This is the last in a series of excerpts from “What Every Christian Should Know About the Trinity,” published by the MBC’s High Street Press (visit highstreet.press).
The Holy Spirit is the primary agent through whom the Scriptures came to us. He superintended the thoughts and words of the prophets and apostles so that what they wrote were the very words of God.
In a previous column, we looked at 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and 2 Peter 1:20-21. These two passages are key to our understanding of the Bible as the breathed-out Word of God given to men directed by the Holy Spirit.
But in addition to these verses, the Bible reveals other ways the Holy Spirit works in concert with the Father and the Son to confirm biblical truths. Here are just a few examples:
Ezekiel 2:1-2 – “He [the Lord] said to me, ‘Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak with you.’ As he spoke to me, the Spirit entered me and set me on my feet, and I listened to the one who was speaking to me.”
The same Spirit of God that energizes the chariot wheels (Ezek. 1:12, 19; 10:16-17) now enters Ezekiel and supplies the strength needed to carry out his prophetic ministry. This same Spirit superintends the prophet’s words as they are recorded in the book bearing his name.
The Spirit appears along with “the likeness of the Lord’s glory” (1:28). Perhaps this is a rare vision of the preincarnate Christ. Or, at the very least, it’s a veiled view of Yahweh on His heavenly throne.Continue reading
This is another in a series of excerpts from “What Every Christian Should Know About the Trinity,” published by the MBC’s High Street Press (visit highstreet.press).
If the Bible reveals the Father and Son as co-creators of everything, what role does the Holy Spirit play? Is He an instrument of creation – an impersonal force like the noonday sun hardening clay, or wind stirring up waves on the water?
To the contrary, from the first chapter of Genesis onward, we see the Spirit as a personal, almighty person who puts His shoulder into the work of creation along with the Father and the Son.
Genesis 1:2 declares, “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the surface of the watery depths, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.”
The word translated “hovering” means brooding, as a bird hatching her eggs. It is the same word used in Deuteronomy 32:11, where Moses declares that Yahweh “watches over his nest like an eagle and hovers over his young; he spreads his wings, catches him, and carries him on his feathers.”
As one commentary puts it, “The immediate agency of the Spirit, by working on the dead and discordant elements, combined, arranged, and ripened them into a state adapted for being the scene of a new creation.”Continue reading
In the last two columns, we examined biblical evidence for the personhood and deity of the Holy Spirit. In this column, we see how the Holy Spirit enjoys an eternal, intimate relationship with God the Father and God the Son.
Scripture reveals the relationship between the Holy Spirit and the other members of the Godhead. As one example, note how the synoptic Gospel writers report Jesus’ promise to be with His followers when they face persecution:
Matthew 10:19-20 – “But when they hand you over, don’t worry about how or what you are to speak. For you will be given what to say at that hour, because it isn’t you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father is speaking through you.”
Mark 13:11 – “So when they arrest you and hand you over, don’t worry beforehand what you will say, but say whatever is given to you at that time, for it isn’t you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.”
Luke 21:14-15 – “Therefore make up your minds not to prepare your defense ahead of time, for I [Jesus] will give you such words and a wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.”
These accounts are not in conflict. Rather, they illustrate the inseparability of the divine persons of the Trinity. That is, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, while distinct persons within the Godhead, share the same divine essence and act in perfect harmony.Continue reading
The Bible reveals both the personhood and deity of the Holy Spirit. In this column, we focus on the Spirit as a person, for without personhood the Spirit cannot be divine. In the next column, we show from Scripture how this person possesses all the attributes of deity.
One of the clearest demonstrations of the Holy Spirit’s personality is His use of personal pronouns in reference to Himself. Two examples make this plain:
Acts 10:19-20 – “While Peter was thinking about the vision, the Spirit told him, ‘Three men are here looking for you. Get up, go downstairs, and go with them with no doubts at all, because I have sent them.’”
Acts 13:1-2 – “Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen, a close friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’”
Note that the Holy Spirit speaks personally to Peter as well as to believers in the Antioch church. These are actions of a sentient being, not an impersonal force.
Jesus also uses personal pronouns to speak of the Holy Spirit, telling His followers:
“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth. For he will not speak on his own, but he will speak whatever he hears. He will also declare to you what is to come. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you” (John 16:13-14).
According to Jesus, the Holy Spirit arrives, guides, discerns the truth, hears and speaks, discloses future events, testifies about Jesus, and glorifies Him – all demonstrations of personhood.Continue reading