Holy Spirith - The GhostAs anyone familiar with the KJV will notice, when speaking of the Spirit, the translators were not always consistent. The translators translated pneuma as “Spirit,” but translated pneuma hagios as “Holy Ghost.” Here are some examples where the difference can be seen within the same verse:

• Luke 4:1 And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,
• John 1:33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.
• John 7:39 But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
• Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
• 1 Corinthians 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.

I was tempted to conclude that, for some stylistic reason or due to cultural conventions, the translators preferred to translate pneuma by itself as “Spirit,” but pneuma hagios as “Holy Ghost.” But I have discovered that they did not always translate pneuma hagios (or its Hebrew equivalent) as “Holy Ghost.” Consider these passages:

• Psalm 51:11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them.
• Isaiah 63:11 Then he remembered the days of old, Moses, and his people, saying, Where is he that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock? where is he that put his holy Spirit within him?
• Luke 11:13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
• Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
• Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
• 1 Thessalonians 4:8 He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.

Does anyone know why the KJV is inconsistent in their use of “Holy Spirit” and “Holy Ghost”?1 I was inclined to think it may be due to different translation companies or different translators working on different books, but the Gospel of Luke uses both “Holy Spirit” and “Holy Ghost.” Does anyone have a better theory or explanation?

 

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1 “Holy Ghost” is used 90 times in NT, while “Holy Spirit” is only used four times. In the OT, the translators only used “Holy Spirit” (three times).

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