Trinity truth

Introduction

The nature of the Holy Spirit has long been a very controversial topic. It was not until 350 years after the cross (381 A.D.) that the Council of Constantinople was held by Emperor Theodosius to try and decide on the nature of the Holy Spirit. It was three Cappadocians that were steeped in Greek Philosophy who first decided that the Holy Spirit was another literal being like the Father and Son. So this belief never came from the Apostles but three men not grounded in the Word of God.

Many people assume that the Holy Spirit is a divine person like the Father and Christ based on references to the Spirit as “he,” “him” or “himself” in the New Testament. This confusion arises from two factors. The first is the use of gender inflected pronouns in the Greek language (a difficult concept to understand for those who speak only English).

And second is the bias on the part of some translators. In other words, if the translators have accepted the trinity doctrine as being true, then the translation performed by them will more than likely reflect their belief.

Why is the Holy Spirit Sometimes Called He or Him?

The romance languages deriving from Latin such as Greek, Spanish, French, Italian etc. assign a specific gender for every noun. Every object be it animate or inanimate is designated as masculine, feminine or neuter as in neither. But the gender is often unrelated to whether the item is masculine or feminine.

For example, in French the word livre, meaning “book,” is of the masculine gender and would be referred to by a pronoun equivalent to the English “he” or “him.” And in Spanish, mesa, meaning “table,” is in the feminine. Although these nouns have gender, their gender does not actually refer to being male or female as you can see. In English by contrast, most nouns that do not refer to objects that are male or female are referred to in the neuter sense with the pronoun “it.”

English uses separate gender forms only with pronouns (he, she, it). When speaking of people in English, grammatical gender is normally associated with the sex of the person indicated. For example, “He went to the shop,” says that the person who went to the shop was male, while “She went to the shop,” says that the person who went was female. When English speakers are not referring to people, they would normally, but not always, use the word “it” which does not specify gender.

So as already explained, every noun in Greek is always assigned a specific gender. But even nouns that do not refer to people may be masculine or feminine. For example, ἄρτος (Greek word for bread) is masculine, even though the object to which it refers is neither male nor female. And yet some words that do refer to people are assigned neuter gender. For example παιδίον (a Greek word for child) is neuter though a child is either male or female. Yet the word κοράσιον (girl) is also neuter even though it always refers to a female. So gender in Greek is a matter of grammar, not biological sex, even though most words that refer exclusively to males are assigned masculine gender and most words referring exclusively to females are assigned feminine gender.

The grammatical gender for “Holy Spirit” actually varies according to the language used. The grammatical gender of the word “spirit” is masculine in Latin (spiritus) and Latin derived languages such as German (Geist). While in the Semitic languages such as Hebrew (רוח), Aramaic and its descendant Syriac, it is feminine. But in Greek it is neuter (πνεῦμα). If speakers of a particular language were to confuse grammatical gender with physical gender, they could think the Holy Spirit was a male or female or neither. Such confusion of course does not affect the real gender or lack of gender of the Holy Spirit. For example, as just seen, in the Hebrew language which the Old Testament was written, the word translated “spirit,” ruach, is referred to with feminine pronouns. But the Holy Spirit clearly is not a female or a woman.

Since the Greek word pneuma for spirit is grammatically neuter, then in the same language, the pronoun referring to the Holy Spirit under that name should also be grammatically neuter.

However, the Greek word parakletos, which is translated “Counselor,” “Helper,” “Comforter” and “Advocate” in John chapters 14 to 16 is a masculine word in Greek, and thus is referred to in these chapters by Greek pronouns equivalent to the English “he,” “him,” “his,” “himself,” “who” and “whom,” which are grammatically correct in Greek. But to translate these into English as “he,” “him,” etc., is actually grammatically incorrect.

For example, you would never translate a particular French sentence into English as “I'm looking for my book so I can read him.” While this grammatical construction makes sense in the French language, it is wrong in English. In the same way, to suppose on this basis that the Holy Spirit is a person to be referred to as “he” or “him” is incorrect. Only if the parakletos or helper were known to be a person could the use of a gender inflected pronoun justifiably be used in English. And the term parakletos certainly does refer to a person in 1 John 2:1 as it refers directly to Jesus Christ.

Many believe that the Comforter is the Holy Spirit as a literal being, and one of the reasons some assume this is because the pronoun “he” has been used since parakletos is masculine. But the Comforter is actually Christ coming to us through the Spirit, that is the Spirit of God, not a literal being. So using pronouns such as “he” or “him” for the Greek word parakletos, being a masculine word would be correct in the sense of physical gender, as Christ through the Spirit is our Comforter. But the grammatical gender “he” or “him” is still technically incorrect for English translations.

There is absolutely no theological or Biblical justification for referring to the term “Holy Spirit” with masculine pronouns, even in Greek. The Greek word pneuma, translated “spirit” (but also translated “wind” and “breath” in the New Testament) is always a grammatically neuter word. Thus in the Greek language, pronouns equivalent to the English “it,” “its,” “itself,” “which” or “that” should be used in referring to this word translated into English as “spirit.”

When the King James or Authorized Version was produced (early in the 1600s), the doctrine of the Trinity had already been accepted for more than 1,000 years. So naturally the translators of that version, influenced by that belief, usually chose personal rather than neutral pronouns when referring to the Holy Spirit in English. For example, John 16:13-14 "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you." Romans 8:26 "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."

However, this wasn't always the case. Notice that in some passages in the King James Version the translators did use the proper neuter pronouns. For example, Romans 8:16 KJV says, “The Spirit itself [not himself] beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” And similarly, Romans 8:26 KJV says, “the Spirit itself [not himself] maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” In these cases the translators correctly used neuter pronouns because the Greek word pneuma, translated “Spirit,” is neuter in gender.

Another example is Matthew 10:20 KJV where Jesus says, “For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which [not who] speaketh in you.” Another is 1 Peter 1:11 KJV which refers to “the Spirit of Christ which [not who] was in them.” The King James Version translators did use the proper neuter pronouns in these verses.

Regrettably, later English translators of the Bible have gone further than the King James translators in referring to the Holy Spirit with masculine rather than neuter pronouns. Thus the Holy Spirit is almost always referred to as “he” or “him” in the more modern versions. This reflects not linguistic accuracy, but the doctrinal bias or incorrect assumptions of Bible translators who wrongly believe the Holy Spirit is a person. So here is one more way that Satan tries to convince us of a lie.

Here are the same two examples from the New King James Version and the New International Version:

Romans 8:16 NKJVThe Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
Romans 8:26 NKJVbut the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Romans 8:16 NIVThe Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.
Romans 8:26 NIVbut the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

See the pagan origins of the trinity doctrine and how they decided the Holy Spirit was a literal being nearly 400 years after the cross. And who really gets the worship if the Holy Spirit is worshipped as a third being?

Does Scripture refer to the Holy Spirit as a He?

Some assume the Holy Spirit is a literal being as they claim the Bible always calls the Holy Spirit a “he” or “him.” But this is incorrect as there are in fact two verses that “directly” call the Holy Spirit “it.” And yet you would never, ever, refer to the Father or Son as “it.” So how can the Holy Spirit be an individual co-equal being as they are? Modern translations that come from the Catholic sources (codex Vaticanus) have deliberately changed these words from itself to Himself to hide this fact to try and make the Spirit appear as another being. This is not only dishonest but is changing the Word of God which carries severe penalties. Below are the two verses from the KJV which are correctly translated with correct grammatical gender.

Romans 8:16 KJVThe Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

Romans 8:26 KJVLikewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

While there are verses that “directly” call the Holy Spirit “it,” there is in fact not one single verse that “directly” calls the Holy Spirit a “he” or “him,” which would be a contradiction of Scripture if there were. But there are five passages in John that “indirectly” call the Holy Spirit “he” or “him” in three consecutive chapters. Since the Holy Spirit cannot be called both “it” and “he” or “him,” then there has to be something different about these verses and who and what they are referring to. The answer becomes very clear once you know who the Comforter is. Because every single one of these verses which are all given further below, are all referring to the “Comforter” and the “Spirit of truth” which is the very same person. So who is the Comforter which is also called the Spirit of truth that guides us into all truth? It is in fact Christ by His Holy Spirit. This is why the personal pronouns “he” and “him” are used as John was specifically referring to Christ even if it was by His Spirit.

John 14:6, 16-23, 28Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another [Greek=allos:another of the same kind] Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knows him: but you know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but you see me: because I live, you shall live also. 20 At that day you shall know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 He that has my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. 22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that you will manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? 23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 28 You have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you.

In v. 16 Jesus says He will send “another” Comforter but leaves no doubt as to who He meant in v. 18. In unmistakable words He says “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” This “other Comforter” is none other than Christ Himself in another form (Spirit form). He is not seen (physically) as He was when He was here on earth. He is removed from the eye of sense, but He is still with us in Spirit. The Comforter is referred to as the Spirit of truth in v. 17 which is the first time Christ reveals He is referring to Himself in this passage. Ten verses earlier Jesus says, “I am the truth” (v. 6) and by His Spirit He is the “Spirit of truth.” In v. 17 we also see that the Comforter is someone whom the world cannot receive because it does not know Him. But Christ tells His disciples that they know Him for He is dwelling with them. The only one with them is Christ. In verse 19 Christ says that in a while the world seeth me no more referring to His death and resurrection, so in v. 18 and 19 Christ is saying that though He is leaving, He will not leave them Comfortless and is going to come back to them. So the disciples knew it was Christ who was going to return to them as their Comforter but did not understand how. And so Judas, not Iscariot, asks Christ how is He going to manifest Himself to them as the Comforter and not unto the world? (v. 22). How did the disciples understand “another Comforter?” Did they understand that Christ was talking about someone else? No! This Judas understood perfectly that it was Christ who was coming back to them and not someone else. Notice that his question is not “who” but “how?” And so he was not wondering “who” but he did wonder “how” Christ was going to manifest Himself to them as their Comforter. The answer is: by His Spirit which is something they did not yet understand.

For Adventists: “That Christ should manifest Himself to them, and yet be invisible to the world, was a mystery to the disciples. They could not understand the words of Christ in their spiritual sense. They were thinking of the outward, visible manifestation. They could not take in the fact that they could have the presence of Christ with them, and yet He be unseen by the world. They did not understand the meaning of a spiritual manifestation.” — (E.G. White, SW, September 13, 1898)

Note also that the Comforter could not be given until Jesus had returned to His Father and was glorified because He comes back to us by His Spirit to be with us and Comfort us unto the end of the world. Matthew 28:20lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.John 16:7I 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.John 7:39for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.” The giving of the Comforter through the Holy Spirit would not have been dependent on Christ returning to the Father and being glorified first unless it was Christ Himself that was returning by His Spirit.

So we also find in verse 28 that Jesus says, “You heard me say, I am going away and I am coming back to you.” That is, after Christ returns to His Father and is glorified, He returns as our Comforter by His Holy Spirit for the first time on the day of Pentecost, which was the promise of the Father (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4). So those who have the Holy Spirit have Christ as their Comforter who will comfort them and guide them into all truth even unto the end of the world. Who is more qualified to comfort us other than someone who has lived and suffered as one of us and knows what it is like to be tempted? It is also Christ who gives us power to overcome sin as He was the one who conquered sin on the cross. So from the day of Pentecost onwards, “God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.Galatians 4:6

So it should now be very clear that Christ is our Comforter who is also called the Spirit of truth. And for further clarity, here are four ways Scripture reveals Christ is the Spirit of truth.

1) John 14:16-17, 26; 15:26 reveals the Comforter is the Spirit of truth and the Comforter is Christ. “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.John 14:18
2) John 14:6 says Jesus is the truth and by His Spirit He is the Spirit of truth. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life:John 14:6
3) The Spirit of truth does not speak of Himself; it is the Father that tells “Him” what to speak and that “Him” is Christ. See John 8:28; 12:49; 14:10, 24 and 16:13 below.
4) The Spirit of truth is also to show us things to come which Revelation 1:1 tells us it is Jesus Christ which is once again revealed to Him by His Father.

John 16:13Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.

Notice in John 16:13 above that the Spirit of truth (Christ) does not speak of Himself but speaks what He hears from someone else. In the verses below we find that someone else is His Father. Jesus does not speak of Himself but what the Father instructs Him to say. And that remains the same when Christ returns as our Comforter and the Spirit of truth. Even by His Spirit, He does not speak of Himself but speaks what He hears from His Father. That is what He shall speak.

John 12:49For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.

John 14:10The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me,

John 14:24He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which you hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.

John 8:28When you have lifted up the Son of man, then shall you know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father has taught me, I speak these things.

The Spirit of truth is also to show us what things are to come which we find in Revelation 1:1 is also Christ. Just as the words He speaks are from His Father, so are the things to come that He is to show us. And hence we find all Scripture lines up without any contradiction or inconsistencies as truth always does.

Revelation 1:1The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass;

Below are the five passages in John that “indirectly” call the Holy Spirit “he” or “him.” Note that many fail to realize that Jesus often speaks of Himself in the third person as He has in the passages below which confuse many. For example: In the following verses Christ is the one speaking and you will note that He refers to Himself in the third person as if He is referring to someone else. Jesus said, “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?Luke 18:8. Jesus “said unto him, Do you believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? And Jesus said unto him, You have both seen him, and it is he that talketh with you.John 9:35-37. “These words spoke Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify your Son, that your Son also may glorify you: As you have given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as you have given him.John 17:1-2.

Note also that the Greek word for another is “allos,” which means another of the exact same kind and hence means another as the same kind as Christ. Jesus was present with His disciples in physical form but after His ascension He comes back in another form, that is, by His Spirit. Hence the “another” is His Spirit. Since Christ's Spirit can function independently of Himself, it is like His Spirit is “another.” And because it is His Spirit, it is “another” of the same kind. If the Comforter was someone different, then John would have used the word “heteros” meaning another of a different kind. Note also that light gray text is added by the KJV translators. Also, the word (he) in parenthesis does not exist in the original Greek text and is an added pronoun by the translators according to grammatical gender to make it read correctly in English.

John 14:16-17And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another [allos] Comforter [paraklētos], that (he) may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knows him: but you know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

John 14:26But the Comforter [paraklētos], which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

John 15:26But when the Comforter [paraklētos] 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 16:7-8Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter [paraklētos] will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

John 16:13-14Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, (he) will guide you into all truth: for (he) shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever (he) shall hear, that shall (he) speak: and (he) will show you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for (he) shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.

1 John 2:1 also reveals that Jesus is our “parakletos” which means “advocate and comforter.” John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7 above and 1 John 2:1 below are the only verses in the Bible that use this Greek word. So the Greek text reveals that our Comforter and advocate is Jesus Christ the righteous.

1 John 2:1if any man sin, we have an advocate (Comforter) [paraklētos] with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

Jesus is our Comforter and Advocate

So why is the Comforter which is also called the Spirit of truth a HE? Because it is Jesus Christ the righteous by His Holy Spirit! It is not some third being as made up by the Catholic Church long after the Bible was completed.

So these verses in John and only these verses use He or Him while indirectly referring to the Holy Spirit because they are referring directly to Christ even though it is by His Holy Spirit. Christ is a He!

For Adventists: If the above information is correct then Ellen White will also teach that the Comforter and the Spirit of truth are the Spirit of Christ, and she must therefore state that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ.

Does Ellen White confirm that Christ is the Comforter?

This refers to the omnipresence of the Spirit of Christ, called the Comforter.” — (Ellen G. White, 14MR 179.2)

Let them study the seventeenth of John, and learn how to pray and how to live the prayer of CHRIST. HE is THE Comforter. He will abide in their hearts, making their joy full.” — (Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, January 27, 1903)

As by faith we look to Jesus, our faith pierces the shadow, and we adore God for His wondrous love in giving JESUS THE COMFORTER.” — (Ellen G. White, 19MR 297.3)

To the poor and oppressed and downtrodden of earth, Christ says, “If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, even the Spirit of truth, (which is Christ formed within the hope of glory,) whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not: but ye know him, for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless. [John 14:15-18 quoted]” — (Ellen G. White, Ms24, February 22, 1898)

Christ is to be known by the blessed name of Comforter. “The Comforter,” said Christ to His disciples, “which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you, [John 14:26 quoted]” — (E.G. White, Ms7-1902, January 26, 1902)

The Saviour is our Comforter. This I have proved Him to be.” — (Ellen G. White, 8MR 49.3)


Since the Comforter is also called the Spirit of truth then Ellen White must also confirm this is Christ.

JESUS comes to you as the SPIRIT of TRUTH; study the mind of the Spirit, consult your Lord, follow His way.” — (Ellen G. White, 2MR 337.1)

The SPIRIT of TRUTH is the only effectual teacher of divine truth; those who are taught of Him have entered the school of CHRIST. How must God esteem the race, that He gave His Son to die for them, and appoints HIS SPIRIT to be man's teacher and continual guide.” — (Ellen G. White, Signs of the Times, October 24, 1906)

Christ was about to depart to His home in the heavenly courts. But He assured His disciples that He would send them another Comforter, who would abide with them forever. To the guidance of this Comforter all who believe in CHRIST may implicitly trust. HE is the Spirit of truth, but this truth the world can neither discern nor receive.” — (E.G. White, 12MR 260.1)

We cannot be with Christ in person, as were His first disciples, but HE has sent HIS Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth, and through this power we too can bear witness for the Saviour. [John 16:13 quoted]” — (E.G. White, Ms30, June 18, 1900)

And since the Comforter and the Spirit of truth is the Holy Spirit, then Ellen White must also teach that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ or she is not being consistent and would be contradicting herself.

The HOLY SPIRIT is the SPIRIT of CHRIST, which is sent to all men to give them sufficiency, that through His grace we might be complete in Him.” — (Ellen G. White, 14MR 84.3)

The HOLY SPIRIT is the SPIRIT of CHRIST; it is His representative. Here is the divine agency that carries conviction to hearts. When the power of His Spirit is revealed through the servants of God, we behold divinity flashing through humanity.” — (Ellen G. White, 13MR 313.3, 1895)

We want the HOLY SPIRIT, which is JESUS CHRIST. If we commune with God, we shall have strength and grace and efficiency.” — (Ellen G. White, Lt66, April 10, 1894)

God help us that we may be sanctified through the truth and that sanctification shall have its influence to leaven those that are around us—not the leaven of malice, not the leaven of jealousy, not the leaven of evil surmisings, but it is the leaven of the SPIRIT of JESUS CHRIST, which is sent down from heaven, called the HOLY GHOST, and that Spirit affects the heart and the character.” — (Ellen G. White, Ms36-1891)

CHRIST has left HIS HOLY SPIRIT to be HIS representative in the world, to give celestial aid to every hungering, thirsting soul.” — (Ellen G. White, Lt84, October 22, 1895)

CHRIST came to our world, but the world could not endure His purity. He has gone to His Father, but HE has sent HIS HOLY SPIRIT to represent HIM in the world till he shall come again.” — (Ellen G. White, Ms1, January 11, 1897)

Christ could not be in all places and with everyone at the same time in human form, but through the Spirit, He could be with everyone as their Comforter. So Christ comes as our Comforter through the Holy Spirit, which He sends to us, and when we receive the Holy Spirit, we are receiving both the Spirit of the Father, and through the spirit, His Son also.

Cumbered with humanity, CHRIST could not be in every place personally; therefore it was altogether for their advantage that He should leave them, go to His father, and send the Holy Spirit to be His successor on earth. The Holy Spirit is [Christ] HIMSELF, divested of the personality of humanity, and independent thereof. He would represent HIMSELF as present in all places by HIS Holy Spirit, as the Omnipresent.” — (Ellen G. White, Lt119, February 18, 1895)

And so the Holy Spirit which is the Spirit of Christ is called both the Comforter and the Spirit of truth.

The HOLY SPIRIT is called both the COMFORTER and the SPIRIT OF TRUTH, because there is comfort and hope in the truth. A falsehood cannot give genuine peace; but through the truth we become partakers of the peace that passeth understanding.” — (E.G. White, Gospel Workers, 310.2, 1892)

See who is the Holy Spirit according to Ellen White for detailed information.