Romans 8:9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

Romans 8:9 is true literally concerning the Spirit of Christ.

What about the spirit of Paul in Colossians 2:5?

For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.


The apostle Paul could have used many prepositions, but he used σὺν, and in doing so, it is hard to fathom he meant anything but a literal presence with those in Colosse. Of course, when I say “literal,” I do mean literal, but not literally present in the body. Rather, he was literally present in the spirit.

The means by which this presence is achieved, though he be not with them in his body, is by means of the spiritual unity of the body of Christ. By being in Christ, Christians are united spiritually to one another by means of the Holy Spirit.1

For this reason, on the road to Damascus, the Lord Jesus asked Paul, “Why did you persecute me?”2 Did the apostle Paul ever persecute the Lord Jesus himself? Certainly not. But, the apostle Paul did persecute Christians, those who are “in Christ,” and by doing so, he persecuted Jesus, too, for Christians and Jesus Christ himself are united spiritually. For this reason, the Lord Jesus said, “...inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.”3 Indeed, the apostle Paul said that Christians in the body of Christ are “body parts of one another.”4 Therefore, “if one body part suffer, all the body parts suffer with it...”5

Because of this organic unity, the apostle Paul was literally present in the spirit with those in Colosse, just as those in Colosse were present with Paul, and every Christian present with one another throughout the entire world, by means of the Holy Spirit who unites all Christians.


        1 1 Cor. 6:17
        2 Acts 9:5
        3 Matt. 25:40
        4 Rom. 12:5
        5 1 Cor. 12:26


Just as in English, the Greek πνεῦμα (pneuma) has a variety of meanings - eight according to the BDAG classification.

The third of these meanings is "a part of human personality", eg, 1 Cor 4:21, Gal 6:1, Eph 4:23, 1 Peter 3:4, 2 Cor 7:1, Col 2:5, 1 Cor 5:3-5, 7:34, Mark 8:12, etc.

This meaning might also be translated as "disposition" or "attitude" as is, "By not sharing, the child displayed a selfish spirit". A few versions actually capture this idea:

  • NLT: For though I am far away from you, my heart is with you. And I rejoice that you are living as you should and that your faith in Christ is strong.
  • CEV: Even though I am not with you, I keep thinking about you. I am glad to know that you are living as you should and your faith in Christ is strong.

As Lucian has reminded me, this answer has similar ideas.

Does the biblical understanding of "coming together" require physical presence?

  • You nailed it also. I really wish that you weren't a Trinitarian because I could TRULY be with you in SPIRIT if you were not and that's an understatement. – Olde English Aug 23 '20 at 14:24
  • @OldeEnglish - Thanks for your kindness. A good friend of mine once said that we have the most to learn from those with whom we disagree. Thank you good friend. – Dottard Aug 23 '20 at 21:40

If I am a fan of FC Barcelona and suffer after having watched its latest catastrophic loss to Bayern 2:8 on TV, I can write to FC Barcelona fans in Barcelona: "Although I am not with you, but in spirit I am with you, for I also share your suffering and pain".

But if I am not interested in football at all (such strange people exist!), even if I am a citizen of Barcelona I will say: "Even though I am here with you, my fellow Barcelonians, but I am not with you in spirit, because I deem it stupid to be nervous about such a vanity as a loss of a football game, and even if all Barcelona goes stupid like this, I would not share this spirit, but I am in spirit united with those Christians all over the world who suffer for Turkish government ill-advisedly turning ancient Byzantine churches into mosques".

  • I may be a non-Trinitarian, which you are not, consequently I can't always agree with what you say, but you nailed this one. Love your football analogies. I too deplore Erdogan's wrong headed decisions on Byzantine churches, which of course sadly include that jewel of history, the Hagia Sophia. – Olde English Aug 23 '20 at 14:16
  • @OldeEnglish Thanks for your comment and estimation! Even though I used to be a professional tennis player, still enjoy watching football even more than tennis:) As to Trinidadian view, I am not Trinidadian out of, so to say, good life, but out of [theo]logical necessity derived from the Holy Scripture, that urges me to embrace the paradox of the Trinity. – Levan Gigineishvili Aug 23 '20 at 15:40
  • Yes, the "Trinidadian" was automatic "correction" of my spell-check which eluded my attention, yet, it means the same in Spanish. As to translations, I do not much care about them for I read original Greek, and those theologians, heroes of faith in times of persecutions, like e.g. St Athanasius, who, without any outward compulsion, found it a [theo]logical necessity to admit the Godhead of Jesus Christ, also read not translations but original Greek. Even a great Jewish scholar Daniel Boyarin admitted the Trinitarian interpretation of Exodus more plausible philologically than a Rabbinic one. – Levan Gigineishvili Aug 23 '20 at 18:28
  • So, you read and understand "Koine" Greek?? Further Q: If the Greek is to be the standard for "correctness" then why did the writers, or should I say COPIERS see fit to remove the name of God (JHVH, commonly expressed as JeHoVaH), shown more than 7000 times in the Hebrew, and replace the all important with "Kurios" and "Theos" and then use the same for Jesus, as these are mere titles and do not clearly differentiate between the two, if they weren't also biased towards the Trinity. To be frank: We don't know what the ORIGINAL Greek actually said. Lord's Prayer: Let your NAME be SANCTIFIED !! – Olde English Aug 24 '20 at 2:07
  • Even most pious orthodox Jews, more than two centuries before the incarnation of God's eternal Logos, translated the Hebrew Bible to Greek and used PIPI for tetragrammaton and also κύριος and θεός for God; they were not Trinitarians. Yes, "Let Your name be sanctified": the name is "Father" this being His eternal name, He eternally is Father, thus even before the creation, and since He is eternally Father, that analytically means that He eternally has Son-the Offspring, who is Logos, His co-eternal and co-Creator of the universe. It is clear and how can one not see it perfectly eludes my grasp. – Levan Gigineishvili Aug 24 '20 at 7:53

What about the spirit of Paul in Colossians 2:5?

For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.


The Greek word translated as “spirit” is “pneuma”,(from the Greek verb “pneo” =breath or blow) the basic meaning is of which is “wind” the movement of air. Wind is a force that we can feel but cannot be touched or seen In the scriptures, the writers used it in a variety of ways and translators have recognized the multiple uses of "spirit." It is used to mean wind, breath, spirit, one's own spirit, spirit persons, and Holy Spirit.

Paul expression,in Colosians 2:5 "I am present with you in spirit," means the following.

A person’s individual spirit, the emotions,thoughts , feelings and actions that emanate from a person’s figurative heart.

A few other examples of the same meaning in the scriptures.

Mark 14:38 (NASB)

38 "Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

John 13:21 (NASB)

21 "When Jesus had said this, He became troubled in spirit, and testified and said,

“Luke 1:80 (NASB)

"And the child continued to grow and to become strong in spirit, Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me.”

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