Robertson's Word Pictures of the New TestamentJohn 3:8
- The wind (to pneuma).
- In Greek pneuma means either wind or spirit as spiritus does in Latin (so also in Hebrew and Syriac). Wycliff follows the Latin and keeps spirit here and Marcus Dods argues for it. The word pneuma occurs 370 times in the N.T. and never means wind elsewhere except in a quotation from the O.T. (Hebrews 1:7 from Psalms 104:4), though common in the LXX. On the other hand pnew (bloweth, pnei) occurs five times elsewhere in the N.T. and always of the wind (like John 6:18). So pwnh can be either sound (as of wind) or voice (as of the Spirit). In simple truth either sense of pneuma can be taken here as one wills. Tholuck thinks that the night-wind swept through the narrow street as Jesus spoke. In either case the etymology of pneuma is "wind" from pnew, to blow. The Spirit is the use of pneuma as metaphor. Certainly the conclusion "of the Spirit" is a direct reference to the Holy Spirit who works his own way beyond our comprehension even as men even yet do not know the law of the wind.