Pneumatology: An Introduction by Matthew Howden

Matthew Howden

Introduction

This article provides an introductory look at Pneumatology, or the study of the Holy Spirit, including key Bible passages, issues, my personal statement and a warrant for position.

Bible Passages

John 14:15-17: Jesus promises the disciples that he will send the Holy Spirit to them.

According to Jesus, the Spirit will be “another Comforter” (or advocate, counselor, and helper) that he will give to believers that “he may abide” with us for ever. (Jn. 14:16)

The Spirit will lead the disciples to the truth and the Spirit will continue to teach the disciples the things that Jesus taught.

Acts 1:8: Jesus appeared to his disciples after his death and resurrection.“In the book of Acts the Spirit is seen as a divine person. He had attributes that only personal beings possess.”

He told them to stay in Jerusalem and that in a few days the Spirit would come to give them power.

They will need this power to proclaim who Jesus was and is to the people in “Jerusalem, Judea,  Samaria, and the uttermost part of the earth.”

In the book of Acts the Spirit is seen as a divine person. He had attributes that only personal beings possess.

For example, he speaks (Acts 10:19), forbids (Acts 16:6), compels (Acts 20:22), and can be lied to (Acts 5:3), tested (Acts 5:9) and resisted. (Acts 7:51)[1]

1 Corinthians 12:1-13: The Holy Spirit is the one who gives gifts to people. These gifts are given for the building up of the body of Christ.

1 Thessalonians 1:5-6: The Spirit is the one who takes the gospel when spoken and works in the lives of the people hearing it and helps them come to believe.

Key Issues

In Church history many heresies have come up around the topic of pneumatology. Even now the Holy Spirit gets confused with a force.

The Holy Spirit has been active from the creation of the world and he is still active in our world today.

When we think about the Holy Spirit it can be hard to explain to people. However, when we talk about him we should use the same words found in the Bible.“The Holy Spirit is not some force out there in the universe we can’t know. Rather, he is someone believers can know.”

The Holy Spirit is a person and he has personal traits and since he is a person he can be blasphemed (Mk. 3:29), lied to (Acts 5:3), tested (Acts 5:9), resisted (Acts 7:51), grieved (Eph. 4:30), quenched (1 Thess. 5:19), and insulted (Heb. 10:29).”[2]

The Holy Spirit is not some force out there in the universe we can’t know. Rather, he is someone believers can know.

Jesus said, “ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” (Jn. 14:17)

Since we know the Holy Spirit we are told that we are given gifts by the Spirit to build up the body of Christ. The Spirit has given different gifts to different people.

Personal Statement

I believe that the Holy Spirit is still active and involved in our world and the church. Just as the way he was with the earlier followers of Jesus.“The bible seems to be very clear about the role of the Spirit in bringing comfort and peace to believers.”

He is still reminding us the truth when we open up the Scriptures and read the words that he helped the authors of both the Old Testament and the New Testament write.

He is still giving gifts to the church to help in the building up of the body of Christ.

Warrant for Position

The bible seems to be very clear about the role of the Spirit in bringing comfort and peace to believers.

It seems to be clear that the Holy Spirit is still giving gifts to the church for the building up of the body of Christ.

I do not understand it all but I am open to see the Spirit move.

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Learn more about Canadian Baptist Theological Seminary & College. You can follow Matthew Howden on Twitter and Instagram.

Sources

[1] Morgan, Christopher W. & Peterson, Robert A. Christian Theology: The Biblical Story and Our Faith. pg. 399

[2] Ibid, pg. 405

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