Bible Dictionaries

Holman Bible Dictionary


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The KJV uses ghost in two senses, for the human life force and for God's Holy Spirit. The KJV never uses ghost for the disembodied spirits of the dead. All eleven Old Testament references involve the phrase “give up the ghost” (for example, Genesis 25:8; Genesis 35:29 ) which means to cease breathing or simply to die. This phrase occurs eight times in the New Testament (Matthew 27:50; Acts 5:5; Acts 12:23 ). The predominant New Testament use is for the Holy Spirit.

Modern translations use ghost (rather than spirit as the KJV) for the disembodied spirits of the dead. Jesus' disciples mistook Him for a ghost when He walked on water (Matthew 14:26; Mark 6:49 ) and when He appeared after the resurrection (Luke 24:37 ,Luke 24:37,24:39 ).

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Ghost'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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