Re: Gender of TO PNEUMA

From: Steven Craig Miller (
Date: Wed Nov 24 1999 - 10:19:14 EST

<x-flowed> To: Blahoslav é’Źel,

BE: << Only when the author wanted to stress the very personal (in the
modern sense of the word) side of TO PNEUMA, he uses masculine pronouns,
all the other cases it has nothing to do with sex or personality, I guess. >>

SCM: << To my knowledge there is no clear unambiguous use of a masculine
pronoun referring to TO PNEUMA in the NT. If you think otherwise, I would
greatly appreciate learning at what passage you find this. >>

BE: << This is a true challenge. It will take some time to do the research.
If anybody knows some good reference (esp. on the web) which may be
helpful, I'll appreciate it. I'll try to do the work. May be in a week... >>

The passages usually cited to prove that a masculine pronoun is used to
refer to the Holy Spirit are: John 14:26; 15:26; & 16:7,8,13,14. The
problem is that none of these passages are unambiguous since the PARAKLHTOS
is also mentioned. When one has the PARAKLHTOS without any mention of the
PNEUMA, masculine pronouns are used (e.g. Jn 16:7). And when one has the
PNEUMA without any mention of the PARAKLHTOS only neuter pronouns are used
(e.g. John 14:17). Only when both the PARAKLHTOS and the PNEUMA are
mentioned together do we find the masculine pronoun (sometimes mixed in
with neuter pronouns) being used.

For example, at John 14:26 we have:

hO DE PARAKLHTOS [masc.], TO PNEUMA TO hAGION [neut.], hO [neut.] PEMYEI hO

Thus there is no passage in the NT which unambiguously refers to the Holy
Spirit with a masculine pronoun.

-Steven Craig Miller
Alton, Illinois (USA)

"The most important vehicle of reality-maintenance is conversation" (Peter
L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann, "The Social Construction of Reality: A
Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge," 152).

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