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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Is the Holy Spirit really a thing that can be poured out into portions?

In Acts 2:17,18, God pours out [ekxeo, ekxew] from [apo] his Spirit upon all people. This (alone) should be clear enough that the Holy Spirit is a thing not a person. However, let's look at all other uses of ekxeo used in the NT as listed in Young's Exhaustive Concordance.

(Mark 2:22 does not use ekxeo in the best manuscripts.)

John 2:15, "poured out [ekxeo] the coins of the money changers."
Acts 2:17, 18, God "pours out [ekxeo] from [apo] His Spirit upon all people."
Acts 2:33, "he has poured out [ekxeo] this (thing) [touto, neut.] which you see."
Acts 22:20, the blood of Stephen was poured out [ekxeo].
Ro. 3:15, Feet swift to shed ("pour out" - ekxeo) blood.
Titus 3:6, "Holy Spirit which he [God] poured out [ekxeo] upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior" (RSV). [This is also translated by noted trinitarian Beck as "He poured a rich MEASURE of this Spirit on us through Jesus Christ our Savior" (Beck NT)].
Rev. 16:1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 10, 12, 17, pour out [ekxeo] (the contents of) the bowls of the wrath of God. In other words "wrath" was being poured out.
Rev. 16:16, they poured out [ekxeo] the blood of saints and prophets.

Certainly in all other cases ekxeo ("poured out") refers to things. It would be unreasonable to insist that this is not the case in Acts 2 (and Titus 3:6) also. We can see that if we pour out something from something, it can mean one of two things. If we said we poured out from our bowl, for instance, we actually mean we poured from a container which contained some substance (thing). We may have poured some of it or all of it. But if we said we poured out from our wine onto your roast beef, it can only mean that we poured a portion of our wine (out of some container, of course) onto the meat. We would not say we poured from our wine if we had poured it all out.
What was it that God poured out from his Spirit? Well, what did the people receive when God poured out from his Spirit? Acts 2:4, 33 tells us they received holy spirit! If, then, God poured Holy Spirit from his Holy Spirit as described in Acts 2:17, 18, it means he poured out a portion of his Holy Spirit, as rendered in the very trinitarian translations of the New American Bible (1970 and 1991 editions ), the New English Bible, and the Revised English Bible. (It is similar to our pouring out some wine from our wine.) So God poured out some of his spirit here, some of it there, but certainly he still kept an infinite supply.
Also see Numbers 11:17, 25. The literal "from the Spirit" here in the inspired Hebrew Bible language (see the trinitarian The NIV Interlinear Hebrew-English Old Testament, Zondervan Publ.) also means "a portion" of God's Spirit was taken from one person and given to others. See these trinitarian translations of Num. 11:17, 25: RSV, NEB, GNB, AT, NAB, JB, NRSV, REB, NJB, Mo, and Byington. Spirit, then, is a thing that may be poured out in portions - you simply do not pour out persons in measured portions upon other persons!

For much more, see:


Holy Spirit - Links To Information (SFBT)

Exposing the False Reasoning Behind Holy Spirit 'Proof-Texts' (SFBT)

Trinity Index (Examining the Trinity)

Could God's Moral Principle on Blood be Set Aside in Times of Emergency?

Consider the example of what occurred with some soldiers of Israel in the days of King Saul:

"And on that day they kept striking down the Phi·lis´tines from Mich´mash to Ai´ja·lon, and the people got to be very tired. And the people began darting greedily at the spoil and taking sheep and cattle and calves and slaughtering them on the earth, and the people fell to eating along with the blood. So they told Saul, saying: "Look! The people are sinning against Jehovah by eating along with the blood." At this he said: "YOU have dealt treacherously. First of all, roll a great stone to me." After that Saul said: "Scatter among the people, and YOU must say to them, ‘Bring near to me, each one of YOU, his bull and, each one, his sheep, and YOU must do the slaughtering in this place and the eating, and YOU must not sin against Jehovah by eating along with the blood.’" - 1 Samuel 14:31-34

Some of the soldiers of Israel became extremely hungry after a long battle and slaughtered sheep and cattle and "fell to eating along with the blood." Their aim was not to deliberately eat blood, but they did end up hastily eating the meat from animals that were not bled properly. Did the fact that this seemed to be an "emergency" excuse their course? No. Their action was labeled as "sinning against Jehovah by eating along with the blood."

For more, see
God's View of Blood

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Should God's name “Jehovah" appear in the New Testament?

The Hebrew Scriptures ("Old Testament") contain God's name more often than any other name - nearly 7,000 times. In the Christian Greek Scriptures ("New Testament"), manuscripts of the book of Revelation have God's name in its abbreviated form, "Jah," (in the word "Hallelujah"). But apart from that, no ancient Greek manuscript that we possess today of the books from Matthew to Revelation contain God's name in full.

God's name originally was in the Greek Scriptures because it would be inconceivable that the Bible writers did not use God's name, especially when quoting from parts of the "Old Testament" that contained the name. If God's name did not belong in the New Testament, then why did Jesus tell us to pray for its sanctification? (Mt. 6:9)

The manuscripts we have today were copies of copies, written hundreds of years after the originals, and may well have been changed when the name became a hated “Jewish” name to “Christians” around 135 A.D.

Scholars know for a fact that words and whole phrases have been added or removed from various ancient copies of the New Testament, but that doesn't make the New Testament unreliable, since many or most of the additions or subtractions can be recognized or restored.

It should not be considered terribly wrong to restore, for the sake of clarity if nothing else, the name we know belongs there. Many other respected Bibles add personal names to their translations for clarity when they weren’t actually in the New Testament text to begin with. There are many examples of this, but to examine just one:

John 12:41 says in the available manuscripts: “Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and he spoke about him.”

Some respected Bibles replace “he” or “him” with “Jesus”. See, for example, NIV; NJB; and NAB (’70).

Some condemn the New World Translation Bible for restoring God's Name some 237 times in the Christian Greek Scriptures where it was likely there originally. Places where the Christian Greek Scripture writers quote the earlier Hebrew Scriptures containing God's name. Many translators have done this. Really, shouldn't the condemnation be directed toward the English Bibles' removal of God's Name nearly 7,000 times in the Hebrew Scripture (when the Name is clearly there)?

For much more, see:
"Jehovah" in The New Testament

God's Name and the "New Testament"

NWT - Criticism by Zondervan's So Many Versions? - "Jehovah" in the New Testament

God's Name

Defending The New World Translation - Archive

Search For Bible Truths - ARCHIVE 

Scriptures Index

Search For Bible Truths - Search Guide  

How was it that "all things were made through (Jesus)"? (John 1:3)

Concerning a corresponding scripture, even the highly trinitarian The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology has to admit:

"In 1 Cor. 8:6 the function of God the Father as the SOURCE of creation is distinguished from Christ's role as MEDIATOR of creation." - p. 1182, Vol. 3.

The word "through" (dia in NT Greek) is important. Although more often translated "by" in the King James Version, dia means "through" in modern English and is rendered that way in modern Bible translations such as RSV, NIV, TEV, etc. (At times some translations may render dia as "by," but it is with the intended meaning of "through": "God's law was given by Moses.") Notice its obvious meaning at Matt. 1:22, "what was spoken by [hypo] the Lord through [dia] the prophet" - NASB. Obviously, the Lord was the source of the message and "spoke" through (dia) the prophet.

Again: John 1:17, "The law was given through [dia] Moses." - NASB. The law obviously did not originate with Moses. Moses was not the source. The source was God even though it was given through (dia) Moses. (Compare Acts 19:11 - "God was performing ... miracles by [dia - `through'] the hands of Paul" - NASB.)

The Greek word dia is a "primary preposition denoting the channel of an act; through" - Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, #1223.

So we can see that the Father alone is the source and his first creation (the only direct creation by Him), His only-begotten son, is the channel through whom he caused all the rest of creation to be. "His son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through [dia] whom he made the world." - Heb. 1:2. "All things came into being through [dia] him.... The world was made through [dia] him" - John 1:3,10.

For much more, see:
ELOHIM - Plural 'God' (Scroll down to nearly half the page.)

BWF - 'Beginning,' 'Wisdom,' and 'Firstborn' (1/6th of the way down the page)

Who Is Jesus Christ?

Search For Bible Truths - ARCHIVE 

Scriptures Index

Search For Bible Truths - Search Guide  

Friday, January 29, 2010

Luke 23:43 and the New World Translation

Some accuse the NWT of "deliberately deceiving" people by mispunctuation by placing a comma after `today' in Luke 23:43.

None of the earliest manuscripts (up to the 9th century A.D.) originally had capitalization or punctuation. Later copyists have added punctuation wherever they felt it should be. So just because a modern text writer decides where he wants the punctuation and capitalization to be in his interpretation of the original text does not mean that is how the original Bible writer intended the meaning.

For example, at John 8:58, most (if not all) text writers have left ego eimi uncapitalized. However, some respected trinitarian Bibles (such as NASB, TEV, and Phillips) have ignored the text writer's preference and used capitalization here in an attempt to make this verb appear to be a Name: "I AM."

Are these popular trinitarian Bibles also guilty of "deliberately deceiving," then, by miscapitalization?

Clearly, for critics of the NWT to even hint that punctuation can be precisely determined at Luke 23:43 is totally dishonest. We see The Emphasized Bible by Joseph B. Rotherham also punctuating this scripture to produce the meaning found in the NWT:

"Verily I say unto thee this day: With me shalt thou be in Paradise."

And the footnote for Luke 23:43 in Lamsa's translation admits:

"Ancient texts were not punctuated. The comma could come before or after today."

The Concordant Literal New Testament renders it: "43 And Jesus said to him, 'Verily, to you am I saying today, with Me shall you be in paradise.'"

2001 Translation – An American English Bible: 43 And [Jesus] replied, `I tell you this today; you will be with me in Paradise.'

A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament by E.W.Bullinger, DD., page 811 says:

"'And Jesus said to him, Verily, to thee I say this day, with Me shalt thou be in the Paradise.' The words today being made solemn and emphatic. Thus, instead of a remembrance, when He shall come in...His kingdom, He promises a presence in association (meta, 'with') Himself. And this promise he makes on that very day when he was dying.... Thus we are saved (1) the trouble of explaining why Jesus did not answer the question on its own terms; and (2) the inconvenience of endorsing the punctuation of the [KJV] as inspired; and we also place this passage in harmony with numberless passages in the O.T., such as 'Verily I say unto you this day,' etc.; 'I testify unto you this day.' etc.; vii.1; x.13; xi.8;,13,23; xii.13; xix.9; xxvii.4; xxxi.2, etc., where the Septuagint corresponds to Luke xxii.43."

Yes, there is no reason to deny the rendering of Luke 23:43 as, "I tell you today, You will be with me in Paradise."

For more, see:
NWT - Luke 23:43 - Punctuation

What Do Jehovah's Witnesses Believe Regarding Physical And Heavenly Afterlives?

Search For Bible Truths - ARCHIVE 

Scriptures Index

Search For Bible Truths - Search Guide  

Zech. 12:10 "...they shall look upon me whom they have pierced."

Zechariah 12:10

Jehovah God speaks:

"...they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son" -  Zech. 12:10,  KJV; cf.  NKJV,  NIV, NASB, NEB, REB, ASV, AB, KJIIV, ETRV, Douay, Beck, Rotherham, Lamsa.

This is interpreted by many trinitarians as meaning that Jehovah is Jesus since Jesus was "pierced" by the Jews.

Unfortunately for this trinitarian interpretation even many trinitarian translations disagree:

"...when they look upon him whom they have pierced" - RSV.  Also in agreement with this rendering are NRSV; GNB; MLB; NAB (1970); NAB (1991); LB;  Mo; AT; JB; NJB; NLV; BBE; and Byington.   (ASV says in a footnote for "me" in Zech. 12:10: "According to some MSS. [manuscripts], `him'."  Also see Rotherham footnote.)

Even the context tells us that the latter rendering is the correct one.  Notice that after saying that they will look upon me (or him) God continues with "they shall mourn for HIM"!  Notice how the KJV (and those following its tradition) contradicts itself here.  The "me" in the first half simply does not agree with the "him" of the second half.  Since there has never been any question about the accuracy of the word "him" in the second half, the disputed word of the first half (which has manuscript evidence for both renderings) must also properly be rendered as "him" (or "the one").

The testimony of the first Christian writers to come after the NT writers (the `Ante-Nicene Fathers') confirms the non-trinitarian translation of Zechariah 12:10 ("him").  Ignatius, Irenaeus, and Tertullian (repeatedly) rendered Zech. 12:10 as "him whom they pierced"!  This is specially significant because trinitarian scholars and historians claim these particular early Christians (including Origen who doesn't quote Zech. 12:10 at all in his existing writings) are the very ones who actually began the development of the trinity doctrine for Christendom!  If any of the earliest Christian writers, then, would use a trinitarian interpretation here, it would certainly be these three.  Since they do not do so, it must mean that the source for the `look upon me' translation originated even later than the time of Ignatius, Irenaeus, and Tertullian (early 3rd century A.D.)!

The OT Greek Septuagint uses "me" (in existing copies, at least - 4th century A.D. and later), but it is significantly different from the Hebrew text: "They shall look upon me, because they have mocked me, and they shall make lamentation for him, as for a beloved [friend], and they shall grieve intensely, as for a firstborn [son]." - Zech.  12:10, Septuagint, Zondervan, 1976 printing.  In other words, (1) they will look upon  God whom they have mocked [not "pierced"] as their judgment arrives and (2) they will mourn Christ.  The two are not the same person here, nor the same God!

"The [Hebrew] text of Zech. 12:10 is corrupt.  The [Greek] LXX text reads: ... (`they shall look upon me whom they have treated spitefully') .... The text in [Jn 19:37] does not follow the LXX; but it has also avoided the impossible [`me'] of the Hebrew text." - p. 195, John 2, Ernst Haenchen, Fortress Press, 1984.
Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar says:
"138. The relative Pronoun.... (2) Not depending on a governing substantive, but itself expressing a substantial idea. Clauses introduced in this way may be called independent relative clauses.  This use of [asher] is generally rendered in English by `he who,' `he whom,' &c....  In Z[echariah] 12:10 also, instead of the unintelligible [`elai eth asher,' `to me whom'], we should probably read [`el asher,' `to him whom'], and refer this passage to this class [of 'independent relative clauses']." -  pp. 444, 445, 446.

And noted trinitarian scholar Dr. F. F. Bruce tells us:

"But in John 19:37 the piercing is interpreted of the piercing of Christ's side with a soldier's lance after His death on the cross, and here Zech. 12:10 is expressly quoted: `And again another scripture says, "They shall look on him whom they have pierced".'  It is a reasonable inference that this is the form in which the Evangelist knew the passage, and, indeed, the reading `him' instead of `me' appears in a few Hebrew manuscripts.  The R.S.V. thus has New Testament authority for its rendering of Zech.12:10 , `And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of compassion and supplication, so that, when they look on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a first-born.'  Why then is the R.S.V. criticized for conforming to the New Testament here?  Because, if the reading `me' be retained, the reference would be to the speaker, who is God, and in view of the application of the passage in the New Testament, there are some who see here an anticipation of the Christian doctrine of our Lord's divine nature. The reading `me' is certainly quite early, for it appears in the Septuagint (which otherwise misses the point of the passage); but the New Testament seems to attach no significance to Zech. 12:10 as providing evidence for the deity of Christ....  And, whoever the pierced one is, the fact that he is referred to elsewhere in the verse in the third person (`they shall mourn for him....and weep bitterly over him') suggests that he is Yahweh's representative (probably the anointed king), in whose piercing Yahweh Himself is [figuratively] pierced." - History of the Bible in English, pages 199, 200, Lutterworth Press, 1979, third edition.  [Emphasis mine – RDB]

The JPS translation in Tanakh (NJV) also reveals that the text of Zech 12:10 is corrupt. The NJV (New Jewish Version or Tanakh published by the Jewish Publication Society) is highly praised for its accuracy by noted trinitarian Bible scholars Sakae Kubo and Walter F. Specht in their popular book So Many Versions? which analyzes and critiques modern Bibles:
"The NJV is a monument to careful scholarship .... It ranks as one of the best translations of the Hebrew Bible [the Old Testament] available." - p. 143, SMV, Zondervan Publ.. 

A footnote in the Tanakh says that the Hebrew sometimes rendered "when they look upon" is uncertain. Although it also uses the pronoun "me," it renders Zech 12:10,

"they shall lament to Me about those who are slain, wailing over them as over a favorite son and showing bitter grief as over a first-born." - Jewish Publication Society, 1985.

But most important of all is John 19:37 (even in the KJV) where this scripture has been quoted by John!  All translations show John here translating Zech. 12:10 as "They shall look upon him [or `the one'] whom they pierced."  So we have this Apostle and inspired Bible writer telling us plainly (and undisputed even by trinitarian scholars) that Zechariah 12:10 should read: "They shall look upon  him (not `me')."  Therefore, Jehovah is speaking in Zech. 12:10 of someone else who will be pierced - not Himself!

Search For Bible Truths - ARCHIVE 

Scriptures Index

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Isa. 43:11 / 2 Pet. 3:18 Jehovah only Savior; Jesus Savior

Isa 43:11 "I, I am Jehovah; and there is no Saviour besides Me."  

2 Pet. 3:18 "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen."

Since Jehovah said that there is no Saviour besides him and since Jesus and Jehovah are both called "Saviour", does that mean that they are both God?

There have been many saviors or deliverers (yasha – Hebrew, and soter – NT Greek) found in scripture who saved others through appointment by or commandment of God.  But there is only one most high source of salvation (or only one savior or deliverer [yasha/soter] in the highest sense of the word) – Jehovah, the Father.

Acts 4:10-12 actually says about Jesus, "whom God raised from the dead":  (12) "There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by [or `through'] which we may be saved." - NRSV.

"For of all names in the world given to men, this is the only one by which we can be saved." – JB & NJB.

"There is salvation in no one else!  Under all heaven there is no other name for men to call upon to save them." – LB.

Yes Jesus is our savior and king, but he is our only savior in the sense of being the only one (excluding God in heaven, the source of that salvation who sent him for this purpose) who gave us the opportunity for eternal salvation.  This is explained in John 3:17: "Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him." - NRSV

God is the source of salvation, Jesus was the instrument.

The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology also tells us: "Because God is the initiator [source] of salvation, both he and Christ are called soter, saviour ..." - p. 78, Vol. 2, Zondervan, 1986.

Notice what the very trinitarian NIVSB has to say in its introduction to the book of Judges:
"Title - The title ['Judges'] describes the leaders Israel had from the time of the elders who outlived Joshua until the time of the monarchy.  Their principal purpose is best expressed in 2:16: `Then the LORD [Jehovah] raised up judges who saved them out of the hands of ... raiders.'  Since it was God who permitted the oppression and raised up deliverers [saviors], he himself was Israel's ultimate Judge and Deliverer [Savior]."

This is well-illustrated at Judges 6:14 where Jehovah commands Gideon to save Israel.  But later, the saviour, Gideon, says it is Jehovah who is saving Israel (Judges 6:37).

Those who look for great "mysteries" in every Bible statement and those who look for revelations of a multiple-persons-in-one God could well take these scriptures to "prove" Gideon is Jehovah.  But it should be obvious to any objective student that Jehovah saved Israel through Gideon.

With that understanding in mind look at Jude 25.  Modern translators correctly render this verse:

"To the only God, our Savior through Jesus Christ [compare John 3:17]" - RSV.  Also see The Jerusalem Bible and William Barclay's Version.
(Notice the careful distinction at Jude 25 between "the only God" and "Jesus Christ our Lord" - compare John 17:1, 3.)  It might be worthwhile to examine Heb. 5:7 also - "Jesus offered up prayers ... unto Him that was able to save him."

It is clear that, as Ehud, Othniel, and Gideon were saviors because Jehovah was providing salvation through them, so Jesus, in a much larger sense, is also savior because Jehovah ("the only God") has provided salvation through him! - Compare 1 Thess. 5:9; 1 Peter 2:2 (modern translations); Rev. 7:10.

But what if we take the narrow meaning of spiritual savior?  Well, if Jehovah alone is savior [spiritual], and Jesus is savior [spiritual] because he saves (Greek: sosei - Matt. 1:21 and soso - John 12:47) men, then Jesus "must" be God.  But by this same reasoning, since some followers of Jesus also [spiritually] save (Greek: sosei - James 5:20 and soso - 1 Cor. 9:22) men, then they (the saviors of Obadiah 21?) 'must' also be God!

The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology also tells us: "Because God is the initiator [source] of salvation, both he and Christ are called soter, saviour ..." - p. 78, Vol. 2, Zondervan, 1986.

It might also be interesting to examine the meaning of Jesus' personal name.  Like the names "Joshua" and "Isaiah," Jesus' name literally means "Jehovah is salvation". And as the OT tells us Jehovah is the Father.

For more, see:
Trinitarian-type "Evidence"

Examining Trinity 'Proof Texts'

Trinity Scripture Index

Search For Bible Truths - ARCHIVE 

Scriptures Index

Search For Bible Truths - Search Guide  

Is Fasting for Christians?

The Bible gives no command for Christians to fast.

The only obligatory fast ever was for the Israelites under the Mosaic Law for the annual Day of Atonement. (Leviticus 16:29-31; 23:27; Psalm 35:13) And even though Jesus Christ never commanded his disciples to fast, he and his followers fasted on Atonement Day because they were under the Mosaic Law.

But even this ended when the Mosaic Law ended when “the Christ was offered once for all time to bear the sins of many.” (Hebrews 9:24-28) And with the end of the Law, the command to fast on Atonement Day ended. This removed the only obligatory fast mentioned in the Bible.

Christians are neither under command to fast nor prohibited from doing so:

"One [man] judges one day as above another; another [man] judges one day as all others; let each [man] be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day observes it to Jehovah. Also, he who eats, eats to Jehovah, for he gives thanks to God; and he who does not eat does not eat to Jehovah, and yet gives thanks to God." (Rom. 14:5, 6) NWT

One thing to also consider is that in order for Christians to “Love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind", it may actually be more efficient to do so with your whole strength in which adequate sustenance is key in contributing toward this. (Mt. 22:37) NWT

For more, see:
Fasting - Does It Draw You Closer to God?
Should you fast? What does the Bible have to say on this subject?

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Scriptures Index

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Is there a hope of an afterlife for animals?

The Bible emphasizes the distinction between humans and animals. Humans, not animals, were made 'in the image and likeness of God.' (Genesis 1:26) And whereas animals were created with a limited life span, humans had the prospect of living on earth forever. (Genesis 3:22, 23; Psalm 37:29) Likewise, the Bible says that God has put "time indefinite" in mankind's heart...not animal's. (Eccl. 3:11)

Also, Jesus Christ said that in order for one to receive "everlasting life," one must exercise faith and take in knowledge of God. Animals are not capable of doing these things. (John 3:36; 17:3)

Interestingly too, the Bible compares those unworthy of a resurrection to the "unreasoning animals [that are] born naturally to be caught and destroyed." (2 Peter 2:9-12)

So the Bible seems to indicate that animals do not go to heaven nor will be resurrected.

For more, see:
Pets - Keep a Balanced View of Them

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Scriptures Index

Search For Bible Truths - Search Guide  

To what extent should Christians avoid fellowship with disfellowshipped ones?

The Bible commands Christians not to keep company or fellowship with a person who has been expelled from the congregation:

"Quit mixing in company with anyone called a brother that is a fornicator or a greedy person or an idolater or a reviler or a drunkard or an extortioner, not even eating with such a man...Remove the wicked man from among yourselves." (1Cor. 5:11,13)

Jesus also said concerning this:

"Let [the expelled one] be to you just as a man of the nations and as a tax collector." (Mt. 18:17) Because those listening to Jesus knew well that the Jew of that day had no fraternization with Gentiles and that they shunned tax collectors as outcasts, they realized that Jesus was instructing his followers not to associate with expelled ones.

This shows that loyal Christians do not have spiritual fellowship with anyone who has been expelled from the congregation. Not only that, but the Bible says that we should "not even eat with such a man." (1 Cor. 5:11) Clearly, even social fellowship with an expelled person should be avoided.

What about speaking with a disfellowshipped person? Consider: A simple 'hello' to someone can be the first step that develops into a conversation and maybe even a friendship. The Bible doesn't cover every possible situation, but 2 John 10 helps us to get Jehovah God's view of matters:

"If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, never receive him into your homes or say a greeting to him." 

For more, see
Expelling / Disfellowshipping

Let Us ABHOR What Is Wicked

Discipline That Can Yield Peaceable Fruit

Search For Bible Truths - ARCHIVE 

Scriptures Index

Search For Bible Truths - Search Guide  

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Why Do Jehovah's Witnesses "Abstain From Blood"?

A close examination of the wording used at Acts 15:28, 29 shows how important it is for Christians to "abstain from blood":

"For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these ESSENTIALS ['these necessary things' - RSV]: that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell." -Acts 15:28, 29 (NASB)

The wording of the scriptures here does not indicate that this is a relatively unimportant commandment. It says it is "ESSENTIAL".

This command went as far back as Noah:

God said: "Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood." (Gen. 9:4) RSV; Moffatt

Andrew Fuller, viewed as "perhaps the most eminent and influential of Baptist theologians," wrote:

"This, being forbidden to Noah, appears also to have been forbidden to all mankind; nor ought this prohibition to be treated as belonging to the ceremonies of the Jewish dispensation. It was not only enjoined before that dispensation existed, but was enforced upon the Gentile Christians by the decrees of the apostles, Acts XV. 20. . . . Blood is the life, and God seems to claim it as sacred to himself." - The Complete Works of the Rev. Andrew Fuller (1836), p. 751.

For more, see:
God's View of Blood

"Holy, Holy, Holy" - Is. 6:3

"Holy, Holy, Holy" - Is. 6:3

     Some trinitarians have claimed that this invocation of three "Holy"s for the one  Jehovah must indicate the "three-in-oneness" of Him.

     But trinitarian Dr. Young tells us: "The repetition of a word denotes the superlative degree, e.g. ... Isa 6:3." - Young's Analytical Concordance, "Hints and Helps to Bible Interpretation," #18, Eerdmans, 1978 printing.  (Examine Jer. 22:29 and Ezek. 21:27.  How would the trinitarian 'proof' method work in these scriptures?)

     Even if we chose to ignore such explanations of triple-stated words (as the footnote for Is. 6:3 in the trinitarian The New Oxford Annotated Bible, 1977 ed.) that this is done for emphasis, we certainly wouldn't, I hope, insist that anyone (like Daffy Duck finding a treasure cavern) who said "Mine! Mine! Mine!" is really proclaiming his own 3-in-one triunity!

     If we're really going to play such a silly game, let's look at Matt. 7:22 and Matt. 25:11:  Jesus is addressed as "Lord, Lord"!  We see, then, that either the "Godhead" is composed of only two persons (a "binity") or, more "likely," the Messiah is composed of two persons (David and Jesus, judging from many other scriptures – see `Quadrinity' study paper.

     In the same vein we see at Matt. 23:7 (King James Version; NKJV; KJIIV; MKJV; Young's; Darby; Webster; Revised Webster; and other Bible translations based on the Received Text) that the Pharisees wanted to be called "Rabbi, Rabbi"!   It is beyond the bounds of credibility that these individuals were teaching that they were part of a 2-in-one "Rabbinity"!

     To continue this obviously ridiculous type of reasoning let's look at the use of "Hallelujah" in Revelation 19.  This phrase, which means "praise Jehovah," is used only in this single chapter out of the entire NT.  And in this one event the single God on the throne is praised with four hallelujahs.  Surely this is "proof" (trinitarian-style) of a four-in-one Jehovah, a "quadrinity." (See Quadrinity paper mentioned above.)

    Further such "proof" of the "Quadrinity" can be found at Ps. 107 where this prayer is called out four times: "Let them thank Jehovah for His mercy; and His wonders to the sons of men" -  Ps. 107:8, 15, 21, 31, The Interlinear Bible.

     Or, what could be "clearer" than the testimony of Rev. 4:5 and 5:6 that God is actually composed of seven spirit persons!  Sure "proof" (trinitarian-style) that God is a  septinity.

     Or, maybe we could actually go with the many hundreds of instances where God is merely called Holy.  Wouldn't these hundreds of instances of single usage outweigh the once or twice he's praised as  "Holy, Holy, Holy"?  Doesn't the  overwhelming "testimony" of  single "Holy" usages show by a margin of hundreds to one that Jehovah is composed of only a single (Holy) person?

For more, see
Examining Trinity 'Proof Texts'

Trinity Scripture Index

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Scriptures Index

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What kind of prayers are heard by God?

Ps. 65:2; Acts 10:34, 35: "O Hearer of prayer, even to you people of all flesh will come." "God is not partial, but in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him."

Luke 11:2: "Whenever you pray, say, `Father, let your name be sanctified.'"

John 14:6, 14: "Jesus said to him: `I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.'"

1 John 5:14: "This is the confidence that we have toward him, that, no matter what it is that we ask according to his will, he hears us." (To have such confidence, however, you must first know God's will. Then be sure that your requests are in harmony with it.)

1 Pet. 3:12: "The eyes of Jehovah are upon the righteous ones, and his ears are toward their supplication; but the face of Jehovah is against those doing bad things."

1 John 3:22: "Whatever we ask we receive from him, because we are observing his commandments and are doing the things that are pleasing in his eyes."

Isa. 55:6, 7: "Search for Jehovah, you people, while he may be found. Call to him while he proves to be near. Let the wicked man leave his way, and the harmful man his thoughts; and let him return to Jehovah, who will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will forgive in a large way." (Mercifully, Jehovah invites even persons who have done bad things to call to him in prayer. But, to have God's approval, they must sincerely repent of their wrong ways and thoughts and change their course.)

For more, see:
Drawing Close to God in Prayer - In 16 well-illustrated lessons, this brochure presents the Bible's basic teachings.
Draw Close to God in Prayer - How does God answer our prayers?

Does Praying Do Any Good?

God Does Answer Prayers

Why Should You Pray?

How Should We Pray to God?

Teach Us How to Pray

You Must Pray This Way

How Can I Improve in My Prayers?

The Power of Prayer

The Lord's Prayer - Its Meaning for You

Monday, January 25, 2010

Why have there been changes over the years in the teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses?

Since the beginning, the Watchtower Society has NEVER claimed to be an inspired prophet of God:

"We have not the gift of prophecy." - Watchtower, January 1883, page 425

Nor to be infallible:

"Nor would we have our writings reverenced or regarded as infallible." - Watchtower, December 15, 1896, page 306

Even the prophets who were divinely inspired to write portions of the Bible did not understand the meaning of everything that they wrote. (Dan. 12:8, 9; 1 Pet. 1:10-12) Even the apostles of Jesus Christ realized that there was much they did not understand in their time. (Acts 1:6, 7; 1 Cor. 13:9-12)

The Bible has shown that Jehovah enables his servants to understand his purpose in a progressive manner. (Prov. 4:18; John 16:12) The Bible shows that there would be a great increase in knowledge of the truth during "the time of the end." (Dan. 12:4) Increased knowledge often requires adjustments in one's thinking. Jehovah's Witnesses are humbly willing to make such adjustments.

Learn more:

Search the Entire Content of Jehovah's Witnesses Official Web Site

Search the INDEX to the Official Jehovah's Witnesses Web Site

Official Jehovah's Witnesses Web Site, On-line Publications and Public Information

Contact Your Local Jehovah's Witnesses

FAQs from the Authorized Site of the Office of Public Information of Jehovah's Witnesses

Questions Often Asked By Interested People

Could a Christian Have Any Grounds to Ignore The Prohibition on Blood?

"Nothing can be more express than the prohibition, Acts XV. 28, 29. Can those who plead their ‘Christian liberty’ in regard to this matter point us to any part of the Word of God in which this prohibition is subsequently annulled? If not, may we be allowed to ask, ‘By what authority, except his own, can any of the laws of God be repealed?’"—The History of the Christian Church, P. 106, clergyman William Jones (1762-1846)

God required for man to 'abstain from blood' since the days of Noah. The apostolic council (under the guidance of the holy spirit) affirmed this. (Genesis 9:3, 4; Acts 15:28, 29) The early Christians followed this divine and divinely inspired decree and continued to do so down through the centuries. The determination of true Christians today who abstain from blood is based on God’s Word the Bible and is supported by many precedents in the history of Christianity.

For more, see:
God's View of Blood

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Scriptures Index

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Who were the Nephilim?

Gen 6:1-4:

"The Nephilim proved to be in the earth in those days, AND ALSO AFTER THAT, when the sons of the true God continued to have relations with the daughters of men and they bore sons to them, they were the mighty ones who were of old, the men of fame."

Several suggestions as to the identity of these Nephilim have been offered:

Some Bible commentators have thought that the derivation of the name indicates that the Nephilim had fallen from heaven, that is, that they were ‘fallen angels’ (1 Pet. 3:19,20) who mated with women to produce "mighty ones . . . the men of fame." One problem with this is, how can non-gender angels mate with women?

Other scholars, focusing their attention particularly on the statement "and also after that" (vs 4), have said the Nephilim were not the ‘fallen angels’ or the "mighty ones," since the Nephilim "proved to be in the earth in those days" BEFORE the sons of God had relations with women. These latter scholars hold the opinion that the Nephilim were simply wicked men like Cain—robbers, bullies, and tyrants who roamed the earth until they were destroyed by the Flood.

Still another group, taking into consideration the context of verse 4, conclude that the Nephilim were not themselves angels, but were the hybrid offspring resulting from materialized angels (angels taking human form) having intercourse with the daughters of men.

This last group of scholars seem closest to defining the true identity of the Nephilim when considering the Biblical context.

For more, see
ANGELS - How They Affect Us (Scroll to Subheading, "Demons—Who Are They?")

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Scriptures Index

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Why does the Bible say that it is good to fear God?

The Bible shows that there is a proper fear and an improper fear. The proper fear of God is an awe and a reverence for Him and is a wholesome dread of displeasing him.

This proper fear of God is “the beginning of wisdom” (Ps 111:10), “the start of wisdom.” (Pr 9:10) “The fear of God is pure.” (Ps 19:9)

This fear is defined at Proverbs 8:13: “The fear of God means the hating of bad” and “in the fear of God one turns away from bad.” (Pr 16:6)

Search For Bible Truths - ARCHIVE 

Scriptures Index

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

What about scriptures that seem to show the Holy Spirit being personified?

Scripture is also personified but is not a person:
Scripture "say(s)": Ro. 4:3
Ro. 9:17 - "scripture says to Pharaoh, 'I have raised you up for the very purpose of showing my power in you, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.'" - NRSV

"And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, declared the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, 'All the Gentiles shall be blessed in you.'" - Gal. 3:8, NRSV

Other things are also personified the way the spirit is:

"Abstract and inanimate things are frequently personified" and then gives a long list of such things found in the Bible, including "a will [attributed to] the flesh and mind .... knowing, rejoicing [attributed] to the sun..." - "Hints and Helps to Bible Interpretation," #2. (Also see Jn 3:8 where "the pneuma ['wind' or `spirit'] blows where it wills.") - Young's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
Is. 24:4, 7 literally says that the earth and wine are mourning. (cf. NASB; RSV; KJV; JB; NJB; NAB, 1970 ed.; and MLB.)

Is. 24:23 also literally says that the moon will be abashed and the sun ashamed. (NIV, RSV, NASB, KJV, MLB.)

Trees are rejoicing at Is. 14:8 and "all of creation" [`everything made' - ETRV; `the created universe' - NEB]) waiting "with eager longing .... [and groaning] with pain" - Ro. 8:19, 22, GNB)

Even the trinitarian A Catholic Dictionary admits that the personification of the holy spirit in the New Testament certainly does not mean that it is a person:

"Most of these places furnish no cogent proof of personality....We must not forget that the NT personifies mere attributes such as love (1 Cor. xiii. 4), and sin (Rom. vii. 11), nay even abstract and lifeless things, such as the law (Rom iii.19), the water and the blood (1 John v.8)."

So, it is certainly no surprise to find that holy spirit can be "grieved" in New Testament figurative language: "do not be grieving God's Holy Spirit." Eph. 4:30. Certainly anything you do to (or against) God's direct active force you are also doing to (or against) God himself.

For more, see
Holy Spirit

Examining Holy Spirit 'Proof-Texts'

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Scriptures Index

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Are some people permanently saved?

Only Jehovah God determines who can be saved. True Christians can be in a saved condition in that they are in an approved position before God. But individually, they must meet God's requirements. The possibility remains that one can fail at any time: "If anyone does not remain in union with me, he is cast out as a branch and is dried up." -John 15:6.

In order to receive "everlasting life", Jesus said that we must take "in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ." - John 17:3

Clearly, Jesus thought that it was important for us to know the true identity of God and His Son. (See WHO IS “the Only True God”?)
For more, see 
What Must We Do to Be SAVED?

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Scriptures Index

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Is the body and soul the same, and if so, why does Matthew 10:28 say, "And do not become fearful of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul"?

The original-language for “soul” in Hebrew (ne´phesh) and Greek (psy·khe´) show it to be a person, an animal, or the life that a person or an animal enjoys.

Both ne´phesh and psy·khe´ are ALSO used to mean life as a creature, human or animal. Because servants of God have the hope of a resurrection in the event of death, they have the hope of living again as “souls,” or living creatures. That is why Jesus said that “whoever loses his soul [his life as a creature] for the sake of me and the good news will save it. Really, of what benefit is it for a man to gain the whole world and to forfeit his soul? What, really, would a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mr 8:35-37)

So Matthew 10:28 is saying that while men can kill the body, they cannot kill the person for all time as long as he lives in God’s favor. If one of God’s servants loses their "soul", or life as a creature, it is only a temporary thing and not permanent.

Matthew 10:28 also says that God “can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.” This is further evidence that the soul (or in Greek "psy·khe´") is NOT something that is indestructible or immortal. (See Why is the soul not immortal?; Search For Bible Truths)

For more, see:

What Happens After You Die? (Search For Bible Truths)

What really is Hell? (Search For Bible Truths)

What is expelling (disfellowshiping) and why is/was it used in the Christian congregation?

Expelling (disfellowshiping) is the judicial excommunication of delinquents from membership and association in a community or organization.

The Christian congregation is admonished by Scripture to stop socializing with those who are disorderly and not walking correctly but who are not deemed deserving of complete expulsion. Paul wrote: "Stop associating with him, that he may be ashamed. And yet do not be considering him an enemy, but continue admonishing him as a brother." (2 Thess. 3:6, 11, 13-15).

The congregation must remain clean and maintain God's favor in order to be used by him and to represent him. Otherwise, God would expel or cut off the entire congregation. (Rev. 2:5; 1 Cor. 5:5, 6)

For more, see
Expelling / Disfellowshipping

Let Us ABHOR What Is Wicked

Discipline That Can Yield Peaceable Fruit

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Scriptures Index

Search For Bible Truths - Search Guide  

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Does Col. 2:9 prove that Jesus is God?

Col. 2:9 - "For in him [Jesus] the whole fulness [Gr. pleroma] of deity [theotes] dwells bodily" - RSV

The word theotes appears only this once in the entire New Testament [NT] (and never in the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament [OT]). It has been rendered in various trinitarian translations as follows: "Godhead" - KJV, ASV, NEB, REB, MLB; "deity" - RSV, NASB, NRSV, NIV, NAB, CBW, Mo, By; "divinity" - JB, NJB.

It should be remembered also that "Godhead" as found in the older English Bibles (such as KJV) HAD A DIFFERENT MEANING THAN IT HAS COME TO HAVE IN MODERN ENGLISH. "In older English ['Godhead'] was a synonym for divinity" - p. 221, Vol. 2, A Dictionary of the Bible, Hastings, 1988 printing; and p. 362, An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon, Liddell and Scott, Oxford University Press, 1994 printing.

Theotes simply does not literally mean "godhead," and the use of "godhead" by the KJV translators was not intended as some would understand it today. Actually, the heavenly Father, alone, is the closest thing to a literal "Godhead" to be found anywhere in the inspired Scriptures. (See 1 Cor. 11:3)

The trinitarian argument that Col. 2:9 proves that Jesus is God overlooks the common understanding of "fulness of ..." and "filled with ..." by those who used those common phrases in New Testament times. For example, the person who became "filled with Holy Spirit" (Eph. 5:18) was greatly influenced by that spirit, but he certainly did not become the Holy Spirit.

And having "the fulness" of someone or something could similarly mean being greatly influenced by that person or thing. The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology says:

"Just as a person can be full of pain, joy, love, and virtue, he can also be said to be filled with God ..., i.e. possessed and inspired by God." - Vol. 1, p. 734.[4]

Surely we wouldn't expect anyone who is "filled with" God or who receives the "fulness of" God to actually be God! Nor would we expect anyone who has the "fulness of" Christ to actually be Christ! In fact it clearly shows that he is NOT the person with whom he is "filled".

For more, see:
Col. 2:9 - "Fulness of Deity"

What About Trinity "Proof Texts"?

Trinity Scripture Index

Search For Bible Truths - ARCHIVE 

Scriptures Index

Search For Bible Truths - Search Guide  

Is baptism a requirement for salvation?

Christian water baptism is an outward symbol that the one being baptized has made a complete, unreserved, and unconditional dedication through Jesus Christ to do the will of Jehovah God.

Therefore, baptism does not guarantee salvation. Baptism is only a beginning.The apostle Paul wrote: “Keep working out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:12)

For more, see
Baptism and Your Relationship With God


Jesus Saves - How?

What must we do to be saved?

Your Decision to Serve God

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Scriptures Index

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Are the paradise conditions described in Isa. 11:6-9 a literal or figurative promise?

Isaiah was a prophet, of the true God, Jehovah. He lived and served in Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Kings Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah of Judah in 740 B.C.E. (Isa 1:1)

Some say that this paradise that is described in Isa. 11 is referring to something other than a future restored earthly Paradise. However, it is evident that the restoration prophecies recorded by the Hebrew prophets (like Isaiah) include elements that will also find a physical fulfillment in the restored earthly Paradise. There are features that Isaiah recorded in Isaiah 35:1-7, for example, such as the healing of the blind and the lame, that did not have a literal fulfillment following the restoration from ancient Babylon, nor are they fulfilled in such a manner in the Christian spiritual paradise.

So it would be inconsistent for God to inspire such prophecies as those of Isaiah 11:6-9, Ezekiel 34:25, and Hosea 2:18, with the intention that they have only a figurative or spiritual meaning, without having a literal fulfillment of these things in the physical experiences of God’s servants.

In other words, Isaiah was a prophet who recorded Bible prophecy and described LITERAL paradise-like conditions in Isa. 11 that will find fulfillment in a future restored earth.

For more, see:
What Is God’s Purpose for the Earth? (WBTS article)

You Can Believe in a Paradise Earth (WBTS article)

Life in a Restored Paradise (WBTS article)


Would it be boring to live forever?

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Scriptures Index

Search For Bible Truths - Search Guide  

Why Do The NWT Translators Choose to Remain Anonymous And Are They The Only Ones To Do So?

Unnamed Translators and Humility

Some trinitarians take great exception to the fact that the NWT translators choose to remain anonymous. They imply cowardice, dishonesty, and incompetence as the motives behind such anonymity. In fact, however, such anonymity has been a part of the Watchtower Society for much of its history and in all phases of its publishing activity. The reason has always been to keep from glorifying any man when it is Jehovah and Jesus who deserve the recognition. Humility is extremely important to any real Christian as the scriptures teach, and every Jehovah's Witness should be able to produce clear scriptural evidence for his belief in this area.

However, it should be sufficient to point out what one respected trinitarian organization believes (and does). Yes, the Lockman Foundation states in the preface to their New American Standard Bible: "no work will ever be personalized." (And the jacket of the 1971 Reference Edition of the NASB states even more clearly: "We have not used any scholar's name for reference or recommendations because it is our belief God's Word should stand on its merits.")

And, sure enough, they do not identify their translators. Why? Because, as they write in their preface: "They shall give to the Lord Jesus Christ His proper place, the place which the Word gives Him, and no work will ever be personalized." When Dr. Walter Martin mocks the Watchtower Society for its humility, he also mocks other respected "orthodox" organizations attempting to follow God's Word in this respect.

For more, see
The New World Translation

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Scriptures Index

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Exposing the False Reasoning Behind Holy Spirit 'Proof-Texts'

Many who believe that the Holy Spirit is a person or God Himself rely only on a few selected, so-called 'proof-texts'.

The following links lead to research showing how the most frequently used so-called 'Proof Texts' are not proof of the Holy Spirit's Godhood or personhood in any way.

(Links to more guides can be found at the bottom of this list.)

Gen. 1:26
Gen. 1:26 - "Let Us Make Man in Our Image" (SFBT);   This scripture prove Trinity? (SFBT);    Image (Examining the Trinity);   How is Man Made in God's Image? (Gen. 1:26) (SFBT);   ("Let us make man in our image") - ELOHIM 3-6; I-AM 5; (Examining the Trinity)

Mt. 12:32
Blasphemy to Christ: forgiven; to HS: not - HS (Last 20 par.) (and f.n.#10 &11);(Examining the Trinity);   BOWHS (f.n.) (Examining the Trinity);   Matthew 12:32 "whoever says something against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven" (Examining the Trinity)

Mt. 28:19

John 6:7-15
John 6:7-15 Holy Spirit as a "he" (Examining the Trinity);   Why, in John 16:7, is the holy spirit spoken of as a "helper"? (Examining the Trinity)

Acts 5:3,4

Acts 8:29

Acts 10:38
"Anointed with Holy Spirit" (Examining the Trinity)

Acts 13:2

Acts 28:25
Acts 28:25 "The holy spirit aptly spoke through Isaiah" (Examining the Trinity)

Rom. 8:27

1 Cor. 12:11

2 Cor. 3:17
2 Cor. 3:17 "The Lord is the Spirit." (Examining the Trinity)

2 Cor. 13:14

Eph. 4:30

1 John 5:7

1 John 5:8

More material:
Trinity 'Proof' Texts Refuted (From In Defense of The New World Translation of The Holy Scriptures)

What About Trinity "Proof Texts"? (From the Official Website of Jehovah's Witnesses)

(Still can't find what you're looking for? Try using the Scripture Index.)