Via Will Kinney, with permission:
The Spirit ITSELF
“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?
Doug Kutilek and his fellow bible agnostic friend Rick Joyner are both critics of the King James Bible. Neither one of these men believes that ANY Bible in ANY language IS or ever was the complete and infallible words of God. Both men have written articles that claim the KJB use of “itself” to refer to the Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit, is borderline blasphemy.
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.
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.”
Since the King James Bible is often its own commentary, the Bible itself give us such an example. Turn to the book of Exodus chapter 2 verses 6-9. Pharaoh had given a commandment to have all the male children slain as soon as they were born. Moses’ mother put her baby in an ark of bulrushes and laid him by the river’s banks. Pharaoh’s daughter saw the ark and sent one of her maids to fetch it.
Here we read: “And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on HIM, (we know the sex of the child; he was a male) and said, This is one of the Hebrew’s children.” Then in verse 9 we read: “And Pharaoh’s daughter said unto her (Moses’ mother) Take this child away, and nurse IT for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the woman took the child, and nursed IT.”
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.
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 the Geneva Bible of 1599 and 1602, Bishops Bible 1568, Beza’s N.T. 1599, Daniel Mace’s N.T. 1729, Wesley’s translation 1755, Whiston’s Primitive N.T. 1745, Etheridge Translation 1849, The Kendrick N.T. 1862, Noyes Translation 1869, Emphatic Diaglott interlinear 1865, Darby 1870, The Alford New Testament 1870, Revised Version of 1881, American Standard Version of 1901, Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible 1902, the Douay of 1950, Young’s ‘literal’ 1898, the 21st Century KJV of 1994, William’s New Testament 1937, Lamsa’s translation of the Syriac 1933, Daniel Webster’s of 1833, The Boothroyd Bible 1853, the 20th Century New Testament, Weymouth’s translation of 1912, Goodspeed’s American translation 1943, the Amplified Bible 1987 Lockman Foundation – “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and IT dwelt on Him”, the 1998 Third Millennium Bible, the Revised Standard Version of 1952, the St. Joseph New American Bible 1970, the NRSV of 1989, Interlinear Greek N.T. 1997 (Larry Pierce), the Worldwide English New Testament 1998, -“IT stayed on him.”, Sacred Scriptures Family of Yah 2001, The Christogenea N.T. 2009, the New European Version 2010, Jubilee Bible 2010, Daniel Wallace’s NET version (as of Nov. 7, 2012) – “Then John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending like a dove from heaven, and IT remained on him.”, Online Interlinear Bible 2010 (André de Mol), the Mounce Reverse Interlinear N.T. 2011, the English Standard Version 2001-2011 and the 2011 Common English Bible – “I saw the Spirit coming down from heaven like a dove, and IT rested on him.”, The Pioneer’s N.T. 2012, the Modern English Version 2014, and the International Standard Version 2014 – “and IT remained on him.”
Other English Bibles that have “and IT abode on him” in John 1:32 are the Lawrie Translation 1998, the Tomson New Testament 2002, The Evidence Bible 2003, Concordant Version 2006, Context Group Version 2007, Bond Slave Version 2009, Biblos Interlinear Bible 2011, Conservative Bible 2011, the Far Above All Translation 2011, World English Bible 2012, The Modern Literal New Testament 2014.
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 Bishop’s Bible 1568, Whiston’s Primitive N.T. 1745, The Improved N.T. 1809,Webster’s translation 1833, The Hussey N.T. 1845, The Morgan N.T. 1848, The Commonly Received Version 1851, The Calvin Version 1856, The Sawyer N.T. 1858, The Revised N.T. 1862, Ainslie N.T. 1869, The Alford New Testament 1870, The Davidson N.T. 1876, The Sharpe Bible 1883, The Dillard N.T. 1885, The New Covenant N.T. 1888, Darby 1890, Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible of 1902, The New Testament from the Sinaitic Manuscript 1918, The Riverside N.T. 1923, Goodspeed 1943, The New American Bible 1991, The Word of Yah 1993, the KJV 21st Century Version 1994, the Interlinear Greek N.T. by Larry Pierce 1997, the Lawrie Translation 1998, the Third Millenium bible of 1998, the NRSV of 1989, Interlinear Greek New Testament 1997 (Larry Pierce), Lawrie Translation 1998, A Conservative Version 2001, the Urim-Thummin Version 2001, The Apostolic Polyglot Bible 2003, The Evidence Bible 2003, the 21st Century Version 2002, the Concordant Version 2006, The Faithful New Testament 2009, The Accurate New Testament 2008, The Apostolic Polyglot Bible 2003, Hebraic Transliteration Scripture 2010, The New American Bible 2010, Far Above All Translation 2011, Conservative Bible 2011, The Hebraic Roots Bible 2012, the BRG Bible 2012 and The Concordant Version 2012.
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 1994, the Emphatic Diaglott interlinear 1865, Alford’s translation 1868, Noyes Translation 1869, the Bishop’s Bible 1568, Beza’s N.T. 1599, the Geneva Bible 1599 and 1602, Daniel Mace’s N.T 1729, Wesley’s 1755 translation, Coverdale 1535, Whiston’s Primitive N.T. 1745, the Thompson Bible 1808, The Improved New Testament 1809, Darby 1890, Webster’s 1833, The Pickering N.T. 1840, The Hussey N.T. 1845, The Morgan N.T. 1848, The Commonly Received Version 1851, The Revised N.T. 1862, Ainslie N.T. 1869, The Alford New Testament 1870, The Davidson N.T. 1876, The Sharpe Bible 1883, The Dillard N.T. 1885, The New Covenant N.T. 1888, Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible 1902, The New Testament Translated from the Sinaitic Manuscript 1918 Henry Anderson, The Riverside N.T. 1923, Goodspeed 1943, The Word of Yah 1993, KJV 21st Century Version 1994, Interlinear Greek New Testament 1997 (Larry Pierce), the Third Millenium Bible 1998, Lawrie Translation 1998, A Conservative Version 2001 and The Urim-Thummin Version 2001, the Tomson New Testament 2002, The Apostolic Polyglot Bible 2003, The Concordant Version 2006, The Christogenea N.T. 2009, Faithful New Testament 2009, Hebraic Transliterations Scripture 2010, Jubilee Bible 2010, The New American Bible 2010, Far Above All Translation 2011, the Biblos Interlinear Bible 2011, The Concordant Version 2012 and the BRG Bible 2012 all read like the KJB – “the Spirit ITSELF”.
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 New Testament for English Readers 1868, Whiston’s Primitive N.T. 1745, The Thompson Bible 1808, The Improved N.T. 1809, Noyes Translation 1869, the Revised Version of 1885, the American Standard Version of 1901 -“the Spirit of Christ which was in them did point unto, when IT testified beforehand”, Webster’s translation 1833, The Commonly Received Version 1851, The Sawyer N.T. 1858, The Alford New Testament 1870, The Riverside N.T. 1923, the Berkeley Version 1969, Basic Bible in English 1961 – ” the Spirit of Christ which was in them was pointing to, when IT gave witness to the pains which Christ would undergo”, the New American Bible 1991, Douay-Rheims, the 1989 Revised English Version (Bruce Metzger), the NRSV of 1989, The Word of Yah 1993, Modern Literal Version of the New Testament 1999 by G. Allen Walker, The Sacred Scriptures Family of Yah 2001, the Context Group Version 2007, the Updated Bible Version 2003, the Evidence Bible (Ray Comfort) 2003, Context Group Version 2007, the Interlinear Hebrew-Greek Scriptures 2008, The Christogenea N.T. 2009, Hebraic Transliteration Scripture 2010, the Revised English Version of 2010, the New European Version 2010, The New American Bible 2010, Conservative Bible 2011, the Far Above All Translation 2011, The Work of God’s Children Illustrated Bible 2011, Interlinear Hebrew-Greek Scriptures 2012, the BRG Bible 2012 and The Modern Literal New Testament 2014.
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, ESV 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 NASB, ESV 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, ESV 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, ESV 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.”
Likewise in the book of Ruth, even when we know the sex of the child, it can still be referred to as “it”. In Ruth chapter 4 we read of the birth of a son to Ruth and Boaz, names Obed. In 4:13 we are told “the LORD gave her conception, and she bare A SON.” Yet in verses 16-17 we read: “And Naomi took THE CHILD, and laid IT in her bosom, and became nurse unto IT. And the women her neighbours gave IT a name, saying, There is a SON born to Naomi; and they called HIS name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David.” (See the same thing in the Geneva Bible, the Revised Version, the ASV of 1901, Darby’s translation, the 1917 Jewish Publication Society Bible translation, the Hebrew Names Bible and the Complete Jewish Bible, to name but a few.)
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.” So read the ESV, RV, ASV, NKJV, RSV. The NIV and Holman have “WHAT is conceived”, which is still neuter. However the NASB, NRSV say “THE CHILD WHO has been conceived”, which is not in any Greek text, and then the NASB footnotes that it literally is “that which”. 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.” = διὸ καὶ τὸ γεννώμενον ἐκ σοῦ ἅγιον κληθήσεται υἱὸς Θεοῦ.
That holy thing – τὸ ἅγιον – is neuter, yet we all know that Jesus Christ is a person, in fact, God manifest in the flesh. THAT HOLY THING is the reading found in all Greek texts as well as Wycliffe 1395 – “therfor that hooli thing that schal be borun of thee”, Tyndale 1525 – “that holy thinge which shalbe borne”, the Great Bible 1540 – “that holy thynge”, Bishops’ bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1587 – “that holy thing which shall bee borne of thee, shall be called the Sonne of God.”, Whiston’s N.T. 1745, Wesley’s N.T. 1755, Webster’s translation 1833, Darby – “the holy thing also which shall be born”, the RV 1885 (that which is to be born), the ASV of 1901 (the holy thing), Godbey Translation 1902, Rotherham’s Emphasized bible 1902, the Updated Bible Version 2004, the Jubilee Bible 2000-2010 – “that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
Young’s ‘literal’ says: “the holy-begotten THING shall be called Son of God”
Several foreign language versions also reflect the use of a neuter here. The Spanish Sagradas Escrituras of 1569, Reina Valera 1909 -1977, Reina Valera Gómez 2010 say “lo Santo que de ti nacerá” = the Holy thing that will be born of thee”. The Portuguese Almeida Actualizada has: “o ser que nascerá de ti será chamado Santo” = “the being that shall be born of thee shall be called Holy”, the Italian Diodati 1649 – “per tanto ancora ciò che nascerà da te Santo sarà chiamato Figliuol di Dio.” = “that Holy thing born of thee”
John Gill comments: “therefore also THAT HOLY THING which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. The human nature of Christ is here called a “thing”; for it was not a person; it never subsisted of itself, but was taken at once into union with the person of the Son of God, otherwise there would be two persons in Christ, whereas he is God, and man, in one person.”
Matthew Henry comments: “The child she shall conceive is A HOLY THING, and therefore must not be conceived by ordinary generation, because he must not share in the common corruption and pollution of the human nature. He is spoken of emphatically, THAT HOLY THING, such as never was; and he shall be called the Son of God, as the Son of the Father by eternal generation, as an indication of which he shall now be formed by the Holy Ghost in the present conception. His human nature must be so produced, as it was fit that should be which was to be taken into union with the divine nature.”
Adam Clarke comments: “We may plainly perceive here, that the angel does not give the appellation of Son of God to the Divine nature of Christ; but to that holy person or THING which was to be born of the virgin, by the energy of the Holy Spirit. The Divine nature could not be born of the virgin; the human nature was born of her. The Divine nature had no beginning; it was God manifested in the flesh, 1 Timothy 3:16… THE HOLY THING that was to be born of the virgin. Two natures must ever be distinguished in Christ”
Some modern versions have changed the translation somewhat. The NKJV, NIV (the holy one) Holman Standard say: “the Holy One to be born shall be called the Son of God.” Strictly speaking, there is no word for “One” either but it is STILL neuter.
Here the NASB 1995 edition, NET, the ESV 2011, ISV and the Catholic New Jerusalem 1985 now say “THE CHILD to be born”, which is not in any Greek text, but once again the NASB footnote informs us that it literally is “that holy thing”. The NASB 1977 edition, as well as the Catholic St. Joseph NAB 1970, said : “the holy OFFSPRING shall be called the Son of God.” Again, the word “offspring” and much less “child” are NOT found in ANY Greek text at all. They just made this stuff up. Many modern versions are getting worse, not better.
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? WHATSOEVER is the reading of the Revised Version 1885 and the ASV 1901, while the NKJV, NASB, RSV, NRSV have WHATEVER IS BORN of God. This is OK since it is still a neuter, but the NIV, ESV now say ‘EVERYONE born of God” which, once again, is not found in any Greek text.
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 multiple 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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Is it wrong to refer to God as “it”?
Isaiah 51:9-10 Authorized King James Bible
9. “Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord;
awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old.
Art thou not IT that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon?
10. Art thou not IT which hath dried the sea,
the waters of the great deep;
that hath made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over?”
If you have been reading this article so far you then know that it is not wrong or grammatically incorrect to refer to a person, particularly one who has previously been clearly identified, as “it”.
Not only does the King James Bible read “Art thou not IT that hath cut Rahab” but so too do the following Bible translations – The Lesser O.T. 1835 – “Art thou not IT…”, The Jewish Family Bible 1864, Young’s 1898, the ASV 1901 – “Is IT not thou that didst cut Rahab”, The Ancient Hebrew Bible 1907, the JPS (Jewish Publication Society) Bible 1917 -“Art thou not IT that hath…”, The 1936 Hebrew Publishing Company Bible, The Word of Yah Bible 1993, the 21st Century KJV 1994, The Third Millennium Bible 1998, The Hebrew Transliteration Scripture 2010, The Orthodox Jewish Bible 2011 – “Art thou not IT that hath cut Rachav to pieces, and pierced Tanin?”, The Bond Slave Version 2012 – “Are you not IT that has cut Rahab…”, The Katapi New Standard Bible 2012 and The Biblos Bible 2013.
Many modern versions actually say the same thing but with a different word order – “Was IT not you who cut Rahab in pieces, Who pierced the dragon?” (NASB, ESV, RSV, NRSV, Holman, NIV)
Notes from the Internet
Bible Agnostic and Infallibility Denying Bible Critic Doug Kutilek has written an article he calls The Preservation of Scripture. It can be seen here –
Kutilek, as usual, just gives us more pious sounding mumbo jumbo that doesn’t even make sense, so he can justify the FACT that he does not have nor believe in an infallible Bible.
Notice he says: “The consequence is, that, although the various readings found in the existing manuscripts, are numerous, we are able, in every case, to determine the correct reading, so far as is necessary for the establishment of our faith, or the direction of our practice in every important particular. ”
Well, Mr. Kutilek, What about the Doctrine of the Infallibility of the Scripture? How is THAT established by your “numerous various readings”? Toss out faith in an inerrant Bible. Not all that important, right?
And here is more BALONEY from Mr. Kutilek when he says: “Or, to summarize Dagg: the miracle of inspiration was operative only in the original writing of Scripture and only the originals are infallible. ”
Notice two things about this bible agnostic’s remarks. First, if inspiration was limited only to the long lost and never seen by him “originals” then Kutilek and you do not have an inspired Bible. Oh, wait. That IS what most of you believe anyway, isn’t it.
Secondly, Notice Kutilek’s clever and unfounded use of a present tense verb “ARE” when he LIES to us and says “only the originals ARE infallible”. He talks about them as though they exit now and he has them right there in his study as he writes his bloviated opinions. Yet he himself KNOWS that no such thing as the originals exist and therefore ARE NOT.
He would be telling the truth of what he really believes if he had said something like “Once upon a time, long long ago and very far way there WAS the originals. They never did make up a single Bible, but IF they had been preserved, then they would have been our final authority. But, alas, no such thing as the originals exist anymore. They long ago turned to dust and nobody alive today has ever seen a single word of them. So today we Bible critics and bible agnostics are left to our own devices, personal opinions and speculative imagination to try to come up with ballpark approximations of what we think God may or may not have said and not one scholar among us agrees with any other scholar about what the final product should look like. So, be happy; Go with God and hope for the best.” Now THAT would have been more in keeping with what men like Doug Kutilek REALLY believe about their ever changing, no text is sure “Bibles”.