God is an Old Testament word rendered from the Hebrew word – Elohiym- and a revered word used by religions that base their beliefs on the creator of heaven and earth. Research into the word Elohiym has been an eye opener and another word that has affected my beliefs. I found that all Hebrew nouns are derived from their root word, which are normally verbs. However, there seems to be some controversy over how Elohiym should be rendered. Some believe that the word Elohiym is rendered from the root words of either El or Eloah. In reality, Hebrew is a language that has been altered and influenced while they were subject to the domination other nations, thus scholars have traced the word elohiym back to the word Allah. However, Allah is somewhat distasteful to Christian's because of its Islamic connection.
The Jewish culture is monotheistic with a belief that there is only one true God. In the Hebrew culture the word - elohiym - is called the majestic plural. On the other hand, Trinitarians believe the word – Elohiym - to be plural intensive based on the idea that elohiym is a plural word placed in a within a singular sentence structure. Whether the word is majestic plural or an intensive plural Elohiym is rendered by the definition of personal belief. The problem is that everyone does not adequately understand the way to render the word elohiym. Christian reference books have provided much information to help serious men and women of God to study the Bible and sometimes that information is not adequate or makes sense. Thus the rendering method may be misunderstood and other opinions just adds fuel to the controversy.
I returned to Adam Clarke's commentary where it said every noun in the Hebrew language is derived from a verb and considered this rule of Hebrew grammar. However, there is one rule in grammar that seems to be universal in all languages, the content of the sentence must be in agreement with number to prevent confusion. Plural intensive and the majestic plural appears to be an exception to the universal rule because the plural word Elohiym is surrounded by singular words.
Hebrew Scholars believe that the use of Elohiym in this surrounding elevates the majesty and greatness of God. On the other hand the majority of Christian reference sources agree in that the word elohiym is an -intensive plural. The term known as - intensive plural - is not generally known or fully explained because of its usage is rare. To the orthodox Jew the word elohiym is called the majestic plural and the Jewish clergy teach that elohiym refers to a - great and awesome God. Whether it is intensive plural or the majestic plural both terms have the ability to take things up a notch and place an emphasis on the person of God. Thus the intensive plural may produce the same results as the majestic plural and elevates God to a high and lifted up God.
The general rule of thumb is when Elohiym is used for the God of creation that Elohiym relates to one united and true God. However, when Elohiym is used to describe false Gods, idols, or the gods of other nations Elohiym was always used in the plural tense because of the many gods that pagan’s worshipped.
In chapter one of Genesis, there are nine examples of the phrase "and God said". Eight of those phrases are combined in sentences that describe elohiym in singular words. Genesis 1:26 is the exception, the Hebrew word (Nashe) was rendered as "Let us make." The plurality of the verbs gave Elohiym a plurality. However another law of Hebrew grammar called the "royal he" forces us to consider whom God was speaking to at the time he said let us make. It is obvious that man had not yet been created to hear these words. To the orthodox Jew the audience who heard the command was God’s royal court of advisors. From the Christian perspective it is logical to say that anyone reading God’s word becomes the audience God intended to hear those specific words.
Because of the unity of God the father and God the Son, the probability of Jesus Christ being in the royal court is very good. The unity of God would also place Jesus on the scene of creation since he was directly involved in the creation of the world and made everything. John 1:1-3 corroborates this thought.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. John 1:1-3
For the amateur bible enthusiast like I have been all along, I wanted the evidence to prove God was more than one person. I only understood that elohiym was plural, but failed to understand why God was singular or how the intensive plural meaning could change the meaning.
Then things changed and the need to know more about the Hebrew language grew. Considering the arrangement of the subject and verb in the Hebrew language is in a different order I also learned that in most foreign languages, the use of articles, conjunctions, pronouns and prepositions are determined by the verb adjectives and adverbs.
To the orthodox Jew, God is the creator and origin of all things, the almighty one, the sovereign one, and known as "I am who I am." To the Hebrew people God is a being that was highly revered as holy having a extremely sacred name. The intensive plural brings out another point because when we use the term Elohiym we can speak of the entirety of God. To most Christians, God the father, God the Son and the Holy Spirit are all considered one united God in the same manner that the Majestic plural speaks of one true God. Still we can use this intensive plural to speak of one true God, but clarify God at the individual level by saying God the Father and God the Son. Please consider that while – Elohyim – is plural, it does not express a exact number of persons in the divine nature.
The Words Used In The Bible.
The study of grammar began with the Greeks, who were pursuing thoughtful consideration about languages and how language structure was described. This knowledge was later passed on to the Romans, who translated the Greek names for the parts of speech and grammar into Latin. With the spread of Christianity, the need to translate the Scriptures into the languages of Christians in other lands became apparent. The bible had to translate in a clear and precise way and represent the intent of the author. Today public schools teach every student the basics of communication to enhance their reading and writing skills, which is beneficial for handling reports at work later in life. In our spiritual life several phrases within the Bible has been taught 0and equated as the Holy Spirit, contradicting good grammar.
Words are important especially when they establish what, where, when, why, how and the way you are to live in God’s sight. When you live by faith to please God, his word should be the constitution that governs the personal decisions you make. Christians should consider the written word of God, which are the directions of a loving father given to help his children in making lasting and beneficial decisions. However, God’s word should be read and understood by the laws of Grammar that was taught in the public schools.
Interpretation should at all times convey God's ideas in context with the scriptures and in the manner that represent his intent. God is sincere and chooses his words well. God has an excellent command of every language used by man and each word is specifically chosen to completely express God's intent. The word of God is very important to those who study God's word and they spend more time to clarify words for the benefit of a deeper understanding of God. Because words have precise meanings, you may want to use more than one dictionary of the original language to gain insight on the information in question.
The final page of God's word was written over 1800 years ago and since then the meaning of words has changed significantly. Although the meaning of the original words have changed the newer versions produced in the last 40 years have taken those changes into account. Still the laws of grammar were used to translate God’s word into English and the grammar of the original language demanded added words for American versions of the bible. These added words help Americans understand the content of the bible the way we would write our thoughts.
No translation is perfect so even the more recent versions of God's word contain the same errors due to personal beliefs of the translators. The truth is that the majority of errors are still made at the individual level by the method of interpretation. One problem is that bad interpretation is passed down to the next generation through traditional teaching. These teachings contain human logic and appear to sound, but fail to stand up to scrutiny. Your priority to know God and the amount of time spent in study, points to the main culprit and why errors are made while interpreting God's word. What is amazing is that the power of truth still works its way to the surface regardless of who does the interpretation.
Spirit of God.
If you were asked to tell other Christians what the "Spirit of God" meant to you, you would instantly say the Spirit of God refers to the Holy Spirit. However, if you were asked to tell other Christians what the "word of God" meant to you, you would refer the words God has inspired through the prophets.
When I was a child, every church leader taught that the Spirit of God was as another name for the Holy Spirit. It is understandable to see how the average Christian would see this term in a different context. The doctrine of the Trinity gives those who study God's word a preconceived notion of how to interpret the phrase Spirit of God. The name of the Holy Spirit is so synonymous with the Spirit of God that when one sees the Spirit of God, without giving it any thought, one exchanges the name of the Holy Spirit with the Spirit of God.
Here is where the doctrine that is being taught comes into conflict with the laws of grammar and the need to listen to the way this phrase is written. How would you interpret – the Spirit of God – if these words were not capitalized in your bible and the doctrine of the Trinity did not exist? Wouldn’t you read – the Spirit of God – as a spirit belonging to God, as you were taught to read in the Public Schools?
Lets remember that uneducated men wrote the majority of God’s word. Things like punctuation and placing his word into paragraphs came as the original manuscript was reproduced. Centuries of study developed the tenets of the church, which placed God into a neat package to unify the Church. Understanding the reason God used the phrase Spirit of God as he did is not generally pursued.
One word is all it takes to change the idea that one express accurately so lets look at the word -of- in the phrase Spirit of God. What would happen if the Spirit of God was not a name or title of the divine, but interpreted as the spirit - of – God was a phrase. From a grammar standpoint the preposition - of - has been placed in the sentence before the noun God. This arrangement modifies the relationship of God to the Spirit. Prepositional phrases contain prepositions such as; at, by, for, from, in, of, on, to, or, with and usually precede a noun. Prepositions also serve as adjectives when they follow the noun. Notice the preposition follows the noun - Spirit, but also precedes the noun - God. This seems like nonsense when you consider that the word -of - was derived from the Hebrew word for Spirit. The Hebrew language does not have prepositional words in its language, but translating Hebrew into English demanded that the word – of – be placed in the sentence to express thought for thought properly.
This preposition describes the thought – from - in several ways. Inserting any form of – from - between these nouns could express the same Idea. For example, the Spirit comes from God, or the Spirit originates from God. In addition the same thought would be presented as the spirit belonging to God.
Is the Spirit of God a title for the Holy Spirit or a descriptive phrase for God? The answer is not in the eye of the beholder, but something discerned. Our preconceived notions become valid reasons that we use to defend our beliefs. The outcome is that some doctrines, which are theological in nature, are treated with greater respect than the actual biblical truth. In theology, the Spirit of God has become a name that identifies a theoretical person known as the Holy Spirit.
However, the theology of other people needs to be separated from your personal relationship with God. Your theology should be developed from a personal relationship with God and based on what transpires between you and God. The Internet has many articles on the Holy Spirit and it shows that there are as many versions about the Holy Spirit as there are people. Who does one trust, other people or the Lord for your biblical information? Isn’t it better to get information straight from the source of knowledge?
Holy Spirit Is A Noun.
Taking anything at face value when you study God's word is not a good policy, but it happens. The Holy Spirit is a phrase in three verses of the Old Testament that contains two nouns known as the - Holy Spirit. In English grammar, nouns have a general function of identifying people, places and things. This particular Hebrew word (holy) is only used to describe the furnishings of the Tabernacle and the places where God stood. In Hebrew grammar this noun was not used to describe a person.
Qodesh from Hebrew #6944 meaning - a sacred place or thing; rarely abstract, sanctity: which were rendered in the King James as, Consecrated hallowed and holiness, holy, saint, sanctuary.
The name - Holy Spirit - occurs three times in the Old Testament but in the translating a need for an possessive pronoun was needed to convey the though correctly. In these occasions the possessive pronoun – your - was derived from the word – Holy - Psalms 53:11 and a possessive pronoun – his - was derived from – Holy - Isaiah 63:10&11. God inspired – Holy - in this expressed manner through the knowledge of David and Isaiah about the Holy Spirit. Pronouns are substituted for a previously mentioned noun, but because of the dynamics of the Hebrew language these particular pronouns were derived from the word – Holy - to meet the needs of the English language. The possessive pronouns derived from the noun - Holy - have the primary function of identifying the Holy Spirit as a possession of Jehovah elohiym.
Holy in the New Testament is an adjective which is different the noun Holy (Qodesh) in the Old Testament. The Greek word – Hagios - is the adjective equivalent of the Hebrew word – Qadosh. The word spirit – hagios – is again in conflict with doctrine versus grammar. Hagios is an adjective that describes the state of God's Spirit as being Holy.
Both Testaments shows a relationship between God and the Holy Spirit through personal pronouns. First we should consider how Jesus Christ and God the Father used personal pronouns to express their relationship to the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ used the words – he - and -him - to describe the Holy Spirit, but the father used the words - my - to describe the Holy Spirit from his perspective. The Father and Son related the Holy Spirit in the way knew him, as Jesus Christ used the words – he - and – him - to describe another person, then God spoke of the Holy Spirit as a personal possession - not as a person.
'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Joel 2:28, Acts 2:17.
He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22
Many terms were developed long after the bible had been completely written. Therefore, we must consider how God would describe himself as a triune God and then search the creation for that picture because God said his divine nature is clearly seen from what he made. Paul wrote these words about God.
For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature -have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. Romans 1:20
Did God create anything with a triune nature or describe the Holy Spirit as a person of the divine? God the father used the possessive pronoun's – his - or – my - to describe the Holy Spirit in the Old and New Testament. Joel’s prophecy was written in the Hebrew language as My Spirit and Peter repeated Joel’s prophecy in Greek in the same manner. Inspired by God, Peter also described how God poured – his - spirit on the believers of his day. Jesus Christ returned to the father and received the promise, which he poured out on the day of Pentecost. This pouring is God's way to anoint his followers with power from on high to wash and regenerate his children. Paul used the Spirit in the New Testament as if the Spirit was legal tender saying his Spirit is the deposit that would keep the things he purchased until the day of redemption.
The personal pronouns used by the speaker reflect his knowledge and beliefs. Paul was inspired by God to use the pronoun – his - to connect the Holy Spirit to God. In Ephesians 2:20-22 Paul reveals that Christ is in us rebuilding our lives into a temple that God can dwell in by his Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, the name of God is used with an apostrophe to show possession, as in the example below.
Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
The passage above depicts who you are in God’s sight. The apostrophe is used to show that you are a possession of God and the place where God lives. Paul calls your body a sacred place for worship to convey the thought that your body is a temple three times. Paul also conveyed the thought that the Spirit was God’s possession. In addition Paul wrote that your body was the temple of the living God.
For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people." 2 Corinthians 6:16
Jesus spoke of his unity as being in the father and the father being in the son. As his ministry drew to a close Christ widen this unity to include God’s children. Referring to the day he would come into the heart of man he said. In that day you will know that the father is in me and I am in you. When Jesus Christ comes into your life your temple is swept clean so God can live in your body to work with Christ for the purpose of renewing the old man into the image of Christ. This unity takes place within your life when you allow God to sink his roots into the depths of your heart.
Is God A Rational Being?
God is a spirit who initiated an organized creation of rational beings with an abundant infrastructure to support his creation. Secondly, God is a rational being who is aware of his own existence.
I AM WHO I AM" Exodus 3:14 "I am the God of your father the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob/' Exodus 3:6
These are the expressions of awareness of Elohiym. "I AM WHO I AM" is a simplified way to say that Jehovah was a self-existent being whose origin is beyond human comprehension.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. John 1:1-2
I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty." Revelation 1:8
Christ was the one to come to the people of the Old Testament. He was the anointed one, the Messiah the savior of the world. God exalted Christ to his throne and has seated Jesus Christ at his right hand side. His name was proclaimed among men as the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. Thank God he took the time to tell us about himself.
If God is to effectively communicate to man through his written word, his word must be written in a way that agrees with the laws of grammar. Our minds must be open to what the word of God expresses regardless of what other Christians believe. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of God for he has promised to share his wisdom with you.