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GHOST (נֶ֫פֶשׁ, H5883; πνευμα, soul, spirit, cf. German Geist, spirit; see also Familiar Spirit).

1. In KJV usage, the Old Eng. word “ghost” is equivalent to the modern word “spirit.” The Gr. word πνευμα is tr. “ghost” twice (Matt 27:50; John 19:30) and “spirit” 268 times apart from the title “Holy Spirit.” This name occurs four times and the form “Holy Ghost” occurs about eighty-five times. Doubtless the tr. “Holy Spirit” should be uniformly adopted in conformity with modern Eng. usage.

The Heb. word נֶ֫פֶשׁ, H5883, is tr. “ghost” twice (Job 11:20; Jer 15:9), “spirit” 230 times and “wind” 90 times. In the four times that “ghost” is tr. נֶ֫פֶשׁ, H5883, or πνευμα, it is used in the phrase “giving up the ghost,” an old Eng. expression for dying. This expression is also used fifteen other times to tr. various words for “expire.” The word “ghost” in KJV never refers to the modern idea of a ghost.

2. Also in KJV usage, the Old Eng. word “spirit” is sometimes equivalent to the modern word “ghost” (Matt 14:26; Mark 6:49), where it trs. the Gr. word phantasma (“apparition”). In the OT, the expression “familiar spirit” trs. the Heb. אֹ֔וב and refers to an alleged disembodied spirit, a ghost in the modern sense. This word is used in the record of Samuel’s reappearance to Saul (1 Sam 28:7-19).

3. Apparently, the attitude of the disciples when they saw Jesus walking on the water mirrors the beliefs of the Jews in the time of Christ—that ghosts, or spirits, not only surround them in the invisible world, but could on occasion reveal themselves to human eyes (Matt 14:26; Mark 6:49; Luke 24:37).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

"The Holy Ghost" is also frequent in the King James Version; in the American Standard Revised Version it is invariably changed to "Holy Spirit," in the English Revised Version sometimes only, chiefly in the Gospels.

See Holy Spirit; Spirit.