1 & 2 Thess.
1 & 2 Timothy
1 & 2 Peter
Gifts of the Spirit
Section F - Word Studies
There are nine words in the Greek which are translated in the AV by the word ‘gift’:
anathema, doron, dorea, dorema, doma, dosis, charisma, merismos and charis.
Anathema is a votive offering and should be translated as "offerings" at Luke 21:5.
Charis (2 Cor. 8:4) should be translated "grace" (V) or "favour" NASB.
Dorema occurs in Rom. 5:16 and James 1:17 and means the thing given rather than the act of giving (V).
Doron - 18 times gift, 1 as offering (Y) - has several meanings but none of which refer to the Holy Spirit.
Dosis denotes the act of giving and is translated as "thing bestowed" in James 1:17 (NASB).
This leaves four words that concern us.
Merismos is no problem, as it is only used twice: once as "dividing asunder" and by the AV as "gift" in Heb. 2:4. The word should be translated as "distributions" (Y, NASB mg).
Dorea (sometimes dorean or doreas) occurs 11 times and always of a divine or spiritual gift
(John 4:10; Acts 2:38; 8:20; 10:45; 11:171; Rom. 5:15, 17; 2 Cor. 9:15; Eph. 3:7; 4:7;
Heb. 6:42). Dorea is used in Acts 2:38 and in all places throughout Acts for the Holy Spirit gifts. A
gift is that which is given or transferred to another’s possession, without price or any equivalent value being received
in exchange. For what it is worth 3 four other occurrences for a total of 8 out of 11 (73%) refer to the miraculous gifts.
Charisma (or the plural4 charismata) is the gift of God involving grace charis and occurs 17 times.
Please note that the word charismata does not occur in Ephesians at all though it is obvious that the Spirit gifts (or i.e. ecclesial offices) certainly are in Ephesians 4:8, 11.
The basic idea of the word is that of a free and undeserved gift, of something given to a man unearned and unmerited, something which comes from God’s grace and which could never have been achieved or attained or possessed by a man’s own effort. Romans 6:23 gives us this essential meaning.
1 See also Solution VIII at Acts 2:38,39.
2 The ones in italics refer to the Holy Spirit gifts. Sometimes one needs to look carefully at the context to determine this. "The Greek word dorea is not unlike the English word 'gift', in that it's perfectly capable of being used to refer to a variety of 'things given', and it's the context that needs expounding in order to establish what the word is referring to in any particular case." Reg Carr, Email to author 11/4/2012
3 It is a well-known principle of precise Biblical exegesis that a person cannot prove the meaning of a word by reference to other Bible writers and other books of the Bible (as some have attempted to do with dorea).
4 It may be a bit hard to follow the logic but the claim is made that "dorea is always singular and charisma, which is used for the Spirit gifts, is always plural." This is an attempt to say that dorea cannot refer to the Spirit gifts. However, in Romans 1:11, 2 Tim. 1:6 and 1 Peter. 4:10 charisma is singular.
5 See table on page 93 or http://www.christadelphia.org/books/spirit/Acts.htm.
6 see Vines’ suggestion P. 147 (V).
It is advisable to clarify as much as possible the meaning of the adjective "Holy" that so often qualifies the word "Spirit". Some claim that it has, in biblical usage, moral and ethical qualities associated with it. But the basic meaning of "Holy" (Heb. qodesh pronounced Ko-desh) is "separation or an object set apart" (Y). The basic meaning of the Greek hagios (translated holy (ones), saints) is also "separate, set apart" (Y). It is used of all baptized believers regardless of their moral1 standing. This word only indicated that they had been "separated" to God through the redeeming work of Christ. The title "Holy Spirit" therefore, seems to be used to emphasize that it is God’s power separated, focalised and specially directed towards redemption whether in His relations with Israel (in the O.T.) or through His work in Christ (in the N.T.).
1 e.g. in 1 Cor. 3:3 Paul said "Ye are carnal" yet only 13 verses later:
"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwelleth in you ... the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." (v.16 and 17).
We have already considered this subject1 in sufficient detail to establish the fact that all the functions of the Parakletos were entirely miraculous in character and that it continued only as long as the Apostles lived. To do a detailed word study on the cognate forms of the word is perhaps profitable but hardly necessary as it does not alter the above facts. It is felt, however, that the following paragraphs2 may help to round out the points already established.
Many theories which claim we have the Spirit lean heavily on the modern sense of the English word "Comforter" and on the many cognate forms of the Greek Parakletos that are often translated "comfort" by the AV. It is interesting to note, however, that most of the modem translations, recognising that a process of weakening of the meaning of the 17th century English "comfort" has taken place, largely abandon the word as a translation of the verb parakaleo or the noun paraklesis, and use instead phrases like "encourage" (Weymouth, NEB, and MOFF), "stimulating courage" (Phillips) and "reassure" (Jerusalem Bible). In many cases, even in the AV, the translators have recognised that these cognate Greek forms have an even stronger and more specific meaning, and the words are rendered "beseech" (2 Cor. 5:20 AV - in connection with Paul’s Spirit-guided ministry as an "ambassador for Christ"), "intreaty" (2 Cor. 8:4 AV) or, significantly, "appeal" (Rom. 12:1 MOFF) and "plead" (Matt. 8:5 Jerusalem Bible).
As for the word parakletos itself, though scholars are notoriously ‘brittle reeds’, and often disagree with one another, yet one of them writes: ‘It must be remembered without fail that the Hebrew word nicham (translated parakaleo in the LXX) does not by any means signify "console"; it signifies "comfort out of sorrow", not "comfort in sorrow". The essential meaning of the Hebrew word is "relief, change", and the translation "comfort" is misleading. The true meaning of the word is seen in John 16:7,8’. Confirmation of this categorical pronouncement, and justification of the rendering "Advocate" in the NEB, comes in fuller detail from Harvey’s NEB Companion to the New Testament, the following extracts from which are worth quoting here concerning John 14:16: ‘To borrow a technical term from Jewish legal procedure: they would find that they had a paraclete, an advocate (the original word parakletos was Greek, but it had been taken over into Jesus’ own language, Aramaic, in the form paraclete). In a Jewish court, a plaintiff or a defendant was entitled to enlist the help, not only of witnesses to the facts, but of a person of high standing who might give him personal support ... and… make the case appear in a more favourable light… The paraclete influenced the judge’s decision ... by the weight of his personal authority… When they found themselves on trial for their faith, the Spirit would prompt them with the right words for their defence (Mark 13:11): in this sense, the Spirit was already their Advocate. Moreover, John is about to make Jesus depict the present confrontation between Christianity and the world as a trial, in the course of which the Spirit plays its part as the Christians’ Advocate".
1 See John 14 - 16 and additional notes thereafter.
2 from TEST, Vol. 45, P. 163.
The Spirit of God
We know, for example that the Spirit of God was the means by which things were created:
"And the Spirit of God moved ..." (Gen. 1:2).
We know that by His Spirit all living things have the breath of life: "If He gather unto Himself His Spirit and His breath; all flesh shall perish" (Job 34:14).
We know also that by His Spirit God is omnipresent:
"Whether shall I go from Thy Spirit?" (Psa. 139:7)
While these truths are too profound for our finite minds to understand fully, we can accept these statements and they cause us no real problems.
Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God gathered up and focalized for the work of salvation.
The Angels and the Holy Spirit
The angels, which are "spirits", (Psa. 104:4) are God’s agents in the use and control of the Holy Spirit as far as His dealings with man is concerned. These ministering spirits are sent forth to do service for them that shall inherit salvation.
Spirit1 - some uses and meanings
"Spirit" - ruach in Hebrew, and pneuma in Greek –
is one of those plastic words which depend for their significance upon the context. It cannot be kept in the groove of a precise definition. This may appear a little confounding at first sight, but in reality it is the inevitable state of the case with regard to a word of such primitive origin. All its meanings are cognate. Both originals translated "Spirit" have the same radical significance. Ruach (Heb.) is from the verb ruach, to breathe or blow; pneuma (Greek) from pneo, to breathe or blow;
Every use of the word "Spirit" must, therefore, be traceable in some way to this primitive idea of breathing or blowing and we find this is so. It is used for breath in such passages as "All flesh wherein is the breath (ruach) of life" (Gen. 6:17);
"In whose hand is every living thing and the breath (ruach) of all mankind" (Job 12:10).
Pneuma is translated "life" in Rev. 13:15. But of course the most common translation of the word is "Spirit". In considering the meaning of this form of the word it is well to observe that "Spirit" itself comes from a Latin verb of precisely the same derivation as ruach, and pneu, viz., spiro, "to breath". "Spirit" is therefore etymologically the correct equivalent of pneuma. But theology has spoiled the etymology of the word by fixing upon it a meaning not etymologically derived. This has created all the difficulty. The only certain way to determine the significance of "Spirit" is to collate its applications. When we read that the Israelites "hearkened not to Moses for anguish of spirit" (Exod. 6:9), we naturally understand the word differently from what we do in 1 Sam. 30:12, "And when he had eaten, his spirit came again to him". In the one case it refers to a state of mind, and in another to the life energy of the body. In Daniel was found an excellent "spirit" (Dan. 5:12). This refers to intelligence and disposition; but when we read "No man hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit ... in the day of death" (Ecc. 8:8) we naturally understand it as in Ecc. 12:7,
"Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was; but the spirit (that is, the life) return to God who gave it";
in both of which the word has a very different meaning from what it has in Josh. 5:1; "And it came to pass when all the kings of the Amorites… heard that the Lord had dried up the waters of the Jordan from before the children of Israel their heart melted, neither was there any spirit (i.e., courage or heart) in them any more"5.’
1 These occurrences of pneuma, together with Section C, cover every occurrence of the word in the New Testament.
2 See Section C - "John 14-16 Additional Notes ‘Jesus’ Angel".
3 see notes on Romans. The usage where spirit = the new nature in the child of God, because "begotten" in us by God’s word, is quite common, especially in Paul’s writings.
4 A figure of speech by which a part (the new inner man) is put for the whole (i.e. Synecdoche).
5 Robert Roberts, "The Declaration", (London, The Dawn Book Supply), P. 10.
In the English N.T. "Word" is mainly a translation of two Greek words -Logos and rhema. Both these words are translated in other ways but mostly5 by "word". Rhema has been defined in the following ways
"that which is spoken, a sentence; saying, speech, discourse ..." (B)
This "word" Rhema is important to our understanding of the subject under consideration.
LOGOS - the spoken Gospel
"Over the years Platonic mysticism has so corrupted Bible truth that the very words in which God’s truth was once set out have become altered in meaning and carry Platonic overtones8." Logos is one of these words. The primary meaning of Logos is something spoken9 but through the efforts of the Neo-Platonic philosophers it has acquired the characteristic of thought rather than speech.
We remember, for example, that God always speaks before He acts (Amos 3:7). When there are people there, they hear that declaration. (Psa. 33:9)
i.e. "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard" (1 John 1:1).
Note how the first words which describe the Word of life include the idea that the Word was heard.
"There is a vast difference between a spoken or written word, which is presented to men and offers them a choice of obeying or disobeying, and an ‘Experience’ which influences man’s morals and behaviour by some unseen and mystical means. The Scriptures bear abundant record to the fact that God chose to approach men by the first method. The other is the invention of men, originating in distant pagan thought."10
As ‘ho logos’ in the LXX means "the spoken word of the LORD"11 so also "Ho logos", the word becomes almost a synonym for the gospel message in the New Testament. Mark tells us that Jesus preached the word to the crowds (2:2). In the parable the seed that the sower sowed was the word (Mark 4:14). It was the work of Paul and his friends to preach the word (Acts 14:25). Most often this word is said to be the word of God (Luke 5:1; 11:28; John 10:35; Acts 4:31; 6:7; 13:44; 1 Cor. 14: 36; Heb. 13:7). Sometimes it is the word of the Lord (1 Thess. 4:15; 2 Thess. 3:1), and once it is the word of Christ (Col. 3:16). Barclay suggests that these genitives are both subjective (the word which God gave) and objective (the word tells about God). Therefore logos is something which came from God and tells about God.
CHRIST THE WORD
With the preceding notes as a background we can easily see how The Word can refer to Christ. Christ came from God as a result of a spoken word and he taught about God. He was the means through which that logos (spoken revelation) was made. Not only that but his words carried the power of God to produce action.
Expression in word and action
Logos is more than a sound expressing a meaning. A word actually did things. In the creation God’s word created.
"God said, ‘Let there be light, and there was light’". (Gen. 1:3)
"By the word of the Lord the heavens were made… for he spake and it was done." (Psa. 33:6,9).
"He sent his word and healed them". (Psa. 107:20).
Functions of Logos - the gospel message (written for us).
Our responsibility to Logos.
The Gospel is:
This word study clearly demonstrates that the theory expressed in the problem is false. The ‘word’ can only become part of us by our absorbing it from the written page or spoken word (from our platforms). There is no other way. Those who claim otherwise are "falsifying the word of God" (2 Cor. 4:2 DIAG).
1 presumably because of v.13.
2 See Section D - "The Gift of the Word of Knowledge" Part A.
3 See Section B - "Divine Assistance", "Enlightenment", "Guidance and Prayer".
4 Note the close connection between logos and rhema.
5 Logos = word 219 times out of 318
Rhema = word 56 times out of 69.
6 Rhema translates the Hebrew "dabar" here (Deut. 8:3).
7 This suggests a Spoken revelation.
8 TBSM - "The Language of Apostasy - Logos", Vol. 3, P. 10.
9 In the LXX, the frequently recurring phrase ‘the word of the LORD’ is almost invariably translated by ‘logos Kuriou’. When the early Christians read John’s gospel, they would connect his first words with the spoken ‘word of the LORD’ in their Greek Old Testaments. In 279 out of 318 occurrences LOGOS means "word" or "that which is spoken". Only once in the AV is it translated reason and there it should be translated "to give an account" (i.e. a verbal defence) NASB.
10 see footnote 8.
11 see footnote 9.