Pneumatology: The Holy Spirit in the Trinity
Pneumatology: from pneuma meaning “wind,” “breath,” or “spirit” and logos meaning “word.” “Pneumatology”: the study of the biblical doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Generally this includes such topics as the personality of the Spirit, the deity of the Spirit, and the work of the Spirit throughout Scripture.
The Personhood of the Holy Spirit
· Both the OT Hebrew (ruach) and the OT Greek (pneuma) have an impersonal meaning. On that basis some heretical theologians thorough church history have understood the HS to be “God’s active force.”
· This does not accord with the full Biblical testimony. What we have is a gradual realization that the Spirit constitutes a fully divine Person within the Deity. See John 14:16. Jesus calls the HS “He”, violating the rules of Greek grammar. He also calls Him another (allos) in His place. He further identifies the Spirit as parakletos (one called alongside to help, hence encourager, comforter, ally).
· The attributes of personhood of the HS are seen in such passages as
o The Spirit makes choices (1 Corinthians 12:11),
o He teaches (John 14:26)
o He guides (John 16:13)
o He reveals Jesus (John 16:14)
o He convicts of sin (John 16:8),
o He seals believers (2 Corinthians 1:21-22),
o He can be grieved (Ephesians 4:30)
o He can be blasphemed (Matthew 12:31)
o He can be lied to (Acts 5:3-4)
o He can be quenched (1 Thessalonians 5:19),
o He can be resisted (Acts 7:51)
o On numerous occasions is distinguished from, yet directly linked with the Father and the Son as co-worker and co-recipient of worship (Matthew 28:19-20; 2 Corinthians 13:14).
The Deity of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is distinguished from, yet closely related to, the Father and the Son—and that on an equal basis.
· He receives the worship due the Father and the Son (2 Corinthians 13:14) and does divine works, including inspiring Scripture (2 Peter 1:20-21; Matthew 19:4-5)
· He is engaged in regenerating hearts (Titus 3:5), and creating, sustaining, and giving life to all things (Genesis 1:2; Job 26:13; 34:14-15; Psalm 104:29-30). In The Mystery of the Holy Spirit, R.C. Sproul points out that much of the work of the HS is summed up as “creation and re-creation.”
· He is said to be eternal (Heb 9:14; only God is eternal), omniscient (1 Corinthians 2:10-11), and is actually referred to as God (Acts 5:3-4; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19-20). There is very little room for doubt; clearly the Holy Spirit is divine.
Scriptural Metaphors for the Holy Spirit
Scripture uses several important metaphorical expressions to refer to the Spirit, his sovereign character and his inscrutable, yet manifested workings.
· Wind: (John 3:8). This is a natural metaphor since “spirit” in both Greek and Hebrew can mean wind.
· Water: (John 7:37-39). This symbol portrays the Spirit as the One who can fulfill the deepest longings of the heart to know God, i.e., to enjoy eternal life (John 4:14; 17:3). As such, the metaphor speaks of promised messianic blessing and the presence of the kingdom in a new and powerful way (Isaiah 12:3; 32:15; 44:3; Ezekiel 39:29; Zechariah 14:16-18; Joel 2:28-32).
· Dove: ( Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22; John 1:32) The symbol of the “dove” probably represents the beginning of an age of blessing and the end of judgment or perhaps it symbolizes the beginning of a new creation through the work of the promised, Spirit-empowered Davidic messiah.
· Clothing (Acts 1:8). In the case of the Spirit, it refers to his gift of power to us so that we might live consistent with the gospel as we boldly preach it throughout the entire world.
· Pledge: (Ephesians 1:14; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22). In this case, the present gift of the Spirit is the guarantee that the totality of what has been promised to us will someday be fulfilled (Romans 8:30).
· Seal: (2 Corinthians 1:22 and Ephesians 1:14, 4:30; cf. Revelation 7:3). A “seal” in the ancient world referred to a “mark (with a seal) as a means of identification so that the mark which denotes ownership also carries with it the protection of the owner.
· Fire: (Acts 2:3; cf. Exodus 3:2-5; 13:21-22, 24:17). Fire represents the holy presence of God.
The Work of the Holy Spirit in Revelation
· Personal revelation: Numbers 24:2; 1 Samuel 10:6, 10; Ezekiel 2:2, 8:4, 11:1, 24
· Scriptural revelation: Matthew 22:43; Acts 2:30; 2 Timothy 3:16; 1 Peter 1:10-12; 2 Peter 1:19-21
The Work of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament
· In creation (Genesis 1:2; Job 26:13)
· In sustaining the creation (Psalm 104:29-30)
· To impart wisdom and skills (Exodus 31:1-11; Zechariah 4:6))
· To raise up leaders (Judges 3:10; 6:34; 14:19)
· Regeneration (Ezekiel 36:26-28)
· Associated prophetically with the Messianic age (Isaiah 11:2-5; 32:15-20).
The Work of the Holy Spirit in the Life of Christ
· The HS was involved in the birth of Christ, with the result that Christ, while fully human, was completely sinless (Matthew 1:18; Luke 1:35)
· The HS was also involved in Christ’s anointing for messianic service at his baptism (Luke 3:21-22)
· The HS revealed the timing and nature of the beginning of that ministry (Luke 4:14, 18).
· The HS was also responsible for Christ’s ability to perform miracles and cast out demons (Matthew 12:28).
· The HS was also involved in both the death of Christ as well as his resurrection (Hebrews 9:14; Romans 1:4; 8:11).