite fathom why you think that the identity of tou pneumatos in Romans 8:27 does not matter? Your unsureness of the identity of the Spirit gives rise to the fact that this does matter, it matters very much. 

REMARK
This is the real cor of the matter. It does not matter who the identity is. The out come is the same. No intellect is meant by the word  “phronema”. So, if, as I understand it, the “tou pneumatos” refers to “our vital force”, “phronema” is not talking about the intellect of our vital force. If. “tou pneumatos” refers to the holy spirit the out come is the same, it is not referring to the intellect of the holy spirit. So the identity of “tou pneumatos” makes no difference here.

COS
I have found out some things that I consider interesting, notably your idea on the identity of “the Spirit” in verse 27, which is not collaborated by any translation. I guess to you that’s “getting nowhere” because you have no verification to justification that idea.

Remark
I have given you reason for why I understand it the way I do. If you see that I  “ have no verification to justification that idea” it is not because I failed to  try.

Getting to the point of this discussion has to do with the word  “phronema” and the most Bibles have translated it, usually as “mind”. Most people, when they see that would, naturally think of intellect (nothing wrong with that). That meaning into English has the caused people to see that verse in the wrong way.  Howvwer Even in English the word mind does not always mean the intect of a person. For example to can meen to be distressed, annoyed, or worried by. - "I don't mind the rain"

Or it can have a meaning in ragard what is important or to feel concerned - "never mind the opinion polls"

The context of our English  determines the meaning of mind.  The dictionaries that simply render phronema as mind are not wrong, they just are not complete.

Now as far as phronema  is concerned, I am absolutely convinced (my mind is made up) that this word does not have any connection to "intellect.    (see previous explanation) Please note -

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phronema

QUOTE

Phronema is a transliteration of the Greek word φρόνημα, which has the meanings of "mind", "spirit", "thought", "purpose", "will" , and can have either a positive meaning ("high spirit", "resolution", "pride") or a bad sense ("presumption", "arrogance"). [My Comment here – note how the word I put in bold show a disposition or tendency – not referring to intellect]

In the New Testament, the word is used four times in the Saint Paul's Letter to the Romans: twice with "τῆς σαρκός" (of the flesh) and twice with "τοῦ πνεύματος" (of the spirit): "for the mind of the flesh [is] death, and the mind of the Spirit – life and peace; because the mind of the flesh [is] enmity to God ...and He who is searching the hearts hath known what [is] the mind of the Spirit" (Romans 8:6-7,27).....

The term phronema is used in Eastern Orthodox theology to one particular mindset or outlook ' – the Orthodox mind.[3] The attaining of phronema in this sense is a matter of practicing the correct faith (orthodoxia) in the correct manner (orthopraxis). Attaining phronema is regarded as the first step toward theosis, the state of glorification.....

The term was used in by John Henry Newman in an article published in 1859 under the title "On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine". He said that the consensus of the faithful is to be regarded as "a sort of instinct , or phronēma, deep in the bosom of the mystical body of Christ"

End Quote

So instead of reading mind in Romans 8 replace it with disposition of tendency and read from verse 1, and maybe you will see what I saw.  Maybe not. But in any case verse 27 is NOT teaching the holy spirit has intellect and thus a person.

It is interesting if you go to Google and type in "Greek to English" you will get a Greek - English translator Now in the Greek side put in the Greek word φρόνημα .  The English translation is "spirit"

That ties in with the idea of disposition as I first tried to explain, the spirit of a person, happy, sad, angry, annoyed these also are what the disposition or tendency of a person can have  

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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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