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Anti-Trinitarians misuse these passages to prove the Holy Spirit is not a person:

Refuted!

 

 

Anti-Trinitarian proof texts refuted
Click to View#1 The Holy Spirit is the personification of God's power.
Click to View#2 The Holy Spirit is directly called the power of God in Luke 1:35.
Click to View#3 The Holy Spirit is neuter gender in scripture proving it is an "it" not a person.
Click to View#4 The Bible calls the Holy Spirit an "it". John 1:32; Rom 8:16,26; 1 Pet 1:11
Click to View#5 The Holy Spirit was poured out, fell upon, filled men. Acts 2:4
Click to View#6 How could the holy spirit fill 120 disciples at the same time?
Click to View#7 The Holy Spirit is used to "anoint" people Acts 10:38
Click to View#8 Whenever the Holy Spirit speaks in one text, another text says other persons were actually speaking.
Click to View#9 The actual Greek "The Spirit the Holy" proves the Holy Spirit is not a person.
Click to View#10 The Holy Spirit is always associated with impersonal things which proves He is not a person.

#1 Anti-Trinitarian Proof Text Refuted

 

 

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The Holy Spirit is the personification of God's power and is not a person. It is not unusual in the Scriptures for something to be personified. For example, wisdom is said to have "children." (Luke 7:35) Sin and death are spoken of as kings. (Rom 5:14,21) (Reasoning from the Scriptures, Spirit, p380, Jehovah's Witness publication)

  1. Personification is "A rhetorical figure of speech in which inanimate objects or abstractions are endowed with human qualities..." (American, p.926)
  2. Personification is found throughout the Bible with endless examples of mountains clapping and stars singing. But in all these things we know by way of human experience that they are not really persons. Not so with the Holy Spirit. No one can know the Holy Spirit is a thing (and not a person) the way we can know a mountain is not a person from human experience.
  3. We can prove something is personification by finding a Bible verse that outright states it is not a person but a thing. We can do this with hills, wisdom, stars etc. Anti-Trinitarians are at a loss to find any Bible verse that says the Holy Spirit is a thing and not a person.
  4. When referenced, the Holy Spirit is always the masculine "HE". Not so with mountains and stars.
  5. The vast majority of times the Bible refers to things like stars and mountains, they are not personified. Personification is the EXCEPTION to the usage in scripture.
  6. The problem for anti-Trinitarians is that the Holy Spirit IS ALWAYS PERSONIFIED. Personification is not the exception to the general use, personification is the rule... every time, without exception!
  7. If anti-Trinitarians are correct, the personification of the Holy Spirit is so complete and extensive in scripture, that we are without a guideline to determine the difference between persons and things. We would have to call into question, for example, the person hood of Abraham as the personification of the father of God's people. The personification of the Holy Spirit is as extensive as the personification of Abraham or many other Bible characters.
  8. Take Adam for example. Many modernists already dismiss his personal existence as myth. Could Adam be nothing more than the personification of all mankind? A simple reading of Romans 5:12-19 and 1 Cor 15:45 will quickly reveal the problem for Arians. Adam is clearly used as a metaphoric symbol for all of mankind in many places. Could Adam be nothing more than personification?
  9. The extent of personification of the Holy Spirit equals any Bible character.
  10. Anti-Trinitarian challenge: what verse shows the Holy Spirit to be a thing or an it? We know of none, therefore we are forced to the conclusion that the Holy Spirit is a person.

 

#2 Anti-Trinitarian Proof Text Refuted

 

 

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The Holy Spirit is directly called the power of God in Luke 1:35

"The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you" Luke 1:35

  1. Only to an anti-Trinitarian does this verse outright call the Holy Spirit God's power. The verse does not say, "The Holy Spirit is the power of God". It uses a paired statement. Notice Luke 1:35 is the closest verse Arians can come up with that might suggest the Holy Spirit is said to be God's power.
  2. Granted that "Hebrew parallelism" is in fact common in the Bible, there are so many statements like Luke 1:35 that are not "Hebrew parallelisms" that no further really needs to be said. Even still, there are different kinds of "Hebrew parallelisms". Some where two things are intended to be interchangeably synonymous and others where two different things are working together to have a common effect. Arians view Luke 1:35 as two interchangeably synonymous things: Holy Spirit and Power. But there are so many examples where different things are linked to have a common effect, that Arians simply have no firm proof of anything.
  3. Here is a verse very close to Luke 1:35. God himself and His power are used in a "Hebrew parallelism". "I will also cut off the inhabitant from Ashdod ... I will even unleash My power upon Ekron" Amos 1:8. God is no more mere power in Amos 1:8 than the Holy Spirit is mere power in Luke 1:35.
  4. The scriptures are even called the power of God in Rom 1:16, but everyone knows that they are not used interchangeably synonymous in this verse but are two distinct things: "You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures, or the power of God." Mt 22:29 The scriptures were the source of their doctrinal misunderstandings and God's power would raise all men from the dead at the second coming. To demand that scriptures and God's power are interchangeably synonymous in Mt 22:29 is just as wrong as demanding the Holy Spirit and power are interchangeably synonymous in Luke 1:35.
  5. Here we have a similar statement where two different things are mentioned. God's power is linked to God's hand. Two different things that are not interchangeably synonymous: "Thou didst redeem by Thy great power and by Thy strong hand" Nehemiah 1:10
  6. Here the Holy Spirit and power are differentiated: "God anointed Him [Jesus] with the Holy Spirit and with power" Acts 10:38; "demonstration of the Spirit and of power" 1 Cor 2:4. It makes no sense that Jesus was "anointed with power and power".

 

#3 Anti-Trinitarian Proof Text Refuted

 

 

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The Holy Spirit is neuter gender through out the New Testament Greek proving it is an "it" not a person. No if the Holy Spirit was in the masculine, you would have a point. But God deliberately chose to use a neuter gender word to show us the Holy Spirit is a thing not a person.

  1. Gender of a word has nothing to do with identity. It has to do with the language. Gender belongs to the language of the word, not to the case of, or the object of the word.
  2. Infants (Lk 1:41,44; 2:16; 18:15) and children (Mk 5:39-41) are also neuter in the Greek in exactly the same way Holy Spirit is neuter gender.
  3. Girl is a neuter noun in Mt 9:24, 25; Mk 5:41, 42.
  4. Angels are neuter pneuma " IT " spirits in Heb 1:14
  5. Demons are neuter pneuma " IT " spirits over 45 times in scripture.
  6. The word "Spirit" is feminine in Genesis 1:2: "the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters".
  7. A masculine pronoun ("He" Greek: ekeinos, literal "that One") is applied to the Holy Spirit throughout the New Testament despite the fact that "Spirit" (Greek: pneuma) is neuter. Is God trying to confuse us? Or is God taking special steps to make sure we understand the Holy Spirit is a person?
  8. The word spirit is frequently "neuter gender" when it refers to the Father in Jn 4:24, to Jesus in 1Cor 15:45, to baby Jesus, in Mt 2:8, 11, 13, 14, 19-21,
  9. Such an argument displays a dismal understanding of the Greek language.

 

#4 Anti-Trinitarian Proof Text Refuted

 

 

The Bible calls the Holy Spirit an "it" 7 times proving He is not a person.

John 1:32; Rom 8:16,26; 1Cor 12:11; Heb 10:15,17; 1 Pet 1:11

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         Jehovah's Witnesses are major promoters of the lie that persons in the Bible are never referred to as " IT ":

  • "But on the other hand, we find Jesus repeatedly using IMPERSONAL pronouns when referring to God's holy spirit, a most DISRESPECTFUL thing to do if the holy spirit were the third person of a trinity, coequal, & cosubstantial with Jehovah God himself.... But if the holy spirit were the third person of the trinity, equal to God & Christ in glory & honor as claimed by the creeds, could we imagine the Scriptures referring to the holy spirit as ' IT '?" (Watchtower July 15, 1957 p.434)
  • "If the holy spirit is a person, IT should always be referred to as 'he' in the Bible. Jesus is a person, & is NEVER referred to as 'it'. Nor is Jehovah God. But at times the Greek word pneuma is in the NEUTER gender. That means that IT is considered as neither masculine nor feminine." (Canadian Bethel WTS , personal letter)
  • "But nowhere do we read of Jehovah God and Jesus as being referred to by neuter pronouns, which is the case in regard to the holy spirit." (w53 1/1 The Scriptures, Reason & the Trinity, p.24)
  1. Jesus is referred to as "IT" 5 times in: Mt 2:8, 11, 13, 14, 20, 21
  2. John the Baptist is referred to as IT 8 times: Lk1:59, 60, 62, 63, 66, 67
  3. Humans are called "it":  "And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. John 6:39 Nothing more needs to be said, after quoting this one verse, but we must address each verse Arians misuse.
  4. Babies are called "it": We often use it to refer to babies in the same kind of way today: "What did you name it?" Here a baby is called literally "the holy thing begotten": "And Mary said unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee: wherefore also the holy thing which is begotten shall be called the Son of God." Luke 1:34-35.
  5. The men living in the world are called an "its" in John 14:17 " Spirit of the truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him"
  6. The KJV, RSV actually refer to the Holy Spirit as an "it" in these two passages: Romans 8:16,26 "The Spirit ITSELF beareth witness with our spirit ... The Spirit ITSELF maketh intercession for us with groanings " (KJV, RSV) The fault is not in the original text, but in the translation. Vine says, "The rendering "itself" in Rom. 8:16, 26, due to the Greek gender, is corrected to "Himself" in the R.V. (W. E. Vine, spirit) The word means: "(1) self (emphatic) (2) he, she, it (used for the third pers. pron.) (3) the same" Notice that the word can be translated, he, she or it. To those familiar with the Greek language, the fact the Holy Spirit is called "itself" does nothing to prove the Holy Spirit is not a person.
  7. Another passage Arians try to use to prove the Holy Spirit is not a person is John 1:32 "And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and IT abode upon him." (KJV) The NKJV and NASB translate it "and He remained upon Him". The NIV simply translates it, "and remain on him". But even with this using the word it is really not problematic. Since the word IT refers specifically to the "DOVE shape" the Holy Spirit took as a form. Not that the Holy Spirit was a dove, but that he took the form of a dove, hence, using "it" is quite natural even in English. Example: "My son dressed up as a gorilla. It was real scary!"
  8. A final Arian misused proof text is 1 Peter 1:11 "Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify when IT testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow." Of course it doesn't say "Spirit of God" but "Spirit of Christ". Now for Trinitarians, this is no problem, but for Arians, this is a huge problem. The Holy Spirit is the Father's "energy" not the "created Son's". If it is Jesus' own Spirit, Arians have just proven Jesus is not a person by their own argument of the usage of "it". If it is the Holy Spirit, (God's power) then they have to explain away the fact God's power is called, "the Spirit of Christ". We send Arians skidding into the ditch with this question: Was the Dove that abode on Him the father's Power or his own power? In the end, 1 Pet 1:11 is exactly like Romans 8:16,26 and John 1:32. The usage of the word "it", is just business as usual in the Greek language and those who think it proves the Holy Spirit is not a person are simply misinformed.
  9. But one final comment on 1 Pet 1:11 and Rom 8:16-26. If is puzzling that if God was trying to show us that the Holy Spirit was not a person in these verses, why would He attach "personality qualities" to the "it"? In 1 Pet 1:11 the "it" is intelligently revealing prophetic information. Persons do this, not things.

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In Rom 8:26, the very verse that the Holy Spirit is called an it the Holy Spirit helps us pray, and intercedes on our behalf: "the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered". Wow, that's some machine, one that helps us pray! Perhaps the Buddhists were on to something with their prayer wheels!

 

#5 Anti-Trinitarian Proof Text Refuted

 

 

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"A comparison of Bible texts that refer to the holy spirit shows that it is spoken of as "filling" people: they are "baptized" with it; and they can be anointed with it. (Luke 1:41; Matt 3:11; Acts 10:38). None of these expressions would be appropriate if the holy spirit were a person." (Reasoning from the Scriptures, Spirit, p380, Jehovah's Witness publication)

Acts 2:1-4 The Holy Spirit was poured out and fell upon Christians, meaning power not a person. You pour out a thing not a person. Things fall upon men not other people.

This argument illustrates the utter desperation Jehovah's Witnesses are in to try to prove the Holy Spirit is not a person. We notice that they are wrong on every argument because the same kind of language they say cannot be used of persons, IS USED OF PERSONS! Of course beware of the New World Translation which deliberately translates the exact same words in different ways to deceive Jehovah's Witnesses.

The Holy Spirit

Persons

"they were all filled with the Holy Spirit" Acts 2:4
"Be filled with the Spirit" Eph. 5:18

"that He [Christ] might fill all things." Eph. 4:10

that you may be filled with all the fullness of God Eph 3:19

"I will pour forth of My Spirit upon all mankind." Acts 2:17

"He has poured forth this which you both see and hear." Acts 2:33

Because He [Christ] poured out Himself to death" Isa 53:12

"I [Paul] am being poured out as a drink offering" Phil. 2:17; 2 Tim. 4:6

David was poured out Psalm 22:14

"He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire" Matt. 3:11; Luke 3:16

"For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God." Deut. 4:24

"our God is a consuming fire." Heb. 12:29

1 Cor 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you

2 Cor 13:5 Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you

one God and Father of all who is in all Eph 4:6

greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world 1 Jn 4:4

do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you 2 Cor 13:5

And if Christ is in you Rom 8:10

2 Cor 1:22 gave the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge

Eph 3:17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts

1 Cor 3:16 you are a temple of God...the Spirit of God dwells in you

2 Cor 6:16 we are the temple of the Father, I will dwell in them

the Holy Spirit fell upon them Acts 11:15; Acts 10:44; Acts 8:16

sacrifice to Jehovah our God, lest He fall upon us Ex 5:3

the hand of the Lord God fell upon me there Ezekiel 8:1 (metonymy: God really fell not the hand)

 

#6 Anti-Trinitarian Proof Text Refuted

 

 

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A "proof" given in the booklet "Should You believe in the Trinity", published by the Watchtower and blindly distributed widely by Jehovah's witnesses, is the caption of a picture on page 41. The picture is of the 120 with "tongues of fire" resting on them (see Acts 2:3f). The caption asks, "How could the holy spirit be a person, when it filled about 120 disciples at the same time?"

  1. Jehovah's Witnesses are wrong in Acts 2:1-4 because only the 12 apostles were filled, not the 120. However, with this correction their point is unchanged.
  2. Jehovah's Witnesses view God too small! What do you expect from a religion who thinks its creator and saviour (Jesus Christ) is nothing more than an elaborate wind up toy designed to die on the cross.
  3. We ask this question of JW's, How could the Father or Jesus be a person when each fills millions of believers at the same time?

"that He [Christ] might fill all things." Eph. 4:10

"that you may be filled with all the fullness of God" Eph 3:19

 

#7 Anti-Trinitarian Proof Text Refuted

 

 

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"God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power" Acts 10:38

The Holy Spirit is used to "anoint" people like oil, He therefore cannot be a Person.

  1. Jesus is used as a door through which we enter, and go in and out, and find pasture. He therefore cannot be a Person? Think not! John 10:9 "I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture." Unless the person making the argument is willing to say Jesus is not a Person either because He is a door, this effective nullifies the argument. If Arians understand how a person can be a door that we go in and out of, then they should understand a person can be used to anoint another person.
  2. Obviously there is a type and antitype that is in play here. Incense in the Old testament is said to be our prayers in the New testament. Rev 5:8. It says the incense is the prayers of the saints. The temple of stone is our bodies in the New Testament.
  3. God says "the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple" Rev 21:22 Does this mean God is not a person? Notice the antitype of the physical temple is God Himself and Christ!
  4. Likewise, Holy Spirit is the antitype of the anointing oil of the Old Testament.

 

#8 Anti-Trinitarian Proof Text Refuted

 

 

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"While some texts say that the spirit "spoke," other passages make clear that this was done through angels or humans" (Reasoning from the Scriptures, Spirit, p380, Jehovah's Witness publication)

  1. The Watchtower is again up to their deceptive tricks. They know full well that many texts appear that God is talking when other passages make clear that this was done through angels. Does this prove God is not a person? Conversely, angels and men talk when it is clear that God was actually doing the talking. Are angels and men personification? The key is that God ALWAYS talks through another PERSON never electricity!
  2. Jehovah's Witnesses think it is logical that since the Holy Spirit speaks through people, He can't be a Person Himself. It has escaped their eyes that if the speech going through a person originates with the Holy Spirit, it proves personality and intelligence!
  3. We are reminded that the revealed primary role of the Holy Spirit is "revelator". If the Holy Spirit were a person, what would change? He would still speak through others!
  4. While it is true that God once spoke through a donkey to Baalam, this was a special miracle. Further, God was merely facilitating what the donkey was actually thinking, so the miracle is God translating the donkey's actual and real thoughts so a man can understand it. Further, animals have both thoughts and freewill, electricity does not. Where is the passage where God spoke through a thing?
  5. Jehovah's Witnesses need any example in scripture where God or anyone spoke through a thing. Take the burning bush. It doesn't say, "And the bush said, 'Moses take off your sandals'" but "God called to him from the midst of the bush" Ex 3:4 Arians simply have no verse where anything other than an intelligent person (or being with actual thoughts and free will) talked. This one point alone completely refutes their doctrine!
  6. It is common for one person to speak through another. In fact, when one person speaks through another, we naturally conclude both are persons and that the originator of the through is where the real intelligence lies. Speech can only originate with a self-conscious, intelligent being.
  7. But here are a passages where the Holy Spirit does the speaking all by Himself! There is simply no indication anywhere that God was speaking through the Holy Spirit. Acts 13:2 "the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them". 1 Ti 4:1 "The Spirit explicitly says" Heb 9:8 "the Holy Spirit is indicating this."
  8. But now, lets deal with the Jehovah's Witness view that God is really the one who is speaking through the Holy Spirit as in these verses: Jn 16:13 "Whatever He hears He will speak" Heb 10:15-17 "And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, "This is the covenant that I will make with them"". (Quoting Jehovah in Jer 31:33) We can actually turn the Anti-Trinitarian argument on its head by arguing that it really was the Holy Spirit who did the talking in Jeremiah 31:33. This passage doesn't prove that the Holy Spirit is God's personified energy talking. Rather it proves that the Holy Spirit can rightly be called Jehovah, just like the Father and the Son can too! But we ask, why would God go to all the trouble of inventing and personifying what appears on the surface to be a separate entity speaking? Why not just say "God sayeth" every time instead of "the Holy Spirit sayeth"? Look at Jn 16:13, Christ relays a message through the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit is not a person this makes the Holy Spirit nothing more than a tape recorder that replays what is said. There are two problem here, first, Jesus is seen relaying in exactly the same way and second, the Holy Spirit is pictured as an intelligent person who does the relaying, not some machine. There are places where Jesus directly speaks to men. Why confuse the simple matter with the Holy Spirit? The same thing in Heb 10:15f. Why would God say the Holy Spirit said this, if the thought really originated with the Father? Again the Holy Spirit is clearly portrayed as a person saying, witnessing and teaching us. Why would God confuse such a simple matter if the Holy Spirit was nothing more than God's Power?

 

#9 Anti-Trinitarian Proof Text Refuted

 

 

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The actual Greek structure in reference to the Holy Spirit is:  "The Spirit the Holy". This construction emphasizes that the Holy Spirit is not a person.

The Greek construction "The Spirit the Holy" is an exceedingly common and fundamental Greek construction. It's just a common way of associating an adjective and a noun: "The Spirit, the Holy [one]" We might think of these phrases as saying, "the car, the red one..." But it is less cumbersome to simply translate, "the red car" as we did before. So the construction "The Spirit the Holy" certainly does not indicate whether Holy Spirit is a person. 

 

#10 Anti-Trinitarian Proof Text Refuted

 

 

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The Holy Spirit used in association with impersonal things, such as water & fire.

Jehovah's Witnesses falsely argue:

  • "Further evidence against the idea of personality as regards the holy spirit is the way it is used in association with other impersonal things, such as water & fire (Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8), & Christians are spoken of as being baptized 'in holy spirit.' (Acts 1:5; 11:16) Persons are urged to become 'filled with spirit' instead of wine. (Eph. 5:18) So, too, persons are spoken of as being 'filled' with it along with such qualities as wisdom & faith (Acts 6:3, 5; 11:24) or joy (Acts 13:52), & holy spirit is inserted or 'sandwiched in' with a number of such qualities at 2 Corinthians 6:6. It is most unlikely that such expressions would be made if reference were being made to a divine person." (Jehovah's Witnesses, Insight p 1020, & Aid p 1543)
  1. This argument is utterly false, but what do you expect from a cult that can teach its "door to door book salesmen" anything and they will blindly accept it without checking or questioning. Association with other impersonal things doesn't eliminate anyone's personality!
  2. God is associated with many impersonal things. In fact God is directly called "fire" i two places: "our God is a consuming fire." Heb. 12:29 and "For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God." Deut. 4:24.
  3. Jesus is associated with impersonal things too. Jesus directly calls himself: The Bread, The Door, The Lamb, The Life, The Light, The Rock, The Stone, The Truth, The Vine, The Way, The Word, The Bread of Life.

 

 

Steve Rudd

 

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