Article: The Spirit Itself by Will Kinney

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The Spirit ITSELF beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.”

Is referring to the third person of the of the blessed Trinity, as “itself” a major error in the King James Bible, which borders on blasphemy?

Contents

Doug Kutilek

Doug Kutilek is a well known critic of the KJB. He has both printed, and posted an article on the internet, which harshly criticizes this “supposed” error in the King James Bible.

Mr. Kutilek states:

“Any honest evaluation of the King James Version leads to the conclusion that it has numerous defects as a translation, some major, most minor. But of these defects, among the most serious, quite probably the worst of the lot, is its occasional use of the English pronoun “it” to refer to the Holy Spirit.”

He continues,

“I will plainly state my opinion on the matter: I think that here the KJV comes dangerously close to blasphemy, if it does not in fact actually wander into it.” He closes his article with these words. “Those who imagine that the KJV. . . is faultless and error-free are compelled to address the matter.”

The purpose of this article is to “address the matter”. I believe Mr. Kutilek’s objections to the use of “it” or “itself” in referring to the Holy Ghost are both hypocritical and ignorant. Hypocritical because there are many versions, including the modern ones, that use “itself” in either the very same verses or in the very same manner; and ignorant because he doesn't know the English language very well.

“it” and “itself”

First, see how the Random House Webster’s College Dictionary of 1999 defines the use of the words “it” and “itself”. The second definition given for “itself” is: “used to represent a PERSON or animal understood, previously mentioned, about to be mentioned, or present in the immediate context - Who is it? It is John. . . Did you see the baby? Yes, isn’t it cute. . . the cat likes to sun itself in the window.”

The Websters 1967 Collegiate Dictionary defines “it”, as “a PERSON or animal whose gender is unknown OR DISREGARDED.” The Father and the Son are clearly masculine, but the Spirit is sometimes referred to as masculine and sometimes as neuter, not because He is neuter, but rather because the gender is disregarded or not taken into account in that particular context.

The four verses in the KJB that Mr. Kutilek criticizes are: John 1:32, Romans 8:16, Romans 8:26, and I Peter 1:11. We will examine these verses with other translations and then look at some examples in the new versions.

John 1:32

The first verse is John 1:32. “And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending like a dove, and IT abode upon him.” Other Bible versions that agree with the KJB in their use of “it” are Tyndales , the Geneva Bible of 1599 and 1602, Bishops Bible 1568, Daniel Mace's N.T. 1729, Wesley's translation 1755, Darby, Revised Version of 1881, American Standard Version of 1901, the Douay of 1950, Henry Alford’s translation, Young’s 'literal', the 21st Century KJV of 1994, William’s New Testament 1937, Lamsa's translation of the Syriac 1933, Daniel Webster’s of 1833, the 20th Century New Testament, Weymouth’s translation, Goodspeed’s American translation 1943, the 1998 Third Millenium Bible, the Revised Standard Version of 1952, the New American Bible 1970, the NRSV of 1989, and the 2001 English Standard Version.

Romans 8:16

The second verse is Romans 8:16. “The Spirit ITSELF beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” Versions that agree with the KJB are the 21st Century KJV, Alford’s, Bishop’s Bible, Darby, Webster’s, Rotherham's Emphasized Bible of 1902, Goodspeed 1943, the Third Millenium bible of 1998 and the NRSV of 1989.

Romans 8:26

The third verse is Romans 8:26. “But the Spirit ITSELF maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Again the 21st Century KJV, Alford’s translation, the Bishop’s Bible 1568, Daniel Mace's N.T 1729, Wesley's 1755 translation, Coverdale 1535, Darby, Webster’s 1833, Rotherham's Emphasized Bible 1902, Goodspeed 1943, the Third Millenium Bible, and the Geneva Bible of 1599 and 1602 agree with the KJB.

1 Peter 1:11

The fourth verse is 1 Peter 1:11. “Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when IT testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” Versions that agree with the use of “it” here are Alfords, the Revised Version of 1881, the American Standard Version of 1901, Webster’s, the Berkeley Version, Basic Bible in English 1960, the 1989 Revised English Version, and the NRSV of 1989.

Modern Versions

So we see that many Bible versions which both predate and follow after the King James Holy Bible have used “it” and “itself” to refer to the Spirit of God. This is perfectly acceptable English, and a very accurate translation. Those who criticize the King James Bible for doing this only show their own ignorance of the English language. They also demonstrate their own blind pride that places their own minds and defective understanding above that of numerous other bible translators throughout the centuries who had far more understanding and translational skills than they will ever possess.

The NASB and NIV have two interesting, parallel verses in the New Testament. Both Matthew 12:45 and Luke 11:26 speak of a “spirit that takes along with IT seven other spirits more wicked than ITSELF”.

Here is a case of a spiritual entity that can see, hear, speak, and has a personality, yet the gender is disregarded in the NAS and NIV, and is referred to as “itself”. This spirit was not an inanimate object, but rather a spiritual being with a distinct personality.

In Luke 8:29, the same thing occurs in the KJB, NKJV, NIV, and NASB. “For he had commanded the unclean SPIRIT to come out of the man. For oftentimes IT had caught him.” Here again is a spirit that talks, reasons, hears, and knows that Jesus is the Son of God and that torment awaits him. This is clearly a personality and yet all the above mentioned versions refer to him as an “it”. The gender is disregarded, and this is perfectly acceptable English.

Another instance of the Lord Jesus Christ using the little word “IT” to refer to himself is found in the [NASB]], NIV, and NKJV in Luke 24:39 where He says: “Behold my hands and my feet, that IT is I myself: handle me and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.”

Again in Revelation 12:4, a multitude of Bible versions, including the NKJV, NIV, and the brand new English Standard Version of 2001, all refer to the child Jesus as IT. “And the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as IT was born.”

All of the modern versions use “itself” when referring to both animals and groups of people. The NKJV has the donkey itself in Hosea 8:9, the goat itself in Lev. 16:22; Israel itself in Judges 7:2. Numbers 23:9 speaks of “a people dwelling alone, not reckoning itself among the nations”, and Zechariah 12:12, “the family of the house of David by itself.”

All Bible versions at times speak of Jesus Christ as being a thing or something neuter. In Matthew 1:20, the angel of the Lord says to Joseph: “fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for THAT WHICH is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.”

Notice the angel does not say “he”, but “that which”: it is neuter both in Greek and in English. In Luke 1:35, the angel says to Mary, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also THAT HOLY THING which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” That holy thing is neuter, yet we all know that Jesus Christ is a person, in fact, God manifest in the flesh.

The book of 1 John opens with a reference to Jesus Christ, yet it refers to Him as a thing. “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life.” Yet Christ is not a thing, but a person. In I John 5:4 we are told: “WHATSOEVER is born of God overcometh the world.” This is a neuter. Are we to assume that everyone who is born of God is a thing?

Conclusion

Mr. Kutilek’s objections to these four verses in the King James Bible are totally unfounded. I have found that without exception, every person who takes it upon himself to criticize something found within the pages of the King James Bible is himself a Bible Agnostic. Not one of them can or ever will tell you where you can find the complete, inspired and inerrant words of God in Book form in any language on the face of this earth. Why? Because they simply do not believe that such a thing exists nor ever did exist.

They profess to believe selected portions of their mutliple choice bible versions, but doubt, question, criticize and would change numerous others found in ALL versions out there. They are Bible Agnostics. God’s ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts. He has revealed Himself to us in His inspired words, and I along with thousands of other Christians believe He has faithfully kept them for us today in the English language of the King James Bible.

All of grace, believing The Book, Will Kinney


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