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Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost?

I am currently writing a bible study/commentary on the Gospel According to Mark. As I was studying I found that in the King James Version of the Bible, the phrase “Holy Spirit” is not used. Instead, the term “Holy Ghost” is used. The use of Holy Ghost in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John is predominant. The term “Holy Spirit” is only found in Luke 11:13.

When looking at the English Standard Version, the predominance of Holy Spirit has been inserted. The Spirit of God, at least in the King James Version is identified as Holy Ghost. However, the same Greek words “hagios pneuma” are translated as “Holy Spirit” or “Holy Ghost.”

This is very confusing when trying to do a word-by-word study.

I did some digging and found the following:

The King James Bible was developed by an appointed committee of fifty-four scholars. In order to complete the task, the scholars divided up the bible to areas of expertise of the translators. Then in 1609, twelve scholars met to revise and prepare the Bible for mass printing. It was during this time that some of the scholars defined “hagios pneuma” as Holy Spirit, while other scholars defined “hagios pneuma” as Holy Ghost. When the twelve completed their review, they kept both English translations of “hagios pneuma.”

Therefore, the King James Translators kept both the English translation of Holy Spirit and Holy Ghost, even though they are the same exact Greek words.


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