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Unlike English, other languages like Greek, Hebrews have something called "gender". That is, some nouns are masculine, others are feminine, and still, others are neuter. Something like we say in English, Emperor, and Empress. Greek has three pronouns "ho" (ο) is used for masculine nouns, "he" (η) for feminine nouns and "to" (το) for neuter nouns.

ΠΡΟΣ ΕΦΕΣΙΟΥΣ 4:30 1881 Westcott-Hort New Testament (WHNU)

30 και μη λυπειτε το πνευμα το αγιον του θεου εν ω εσφραγισθητε εις ημεραν απολυτρωσεως

Paul writes: "And do not cause grief to the holy spirit of God in which you were sealed for the day of redemption."

Group A --Ephesians 4:30

Ephesians 4:30 (DARBY)

30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which ye have been sealed for [the] day of redemption.

Ephesians 4:30 (NRSV)

30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption..

Ephesians 4:30 (YLT)

30 and make not sorrowful the Holy Spirit of God, in which ye were sealed to a day of redemption.

Group B-- Ephesians 4:30

Ephesians 4:30 (NASB)

30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

Ephesians 4:30 (NET Bible)

30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption

Ephesians 4:30 (KJV)

30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Ephesians 4:30 (NIV)

30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

Group A -- 1 Corinthians 6:19

1 Corinthians 6:19 (KJV)

19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

1 Corinthians 6:19 Darby Translation (DARBY)

19 Do ye not know that your body is [the] temple of the Holy Spirit which [is] in you, which ye have of God; and ye are not your own?

1 Corinthians 6:19 Y (YLT)

19 Have ye not known that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit in you, which ye have from God? and ye are not your own,

Group B-- 1 Corinthians 6:19

1 Corinthians 6:19 (NIV)

19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;

1 Corinthians 6:19 (NASB)

19 Or do you not know that your body is a [a]temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from [b]God, and that you are not your own?

1 Corinthians 6:19 N(NET Bible)

19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?

Question:

The holy spirit is neuter in the Greek language and would everywhere be translated "which" and arbitarily change to "who" or "whom", I consider it a biased translation.

Is there any linguistic justification that could justify it?

( Please use sound rules of Greek grammar to justify your answer either way for "who" or "which")

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  • In my research I have found that all old English bibles like KJV and before, put the spirit as neuter, IT and which, ex. Rom 8:16,26; 1Peter1:11. All other places where they use "he" is not for the spirit but for the masculine nouns "demon"(for evil spirit), and "helper". The new versions changed and corrupted the English grammar. NT Wright inserts the helper to clarify that "he" is for the helper in his translation in John 14:17 NTE This other helper is the spirit of truth. The world can’t receive him. The same assumption in all old bibles for using HE, it is for the helper.
    – Michael16
    Jul 31 at 12:59
  • If you ask this on linguistic SE, then let me know about it. Related: english.stackexchange.com/questions/571185/…
    – Michael16
    Jul 31 at 13:00
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First thing is that grammatical Gender is distinct from biological gender; the two often correlate but not always. For example: Acts 15:23 uses "brothers" to indicate both brothers and sisters.

In the case of the Holy Spirit (neuter in Greek), sometimes masculine and sometime neuter pronouns are used. Here is a sample:

  • The NT uses a masculine word παράκλητος to describe the Holy Spirit in John 14:16, 26, 15:26, 16:7.
  • In some places a masculine pronoun is used: John 16:7, 8, 13, 14, etc.
  • In other places the Holy Spirit attracts a neuter pronoun, eg, Eph 4:30, 1 Cor 6:19.

In the OT, we have a more complex grammatical gender applied to the Holy Spirit:

  • Isa 63:10, 11 - "Holy" is masculine while "Spirit" is common construct
  • The Hebrew word for "Spirit" is רוּחַ which is a feminine noun.

The issue here is not the gender (either grammatical or biological) of the Holy Spirit because God the Father and the Holy Spirit do not have biological gender except when the text uses anthropomorphic language.

The real issue here is about the nature of the Holy Spirit - is the Holy Spirit a person or not? And THAT is another question whose answer is based upon much else but ultimately cannot depend upon the gender of nouns in Greek.

APPENDIX - Personhood of the Holy Spirit

This will NOT answer the question but give a hint about what people say about the personhood of the Holy Spirit, at least in introductory form.

The passages in John 15:26 – 16:14 repeatedly talk about the Holy Spirit as a separate person from either the Father or Jesus.

1 Cor 2:10, 11 (see also Isa 40:13, 14) also identifies the Holy Spirit as a separate person because of His teaching and instructing function. See also Rom 15:19 and Ps 104:30.

In Matt 12:31, 32, Mark 3:28, 29, and Luke 12:8-10 the unforgivable sin is defined as blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. This is an expansion of Isa 63:10-14 where people grieved the Holy Spirit. Such a sin would not be even possible if the Holy Spirit were not both a person and divine. Note further, that these passages make a clear distinction between sinning against the Son or Father as opposed to the Holy Spirit, again, showing that the Holy Spirit is distinct.

In 1 Cor 12:11 it is the Holy Spirit who decides about spiritual gifts and their distribution. This passage attributes volition and sentience to the person of the Holy Spirit.

Possibly the best verses to demonstrate the individuality and personhood of the Holy Spirit is found in Rom 8:26, 27, which says –

  • In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know how we ought to pray, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans too deep for words. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
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    Dottard: tks , Vs 16:8 And when "He" comes, the correct Greek translation reads (εκείνος) "when that one" see NET Bible footnotes and Scrivener online interlinear. Both “that one” and “he” in this verse refer back to “the advocate,” mentioned in the preceding verse. Jesus used a figure of speech called personification when he spoke of the holy spirit, as a helper. I will answer you on the other verses, but can we move the discussion in chat Jan 30 at 12:11
  • @OzzieOzzie - that is the point - εκείνος is a masculine pronoun; but that illustrates the point above that grammatical gender does not determine biological gender nor personhood. Happy to chat further.
    – Dottard
    Jan 30 at 22:25
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The holy spirit is neuter in the Greek language and would everywhere be translated "which" and arbitarily change to "who" or "whom", I consider it a biased translation.

There is some truth in what you state here.

Is there any linguistic justification that could justify it?

( Please use sound rules of Greek grammar to justify your answer either way for "who" or "which")

The Greek grammar is clear:

Holy
Ἅγιον (Hagion)
Adjective - Accusative Neuter Singular
Strong's 40: Set apart by (or for) God, holy, sacred. From hagos; sacred.

Spirit
Πνεῦμα (Pneuma)
Noun - Accusative Neuter Singular
Strong's 4151: Wind, breath, spirit.

Just because the Greek noun is neuter, it does not mean that the English translation has to follow the same.
The issue is not with the Greek but English grammar. The English "who" or "whom" refers only to people; "which" can refer to people or things. Some translators prefer "whom"; others prefer "which" based on their English usages, not Greek. Their preferences might be due to their doctrines.

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