555 Difficult Bible Questions Answered

352. Why Do Some Passages of the New Testament Use the Neuter Pronoun in Referring to the Holy Spirit?




In the New Testament references to the Holy Spirit the masculine form is used almost without exception. In John 14:26 and 15:26 the relative pronoun "which" is employed, a word that in present-day English is always neuter. At the time the Bible was translated, however, the form "which" was used of persons as well as things, for example: "Our Father which art in heaven" (Matt. 6:9) and "these . . . which have received the Holy Ghost." (Acts 1047.) As a matter of fact it would not have been surprising if the neuter form had crept into the translation of some other passages, as the Greek word for spirit (pneuma) is neuter. This makes it all the more remarkable that throughout the Greek New Testament the pronouns referring to this neuter word are masculine. The fact of the Greek noun itself being neuter has no bearing whatever on the question of personality or sex, as is well understood by any one familiar, for instance, with German, in which the same thing is often true.