Jehovah`s Witness/Continuation of discussion

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Question
QUESTION: Hi Brenton,

In our last exchange you said,
“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”


It can seem that I come across as confrontational, maybe it’s because I’m quite blunt in what I say, I don’t mince words; but the reason I sometime I ask you to repeat yourself is because I HOPE that by doing so you might see the error (if I can call it that) of what you assert. So if I pose an argument to you it’s for that reason.

The identity of “the Spirit” in Romans 8:27 is, I believe, very important, and that is why I asked you numerous questions on this hoping that would help you see what everyone else recognizes.

To say, as you do, that the identity of the “the Spirit” in Romans 8:27 “does not matter” is to trivialize the Word of God.

The argument for your “understanding” is, you claim, the context; yet in the context Paul is very careful to distinguish the Holy Spirit as “the Spirit” and our spirit as, well “our spirit” it goes against the context to claim that at verse 27 “the Spirit” suddenly means “our spirit”.

Can I mention that your translation of verse 27 in the last exchange where you add the word “just” to the passage, and how this word is nowhere implied in the Greek. Please consider this.

Also, you said that my rendering of the first part of verse 27 was incorrect. I don’t want you to be ignorant of the facts regarding this, but a number of translations also have “He” in connection with the Greek word “oiden”.

“He can understand what is in the mind of the Spirit,” (CEV)

“He understands what the Spirit is saying” (ERV)

“He knows what the Holy Spirit is thinking” (NLV)

On the word phronema you quote an article from Wikipedia that cites Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, which even though it is on Classical Greek writings nonetheless still gives mostly the same definition as the biblical dictionaries and lexicons we have look at.

You claim that the meanings given in that lexicon “show a disposition or tendency – not referring to intellect” I disagree.

The words all show a mental capacity.

They illustrate thought patterns of the conscious mind. The words describe the faculty of fixing one's mind on something and thus a way of thinking which requires intellect.

A Critical Lexicon and Concordance of the English and Greek Testament by E.W. Bullinger explains regarding phronema; “φρόνημα what one has in mind, what one thinks and feels; hence, mind, thought, feeling, will; knowledge or wisdom, as being the product of the mind”

A Manual Greek lexicon of the New Testament has, “φρόνημα that which is in the mind, the thought”

J. P. Lange explains φρὁνημα at Romans 8:27 “as clear thought, denoting the excogitated sense of that language of groans.” (Commentary on the Holy Scriptures)

The many Greek dictionaries and lexicons we have looked at ALL give the same meaning for phronema. You can ignore their definitions and try to make out that the word means something different, as you do, that’s up to you. But, to be able to have thoughts, to have purpose, to have will, to be strong spirited, etc, these are products that require intellect.

One thing I’ve noticed is that you would like the word phronema to mean everything from a particular mind-set or outlook to temperament or desires and even a sort of instinct, but you won’t accept the actual meanings given by the many Greek dictionaries and lexicons we have looked at.

You mention how you put the Greek word for phronema into Google translate and it gave you the word “spirit”, did you try putting in the whole sentence into Google translate and see what it comes out as? Try it and see.

I’ll end this post with a simple question. Does the passage of Romans 8:27 show a distinction between the one being pleaded to and the one doing the pleading?

Look forward as always to your response. <><

ANSWER: Hi Cos

You make this comment

COS
To say, as you do, that the identity of the “the Spirit” in Romans 8:27 “does not matter” is to trivialize the Word of God.

REMARK
In no way would I ever want to trivialise the Word of God, and I am sorry if I gave you that impression.

For me it really makes no difference as to the identity because the “spirit” that is mentioned there has no “intellect”

There is clearly a difference of opinion in the various dictionaries. Our opinions of that verse will vary depending on the definition we each see as best fitting the meaning of  “phronema”.

By the use of the word in Romans 8, I see as meaning of  “phronema” as someone's disposition that is  their mood or general attitude about life or as ones prevailing tendency, or inclination. That is what Verse 6 tells us. Ones prevailing disposition, attitude about life is all too often on the flesh, where-as our attitude disposition, inclination, should be a spiritual one. I used “spiritual” because I found it interesting that the KJV rendered “pneuma” as “spiritually” in verse 6. “...to be spiritually minded...” It has used the word minded here for  “phronema”.  

Bellow are some Bibles that seem to have had a problem with the idea in verse 6 that “phronema”  means “mind”  as many other Bibles rendered it.  These translations recognise that in verse 6 and 7,    although there is some correlation  between  “phronema” and our mind,  that it does not mean the “intellect” of our mind.  Most  of the following Bibles are inconsistent with the rendering when it came to verse 27.  I would suggest that is possibly due to the translators  pre understanding of  the word “pnuema”,  so their bias took over and they were inconsistent in their rendering, or that the context of the chapter was not carefully considered.


The 1899 Douay in vs  6 and 7 renders “phronema” as “wisdom” but in verse 27 as  “desireth”

The 1599 Geneva Bible also renders “phronema”  as wisdom vs 6,7 but in vs 27 as “meaning”

The Good News Bible uses “controlled by” in vs 6,7 and in vs 27  “thought”

The Gods Word Version put the verse this way  “The corrupt nature’s attitude leads to death. But the spiritual nature’s attitude leads to life and peace. “      But in verse 27  they use “mind”

The Holman Christian Bible uses “mind-set” in all 4 places

The paraphrased Bible known as The Message renders vs 6,7 & 27 in a very interesting way.

“6 Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. 7  Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing...... 27  He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition , and keeps us present before God.”   .... To me the term "pregnant condition" suggests distress, the distress we may feel from being "Obsession with self"  

The New Heart English Bible uses “mind set” in vs 6,7 but uses “mind” in ves 27

The Phillips translation uses “attitude” and intention  “6  The former attitude means, bluntly, death: the latter means life and inward peace. 7  And this is only to be expected, for the carnal attitude is inevitably opposed to the purpose of God, and neither can nor will follow his Law...... 27  He who knows the heart’s secrets understands the Spirit’s intention...”

The Revised Webster’s uses “carnally minded” and “spiritually minded” in vs 6,7 but in verse 27 he uses “mind”.

All those renderings in verse 6,7 of “phronema” tell us of ones disposition or tendency.   

COS
The argument for your “understanding” is, you claim, the context; yet in the context Paul is very careful to distinguish the Holy Spirit as “the Spirit” and our spirit as, well “our spirit” it goes against the context to claim that at verse 27 “the Spirit” suddenly means “our spirit”.

REMARK
I assume that you are referring to the use of definite article before “spirit” in the text. Yes quite often  (but not always) the use of the definite article (the) before a noun can distinguish it for other occurrences of the same noun.  Your reference to our spirit is no doubt a reference to verse 16.  which reads from the NIV  “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children”.  The word spirit is given a capital “S” and has the definite article before it on the first occasion.   On the second occasion, the word spirit has no capital “S” and no definite article.  So on the surface it appears as if you are correct   

In Romans 8 the word pneuma (spirit) appears 19 times (in some Bibles) and 20 times in others.  That is because some Greek manuscripts have extra words in verse 1 (who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. ). Of the copies of Greek manuscripts that I have, these have the extra words

Stephanus 1550 (the one used for the KJV)
Scrivener 1894 edition of Textus Receptus.
Byazantine Majority textbook

Greek  Manuscripts that I have that do not have the extra words in verse 1  are

UBS4 United Bible Society 4Th Version
Tischendorf 1859  edition
Tischendorf 1872 edition
Nestle Aylands 27th edition
Tregelles 1854
WHO 1881
Codex Sinaaticus (4th centru)
Codex Vaticanus

Bellow  is where pneuma is used 20 times in a few  manuscripts.  The letter (W) means that the definite article (the) precedes the word "pneuma" in the Greek texts .  Altogether, the word pneuma is used 12 times without being distinguished by the definite article, and only 8 times (W) ith the definite article proceeding it.  I also show how the KJV renders the word "pneuma" in each verse regardless of if it has the definite article or not in the Greek.  Note how many times the KJV inserts the word the and capital “S ”.  Some times the word “the” is  needed to be inserted to make senses in English. But, when it is inserted, why use the capital “S ”?  Take special  note of Vs 6, 15 and 16

Verse 1   - (not in all Bibles )  [ the S pirit.]
Verse  2  (W)  [the Spirit]
Verse 4    [the S pirit]
Verse 5 is used 2X  once (W)  [the S pirit]  [the Spirit]
Verse 6 (W) ... KJ & GWV leaves out the word “the” and renders pneuma as spiritually – showing an attitude
Verse 9  is used 3X  [the S pirit]  [the S pirit]   [the S pirit]
Verse 10  [the S pirit]
Verse 1 is used 2X  once (W)   [the Spirit]   [the S pirit]
Verse 13   [the S pirit]
Verse 14  [the S pirit]
Verse 15  used 2X   [the spirit]    [the S pirit]
Verse 16 used 2X  (W)   [the Spirit]   [our spirit]
Verse 26  (W)  [the Spirit]
Verse 27  (W)   [the Spirit]


Verse 16 is interesting, as it is the one where Paul talks about “the spirit” and “our spirit”.  In both case the definite article is used before spirit, but in English we have dropped the “the” that is before “our spirit”.     A literal translation of the Greek into English reads... “itself  the  spirit  is-testifying-together   to-the  spirit  of-us  that we-are   offspring   of-God”

Now the KJV gets the pronoun here correct.  Look back at the NIV I quoted earlier.  That  incorrectly uses the pronoun “himself ” where as the KJV actually uses the correct pronoun “itself” .  Interesting, don’t you think?

The point of that exercise was to show that in context, Paul did not  “very careful ... distinguish the Holy Spirit as “the Spirit” and our spirit as, well “our spirit”  “...   it is translators of various Bibles that try to make that  distinction especially  when they use capital “S” for spirit.  


I am aware of Bibles that use the word “he” at the start of Verse 27.  The word “he” does not belong to “oiden”.  The word “he” or “the one” belongs to ερευνων (ereunon)  here are a couple of interlinears that I have....

The Interlinear Greek New Testament prepared by Maurice A. Robinson renders the first part of that verse as

“ ὁ  {THE} δε  {BUT } ερευνων  {HE WHO SEARCHES } τας  {THE}  καρδιας  {HEARTS } οιδεν  (5758) {KNOWS}

The CLV Interlinear renders it   “ ὁ  {THE} δε  {YET } ερευνων  {ONE WHO SEARCHES } τας  {THE}  καρδιας  {HEARTS } οιδεν   {HAS PERCEIVED}


The three Bibles that you quoted from paraphrase the text of Romans 8:27 and show the ideas of the translators.

You sort of complained that I added the word “just”. The very literal one word for one word translation of that verse is

““ ὁ   = THE δε = YET ερευνων = SEARCHING  τας = THE καρδιας  = HEARTS  οιδεν = AWARE  τί   = WHAT  τὸ = THE φρόνημα = DISPOSITION τοῦ = THE  Πνεύματος WIND  ὅτι   THAT κατὰ    ACCORDING Θεὸν    GOD  ἐντυγχάνει   PLEADING  ὑπὲρ   OVER  ἁγίων   WORTHIES.”

Such a translation does not make sense in English so it has to be modified to make sense. In order to do that other words need to be added. That is all I did by including the word (just). It was to make sense in our English speaking ears according to the context of the chapter.

Why is it OK to use those other inserted words  to make sense according to the translators and yet you  get disturbed why I added "just" that to me makes sense in the context?  

COS
“I’ll end this post with a simple question. Does the passage of Romans 8:27 show a distinction between the one being pleaded to and the one doing the pleading? “

REMARK
The one being pleaded to, is The Almighty. The one doing the pleading, in effect, is also the Almighty.  The "pleads" are the previously written prayers and intercessions that God himself had recorded for us via his spirit when the Bible was written.

In Verse 26 and 27 Paul is here showing that God knows the disposition of his servant as described in verse 6 and 7. Sometimes we have a very fleshy disposition or tendency and may find it hard to keep a spiritual disposition or tendency.   As a result, there are times when Gods servants may not always know exactly what they should pray for as they need to. But, God knows that his servants desire to do his will. He also knows what his servants need. So, he has, in the past, caused many inspired prayers to be recorded in his Word, expressing His will  for his servants . Therefore, God  accepts these previously written  inspired prayers as being what his people should like to ask and pray for, and accordingly, he fulfils them. It is those prays written aforetime that God allowed to be written via means of his spirit, that  plead for us.  That is how the spirit thus “pleads,” or intercedes, for his servants.  It is God in his mercy, and understanding for mankind, that prompted him to put things in place by his own means, so that we many have help.


COS
...did you try putting in the whole sentence into Google translate and see what it comes out as? Try it and see.

REMARK

Yes I did do that  for a modern Greek meaning, and the result was interesting, but not a surprise.  When one just puts in the word “φρόνημα” the result is “spirit”.   The word spirit can be related to the mind.  But just being related to the mind does not show intellect. If we look at dictionaries for a meaning of the word spirit we find a few different definitions.  Among them are these  

the prevailing or typical quality, mood, or attitude of a person, group, or period of time.
e.g "I hope the team will build on this spirit of confidence"

Synonyms for that meaning of “spirit” are :-

prevailing tendency, motivating force, animating principle, dominating characteristic, essence, quintessence; atmosphere, mood, feeling, temper, tenor,climate;  attitudes,  principles, standards,

If you ask a friend to go into two different rooms full of people and describe the “spirit” of the room, what are you asking for?

In one room the people are friendly, greet you, shake your hand, all mixing together,  plenty of chatter and it laughter... what is the spirit of that room?

The other room few people are talking, no body greets you, people are standing by themselves

That is what  “φρόνημα” is conveying in Romans 8

Now, to literal say in Romans ..."But the one who searches the hearts knows what the spirit of the spirit is...”  does not sound good in our ears and may be confusing.   So translators must choose a different English word to convey the meaning of the word “φρόνημα”.  It seems from the context of the chapter and the usage of  the word in verses 6 and 7 that, to be consistent, the best fit is disposition or  tendency or similar.  The word mind does not really convey the idea or thought that is being expressed.

The conclusion of the matter is, that Romans 8:27 does not teach that the holy spirit is separate entity that processes intellect.  The holy spirit belongs to God. It is a part of him not something separate. It is what God uses to accomplish his will.





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

QUESTION: Hi Brenton,

Thanks for getting back to me. I’m sorry that it has taken me a few days to reply, I’ve been quite busy.


You say,
“In no way would I ever want to trivialise the Word of God, and I am sorry if I gave you that impression....For me it really makes no difference as to the identity because the “spirit” that is mentioned there has no “intellect” ”


To use words like, ‘it does not matter” and “makes no difference” does trivialize Scripture. Think on this please, your idea is poles apart from what everyone else recognises, this fact should make you WANT to know why you have this idea.

Remember you once told me “I am the sort of person that must do his best to prove everything”. Here is such an opportunity, dismissing this, on the grounds as you do, makes me doubt that you mean what you say. It pretty much says; mind is made up, don’t care to know anything else.

I hope that that is not the case and you are stimulated to dig deeper on this.

You say;
“There is clearly a difference of opinion in the various dictionaries.”


Where are the “difference of opinion”? Please supply examples that show the “difference of opinion” in the dictionaries and lexicons.

To the long list already provided I will add two more;

Samuel G. Green Vocabulary definition in “Handbook to the Grammar of the Greek Testament, has,
“φρονημα, thought, regard”

Mounce Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament
“φρόνημα phronēma
  frame of thought, will, aspirations”

You admit;
“there is some correlation  between  “phronema” and our mind”  


Well done for coming to this conclusion.

But sadly you then contradict this by claiming;
“that it does not mean the “intellect” of our mind.”

What then is this “correlation”?

The reality is that a person’s attitude about life requires some form of intelligence to one degree or another, whether they consciously take the spiritual Way or take the other.

You claim, prior to citing various words from various translation;
“Most  of the following Bibles are inconsistent with the rendering when it came to verse 27.  I would suggest that is possibly due to the translators  pre understanding of  the word “pnuema”,  so their bias took over and they were inconsistent in their rendering, or that the context of the chapter was not carefully considered.”


What about the NWT...it was not on your list?

If I can point out to you, which I believe you failed to notice because you go on to say, “all those renderings in verse 6,7 of “phronema” tell us of ones disposition or tendency”; no, the words used show mental capacity just as in verse 27, and they are in line with the definition given for phronēma in dictionaries and lexicons.

Wisdom is an intellectual capability. It is not a temperament or tendency as you claim.

Attitude, again, is an intellectual capability, is it not?

In Romans 8:6-7 humans are the subjects. Humans, particularly Christians, ought not set their minds, or as the NWT has "minding," on the things of the fallen flesh. Instead, they ought to set their minds (NWT" minding,") on the things that are in harmony with and motivated by the Spirit.

The meaning has nothing to do with temperament.

It is not a person’s temperament that “means death” (verse 6) but their mental thoughts or conscious intellect.


You then spend a lot of time trying to dispute the fact that Paul distinguishes the “the Spirit” from “our spirit”. I don’t know what you hoped to achieve, but nonetheless, either in Greek OR in our English translations, Paul MAKES SURE that the reader is able to tell the difference with either a capital “S” or lower case “s”.

And again, it goes against the context to claim that at verse 27 the phrase ‘the Spirit” (with or without the capital!) suddenly means “our spirit”.


Then you mention how some translations like the NIV have the word “himself” in verse 16. There is a reason for this. The personal act of “testifying together” or “testifies with our spirit”, demonstrates that the Holy Spirit is a person.

In the New Testament a neuter term is commonly used of children, unclean spirits and even angels. The neuter term does not deny their being persons. The NWT even calls Jesus an "it" at Matthew 2:12 whereas most translations have “his” and “him”. Does that mean that Jesus is not a person because of the neuter?


We then move on to where I showed you that my translation of verse 27 had backing from other translations. I guess you didn’t like that because you pulled out two interlinear to try and refute my rendering and those that present the passage similarly.

The question is does my rendering with “He knows” (and those that are similar) change the meaning of the passage?

You know I find it strange that you will over and over appeal to an extremely strict wording of Greek passages, but when it comes to your rendering of Romans 8:27 where you add a word which is NOWHERE implied in the Greek, and then claim as justification for doing so “the context” or better, your view of the context, but will criticise and call foul and label “ideas of the translator” when you don’t like the rendering of others. That comes across as a double standard.


You say,
“The one being pleaded to, is The Almighty. The one doing the pleading, in effect, is also the Almighty.”

The Almighty pleads to Himself according to Himself?

I don’t know if you have ever wondered why Paul did not just write “Scripture, under inspiration of God, contains words that indicate His will for us when we are unable” or something to that effect?

Why say “pleads” if the meaning is as you claim?

You say
“The "pleads" are the previously written prayers and intercessions that God himself had recorded for us via his spirit when the Bible was written.”


Hang on Paul wrote this letter to the Romans around AD 57, most of the NT was yet unwritten at this time. All they had in full was the Hebrew Scriptures. So if your claim is correct for the meaning of verse 27 then it is only the Hebrew Scriptures that Paul has in mind.

I have to mention that your idea is nowhere stated or even implied and that it must be read into the text of Romans 8.

Look, I don’t argue that prayers in the Scriptures are beneficial, but the idea that this is the meaning of Romans 8:26-27 is peculiar.

In verse 26 we are told that the prayers we are aided with are “groanings unuttered” (NWT), or as the CLV has “inarticulate groanings”.

The prayers recorded in Scripture were uttered, they were articulated; otherwise we would NOT be able to read and understand them.

Explain for me why in Romans 8:26 the Spirit pleads for us with “groaning unuttered”, when we both know that the prayers recorded in Scripture were uttered and articulated?


Now when I asked you if you had put in Google translate the sentence of Romans 8:27 you said,
“Yes I did do that  for a modern Greek meaning, and the result was interesting, but not a surprise.”

You claim that it was “not a surprised” and that the “result was interesting”. But was it what you expected?

We both can understand why in the sentence of Romans 8:27 the word φρόνημα can’t be rendered as ‘spirit’, BUT we must ask, if it means temperament, as you claim, then why does the online translator render the word in the sentence as ‘mind’?

I have a modern Greek-English dictionary, and some of the other meanings of the word
phronema along with ‘spirit’ are “opinion, sentiment”, again notice that these meanings would require a mental and intellectual capability.

According to my Greek-English dictionary the Greek words that mean a person’s temperament are; “ιδιοσυγκρασία, ταμπεραμέντο”.

In Greek thought “spirit” was the seat or ‘heart” of a person’s thinking and reasoning capabilities, so it is little wonder that even in modern Greek the word phronema continues to carried this sense and be rendered ‘spirit’.

I look forward to your response and further elucidation to my questions. <><

ANSWER: Hi Cos,

I have no problem with you taking your time before asking another question. That gives me the opportunity to do other things.

Just to let you know the reason why I generally have been taking so long to reply is because your questions come rather quickly  and answering them takes me many hours, sometimes more that 20 hours.  I prepare an answer then leave it for a few days so that I can get other things done, otherwise if I answer you straight away, just about all I do is spend time answering you.  

COS
Remember you once told me “I am the sort of person that must do his best to prove everything”. Here is such an opportunity, dismissing this, on the grounds as you do, makes me doubt that you mean what you say. It pretty much says; mind is made up, don’t care to know anything else.

REMARK
I have done my best to prove to my self what Romans is discussing.   What I am absolutely convinced about is, that  Rom 8:27 does NOT teach that the spirit has intellect. Of that, I have no doubt.  I am not trying to convince you of anything.  What I have done is explain why I understand Romans 8:27 does not refer to that “holy spirit” being a separate and distinct personality that exists away from the Almighty God. You do not agree with my explanation.  That's fine.  There is nothing in this text,that would prove otherwise to me. This text must also be read and understood in light of the rest of the Bibles evidence from the rest of the Bible

It is also my firm belief that the rest of the Bible does not support that idea of a separate and distinct personality of the Bible.  It is my form belief that we need to have an overall picture of the Bible says in order to make a judgement of one piece of a jigsaw.  Have you ever done a large jigsaw puzzle without looking at the overall picture and have had problems identifying a single piece?  That is the way I see this.  We need to get an overall picture and then try to fit the pieces in their correct location in order to get a complete picture.

Now as far as this particular discussion is concerned, it is not going anywhere, because, again, you ask questions that have been answered.  I do not have the time to do your homework on the things that we have already discussed.

COS
To use words like, ‘it does not matter” and “makes no difference” does trivialize Scripture. Think on this please, your idea is poles apart from what everyone else recognises, this fact should make you WANT to know why you have this idea.

Remark
The use of the words -  “it does not matter” or “makes no difference” - is not trivialising the scriptures.  That words are used in relation to the identity of the “spirit”.  It does not matter what identity we give to the word “pneuma” ( literally “wind” referring to an active or invisible force ), the text is not talking about intellect.  The idea of intellect is the backbone of what we have been talking about in relation to Rom 8:27.  It has been your assumption that this verse is teaching that the “holy spirit”  has a separate intelligent mind of its own.

I have explained already why I have the idea that it does not.  It has to do with verse 6, and 7. In brief the disposition that we imperfect humans have, is to lean toward carnal tendencies in our lives with our actions, which bring death, and not toward the spiritual aspects that lead to life.

The  basic idea of the Greek word pneuma is,  that of a wind, breath and conveys the idea of an invisible force.  God and Jesus and the angels can have the nature of wind as they are invisible forces.  The holy spirit is something that belongs to, and, emanates from God.  It is not an independent living being.


COS
Look, I don’t argue that prayers in the Scriptures are beneficial, but the idea that this is the meaning of Romans 8:26-27 is peculiar. 

In verse 26 we are told that the prayers we are aided with are “groanings unuttered” (NWT), or as the CLV has “inarticulate groanings”.

The prayers recorded in Scripture were uttered, they were articulated; otherwise we would NOT be able to read and understand them.

Explain for me why in Romans 8:26 the Spirit pleads for us with “groaning unuttered”, when we both know that the prayers recorded in Scripture were uttered and articulated?

Remark
You asked about the unuttered groanings.  Again that has been covered in the past. The unuttered groanings is referring to the inability of Gods servants who are in  such a bind  that they do not  know what or how to pray for the needed help that they they are looking for.  (“...for the problem is that we do not know what we should pray for as we need to...” NWT) In such dire circumstances  God accepts the prayers  that he had previously purposed to be recorded by means of His spirit on their behalf.  (“..., but the spirit itself pleads for us with unuttered groanings...” NWT)   Not being able to utter the prayers for help, God accepts the previous written prayers.

At the time Paul wrote those words the previously written payers would have been those of the Hebrew Scriptures, but seeing his words were written under inspiration, I would include all and any prayers written under inspiration would now be what God would accept in behalf of is loyal servants then and now.

A literal wording of the Greek is   “the wind (or spirit) is pleading over us groanings untalked”  we know translators need to add extra words to make the Greek make sense in our language.  They do so based on their understandings of what the writer was trying to say.   The context is something that need to be understood as well as word meanings.

As far as I am concerned the NWT translators have used the wrong meaning for “ φρόνημα”, and that is why they  are inconsistent with their rendering of the word. Other translators have used theological bias and or have used the wrong meaning for “ φρόνημα”

As far as the use of spirit is concerned, I have, in previously posts, given linguistic examples of how the  pneuma (wind)  can have a “disposition” or tendency.  

The modern Greek rendering of  “φρόνημα” when used on its own gave the meaning of spirit, and that indicates to me the driving disposition or tendency that a person could have.

To demonstrate that, in the Greek English translator, put in “φρόνημα   ἁμαρτωλός”.  The word  “φρόνημα” comes out as “morale”   Our morale has to do with our disposition our tendencies our psychological well-being based on such factors as a sense of common purpose.  That is exactly what Romans 8:6,7 is getting at with regard to the two opposites of carnal (fleshly) or spiritual, that is our  disposition, tendency, purpose.  It is another reason why I understand the  “pneumantos” in verse 27 refers to the driving force of individuals. It relates to the disposition, tendency, purpose of our driving force – is it fleshly or spiritual.


COS
but nonetheless, either in Greek OR in our English translations, Paul MAKES SURE that the reader is able to tell the difference with either a capital “S” or lower case “s”

Remark
No.  That is wishful thinking. The distinction is not as clear as you want it to be.   There is no verse in Romans 8 where the word pneuma or its derivatives, where the rules of gramma allow for a capital “S”. It is theological bias that translators use capital “S” for spirit.  The grammatically correct way to render pneuma  is with lower case “s” unless the word pneuma is the absolute first word of a sentence.  I showed you how the definite article “the” is used in less that half the instances of where pneuma occurs in that chapter.  The use of the definite article does not necessitate a capital letter for the next word.

It is purely theological bias that translators use “he” in relation to pneuma and no ”it”. There is no gramatical reason in any text to use masculine pornoun in referring to the “pneuma” (wind)

COS
Then you mention how some translations like the NIV have the word “himself” in verse 16. There is a reason for this. The personal act of “testifying together” or “testifies with our spirit”, demonstrates that the Holy Spirit is a person

Remark
NO.  When “The spirit itself bears witness with our spirit”   or   “testifying together” or “testifies with our spirit” the spirit here is not a separate intelligent individual, but God himself, with his own spirit that bears / testifies.  
Even though the spirit emanates from God it is still an “IT”.  To be “politically correct”  that verse can be rewritten as “God's spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are his children”.   The people that Paul wrote to knew that the spirit being spoken of was not a separate individual, but belonged to God, because that is what the Bible teaches  from the beginning.

Yes we know that a child is a person with a personality and intellect. The word for child is neuter because it refers to either gender. In Matthew 2:13 the grammatically correct rendering is “it”.    The Greek word pneuma  literal means breath or  wind, and always refers to some sort of a force.  


COS
Why say “pleads” if the meaning is as you claim?

Remark
This is not an isolated instance where  God pleads to himself on behalf of his servants.  Jeremiah prophesied about the destruction of Israel and Judah by the Babylonians.   God allows the  bondage into captivity  and after the allotted time of being held in Babylon Jeremiah pens these words

Jeremiah 50:34 “34  Their Redeemer is strong; the LORD of hosts is his name: he shall throughly plead their cause, that he may give rest to the land, and disquiet the inhabitants of Babylon." (JKV)

Jeremiah 51:36 “Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will plead thy cause, and take vengeance for thee; and I will dry up her sea, and make her springs dry.” (JKV)

The Mosaic Law, allowed a redeemer , normally a male next of kin, to repurchase or buy a person out of bondage. (Leviticus 25:47-54; Ruth 2:20) Jeremiah here identifies God himself as Israel’s Repurchaser, the one who will redeem the nation, to the embarrassment of Babylon and all her gods.  There is no higher court for God to plead to than himself, therefore he is pleading to on behalf of the Israelite's to himself.

Knowing man's nature better than we do our selves, and understanding that we are sold into bondage to sin and death, (Rom. 6:20,23 “... you were slaves to sin....the wages of sin is death” NIV)    he has had prayers recorded on our behalf that would plead for us when we were unable.


COS
We then move on to where I showed you that my translation of verse 27 had backing from other translations. I guess you didn’t like that because you pulled out two interlinear to try and refute my rendering and those that present the passage similarly.

The question is does my rendering with “He knows” (and those that are similar) change the meaning of the passage?

Remark
I don't know why you are hung up in the first part of verse 27.  I merely pointed out that you  presented paraphrased  renderings of that verse and not a standard translation. The renderings you gave did not follow the grammar.

You missed the whole point of that discussion.

From memory (I haven't had time to go back and re read everything) the first part of verse 27 was raised in relation to your argument that we need to take the nearest antecedent to identify who was pleading.  Your argument was that the nearest noun was  “pneumantos”.  

My argument was that  neither “entugchanei” or “hoti” had antecedents because they were not pronouns.  You argued that  we must take the  nearest possible noun as the referent.  My argument was that is not always  the case. At the beginning of Verse 27  we find the pronoun “he” in English  but the nearest  noun is not the antecedent or the referent  for  the word  ἐραυνῶν (eraunōn)  [ you keep wanting to associate the word “he” with οἶδεν (oiden) which is not where “he” belongs as oiden is neutere where as the verse stars with the masculine form of the definite article and then, ἐραυνῶν, which is also masculine ]  the  noun that is the antecedent  for  the “he” (or, “the one”) at the start of verse 27 is God, and  we have to go  back past several nouns and verses to find the noun “theos”  which is the antecedent noun.  

That is all that discussion was about.  The grammatically correct way to translate that without rearranging the word order is  “And he who searches (ἐραυνῶν )  the hearts of men knows (οἶδεν).   The paraphrased Bibles that you used rearranged the word order.

In relation to Romans 8:27 and the one doing the pleading, it therefore is not necessary that the referent is the nearest noun  “pneumantos”.  I understand the referent to be the noun “Πνεῦμα “ in verse 26  “.. but the Spirit itself maketh..” (KJV).

COS
“The "pleads" are the previously written prayers and intercessions that God himself had recorded for us via his spirit when the Bible was written.” …..

I have to mention that your idea is nowhere stated or even implied and that it must be read into the text of Romans 8. 

Remark
The idea is there in the text.  “....for the problem is that we do not know what we should pray for as we need to,....” It is because at times we are faced with situations so perplexing that we do not know what to pray for, “the spirit itself pleads for us.” Then God, the “Hearer of prayer,” (Ps. 65:2) accepts appropriate prayers recorded in his Word as coming from us.   1 Cor 2:9 tells us “However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him”  (NIV)

COS
Where are the “difference of opinion”? Please supply examples that show the “difference of opinion” in the dictionaries and lexicons.

Remark
Again that is something I have already done possibly in one of the first set of correspondences. You need to look carefully at, and think about many f the words used by those dictionaries and lexicons.



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

QUESTION: Brenton

Thanks for the reply.

You say,
  “I have done my best to prove to my self what Romans is discussing.   What I am absolutely convinced about is, that  Rom 8:27 does NOT teach that the spirit has intellect... I understand Romans 8:27 does not refer to that “holy spirit” being a separate and distinct personality that exists away from the Almighty God.”

You claimed up until this latest reply that “the Spirit” in Romans 8:27 was not the Holy Spirit. But it seems that you changed your mind and NOW do consider that it is the Holy Spirit in verse 27. Well done for arriving at this truth...or... is this just another contradiction?

For you later say;
  “It is another reason why I understand the  “pneumantos” in verse 27 refers to the driving force of individuals”

Maybe you are still just unsure? Another reason for you to do your best and prove this.

Can you please explain what is your “understanding” now without contradiction?


You say,
  “Now as far as this particular discussion is concerned, it is not going anywhere, because, again, you ask    questions that have been answered.  I do not have the time to do your homework on the things that we have already discussed.”


Brenton, I don’t ask you the same questions, I may ask you to expand on what you say, and why you have such ideas, and that is so you will look at things more closely.

But sadly you still haven’t answered my first couple of questions from my previous post, even though you allege to have.

You claimed that for the word phronēma;
  “There is clearly a difference of opinion in the various dictionaries.”

I asked you to provide evidence and examples of this “difference of opinion” but you haven’t done so, and it is my guess that you didn’t because there is no examples that you can cite to support your claim. If there are then provide them.

Instead you just dismiss the question with silly comments about doing my “homework” for me. You even claim at the end of your reply that you had already provided the examples, but sadly my friend you haven’t.

So please do so now.

Another question I asked is where you admitted that,
  “there is some correlation  between  “phronema” and our mind”  

But then you contradicted this by claiming,
   “that it does not mean the “intellect” of our mind.”

I asked you to explain what is this “correlation”?

But nothing…so please address this for me also.

You says,
  “It is also my firm belief that the rest of the Bible does not support that idea of a separate and distinct personality of the Bible.”

“Personality of the Bible”?!? What’s this all about? You must have copied and pasted something amiss here.

You say,
  “It has been your assumption that this verse is teaching that the “holy spirit”  has a separate intelligent mind of its own.”


We have looked at dictionary and lexicon explanations for phronema and they all show that it’s not my assumption at all; but in fact your conjecture that this is not the case.  

You go on and claim,
  “I have explained already why I have the idea that it does not.  It has to do with verse 6, and 7. In brief the disposition that we imperfect humans have, is to lean toward carnal tendencies in our lives with our actions, which bring death, and not toward the spiritual aspects that lead to life.”


When “imperfect humans” “lean toward carnal tendencies” (Romans 8:6-7) is it something that requires their mental capabilities to achieve? Yes or no?

Isn’t the choices made by “imperfect humans” carry forward to the “actions” they take?

If not, why not?

Isn’t the “carnal tendencies”, as you call it, what a man thinks of, aims at, cares for, etc.?

And if so, wouldn’t these aspiration and desires require an intellectual capacity?

Vincent Word Studies sums up quite well the meaning as “fleshly thinking and striving”

“Imperfect humans” would be concerned, anxious, and taken up with the things of this world and of the flesh (Matthew 6:24-33). Health, happiness, and the honour for the flesh is what imperfect humans set their mind on and is their main concern and what they strive for, or as you say “lean towards”. Not so for those who are Christians. They are concerned and their thoughts occupied towards their relationship with the Lord (Phil 3:8-9).

Explain for me which temperaments “means death”?


You say,
  “The holy spirit is something that belongs to, and, emanates from God.”

I find it strange how JWs will sometimes regard the Holy Spirit as an attribute of God emanating from Him; and at others times, resolve the passages in which He is spoken of into a roundabout way, or indirect way for God Himself (JW explanation for Mark 3:29 as an example); or, to express both in one, into a figure of speech.

You even say further down in your response that το πνεύμα in Romans 8: 16 is “God himself”.

Yet the Bible shows a distinction (Matt. 28:19 for example…JW’s must read “Go therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the [Father]”)

Remember how you said at one stage that “there is a close relationship” between the Holy Spirit and God’s “power, BUT they are NOT the same” (emphasis yours), do you remember, and you even quoted from a Watchtower article to this effect, but which, as shown, was contradicted by another Watchtower article, remember?

To me these types of contradictive opinions show how you JW’s have no real idea, but will say anything except the obvious.


You say,
  “You asked about the unuttered groanings.  Again that has been covered in the past. The unuttered groanings is referring to the inability of Gods servants who are in  such a bind  that they do not  know what or how to pray for the needed help that they they are looking for. “


Then in THE SAME paragraph you contradict yourself and say
  “(“..., but the spirit itself pleads for us with unuttered groanings...” NWT)   Not being able to utter the prayers for help, God accepts the previous written prayers.”


So which is it, “the unuttered groanings is referring to the inability of Gods servants” or is “unuttered groaning” referring to the “previous written prayers”?


And previously (and thus my question) you said,
  “In Verse 26 and 27… It is those prays written aforetime that God allowed to be written via means of his spirit, that  plead for us.  That is how the spirit thus “pleads,” or intercedes, for his servants.”

Please read verse 26 from the NWT in full.

“In like manner, the spirit also joins in with help for our weakness; for the problem is that we do not know what we should pray for as we need to, but the spirit itself pleads for us with unuttered groanings. (NWT)

Please read the verse carefully; from what this verse says, how does the Holy Spirit plead for us?

In one place you claim that “the unuttered groaning is referring to the inability of Gods servants” in another you say “it is the prayers …written via means of his spirit that pleads for us”. Two contradictive ideas. I trust you will explain.


You say,
  “As far as the use of spirit is concerned, I have, in previously posts, given linguistic examples of how the  pneuma (wind)  can have a “disposition” or tendency.”

Brenton, I wonder how you think a figure of speech is a “linguistic example”?

You say,
  “The modern Greek rendering of  “φρόνημα” when used on its own gave the meaning of spirit, and that indicates to me the driving disposition or tendency that a person could have.”

Brenton, it may “indicate to” you WHAT YOU WANT the word to mean, but it is not what the word actually means in Greek thought. Spirit, as I have explained, to the Greeks was the seat of a person’s thinking and reasoning capabilities, and it is to the Greek view of ‘spirit’ NOT to your idea that you must look.

Keep this in mind when you put the whole sentence of Romans 8:27 into the translator, and voila, the meaning!

Don’t try to impose a meaning on something because that’s when you will always go astray.


Can I say Brenton, a person’s morale also requires mental capability. Morale is the belief in something in the face of hardship or opposition.

Sadly it has become obvious to me that you can’t see the difference between το πνεύμα and τω πνεύματι ημών because you still think that it’s all about whether there is a capital letter or a lower case letter.

You say regarding the term, “the Spirit” and “our spirit”,
  “No.  That is wishful thinking. The distinction is not as clear as you want it to be.

I’m going to be very blunt here, the distinction is very clear; one term has “our” in it the other doesn’t. Every Bible version including the NWT and even CLV recognises that in Romans 8:27 it is the Holy Spirit as the referent, only you say that it is not, the distinction is clear to everyone except to you it seems.

This is reflected in the fact that you must add a word to verse 27, which is nowhere implied; to try and force it to say what you claim is the context. The irony is you talk about translation being “politically correct”... but that’s only when it suits you.

It’s like when I asked you if my rendering and the rendering of other version with “He knows” whether this changed the meaning of the passage. You again did not answer but instead went on to claim that I missed the point of the discussion.

The debate was to show that my rendering is justified, whereas you claimed it wasn’t. Unlike your rendering which is total without justification. I mentioned this to you so because I didn’t want you to be ignorant of the facts.

It’s funny how you argue that I did not follow the grammar for my rendering, I in fact did, my rendering is based on the masculine words beginning the sentence; but what about your rendering, with the inserted word, would you call that following the grammar when the word is not even implied?

You say regarding that claim that God is pleading to Himself in Romans 8:27;
  “This is not an isolated instance where  God pleads to himself on behalf of his servants.  Jeremiah prophesied about the destruction of Israel and Judah by the Babylonians.


You call up two verses from Jeremiah (50:34 and 51:36) and claim that these are examples of God pleading to Himself. Now that’s wishful thinking.

Please read the context, it is not to Himself that the pleading is done, He is NOT pleading “their cause” to Himself but to the “inhabitants of Babylon”

The key to understanding these verses is the designation that Jehovah is Israel’s Redeemer (Heb. Goel or Ga’al) and what this title entails. You touch slightly on this but you then mistakenly refer this to a “court” and God pleading to Himself over Israel, this distorted idea you probably got via the NWT.

But that’s not the case for earlier in the context God had already declared the edit that Israel were to be released from captivity.

The “goel” or “ga’al” in Scripture among other things was essentially an avenger.

Israel, while in captivity, were mistreated by their captors (Jer. 50:33) and they would not let them go, so when God “pleads their cause” (v. 34) the intention is to right the wrongs inflicted on them, “take vengeance” (Jer. 51:36) on behalf of Israel.

Interesting is the threefold repetition in Jer. 50:34, “in pleading He will plead their plea” (Barn’s Bible Notes), which shows that God will “thoroughly” carry out this function as their “Goel”.

It is NOT God pleading to Himself as you mistakenly claim. God does not “plead” to Himself, not in the book of Jeremiah nor the book of Romans.

I have held back a few days to post this so that you can, as you say, take the opportunity to do other things.

Looking forward to your response. <><

Answer
I am sorry Cos but this last question of yours again tells me that you do not read carefully what I have written.

You  by using “….”  in a quote from me you show me to be saying something I did not say, and you are coming to a wrong conclusion

COS
You say,
“I have done my best to prove to my self what Romans is discussing. What I am absolutely convinced about is, that Rom 8:27 does NOT teach that the spirit has intellect... I understand Romans 8:27 does not refer to that “holy spirit” being a separate and distinct personality that exists away from the Almighty God.”

You claimed up until this latest reply that “the Spirit” in Romans 8:27 was not the Holy Spirit. But it seems that you changed your mind and NOW do consider that it is the Holy Spirit in verse 27. Well done for arriving at this truth...or... is this just another contradiction? 


Remark
My understanding has been consistent in that the spirit   in Rom 8:27 is not the holy spirit (lower case “h”  and “s”)

If you had read my remarks properly and in context of the complete discussion you would understand what I was saying.

Context -  you are asserting that the holy spirit in Romans 8:27 is a part of the trinity.  My reasoning have always been that it is not.    The first 4 words  seem to not have registered with you as having any meaning or significance to the discution. I said

What I have done [that is through our discussions that we have had] is explain why I understand Romans 8:27 does not refer to that “holy spirit” being a separate and distinct personality that exists away from the Almighty God.”

I was not in any way coming to the conclusion that you have drawn,  and that is, that I have changed my mind.  I have not, and will not, because the Biblical evidence is overwhelming against that conclusion.

The next thing you say also shows that you read into what I write what you want to believe.

COS
For you later say;
 “It is another reason why I understand the  “pneumantos” in verse 27 refers to the driving force of individuals”

Maybe you are still just unsure? Another reason for you to do your best and prove this.

Can you please explain what is your “understanding” now without contradiction?

Remark
First I have not knowingly contradicted my self in anything I have said. I was not saying I am unsure.  PLEASE note what I said

“ It is another reason why I understand the  “pneumantos” in verse 27 refers to the driving force of individuals. It [that is “pneumantos”] relates to the disposition, tendency, purpose of our driving force – is it fleshly or spiritual. ] '

The last clause should have read " - it is fleshly or spiritual" where the it refers to “pneumantos” as used in Romans 8

First put that into context of the immediate discussion [you can go back and read that] and then in the context of what I had said before. [more reading]  There is nothing unsure about what I am saying.  I   just do not know how to be any clearer that I have been.

You asked my to tell you the differences in the dictionary meanings.  I have done that.  I do not have the time nor do I have the inclination at this this to go back and do your homework for you.  If you go back and re read all that has been said you will find the answers. Please spend the time to read it all very very carefully.

I am sorry to be rude here but that is as far as I have read of your last 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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