Since the Holy Spirit, not any kind of other “spirit,” is found in the first clause of 1 Corinthians 12:13, the question of whether the sense of en heni Pneumati is “by one Spirit,” as in the King James Version, or “in one Spirit.” Should the Greek preposition en be translated here as “by” or “in”? Arthur Pink, arguing in favor of an “in one spirit” position, wrote:
[T]he preposition translated ‘by’ in 1 Corinthians 12:13 is ‘en,’ which is translated in the N. T. ‘among’ 114 times, ‘by’ 142, ‘with’ 139, [and] ‘in’ 1863 times. Comment is needless. ‘In one spirit were we all baptized’ should be the rendering of 1 Corinthians 12:13.
Pink expresses the single major argument against the reading of the Authorized Version—the preposition en is translated in more frequently then it is translated by. This, however, is not by any means sufficient evidence that in is correct for 1 Corinthians 12:13. First, the fact that en “is the workhorse of prepositions in the NT, occurring more frequently and in more varied situations than any other” must be recognized. As the most common preposition in the New Testament, and one used in a greater variety of situations than any other, the size of the word’s semantic range must be recognized. While in is the most common translation, it is by no means the universal one, and there are hundreds of verses in the New Testament where it is simply not possible to properly translate the word as in. It is clearly invalid to affirm that because en is most commonly rendered in, it must be so translated in every instance. Such an argument must ignore around 900 uses of the word. Second, the underlying question is whether an idea of sphere, the common idea when in is the translation, or one of instrumentality, when by or with is commonly the translation, represents the idea in the text. The fact that instrumentality may be expressed in English with more than just by also points to the fact that comparing the frequency of that translation alone (to the exclusion of, e. g., with, the third most common translation for en) against the sphere notion emphasized through the rendition in underestimates the frequency of the instrumental use of en. Third, having concluded that the Pneuma of 1 Corinthians 12:13a is the Holy Spirit, not some other kind of spirit, a translation “by one Spirit” rather than “in one Spirit” follows, since advocates of the in translation—such as both Strouse and Pink, as cited above—at least nearly universally believe that the phrase does not refer to the “Spirit,” but to a “spirit.” Very few argue for “in one Spirit.” If “one Spirit,” not “one spirit,” is the correct translation, then “by” rather than “in” follows. Fourth, a consideration of the context of 1 Corinthians 12:13a must be determinative for the significance of the phrase. Both the immediate context of 1 Corinthians 12, and the comparative grammatical context derived by an examination of uses of en in connection with “Spirit,” Pneumati, evidence that by is the correct translation of en in 1 Corinthians 12:13.
The New Testament and wider Koiné background evidence that a consideration of action en Pneumati as “by the Spirit” is not uncommon. The LXX contains the instrumental sense of en Pneumati. One finds phrases with en and Pneuma signifying “by [the, thy, etc.] Spirit (cf. 1 Chronicles 28:12; Nehemiah 9:30; Micah 3:8; Zechariah 4:6). More importantly, when a reference to the Holy Spirit is in view, an examination of all New Testament verses where en is followed within four words by pneuma in the dative case will evidence that the definite majority of the time the locative en is not the intended sense. In the thirty references to this construction in the New Testament, only nine are rendered as “in the Spirit” in the Authorized Version. The other twenty-one are rendered otherwise, including twelve instances of “by the Spirit,” the most common single translation. The broad New Testament context supports the strong possibility that 1 Corinthians 12:13a should be rendered as “by the Spirit.”
The book context of 1 Corinthians, and specifically the immediate context of 12:13a in 1 Corinthians 12, supply overwhelming evidence that an instrumental use of the preposition en is in view in 1 Corinthians 12:13a, thus validating the accuracy of the translation by, as found in the providentially translated KJV. First, there is no instance of the sense required by the alternative locative translation of en as in elsewhere in Paul’s epistles to the Corinthians—the Spirit is not in them the medium of anything. Second, in contrast, the idea of the Spirit as the agent or instrument, as conveyed in the Authorized Version’s translation of the members of the church at Corinth submitting to baptism in water “by the Spirit,” are found throughout the epistles Paul wrote to Corinth. One notes elsewhere such phrases as “by his Spirit” (2:10) “by the Spirit” (6:11, 12:8, etc.), and many instance of the Spirit actively doing things, such as teaching (2:13). Third, since 1 Corinthians 12:13 refers to baptism in water, the medium of the baptism referred to in the verse is water, not the Holy Spirit. One is immersed in water, not in the Spirit, when one is baptized into a church’s membership, but the Holy Spirit is He who leads a believer to submit to water immersion. A Christian submits to water baptism “by the Spirit,” but water baptism is in water, not “in the Spirit.” Fourth, one notes that when en modifies the word Pneuma as a reference to the Holy Spirit, it always has an instrumental idea in the Corinthian epistles:
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.
6:11 kai« tauvta¿ tineß h™te: aÓlla» aÓpelou/sasqe, aÓlla» hJgia¿sqhte aÓll∆ e˙dikaiw¿qhte, e˙n twˆ◊ ojno/mati touv Kuri÷ou ∆Ihsouv, kai« e˙n twˆ◊ Pneu/mati touv Qeouv hJmw◊n.
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.
12:3 dio\ gnwri÷zw uJmi√n, o¢ti oujdei«ß e˙n Pneu/mati Qeouv lalw◊n le÷gei aÓna¿qema ∆Ihsouvn: kai« oujdei«ß du/natai ei˙pei√n Ku/rion ∆Ihsouvn, ei˙ mh\ e˙n Pneu/mati ÔAgi÷wˆ.
12:9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
12:9 e˚te÷rwˆ de« pi÷stiß, e˙n twˆ◊ aujtwˆ◊ Pneu/mati: a‡llwˆ de« cari÷smata i˙ama¿twn, e˙n twˆ◊ aujtwˆ◊ Pneu/mati:
6:6 By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,
6:6 e˙n Ôagno/thti, e˙n gnw¿sei, e˙n makroqumi÷aˆ, e˙n crhsto/thti, e˙n Pneu/mati ÔAgi÷wˆ, e˙n aÓga¿phØ aÓnupokri÷twˆ,
Fifth, the immediate context of 1 Corinthians 12:13 has a very great number of references to the Spirit as instrument or agent, employing a variety of Greek forms. Consider 12:8-13:
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. 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.
The previous verses consequently strongly indicate that 12:13a expresses the active action of the Holy Spirit. Finally, 12:11 affirms that the “one . . . Spirit . . . worketh,” indicating active agency, so the reference merely two verses later—which is even connected to v. 11 by the word “for” that begins v. 12, 13—to action “by” the same “one Spirit” is necessarily a reference to the Spirit’s agency or instrumentality. The context of the Corinthian correspondence validates what is required by the immediate context of 1 Corinthians 12:13a—the en heni Pneumati of that verse is a reference to action “by the Spirit,” not to something taking place “in the Spirit.”
1 Corinthians 12:13a properly signifies and is translated as “by one Spirit.” No reference to a “spirit of unity” or anything less than the third Person of the Trinity is exegetically viable. Furthermore, the preposition en is necessarily translated in this clause as “by.” The text indicates that the event referred to in the rest of the verse took place through the instrumentality of the Holy Ghost.
 “Does First Corinthians 12 Mean the Universal Church or a Local New Testament Church,” Arthur W. Pink (http://www.pbministries.org/books/pink/Miscellaneous/universal-or-local.htm). It should be noted that Pink did not always hold his (correct) local-only ecclesiological view that led him to his (incorrect) view of this specific clause of 1 Corinthians 12:13, but, in his own words from his article, “For almost ten years after his regeneration the writer [Arthur Pink] never doubted that the ‘body’ spoken of in 1 Corinthians 12 had reference to ‘the Church Universal.’ This was taught him by those known as ‘Plymouth Brethren,’ which is found in the notes of the Scofield Reference Bible, and is widely accepted by evangelicals and prophetic students. Not until God brought him among Southern Baptists (a high privilege for which he will ever be deeply thankful) did he first hear the above view challenged. But it was difficult for him to weigh impartially an exposition which meant the refutation of a teaching received from men highly respected, to say nothing of confessing he had held an altogether erroneous concept so long, and had allowed himself to read 1 Corinthians 12 (and similar passages) through other men’s spectacles. However, of late, the writer has been led to make a prayerful and independent study of the subject for himself, with the result that he is obliged to renounce his former view as utterly untenable and unscriptural.”
 The exact numbers cited by Pink may not be exactly accurate—Thayer’s Greek lexicon (elec. acc. Online Bible software) affirms e˙n is rendered as in 1902 times, by 163 times, with 140 times, among 117 times, on 62 times, through 39 times, and in other ways 265 times, for a total of 2801 references.
 pg. 372, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, Daniel Wallace.
 1Chronicles 28:12, kai« to\ para¿deigma o§ ei•cen e˙n pneu/mati aujtouv tw◊n aujlw◊n oi¶kou kuri÷ou kai« pa¿ntwn tw◊n pastofori÷wn tw◊n ku/klwˆ tw◊n ei˙ß ta»ß aÓpoqh/kaß oi¶kou kuri÷ou kai« tw◊n aÓpoqhkw◊n tw◊n agi÷wn. Nehemiah 9:30, kai« eiºlkusaß e˙p∆ aujtou\ß e¶th polla» kai« e˙pemartu/rw aujtoi√ß e˙n pneu/mati÷ sou e˙n ceiri« profhtw◊n sou kai« oujk hjnwti÷santo kai« e¶dwkaß aujtou\ß e˙n ceiri« law◊n thvß ghvß. Micah 3:8 e˙a»n mh\ e˙gw» e˙mplh/sw i˙scu\n e˙n pneu/mati kuri÷ou kai« kri÷matoß kai« dunastei÷aß touv aÓpaggei√lai tw◊ˆ Iakwb aÓsebei÷aß aujtouv kai« tw◊ˆ Israhl amarti÷aß aujtouv. Zechariah 4:6 kai« aÓpekri÷qh kai« ei•pen pro/ß me le÷gwn ou∞toß oJ lo/goß kuri÷ou pro\ß Zorobabel le÷gwn oujk e˙n duna¿mei mega¿lhØ oujde« e˙n i˙scu/i aÓll∆ h· e˙n pneu/mati÷ mou le÷gei ku/rioß pantokra¿twr.
 Romans 8:9; 9:1; 14:17; Ephesians 6:18; Colossians 1:8; 1 Thessalonians 1:5; 1 Timothy 3:16; Jude 20; Revelation 1:10.
 Matthew 3:11; 12:28; Mark 1:8; 12:36; Luke 2:27; 3:16; 4:1; John 1:33; Acts 1:5; 11:16; Romans 15:16; 1 Corinthians 6:11; 12:3, 9, 13; 2 Corinthians 6:6; Ephesians 2:18, 22; 3:5; 5:18; 1Pet 1:12;
 “But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you” (Matthew 12:28).
“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” (Mark 12:36). “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 2:27). “And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness” (Luke 4:1). “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” (Romans 15:16). “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” (1 Corinthians 6:11). “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” (1Corinthians 12:3). “To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit” (1Corinthians 12:9) “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” (1 Corinthians 12:13). “By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned” (2 Corinthians 6:6). “For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father” (Ephesians 2:18). “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” (Ephesians 3:5).