• Christ and Church Life and Building Spirit and Bride

    基督與召會
    生命與建造
    那靈與新婦



    As a lover of Christ and a pursuer of truth, I write down my joys, memories and reflections.

    May God lead us all into the secret of His presence, and build us into the oneness of His body in love.
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The ambiguity of the word “pneuma” in Romans chapter 8

In the original Greek, there are many occurrence of the word “pneuma” in Romans 8. While Greek or Chinese language don’t care, English bears the responsibility to distinguish whether it indicates God’s Spirit or human spirit; The former should be upper-cased, whereas the latter lower-cased. With only a few verses which clearly indicate, translators usually have different interpretations.

Here are some examples of clear indication.

8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

8:16 The Spirit Himself witnesses with our spirit that we are children of God.

Below I would compare the translations among the following 17 versions, and then I would comment with my thoughts.

  • New International Version (©1984)
  • New Living Translation (©2007)
  • New American Standard Bible (©1995)
  • International Standard Version (©2008)
  • God’s Word Translation (©1995)
  • King James Bible
  • American King James Version
  • American Standard Version
  • Bible in Basic English
  • Douay-Rheims Bible
  • Darby Bible Translation
  • English Revised Version
  • Webster’s Bible Translation
  • Weymouth New Testament
  • World English Bible
  • Young’s Literal Translation
  • Recovery version

8:4 That the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the spirit.

Most and all the major versions use “Spirit” but God’s Word, Douay-Rheims, English Revised, and Weymouth use “spirit.” The Recovery version uses “spirit.”

8:5 For those who are according to the flesh mind the things of the flesh; but those who are according to the spirit, the things of the Spirit.

This verse has two occurrences. Most and all the major versions use “Spirit” in both occurrences, while God’S Word, Douay-Rheims, English Revised, and Weymouth use “spirit” in both occurrences. Interestingly, the Recovery version uses “spirit” in the first occurrence but uses “Spirit” in the second.

8:6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the spirit is life and peace.

God’s Word, King James, American King James, Douay-Rheims, English Revised, Webster, Weymouth use “spirit” while the rest use “Spirit.” The Recovery version uses “spirit.”

8:9 But you are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Yet if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not of Him.

Most versions uses “Spirit” while New Living, God’s Word, Douay-Rheims, English Revised, and Weymouth use “spirit.” The recovery version uses “spirit.”

According to the principle of the New Testament, God’s Spirit opposes human flesh, and human spirit opposes human body. It is rare that human spirit opposes human flesh. In addition, Paul seemed grammatically emphasize two spirits in this verse, “spirit” and “Spirit of God.” Otherwise, he would have used apposition. “spirit” should be the proper choice here.

8:10 But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the spirit is life because of righteousness.

New Living, King James, American King James, Bible in basic English, Darby, Webster, and Young’s Literal uses “Spirit,” while the rest uses “spirit”

Like the principle I mentioned in the last verse, human body opposes human spirit. “spirit” should be used.

8:13 For if you live according to the flesh, you must die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the practices of the body, you will live.

God’s Word, English Revised, and Weymouth use “spirit” while all the rest uses “Spirit.”

8:15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery bringing you into fear again, but you have received a spirit of sonship in which we cry, Abba, Father!

This verse has two occurrences. All versions use “spirit” in the first occurrence, but they split choices in the second occurrences:  While New American Standard, God’s Word, American Standard, Bible in Basic English, Douay-Rheims, Darby, English Revised, Weymouth, Young’s Literal uses “spirit,” the rest uses “Spirit.” The Recovery versions uses “spirit.”

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