The Spirit or a spirit? Does it make a difference?

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by TCGreek, Jun 23, 2007.

  1. TCGreek

    TCGreek
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    At Ephesians 1:17 I have taken the position that it should be "the Spirit" rather than "a spirit." There are two reasons for my decision:

    1. Paul already says that the Spirit aids us in discerning the things of God (1 Cor 2:14).

    2. If we were to choose "a spirit" like most versions do, don't we still have to come back to the Spirit as the giver of wisdom and understanding into the things of God?
     
  2. John of Japan

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    But there is no article before pneuma in the Greek. :type:
     
  3. TCGreek

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    We would both agree that pneuma doesn't have to have the article to be understood as the Spirit. I would think context would decide (Gal.5:16)
     
  4. EdSutton

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    I agree with 'context', but what does that have to do with the reference to the third personage of the Triune God, obviously in view IMO, in Gal. 5:16, where the definite article does not occur either, contrasting and/or comparing, albeit sub-silento, this verse to Eph. 1:17? :confused:

    It should be rendered "a spirit", in Eph. 1:17, again IMO. As this is written to believers who would already have the indwelling Holy Spirit, one cannot realistically "get" something that one already has. My wife and I have a particular 'car', for an example, actually a 2000 GMC SUV. We cannot "get" that particular vehicle, for we already have it, although we could well "get" another, even one very similar, if not almost identical. This is, I think, applicable here, as well.

    Wigram and Thayer both suggest "a sphere of influence" as a contextual usage of "pneuma" in many cases. I suggest that is applicable here, as opposed to the personality of the Holy Spirit, which actually is not referenced by "pneuma" as often as the word applies to something else, but I will not, here, belabor the occurrences, by posting a hundred or more of the instances. :)

    Ed
     
    #4 EdSutton, Jun 24, 2007
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  5. TCGreek

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    So when Paul uses the imperative "Be filled of the Spirit," written to believers, are we then to say that they were "empty" and needed a refilling?
     
  6. EdSutton

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    In the sense he is meaning it, and contrasting "filling" (empowering) with "indwelling", sealing by the Spirit, the Baptism of the Spirit, and receiving the earnest of the Spirit, all once and for all time non-experiential occurrences, absolutely yes! They (and we) did need continuously "a refilling", as you put it.

    And in fact, the imperative mood and present/continuous tense might be, IMO, better rendered in our wording as "Keep on being filled with the Spirit!", for this is not to be a one-time occurrence. :thumbsup:

    Ed
     
    #6 EdSutton, Jun 24, 2007
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  7. TCGreek

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    What do you mean by Paul "contrasting 'filling' with indwelling..."? Are you referring to Eph.5:18? I need clarity.
     
  8. EdSutton

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    'Indwelling' (Rom. 8:9, 11)

    'Filling' (be filled) (Eph. 5:18)

    Ed
     
  9. TCGreek

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    When you presented the idea of contrast between "indwelling" and "filling" it seems like you were adding another element to Eph. 5:18, where the real contrast is "do not get drunk with wine" and "be filled with the Spirit."

    I do agree that there is a difference between the indwelling that comes at adoption and the filling, which is ongoing.

    My point in taking Eph 1:17 to refer to the Holy Spirit does not neccesarily imply that they had the Spirit and did not need it again.

    In fact, I see a parallel between Eph 1:17, 18 with 1 Cor 2:6-14. In 1 Cor 2:12 says that the Spirit was given to us "that we may understand the things freely given by God."

    Therefore whenever we come to Scripture we may pray for the Spirit of wisdom and understanding to be given to us. Yes, we have him, but we need that fresh anointing to understand riches of Scripture.
     
    #9 TCGreek, Jun 24, 2007
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  10. EdSutton

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    I basically agree wiht everythoing you say here, I resopnded initially because I do think it is a 'translation issue', not necessarily 'a theological one'. Gotta' run.

    Ed
     
  11. John of Japan

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    You need a more concrete example to prove your point. Gal. 5:16 could also be translated as "spirit" (small s) if you interpret it as a trichotomist: "Walk in spirit (as opposed to the sin nature)...."
     
  12. TCGreek

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    I see no other way of taking pneuma in this verse. Paul then goes on to develop the conflict between the Spirit and the flesh, at which point pneuma carries the article.

    But then at verse 18, pneuma is without the article. I cannot see this other than a reference to the Spirit.
     
  13. John of Japan

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    I was just pointing out that another translation was possible, so the "Spirit" translation there is not a slam dunk. The decision is made by context, in which "Spirit" (my choice) is clearly in view rather than "spirit."

    You don't have that context in Eph. 1:17. The nearest clear mention of the Holy Spirit is in v. 13, which is 4 verses away. That IMO is not close enough to rule the translation in v. 17. So, you are left with a translator's judgment based on his exegesis of the passage and his presuppositions (his theology). In v. 17 I would translate "spirit" because of my theology that the Ephesians already had the Holy Spirit (looking at the context of the book rather than the immediate passage), and so will not be given the Holy Spirit in v. 17. Rather, the spirit there must be the principle or influence of wisdom and revelation rather than God's Spirit--so, "spirit." :type:
     
  14. EdSutton

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    John of Japan, you basically said the same as I said, although you phrased and worded it far better than I could and did.

    Guess that just goes to show that "Great minds run along and in the same gutter!" :laugh: :laugh:

    Ed
     
  15. TCGreek

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    I really do not 4 verses away prevents a translation of Spirit in Eph 1.17. For example, Philip H. Towner and Fee take 2 Tim.1:6 as the Spirit, not a spirit. Towner in particular links it with v. 14. more than 4 verses away. You should read his argument in his new NICNT on the pastorals. I am not saying you have to agree.

    I partly comes down to theology, I admit on Eph.1:17
     
  16. John of Japan

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    Oops, sorry! I noticed the same thing after going back and reading the thread from the start. Anyway, thanks for the compliment.

    But, do shallow minds also think the same?? :eek: :laugh:
     
  17. John of Japan

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    Here's where we part company. In your parallel passage of 1 Cor. 2, the Holy Spirit was given (past tense). Yet in Eph. 1:17 the grammar is not past tense, but a ina clause with an aorist subjunctive verb. So we are clearly looking at something possible, not something accomplished.

    Your translation is possible, I'll admit, but as you agree it depends on your theological presuppositions. If you believe that the believer can lose his salvation and/or lose the presence of the Holy Spirit in his heart, and then receive it again, I suppose you can translate "Spirit." Other than that, I don't see it as a correct translation.
     
  18. TCGreek

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    Neither do I see it as an either/or situation. I believe in the presence of the Spirit in interpretation. Paul maybe is saying that a fresh presence of the Spirit is need in this case to understand what God has in store.

    The fact that Paul uses the hina clause with the aorist subj. does not dismiss my position altogether. The NIV went with "the Spirit" in the text and "a spirit" as a possibility in its notes.

    I do not believer a true believer can lose his salvation. And because the NIV translators chose "the Spirit" at this point, didn't come to that conclusion either.

    For example, I see Phil.1:19 as a fresh provision of the Spirit. It doesn't mean Paul didn't have to Spirit. It was just a fresh anointing. It is like Paul being told to go to Damascus to be filled of the Spirit (Acts 9:17). He already had the Spirit, but he needed the empowering of the Spirit for ministry.
     
  19. John of Japan

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    All righty, we'll trot out the versions then! :D :D The following versions have "spirit": KJV, NKJV, ASV, NASV, WEB, RSV, Young, Darby, Weymoth, etc.

    Now that I got that out of my system, Beck and Williams and TEV go your way. And that brings up something interesting. It seems that the more literal a translation is, the more likely it is to translate "spirit," but the more dynamic a translation is the more it is likely to translate "Spirit." I tend to translate fairly literally, so I go with the lack of an article as meaning "spirit" in this case (with what I feel is a lack of context to the contrary).
    I think it is a mistake to interpret "supply" in Phil. 1:19 as referring to the Holy Spirit Himself, as if He were a commodity. I think the "supply" is what the Holy Spirit can give.
    I don't see this as parallel. You certainly agree that we can have the Holy Spirit within and not be filled. Yet the language in Eph. 1:17 is "give." You can't be filled with the Holy Spirit if His presence is not first in you.
     
  20. Bluefalcon

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    One says being filled with the Spirit and being given the Spirit are essentially the same thing, while another says they are different. Is that the crux of the whole matter? Theologically, John's argument is better. And it makes good sense. How someone can say the "only" way it can be read is with a capital "S" is beyond me. A spirit of fear, spirit of power, spirit of love, spirit of sound mind. A spirit of wisdom and revelation......
     

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