SPECIAL TOPIC: SPIRIT IN THE BIBLE

I. Old Testament (ruah, BDB 924, KB 1197; see  Special Topic: Breath, Wind, Spirit [OT])

A. The actions of the monotheistic God (i.e., Spirit, used about 90 times in the OT)

 1. positive, Genesis 1:2

 2. negative, 1 Sam. 16:14-16,23; 1 Kgs. 22:21-22; Isa. 29:10

B. The God-given life force in humanity (i.e., God's breath, cf. Gen. 2:7)

C. The Septuagint translates ruah by pneuma (used about 100 times in the LXX)

D. In later rabbinical writings, apocalyptic writing and the Dead Sea Scrolls, influenced by Zoroastrianism, pneuma is used of angels and demons

II. The Greek terms

A. pneō, to blow

B. pnoē, wind, breath

C. pneuma, spirit, wind

D. pneumatikos, pertaining to the spirit

E. pneumatikōs, spiritually 

III. Greek philosophical background (pneuma)

A. Aristotle used the term as the life force that develops from birth until self-discipline.

B. The Stoics used the term as synonymous to psuchē, (soul) even nous (mind) in the sense of the five physical senses and the human intellect.

C. In Greek thought the term became equivalent to divine action (i.e., divination, magic, occult, prophecy, etc.).

IV. New Testament (pneuma; see Special Topic: Spirit in the NT)

A. God's special presence, power, and equipping

B. The Spirit is connected to God's activity in the church (mostly in John)

1. prophecy

2. miracles

3. boldness to proclaim the gospel

4. wisdom (i.e., the gospel)

5. joy

6. brings in the new age

7. conversion (i.e., wooing and indwelling)

8. Christlikeness

9. special gifts of ministry

10. prays for believers

     The Spirit awakens mankind's desire for fellowship with God, for which they were created.  This fellowship is possible because of the person and work of Jesus, God's Messiah (see Special Topic: Messiah).  The new spiritual awakening leads to Christ-like living, serving, and trusting.

C. It can best be understood as a spiritual continuum with the Holy Spirit on one end, and mankind as a physical creature of this planet, but also a spiritual creature in God's image, at the other end.

D. Paul is the NT author who develops a theology of the Spirit/spirit.

 1. Paul uses Spirit to contrast flesh (i.e., sin nature)

 2. Paul uses spirit to contrast the physical

 3. Paul uses Spirit/spirit to contrast human thinking, knowing, and being

E. Some examples from 1 Corinthians

 1. the Holy Spirit, 1 Cor. 12:3

 2. the power and wisdom of God conveyed through the Holy Spirit, 1 Cor. 2:4-5

 3. God's actions in the believer

 a. new mindset, 1 Cor. 2:12; 14:14,32 

 b. new temple, 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19-20

 c. new life (i.e., morality), 1 Cor.  6:9-11

 d. new life symbolized in baptism, 1 Cor. 12:13

 e. one with God (i.e., conversion), 1 Cor. 6:17

 f. God's wisdom, not the world's wisdom, 1 Cor. 2:12-15; 14:14,32,37

 g. spiritual giftedness of every believer for ministry, 1 Corinthians 12 and 14

4. the spiritual in contrast to the physical, 1 Cor. 9:11; 10:3; 15:44

5. spiritual realm in contrast to physical realm, 1 Cor. 2:11; 5:5; 7:34; 15:45; 16:18

6. a way of referring to a human's spiritual/inner life as distinct from one's physical body, 1 Cor. 7:34

F. Humans live in two realms by creation (i.e., the physical and the spiritual).  Mankind fell from intimacy with God (Genesis 3).  Through Christ's life, teachings, death, resurrection, and promised return, the Spirit woos fallen humans to exercise faith in the gospel (i.e., John 6:44,65), at which point they are restored to fellowship with God. The Spirit is that personal part of the Trinity which characterizes the New Age of righteousness.  The Spirit is God the Father's agent and the Son's Advocate in this "age" (see Special Topic: Jesus and the Spirit).  A problem exists because the new age has occurred in time, while the old age of sinful rebellion still exists.  The Spirit transforms the old into the new, even while they both exist.

 

Copyright © 2014 Bible Lessons International