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John 16:7

If Protestant tract writers such as the late M.R. DeHaan (the founder of "Radio Bible Class" and co-editor of a devotional guide, Our Daily Bread) and Roger Campbell (best known for his weekly newspaper column, "Reflections on Faith," and daily radio program, "Higher Ground") had seriously studied a foreign language—or even into the historical background of our own English language!—they would not have dared to assert so foolishly that Jesus uses the personal pronoun "Him" when referring to the Comforter (or "Helper," NKJV) in John 16:7.

The Greek word for "Comforter," parakletos, is in the masculine gender, while pneumais ("spirit") in the neuter gender. Interestingly, the Hebrew word for "spirit," ruach, is in the feminine gender.

Consequently, it cannot be deduced that this parakletos is a personality any more than we could say a German pen is a girl and a German pencil is a boy—even though the article die in die Feder (the pen) denotes a feminine word and der in der Bleistift (the pencil) denotes a masculine word. It may be surprising to learn that "girl" in German, das Madchen, is neuter in gender.

Before the Norman Invasion in 1066, English was as much an inflected language as German or Scandinavian. Modern English has only one article, "the," to use for its nouns, while Old English differentiated between masculine articles, se mann (the man); feminine articles, seo hlaefdige (the lady); and neuter articles, daet Maedgen (the girl, showing its relationship to modern German).

M.R. DeHaan, oblivious to this grammatical differentiation, gullibly asserts in his tract on the Holy Spirit that there has been a faulty translation of the original text into the English Bible. With cocksure, sophomoric naiveté, DeHaan complains that, in many cases, the Spirit is spoken of as "it" or "that" instead of "he," "him," or "whom." To give an example, he quotes Romans 8:16 (KJV), "The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit." However, since in this particular verse the pronoun is auto and denotes the neuter gender, the pronoun itself is correctly rendered.

David F. Maas
Misconceptions and Malarkey About the Holy Spirit (Part One)




Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing John 16:7:

Zechariah :
John 14:17
John :
John :
John 16:7
John :
Ephesians 2:8

 

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