May 16

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As we read pronouns in the New Testament, we must keep in mind, each one was chosen by the Holy Spirit; therefore, each has its own story to tell in the context it appears. If we just read over these little, often two-letter pronouns, we are going to miss something the Holy Spirit has put into the statement being made. By doing this, we are subject to reaching a wrong conclusion as to what the Holy Spirit, through the writer, is revealing. Let us now notice a few cases where the use of a certain pronoun changes what some have concluded.
Paul wrote to the church in Corinth: “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (1 Cor. 6:19). Just how carefully did you read Paul’s words? First, the words “know ye not” is an expression used to introduce an argument. In this case, here is something you should know, “your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.” Did you notice the pronoun “your?” It is a plural pronoun being the Greek “humon.” Now, read with care the next word, “body,” which has the article “the” before the word “body” in the Greek Majority Text; therefore it reads: “the body.” It must be noted the words “the body” is singular! Yes, Paul used a plural pronoun “your” with a singular “the body!” Paul did not write “bodies,” but “the body,” as in the one body which is the church (Eph. 1:22-23). Paul then follows with: “is the temple of the Holy Spirit.” The singular “body,” the church is “the temple of the Holy Spirit.” Paul is not writing about the human physical body, but the one “body,” the church, which is “the temple of the Holy Spirit.” Yet, people continue to read this text as though Paul used a singular pronoun “you,” making Paul say, our physical body is “the temple of the Holy Spirit,” which he did not!
It is also of interest to note the following verse: “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your (humon) body, and in your (humon) spirit, which are God’s” (verse 20). The pronouns “your” before the word “body” and before the word “spirit” are both plural (humōn). Yet, each is used with a singular “body” and “spirit.” It is also true here, as in verse 19, the article “the” appears before both: 1) “the body” and 2) “the spirit.” Therefore, the one body, the church, has one spirit. More than likely the word “spirit” refers to one disposition that runs through the one body. Now, why is this? Because we have all, all who are in the one body and who have one disposition have been “bought with a price” and that “price” is “the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Pet. 1:19). Therefore, the body and the spirit which we are collectively and does not belong to us, but as Paul wrote, “which are God’s!” Shame on anyone, or any group who would treat the church as though she belongs to them!
While on this subject, this is a good time to address the subject that the church, the body, was purchased by Christ as Paul pointed out when addressing the elders of church of Ephesus, he said: “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28). Here Paul wrote that “God” “hath purchased” the church “with his own blood.” The word “God” must refer to the second member of the Godhead as he is the only member who was made flesh, thus, having blood. Some manuscripts have “the church of the Lord.” However, the point being made here is the “preciousness” of the church. The value we place upon a thing is the price we are willing to pay for it. God was willing to pay for the church the “precious blood” of Jesus, his only begotten Son.
It should be noted that pronouns are very important to our understanding of the text in which they appear! First, we need to read with care; while noticing when there is a plural pronoun used with another word that is singular. As the writer is expressing a collective singular and this is the church; as in ye (plural) are the Barnes church of Christ. The Barnes church of Christ is one, but made up of “ye!” You, singular, are never “the temple of the Holy Spirit,” unless you are the only member of the church.
Yes, pronouns have a story to tell if we are willing to listen. How many times have we read a text, but never noticed the Holy Spirit had the writer using a plural pronoun with singular noun? Let us keep in mind, we are reading the word of God, we are reading the words chosen by the Holy Spirit; and we are reading the word of life!

— Frank R. Williams

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