Prooftexting The Personality Of The Holy Spirit: An Analysis Of The Masculine Demonstrative Pronouns In John 14:26, 15:26, And 16:13-14 -- By: Andrew David Naselli

Journal: Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal
Volume: DBSJ 16:1 (NA 2011)
Article: Prooftexting The Personality Of The Holy Spirit: An Analysis Of The Masculine Demonstrative Pronouns In John 14:26, 15:26, And 16:13-14
Author: Andrew David Naselli


Prooftexting The Personality Of The Holy Spirit:
An Analysis Of The Masculine Demonstrative Pronouns
In John 14:26, 15:26, And 16:13-14

Andrew David Naselli

Philip R. Gons1

Sometimes well-intentioned people argue for the right thing the wrong way. Their position may be right even though at least one of their arguments is not. This seems to be the case with a popular exegetical and theological argument for the personality of the Holy Spirit. The right position is that the Holy Spirit is a person, and the fallacious argument is that the masculine demonstrative pronoun ἐκεῖνος in John 14:26, 15:26, and 16:13-14 proves it. Trinitarian theologians through church history have rightly defended the personality of the Spirit, and an astonishing number of defenders appeal to this argument for support.

The Argument

The argument goes like this: John 14:26, 15:26, and 16:13-142 prove (or at least suggest) that the Holy Spirit is a person because the antecedent of the masculine ἐκεῖνος is the neuter πνεῦμα. (Table 1 highlights those words.) The masculine ἐκεῖνος is significant because we would expect the neuter ἐκεῖνο instead since that would agree grammatically with the neuter πνεῦμα, but these three passages (or at least one of them) break a grammatical rule to emphasize that the Holy Spirit is a person and not a thing.

Table 1. Πνεῦμα and ’Εκεῖνος in John 14:26, 15:26, and 16:13-14

 

NA27

ESV

John 14:26

ὁ δὲ παράκλητος, τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον, ὃ πέμψει ὁ πα...

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