HOLY GHOST OR HOLY SPIRIT?
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.” (Matthew 1:18)
I do not think that Bible correction is a laughing matter, however, there are many times when Bible “correctors” make such silly comments that I am unable to suppress laughter. I confess that I really enjoy reading some of these more ludicrous attempts by pseudo-intellectuals and arrogant blowhards when they show a failure to understand their own language while blathering on and about Greek, a language that few of them have even come close to mastering. Whether they come from apostate pastors, stooges from today’s incompetent seminaries, or dilettantes armed with nothing but a Strong’s Concordance, they are always amusing.
I have already written about the clown who corrected the KJV’s use of the word virtue. He claimed, in a most arrogant fashion, that it was an erroneous translation and should have been translated as “force or energy.” Never mind the fact that he first definition of “virtue” in the Oxford dictionary is power inherent in a person, i.e. force or energy (see RBC #45); he was so dumb that he thought the King James translators thought that dunamis, an extremely easy and common Greek word that shows up in a multitude of English words, meant the opposite of vice.
Another example was recently presented on a Yahoo group by a puffed up pastor (or alleged pastor) of highly dubious intellectual ability that thought he was correcting God’s word by claiming that mansion was an error, since the Greek word in question means a dwelling place or a living quarters within a larger estate. Again, reference to an English dictionary would have prevented this character from making a fool out of himself, since the first definitions in the Oxford Dictionary conforms precisely to what he correctly told us the Greek word means (see RBC #48). Of course, the fact that context informs us that many mansions fit inside of the Father’s house tells anyone who can think at all that a mansion is part of an estate, not a palatial palace. One might give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he was searching for a better understanding of the verse, but he carried on with his anti-King James Bible attack after he had been provided with the dictionary definition of mansion, and made no effort to concede that he had been mistaken. His agenda had nothing to do with truth, but only with attacking the faith of Bible-believers in Scripture.
There was pseudo-Bible defender Clifford Wilson’s outrageously silly attack on the KJV where he accused its translators of erring by translating tsinnor as gutter in 2 Samuel 5:8, and suggesting that it should have been stream or watercourse when stream or watercourse happens to be the first definition of the word gutter in the Oxford dictionary. Was Wilson so foolish as to think that gutter referred to a house or roadside gutter? Or did he think it had something to do with the game of pool? (see RBC #5). One might also ask this anti-Darwinist why he promotes counterfeit bibles created by pro-Darwinists by attacking the Bible that they seek to replace.
The failure of gap theorists to understand that replenish simply meant “to fill” in 17th century English is another good example, and no amount of lexicographical evidence (and there is an abundance of it) is enough to get through to these marginally literate “correctors” of the Bible and defenders of false science (see RBC#74). They are guided by extra-biblical and anti-biblical theory; not by logic.
There are also the archaeologists and “Christian” Identity cultists who correct Joshua 24:2 by confusing the meaning of river for the word “flood” with its meaning of deluge (see RBC #11). I don’t know if the guys who came up with that one had been drinking too much Sterno or if it was an oxygen deprivation issue, but they’d be good candidates for the next Dumb and Dumber movie. It should be pointed out that most of these guys mistranslate this verse to insinuate that blacks are not human beings (a theory too convoluted and nonsensical to be able to be described in brief).
I could go on for pages with humorous examples like these, and we can count on such scholarly incompetents and semi-literates to supply others in the future, since few of them seem to have been taught how to use an English dictionary or to think beyond the level of a 6th grade graduate. Here I will concentrate on a particularly silly one that came from a “Christian” college president. His claim is that the KJV is in error by using the term “Holy Ghost” in certain verses instead of “Holy Spirit.” His claim is that the word “ghost” refers to spirits of the deceased in spectral form in this passage, or phantasma as he put it. It appears that he is envisioning the Holy Ghost shaped like Casper the Friendly Ghost, or perhaps something from the movie Ghost Busters. Spirits can also refer to alcoholic beverages, which is a meaning not shared by the word ghost, so if we wanted to be as flippant as our Bible scoffing college president, we could just as well claim that Holy Spirit is an error because God is not an alcoholic beverage. Such a statement would be no less stupid and no more worthy of debate. Simple study of context should be enough to show how both his criticism and my satirical one are absurd, however, I will, for the benefit of those that feel the need to ignore the Bible’s advice concerning arguing with fools, and for those with small children who might be misled by such arguments due to their immaturity, present the facts that show this silliness for what it is. Once again we need merely to look at an English dictionary to understand what ghost means. The Oxford Universal Dictionary gives us the following: “1. The soul or spirit. 2. Breath, a blast -1625. 3. A person-1590. 4. an incorporeal being, a good spirit -1484; and evil spirit -1529. 5. Formerly used in the sense of SPIRIT (of God). Now only in HOLY GHOST, the Third Person f the Trinity. OE. 6. The soul of a deceased person, spoken of as inhabiting the unseen world.. b. An apparition; a spectre 1592…” The same dictionary gives us the following definitions for spirit (this is very abbreviated, the entire entry covers 1 and 2/3 columns): “I 1. The animating or vital principle in man (and animals); that which gives life to the physical organism, in contrast to its purely material elements; the breath of life… 2. The soul of a person, as commended to God, or passing out of the body in the moment of death. 3. A supernatural, incorporeal, rational being or personality, usually regarded as imperceptible at ordinary times to the human senses, but capable of becoming visible at pleasure, and freq. conceived as troublesome, terrifying, or hostile to mankind ME. b. A Being of this nature imagined as possessing and actuating a person. late ME… 4. A being essentially incorporeal or immaterial ME. II. The S. of God (or the Lord), the active essence or essential power of the Deity, conceived as a creative, animating, or inspiring truth, etc. – HOLY GHOST… III. The immaterial, intelligent, or sentient part of a person, freq. in implied or expressed contrast to the body. late ME…. IV. A movement of the air; a wind; a breath (of wind or air). V… 2. A liquid of the nature of an essence or extract, esp. one obtained by distillation…c. orig. pl. Strong alcoholic drink…”
As we can see here it has almost the precise range of meaning as the word spirit, including the meaning of a spectral apparition of a dead person with the additional meanings of alcoholic beverages and spirit in the sense of the character or essence of a man’s personality or zeal. Both words also match up perfectly with the Greek pneuma. Liddell & Scott’s Greek Dictionary has: “Blowing, a wind, blast of wind, breeze, breath, spirit, inspiration, the spirit of man, the Holy Spirit, also of angels and evil spirits.”
Freund’s Levertt’s Latin Dictionary provides the following meanings for spiritus: “Blowing of the wind, wind, air, inhaling of air, breath, breathing, air, the last breath of life, hence: life, spirit, soul, energy, courage, a spirit, the Holy Spirit, Holy Ghost.” Both spirit and ghost, like pneuma and spiritus, have the base meaning of wind or breath, which later came to be associated with the soul or animus, or the animating essence of all living things. Incidentally, unrelated Indo-European words like atman (Sanskrit), athem (Persian), ahma (Gothic) all match up as well, and all are associated with the act of breathing as well as the concept of spirit or soul. The same can also be said about the Hebrew and Aramaic ruah. Fuerst’s Hebrew dictionary provides the meanings of blowing, wind, breath, spirit, soul and mind. The Arabic cognate ruh does not differ. We could ask why both ghost and spirit are used, and that would be a valid question, albeit an unnecessary one. English during the era of King James was still in a transition stage. Germanic-based words were still dominant at this time, but Latin words were not rare, and were becoming more common. Ghost is the Germanic word and spirit was derived from Latin spiritus. Both existed side by side.
The Old English word was gaest or gast as shown by the Oxford Universal Dictionary and the Old English dictionary of Clark, Hall & Meritt 4th ed. The latter provides the following range of meanings for this word.
“Gaast m. breath, soul, spirit, life, good or bad spirit, angel, demon, Holy Ghost, man, human being”
This word shows up in German as Geist, which is the only common word for spirit in German, except for references to the soul and life where German may use Seel. Cassell’s German Dictionary provides the following range of meaning:
“Geist spirit; soul, mind, intellect; genius; courage; ghost, spectre; spirit, volatile liquid “
Note that this English cognate does express the meanings of intellect, genius, courage and alcoholic beverages that are restricted to the word spirit in modern English, therefore the Germanic word ghost/gast/geist does completely match up with spirit/spiritus in all of its meanings.
It is clear that there is no difference in meaning between the two words, only an etymological difference. Could the King James Bible translators have used one and not the other? Of course, they could have. I assume that they did not because they did not realize just how dumbed down the English-speaking world was going to become, and probably never dreamed that it was going to be a problem. Remember this was in an age before sitcoms, reality television, aspartame, Top 40 radio, and government school education. There is clearly no rational support for this silly man’s argument, and he has no ammo to use in a debate, but it is not likely to matter to him. He will probably present the same foolish argument the next time that he thinks he can get away with it. This is the usual modus operandi of the Bible corrector. They do not seek truth; they seek only to obscure truth and to puff themselves up.
I will venture to explain why such men come up with such nonsensical contortions of logic and fail to be cogent in their thinking. There are two reasons, one is spiritual and the other is intellectual. Spiritually these men are driven by an unclean spirit that compels them to attack God’s word at every step. They never criticize the counterfeit Bible that is owned by the same company that publishes books on witchcraft and Anton LaVey’s Satanic Bible (NIV). They never criticize the NKJV, which has a witchcraft symbol printed right on it. They leave the RSV alone in spite of the fact that it is owned by the National Council of Churches, whose members consistently endorse homosexuality, abortion, socialism, and African regimes that murder Christians by the millions. They never criticize the Bible of the anonymous apostates of the Lockman Foundation (NASV) who perverted the text in the cover of darkness. They never attack The Message, which is unabashedly New Age, and unarguably incompetent, dishonest, and downright ludicrous. They never attack any of the other counterfeit Bibles that are based upon the phony text compiled by men who participated in seances, and who praised Blavatsky, Marx, and Darwin. They only criticize the untarnished word of God, which was the world’s standard before the age when atheism, false science, open sin, and sexual perversion became acceptable. Not only do they have nothing to do with the Holy Ghost (or Holy Spirit), but filthy spirits compel them to rebel against any final authority, let alone the Final Authority. Those driven by any agenda that is not godly, are certain to stumble in places where normally only a small child would stumble. If any of the men above had asked what these various words meant in historical context they would have been displaying inquisitive intelligence. Instead, they attacked the more than 50 great scholars who were behind our great Bible, and implied that they were stupid and needed “the correction and guidance of wiser men from the modern era.” They also were telling those who do not lean on their own understand, but on the Final Authority, that they are “smarter” than them. Of course, the evidence that they present for these assertions proves the opposite.
In the intellectual sphere, most of these men are products of a dumbed-down Orwellian society. Their brains are unable to see contradictions or to use basic logic to discern how words, sentences, and paragraphs interconnect, or to be able to comprehend the semantic range of given words, which are dependent on historical usages as much as they are on context. The modern Orwellian society member with his 30 second to 3 minute attention span is unable to comprehend or appreciate anything that goes beyond his own limited experience, locale (or locales), language, culture, or education. He is only aware of the moment in time that he is presently experiencing, or, at best, the period of time in which he has memories. His books are chosen by the New York Times publishers, if he reads anything at all. These books span a period of a few weeks, months, or just a few years at best. The thousands of years of literature that have shaped the societies of the world and the philosophies that still influence mankind are of little interest to him, if he even knows that they existed at all. His music is from the Top 40 or Billboard selection of current hits, or the contemporary “Christian” equivalent and he thinks that any music older than his childhood favorites is antiquated and to be ignored.
Several hundreds of years of musical history are alien to him, and even greats like Bach, who composed music with depth and power, only bore him. The 3 minute ditty is his preference, and the only thing that can hold his attention for more than a few seconds. If he is a Christian, he may sing old hymns, but he doesn’t know what the words mean and doesn’t listen to them anyway. Only what is current interests him, and that can change in a matter of days or even hours. His views on any issue, or awareness of any event in the news, can be altered or eliminated within hours or even minutes when his Big Brother handlers choose to redirect or erase his thoughts. Orwell’s warning went unheeded, because we live in a society that has become even more insane than that described in 1984 (of course, Big Brother now refers to a “fun” and “funny” TV show about a bunch of self-indulgent degenerates and perverts living in a house where they are constantly monitored by cameras, which has erased the true origin and significance of the word). He follows and believes only what the multi-billion dollar drug industry wants him to believe about his healthcare and diet. He is experientially crippled and this is reflected in his philosophy. It is not surprising that such Orwellian citizens are unable to fully comprehend their own language, let alone any foreign language properly. Few words have only one meaning in English and many have a very wide range indeed. Some meanings are forgotten or rare today, but it should not be a great challenge to discern what any particular word meant at the time that a work was written within context. Unfortunately for Homo bovinus, he is unable to understand anything that he has not been programmed to think. Newspeak has become so ingrained in him that he is unable to understand the original meaning of a large proportion of his meager 2,000 word vocabulary. Hence, without a running vocabulary to explain the meaning of words to him in context, his attempt to comprehend a given passage is hit or miss. When he is told what the words that he has misunderstood actually mean in context, it does not phase him, and he continues to misinterpret it.
When the modern critic is both intellectually vacuous and guided by an unclean spirit, there is no end to the errors he may make. These errors may be quite humorous on the surface, but the phenomena behind them are not. We can expect it to get a lot worse as the country becomes more and more demon-infested and dumbed down.
John Hinton, Ph.D.
Bible Restoration Ministry
A ministry seeking the translating and reprinting of KJV equivalent
Bibles in all the languages of the world.