Barry Newman's Blog

September 15, 2010

The Essence of Spirit (XIV)

Filed under: Spirit — barrynewman @ 10:50 am

Pneumatikos, pneumatikōs, anemos, pneō and pnoe

The adjective pneumatikos occurs 25 times in the New Testament, 14 of these being found in 1 Corinthians.  On 13 occasions, it is used as a noun with the reference being to “matter”, “things” or “person(s) or something similar.  Other usages relate to “gift”, “law”, “meat”, “drink”, “rock”, “body”, “blessing”, “songs”, “wisdom and understanding”, “house” and “sacrifices”.  The adverb pneumatikōs occurs only twice.  In almost all situations, the notion being referred to, by either adjective or adverb, seemed to be “spiritual” as opposed to “physical”.  Often the contrast was quite stark, as in e.g. “spiritual gift”, “spiritual meat”, spiritual drink”, “spiritual rock”, “spiritual house” and “spiritual sacrifices”.  The underlying sense seems to be that of a non-material, and to some extent, non-tangible functional reality.

The noun anemos occurs 29 times in the New Testament and always refers to a wind or winds, with one occurrence being metaphorical in nature.  The verb pneō occurs 7 times and always refers to the blowing of a wind or winds.  The noun pnoe occurs only twice.  In one instance (Acts 17: 25) it refers to breath and this may also be the case with the other instance though that reference (Acts 2: 2) is commonly translated “wind”. With this last reference in mind, it is perhaps not surprising that pneuma is more commonly used for breath in the New Testament than pnoe.

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