For many Christians, the person and work of the Holy Spirit remains mysterious at best, confusion at worst.
That’s why it’s critical that our theology of the person and work of the Holy Spirit be clearly defined in Scripture.
The moment we turn experiential theology into reality, we’re going to be in trouble. I’ve often said “Don’t let the world teach you theology,” but I’d also say it this way:
Don’t let your experience teach you theology.
Your experiences will come and go, and they will change.
My thesis is: The Bible is sufficient for a life of faith and godliness in Christ Jesus, but we need an index to the subjects. A good theology is going to help index the subjects of the Scriptures.
Maturing Christians need to know how to read and study Scripture and how to think theologically.
Because there is so much disagreement, error, misunderstanding, and variation in outcomes in dealing with the Holy Spirit, we need a biblical foundation–a benchmark–in our theology of pneumatology.
Basic practices required:
- We need a methodical way of being in the Word on a regular basis.
- As a companion to the Bible, we ought to have a good single-volume theology text. A few good ones:
When beginning to think about pneumatology, it’s helpful to note:
- The Holy Spirit is a member of the triune Godhead (the Trinity): The Father, Son, & Holy Spirit.
- The Holy Spirit is a Person. (And this takes some homework lest we think of Him “like us”)
- The Holy Spirit is God
Augustine authored 7 key statements in the Trinity. The first three address the person of God:
- The Father is God
- The Son is God
- The Holy Spirit is God
- The Father is not the Son.
- The Son is not the Holy Spirit.
- The Holy Spirit is not the Father
- There is only one God
Mathematically, this is impossible. But Spiritually, it’s true.
The Holy Spirit’s work
Context is critical in studying the work of the Holy Spirit in Scripture.
- The Spirit teaches (John 14:16, Matthew 5:2, John 8:2, John 14:26)
- The Spirit testifies (John 15:26-27)
- The Spirit guides (John 16:13)
- The Spirit convicts (John 16:8)
- The Spirit regenerates (John 5:21, Ezekiel 36:25-27, Titus 3:5)
- The Spirit intercedes (Romans 8:26, Romans 8:28, Romans 8:34, Hebrews 7:25)
- The Spirit commands (Acts 13:2, Acts 13:4, Acts 16:6, Acts 8:29)
The Holy Spirit’s Personality
“Certain acts are performed toward the Holy Spirit which would be most incongruous if He did not possess true personality.” –Charles Ryrie
- The Spirit can be grieved (Isaiah 63:10)
- The Spirit can be blasphemed (Revelation 13:6, Revelation 16:9, Matthew 27:39, Luke 23:39, Matthew 12:32, Mark 3:29-30)
- The Spirit can be resisted (Acts 7:51)
- The Spirit can be lied to (Acts 5:3)
- The Spirit can be obeyed (Acts 10)
Be careful not to attribute to God something He did not say.
Be careful to ground your theology in the Word, not your experiences.
Other resources on The Holy Spirit:
The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit(Part 1)
The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit (Part 2)