Friday, February 03, 2012

Spirit Baptism—the Historic Baptist View, part 16; the Alleged Reference in 1 Corinthians 12:13, part 7

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.[1]
Pink expresses the single major argument against the reading of the Authorized Version—the preposition en is translated in more frequently[2] 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”[3] 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).[4]  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[5] are rendered as “in the Spirit” in the Authorized Version.  The other twenty-one[6] are rendered otherwise, including twelve instances of “by the Spirit,” the most common single translation.[7]  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.

Note that this complete study, with all it parts and with additional material not reproduced on this blog in this series,  is available by clicking here.

[1] “Does First Corinthians 12 Mean the Universal Church or a Local New Testament Church,” Arthur W. Pink (  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.”

[2] 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.

[3] pg. 372, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, Daniel Wallace.

[4] 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.

[5] 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.

[6] 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;

[7] “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).


Kent Brandenburg said...

I'll say again that Thomas overstates his case repeatedly here. You can all read and take with a grain of salt. We want the truth, and if it is what Thomas is stating, then we want what he is stating. He says that the only major argument for "in one spirit" is the predominance of "in" as a translation or usage of the Greek preposition en. Not true. Again, if you look at Philippians 1:27, the exact same Greek phrase is also translated in. That Greek phrase occurs two other times besides 1 Cor 12:13, and one of them, in a much similar context to 1 Cor 12, translated it "in one spirit." That seems like kind of a major argument. So this is overstating the case. I talked about that before, and he does it again here.

THomas Ross said...

You can see part six for the spirit/Spirit discussion. Part 7 is based on part 6, so if part 6 does not prove "Spirit," it does indeed weaken the case in part 7 for "by," but if part 6 does prove "Spirit," then the argument in part 7 is strengthened.

Anonymous said...

For Mr. Ross,

I have been reading these articles with interest. A couple of clarifications:

First, you teach that pneuma in I Cor. 12:13 must be the Holy Spirit because of the context of the preceding verses in that chapter, but in one of your previous articles on Matthew 3:11 you say that "fire" is not judgment fire, even though in the context of the preceding verse (Matthew 3:10) and the following verse (Matthew 3:12) clearly judgment fire is in view. If the context of Matthew 3 does not demand judgment fire perhaps the context of I Corinthians 12 does not demand the Holy Spirit in 12:13.

Second, in your part fifteen you use the phrase, "the Holy Spirit leading the members of the assembly to receive immersion." Your sentence indicates the existence of non-immersed assembly members. Do you just mean attendees?

Finally, if the absence of the article before pneuma in I Cor. 12:13 does not support the view of men like Strouse and Mr. Brandenburg, then what do you think it means? Why is the article absent in 12:13 but not absent from the previous references?

Mr. Brandenburg,

In the comments of part fifteen you brought up the possibility of some readers thinking you should separate from Mr. Ross because of your essential doctrine position. If you don't mind, could you talk about that sometime.

Thank you both,


Thomas Ross said...

Dear Bob,

I am glad you have been reading the articles on Spirit baptism with interest. In relation to your questions:

1.) I will answer this one at the end.

2.) I believe my sentence was: “Paul teaches that the members of the church at Corinth, led by the Holy Spirit, were all baptized in water to join the membership of that local assembly.” They became members by baptism. Certainly an unbaptized person cannot be a member of a Baptist church.

3.) Let me quote from pgs. 245ff of Daniel Wallace’s Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics:

Though by definition an articular noun is definite, an anarthrous noun may also be definite under certain conditions. As was mentioned earlier, there are at least ten constructions in which a noun may be definite though anarthrous. . . . There is no need for the article to be used to make the object of a preposition definite. . . . 2) Object of a Preposition . . . There is no need for the article to be used to make the object of a preposition definite. . . . 3) With Ordinal Numbers . . . The number identifies the “amount” of the substantive, making it definite. . . . 6) Monadic Nouns . . . A one-of-a-kind noun does not, of course, require the article to be definite (e.g., “sun,” “earth,” “devil,” etc.). One might consider pneuma as monadic when it is modified by the adjective hagion. If so, then the expression pneuma hagion pneuvma a‚gion is monadic and refers only to the Holy Spirit.

Thus, in the phrase en heni Pneumati, “by one Spirit,” since Spirit is the object of a preposition, it is modified by a number (although a cardinal number), and the Holy Spirit is one of a kind, like the Father and the Son as nouns representing the members of the Godhead, Greek grammar supports Spirit as definite in 1 Corinthians 12:13 very strongly. Indeed, nowhere in the NT or the LXX does one find a phrase such as by one Spirit where there is a Greek article modifying the phrase. Therefore, arguing that someone or something other than the Holy Spirit is specified because of nonarticularity is not a very good argument.

Thomas Ross said...

4.) By the way, my doctrine of Spirit baptism is the same as that of both Pastor Brandenburg and Dr. Strouse, so separating over holding the same doctrine of Spirit baptism might not be the best idea. I am thankful for the advocacy of the historic Baptist doctrine of Spirit baptism by both men.

5.) Here is my response to your first question. In relation to Matthew 3:11 and fire baptism as being eternal damnation, allegedly, please note that I had written the following:

It should be noted in relation to this argument, the strongest one for connecting fire baptism and eternal damnation, that the fact that the Lord Jesus will do what is stated in v. 11, and will also do what is stated in v. 12, do not make the two synonymous. Verse twelve refers to the eschatological gathering of the saints to glory and the related damnation of the lost. Spirit baptism does not denote anything in v. 12. Nor does fire baptism, either in the synonymous or in the eternal torment view, have anything to do with the eschatological gathering of the saints as wheat into the garner at harvest time. Thus, an affirmation that the judgment of v. 12 defines fire baptism as eschatological damnation must explain why the entry of believers into glory is not Spirit baptism, and thus why v. 12 defines the fire baptism of v. 11 but does not define the Spirit baptism of the same verse.

Furthermore, I had given ten reasons in a previous post to justify my view that Spirit and fire baptism are synonymous. If one wishes to affirm otherwise, I believe it would be well to deal with those reasons. I have reproduced them below for ease of reference.

Thanks, Bob, for the comment.

Thomas Ross said...

While one who believes that the baptism with fire of Matthew 3:11 and Luke 3:16 refers to the damnation of the unconverted in hell-a position that should not be easily dismissed from the connection of the word “fire” in Matthew 3:11 to that in 3:12-can still agree with the conclusions made above concerning the connection between Spirit baptism and the church, the position that baptism with fire is synonymous with Spirit baptism deserves serious consideration and should be considered correct for a number of reasons. First, the reader of the gospels could very easily conclude that they were synonymous. One who simply reads “I indeed baptize you with water . . . but . . . he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire” (Matthew 3:11; Ego men baptidzo humas en hudati . . . de . . . autos humas baptisei en Pneumati Hagio kai puri; cf. Luke 3:16) could very easily think that the same “you,” the “you” that receives water baptism, also receives both the Spirit and fire. Baptism Pneumati Hagio kai puri would reasonably be viewed as being received by the same individuals at the same time, as both “Spirit” and “fire” follow a single en in connection with the single verb “baptize.” Furthermore, the men/de clause confirms the association of the several instances of “you” in the verse.

Thomas Ross said...

Second, Acts 1:5 refers back to Luke 3:16. Why would not the entire action of the verse, the “Holy Spirit and fire” baptism, happen at the same time? Third, in Acts 2:3-4, the baptism with the Spirit and the appearance of “fire” on the heads of those Spirit-baptized happens at the same moment. Would not Theophilus, reading Luke-Acts, recall Luke 3:16 and think that this was the baptism of the Holy Ghost and of fire? Fourth, the gospel accounts in Mark 1:8 and John 1:33 both record only baptism with the Spirit; fire is not mentioned. This fact suggests that there is one baptism with the Spirit and fire, since neither Mark nor John believed the reader needed to hear about fire baptism as a distinct event; simply mentioning Spirit baptism covered both “Spirit and fire.” Fifth, in Acts, only a record of Spirit baptism as a fulfillment of John's preaching is recalled from the gospels (Acts 1:5; Luke 3:16) and recorded (Acts 2), suggesting that baptism with the Spirit and fire was a single event predicted by John. Sixth, the parallel between Spirit baptism's validation of the church and the coming of the shekinah on the Old Testament tabernacle and temple supports the unity of the two baptisms.

Thomas Ross said...

Seventh, while one who believes baptism with fire is eternal torment affirms that one either receives Spirit baptism or fire baptism, the disciples in Acts never told anyone that, since they did not receive Spirit baptism, they were going to get fire baptism. Eighth, while Spirit baptism was a one-time event, the lost who die are cast into hell moment by moment, day by day, so the baptism with fire would seem not to be a one-time event, but something daily repeated, indeed, something that is occuring continually worldwide. Parallelism between the two would then be minimal. One who wished to extenuate this difficulty might argue that the baptism with fire refers to the postmillennial future after the Great White Throne judgment, when all the lost in Hades are cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15). In that case, while all the lost, throughout the entire Old Testament and into the Millennium, get cast into the lake of fire and thus allegedly receive fire baptism, only the tiny fraction of church age saints connected with the events in Acts receive Spirit baptism, thus making the two baptisms most discontinuous. John the Baptist also did not prophesy that all the lost would receive the baptism of fire-at the very least, people in the Old Testament dispensation are not referred to in his preaching. Were fire baptism the eternal torment of all the lost of all ages, its fulfillment would be strikingly different than its prediction. Ninth, no passage states that the eternal state of the lost is a fulfillment of the baptism of fire-the conclusion is an implication drawn from what are not foolproof premises. Last, maintaining that fire baptism is synonymous with Spirit baptism, on the historic Baptist view elucidated below, makes both Spirit and fire baptism, like literal immersion in water, ecclesiological, not soteriological events. Christ gathered His church from those who had received the baptism of John, and it is the same church that received the baptism with the Spirit in Acts 2. John made “ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17) by bringing them to salvation and then baptizing them, so that they could be part of the congregation Christ was gathering (John 3:29), which the Savior later authenticated by baptizing His assembly with His Spirit. For one to affirm that fire baptism is damnation in hell is to move this latter baptism from the realm of ecclesiology to that of soteriology and eschatology. As literal baptism is not a means of receiving salvation, so no metaphorical reference to baptism in the New Testament is ever clearly soteriological. The cumulative weight of the reasons above lead to the conclusion that, while the position that the baptism with fire is the eternal damnation of the lost deserves serious consideration, the position that the baptism with the Spirit and fire is a single event should be preferred.

Anonymous said...

Bob here again. Thank you Mr. Ross for your responses. A couple of follow up points please:

My first question was more about your hermeneutics than your view of Matthew 3:11. In your article on I Corinthians 12:13 you state, "The eleven references to the word pneuma, "Spirit/spirit," in I Corinthians 12:3-13, uniformly refer to the Holy Spirit. Changing "by one Spirit" to "in one spirit of unity" is very contrary to the context.

My question was: if Matthew 3 can go from "fire" being judgment fire to "fire" being Spirit baptism back to "fire" being judgment fire within three verses, could not I Corinthians 12 go from the Holy Spirit to a spirit of unity as men like Mr. Strouse and Mr. Brandenburg say? So I don't think the context argument is your strongest argument for your view of pneuma in I Corinthians 12:13, because you are not consistent with that argument in your view on Matthew 3.

I'll put my next follow up point in a separate entry.


Anonymous said...

Second, in part 15 of your article, in part 6 of the section that deals with I Corinthians 12:13, under small letter "d," in the fifth full paragraph, you write the following:

"Strouse affirms that I Corinthians 12:13 refers to "a spirit of unity" that the assembly possessed when its members received water baptism, rather than to the Holy Spirit leading the members of the assembly to receive immersion. However, the idea that I Corinthians 12:13 refers to "a spirit" of unity rather than the third Person of the Trinity cannot be sustained exegetically."

So my question about the above quote was: what do you mean when you say that the Holy Spirit leads "the members of the assembly to receive immersion"? Should you change "members" to "attendees" or something else?

Furthermore, regarding your above assertion, I do not see a form of the verb "to lead" in I Corinthians 12:13, but I do think your argument would perhaps be stronger if those words were added.

Finally, thank you for the quote from Mr. Wallace, but my question was: why does Mr. Ross think the article is not present with pneuma in I Cor. 12:13? Mr. Strouse says Paul left it out ("differentiated it") to make the point that pneuma is not the Holy Spirit. You say Mr. Strouse's view of pneuma there is false. I understand that. But how would you explain the absence of the article with pneuma in that verse but its presence with pneuma in the previous verses? Why the differentiation?

Incidentally, regarding your statement about separation as it relates to you and Mr. Brandenburg, I was commenting on Mr. Brandenburg's comment only.

As always, thank you for your time and efforts.


Thomas Ross said...

Dear Bob,

1.) The argument from the context for fire baptism being damnation in Matthew 3 is its strongest point by far, and it deserves consideration, although, for the reasons I gave, I don't believe it is decisive. In 1 Cor 12 I see nothing in the context that would be comparable to indicate that suddenly the human spirit is in view.

2.) At the time Paul wrote 1 Cor 12:13, the Corinthian church members were already members, who had in the past been led by the Spirit to receive immersion to become members.

3.) The Greek syntax of 1 Cor 12:13 indicates that Pneuma is definite. There is no comparable construction in the NT or LXX where an article is put in. Adding an article would be worse Greek. I believe that someone who is familiar with the Greek NT would see this very clearly. Unlike English, there is no indefinite article "a" in Greek. The construction of 1 Cor 12:13 is definite though nonarticular.

Please consider the explanation I gave before:

Thus, in the phrase en heni Pneumati, “by one Spirit,” since Spirit is the object of a preposition, it is modified by a number (although a cardinal number), and the Holy Spirit is one of a kind, like the Father and the Son as nouns representing the members of the Godhead, Greek grammar supports Spirit as definite in 1 Corinthians 12:13 very strongly. Indeed, nowhere in the NT or the LXX does one find a phrase such as by one Spirit where there is a Greek article modifying the phrase. Therefore, arguing that someone or something other than the Holy Spirit is specified because of nonarticularity is not a very good argument.

Thanks for commenting.

Thomas Ross said...

Dear Bob,

The contextual argument for fire baptism as hell is by far the best point for it, and it is why the view deserves consideration. In my view, it is not decisive, based on the reasons I gave above. I certainly would not dismiss context as an important factor in hermeneutics. In 1 Cor 12:13, the context is very strong in favor of the Pneuma being the Holy Spirit, and there is nothing comparable to the reasons I gave on the meaning of “fire” to be different in Matthew 3 to conclude that the human spirit is in view in the verse. I believe that the contextual argument in Matthew 3, while it has weight, is not decisive because of the double-digit number of reasons I provided, while I see nothing that would override immediate context for 1 Cor 12:13.

The members of the church at Corinth were members at the time the epistle was written. When they were baptized, they became members. Thus, the current members had, in the past, become members by receiving baptism. The Holy Spirit had, in the past, led those who were now members of the church at Corinth to receive baptism in the past.

The article is not present with Pneuma in 1 Cor 12:13 because Greek syntax shows that the phrase is definite without the article, for all the reasons Wallace mentioned in his grammar book. There are no parallel constructions in the NT where the article is present, because the phrase is definite without the article because of the syntax. The Greek article does not work in exactly the same way as the English definite article (and Greek has no indefinite article). No article should be present in the syntax to make the verse refer to the Holy Spirit.

Thanks again, Bob.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Ross,

Thank you for your responses. Regarding your answers to my first two questions: I get what you are saying, and you have given me something to think about. With your answer to my third question: I still don't quite see what you are saying, but I guess we'll have to leave it at that. For the time being I seem to agree more with the position espoused by Mr. Brandenburg. As you hinted at before, the fundamental core of the doctrine of Spirit baptism is not affected by the tertiary doctrine of the identity of pneuma in I Corinthians 12:13. Thank you again for your time and a profitable discussion.