Spirit - Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words


[ 1,,G4151, pneuma ]
primarily denotes the wind" (akin to pneo, "to breathe, blow"); also "breath;" then, especially "the spirit," which, like the wind, is invisible, immaterial and powerful. The NT uses of the word may be analyzed approximately as follows:

(a) the wind, John 3:8 (where marg. is, perhaps, to be preferred); Hebrews 1:7; cp. Amos 4:13, Sept.;
(b) the breath, 2 Thessalonians 2:8; Revelation 11:11; Revelation 13:15; cp. Job 12:10, Sept.;
(c) the immaterial, invisible part of man, Luke 8:55; Acts 7:59; 1 Corinthians 5:5; James 2:26; cp. Ecclesiastes 12:7, Sept.;
(d) the disembodied (or 'unclothed,' or 'naked,' 2 Corinthians 5:3-4) man, Luke 24:37, Luke 24:39; Hebrews 12:23; 1 Peter 4:6;
(e) the resurrection body, 1 Corinthians 15:45; 1 Timothy 3:16; 1 Peter 3:18;
(f) the sentient element in man, that by which he perceives, reflects, feels, desires, Matthew 5:3; Matthew 26:41; Mark 2:8; Luke 1:47, Luke 1:80; Acts 17:16; Acts 20:22; 1 Corinthians 2:11; 1 Corinthians 5:3-4; 1 Corinthians 14:4, 1 Corinthians 14:15; 2 Corinthians 7:1; cp. Genesis 26:35; Isaiah 26:9; Ezekiel 13:3; Daniel 7:15;
(g) purpose, aim, 2 Corinthians 12:18; Philippians 1:27; Ephesians 4:23; Revelation 19:10; cp. Ezra 1:5; Psalms 78:8; Daniel 5:12;
(h) the equivalent of the personal pronoun, used for emphasis and effect: 1st person, 1 Corinthians 16:18; cp. Genesis 6:3; 2nd person, 2 Timothy 4:22; Philemon 1:25; cp. Psalms 139:7; 3rd person, 2 Corinthians 7:13; cp. Isaiah 40:13;
(i) character, Luke 1:17; Romans 1:4; cp. Numbers 14:24;
(j) moral qualities and activities: bad, as of bondage, as of a slave, Romans 8:15; cp. Isaiah 61:3; stupor, Romans 11:8; cp. Isaiah 29:10; timidity, 2 Timothy 1:7; cp. Joshua 5:1; good, as of adoption, i.e., liberty as of a son, Romans 8:15; cp. Psalms 51:12; meekness, 1 Corinthians 4:21; cp. Proverbs 16:19; faith, 2 Corinthians 4:13; quietness, 1 Peter 3:4; cp. Proverbs 14:29
(k) the Holy Spirit, e.g., Matthew 4:1 (See below); Luke 4:18;
(l) 'the inward man' (an expression used only of the believer, Romans 7:22; 2 Corinthians 4:16; Ephesians 3:16); the new life, Romans 8:4-Romans 8:6, Romans 8:10, Romans 8:16; Hebrews 12:9; cp. Psalms 51:10;
(m) unclean spirits, demons, Matthew 8:16; Luke 4:33; 1 Peter 3:19; cp. 1 Samuel 18:10;
(n) angels, Hebrews 1:14; cp. Acts 12:15;
(o) divine gift for service, 1 Corinthians 14:12, 1 Corinthians 14:32;
(p) by metonymy, those who claim to be depostories of these gifts, 2 Thessalonians 2:2; 1 John 4:1-3;
(q) the significance, as contrasted with the form, of words, or of a rite, John 6:63; Romans 2:29; Romans 7:6; 2 Corinthians 3:6;
(r) a vision, Revelation 1:10; Revelation 4:2; Revelation 17:3; Revelation 21:10." * [* From Notes on Thessalonians, by Hogg and Vine, pp 204,205.]


(1) For phantasma, rendered "spirit," Matthew 14:26; Mark 6:49, AV, See APPARITION.

(2) For the distinction between "spirit" and "soul," See under SOUL, last three paragraphs.

* The Holy Spirit

The "Holy Spirit" is spoken of under various titles in the NT ("Spirit" and "Ghost" are renderings of the same word, pneuma; the advantage of the rendering "Spirit" is that it can always be used, whereas "Ghost" always requires the word "Holy" prefixed.) In the following list the omission of the definite article marks its omission in the original (concerning this See below): "Spirit, Matthew 22:43; Eternal Spirit, Hebrews 9:14; the Spirit, Matthew 4:1; Holy Spirit, Matthew 1:18; the Holy Spirit, Matthew 28:19; the Spirit, the Holy, Matthew 12:32; the Spirit of promise, the Holy, Ephesians 1:13; Spirit of God, Romans 8:9; Spirit of (the) living God, 2 Corinthians 3:3; the Spirit of God, 1 Corinthians 2:11; the Spirit of our God, 1 Corinthians 6:11; the Spirit of God, the Holy, Ephesians 4:30; the Spirit of glory and of God, 1 Peter 4:14; the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead (i.e., God), Romans 8:11; the Spirit of your Father, Matthew 10:20; the Spirit of His Son, Galatians 4:6; Spirit of (the) Lord, Acts 8:39; the Spirit of (the) Lord, Acts 5:9; (the) Lord, (the) Spirit, 2 Corinthians 3:18; the Spirit of Jesus, Acts 16:7; Spirit of Christ, Romans 8:9; the Spirit of Jesus Christ, Philippians 1:19; Spirit of adoption, Romans 8:15; the Spirit of truth, John 14:17; the Spirit of life, Romans 8:2; the Spirit of grace, Hebrews 10:29." * [* From Notes on Galatians, by Hogg and Vine, p. 193.]

The use or absence of the article in the original where the "Holy Spirit" is spoken of cannot always be decided by grammatical rules, nor can the presence or absence of the article alone determine whether the reference is to the "Holy Spirit." Examples where the Person is meant when the article is absent are Matthew 22:43 (the article is used in Mark 12:36); Acts 4:25, RV (absent in some texts); Acts 19:2, Acts 19:6; Romans 14:17; 1 Corinthians 2:4; Galatians 5:25 (twice); 1 Peter 1:2. Sometimes the absence is to be accounted for by the fact that Pneuma (like Theos) is substantially a proper name, e.g., in John 7:39. As a general rule the article is present where the subject of the teaching is the Personality of the Holy Spirit, e.g., John 14:26, where He is spoken of in distinction from the Father and the Son. See also John 15:26 and cp. Luke 3:22.

In Galatians 3:3, in the phrase "having begun in the Spirit," it is difficult to say whether the reference is to the "Holy Spirit" or to the quickened spirit of the believer; that it possibly refers to the latter is not to be determined by the absence of the article, but by the contrast with "the flesh;" on the other hand, the contrast may be between the "Holy Spirit" who in the believer sets His seal on the perfect work of Christ, and the flesh which seeks to better itself by works of its own. There is no preposition before either noun, and if the reference is to the quickened spirit it cannot be dissociated from the operation of the "Holy Spirit." In Galatians 4:29 the phrase "after the Spirit" signifies "by supernatural power," in contrast to "after the flesh," i.e., "by natural power," and the reference must be to the "Holy Spirit;" so in Galatians 5:17.

The full title with the article before both pneuma and hagios (the "resumptive" use of the article), lit., "the Spirit the Holy," stresses the character of the Person, e.g., Matthew 12:32; Mark 3:29; Mark 12:36; Mark 13:11; Luke 2:26; Luke 10:21 (RV); John 14:26; Acts 1:16; Acts 5:3; Acts 7:51; Acts 10:44, Acts 10:47; Acts 13:2; Acts 15:28; Acts 19:6; Acts 20:23, Acts 20:28; Acts 21:11; Acts 28:25; Ephesians 4:30; Hebrews 3:7; Hebrews 9:8; Hebrews 10:15.

The Personality of the Spirit is emphasized at the expense of strict grammatical procedure in John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16:8, John 16:13-John 16:14, where the emphatic pronoun ekeinos, "He," is used of Him in the masculine, whereas the noun pneuma is neuter in Greek, while the corresponding word in Aramaic, the language in which our Lord probably spoke, is feminine (rucha, cp. Heb. ruach). The rendering "itself" in Romans 8:16, Romans 8:26, due to the Greek gender, is corrected to "Himself" in the RV.

The subject of the "Holy Spirit" in the NT may be considered as to His Divine attributes; His distinct Personality in the Godhead; His operation in connection with the Lord Jesus in His birth, His life, His baptism, His death; His operations in the world; in the church; His having been sent at Pentecost by the Father and by Christ; His operations in the individual believer; in local churches; His operations in the production of Holy Scripture; His work in the world, etc.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words