3 Rules for Holy Spirit Studies

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But the Holy Spirit (hagio pneumatos) can be accurately known. He is revealed in Scripture and the truth of his existence and work is found in Scripture. Although the Spirit is not as well described as the Father and the Son, he is, nonetheless, knowable. As such, the Spirit is an appropriate subject for study. As you approach your studies please consider the following 3 reminders in your work.

1. Everything we know about the Holy Spirit, we know from the Bible.

God’s word is true and has been fully delivered (John 17:17; Jude 3). Revelation is no longer occurring and that which was given was confirmed by great miracles. Inasmuch as confirming miracles no longer are seen we must depend upon the Scriptures as the only true source of information on the Holy Spirit.

The Bible student must use caution when approaching this subject as some rely upon odd and uncommon feelings of knowledge and even ecstasy for their information. As a man once told me, “I know the Spirit is real because I felt him moving during church.” In fact, feelings are probably the least reliable way to know anything. How would you feel if a doctor told you to set your affairs in order because you were soon to die? When you asked him why and how he knows he might only reply that he has no confirming tests, only a feeling of your impending death. You would ignore such nonsense.

If you want to know about the Holy Spirit, stick to what God has revealed and confirmed about him in Scripture.

2. We do not, and will not, know everything about the Spirit.

It is natural to be curious. No advance in any field as come without someone being curious. It is certainly normal and good for a Christian to have questions about the Holy Spirit and His work. Such curiosity drives the student to a deeper understanding.

But it is true that we will never know everything about the Spirit, at least, not in this life.

Paul salutes his readers in Ephesians 1:3 by telling them that God has given unto them every spiritual blessing. Just prior to his departure Jesus told the apostles that the Holy Spirit would come and guide them into “all truth” (John 16:13). Yet, we understand that we are guided into all the truth necessary for us. Many things remain hidden and belong only to God (Deuteronomy 29:29; Acts 1:7; Romans 11:33).

Sometimes, a Bible student will become frustrated when he cannot discover all that he wants to know about the Holy Spirit. Sometimes, in that frustration, the student unwittingly makes assumptions he ought not. He then shares those new “understandings” and confuses many.

Let us pursue what we can know and leave the rest behind God’s great curtain.

3. We have salvation.

While many questions will remain about the Spirit there is no lack of teaching on mankind’s sin and his desperate need for a savior. From Genesis until Revelation there is a single line of teaching on God’s great love for his Creation. All of the words of the Bible swirl around the Redeemer. Either he is needed, he is promised, he has come, he has saved or he is returning but the Scriptures abound with knowable teachings on Jesus.

It is not that we should avoid studying the Spirit. We should seek to know all we can but let us never lose sight of the reason for the Spirit’s work. He works to glorify Christ (John 15:26; John 16:14) and to show Christ to a lost Creation.

Aren’t you thankful for God’s sweet plan of redemption which was conceived by the Father, completed by the Christ and revealed by the Spirit?

Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at bryantevans.com. You can follow Bryant on Twitter @jbevans.


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