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4. Pneumatology: The Holy Spirit

The term pneumatology comes from two Greek words, namely, pneuma meaning “wind,” “breath,” or “spirit” (used of the Holy Spirit) and logos meaning “word,” “matter,” or “thing.” As it is used in Christian systematic theology, “pneumatology” refers to 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.

IA. The Personhood of the Holy Spirit

1B. Definition

2B. Certain Problems

1C. The Noun Pneuma17
2C. Grammatical Gender in the NT
3C. The New Age Movement and Pan(en)theism

3B. The Meaning of “Another” (allos) in John 14:16

4B. John’s Use of Parakletos

1C. The Masculine Gender: Irrelevant to Issue of Personality
2C. The Functions of the Paraclete: Very Relevant

5B. Evidences for the Personhood of the Spirit

1C. The Concept of Personhood
2C. The Spirit Makes Choices—1 Cor 12:11
3C. The Spirit Teaches—John 14:26
4C. The Spirit Guides People into Truth—John 16:13
5C. The Spirit Reveals Jesus—John 16:14
6C. The Spirit Convicts of Sin—John 16:8
7C. The Spirit Seals Believers—2 Cor 1:21-22
8C. The Spirit Can Be Grieved—Eph 4:30
9C. The Spirit Can Be Blasphemed—Matt 12:31
10C. The Spirit Possesses a Rational Mind—Rom 8:26-27; 1 Cor 2:11-13
11C. The Spirit Can Be Lied To—Acts 5:3-4
12C. The Spirit Can Be Quenched—1 Thess 5:19
13C. The Spirit Can Be Resisted—Acts 7:51
14C. He Is Distinguished from, Yet Related to the Father and the Son—Matt 28:19-20; 2 Cor 13:14
15C. Summary

IIA. The Deity of the Holy Spirit

1B. He Is Neither the Father nor the Son

2B. He Receives the Worship Received by the Father and the Son—2 Cor 13:14

3B. He Performs the Works of God

1C. He Inspired Scripture—2 Peter 1:2-21; Matt 19:4-5
2C. He Regenerates People—Titus 3:5
3C. He Creates, Sustains, and Gives Life to All Things—Gen 1:2; Job 26:13; 34:14-15; Psalm 104:29-30
4C. He Raised Christ from the Dead

4B. He Is Regarded as God

1C. The Spirit Is Eternal—Heb 9:14
2C. The Spirit Is Omniscient—1 Cor 2:10-11
3C. The Spirit Is Called God—Acts 5:3-4; 1 Cor 3:16; 6:19-20

5B. The Procession of the Spirit

IIIA. Scriptural Metaphors for the Holy Spirit

1B. Wind—John 3:8

2B. Water—John 7:37-39 (Isa 12:3; 32:15; 44:3; Ezek 39:29; Zech 14:16-18; Joel 2:28-32)

3B. Dove18—Matthew 3:16

4B. Clothing—Acts 1:8

5B. Guarantee or Pledge19—Ephesians 1:14; 2 Cor 1:21-22

6B. Fire20—Acts 2:3 (Exod 13:21-22; 24:17; 40:36-38)

7B. Summary

IVA. The Work of the Holy Spirit in Scriptural Revelation

1B. Numbers 24:2

2B. 1 Samuel 10:6, 10

3B. Ezekiel 2:2 (8:4; 11:1, 24)

4B. Matthew 24:3 (cf. Acts 2:30)

5B. 1 Corinthians 2:12-13

6B. 2 Peter 1:20-21

7B. Summary

1C. The Spirit’s Work and the Human Author
2C. The Various Genres in Scripture and the Experience of Writing Scripture
3C. The Intention of the Spirit

VA. The Work of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament

1B. He Is Involved in All Facets of Creation: Creating, Sustaining, Recreating

1C. Genesis 1:2
2C. Job 26:13; 34:14
3C. Psalm 104:29-30
4C. Isaiah 32:15
5C. Romans 8:18-27

2B. General: He Was Involved in the Sanctification of Israel

1C. Throughout Israel’s Pre-Cross History
1D. Psalm 51:11
2D. Psalm 143:10
3D. Isaiah 63:10
4D. Nehemiah 9:20 (cf. Hebrews 3:7)
2C. During the Period of the Kingdom
1D. Isaiah 11:2-5
2D. 32:15-20

3B. Specific: He Gave Special Abilities to Certain Israelites

1C. To Build the Tabernacle—Exodus 31:1-11
2C. To Build the Second Temple—Zechariah 4:6
3C. To Prophesy
1D. Nehemiah 9:30
2D. 2 Chronicles 15:1
4C. To Lead the Nation and Administer National Life
1D. Genesis 41:38
2D. Numbers 11:17, 25
3D. Deuteronomy 34:9
4D. Judges 3:10; 6:34; 14:19
5D. Saul—1 Samuel 10:10; 16:13
6D. David—2 Samuel 23:2; Psalm 51:11
7D. Ezra 1:5

VIA. The Work of the Holy Spirit During the Earthly Life of Christ

1B. The Spirit and the Birth of Christ

1C. Matthew 1:18
2C. Luke 1:35

2B. The Spirit Anointed Christ for Messianic Ministry

1C. Luke 3:21-22
2C. Luke 4:14, 18

3B. The Spirit Enabled Jesus in His Victory over Satanic Powers

1C. During His Temptations—Luke 4:1; John 3:34
2C. During His Three Year Ministry—Matthew 12:28
3C. The Blasphemy of the Spirit—Matthew 12:22-32

4B. The Spirit and Christ’s Death and Resurrection

1C. Hebrews 9:14
2C. Romans 1:4; 8:11
3C. 1 Timothy 3:16
4C. 1 Peter 3:18

5B. The “Spirit of Christ”

1C. Isaiah 11:1; 42:1; 62:1
2C. John 15:26-27
2C. Romans 8:9-10

6B. The Interpretation of 1 Peter 3:18-2021

VIIA. The Work of the Holy Spirit in the Church

We will discuss the various aspects of the work of the Spirit in relation to the church under the headings of “soteriology” and “ecclesiology.” Suffice it to say here that the Spirit is involved in the works of calling, regeneration, uniting the believer with Christ and others in the body of Christ, indwelling, filling, empowering, gifting, and sanctifying the believer. His primary ministry is to mediate the presence of Christ and the knowledge of God to the believer (John 16:13-14).22


17 Some scholars attempt to argue for the personality of the Spirit by pointing out that in Ephesians 1:14 the relative pronoun “who” is masculine in the Greek text and not the expected neuter (i.e., to agree with pneuma). But there is a difficult textual variant here, i.e., the neuter relative pronoun, and it is exceedingly difficult to determine with great confidence which was original. The point is that not much weight should be placed on this passage. Also, some argue that the demonstrative pronoun in John 16:14 is masculine and refers back to the “spirit” in 16:13. The masculine pronoun, then, used in reference to the Spirit, demonstrates his personality. This argument, too, is precarious at best.

18 See Donald A. Hagner, Matthew 1-13, Word Biblical Commentary, ed. David A. Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker, vol. 33a (Dallas: Word, 1993), in loc.

19 BAGD, s.v. ajrrabwn.

20 Others argue that “oil” is a type or symbol of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament. It represents the power, cleansing, and illuminating work of the Spirit. See Paul Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology (Chicago: Moody Press, 1989).

21 See Buist M. Fanning, “A Theology of Peter and Jude,” A Biblical Theology of the New Testament, ed. Roy B. Zuck and Darrell L. Bock (Chicago: Moody, 1994), 448-50.

22 J. I Packer, Keep in Step with the Spirit (Grand Rapids: Fleming H. Revell, 1984), 49.

Related Topics: Pneumatology (The Holy Spirit), Teaching the Bible