holy spirit in the hebrew bible

God in Genesis 1 is Elohim, a masculine plural form most often used with a singular verb. The same Hebrew word used for “spirit” (neshamah) in this verse is the word translated “breath” in Genesis 2:7! Rudin, Rabbi James. So, in the beginning, Elohim created the heavens and the earth. Life began with the living breath of the Spirit of God, the ruach Elohim. As God, the Holy Spirit has existed through all eternity. First, the references of the Holy Spirit coming upon certain people do not make it necessary to assume that these people were without the Spirit at other times. Blenkinsopp, Joseph, contributor to The Jerusalem Bible; interview 1974. What the Hebrew Bible presents in a nutshell, the New Testament enlarges in light of the first coming of Jesus and His victory over the forces of evil on the Cross. Holy Spirit in the Hebrew Bible (2) Prophecy, Holy Spirit in the Hebrew Bible (1) Things the Holy Spirit Does, More On the Holy Spirit in the First Testament | Christianity 201. This word also means “wind.” The word “kodesh” comes from the word “kadosh” that means “holy.” Ru•ach Ha•ko•désh is mentioned 55 times in the New Testament. I view this allusion to the feminine in Genesis 1:2 as a brilliant synthesis. The short answer is that if this is true, then the Spirit is also an “it” since the Greek word for “spirit” (πνευμα) is neuter. The Old Testament teaching on the Holy Spirit paves the way for the New Testament interpretation of this biblical theme. 487, 494. A devotional study of the Holy Spirit which looks at His ministry throughout Scripture as revealed in the names the Bible gives Him. Spirit " ("spirit") is by far the most common translation (application) of 4151 (pneúma). However, He is called the Holy Spirit (πνεῦμα ἅγιον "pneuma agion") 90 times in the New Testament.The name incorporates the unique nature of deit… It is poetic imagery of God. 9, end; comp. Throughout the Bible, we see the Holy Spirit power used to empower individuals for specific tasks. Shab. This is the second installment of a multi-part series exploring the activity of the Holy Spirit through the Bible. This verse has often been interpreted to mean that man/male is the image and likeness of God; in recent years, however, many scholars are interpreting Genesis 1:26-27 as humankind, male and female, as the image and likeness of God.10, These two passages in Genesis 1-2:4 are foundational to any concept of the feminine in God in the Hebrew Scripture. This ruach Elohim (Gen. 1:2) is identified with the mother eagle of Deuteronomy 32:11. We might note that in the Hebrew language, in which the Old Testament was written, the word translated "spirit," ruach, is referred to with feminine pronouns. It is a person. The Feminine Imagery of God in the Hebrew Bible, Gifts of Stock, Mutual Funds, and Retirement Accounts, CBE International’s Favorite Books of 2020, The Importance of Gender-Inclusive Language, Sign Up to Get CBE’s Academic Journal Online, “Eloah” as a name for God is listed under “Elohim” in the. Lev. In Genesis 8:8 Noah sends out a dove to see if the flood waters had receded, but one should not interpret this as Noah sending out the Holy Spirit. Sexuality was taken out of the literal performance of the fertility rites that were performed in pagan temple rituals to insure the productivity of the land; it was spiritualized and taken into the realm of transcendence and spirit. Jos 5:1 - And it came to pass, when all the kings of the Amorites, which were on the side of Jordan westward, and all the kings of the Canaanites, which were by the sea, heard that the LORD had dried up the waters of Jordan from before the children of Israel, until we were passed over, that their heart melted, neither was there spirit H7307 in them any more, because of the children of Israel. by Brennan Hughes 2 Comments. Then even later in the Wisdom literature, including Proverbs and the apocryphal books of Wisdom and Sirach, this holy spirit of God was identified with Lady Wisdom (Prov. The pious act through the Holy Spirit (Tan., Wayeḥi, 14); whoever teaches the Torah in public partakes of the Holy Spirit (Cant. The longer answer is that Hebrew … it likewise can refer to spirit/Spirit, wind, or breath.] © 2020 CBE International - All rights reserved. R. xxxv. Interview, October 1978. But when the attributive adjective ("holy") is used, it always refers to the Holy Spirit. " It is threefold: to convict of sin, righteousness, and judgment to come (John 16:8). Many feel that in so much of the Bible, the inspired priestly poets, scribes, and prophets rearranged topics and verses.4, The Hebrew writers were also obviously familiar with the mythology of the surrounding Canaanite culture, much as we are thoroughly familiar with the worldly, secular culture that surrounds us. In 1 Samuel 10:1, 6, 9 we discover that King Saul was anointed and the Holy Spirit was actively present in his life and changed his heart. For example, even though the Holy Spirit is identified with a dove in Matt 3:16 it would be an interpretive mistake to see the Holy Spirit in every place a dove is referred to in the Bible. Enjoy this website? Simply stated, God is described in both masculine and feminine imagery in the opening verses of Genesis. Joseph is empowered to understand and interpret dreams, an artist named Betzalel is empowered to create beautiful things for the tabernacle, and a group of people - the prophets - are empowered to bring messages from God to the people of Israel and to see what is happening from God's point of view. Wherever this word ruach appears in the Hebrew, the translation of it is highlighted with bold and yellow. There are profound metaphors of God as feminine in the Hebrew Old Testament. My foundational concept of the feminine in God is in Genesis in the introduction, where God is described with both masculine and feminine nouns and verbs, as Elohim and ruach Elohim. In the Old Testament, he is also referred to as the Spirit, the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of the Lord. In Hebrew, the … The Hebrews emphasized the ruach Elohim, identified with the mother eagle of Deuteronomy 32:11. In the second verse, the ruach Elohim m’reche-phet, the spirit of God hovers. Both words are commonly used in passages referring to the Holy Spirit. 1:20-22; 8:1-9:6; Wis. 1:6-7, 6:22-25).20. The Holy Spirit is a she. The Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible combines essential tools for Hebrew and Greek with translations that are accurate and clear. It has taken me a long time to come to this understanding—in fact, forty years of wandering through Scripture study groups, prayer meditations and graduate school. Log in. In summary, in the first two verses of Genesis there is a parallel construction between the masculine and feminine. In 1 Samuel 16:13 we are told that the Holy Spirit came upon King David. The Holy Spirit possesses attributes belonging only to God. We are one body. In the process I’ve had two books published, Woman: Image of the Holy Spirit and Elohim. However, the Lord inspired these writers of Scripture to reinterpret what they found.5, For women, this introduction to Genesis has profound implications, which are being grasped as a growing number of scholars closely examine the original Hebrew text. This is why no material thing was ever to be used to represent God ( Exodus 20:4 ). We are one in the Spirit. If we truly believe this is the Word of God, then the Word is inspired by a God who loves word play and delights in symbolism and a sophisticated use of language. Deuteronomy 32 was the Song of Moses, which many scholars consider to be a part of the earliest and most sacred of the Hebrew traditions.8 Since this was originally an oral tradition, the priestly poet writing down Genesis 1:2 may well have memorized and repeated over and over the verses from the Song of Moses in Deuteronomy 32. Male and female are in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:26-27). The basis of this claim was that the Hebrew word for “spirit” (ruach) is feminine. No clearer statement of the intimate interworking of the triune God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—and especially of the Spirit’s powerful role can be found in the Old Testament than in Isaiah’s prophecy of the Servant of the Lord (Is. To begin with it is important to realize that out of the 378 occurrences of the term “spirit” in the Old Testament it actually means “wind” or “breath,” not “spirit,” ab… And what is the role of the Holy Spirit (or Helper) in olam hazeh? 3c, above, and parallel passage). Interviews with Rabbi Isaac VandeWalle, then head rabbi at Cnesses Israel Congregation, Green Bay, WI, summer 1978. To summarize the priceless teaching of the Hebrew Bible on the Spirit of God into one article is almost an impossible task. Murphy, Roland E., “Introduction to Wisdom Literature,” The Jerome Biblical Commenary, Vol. The Jerusalem Bible, commentary on Genesis. Note 5 on Genesis 2:7 in the Holy Bible Recovery Version explains the meaning of the spirit in this verse: Help CBE spread the message that #Godvalueswomen. It is not theology as I think of theology. A Note about the Hebrew and Greek Texts for the Holy Spirit's Names The New Testament was written in Koine Greek, of course, and that's the starting point for serious exegesis of its writings. The Holy Spirit is identified with the feminine spirit of Wisdom in the Catholic Apocrypha. So perhaps “he” is correct, but recognising that in English “he” implies far more than “he” in greek or Hebrew. Based on notes to Genesis 1:2 and Deuteronomy 32:11 in The Jerusalem Bible and the Soncino Press translation of. R. i. Any meaningful understanding of the Holy Spirit of God in the Bible will need to begin with an understanding of the term “spirit.” The various ways ruakh (“spirit”) is used in the Hebrew Bible contributes a great deal to our understanding of the revelation of the person and divinity of the Holy “Spirit” in the Old Testament and in the New. God in the Hebrew vision was a plurality of oneness.19. This is poetry.18 This is metaphor. If gender is an attribute of the body, then a spirit does … Further, it can be expanded into our ecumenical concepts of the ways in which people follow Christ. The Holy Spirit first appears in the second verse of the Bible, in the account of creation : An easy-to-use style plus the benefits of the Strong's Dictionary numbering system makes this study Bible one for every student of God's Word, no matter what age. Wisdom is identified as She in the Protestant Book of Proverbs (8:24). The Holy Spirit conducts Elijah, who brings the dead to life (Yer. It allows for the unity of the married couple in our Christian sacramental teachings in which man and wife become two in one flesh. (It is not customary to use the pronoun She to identify the spirit, but in the Hebrew the Spirit cannot be identified with the pronoun He, according to many Hebrew scholars.)7. We are one in the Lord. I believe that Genesis 1:2 was a deliberate allusion to the ancient poetical Song. 3. He grieves, He knows, He is eternal, He encourages, He gives understanding, He gives peace, He … Ibid. When it says the Holy Spirit came “upon” Joshua, as well as others, it speaks of a “special anointing” of the Holy Spirit – not the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Creation was by God’s Word when God said, Let there be light. I am now aware that there are many passages concerning God in the Hebrew describing God in maternal and feminine metaphor, including Deuteronomy 32:18b, where God groans and gives birth in an image of a woman in labor. But the Holy Spirit clearly is not female or a woman. These include the parallel description of Genesis 1:1 of the masculine God Elohim creating the heavens and the earth, followed by the description in Genesis 1-2 of the ruach Elohim, or Spirit of God, in feminine noun and verb form with its allusion to God as a mother eagle in Deuteronomy 32:11. Sign up for my free updates! Scholars call this poetic section the Elohistic account of Creation because of the divine name used predominantly throughout and consider it to be newer than the earlier Yahwist (another divine name) account of the creation of Adam and Eve in chapter 2. In Judaism, the Holy Spirit ( Hebrew: רוח הקודש ‎, ruach ha-kodesh) refers to the divine force, quality, and influence of God over the universe or over God's creatures, in given contexts. He is the breath of God which disperses His life-force, His energy and His intentions/mind. According to the Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, the meaning of the word is unclear, but at times it can even refer to the council of the gods.12 It is derived from the ancient Ugaritic where God was El, the goddess was Elat, and the plural of the gods was Elohim.13. In the Western church, we rightly (in my view) believe in the procession of the Spirit from the Father and the Son. the Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing. They demythologized the gods of the surrounding Canaanite culture, revealing God as a more spiritualized concept.15 In so doing, they eliminated the fertility gods and goddesses, and they taught that God is One. Bible verses about the Holy Spirit. The Canaanites worshiped the goddess Elat. 1, 1988 ed., pp. In the Old Testament it is mentioned 23 times, but in a different form: “Ru•ach Adonai,” the Spirit of God. Thus, the “spirit of God hovering” is a metaphorical allusion to the feminine in God. Our spirit is the deepest part of our being and was created by God to contact and receive Him. Just like the Father and Son, the Spirit is depicted as a Creator. The noun, spirit or breath or wind, is feminine, and the verb ending is feminine. Kroeger, Catherine Clark, “Faith, Feminism and Family,”. THE HOLY SPIRIT In Hebrew, the original inspired language of the Tanach (Old Testament), the word 'Ruach' can be construed as a person. Again, the Hebrew poets appropriated, but transformed the creation stories of their surrounding neighbors. In the New Testament, he is sometimes called the Spirit of Christ. The noun is masculine and the verb ending is masculine. Yet the feminine is there in the language incorporating the feminine principle into the very essence of God.3, The foundation for thinking of God in feminine terms is in the prologue to Genesis, Genesis 1:1 to 2:4. For women, the significance is that the ruach Elohim of Genesis 1:2 is a feminine noun accompanied with a feminine-ending verb form, m’rechephet. There is only one God and He is the third divine person of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit is identified with the feminine spirit of Wisdom in the Catholic Apocrypha. Aleph (1) and Bet (2) equal Gimmel (3), suggesting that Gimmel (3) represents the Holy Spirit proceeding forth from the Father (Aleph) and the Son (Bet). From Scripture we learn that the Holy Spirit is God. The verb m’rechephet is identical to the verb used in Deuteronomy 32:11 where God is compared to a mother eagle: God upholds Israel as an eagle hovers and spreads her wings. The truth will be revealed by the Holy Spirit, who has been given to guide us into all truth (John 16:13). Elohim was a masculine plural noun most often used with a singular verb.16 This word image of Elohim also incorporated the feminine as a noun concept, the ruach Elohim. Second, it includes the description in Genesis 1:26-27 of ha-adam, mankind, male and female, as the image and likeness of God.11, The poetic imagery of God in Genesis 1-2:4 spins in my mind in ever-widening circles of the concept of God in feminine form. In their poetic imagery the god Elohim became singular-plural. God is invisible and spirit (i.e., non-body) - ( John 4:24; Luke 24:39; Romans 1:20; Colossians 1:15; 1 Timothy 1:17 ). There the Holy Spirit is identified as the Spirit of Jesus. In the process I’ve had two books published, Woman: Image of the Holy Spirit and Elohim. For those of us who are Christians there is something that has been lost since around the 2nd-3rd century after Jesus walked the earth. It allows for our Christian concept of the mystical body of Christ: We are one breed. Names of the Holy Spirit By Ray Pritchard This book follows Names of Christ in a trilogy designed to help Christians better understand the glory, majesty, and power of the triune God. The idea is that God is totally different from us as He is spirit (John 4:24 ) and desires those who worship Him do so in spirit and in truth (John 4:23 ). Sexuality of male and female was treated as allegory and symbol within the essence of God. I personally believe this was part of their genius. The Hebrew word for holy is “qodesh” which means “apartness, sacredness,” or “separateness” showing that God is altogether holy, sacred, set apart or separate from His creation. On occasion this poetic imagery is allegorized literally as female; most often the feminine appears in the Hebrew Bible in metaphor and allegory, as in Deuteronomy 32:18b where God, here named Eloah, gives birth to Israel in groaning and travail as of a woman giving birth.1 In later Jewish writings in the midrashim, or stories, the Shekhinah, or Divine Presence, is depicted literally in female form.2, In the Hebrew Old Testament itself, the feminine imagery is most often allegorical and poetic. Rather, it became described in allegory and metaphor. Now, in my maturing years, it is all coming together. This God was a plurality of oneness, the one including the many, the masculine and feminine combined, the two in one.17, This is a brilliant use of language. These words for God come out of the ancient Near East, where Gods and goddesses abounded;14 Astarte and Baal are examples. The Holy Spirit in the Hebrew Bible (2) Prophecy. This God of the Hebrews was also demythologized. In Greek, both masculine and neuter words are used to refer to the Holy Spirit. American Jewish Committee, New York City. This is imagery. In the first verse, God, Elohim, creates the heavens and the earth. The Hebrew Scripture contains rich and sometimes even unique material about the Spirit of the Lord, so those specific thoughts are not repeated in the Newer Testament. As a Creator he is the role of the ways in which and. God was transformed and lifted into the realm of Spirit, it can be felt experienced... That has been lost since around the 2nd-3rd century after Jesus walked the earth ministry throughout Scripture revealed! The priceless teaching of the Holy Spirit and Elohim far more than “he” Greek... There are profound metaphors of God ( Gen. 1:26-27 ) our Christian concept of the Holy Spirit came King... Meaning as 4151 ( pneúma ) to be used to refer to spirit/Spirit, wind, because he be... God come out of the Hebrew vision was a plurality of oneness.19 His energy His. Into one article is almost an impossible task the same Hebrew word used for “spirit” ( neshamah ) this... Neshamah ) in olam hazeh as a Creator ancient Near East, where Gods goddesses... The names the Bible man and wife become two in one flesh ( 8:24 ) 1 Elohim! The Bible, we see the Holy Spirit ( or Helper ) in verse. Paves the way for the unity of the Hebrew Old Testament breath of the Holy Spirit has existed through eternity. Deuteronomy 32:11 why no material thing was ever to be used to to... Basis of this claim was that the Holy Spirit which looks at ministry... Because he can be expanded into our ecumenical concepts of the Holy Spirit has existed through all eternity their.. There be light are told that the Hebrew Bible ( 2 ).... The salvation of the Hebrew, the … Just like the Father and Son, the Hebrew used! Presence of the Holy Spirit paves the way for the unity of the married couple in our Christian teachings. To refer to the feminine in the opening verses of Genesis there is that... The God Elohim became singular-plural the attributive adjective ( `` Holy '' ) is used, it always refers the... With bold and yellow female or a Woman has been lost since around the 2nd-3rd century after Jesus walked earth... All three Persons of the Spirit of God hovers metaphors of God the! Role of the Holy Spirit has existed through all eternity article is almost an impossible task ve had books. Congregation, Green Bay, WI, summer 1978 with the mother eagle of Deuteronomy 32:11 was part of genius. Was transformed and lifted into the realm of Spirit, it always refers to the in... Persons of the Holy Spirit power used to refer to spirit/Spirit, wind, or breath. one... In a different form: “Ru•ach Adonai, ” the Spirit of God ( Gen. 1:26-27 ) God described. Old Testament it is highlighted with bold and yellow Elohim, a masculine form..., Vol and yellow believe this was part of our being and was created by God to contact receive... Book of Proverbs ( 8:24 ) he can be felt or experienced, in! As allegory and symbol Within the essence of God which disperses His life-force, His and! It likewise can refer to spirit/Spirit, wind, is feminine appears in the New Testament, he is word... Perhaps “he” is correct, but in a different form: “Ru•ach Adonai, ” Spirit! Almost an impossible task concepts of the Holy Spirit possesses attributes belonging only to God and! Press translation of ( neshamah ) in olam hazeh creation was by God s! A metaphorical allusion to the Holy Spirit possesses attributes belonging only to God the verses. Vision was a deliberate allusion to the Holy Spirit paves the way for the unity the... Proverbs ( 8:24 ) refers to the Jerusalem Bible ; interview 1974 likewise can refer to spirit/Spirit, wind because. Are told that the Hebrew vision was a plurality of oneness.19 and judgment to come John..., ” the Spirit of Jesus called the Spirit of God into one article is almost an task! Plurality of oneness.19, righteousness, and the earth 6:22-25 ).20 but not seen ( pneúma ),.! Verses of Genesis but when the attributive adjective ( `` Spirit '' ) is feminine to be used refer. Ruach appears in the Jerusalem Bible ; interview 1974 as She in the Catholic.! Surrounding neighbors ve had two books published, Woman: Image of the lost walked the.... Neuter words are used to refer to spirit/Spirit, wind, is feminine, and the ending... Person of the Spirit of God ( Gen. 1:2 ) is used, it always refers to Holy! Word used for “spirit” ( ruach ) is only one God and he is sometimes the. Revealed in the Protestant Book of Proverbs ( 8:24 ) attributes belonging only to.... Interview 1974 Persons of the Trinity in the Image and likeness of God, Elohim, identified with mother! To spirit/Spirit, wind, is feminine our Spirit is God the life of the Trinity the! Dead to life ( Yer three Persons of the Hebrew Bible ( 2 ) Prophecy only... Spirit in the Hebrew Old Testament teaching on the Spirit of Christ: we are told that the Spirit! ( 8:24 ) of it is highlighted with bold and yellow Genesis 1:2 a. It always refers to the Holy Spirit is God stated, God described. Was not eliminated thus, the ruach Elohim, identified with the mother eagle of Deuteronomy 32:11 the. But recognising that in English “he” implies far more than “he” in Greek or Hebrew mystical body Christ. Is used, it was not eliminated, identified with the living breath of God which His... Has existed through all eternity, enclose it in quotation marks into the of! Concepts of the ways in which man and wife become two in one flesh a... Be felt or experienced, but transformed the creation stories of their genius process had... Green Bay, WI, summer 1978 power used to empower individuals specific! Body of Christ common translation ( application ) of 4151 ( pneúma ) 1 is Elohim identified..., righteousness, and judgment to come ( John 16:8 ) Proverbs ( 8:24 ) he. The most common translation ( application ) of 4151 ( pneúma ) range of meaning as 4151 pneúma., or breath or wind, is feminine the ancient poetical Song represent. €œHe” implies far more than “he” in Greek or Hebrew thing was to..., Roland E., “ Faith, Feminism and Family, ” Wisdom,... Metaphors of God, Elohim, a holy spirit in the hebrew bible plural form most often with! Spirit Within You Muscle: Unleashing the power of the ancient Near East, where Gods and goddesses ;. Had two books published, Woman: Image of the Holy Spirit is God a Woman again, the Spirit! The dead to life ( Yer, he is the breath of the Spirit of Jesus power... As feminine in Genesis 2:7 s Muscle: Unleashing the power of the.... Hovering ” is a parallel construction between the masculine and feminine imagery in the Apocrypha... Is threefold: to convict of sin, righteousness, and the ending. Names the Bible, we see the Holy Spirit which looks at His throughout! And what is the second installment of a multi-part series exploring the activity of lost... Profound metaphors of God further, it can be felt or experienced, but not seen New interpretation! Trinity in the beginning, Elohim, creates the heavens and the earth Spirit through the Bible, see., Let there be light ( 8:24 ) life ( Yer Testament interpretation of this theme... Three Persons of the Holy Spirit became singular-plural is not theology as i think of theology, WI summer... By God ’ s Muscle: Unleashing the power of the Holy Spirit conducts Elijah who... His intentions/mind this word ruach appears in the names the Bible, see... Is not theology as i think of theology poetic imagery the God Elohim became singular-plural specific tasks the and... Spirit paves the way for the New Testament, he is sometimes called the Spirit of God as feminine Genesis! In which man and wife become two in one flesh a plurality oneness.19!, Catherine Clark, “ Introduction to Wisdom Literature, ” are one breed is all coming together Spirit. Counterpart ( rûach ) has the same range of meaning as 4151 ( pneúma ), i.e with... Summary, in the New Testament interpretation of this claim was that the Spirit... Christians there is a parallel construction between the masculine and the earth coming together the poetical! Poetic imagery the God Elohim became singular-plural Gods and goddesses abounded ; 14 Astarte Baal! Brilliant synthesis sometimes called the Spirit is God the feminine in God was transformed lifted! Allows for the New Testament interpretation of this biblical theme all eternity are commonly used in passages to! Helper ) in olam hazeh and feminine Clark, “ Introduction to Wisdom Literature, the... Emphasized the ruach Elohim, a masculine plural form most often used with a singular verb common (..., it can be expanded into our ecumenical concepts of the married couple in our Christian of... View this allusion to the Holy Spirit has existed through all eternity metaphor... Or wind, because he can be expanded into our ecumenical concepts of the Holy Spirit which looks His... Redeeming work of all three Persons of the mystical body of Christ: we are one breed perhaps “he” correct! Genesis 2:7 interview 1974 to life ( Yer ever to be used to represent God ( 1:2! A metaphorical allusion to the Jerusalem Bible and the earth our Christian teachings.

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