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Every English Version has many mistranslations on the Holy Spirit
Mistranslations and Misinterpretations on the Holy Spirit
Copyright 2006 by Enoch Y. Lee All rights reserved.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Enoch Y. Lee
Mistranslations and Misinterpretations on the Holy Spirit: Every English
Version has many mistranslations on the Holy Spirit / Enoch Y. Lee
TXu 1-281-840 2006
The focus of this study is on various mistranslations and misinterpretations of the Scripture regarding the Holy Spirit. All Christian society is in great confusion on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. All Christian society must have a clear doctrine of the Holy Spirit.
Unfortunately, all scholars, all pastors, and all teachers in all Christian society have accepted the mistranslations of the modern versions on the Holy Spirit as authentic. The mistranslations have led to misinterpretations on the Holy Spirit. All writings on the Holy Spirit, without a single exception, contain many erroneous and unbiblical explanations. They are based on the mistranslations of the Greek text. Let’s examine what Billy Graham has written as a result of the mistranslations and misinterpretations of the Greek text:
1. “If you believe in Jesus Christ, a power is available to you that can change your life, even in such intimate areas your marriage, your family relationships, and every other relationship. Also, God offers power that can change a tired church into vital, growing body, power that can revitalize Christendom. Unfortunately, this power has been ignored, misunderstood, and misused. By our ignorance we have short-circuited the power of the Holy Spirit.”
2. “Jesus Christ who died on a cross and rose again 2,000 years ago can transform your life radically today by the Holy Spirit.”
3. “The biblical truth, it seems to me, that we are baptized into the body of Christ by the Spirit at conversion. This is only Spirit baptism.”
4. “The baptism with the Spirit occurs at the time of regeneration.”
Billy Graham’s very first statement is quite unbiblical. It is based upon the misunderstanding of the term “power” in Acts 1:8. For instance, though the apostle Peter was a believer in Jesus Christ before the crucifixion and before the day of Pentecost, his life had by no means changed. After receiving the power of the Holy Spirit, that is, the baptism of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, he was completely changed into a new man. Peter received the baptism of the Holy Spirit subsequent to regeneration, but Billy Graham and many Christian leaders claim the baptism of the Spirit occurs at the time of regeneration. That is thoroughly unbiblical. There is no single scriptural reference to indicate the baptism of the Holy Spirit occurs at the time of regeneration.
The claim, “the baptism with the Spirit occurs at the time of regeneration,” is based upon the mistranslation of the Greek preposition eis in 1 Cor. 12:13, “We were all baptized by one Spirit into (eis) one body.” Most scholars, including Billy Graham, mistakenly insist that we are baptized into the body of Christ by the Spirit at conversion, and that we become Christians through the baptism with the Holy Spirit. This verse should be translated, “We were all baptized by (with/in) one Spirit in (eis) one body.”
It should be understood that the 120 disciples were already in one body before being baptized by the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. They were obviously Christians, followers of Christ, waiting in obedience for the promise of their Lord before the day of Pentecost. Therefore, we conclude that it is after we are in the one body of Christ, after we have become followers of Jesus Christ, are we to be baptized with/in/by the Holy Spirit.
It was confirmed at Pentecost. The baptism of the Spirit does not take place at the moment of regeneration but after regeneration/conversion. The life-changing power cited by Billy Graham is available only to those who are baptized with/in the Holy Spirit (and with/in fire) subsequent to believing in Jesus Christ, that is, after regeneration/conversion. If a Christian does not receive the power of the Holy Spirit, i.e., the baptism of the Holy Spirit after regeneration, it is absolutely impossible to have a triumphant life. Instead, life will more closely resemble that of the weak, pre-Pentecost Peter. Examine an instance of the mistranslation and misinterpretation of the Greek text: Again we will use quotes from Billy Graham who so expertly captures the most commonly held beliefs about the baptism with the Holy Spirit.
1. “When were you baptized with the Holy Spirit? He asked. He had not questioned the others on this. ‘The moment I received Jesus Christ as my Savior,’ I replied.”
2. “Since the baptism with the Holy Spirit occurs at time of regeneration, Christians are never told in Scripture to seek it. The moment we received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior we received the Holy Spirit. He came to live in our heart. ‘Any one who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him,’ said Paul in Romans 8:9. It was correct for me to respond that I had already received the baptism of the Spirit at the moment of my conversion.”
Billy Graham’s statement can be summarized, “The moment we received Jesus as Lord and Savior we received the Holy Spirit. I received the baptism of the Spirit at the moment of my conversion.” Billy Graham teaches that to receive Jesus Christ is to receive the Holy Spirit, and to receive the Holy Spirit is to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It is correct to say, “To receive Jesus Christ is to receive the Holy Spirit.” However, to say, “To receive the Holy Spirit is to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit,” is thoroughly inaccurate. That conclusion is based upon the mistranslation of the Greek verb lambano in John 7:39, 20:22, Acts 8:14-20, Acts 10:47, Acts 19:2, and Gal. 3:2. Because of the mistranslation of the lambano, without a single exception, both Pentecostals and non-Pentecostals in the whole world have mistakenly taught, “To receive the Holy Spirit is to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.”
Unfortunately, many doctrinal opinions regarding the Holy Spirit are based upon the mistranslations of the Greek text. Without the correct translations of the Greek text, it is absolutely impossible to understand the Holy Spirit and construct a proper biblical doctrine of the Holy Spirit.
 Billy Graham, The Holy Spirit (Nashville: Word Publishing, 1988), xii.
 Ibid., 65.
 Ibid., 69.
 Ibid., 79.
 Ibid., 69
 Ibid., 79-80.
American Standard Version (1901)
Bible in Basic English (1949/64)
BibleWorks 5, Greek LXX/BNT
BibleWorks 5, NT (NA 27, Software for Biblical Exegesis and Research)
Complete Jewish Bible (1998)
Holman Christian Standard Bible (2004)
Darby Bible (1884/1890)
Douay-Rheims American Edition (1899)
English Standard Version (2004)
Geneva Bible (1599)
God’s Word to the Nations Version (1995)
Jews Publication Society (1917 & 1985)
King James Version (1611/1769)
LXX Septuaginta Rahlfs
LXX English Translation (Brenton)
Modern Greek Bible
MacDonald Idiomatic Translation Bible (2006)
New American Bible (1970)
New American Standard Bible with Codes (1977 & 1995)
New American Stand Bible with Codes (1995)
New English Bible
New English Translation (2004)
New International Version (BR)
New International Version (1984) (US)
New International Reader’s Version
New Jerusalem Bible (1985)
New King James Version (1982)
New Living Translation (2004)
New Revised Standard Version (1989)
Revised Webster Update (1995)
Today’s English Version (Good News Bible)
Today’s New International Version (2001)
Webster Bible (1833)
Young’s Literal Translation (1862/1898)