(Fwd) Eph 1:17

Wed, 2 Oct 1996 09:00:12 +0000


Your wrote...

>Thanks to those of you who helped with Acts 7:55. I have another
<question to ask. I am particularly interested in Paul's usage of
>"pneuma" "pneumati" in Ephesians.

>The NIV renders "dwh umin pneuma sophias kai apokalupsews" " the
>Spirit of wisdom and revelation."

>Would it not be better to translate this "a spirit of wisdom and
>revelation"? since 1:13 declares "esfragisqhte tw pneumati..."

>Paul has already declared they have the Spirit {I think although I am
>wondering about that construction in 1:13 as well} but now wants them
>to have a certain attitude (or am I reading a Western concept back
?into that word "pneuma"?)

I think that you will find an adequate answer to your question in a
mammoth work by Gordon Fee, a Pentecostal scholar, entitled "God's
Empowering Presence." (Hendrickson Publishers) He attempts in his
900 page work to exegete every passage that has anything to do with
the Holy Spirit in the writings of Paul, in an effort to determine his
underlying theology with respect to the Spirit. His conclusions are
astounding, challenging and very revealing. At times they are not
what one might expect from a classical Pentecostal.

However, to answer your question about "S" in preference to "s" in
Eph. 1:17, Fee finds that in the usage of PNEUMA Paul does in fact
mean by the anarthrous noun that which has to do with the Holy
Spirit. In other words in the context the wisdom and revelation
would be connected to the Holy Spirit. He says that the noun is
without the definite article because of its absence from the two
genitives as well, but clearly in the context this refers to the
Holy Spirit, and that it often proves stylistic on Paul's part when the
noun appears without the definite article. Additionally he finds
that this is a semitism from Isa. 11:2, referring to the Spirit that
rests on the Messiah which is clearly the Holy Spirit. Revelation
is also the special province of the Holy Spirit in all Scripture and
it is hard to understand it outside of the concept of his activity.

Our problem of course, as Fee points out, is our western concept of
"spiritual" (PNEUMATIKOS) having to do with something other than what
is material, which we then superimpose on Paul's writings. Having
read the entire work, Fee has convinced me of at least this point.

Of particular interest in Fee's book is the section in his opening
remarks called "Preliminary Observations On Usage" where he
addresses the issue of " 'The Holy Spirit' or 'A Holy spirit.' "
Paul F. Evans
Thunder Swamp P. H. Church
North Carolina
(Endeavouring to make use of NT Greek in a real live ministry!)