The KJV and The Holy Spirit

The King James Version of 1611, has for reasons that are not known, translated the Greek in certain passages, that refer to The Holy Spirit, by using the impersonal, neuter gender. There is no justification for what the translators have done. The Holy Spirit is Personal, as much as The Father and Jesus Christ are. The Three are “Persons” in The Holy Trinity.

John 1:32

And Iohn bare record saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heauen, like a Doue, and it abode vpon him” (KJV)

The Greek verb is “εμεινεν”, which here has been translated as “it abode”. In the next verse the word is used again, “the Spirit descending, and remaining (μενον, present tense) on him” Though in John 4:40, εμεινεν”, is translated “he abode there two dayes”. And in 7:9, “he abode still in Galilee”. And 10:40, “and there he abode”, etc. Then, in Acts 27:41, when referring to a ship, “εμεινεν”, is translated in the KJV, as, “remained”, and not “it remained”.

Matthew 3:16, we have, “ερχομενον επ αυτον”, where the KJV has translated it, “and lighting vpon him”, and not “and it lighting vpon him”. Even though “ερχομενον” is neuter here.

Mark 1:10, we have, “το πνευμα ωσει περιστεραν καταβαινον επ αυτον”, KJV, “the Spirit like a doue descending vpon him”. Here “καταβαινον” is neuter, so could have been translated as “it descended”, to agree with “το πνευμα”.

Luke 3:22 removes any doubt that what John the Baptist saw was like a “vision”, where we read more fully, “and the Holy Spirit came down in bodily shape, like a dove, upon Him”

The Holy Spirit was not in the Dove, nor did He change into the Dove, but was represented by the Dove. Hence it says, “like” a Dove, ὡσεί”, which is used in “comparison, as it were”. Like in Acts 2:3-4, we read of the Holy Spirit appearing as “And divided tongues as of (ὡσεί ) fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit

And the “abiding” of the Holy Spirit on Jesus Christ, was permanent.

There is no justification for the KJV to have used “it”, in John 1:32, especially when it could have used the neuter in the other accounts in the Gospels, but did not. Why they chose to do this, is not clear. The KJV could have simply translated the Greek as, “and remained/abode on Him”

John 14:26, 15:26

But the Comforter, which is the holy Ghost, whom the Father wil send in my name, he shal teach you al things, & bring al things to your remembrance, whatsoeuer I haue said vnto you... But when the Comforter is come, whom I wil send vnto you from the Father, euen the Spirit of trueth, which proceedeth from the Father, hee shall testifie of me”

Here the KJV introduces words that are not represented in the Greek, and does not correctly translate the Greek based on what these verses actually do say. In 14:26, the KJV reads, “ But the Comforter, which is the holy Ghost”, which in the Greek is, “ο δε παρακλητος το πνευμα το αγιον”, literally, But the Comforter the Spirit the Holy”. The word “which” is not even in the Greek text! Next, it translates, “ο πεμψει ο πατηρ”, as “whom the Father wil send”, even though we have here the relative pronoun, “ο”, in the neuter, grammatical gender, “which”, but the KJV are right to use “whom”. This is because Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit by the masculine, “εκεινος (natural gender), and not the neuter “εκεινο”. Actually both would in this case translate as “He”, because clearly a Person is meant, by “teach, bring all things to your rememberance”. In verse 26, the again fails to do justice to what is actually being said by Jesus. It rightly translates, “ον εγω πεμψω”, as, “whom I will send”, because here the relative pronoun, is “ον”, which is masculine. Now, instead of keeping to what is taught here, the KJV translates “ο παρα του πατρος”, as “which from the Father”. Like in 14:26, here Jesus again refers to the Holy Spirit by “ εκεινος” (He will testify), which means that the KJV should have said, “whom from the Father”, as in the previous sentence.

In John 14:17, the KJV reads: Euen the Spirit of trueth, whom the world cannot receiue, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him, for hee dwelleth with you, and shall be in you


In this verse we have “him” used three times for the Holy Spirit. The “he” used with “dwelleth”, is not part of the Greek text. In each of these three uses, the Greek is “αυτο”, the same neuter pronoun used in the verses in Romans. Yet here they have used not “it”, but, “him”. This is because in verse 16, the Holy Spirit is called “παρακλητον” (Comforter), which is in the masculine gender. Verse 17 begins in the Greek text, “το πνευμα”, which is referring back to “παρακλητον”, in verse 16. The KJV here correctly has translated the Greek “αυτο”, although neuter, and agreeing grammatically with “το πνευμα”, also neuter, by “him”, because contextually Jesus was speaking of “another Comforter”, Who is like Himself! It is interesting to note, that in the earliest Greek manuscript for this verse, the Papyri P66 (Bodmer II, mid. 2nd century), in two places it reads, “αυτον”, which is the masculine, and would agree with “παρακλητον”. And it was later changed to “αυτο”, by removing the letter “ν”.

Romans 8:16, 26

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God...Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered

These verses are often used by the cults, and those who deny the Personality and Deity of the Holy Spirit, because the KJV has used the impersonal pronoun, “itself”, for “το πνευμα”.

Strictly speaking the KJV is right in that it has translated the literal words of the Greek text. Because “πνευμα” (spirit) is neuter in the Greek, and the pronoun, “αυτο” is also neuter in the Greek, it has used the neuter, impersonal, “itself”. This is what is known as agreement of grammatical gender.

However, the KJV translators were meant to determine the correct rendering into English, from the context, and not simply follow the grammatical gender. In verse 14 we read, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God”. “led”, is “ἄγω”, which is “to guide someone”, which is something “impersonal” or “inanimate” cannot do. In fact, in verse 16 we read of the Spirit, “bearing witness”, and verse 26, “helps”, and “makes intercession for us with groanings”. Which only a personal being can do. These facts should have determined the way the KJV translated these verses, and used “Himself”, instead of “itself”.

In 1 Corinthians 12, the KJV translates αυτο πνευμα”, in verses 4, 8, 9, 11, by “same Spirit”. And in verse 11, the Greek “καθως βουλεται” is trasnlated “as he will”. The KJV translators could have done the same in Romans 8:16 and 26.


Ephesians 1:13-14 were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory...”

Again, we read of The Holy Spirit in verse 13, “τω πνευματι της επαγγελιας τω αγιω” (literally, with the Spirit of promise the Holy). In the next verse, it begins with “ος εστιν αρραβων”, which the KJV has translated, “Which is the earnest”.

There are two variant readings here. The first is “ος”, in the masculine. And the second is the neuter “”. The KJV, by translating “Which”, is following the neuter reading. But, the Greek texts that the KJV used in the New Testament, Erasmus, in his 1519 edition, has “ος” (Latin, “qui” Who, not “quod”, Which), as does Stephanus in his 1550 edition, and, Beza (Latin, “qui” Who) in his 1598 edition. The 1526 edition of Tyndale reads “Which”. The 1606 Geneva Bible also reads “Which”, though they used the Greek text of Beza , which has “Who”. The Great Bible of 1540 also reads “Which”. As does the 1568 Bishops Bible. But why these English translations did so, is not clear, as the Greek texts they used, read “ος”. Wycliffe, who made his English version from the Latin Vulgate, also has “Which”, even though the Vulgate and Jerome both read, “qui”.

1 Peter 1:11

Searching what, or what maner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signifie, when it testified beforehand the suffrings of Christ, and the glory that should follow

The words “when it testified beforehand” are in the Greek, “προμαρτυρομενον”, which is the Present middle participle, and in the neuter gender, as it here agrees grammatically with “πνευμα”. Here, again, the KJV are wrong to translate according to the grammatical gender. Firstly, we have the use of the verb δηλόω, with the Holy Spirit, which is, to “make known, disclose, reveal, explain”. Secondly, “προμαρτυρομενον”, which is used for, “to bear witness beforehand” as in a personal testimony. Neither of which can ever be used for a “non-person”. The teaching of this verse should have determined the translation as “when He witnessed beforehand”. In Romans 8:16 we read of the Holy Spirit, “συμμαρτυρει τω πνευματι ημων”, that is, “to testify to, bear witness with our spirit”. Which is a very personal thing!