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Tuesday
May032011

Theological Term of the Week

Holy Spirit
The third person in the Trinity, who is God, but also distinct from the Father and Son.

  • From scripture: 

    The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all (2 Corinthians 13:14 ESV).

    [T]hese things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual (1 Corinthians 2:10-13 ESV).
  • From the Belgic Confession:

    Article 11: The Deity of the Holy Spirit

    We believe and confess also that the Holy Spirit proceeds eternally from the Father and the Son— neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but only proceeding from the two of them. In regard to order, he is the third person of the Trinity— of one and the same essence, and majesty, and glory, with the Father and the Son. 
    He is true and eternal God, as the Holy Scriptures teach us.
  • From Salvation Belongs to the Lord by John Frame: 

    [L]et’s focus in on ourselves more narrowly and ask what the Spirit does in the lives of believers. There are a great many things the Spirit does for us and in us. … To make a long story short, the Spirit does everything for us that we need in our life with God The atoning work of Jesus occurred in the past, objectively, definitively. The work of the Spirit is present, on-going, often subjective. This is not to separate the work of the Spirit from the work of Christ. The Spirit is the Spirit of Christ. Christ is in him and he in Christ. … But the main emphasis of the Bible in the Spirit’s work is that he gives us what we need for our present, continuing walk with God. 
    Indeed, he did the same for Jesus during Jesus’ earthly ministry. Remember how the Spirit descended on him like a dove at his baptism (Matt. 3:16). The Spirit filled him with power for preaching and for working miracles (cf. Isa. 11:2-3; 42:1; 61:1; Luke 4:1, 14, 18; John 1:32; 3:34). Well, if Jesus needed the Spirit’s ministry to him, we certainly need the Spirit as well. He is the one who equips us to serve God (Num. 27:18; Deut. 34:9; Judg. 3:10), to preach (Acts 1:8; Rom. 15:19; 1 Cor. 2:4), to pray effectively (Rom. 8:26; Eph. 2:18). He regenerates us (John 3:5), gives us new birth. He sanctifies us (Rom. 8:4, 15-16; 1 Cor. 6:11; 2 Thess. 2:13; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:2), makes us holy in thought and deed, putting to death the sins of the body (Rom. 8:13; 7:6; Phil. 1:9). He is grieved when we sin (Eph. 4:30).
    The Bible seems to put a special emphasis on the work of the Spirit to create unity and peace in the body (2 Cor. 13:14; Gal. 5:18-20; Eph. 2:18, 4:3; Phil. 2:1-2; Col. 3:14). He is the one, after all, who enables us to cry “Abba! Father!” (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6) and thereby establishes the church as God’s sons and daughters together in a family.
    Of course, the Spirit is the great teacher of the church. The writers of Scripture, both testaments, were inspired by the Holy Spirit to write God’s truth (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21). The prophets and apostles spoke God’s truth because the Spirit came upon them and enabled them to do it (Matt. 22:43; Acts 1:16; John 14:26; 15:26; 16:13). And the Spirit comes not only upon speakers and authors but also upon hearers and readers. The Spirit illumines us, enabling us to understand the Scriptures (Ps. 119:18; 1 Cor. 2:12-15; Eph. 1:17-19) and persuading us that the Word is true (1 Thess. 1:5).

Learn more:

  1. GotQuestions.org: Who Is the Holy Spirit?
  2. GotQuestions.org: What Are the Names and Titles of the Holy Spirit?
  3. Blue Letter Bible: Who Is the Holy Spirit?
  4. Blue Letter Bible: Is the Holy Spirit a Person?
  5. Edwin Palmer: The Holy Spirit
  6. Greg Herrick: Pneumatology: The Holy Spirit
  7. Charles Hodge: The Holy Spirit
  8. Gary E. Gilley: A Study of the Holy Spirit (pdf)
  9. George Smeaton: The Deity of the Holy Spirit
  10. Arthur Pink: The Holy Spirit
  11. Joel Beeke: Study of the Holy Spirit by Dr. Joel Beeke (15 mp3s)

Related terms:

Do you have a theological term you’d like to see featured here as a Theological Term of the Week? If you email it to me, I’ll seriously consider using it, giving you credit for the suggestion and linking back to your blog when I do.

Clicking on the Theological Term graphic at the top of this post will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms in alphabetical order.

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