The Holy Spirit and the pronoun it: 1 Pet.1:11
Those who say use of the pronoun it to refer to the Holy Spirit is great error think they are defending orthodoxy, but they are mistaken, for they overlook considerations of grammar in its relation to context. Inerrant grammar follows inerrant context.
KJV…the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ…
NIV…the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ…
Natural masculine gender of the Holy Spirit is veiled, and the natural neuter-gender it applies in His identity or persona roles. It applies in His salvation-peace identity role of a dove, it (Jn.1:32). It applies in His persona role as part of the person of men (prophets) in 1 Pet. 1:11. We are given a measure of the Spirit as part of our person, not the whole, so Romans says Spirit of Christ in 8:9 and Spirit itself in 8:16,26. On the other hand, in Jn.3:34 Jesus has the Spirit without measure, or the total power of the Spirit for all manner of miraculous acts like the Creation and calming of a storm at sea by the words of his mouth. The Spirit is inherently He, as is usually evident (Acts 8:29, 10:19, 13:2), but at times He has identity or persona roles veiling His natural masculine gender (in Acts 2:17,18 the Spirit is poured out, which could not relate to He if a pronoun were involved). In four cases involving persona or identity roles, pro- noun use is invoked, requiring it/itself, as the KJV has it, but other versions have some incorrect renderings there. The NRSV has it in 1 Peter & John 1, and avoids the issue in Romans; RSV has it in John 1, an incorrect himself in Romans 8, and avoids the issue in 1 Peter 1. The NIV 1 Peter 1:11 he favors human preference over context.
Use of an impersonal pronoun for the
Spirit is very likely a means the Spirit Himself uses to direct
attention away from Him, and toward Christ who is to be our example in
every way and in every situation. That seems even more likely when we
consider that the one unpardonable sin is blasphemy against the
Spirit by sinful men.
Some individuals who dislike use of it in reference to the Spirit overlook or ignore the role of context on word choice, a common problem in modern English translations. These people don't realize that this use preserves the inerrancy of the Greek Received Text by considering grammar & context. They resort to name-calling, one individual commenting on this matter referring to those who support it/itself as KJVO rabble. Such critics ignore the fact that most KJV-only people have a true conviction that they are supporting God's true Word in English form. The lack of charity in the critics is most inappropriate for any who profess to be Christian, and the time is long overdue for people who profess Christ to start treating those who disagree with their opinions as worthy of the kindness of polite discussion.