Re: Phillipians 2:1 PNEUMATOS - Big S or little S?

From: Ben Crick (
Date: Mon Sep 28 1998 - 18:13:07 EDT

On Mon 28 Sep 98 (14:22:04 +1100), wrote:
> Am I correct in thinking that the phrase:
> could be translated
> 1) "if any fellowship of spirit" (ie our own spirits)
> OR 2) "if any fellowship (with each other) that derives from the (holy)
> Spirit"
> OR 3) "if any fellowship with the (Holy) Spirit"


 All the EVV have capitalised "Spirit" at Phil 2:1; but the Vulgate has
 /si qua societas spiritus/. When the Holy Spirit is meant, the Vulgate
 usually capitalises /Spiritus/.

 I think that a clew could be found in that Paul's native language was
 Aramaic, and his major study was in the Hebrew Scriptures. So although
 writing in Greek, he quite often uses Semitic idioms, such as the
 "Construct Relationship" which comes across in Greek as a Genitive pair.

 Hebrew is short of adjectives; so the cognate noun is used in a Construct
 Pair. Instead of saying "spiritual fellowship", it comes across as
 "fellowship-of spirit", or as here, KOINWNIA PNEUMATOS, "fellowship
 of-spirit" (note the position of the hyphen). In the Hebrew NT, Franz
 Delitzsch puts /'iM HiThChaBRuWTh HaRuWaCh/. Root Ch-B-R in Hithpa`el
 means "to be joined"; hence "if [there is] fellowship of *the* Spirit"
 where Spirit is definite (HaRuWaCh): so Delitzsch thinks KOINWNIA PNEUMATOS
 is definite, even if anarthrous; and this indicates that in his judgment,
 Spirit should have a capital S, not a small s.

 JB Lightfoot in a very brief comment draws attention to the benediction
 in 2 Corinthians 13:13 hH KOINWNIA TOU hAGIOU PNEUMATOS. He paraphrases
 "EI TIS KOINWNIA K.T.L.] 'If communion with the Spirit of love is not a
 mere idle name, but a real thing.' (/Epistle to the Philippians/, ad loc).

 William Hendriksen, /Philippians/, Grand Rapids, 1962, has a footnote ^73:
 "^73 This genitive transcends both objective and subjective; one might call
 it adjectival. That it is a fellowship /with/ the Holy Spirit, an actual
 participation in that Spirit and in all his benefits cannot be doubted
 (cf 1 Cor. 10:16; 1 John 1:3). But Paul also here regards it as the /gift/
 of the Spirit, just as he here considers the /persuasive appeal/ as
 springing from love, and just as in 2 Cor. 13:13 he views /grace/ as being
 the gift of the Lord Jesus Christ, /love/ the gift of the Father, and
 /fellowship/ the gift of the Holy Spirit" (page 98).

 On balance, Tim, I go with the translators of the English Versions and
 put Spirit with a capital S; your option (3).


 Revd Ben Crick, BA CF
 232 Canterbury Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9TD (UK)

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