Friday, October 19, 2007

Proof-Text Perversions: 1 Corinthians 12:13 (part four)

To understand Scripture, you need to know what the words mean. You learn what they mean first by looking up how they are used in the Bible. If one isn't used anywhere else in the NT, then you can get some help by studying the usage in the LXX or in extrascriptural literature. The meaning of the words should fit into how they are normally used in the Bible. If there is an exceptional understanding, that should be explainable. The correct meaning of those words should fit into the context of the verse. We've covered some context while determining the meaning of the words. Now we'll do more.

The Context of 1 Corinthians 12:13
The Context of Scripture
If this is Spirit baptism here in 1 Corinthians, as understood by either the Protestants or the Charismatics, it should look like Spirit baptism in the rest of Scripture. It doesn't, which is a major reason why it can't be Spirit baptism. We've already pointed out that Spirit baptism is predicted in the gospels (Mt. 3:11; Mk. 1:8; Lk. 3:16). That prediction is that the Jesus will administrate the baptism with the Holy Spirit as the medium and already saved, immersed individuals as the recipients. Spirit baptism was predicted in the Old Testament as well.
Isaiah 44:3 For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring.

Joel 2:28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions
Acts 2:17, 18 says that this was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost.
And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.
Jesus talks about the same event in John.
John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.

John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
The Lord Jesus Christ promises His disciples that after He ascends into heaven, He will send the Holy Spirit. He reminds them again of that in Acts 1:4-8. By reading this Acts passage, you can see for sure that those Old Testament passages, the early gospel passages, and the promises by Jesus in John are all speaking about the same event.
4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. 5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. 6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? 7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. 8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
First, nowhere do we see the Spirit doing the baptizing. Second, in no place do we see Spirit baptism being the same thing as the indwelling of the Spirit. Third, we do not see this experience of Spirit baptism occurring simultaneous with justification, but subsequent not only to justification, but also to water baptism. Fourth, nowhere is this revealed to be an ongoing experience.
We see the outpouring in Isaiah and Joel to be the same as the gospel predictions and Christ's promises. They are fulfilled as an event in Acts---the coming of the Holy Spirit as sent or poured out by Christ. This is what we should assume that Spirit baptism would be in the future. This event is not what we see in 1 Corinthians 12:13.

The Context of the Whole Epistle of 1 Corinthians

To start, 1 Corinthians is an epistle to a church, one in Corinth. It is a problemed church, started by Paul and loved by him, so he helps the membership out by writing them. He isn't writing all believers. He is writing people in one location who are members of one church. That should be kept in mind in everything that we read in 1 Corinthians. You can apply it to your church because it was written to another of Christ's churches.
The church at Corinth is having divisions that we see back in chapter one. The church has differences. The people have had different leaders and they have their favorites. They are of different nationalities, ethnicities, races, genders, traditions, socio-economics, and religious backgrounds. Some have a bad home life, while others seem to be squared away in their families. They possess differing gifts or mixtures of gifts even as parceled out by the Holy Spirit.
A major goal for Paul is bringing these people in this church together. He wants to bring them together with biblical, spiritual truths. He wants to unify them around the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. He strives for a cohesive body of working, serving body parts. If they submit to God through His Spirit, they can have this. If they do, it will look like love, a fruit of the Holy Spirit, supernaturally enabling them to put behind them some differences and to learn to use profitably and selflessly some others.
1 Corinthians 12:13 is a sliver of the work Paul is doing in his epistle to picture and encourage the unity that is already there spiritually between believers. It isn't presenting some novel truth in 1 Corinthians, but one he is dealing with---unity. And baptism has already been established as water---water baptism by Paul, by Apollos, by others. Paul thanked God he had water baptized none of them. They had been baptized unto Moses in the sea. What had been used for disunity, water baptism, was really a picture of unity. Just like the Lord's Table was a picture of unity---one bread---it too had been used for disunity, the fighting described in chapter eleven. These ordinances of Christ, baptism and the Lord's Table, were beautiful pictures of the unity of the church that Paul desired. The church of God at Corinth should unify in accordance with the ordinances that its members have obeyed.
More on Context Next Time

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Having been a "born again" believer for many years, I have read mountains of things on the church and the Lord's Table.
If I thought I was confused before, I was wrong.....Now I am confused. I fail to see the need to take each word apart and analyze it for defination.
I go on my knees to the Hold Spirit for understanding.
I have never seen nor heard of anyone spending so much time explaining such a simple task. Even Paul didn't need this much.

Be Blessed

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hello Anonymous,

I see your comment on the ministry of the Holy Spirit in illumination to be worthwhile. The Holy Spirit will teach us, I agree, especially as seen in John 14-16 and 1 John. However, thinking about every Word of Scripture is studying to shew ourselves approved unto God. We live by every Word, so every Word is important.

We preachers could all stand up on Sunday and say, "Get on your knees and let the Holy Spirit teach you," but like Ezra did with the returning captives, we give people the sense of the Words.

When you say "simple task," what "task" are you talking about?

Sonya said...

Anonymous did you know that...

The serpent "only" added ONE word to change the whole meaning of the warning God had given to Adam and Eve.

Each word is very important ..added to, taken away from, or misinterpreted.

Thomas Ross said...

Greetings, Pastor Brandenburg! I am certain that I agree with about 99% of your exegesis of 1 Corinthians 12:13. I thought that the references on “we” in 1 Cor 12:13 were especially noteworthy and well done. The text certainly has been much abused. I would appreciate it if you could comment on the following matters where I have questions. I hope that these were not dealt with in the comments; I copied your articles and am writing this at a time when I have no Internet access, and I am going to paste it back in, so I won’t get the comments. Let me also mention with the following questions that these deal with a comparatively minor point—in general, I am in complete agreement, and it is very possible that after finding out what the answers are to these questions, I will be in complete agreement on the “by/with/in” the Spirit thing as well. I appreciate your time and wisdom.

1.) In part, 1 (and 4) you affirmed, “the Spirit is the Medium” of Spirit baptism. Would it be appropriate to affirm that He is the instrument, thus the KJV “WITH” the Holy Ghost for Spirit baptism, rather than “in” the Holy Ghost? A lot of the “with” vs. the “in” passages are ones where the en Pneumati follows a verb; can we say that these would be (the very common) instrumental en? Please note the verse list below in question #2.

2.) In part 2, dealing with the KJV “by one Spirit,” en heni Pneumati, I recall Dr. Strouse teaching that the Greek phrase was found in Philippians 1:27 and translated “in one spirit.” I don’t recall him ever bringing up (maybe he did and I just don’t remember; or maybe he did it when I was not there) that the Greek is also found in Ephesians 2:18 (the only other place en heni Pneumati is in the NT) and translated “by one Spirit,” just like in the Authorized Version in 1 Cor 12:13. The following verses are a study of en followed by Pneumati in the same verse. All the references are not listed, but the ones with the verse references in bold are all the references where a word is placed in between en and Pneuma and a reference is made to the Holy Spirit.

Matt. 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
Matt. 12:28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.
Mark 1:8 I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.
Mark 12:36 For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The LORD said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.
Luke 2:27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,
Luke 3:16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:
Luke 4:1 ¶ And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,
John 1:33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.
Acts 1:5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
Acts 11:16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.
Rom. 15:16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.
1Cor. 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
1Cor. 12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
1Cor. 12:9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
1Cor. 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
Eph. 2:18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
Eph. 3:5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;

From this list, we can see that en + Pneuma is very frequently instrumental (“by” the Spirit). Furthermore, every time the Holy Spirit is He who is referred to by Pneuma, and there is either one or two words separating the en from the Pneuma (as in 1 Cor 12:13), the translation is “by the Spirit.” If this syntactical structure is apparently uniformly instrumental when speaking of the Holy Spirit, why would we conclude that 1 Cor 12:13 is an exception to this? As your quote by Forest Keener well pointed out, does not the context of 1 Cor 12:13 strongly point to the Holy Spirit, as the One who led the saints at Corinth to be immersed into the local assembly? The Holy Spirit, not a lower case spirit, is referred to in practically every verse in the preceding context. The agency of the Spirit is referred to in many verses right before v. 13, and every time pneuma is found, it is the Holy Spirit. Note v. 3-12:

3. Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
4* Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5* And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
6* And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
7* But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
8* For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9* To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10* To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
11* But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
12* ¶ For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
For by one Spirit (spirit?) are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.


Wouldn’t this support an instrumental en and a reference to the Holy Spirit in 1 Cor 12:13? Furthermore, since the Corinthians were claiming to have this spiritual gift from the Spirit and that spiritual gift from the Spirit, but they were divided, would it not be appropriate contextually for Paul to say, “you all were led by the Spirit to be immersed into this one body; so be unified!” Furthermore, even in 1 Cor 12:13, isn’t “drink into one Spirit” a reference to the Holy Spirit, not the human spirit, or a spirit of unity? Why not see a pattern in 1 Cor 12:13 of, first, Spirit-led unity around baptism in the first half, and, second, Spirit-led unity around the Lord’s Supper in the second half? Furthermore, do we not have instrumental en with Pneuma in 1 Cor 12:3, and in v. 4, and in v. 9? Why would v. 13 be different than v. 3, 4, 9? Wouldn’t the context and the use of en plus Pneuma be more relevant than the fact that en on its own (the most common preposition in the New Testament) is more often translated “in” than “by” when used with other words or in other settings? Aren’t there no instances of the Spirit as the medium of something in Paul’s epistles to the Corinthians, but numerous instrumental instances like “by his Spirit” (1 Cor 2:10) “by the Spirit” (1 Cor 6:11, 12:8, etc.) are found, and many instances of the Spirit actively doing things, such as teaching (1 Cor 2:13)? Isn’t the “one Spirit” in the second half of 1 Cor 12:13 the Holy Spirit? Why wouldn’t the Holy Spirit be the one Spirit in the first half of the verse? Isn’t the context of 1 Corinthians 12:13 strongly in favor of “by one Spirit”?

3.) In relation to the statement in part 4, “Third, we do not see this experience of Spirit baptism occurring simultaneous with justification, but subsequent not only to justification, but also to water baptism,” while Spirit baptism was subsequent to water baptism in Acts 2, wasn’t it prior to it in Acts 10?

4.) In relation to the statement, “He isn't writing all believers. He is writing people in one location who are members of one church. That should be kept in mind in everything that we read in 1 Corinthians,” what would you say to someone who said, “but 1 Cor 1:1-2 states, “Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours,” so the epistle is written to all saints”?

Thanks a lot for your help! May the Lord richly bless the work of God in El Sobrante!

P. S.

These are some related, miscellaneous notes that I had written to someone else on this topic. May they be a blessing, and if they are incorrect, may they be corrected.

A comparison of the gospel texts on Spirit baptism seems to indicate that both a simple dative and the dative with en indicate the same use. For example, in Lu 3:16 the dative puri parallels en Pneumati kai puri. Acts 1:5 parallels John’s baptism hudati with baptism en Pneumati. Note also the puri in Mt 3:12, Lu 3:17. I believe, at this time, that the simple datives are examples of a “dative of means/instrument [by, by means of, with] . . . the dative substantive is used to indicate the means or instrument by which the verbal action is accomplished. This is a very common use of the dative, embracing as it does one of the root ideas of the dative case (viz., instrumentality) . . . before the noun in the dative, supply the words by means of, or simply with.” (pg. 162-3, Daniel Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics). I think that the en Pneumati phrases constitute a similar use of en + dative to indicate means (see pg. 372ff. of Wallace). It is interesting to note that, commenting on Mark 1:8 and also on 1 Cor 2:13 on pg. 374 of Greek Grammar, Wallace says, “Here it is obvious that Christ is the agent . . . and the Holy Spirit is the means . . . that the Lord uses to baptize . . . Pneumati Hagio clearly indicates means in Mark 1:8 (as in several other passages dealing with Spirit-baptism).” (He said it “perhaps” indicates sphere as well, but that it clearly was means). The grammarian Wallace would then be in favor of translating the passages “with” the Holy Ghost, rather than “in” Him.
c.) In the LXX, en pneumati is translated “by the Spirit,” indicating means [by means of]:
1Chr. 28:12 And the pattern of all that he had by the spirit, of the courts of the house of the LORD, and of all the chambers round about, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries of the dedicated things:
Neh. 9:30 Yet many years didst thou forbear them, and testifiedst against them by thy spirit in thy prophets: yet would they not give ear: therefore gavest thou them into the hand of the people of the lands.
Mic. 3:8 But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the LORD, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.
Zech. 4:6 Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.
On my analysis, it appears that the use of en Pneumati to indicate means is more common than its use to indicate sphere in the LXX. English translations for en with Pneumati have by or with outnumbering in significantly.
The LXX also has en puri (which, of course, is parallel to en Pneumati in the Spirit baptism texts in the gospels) to indicate means quite commonly, as I mentioned briefly on the phone with you. A few instances:
Num. 31:10 And they burnt all their cities wherein they dwelt, and all their goodly castles, with fire.
Judg. 9:52 And Abimelech came unto the tower, and fought against it, and went hard unto the door of the tower to burn it with fire.
1Kings 16:18 And it came to pass, when Zimri saw that the city was taken, that he went into the palace of the king’s house, and burnt the king’s house over him with fire, and died,
The parallel terms used to describe Spirit baptism suggest that this metaphorical baptism is “with” or using the instrument of the Spirit, rather than being “in” or a literal immersion in the Spirit. Spirit baptism is the Spirit “coming upon” (Ac 1:8), them, being “poured out” on them (Ac 2:17-18, 33, “shed forth” is still execho, “pour out,” 10:45), “falling” on them (8:16, note the perfect tense, 10:44, 11:15-17), “coming” upon them (19:6), “received” (10:47, 19:2). Since literal immersion is dipping, not pouring, a metaphorical baptism which could be compared with being poured out, falling on someone, etc. suggests a baptism “with” where the Spirit is the means, rather than the sphere “in.” I think it is also possible that the “with” idea does not exclude any locative sense that could be there in addition, however.
2.) I can see why one could very easily conclude that the baptism with fire is eternal torment. This is very possible. Let me give a few arguments for the baptism with fire being the same as the baptism with the Spirit (note the tongues of fire in Acts 2 on those baptized with the Spirit), though, for give-and-take purposes, and also because, if I had to commit to one position or the other, I would (at least today) go with the synonymous position.
a.) Grammatically, the two could easily be synonymous. One who just read “he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire” (Mt 3:11) could easily think that the “you” receives both things, and that Pneumati Hagio kai puri, as the common object of a common subject, refer to the same thing.
b.) It looks to me like Acts 1:5 refers back to Luke 3:16. Why couldn’t the entire verse take place at the same time? In Acts 2:3-4, the baptism with the Spirit and the appearance of the puri on their heads happened at the same moment. Would not the Theophilus, reading Luke-Acts, recall Lu 3:16 and think that this was it?
c.) Mark 1:8 and Jn 1:33 both record only baptism with the Spirit; fire is not mentioned. This seems to me to suggest that there is one baptism with Spirit/fire, since neither Mark nor John felt like the reader needed to hear about the other, as if simply mentioning Spirit baptism covered both things. (Of course, this is not to in any way imply that John the Baptist did not actually say the actual words in the different gospels, just that the NT writers, under inspiration, did not record the “and fire” phrase.). Also, in Acts, only a record of Spirit baptism’s fulfillment of John’s preaching is recorded. This suggests that this was the single event predicted by John. The disciples in Acts, etc. never told anyone that, since they didn’t get Spirit baptism, they were going to get fire baptism.
In Matthew 3:11, it looks to me like the group that John baptizes with water, which is only the saints, is also the group that Christ will baptize with the Spirit and fire. Note the parallel: I indeed baptize you with water . . . but he that cometh after me . . . he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire. It looks like the same group gets the baptism with water and that with the Holy Ghost and fire, so the entirety would pertain to the saints. Also, I think this fits with the ecclesiological, rather than soteriological, nature of baptism. Christ gathered the church from those who had received the baptism of John, and it is the church that received the baptism with the Spirit in Acts 2. John made ready “ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Lu 1:17) by bringing them to salvation and then baptizing them, so they could be part of the congregation Christ was gathering (John 3:29), which the Savior would then authenticate by baptizing them with the Spirit.

From another discussion:

.) If Paul switches from speaking about a universal body in v. 13 to another kind of body by v. 27, in what verse does he switch? Where does he make it clear that he does so? Verses 14-27 seem very much tied together as a reference to the local assembly; I don’t see where the switch could be in there. However, v. 14 is connected to v. 13 with the word “for,” and the use of “body” in v. 14 must, then, be the same as that in v. 13. If v. 14 is the same use as v. 27, then v. 13 must also be the local congregation. I think that one who read 1 Corinthians 12 in the first century would think of immersion, by the Spirit’s leading, when he read 1 Cor 12:13, not of Spirit baptism.
6.) If 1 Cor 12:13 is a reference to Spirit baptism, not water baptism, it is the only reference to it in the entire Pauline corpus. Elsewhere the doctrine is only in the gospels, and especially in Luke-Acts. If 1 Cor 12:13 is water baptism, it is consistent with Paul’s meaning when he spoke of baptism every other time he used the word in his epistles.
7.) 1 Cor 12:27 makes the body of Christ an ecclesiological metaphor. The assembly of all the saints in the New Jerusalem is soteriological. While this may not be the strongest argument of these mentioned, I am worried about confusing ecclesiology and soteriology. After all, this is where the universal church idea came from; early proto-Catholicism (as we know, “catholic” means “universal”) said that outside their church, the one universal church, there is no salvation; I would rather not think that outside the body of Christ, an ecclesiological, not soteriological, metaphor, there is no salvation. Indeed, at least in the 1 Cor 12:27 sense, one must be justified before he can enter the body of Christ through baptism.
8.) (As I just mentioned a bit earlier), It is noteworthy that the first commentary we have on the Corinthian epistles, 1 Clement, written by the (apparently Baptist) pastor of the church at Rome to the Corinthians around the turn of the 1st century, understands the metaphor of “body” in a local sense, not a universal one (1 Clem 37:5, 38:1, 46:7); 1 Clement evidences local-only ecclesiology, congregational church government, the unity of the office of presbyter/bishop, as well as justification by faith and other Baptist doctrines, although later patristic writers adopt baptismal regeneration, universal ecclesiology, hierarchicalism, and other Catholic dogmas.
Let me say a word about Spirit baptism in Matthew and 1 Cor 12:13. On 1 Cor 12:13, a lot of people have held my view; it is no private interpretation. For example, Barnes stated that “Many suppose that there is reference here to the ordinance of baptism by water. . . . [including] Bloomfield, Calvin, Doddridge, etc.” A. T. Robertson said that the “baptism” there is water baptism, “a reference to a definite past event with each of them of different races, nations, classes, when each of them put on the outward badge of service to Christ, the symbol of the inward changes already wrought in them by the Holy Spirit.” John Wesley also said it was water baptism in the verse in his commentary on the subject. Alford, in his classic Alford’s Greek Testament, states it speaks of “the water of baptism . . . so (understanding the whole verse of baptism) Chry., Theophyl., Oec., Rückert, Meyer, De Witt.” He also says that “Luther, Beza, Calv., Estius, Grot., al., refer the latter half to the Lord’s Supper,” as I do. The Expositor’s Greek Testament edited by W. Robertson Nicoll stated that here “Paul refers to actual Christian baptism.” The commentary also mentions that “Aug., Cv., Est., [etc. understand] the poterion of the Lord’s supper (10:16, 11:25), as though kai coupled the two sacraments.” The Jamison, Faucett, and Brown commentary stated, commenting on “drink into one Spirit,” that “There is an indirect allusion to the Lord's Supper, as there is a direct allusion to baptism in the beginning of the verse.” Matthew Poole stated on drinking in the Spirit that “many others choose rather to interpret drinking in this place, of drinking at the table of the Lord, partaking of that whole action being set out here by one particular act there performed. This is probable, considering that the apostle, in the former part of the verse, had been speaking of the other sacrament of the gospel, and that he, speaking of the Lord's supper.” Albert Barnes, commenting on the second half of the verse, stated, “And have been all made to drink, etc. This probably refers to their partaking together of the cup in the Lord's Supper. The sense is, that by their drinking of the same cup commemorating the death of Christ, they had partaken of the same influences of the Holy Ghost, which descend alike on all who observe that ordinance in a proper manner. They had shown, also, that they belonged to the same body, and were all united together; and that, however various might be their graces and endowments, yet they all belonged to the same great family.” Certainly not every commentary ever written actually takes the view that I hold of this passage, that immersion and the Lord’s supper are in view in the verse, and my view is a definite minority in this post-Scofield Study Bible era . . . [but many do].

Kent Brandenburg said...

Bro. Ross,

First, you wrote that letter very well, arguing in a way so as to keep the arguments within the Scriptures and not a personal attack. Good job!!

Someone will have to look above for his questions because I am going to answer them, not recopy them here.

1) You are saying that Jesus used the Holy Spirit as the instrument for Spirit baptism. That doesn't fit with the idea of outpouring in Isaiah and Joel. It also doesn't fit with the sending in John 14-16. I don't see anywhere in Scripture that the Holy Spirit is the agency or instrument of water baptism. This would be brand new teaching here. Perhaps you can show me one of those. We are baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit, but not water baptized by the Spirit. I respect your grammatical work, computer searching all those usages. It's not persuasive to me. It wouldn't be hard to take your position; I'm not very dogmatic here and it wouldn't change the basic teaching of the verse for me. However, I don't see what you are saying to be true.

2) We've talked about Eph. 2:18. I know of the "by one Spirit" usage. We do have access by one Spirit to the Father. You say that when "a word" is placed between en and pneuma, pneuma is uniformly speaking of the Holy Spirit. Of course, you know that it isn't true in Philippians 1:27 which is closer to the usage of what we see in 1 Corinthians 12:13. The one "in one spirit" usage is the spirit of unity, which is actually what we see in 1 Cor. 12:13. You also know that the article is placed in front of pneuma in 1 Cor. 12 to distinguish Him as the Holy Spirit. We don't have a definite article before pneuma in 1 Cor. 12:13. So in the context, the absence of the definite article distinguishes the 1 Cor. 12:13 as another pneuma. Look at your list of verses and the order of—verb–en–pneuma. They are a different pattern totally than the en–pneuma–verb pattern in 1 Corinthians 12:13, so again a difference. You didn't make note of that. I believe that devils are cast out by the Spirit of God, that David said by the Holy Ghost, and that we are sanctified by the Holy Spirit, etc., but I don't believe we are water baptized by the Holy Spirit or even with the Holy Spirit.

You asked, "Wouldn't this support an instrumental en and a reference to the Holy Spirit in 1 Cor 12:13?" No. I explain above.

You paraphrase, "you were all led by the Spirit to be immersed," but it doesn't say "you were all led by the Spirit"—those are supplied words not assumed by the text.

You ask, "Furthermore, even in 1 Cor 12:13, isn't "drink into one Spirit" a reference to the Holy Spirit, not the human spirit, or a spirit of unity? Why not see a pattern in 1 Cor 12:13 of, first, Spirit-led unity around baptism in the first half, and, second, Spirit-led unity around the Lord's Supper in the second half?" You add "led" again. We have a different preposition in the second half of the verse, eis, and the understanding I believe is best that they were all made to drink "with reference to" (eis) the spirit of unity, consistent with unifying water baptism in the first half of the verse. Baptism is a picture of unity in Ephesians 4:5 as well, in a parallel way.

I believe I have answered everything else you wrote as well next to 2).

3) I knew that the one instance of Acts 10 precedes water baptism, as I have taught this many times, and the way I wrote the sentence indicates this. My point was that spirit baptism is so non-simultaneous that it is even after water baptism in Acts. I don't know what point you are attempting to make there.

4) I would say to them that Paul is writing to the church at Corinth who are sanctified and called along with everyone else who calls upon the name of the Lord. I think that your view of "calls upon the name of the Lord" could affect your thinking here. The word order of the sentence backs up what I'm saying.

Thomas Ross said...

Dear Pastor Brandenburg,

Here is my reply.

“You are saying that Jesus used the Holy Spirit as the instrument for Spirit baptism. That doesn't fit with the idea of outpouring in Isaiah and Joel. It also doesn't fit with the sending in John 14-16.”

Since the Spirit is “outpoured,” why would we say that Spirit baptism is an immersion in the medium of the Spirit? Non-Baptists have used the fact of the pouring here as an argument against immersion. Why do Isaiah and Joel support an immersion in the Spirit? Thanks for the help.

“I don't see anywhere in Scripture that the Holy Spirit is the agency or instrument of water baptism. This would be brand new teaching here. Perhaps you can show me one of those. We are baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit, but not water baptized by the Spirit.”

I must not have communicated very clearly; I did not intend to say that the Spirit was the agency of water baptism (or Spirit baptism), nor that the Spirit was the instrument of water baptism. I intended to communicate that Christ baptizes “with” the Spirit in Spirit baptism (as Wallace says in the quotes I gave previously), and that the Holy Spirit leads believers to be added to the body of Christ by water baptism (“by one Spirit . . . 1 Cor 12:13).

“You say that when "a word" is placed between en and pneuma, pneuma is uniformly speaking of the Holy Spirit. Of course, you know that it isn't true in Philippians 1:27 which is closer to the usage of what we see in 1 Corinthians 12:13.”

Perhaps the length of my comment (I manage to do that) made my point unclear. What I intended to convey was that every time the Holy Spirit is He who is referred to by Pneuma, and there is either one or two words separating the en from the Pneuma (as in 1 Cor 12:13), the translation is “by the Spirit.” My question was “If this syntactical structure is apparently uniformly instrumental when speaking of the Holy Spirit, why would we conclude that 1 Cor 12:13 is an exception to this?” The argument dealt with en + word + Pneuma when the Pneuma was the Holy Spirit. In other words, it would not establish that the Spirit in 1 Cor 12:13 was the Holy Spirit (versus a lower case “spirit”), but that if the Spirit is He who is doing something in 1 Cor 12:13, “by one Spirit” is the sense of the Greek phrase, not “in one Spirit.” I believe that the context is strongly in favor of the Holy Spirit in 1 Cor 12:13, and if the context establishes that this refers to the Spirit, then “by one Spirit” is the correct translation.


“You also know that the article is placed in front of pneuma in 1 Cor. 12 to distinguish Him as the Holy Spirit. We don't have a definite article before pneuma in 1 Cor. 12:13. So in the context, the absence of the definite article distinguishes the 1 Cor. 12:13 as another pneuma.”

I do not understand this point. As far as I can see, there is no article before Pneuma in 1 Cor 12:3 (2x). Furthermore, in 1 Cor 12:10, a non-articular pneuma is not a spirit of unity. Besides, a “number identifies the “amount” of the substantive, making it definite.” (Pg. 248, Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics). The word “one” makes the Pneuma definite in 1 Cor 12:13.


“Look at your list of verses and the order of—verb–en–pneuma. They are a different pattern totally than the en–pneuma–verb pattern in 1 Corinthians 12:13, so again a difference. You didn't make note of that.”

I don’t think I understand this argument either. Isn’t the order en-pneuma-verb (in Greek, of course) in Matthew 12:28, and 1 Cor 12:3 in the same chapter as 1 Cor 12:13? Also, if we are going to use word order to prove that 1 Cor 12:13 is a spirit of unity rather than the Holy Spirit, why is Philippians 1:27 verb-en-pneuma? Besides, why is word order a big deal here? I didn’t make a note of it, since I don’t understand how it is a valid point.

I agree that my paraphrase “led by the Spirit, you were all water baptized, etc.” in 1 Cor 12:13 is adding words. But if we are adding words to say the spirit is a spirit of unity (adding “of unity,”), what is the difference? I also don’t really understand what “in one spirit of unity you were all water baptized” means exactly. I am also not really sure what exactly a “spirit of unity” is either. Why can’t Philippians 1:27 be saying that their human spirits are to be unified? Is the word pneuma used of something besides God the Spirit, human spirits, evil spirits, the wind, etc., so that it comes to mean “spirit of unity.” If the pneuma of Philippians 1:27 is the human spirit, I do not see how we can get this idea into 1 Cor 12:13. (Then again, perhaps I will see after Pastor Brandenburg replies).

Furthermore, saying that 1 Cor 12:13a is “by one Spirit” does not mean that the idea of unity is absent. It is saying that the Holy Spirit, who is mentioned so many times in the verses immediately preceeding 12:13, is He who led them to unite themselves to the church at Corinth, and that He (to adopt appropriate lingo for this conversation) is truly the Spirit of unity, the Spirit who produces unity in the church, so that the Corinthians could not claim to have the blessing of the Spirit or His leading in their carnal actions and divisions.

-A miscellaneous note: There is unity in the ordinances, of course, Ephesians 4, as Pastor Brandenburg mentioned (and which is not in dispute whether we take 1 Corinthians 12:13 as “in one spirit” or “by one Spirit.”). Note, however, Ephesians 4:3—what is mentioned immediately before the ordinances? “the unity of the Spirit.” We do have a Spirit of unity who is mentioned in connection with the ordinances. We have a unity produced by (note the kind of genitive) the Spirit. What would a “spirit of unity,” if it is not talking about unified human spirits, be? And is there a phrase like this in Scripture?

“I would say to them that Paul is writing to the church at Corinth who are sanctified and called along with everyone else who calls upon the name of the Lord. I think that your view of "calls upon the name of the Lord" could affect your thinking here. The word order of the sentence backs up what I'm saying.”

If we are going to say that the calling on the Lord in 1 Cor 1:2 is pre-justification, rather than an act of progressive sanctification, I don’t know what do do with the continuing action of the present tense. Furthermore, note the parallels to other epistles:

“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia: Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Cor 1:1-2)

“ Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:1-2)

Now note again 1 Cor 1:1-3:

Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Is not the structure extremely parallel? Does not Paul give the benediction of grace and peace to the church at Corinth, and also to all those in every place that are calling on the Lord? There are two groups in 2 Cor 1:1-2; the saints at Corinth are certainly not the saints in Achaia, nor are the saints at Philippi all bishops and deacons. Why would the two groups connected with sun (“with”) in 1 Cor 1:1-3 be synonymous?

Thanks for the help!

Kent Brandenburg said...

Thomas,

You wrote: "Since the Spirit is "outpoured," why would we say that Spirit baptism is an immersion in the medium of the Spirit? Non-Baptists have used the fact of the pouring here as an argument against immersion. Why do Isaiah and Joel support an immersion in the Spirit? Thanks for the help."

I answer: John the Baptist is using a play on words. He said he came to baptize with water, but Jesus with the Spirit. We know that immersion does not always mean identically the same things. When Paul uses the word in 1 Corinthians 10:2, what were the children of Israel immersed in? They didn't walk under water across the Red Sea. He's not saying that the immersion of the Spirit is identically the same as immersion in water. When the Spirit was outpoured, believers were immersed. They were completely deluged and saturated with the Spirit when He came down, but the word was used mainly within the context of a play on words by John the Baptist.

You wrote: "I must not have communicated very clearly; I did not intend to say that the Spirit was the agency of water baptism (or Spirit baptism), nor that the Spirit was the instrument of water baptism. I intended to communicate that Christ baptizes "with" the Spirit in Spirit baptism (as Wallace says in the quotes I gave previously), and that the Holy Spirit leads believers to be added to the body of Christ by water baptism ("by one Spirit . . . 1 Cor 12:13)."

I answer: Can you show me somewhere else that en is used in the sense of "led by" (as you say it is being used here) anywhere else in the NT?

I didn't answer the next paragraph because you were simply explaining yourself.

Then you wrote: "I do not understand this point. As far as I can see, there is no article before Pneuma in 1 Cor 12:3 (2x). Furthermore, in 1 Cor 12:10, a non-articular pneuma is not a spirit of unity. Besides, a "number identifies the "amount" of the substantive, making it definite." (Pg. 248, Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics). The word "one" makes the Pneuma definite in 1 Cor 12:13."

I answer: I don't think I agree with Wallace on this with the number "one." Look at Acts 19:34. Is "voice" a definite now because of "one"? Are "mouth" and "mind" definite in Romans 15:6? I don't have a copy of Wallace handy here to look at (it's at home)

You wrote: "I don't think I understand this argument either. Isn't the order en-pneuma-verb (in Greek, of course) in Matthew 12:28, and 1 Cor 12:3 in the same chapter as 1 Cor 12:13? Also, if we are going to use word order to prove that 1 Cor 12:13 is a spirit of unity rather than the Holy Spirit, why is Philippians 1:27 verb-en-pneuma? Besides, why is word order a big deal here? I didn't make a note of it, since I don't understand how it is a valid point."

I answer: You gave a long list of references and said that they were parallel with 1 Cor. 12:13 in usage. I looked them up for the most part, but missed two, 12:3 and Matthew 12:28. 12:3 has a unique characteristic with the inclusion of the participle and how it is used, so I would throw that one out. Matthew 12:28 seems to treat the word order differently to simply because it doesn't want to associate the Spirit with devils. The translators chose to translate differently in 12:13 than 12:3 and Mt. 12:28. I said that they were not the same because of the word order. When "by one Spirit" is placed in the front of the verb, it has its purposes. I do believe that it makes a difference in the usage at times, so should be taken into consideration. If I said "we were all baptized in one Spirit," it would be different than "in one spirit are we all baptized." The read of the verse makes it different than your usages. I think you can see this if you try.

You wrote: "I agree that my paraphrase "led by the Spirit, you were all water baptized, etc." in 1 Cor 12:13 is adding words. But if we are adding words to say the spirit is a spirit of unity (adding "of unity,"), what is the difference? I also don't really understand what "in one spirit of unity you were all water baptized" means exactly. I am also not really sure what exactly a "spirit of unity" is either. Why can't Philippians 1:27 be saying that their human spirits are to be unified? Is the word pneuma used of something besides God the Spirit, human spirits, evil spirits, the wind, etc., so that it comes to mean "spirit of unity." If the pneuma of Philippians 1:27 is the human spirit, I do not see how we can get this idea into 1 Cor 12:13. (Then again, perhaps I will see after Pastor Brandenburg replies)."

I answer: I believe "spirit" in Philip. 1:27 is one human spirit. The implication of "unity" is strongly suggested by means of "one." We don't need to add "of unity." On the other hand, the word "led," actually adding a verbal aspect to "by" is reading much more into the text. I think you can see that too. Earlier I asked for another use of en in the whole NT, meaning "led by."

You wrote: "Furthermore, saying that 1 Cor 12:13a is "by one Spirit" does not mean that the idea of unity is absent. It is saying that the Holy Spirit, who is mentioned so many times in the verses immediately preceeding 12:13, is He who led them to unite themselves to the church at Corinth, and that He (to adopt appropriate lingo for this conversation) is truly the Spirit of unity, the Spirit who produces unity in the church, so that the Corinthians could not claim to have the blessing of the Spirit or His leading in their carnal actions and divisions."

I answer: Your explanation is awkward. I don't have a reason to believe it is what you are saying it means. I have plenty with mine—look at Romans 15:6.

You wrote: "-A miscellaneous note: There is unity in the ordinances, of course, Ephesians 4, as Pastor Brandenburg mentioned (and which is not in dispute whether we take 1 Corinthians 12:13 as "in one spirit" or "by one Spirit."). Note, however, Ephesians 4:3—what is mentioned immediately before the ordinances? "the unity of the Spirit." We do have a Spirit of unity who is mentioned in connection with the ordinances. We have a unity produced by (note the kind of genitive) the Spirit. What would a "spirit of unity," if it is not talking about unified human spirits, be? And is there a phrase like this in Scripture?"

You wrote: "If we are going to say that the calling on the Lord in 1 Cor 1:2 is pre-justification, rather than an act of progressive sanctification, I don't know what do do with the continuing action of the present tense."

I answer: You really don't know what you are going to do with a present tense that speaks of salvation? So what do you do with the present tense of pisteuo? Does someone stop believing in Christ once he has "believed" in Christ? Or can all saving belief be described by a present tense?

You wrote: "Furthermore, note the parallels to other epistles:

"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia: Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Cor 1:1-2)

" Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1:1-2)"

I answer: These two examples are different than 1 Cor. 1:1-3. The "with" in 1 Cor. 1:1-3 doesn't come after the audience of the epistle like your examples above. Also, in all of the usages, notice "with." He doesn't say "to Corinth and all the saints. He says "to Corinth with all the saints." That means something. He wrote to the church with at least the presumption that they would pass the book around to other churches when they were done. He didn't say "to" "and" "to," but "to" "with."

Anonymous said...

Dear Pastor Brandenburg,

Thanks for the reply. I will think about what you said. I don't have time to say more anytime soon.

Grace and peace in Christ,

Thomas Ross

Thomas Ross said...

A brief reply to a few of Pastor Brandenburg’s questions.


Pastor Brandenburg wrote, “Can you show me somewhere else that en is used in the sense of "led by" (as you say it is being used here) anywhere else in the NT?”

Yes, Luke 2:27:

“And he came by the Spirit (en to Pneumati) into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law.”

Here (as, I believe, in 1 Cor 12:13), “by the Spirit” means “led by the Spirit.” The idea is through the instrumentality of the Spirit. An instrumental sense is very common with the preposition en.

Pastor Brandenburg wrote, “I don't think I agree with Wallace on this with the number "one." Look at Acts 19:34. Is "voice" a definite now because of "one"? Are "mouth" and "mind" definite in Romans 15:6? I don't have a copy of Wallace handy here to look at (it's at home).”

Answer: Yes, they are definite. They certainly are not indefinite.

You wrote: "I don't think I understand this argument either. Isn't the order en-pneuma-verb (in Greek, of course) in Matthew 12:28, and 1 Cor 12:3 in the same chapter as 1 Cor 12:13? Also, if we are going to use word order to prove that 1 Cor 12:13 is a spirit of unity rather than the Holy Spirit, why is Philippians 1:27 verb-en-pneuma? Besides, why is word order a big deal here? I didn't make a note of it, since I don't understand how it is a valid point."

Pastor Brandenburg wrote, “I believe "spirit" in Philip. 1:27 is one human spirit.”

While I cannot say that I am at this time convinced that that is what the first part of 1 Cor 12:13 is about, since I don’t see much about the human spirit in the rest of 1 Cor 12, this does at least make the human spirit of unity position intelligible. I didn’t have any idea what this spirit of unity was supposed to be.

“You really don't know what you are going to do with a present tense that speaks of salvation? So what do you do with the present tense of pisteuo? Does someone stop believing in Christ once he has "believed" in Christ? Or can all saving belief be described by a present tense?”

Are we concluding from this that the lost man calling on the Lord for justification, allegedly taught in Romans 10:13, is the same sort of prayer as the saved person’s prayer, then? That the saved should pray sinner’s prayers their whole life? Saving faith, resting on Christ for righteousness and sanctification and redemption, does not change. Does this prayer for justification change?

--I’m sure I didn’t address everything, but time is not very ample right now. Grace and peace to Pastor Brandenburg and to all.

Thomas Ross said...

I was studying Spirit baptism in further detail myself for my ThM class on Pneumatology, and thought the "pouring out"=Spirit baptism a worthwhile thing to think about. Three questions:

1.) Did Spirit baptism happen only one time, Acts 2, or four times, Acts 2, 8, 10, 19? Can we somehow group the four into one?

2.) The verb "pour out" is used in Titus 3:5-6 in connection with the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration. How would you reply to someone who said that this use of the verb connects Spirit outpouring with Spirit baptism and thus Spirit baptism with regeneration?

3.) Why would baptism and pouring be connected, since baptism is by immersion?

Thanks for the help.