The Pauline Usage Of “Pneumati” As A Reference To The Spirit Of God -- By: Kendell H. Easley

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 27:3 (Sep 1984)
Article: The Pauline Usage Of “Pneumati” As A Reference To The Spirit Of God
Author: Kendell H. Easley


The Pauline Usage Of “Pneumati” As A Reference To The Spirit Of God

Kendell H. Easley*

Apart from the Christian experience of the Holy Spirit, there is no Christianity. In this the witness of the NT as well as the testimony of all succeeding generations of Christians is unanimous. This study probes a particular aspect of the NT witness to the experience of the Spirit: that experience designated pneumati, “in the Spirit.”1

Two factors suggest the need for attention to this subject. First, contemporary popular Christianity uses the terms “in the Spirit,” “walking in the Spirit,” “singing in the Spirit,” “baptism in the Spirit” and even “slain in the Spirit.” Such terminology seems often to be used carelessly and ambiguously. Second, although considerable attention has been given to specific aspects of the NT teaching about the Spirit, very little has been given to the category “in the Spirit.”2

The fundamental issue is exegesis. Do the writers of the NT use pneumati as a technical term with one consistent meaning, or is the meaning of the term determined purely by contextual considerations? Or is the truth perhaps somewhere between?

Analysis of the 91 instances of pneumati in the Greek NT3 has been summarized in table 1.

*Kendell Easley is assistant professor of Bible at Toccoa Falls College in Georgia.

Table 1
Summary Of Exegesis Of Pneumati

Reference

Preposition?

Article?

Metaphor?

Referent

Syntax

Modifies

Matt. 3:11

x

x

Holy Spirit

locative (element)

baptisei

5:3

x

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