Each post here will focus on one writer when they are strong, or a group of writers who basically give one similar sluff explanation (e.g. the Spirit is personalized)
Continues on p. 256 (library check needed)First, the phrase occurs in the masculine gender (οἱ μαρτυροῦντες), despite the fact that all three witnesses that follow are neuter in gender. Such a move may underscore for the readers the personal nature of the witness being described. Second, the readers learn that the nature of the witness of these three is ongoing and continuous as this participle occurs in the present tense. p. 254
The thought of v. 7 continues uninterrupted in v. 8 where these three witnesses are identified as the Spirit and the water and the blood. As earlier observed there is a change in gender from the masculine, 'those who bear witness', to the neuters, 'the Spirit and the water and the blood'. Normally, one would not think that such inanimate objects would serve as personal agents who bear witness. However, such an emphasis here would not likely be lost on the readers of v. 8.194 Does this shift imply a change in meaning for the terms, the Spirit and the water and the blood, from their meaning in w. 6-7? The readers might be inclined in this direction for a couple of reasons. First, there is an emphasis on the ongoing nature of the witness being borne. This raises the question, is it likely that the events of Jesus' life and death would be spoken of as continuing in their witness or would they be looked upon primarily as past events with enduring effects? Second, owing to their knowledge of Jn 19.34, the readers would be appreciative of the tight interplay that exists between a number of elements associated with Jesus' salvific work to include the Spirit, eternal life, water and the blood. Given the fact that certain rites have been established in the Fourth Gospel for the community to observe (e.g. the footwashing in Jn 13.1-20), it is not at all unlikely that the readers might see in v. 8 reference to such rites. In addition to the footwashing, a sign of continual cleansing from sin, it would appear that other signs were also practised by the community, including water baptism and the Eucharist. Although an allusion to the Eucharist by means of the word 'blood' is unique in the New Testament .. p. 255
194 While it is true that on occasion the neuter πνεῦμα may be referred to by the masculine ἐκεῖνος, on both occasions this change appears to be the result of the appearance of napaKXirroc, as the antecedent instead of πνεῦμα .
==================================================These three Greek nouns are all in the neuter gender, yet the preceding numeral and participle are masculine gender, constituting "a testimony, the more striking because involuntary, to the personality of the Spirit" (David Smith, "The Epistles of St. John," in The Expositor's Greek Testament [reprint, Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerd- mans Publishing Co., n.d.], 5:195).