Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Holy Spirit

One area in which some Christians tangle is the doctrine of the trinity. Particularly as to the nature of the Holy Spirit. I've never understood this conflict, as scripture is crystal-clear on the subject. In essence, it's a matter of whether or not you've read and believe the Bible.

The Holy Spirit is referenced in scripture in ways that make no sense, unless he is an individual personage. For example:

--Isaiah 63:10 talks about the Holy Spirit being "vexed."

--1 Corinthians 2:13 characterizes the Spirit as a "teacher."

--Ephesians 4:30 admonishes us not to "grieve" the Spirit.

--John 14:16 and John 14:26 both refer to the Holy Spirit as a "Comforter." In 14:26, Jesus uses the pronoun "he" in describing the Spirit.

--John 15:26 differentiates between all persons of the Trinity, and shows Jesus using the term "whom" in speaking of the Spirit.

--John 16:7 again describes the Spirit as a "Comforter," and with the pronoun "him" from Jesus' own lips.

--Matthew 28:19 again treats Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as three separate persons.

--Mark 13:11 talks about the Spirit "speaking."

--Luke 2:26 tells us the Holy Ghost can "reveal."

--Luke 3:22 informs us that the Spirit descended in the bodily form of a dove to Jesus. Yet again, scripture distinguishes here between the Trinity's members.

--In Luke 4:1, the Spirit "leads" Jesus.

--Acts 5:3 reveals Peter criticizing Ananias for lying to the Spirit.

--Acts 5:32 calls the Holy Ghost a "witness."

--Acts 13:2 characterizes the Spirit as "speaking" to Paul and Barnabas.


I can go on, but I think the point stands on the above verses' merits. I believe Christians who question the Holy Spirit's personhood should reexamine scripture for themselves and discover that the Bible is not vague or unsatisfying in its elucidation of this matter. If the Spirit merely is the power of God, how can we vex or grieve an inanimate force? How can it teach and comfort us? How can it speak or reveal truths to us? How can it appear in physical form? How can it lead, and how can we lie to it? How can it be a witness? Why does scripture include the Spirit with Jesus and the Father, as a unique individual? And most important of all, why did Jesus Himself use terms in describing the Holy Spirit that we utilize solely in referring to people?

This is a controversy without legitimate dispute. I know we live in a time when dogmatism is the gravest perceived sin of religious people; yet sometimes people are dogmatic because the answer is obvious. The situation is as simple as: have you read the relevant scripture for yourself, and do you believe what it says? If you do so with prayer and meditation, you'll reach the only reasonable conclusion scripture allows.

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