Bill Mounce

For an Informed Love of God


πνεῦμα means “spirit, Spirit; wind, breath.”


“Unless one is born of water and πνεῦμα, they cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).

“The πνεῦμα blows wherever it chooses, and you hear its sound, but do not know where it is coming from or where it is going” (John 3:8).

Mounce's Expository Dictionary (abridged): 

Noun: πνεῦμα (pneuma), GK G4460 (S G4151), 379x. (1) Similar to rûaḥ in the OT, πνεῦμα can mean “air in movement.” In Jn. 3:8 Jesus uses pneuma twice: once for “wind” or “air” and once for the “Spiri.” (2) πνεῦμα can mean that which animates or gives life to the body (Mt. 27:50) or the human spirit in general (Jas. 2:26). (3) πνεῦμα can refer to evil and good “spirits” (Mt. 8:16; Lk. 4:36; Acts 19:12–16). (4) πνεῦμα can also refer to the “Holy Spirit.” The OT contains Isaiah’s promise of a Messiah who would have a special endowment of the Spirit (Isa. 61:1–3) and on Joel’s prophecy about the pouring out of the Spirit on the godly in the last days (Joel 2:28–29). In the NT that understanding was fulfilled in the arrival of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost (Acts 2:1–36).