Sunday, February 18, 2024

The Holy Spirit Is a Gift!

Hey folks! Saw something really interesting at church today. In Acts 2:38, Luke refers to "the gift of the Holy Spirit." 

The NIV, ESV, and NKJV all read "you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." That makes sense, right? That's precisely what the Greek says. But I wonder. Is that what the Greek means? True, the so-called genitive case frequently indicates possession. We might have:

the word of me = my word

the house of you = your house

the gift of the Holy Spirit = the Holy Spirit's gift

But the genitive shouldn't be TOO closely identified with the idea of possession or ownership. Genitives can in fact serve many different purposes. Here's a sampling:

possession = children of men

composition = a group of men

origin = men of Rome

description = men of honor

apposition = the sin of pride/the month of January/the city of New York/the garden of Eden, etc. 

I think it's pretty obvious that this last category is the one Luke uses in Acts 2:38. Check out these English translations:

LB = you shall receive this gift, the Holy Spirit

ISV = you will receive the Holy Spirit as a gift 

To summarize ... when you think "genitive," there are two basic options:

1. John's milk (possession)

2. A glass of milk (non-possession)

Not sure why I should be telling you this. On the other hand, I do recall once hearing someone say that the gift of the Holy Spirit in view here is the gift of tongues! 

I hope I'm not publishing too many blog posts about grammar. But the study of grammar has made for me some of the most enjoyable times of my life. Hope this helps!