This article appeared in the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, vol. 70, no. 2, April 2008, pp. 313–330.

Nota Bene: The Greek and Hebrew texts in the CBQ article are transliterated here into English. 

The Spirit (World) and the (Holy) Spirits among the Earliest Christians: 1 Corinthians 12 and 14 as a Test Case. 

     In contemporary biblical scholarship, it is the general tendency that later Trinitarian theology shapes the way NT texts pertaining to the Spirit are read. The Greek text of the NT, however, provides uses of pneuma, "spirit," that do not easily fit later Trinitarian theology. For instance, 1 Corinthians 12 and 14 show three uses of pneuma that, taken together, appear at odds with this theology: (1) the articular usage– to pneuma, "the spirit" (1 Cor 12:7,8; 14:14,15), to auto pneuma, "the same spirit" (1 Cor 12:4,8,9,11) , to hen  pneuma, "the one spirit" (1 Cor 12:9,11); (2) the anarthrous usage– pneuma theou, "[a] spirit of God" (1 Cor 12:3), pneuma hagion, "[a] holy spirit" (1 Cor 12:3), pneuma, "[a] spirit" (1 Cor 14:2,16); and (3) the plural usage–pneumata, "spirits" (1 Cor 12:10; 14:12,32).

     These texts contain the phrases "the spirit" and "the one spirit" that, upon a superficial reading, seem to give a nod to later Trinitarian theology of the one Holy Spirit. But these texts also exhibit the forms "spirits," "[a] spirit," "[a] spirit of God," and "[a] holy spirit" that, arguably, pose a juxtaposition of the one Holy Spirit with the many holy spirits that is difficult to resolve, or, at least, to explain (if plural "spirits" is understood to include "holy" spirits–a point on which scholars disagree). If there were many holy spirits in earliest Christianity, then the problem arises: What is the nature of the relationship between many holy spirits and the one Holy Spirit? But a more relevant question should be asked: Did the earliest Christians understand there to be only one Holy Spirit as espoused by fourth-century Trinitarian theology?

     The sources for the doctrine of the divinity of the Holy Spirit can be traced to several church fathers of the fourth century: Cyril of Jerusalem; Athanasius of Alexandria; and the Cappadocian fathers. Despite the fact that Trinitarian theology remains the standard by which many biblical scholars delineate "holy spirit" in the NT, especially in Paul,1 there are good reasons to argue that earliest Christian pneumatology reflected a spirit world populated with many holy and evil spirits, and not one Holy Spirit and many evil spirits as is so commonly assumed today. Historically, the spirit world as described in early Judaism provides a more appropriate context from which to explain early Christian pneumatology in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14 than do fourth-century Christian texts interpreting "the Holy Spirit" as a divine Person.

I. The First Two Christian Centuries: The Holy Spirit Not Yet A Divine Person

     During the first and second centuries there was no clear statement for the theology of the Holy Spirit.2 Instead, Christian authors wrote not only of "the holy spirit" but also of "the spirit of prophecy," "the divine spirit," "the spirit from God," as well as the anarthrous form, arguably, "a (holy) spirit," and the plural forms "good spirits," "spirits of God," and "spirits of Christ" who were active among Christians of the first and second centuries.

     The Didache 11:7,8,12 describes itinerant Christian prophets who speak evn pneu,mati, "with a spirit"; the anarthrous implies one of many such spirits. The Shepherd of Hermas speaks of pan pneuma apo theou dothen, "every spirit that is given of God" (11.5), reminiscent of 1 John 4:2. Theophilus of Antioch describes inspired men of God as pneumatophoroi, "ones moved by a spirit" (ad Autolycus 2.9), reminiscent of 2 Pet 1:21. Similarly, in Herm Mand. 11.16, both true and false prophets are said to speak while pneumatophoron, "moved by a spirit." In a fragment of a commentary on First Peter, Clement of Alexandria speaks of beings through whom God operates as "spirits of Christ" (ANF 2. 571).

II. The Third Century – Origen: The Holy Spirit Emerges

     Origen (185-ca 254) is noted as the first Greek father to provide a systematic treatment of the Holy Spirit. In De princip. 1.3 and 2.7, Origen describes the Holy Spirit in terms of a single reality but remains vague on nature and status. According to Michael A. G. Haykin, one of the pneumatological principles that would contribute to debates for the divinity of the Holy Spirit in the fourth century was Origen’s assertion that nowhere in Scripture is the Holy Spirit said to be a created being. This implied a difference in nature and in status (De princip. 1.3.3).3

     Origen also speaks of the existence of both good and evil spirits in De princip. 3.3.4. A relationship or distinction between the Holy Spirit and other good spirits is not clearly stated by Origen. Origen’s pneumatology remained less satisfactory for the church than the pneumatology of the subsequent century. Nonetheless, through Origen "the way was opened to the fuller discussion of the theology of the Spirit upon which the fourth century entered."4

III. Fourth Century Patristics: Defense of the Deity of the Holy Spirit–The Impact of Cyril of Jerusalem, Athanasius of Alexandria, the Cappadocian Fathers, and the Article "The"

     The distinction between the Holy Spirit as a divine Person and other spirits emerges more clearly in the fourth century, particularly in the writings of Cyril of Jerusalem, Athanasius of Alexandria, and the Cappadocian fathers, Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa, and Gregory of Nazianzus.5 Shortly after the Nicene Council in 325 a sharp line was drawn between the Godhead and the created realm: the Spirit was not a creature.6

     Cyril of Jerusalem (ca. 348) (Catechetical Letters 16.23) argues for a differentiation between the Spirit and the rest of the created spiritual world: "No created being is equal in honor to him [the Spirit]. Not all classes of angels, not all their hosts together have equality with the Holy Spirit. . . . . (then follows 1 Cor 2:10-12)."7 Cyril also distinguished the Holy Spirit from other spirits (Catechetical Letters 16.12-16).

     Approximately ten years later, Athanasius, writing against the Tropici, claimed that within the realm of spiritual creatures, spirits, angels, and other spiritual powers "the Spirit" stood separate and apart from all of these: "And it is manifest that the Spirit [to Pneuma] is not one being of the many [twn pollwn] nor an angel, but one unique being [hen on], or rather, he belongs to the Word who is one, and to God who is one, and is also of the same substance [homoousion]."8 Athanasius reasoned from 1 Cor 2:11,12 that since the Spirit is ek tou theou, "from God," who is an Uncreated Being, then the Spirit’s nature is likewise uncreated.9

     The specific phrases to pneuma to hagion, "the holy spirit," and to pneuma, "the spirit," were distinguished by Athanasius from other pneu/ma terms in the NT by virtue of the definite article to, "the." Athanasius crystalized this view in a letter to Serapion: "Unless the article is present, it cannot refer to the Holy Spirit. . . . There is no doubt that it is the Holy Spirit who is intended; especially when it has the article."10 The significance of the definite article "the" was for Athanasius the primary textual indicator that "the holy spirit" was a single reality, separate from the rest of spirit creation.11

     The Cappadocian fathers followed suit in their reaction against the Pneumatomachi, "spirit fighters," who, like the Tropici before them, considered the Holy Spirit to be a creature, hence something less than divine.12 Basil of Caesarea (329-379) distinguished the Holy Spirit from the rest of the spirits and angels that make up the spiritual world: "One does not speak of the Spirit and of the angels as if they were equals."13 Whereas Basil can implicitly speak of "holy spirits," he does so in such a way that subordinates their nature to the Holy Spirit: "The pure, spiritual, and transcendent powers are called holy, because they have received holiness from the grace of the Holy Spirit."14 Basil also seems to have been influenced by Athanasius’s use of 1 Cor 2:11,12 as a proof-text for the divine and uncreated nature of the Spirit (On the Holy Spirit 16.40).15

     Gregory of Nyssa (335-394), Basil’s younger brother, likewise maintained the position that the Holy Spirit was of a unique nature, separate from the rest of the spiritual world. In his Against the Macedonians16 2, 5 Gregory writes that the Holy Spirit is out of God and is of Christ. Like Athanasius before him Gregory of Nyssa claims that the nature of the Holy Spirit is the same as that of the Father and of the Son (Against the Macedonians 22).17

     While Athanasius, Basil, and Gregory of Nyssa maintained the divinity of the Holy Spirit, they all came short of explicitly calling the Holy Spirit God. Gregory of Nazianzus (329-389) is noted as having been the first church father to explicitly declare that the Holy Spirit is God.18 The Pneumatomachi claimed that Scripture does not proclaim the Spirit as God, but Gregory argued that the Scriptures contain a gradual revelation of the Godhead. The NT "only hinted at the deity of the Holy Spirit, but now the Holy Spirit lives among us and gives us a clearer manifestation of himself" (Orations 31.26).

     Gregory writes, "Is the Spirit God? Most certainly. Is he then consubstantial? Yes, if he is God" (Orations 31.10). Gregory rationalizes this statement by indirectly hearkening to the language of 1 Cor 2:12: "The Holy Spirit, which proceeds from the Father; who inasmuch as he proceeds from that Source is no creature, . . . is God" (Orations 31.8). According to Gregory, the procession of the Spirit from God, that principle which makes the Spirit God, cannot be adequately explained and remains a mystery (Orations 31.8).

     The divinity of the Holy Spirit was dogmatically declared at the Council of Constantinople in 381.19 In short, pneuma hagion came to signify a divine Person in the writings of Athanasius, Basil, Gregory of Nyssa, and even became God in the writings of Gregory of Nazianzus.20 Scripture is used by these individuals as the basis for the divinity of the Holy Spirit; but, to be sure, their exegesis of Scripture ultimately determined the divinity and the theology of the Holy Spirit.21

IV. Modern Biblical Studies and the Christian Theological Tradition of the Holy Spirit

     Modern biblical scholarship continues the tradition of the Holy Spirit by viewing the NT evidence through an Athanasian-Cappadocian prism. The level to which some modern-day theologians will take the presence of the definite article "the" as an indicator that "spirit" is a single divine Person of the Godhead distinct from other spirits (á la Athanasius) can be illustrated from Donald Bretherton, "The existence of spirit-entities is a Biblical concept . . . But where does the Holy Spirit come into all this? . . There is the Spirit . . . there are spirits of the departed, some good, some bad, . . . We must not confuse the spirits of the departed with THE Spirit–the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God."22

     In theological studies, the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of God are treated as something other than "spirits" of a spirit world. Theological treatments of the spirit world tend to discuss "spirit" within two separate categories: (1) "spirit" as angels and demons; and (2) "spirit" as "the Holy Spirit" that Christian theology would later recognize as a Person of the Trinity.23 This is in keeping with the Athanasian distinction of to pneuma, "the spirit" from twn pollwn, "the many [spirits]."

     Biblical studies tends to follow this traditional distinction. Whereas one might have had some latitude to speak of "holy spirits" during the fourth century (spirits who were nevertheless subordinated to the Holy Spirit [see Basil, On the Holy Spirit 16.38, above]), the range of "holy spirit" in contemporary biblical scholarship is restricted to "the Holy Spirit"; in the NT there are no "holy spirits" because the Holy Spirit is a single, unique spirit.24

     In a recent study of early Christian religious experience, Luke Timothy Johnson describes the inhabitants of the spirit world in the NT as the spirit called holy and those spirits called demons and unclean spirits.25 Anthony Thiselton argues that Athanasius’s "ontology" of the Holy Spirit, although of a later date, nonetheless logically explains Paul’s thought on the spirit in First Corinthians.26 Likewise, Norm A. Mundhenk argues that when translating "Holy Spirit" into nonwestern languages one should note that the Holy Spirit is not just one individual in a class of spirits.27

V. Caveat

     Those studies that distinguish the Holy Spirit as qualitatively different from all other spirits in the NT incorporate a theological premise reflective of later Christian thought which postdates the writings of the NT by several centuries. This theological premise is a product of fourth-century formulation that redefined language for the spirit world in the NT with theological verbiage that extended far beyond the pneumatology of the NT.28

     The NT texts reveal articular, anarthrous, and plural uses of pneu/ma that might in each instance refer to "the holy spirit" (John 14:26), "[a] holy spirit" (Acts 2:4), and "[holy?] spirits" (1 John 4:1-2). Cyril, Athanasius, and the Cappadocian fathers did, in fact, believe in a spiritual world populated with many angels and spirits that might be called "holy" and "pure"; this was in keeping with the NT evidence.29 The fourth-century theological invention seems to have occurred in the interpretation of "the spirit" and "the holy spirit" as a particular, uncreated spiritual being who was of the same nature as, and coordinated with, the Father and the Son; thus, unique and differentiated as a Deity. This invention was specifically in reaction to the Pneumatomachian controversy that occurred within the greater Arian controversy during the fourth century.30

     The notion that there was only one unique Holy Spirit is hardly sustainable for the first century.31 In the first century there was no divine Person known as "the Holy Spirit" who was distinguished from other holy spirits. Instead, the earliest Christians reflected upon and recorded their experiences of spirit within the framework of their Jewish world. After all, the earliest Christians, including Paul, were Jews.

VI. The Spirit World of Early Judaism

     Scholars have recognized that the earliest Christians experienced "holy spirit" and "spirit of God" in light of their Jewish background.32 Texts that contribute heavily to our knowledge of this development in Jewish thinking about the spirit world are the LXX (Septuagint), Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS), 1 Enoch, Jubilees, and The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs. In early Judaism (in both its Hebrew guise and Greek guise) spirit creation was populated with "holy spirits,"33 "spirits of truth,"34 and "spirits of God"35; qualifications for "spirit" that reflect the Jewish world of the NT.

     The DSS provide a mine of information on the spirit world as it was understood in early Judaism.36 The Angelic Liturgy (4QShirShabba, "Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice") presents evidence for a spirit world populated with a myriad of spirit beings. John Strugnell listed eighteen unpublished forms of xwr that refer to spirit beings in the Angelic Liturgy.37

     The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs provide qualifications for spirits that find a direct correspondence to qualifications for spirits in the NT: "spirits of deceit" (pneumatwn tes planes, T. Sim. 3:1) and "deceitful spirits" (pneumasin planois, 1 Tim 4:1); "a spirit of holiness" (pneuma agiwsunes, T. Levi 18:11, Rom 1:4); "a spirit of God" (pneuma theou, T. Sim. 4:4, Rom 8:9, 1 Cor 12:3); "unclean spirits" (akatharta pneumata,  T. Ben 5:2, Luke 6:18); "every spirit of Beliar" (pan pneuma tou Beliar, T. Iss. 7:7) and "every spirit . . . that is from God" (pan pneuma . . . ek tou theou estin, 1 John 4:2); "the spirit of truth" (to pneuma tes aletheias, T. Jud. 20:1; John 14:17; 1 John 4:6) and "the spirit of error" (to pneuma tes planes, T. Jud. 20:1; 1 John 4:6). All of these qualifications for "spirits" reflect early Jewish thinking that, in turn, reflect the earliest Christian thinking on the spirit world.38

VII. Paul and the Spirit World

     Studies of the spirit world in the NT, especially in Paul, tend to focus on the terms "angels" (aggeloi), "elemental powers" (stoicheia), "principalities" (archai), "authorities" (exousiai), and "powers" (dunameis).39 The Greek phrases pneuma hagion, "holy spirit," and pneuma theou, "spirit of God," (articular or anarthrous) are usually believed to indicate spiritual realities that are set apart (theologically) from a spirit world that otherwise includes only the "minor" entities mentioned here, such as angels and powers.

     While Paul’s vocabulary for the spirit world is full of terminological variety, 1 Corinthians 12 and 14 use the term pneuma exclusively for indicating experiences with a spirit world. Paul’s Jewish pneumatology reflects a realm of spirits within which exist holy and evil spirits, both of which are expressed by the same term, pneu/ma. It is within this interpretive view that "the spirit," "the one spirit," "holy spirit," "spirit of God," and "spirits" will be discussed in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14.40

VIII. 1 Cor 12:3 and 14:2,16: pneuma theou, "a spirit of God," pneuma hagion, "a holy spirit," and pneuma, "a spirit"

     Scholars and most English versions almost always translate the prepositional phrases en pneumati theou and en pneumati hagio in 1 Cor 12:3 as articular into English and capitalize in English, strongly suggesting that Paul means "the Spirit of God" and "the Holy Spirit" as the divine Person of later Christian theology.41

     The anarthrous pneumati hagio can also carry the sense of "a holy spirit."42 Scholars past and present have noted this as well. Reginald St John Parry observed that pneumati theou might translate as "a spirit from God," and pneumati hagio as "a holy spirit."43 Kirsopp Lake makes the point that in 1 Cor 12:3 the article is explicitly absent in Paul’s text: "St. Paul says pneumati hagio, not to pneumati hagio."44 E. Earl Ellis believes as well that 12:3 might refer to "a holy spirit."45 Also, pneumati in 1 Cor 14:2,16 might carry the sense of "a spirit." If this prospect be acceptable, then there exists evidence here that Paul might have had in mind one of many holy spirits.

     Translators of English versions introduce theological suppositions when they translate the anarthrous prepositional phrase en pneumati hagio with the English definite article and capitalized, "by the Holy Spirit," while the equally anarthrous prepositional phrase en pneumati akatharto in Mark 1:23 and 5:2 is translated with the English indefinite article, "with an unclean spirit." Some may argue that comparisons of this nature cannot be made lest theological boundaries are broken: "the Holy Spirit" is no ordinary spirit and cannot be compared with other spirits, especially "unclean" ones. Such discrimination, however, is based more on a theological critique than it is on grammar.46 A translation of the anarthrous pneumati with the English indefinite article, "a spirit," is as warranted in 1 Cor 12:3 as it is in Mark 1:23 and 5:2.

IX. 1 Cor 12:10 diakriseis pneumatwn, "discernment of spirits"

     In the commentaries, the phrase "discernment of spirits" is usually thought to be a discernment between the Holy Spirit and other demonic spirits or human spirits. Sometimes, "discernment of spirits" is thought to refer to "an evaluation, an investigating, a testing, a weighing of the prophetic utterance."47 But the term pneumata does not mean "prophetic utterance" or "prophecy."

     The interpretation "evaluating prophetic utterances" implies that the prophet himself is being judged or tested for what he says. In the Pauline phrase, the discernment, however, is that of "spirits" and not of "prophets." The judging of the utterance of a prophet determined the type of spirit that gained control of the prophet’s vocal chords. Prophetic utterance was inspired speech insofar as a spirit was speaking through the prophet. The "discernment" of a spirit determined whether that spirit’s speech (i.e., prophecy) and behavior through a prophet reflected Christian content and virtue.48

     The other occurrence of "spirits" in 1 Corinthians 14:12,32 has an obvious relationship with "spirits" here in 12:10: they are all uses of pneuma in the plural. If "spirits" in 14:21,32 refer to "holy spirits," as will be argued below, then it is more likely that the "discernment of spirits" is a discernment of holy spirits apart from unholy spirits rather than a discernment of the Holy Spirit apart from all other spirits, whatever the criteria for such discernment actually was.

X. 1 Cor 14:12: zelwtai este pneumatwn, "you are eager for spirits"

     For most scholars Paul’s phrases "the same spirit" and "the one spirit" in 1 Cor 12:4,9,11 define Paul’s understanding of "holy spirit": only one exists.49 Thus, "spirits" in 1 Cor 14:12 is believed to refer to "manifestations," "powers," or "gifts" of the Holy Spirit.50 But the term "spirits" bears none of these meanings, for a Greek term already exists for each, namely phanerwsis, dunamis, and charisma as in 1 Cor 12:7, phanerosi tou pneumatos, "manifestation of the spirit," Luke 4:14, te dunamei tou pneumatos, "the power of the spirit," and Rom 1:11, charisma pneumatikon, "a spiritual gift." James D. G. Dunn suggested that in 1 Cor 14:12 Paul is either referring to many good spirits or to many spiritual gifts.51 Since the plural pneumaton, "spirits," does not mean charismata, "gifts," then Dunn’s suggestion that "spirits" refers to many good spirits, needs to be reconsidered.52

     Terence P. Paige has argued that in 1 Cor 14:12 Paul is referring to a Corinthian belief in many spirits, an allusion to the Corinthians’ pre-Christian beliefs in a plurality of many daemons, both good and evil.53 Paige’s reading of v. 12 is meant to separate perisseuhte, "you may excel," from pneumata. Paige, however, admits that if the Greek text of v. 12 is read as one summarizing sentence, a since-then construction, then the "real grammatical possibility" exists for the sense of hina perisseuete to mean, "so that you may abound (with spirits)."54

     The NAB similarly translates v. 12 in the following manner: "So with yourselves: since you strive eagerly for spirits, seek to have an abundance of them for building up the church." This conforms to the "real grammatical possibility" of the Greek text: outos kai umeis epei zelwtai, este pneumatwn pros thn oikodomhn ths ekklhsias zhteite hina perisseuhte, literally, "So also with yourselves, since you are strivers for spirits, for the building up of the church, seek [spirits] so that you may abound [with them]."55

     Paul not only admits of the Corinthians’ zeal for spirits, but also approves of this zeal by his use of the imperative zeteite, "seek" (in the sense of "strive for"), and the hina clause, both whose object is pneumatwn. While the imperative heartily approves of the Corinthians’ communication with many spirits, the hina clause establishes the qualification that the Corinthians seek a number of different spirits. Thus, Paul is neither being sarcastic nor is he mildly rebuking in v. 12.56

     Verse 12 occurs at a pivotal point in Paul’s polemic on prophecy and glossolalia. The verse summarizes all that has preceded since 14:1b, especially vv. 6-11 that deal with the effects of uninterpreted glossolalia among the congregation. The thrust of Paul’s polemic is that glossolalia should not be spoken in the church unless it is translated (see 1 Cor 14:19,27,28). In 1 Corinthians 12 and 14 both prophecy and glossolalia are forms of inspired speech spoken evn pneu,mati, "with a spirit."57 Paul’s advisement that the Corinthians should "seek" and "abound with spirits" is meant to curtail the excessive practice of glossolalia. By seeking an "abundance of spirits" the Corinthians encounter spirits who speak the language of the congregation, i.e., prophecy, that is preferable to uninterpreted glossolalia (cf. 1 Cor 14:3,5), as well as spirits who translate glossolalia (1 Cor 14:13,28). Hence, the Corinthians circumvent the problems created by encountering only those spirits who speak unintelligible utterances (cf. 1 Cor 14:16-18).

XI. 1 Cor 14:32: pneumata propheton, "spirits of the prophets"

     Grammatically, "spirits of the prophets" is ambiguous. It may refer either to the prophet’s own human spirit or to spirits other than the prophet’s own. Gordon D. Fee argues that "spirits" refers to the prophets’ own spirits moved by the Holy Spirit.58 Paul, however, never uses the plural form pneu,mata to refer to "human spirits."59 The plural occurs only three times in the undisputed letters of Paul, 1 Cor 12:10, 14:12 and here, all of which refer to "holy spirits" (apart from those "discerned" in 12:10).60

     Considering that Paul approves of the Corinthians’ "seeking" a variety of spirits to build up the church in 1 Cor 14:12, it would follow that those are the same spirits associated with prophets mentioned here in 14:32. Furthermore, since the phrase en pneumati hagio in 1 Cor 12:3 indicates that a holy spirit speaks through the agency of a prophet, then the "spirits" in 14:32 might refer to many of these holy spirits.

     Paul claims that the "spirits" are "under the prophets’ control" (pneumata propheton prophetais hupotassetai). Christian prophets may have had the liberty of deciding whether a spirit should enter into them and speak through them. If the prophet decided that a spirit should enter him or her, the holy spirit world would then decide if this was appropriate for the occasion (cf. 1 Cor 12:11).61 If the prophet did not want a spirit to enter and speak, then the spirit world would yield to the prophet’s wish and not force itself upon the prophet. Hence God is not a God "of disorder but of peace" (1 Cor 14:33).62

XII. 1 Cor 12:4,7,8: to pneuma, "the spirit"

     Traditionally, scholars read to pneuma in 1 Cor 12:4,7,8 as a reference to the Holy Spirit. For instance, the parallel structure of the phrases to auto pneuma, "the same spirit," ho autos kurios, "the same Lord," and ho autos theos, "the same God" in 1 Cor 12:4-6 commonly serves as a proof-text for "trinitarian" formulae in Paul.63 Yet, other scholars argue that, historically, Paul does not reference the Person of the Holy Spirit.64

     Grammatically, to pneuma indicates a category to which the anarthrous pneuma and the plural, pneumata belong. Stanley E. Porter explains that when the article is used the noun may represent a category of items, e.g., Luke 10:7, "the worker (ho ergaths) is worthy of his wage," Matt 12:35, "the good person (ho agathos anthropos) . . . and the evil person (kai  ho ponhros anthropos)," and 1 Tim 3:2, "the overseer" (ton episkopon).65 An even clearer example of the generic use of the article is found in 1 John 2:22 wherein ho antichristos, "the antichrist" is ho arnoumenos ton patera kai ton huion, "he who denies the Father and the Son"; yet, four verses earlier, 1 John 2:18 notes that there are antichristoi polloi, "many antichrists." The Greek article is used in a generic sense to denote a category of "many"; "the antichrist" functions as a collective noun.

     The categorical use of the article with pneu/ma finds support in the NT. 1 John 4:2 notes a "test" whereby one can know "the spirit of God" (to pneuma tou theou) through the speech of "every spirit that confesses Jesus Christ . . . is of God" (pan pneuma ho homologei Ihsoun Criston . . . ek tou theou estin). The adjective pan, "all" or "every," indicates a variety or, at least, a multiplicity of "spirits" from God. In this context "the spirit of God" stands in a qualitatively equal relationship with "every spirit of God": to pneuma tou theou is pan pneuma . . . ek tou theou estin; "the spirit of God" = "every spirit . . . that is of God."66 Likewise, the articular phrase to [pneuma] tou antichristou, "the [spirit] of antichrist," represents, collectively, "every spirit . . . who does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God" (1 John 4:3). In v. 6 these spirits are also classed as to pneuma tes planes, "the spirit of error." The spirits of God are classed as to pneuma tes alhtheias, "the spirit of truth."67

     In the light of the anarthrous "a holy spirit" and the plural "[holy] spirits" in 1 Cor 12:3, 14:12,32, the articular to pneuma in 1 Cor 12:4,7,8 might function as a collective noun, "the spirit world." The literal phrase kosmos pneumatikos, "a spiritual world," does not appear in Paul’s text. Nevertheless, the phrase "the spirit world" as a translation for to pneuma is already partly inherent in an adjectival form pneumatikos, "that which belongs to the supernatural order of being."68 The adjective suggests that the noun upon which it is based, pneuma, can, in certain contexts, refer to the "supernatural order of being" itself, i.e., the spirit world. Hence, "the spirit world" is an invisible world of sentient beings that, although "separate"(in a tangible sense) from the physical world, nonetheless, intimately and explicitly manifests itself within the physical world of humans (cf. 1 Cor 12:7-11). Even more persuasive is the occurrence of a phrase for the spirit world of God in the DSS: 4Q403 1 2.3-4, wdwbk 4 y]xwr twklmm, "kingdom of the spirit[s of] (4) his glory."

XIII. 1 Cor 12:9,11: to hen pneuma, "the one spirit"

     Paul’s qualification of pneuma as hen, "one," is almost always assumed by scholars to express a numerical value without any further clarification: a single (only one) Holy Spirit.69 In the NT, the term "one" can have the numerical value of "only one" or "single."70 In other contexts, "one" carries the sense of "unity" or "together." The Greek verb henow, "to unite," is derived from the Greek numeral hen, "one." Unified "oneness" is seen in Phil 2:2, "be of one mind" (to hen phronoutes), John 10:30, "The Father and I are one" (ego kai ho pathr hen esmen), John 17:21,22, "so that they may by one" (hina panted hen wsin), and Rom 12:5, "we, though many, are one body in Christ" (outos hoi polloi hen swma esmen en Cristw). This sense of "one" also illustrates that from the single parts, the whole is made up. Paul uses the "many members but one body" language in this sense in 1 Cor 12:12 and applies this as a metaphor to the Corinthian members who, though many, are "one body" (hen swma) in Christ (cf. 1 Cor 12:13, 27-29).

     The term "one" appears in Eph 4:3-4 with the sense of "unity" related to spirit: "striving to preserve the unity of the spirit (henothta tou pneumatos) through the bond of peace: one (hen) body and one (hen) spirit." Here, the sense of "one spirit" indicates not a numerical value but rather a "oneness," a henothta, "unity." In Phil 1:27 heni pneumati and mia psuche are paired. The phrase mia psuche, "one soul," indicated esprit de corps, a phrase that denotes loyalty and devotion uniting the members of a group in the world of Greek political theory. Some have suggested that "one spirit" in Paul might have been an intentional parallel.71

     Paul always uses hen in relation to "body" and "spirit," indicating the sense of the verb henow from which hen is derived.72 Such consistency might not have been arbitrary on Paul’s part. As part of Paul’s polemic in First Corinthians the "one spirit" functions rhetorically in the same way as the "one body." In both phrases the idea of unity among many is stressed. Paul’s rhetorical use of "one" in relation to the Corinthians was meant to foster their unity as "one body" (cf. 1 Cor 1:10); in relation to the spirits, the use of "one" was meant to show the Corinthians that despite the differences in gifts, no one gift was any better than another, for they all derived from the same source, the one and same holy spirit world of God.73 Thus, the "one spirit" in 1 Cor 12:9,11,13 indicates a unity for a plurality of spirits in 1 Cor 12:10, 14:12,32.

     Admittedly, the ratio in Paul’s metaphor is not perfect: "members" to "body" and "spirits" to "spirit." The relationship between "spirits" and "one spirit" seems to be the same as that between "members" and "one body"; the "spirits" are the many members of the spirit world who make up "one [body of] spirit [beings]," i.e., "the spirit world of God."

XIV. Conclusion

     The view that the "one spirit" in 1 Cor 12:9,11,13 is the Holy Spirit of later Christian theology does not do justice to historical exegesis: "the spirit" and "the one spirit" denote the spirit world of God, a world of spirit beings united in their commitment to Jesus as Lord and to God as supreme Father. While early Jewish and Christian pneumatology seems to use the articular form "the spirit" in a collective sense, as clearly shown in 1 John 4:2, Athanasian-Cappadocian pneumatology uses "the spirit" in a particular sense to denote the Spirit, the only one of its kind.

     As a test case for the argument that the earliest Christians interacted with a spirit world populated with many holy spirits, 1 Corinthians 12 and 14 give promising evidence for such a scenario. The anarthrous use of pneu/ma in 1 Cor 12:3, 14:2,16 can mean "a spirit of God," "a holy spirit," and "a spirit," suggesting one of many of such spirits who function in the service of God; it need not be taken in such a definite way. If this be the case here, then the argument that "the Holy Spirit himself"is found in 1 Cor 12:3, 14:2,16 needs to be reevaluated. Furthermore, if the plural pneumata in 12:10, 14:12,32 falls within the category of "holy," then the prospect of "holy spirits" in earliest Christianity becomes quite tenable, as we do see in Herm. Sim. 9.13, hagia pneumata, "holy spirits."

     The juxtaposition of early Jewish pneumatology with Athanasian-Cappadocian pneumatology hinges on a much broader issue of what some see as a dilemma between "what Scripture meant," i.e., its historical context, and "what Scripture means," i.e., as a source for present-day theological reflection in light of centuries of tradition. David M. Williams notes this distinction in an exposition of Raymond E. Brown’s assessment of the historical-critical method, "Over the course of those centuries a systematic structure has developed whose relationship to the literal [i.e., historical] sense ‘is not simple’; the biblical basis for a given doctrine may range anywhere from strong to nonexistent."74 A contemporary reading of pneu/ma in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14 that is sympathetic to "what Scripture meant" seems to better reflect the historical context of these texts than does a reading that is sympathetic to "what Scripture means" that stands in the light of Athanasian-Cappadocian pneumatology.

     Admittedly, the church fathers did not differentiate between "what Scripture meant" and "what Scripture means." Their works were theological in nature and not historical-critical investigations. Nevertheless, their exegetical writings stem directly from biblical texts.75 In the final analysis of any ancient context, modern reconstructions include our own perspectives. Modern historical work contains an element of subjectivity; "what Scripture meant" is, at best, what we "think" it meant (this is also true for "what Scripture means"). Nevertheless, the texts discussed here provide a case for the possibility of an early Christian belief in a spirit world populated by many holy spirits of God.

     If one had to conclude that the historical relevancy and context for the interpretation of pneu/ma in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14 be found either in early Jewish pneumatology (with a Christian overcast, e.g., 1 Cor 12:3) or Athanasian-Cappadocian pneumatology, then one would be inclined to favor the former: early Judaism informs and explains uses of pneu/ma in portions of the NT more adequately and more realistically than the Athanasian-Cappadocian theology of the Holy Spirit.


1. For example, Gordon D. Fee (God’s Empowering Presence: The Holy Spirit in the Letters of Paul [Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1994] 24) argues, "Paul knows no such thing as ‘a spirit’ or ‘a holy spirit’ when using pneu/ma to refer to divine activity. He only and always means the Spirit of the living God, the Holy Spirit himself."

2. For "holy spirit" during this period, see John Eifion Morgan-Wynne, Holy Spirit and Religious Experience in Christian Literature ca. AD 90-200 (Paternoster Studies in Christian History and Thought; London: Paternoster, 2006; repr. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2006).

3. Michael A. G. Haykin, The Spirit of God: The Exegesis of 1 & 2 Corinthians in the Pneumatomachian Controversy of the Fourth Century (Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae 27; Leiden: Brill, 1994) 15-17.

4. Henry Barclay Swete, The Holy Spirit in the Ancient Church: A Study of Christian Teaching in the Age of the Fathers (London: Macmillan, 1912) 143.

5. Edmund J. Fortman, The Triune God: A Historical Study of the Doctrine of the Trinity (Philadelphia, PA: Westminster, 1972; repr. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2006); Dong-Chan Chang, "The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit in the Thought of the Cappadocian Fathers," (Ph.D. diss., Drew University, 1983); R. P. C. Hanson, The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God: The Arian Controversy, 318-381 (London: T & T Clark, 1988; repr. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2005) 738-90; Lewis Ayres, Nicaea and its Legacy: An Approach to Fourth-Century Trinitarian Theology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004); and Tarmo Toom, Classical Trinitarian Theology: A Textbook (New York: T & T Clark, 2007).

6. See Haykin, Spirit of God, 14-15.

7. Edward Yarnold, trans., Cyril of Jerusalem (The Early Church Fathers; New York: Routledge, 2000) 60-61.

8. Athanasius, ad Serap.1.27. See Haykin, Spirit of God, 83-86.

9. See Athanasius, ad Serap. 1.22; 3.2. Trans. C. R. B. Shapland, The Letters of Saint Athanasius Concerning the Holy Spirit (London: Epworth, 1951) 121, 171.

10. Athanasius, ad Serap. 1.4 (trans., Shapland, Letters, 68, 69-70).

11. See also Didymus, On the Holy Spirit 15, who states that the article in the context of "holy spirit" is singularitatis significator; and further about the significance of the article, On the Holy Spirit 3 and On the Trinity 2. 457c.

12. The Tropici might have been a group of Pneumatomachi. See Haykin, Spirit of God, 20 nn. 50 and 52.

13. Basil, On the Holy Spirit 13.29. David Anderson, trans., St. Basil the Great: On the Holy Spirit (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Press, 1980) 50.

14. Basil, On the Holy Spirit 16.38. Trans. Anderson, Basil, 62.

15. Haykin, Spirit of God, 137-47, here 140. See further, Basil, Hom. 24.7 (Against the Sabellians, Arius, and the Anomoeans): "If the Spirit is from God (evk tou/ qeou/), with what right do you place him among the creatures?" Trans. Haykin, Spirit of God, 144.

16. "Macedonians" (named after Macedonius, defender of the semi-Arian position who was removed from his position as patriarch of Constantinople in 360) is a misnomer for the Pneumatomachi. See Hanson, Christian Doctrine of God, 760-72.

17. See Anthony Meredith, trans., Gregory of Nyssa (The Early Church Fathers; New York: Routledge, 1999) 41-42: "But the Holy Spirit . . . is the same as the Father and Only Begotten, . . . . It [the Spirit] is with all them that are worthy, yet not separated from the Holy Triad."

18. See Fortman, Triune God, 78.

19. See Haykin, Spirit of God, 199-201.

20. The term tria,doj, "trinity" (literally, "triad"), first appears in extant Christian literature during the mid-to-late second century in Theophilus of Antioch, ad Autolycus 2.15. See also Gregory of Nazianzus, Orations 39.12 wherein Gregory  "coins" the term evkpo,reusij, "procession," (as he says) to define the origin of the Holy Spirit out of God.

21. Haykin, Spirit of God, 229. See ibid., 63-67, 95-100, 114-20, and 123-29.

22. Donald Bretherton, "Theology and Psychical Studies," in Life, Death and Psychical Research: Studies on Behalf of the Churches’ Fellowship for Psychical and Spiritual Studies (ed. J. D. Pearce-Higgins and G. Stanley Whitby; London: Rider, 1973) 240-57, here 255-56, emphasis his. See also Steve Swartz, "The Holy Spirit: Person and Power: The Greek Article and Pneuma," BT 44 (1993) 124-38, who quotes from Nigel Turner, Grammatical Insights into the New Testament: "Whenever the Holy Spirit has the article the reference is to the third person of the Trinity (expressed either as to Pneuma to Hagion or as to Hagion Pneuma)" (p. 129).

23. See Laurence Cantwell, The Theology of the Trinity (TT 4; Notre Dame, IN: Fides, 1969); and Rob van der Hart, The Theology of Angels and Devils (TT 36; Notre Dame, IN: Fides, 1972).

24. For instance, F. J. Foakes Jackson (The Beginnings of Christianity: The Acts of the Apostles [5 vols.; ed. F. J. Foakes Jackson and Kirsopp Lake; London: Macmillan, 1920-23; repr. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979] 1. 287) stated, "It should be natural to expect that just as the evil spirits were regarded as personal and as many, so there would be many holy spirits, but in point of fact there is little trace of this development. The Holy Spirit which inspires prophets is almost always one."

25. Luke Timothy Johnson, Religious Experience in Earliest Christianity (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1998) 9.

26. Anthony Thiselton, "The Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians: Exegesis and Reception History in the Patristic Era," in The Holy Spirit and Christian Origins: Essays in Honor of James D. G. Dunn (ed. Graham N. Stanton, et al.; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004) 207-28, here 224.

27. Norm A. Mundhenk, "Translating ‘Holy Spirit’," BT 48 (1997) 201-07, here 205.

28. Apparently, Gregory of Nazianzus was aware of this. Chang ("Doctrine of the Holy Spirit" 114) comments on Orations 31.26: "To explain the lateness of the recognition of the Spirit as God he [Gregory] produces a highly original theory of doctrinal development," that of the "gradual revelation through Scripture." Gregory further supports the gradual disclosure of the Deity of the Holy Spirit with an allusion to John 14:26 and 16:12,13, "all things should be taught us by the Spirit when He should come to dwell amongst us"; Gregory then adds, "Of these things, one was the Deity of the Spirit Himself" (Orations 31.27).

29. In Gregory of Nyssa see Commentary on the Song of Songs 15.6,4 (Meredith, Gregory, 116); and On the Soul and the Resurrection, NPNF ser. 2, 5. 444. In Gregory of Nazianzus see Orations 31.29, NPNF ser. 2, 7. 327.

30. Basil, Epistles 125.3. Trans. Haykin, Spirit of God, 37-38.

31. Kirsopp Lake (The Beginnings of Christianity, 5. 102) recognized this as well: "Do the Synoptics, and did the circle of Jewish thought which they represent, think that there were many bad but only one good spirit, or did they think that there were many of both, and that both obsessed mankind? If this question is confined to the actual fact of the existence or non-existence of many good spirits, there can be but one answer. There were many," emphasis mine.

32. Robert P. Menzies, The Development of Early Christian Pneumatology with special reference to Luke-Acts (JSNTSup 54; Sheffield: JSOT, 1991) 52.

33. vdwq twxwr, "holy spirits" (1 QHa 8.12; 4Q403 1 ii.7; 4Q405 20-22 ii.10); pneu/ma a`giwsu,nhj, "a spirit of holiness" (T. Levi 18:11).

34. tma yxwr lwk, "all the spirits of truth" (1 QM 13.10); to. pneu/ma th/j avlhqei,aj, "the spirit of truth" (T. Jud. 20.1).

35. ~yyh ~yhwla twxwr, "spirits of the living God" (4Q405 23 i.11); pneu/ma qeou/, "a spirit of God" (T. Sim. 4:4).

36. See Arthur E. Sekki, The Meaning of RUAH at Qumran (SBLDS 110; Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1989).

37. John Strugnell, "The Angelic Liturgy at Qumran, 4Q Serek Šîrôt ‘Olat Haššabb~t," VTSup 7 (1959) 318-45, here 332-3.

38. For correspondence in the DSS see tma xwr, "a spirit of truth," lw[h xwr, "the spirit of deceit" (1 QS 3.18,19; 4.9,20,21b,23); l[ylb twxwr, "spirits of Belial" (CD 12.2); hlw[ twxwr, "spirits of deceit" (1QM 15.14); and vdwq xwr, "a holy spirit" (1 QS 4.21a; 9.3).

39. See Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities and Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity, 1992); and Stephen F. Noll, Angels of Light, Powers of Darkness: Thinking Biblically about Angels, Satan and Principalities (Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity, 1998).

40. Craig S. Keener (The Spirit in the Gospels and Acts: Divine Purity and Power [Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1997] 27) states, "Early Jewish pneumatology provides a context in which early Christian pneumatic experience may be understood."

41. Swartz ("The Holy Spirit," 125) notes to this effect, "By long-standing tradition, such references are capitalized, and even with the anarthrous references, the translations almost invariably translate with the English definite ‘the Holy Spirit,’" emphasis his.

42. BDF §257: "to. a[gion pneu/ma . . . without article as a divine spirit."

43. Reginald St John Parry, The First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians (Cambrdige Greek Testament Commentaries; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1926) 176-77.

44. Kirsopp Lake, The Earlier Epistles of St Paul (London: Rivingstons, 1911) 207 n. 1.

45. E. Earl Ellis, "‘Spiritual Gifts’ in the Pauline Community," NTS 20 (1973-1974) 128-44, here 128-29.

46. Maximillian Zerwick (Biblical Greek, Illustrated by Examples [Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1994] §118) has observed: "Some may perhaps be apprehensive lest we reduce to banality certain Pauline formulae . . . by putting evn Cristw/|, evn pneu,mati and the like in the same class, philologically,  with evn pneu,mati avkaqa,rtw|, . . . Such apprehension is unfounded."

47. James D. G. Dunn, Jesus and the Spirit: A Study of the Religious and Charismatic Experience of Jesus and the First Christians as Reflected in the New Testament (London: SCM – Philadelphia: Westminster, 1975; repr. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997) 234; and Raymond F. Collins, First Corinthians (SacPag 7; Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1999), 455.

48. See Simon J. Kistemaker, Expostion of the First Epistle to the Corinthians (New Testament Commentary; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1993) who states, "The power and influence of spirits can be discerned by their word, deed, and appearance" (p. 425).

49. Wayne A. Grudem (The Gift of Prophecy in 1 Corinthians [Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1982; repr. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 1999] 123) is typical: "It is true that Paul would not have used pneu,mata to refer to a multiplicity of ‘Holy Spirits’."

50. "Manifestations" or "Powers" of the Holy Spirit: Archibald Robertson and Alfred Plummer, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the First Epistle of St Paul to the Corinthians (ICC; Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1911) 311; Frederick F. Bruce, 1 and 2 Corinthians (New Century Bible; London: Oliphants, 1971) 131; Grudem, The Gift of Prophecy, 123; Anthony C. Thiselton, The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NIGTC; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000) 1107; and David E. Garland, 1 Corinthians (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament; Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2002) 638.

"Gifts" of the Holy Spirit: Leon Morris, The First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians: An Introduction and Commentary (TynNTC; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1985) 189-90; Hans Conzelmann, 1 Corinthians: A Commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians (Hermeneia; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1975) 237; Kistemaker, 1 Corinthians, 488; Richard B. Hays, First Corinthians (IBC; Louisville: John Knox, 1997) 236; Marion L. Soards, 1 Corinthians (NIBC; Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1999) 285-86; and Craig S. Keener, 1-2 Corinthians (New Cambridge Bible Commentary; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005) 100.

51. Dunn, Jesus and the Spirit, 233.

52. Gordon D. Fee (The First Epistle to the Corinthians [NICNT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987] 660 n. 4) observes that "Paul wrote pneuma,twn (‘spirits’); the change to pneumatikw/n was actually made by P 1175 pc a r syp co." The idea that pneuma,twn in v. 12 refers to a multiplicity of good spirits is argued by some scholars. See Jean Héring, The First Epistle of Saint Paul to the Corinthians (London: Epworth, 1962) 149; and Ellis ("‘Spiritual Gifts,’"134) who argued that in both 1 Cor 14:12 and 14:32 "a plurality of good spirits must be inferred," emphasis his. Recently, Christopher Forbes ("Paul’s Principalities and Powers: Demythologizing Apocalyptic?" JSNT 82 [2001] 61-88) noted that "zealous for spirits" in not likely a Corinthian phrase since pneu,mata is attested more widely elsewhere in the NT. Thus, it is more likely that v. 12 "emphasizes that Paul sees benevolent spiritual beings in personal terms" (p. 66 n. 18).

53. Terence P. Paige, "Spirit at Corinth: The Corinthian Concept of Spirit and Paul’s Response as Seen in 1 Corinthians," (Ph.D. diss., University of Sheffield, 1991) 86-87. The sense of daemons here is found in Acts 17:18. Paige argues that the Corinthians might have believed in many holy spirits by confusing the Christian notion of the one holy spirit with their older beliefs in many daemons (spirits), but Morton Smith ("Pauline Worship as Seen by Pagans," HTR 93 [1980] 241-49) noted concerning v. 12 that "Paul’s pretensions prohibited the implicit comparison of the daimonia [daemons] with the spirits who came to the Christians" (p. 244).

54. Page, "Spirit at Corinth," 88. The since-then construction is followed by many commentators: C. K. Barrett, The First Epistle to the Corinthians (HNTC; New York: Harper & Row, 1968) 319; Bruce, 1 and 2 Corinthians, 131; Conzelmann, 1 Corinthians, 233; Morris, First Epistle, 190; Soards, 1 Corinthians, 285; Fee, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, 660; Kistemaker, 1 Corinthians, 487; Collins, First Corinthians, 499; and David E. Garland, 1 Corinthians (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament; Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003) 631.

55. See also NIV, NIB, NRSV, and NJB that link perisseu,hte with pneu,mata.

56. Some commentators argue that Paul quotes a Corinthian phrase "eager for spirits" as a sarcastic gloss in the light of his own conception for spirit, "the Holy Spirit." So Robertson and Plummer, First Epistle, 311; Roy A. Harrisville, 1 Corinthians (ACNT; Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1987) 232. But the phrase "eager for spirits" occurs neither in a derogatory context nor does the plural "spirits"seem to be an especially threatening term for Paul or unique to Corinthian Christians. See Garland, 1 Corinthians, 638.

57. Ellis ("‘Spiritual Gifts,’" p. 129 n. 5) notes that profhtei,a in 1 Cor 14:6 "represents a particular kind of prophetic, i.e., ‘in the spirit’ utterance." See 1 Cor 12:3, speaking evn pneu,mati qeou/ and evn pneu,mati a`gi,w| results with intelligible speech, and 1 Cor 14:16, euvlogh/|j [evn] pneu,mati results with unintelligible utterance.  See further my Religious Experience of the Pneuma: Communication with the Spirit World in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14 (WUNT 2/230; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2007) pp. 165-70, 219-27.

58. Fee, First Epistle, 666, 696.

59. See, however, three instances in which to. pneu/ma refers to the human spirit: 1 Cor 2:11; 5:5; and 2 Cor 7:13. In each of these cases, the article has an anaphoric function.

60. See Ethelbert W. Bullinger, Word Studies on the Holy Spirit (Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1905; repr. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1979) who states, "pneu,mata, spirits, when standing alone (without any qualifying words), is never used of men in any form, state or condition. These are spiritual beings" (p. 213). This, at least, holds true for Paul.

61. The idea that the spirit world of God communicates by its own authority is a Jewish idea. See Sir 39:6, Josephus A.J. 4.6.5 §119, and Herm. Mand. 11.6,8.

62. Grudem (Gift of Prophecy, 125-26) provides a similar explanation. See further Smith, "Pauline Worship," who states, ". . . it was the prophets’ duty to keep them [the spirits] under control and make them yield the floor to their fellows (14:29-32)" (p. 247).

63. See Joseph Maleparampil, The "Trinitarian" Formulae in St. Paul: An Exegetical Investigation in the Meaning and Function of those Pauline Sayings which compositely make mention of God, Christ and the Holy Spirit (Europe <