The actual definition of pneumatology is the study of spirit beings, however in our context our definition is a bit more specific. Our study will concentrate on the study of God the Holy Spirit.
We could, indeed, combine this study with the study of angels, Satan and demons under the heading of pneumatology. We won’t do this, but will study the Holy Spirit separate from angelology, the study of angels.
Pneumatology the study of the Holy Spirit. The term comes from the Greek word “pneuma” which means spirit, wind or breath.
There has been quite a phenomena concerning the Holy Spirit and His study. When I entered Bible college in the 60’s, if you hadn’t had at least two studies in your church on the subject, you weren’t normal. Indeed, I believe I had studied the Holy spirit twice before having a class in pneumatology in college. Since, I have had three more courses.
The curious thing is that since college, I have heard nothing on the subject. I have not run across any church that had the subject in their Sunday School, nor have I run across a pastor preaching through the doctrine.
We seem to be avoiding the topic of the Holy Spirit. This is sad, due to the close relationship that we have with Him, or at least should have. I have given thought to the reasons why this avoidance might be true? I would like to list some possible reasons.
1. People really don’t understand the Holy Spirit; they don’t know how to approach teaching the subject.
2. People are afraid to teach about the Spirit in fear of being labeled a Charismatic. This may well be part of the problem. It, however is somewhat akin to not teaching about God the Father because the liberals overemphasize, and have damaged the doctrine of God’s love.
3. They have not been taught concerning the Spirit so do not feel that it is an important doctrine.
4. The Devil is not comfortable with the believer knowing about one of the main defenses the believer has against him. Walking in the Spirit’s control keeps us off of the Devil’s turf and that ain’t good.
This is a unique doctrine in some ways. There is only one source of information concerning the Holy Spirit and that is the Bible. We have historical information about Christ, and we have natural revelation about God, but the only information we have concerning the Holy Spirit is that which the Father has revealed to us through the Word.
No other religion has the Holy Spirit. Indeed, some might wonder if Christianity did, as much as we ignore Him. We have no classical source of information, and very little historical information.
Cambron makes a very stiff comment that may be good for us to consider. “The Holy Spirit cannot displace the Son of God. The Holy Spirit did not come to speak of (or from) Himself, but of Christ. One who speaks continually about the Spirit and omits the Son shows evidence that he really does not have the Spirit.” (Cambron, Mark G. D.D.; “Bible Doctrines”; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1954,p 117)
There seems to be much confusion today concerning the Spirit, His manifestations, and His ministries. Many are teaching false things concerning the Spirit today and we need to be equipped to answer these false teachings. We also have need of preparing those we minister to, lest they become involved with the false teaching.
Those that are amiss in the area of the Spirit in their theology usually are quite divisive in nature. They often will enter into a good church and become a division to the assembly just to teach their falsehood. While pastoring in the Midwest, we had a man attending our church. He was a strong fundamentalist and a joy to have in the fellowship. His wife, however was a full blown charismatic.
She had attended our church a time or two and happened to show up one Sunday when I was speaking about the Devil’s counterfeits, one of which was tongues. She left during the closing prayer. I told the man I was sorry if it offended her — He interrupted men and said, “Don’t worry — she needed it.”
The following Wednesday the husband told me he had overheard a phone call his wife had made to a woman pastor. His wife described what I had said. She paused then said, “Yes, I think he’s just the spirit of antichrist too.” Needless to say, they do believe they are right and everyone else is wrong.
A small fundamental church in Kansas many years ago was functioning well and a charismatic couple became members. Within a year the church had split over the issue of tongues.
Missionaries have related several times that Charismatics have entered towns where good works were already established and rented buildings as close as possible to the churches and set up loud speakers outside to disrupt the services of the established churches and try to draw the believers to the excitement of the new group.
Bancroft mentions the need to hold the doctrine of the Spirit in the correct light and that we need to hold it in the right proportion. A balanced doctrine of the Spirit is needed.
Some term the 20th century as the century of the Spirit. Much of the emphasis early in the century came from the missionary zeal that was generated by the early missionaries. They realized that it was the empowerment of the Holy Spirit that would get the job done.
It would be an interesting study to relate the decline in missions interest to the incline of the charismatic movement, as well as the decline of teaching about the Holy Spirit in fundamental churches.
In recent years there was a real emphasis on the gifts and the Spirit’s ministry through them. There has been some good, coming from this study of the Spirit.
In recent years we have had a fresh look at the gifts of the Spirit, not only in the negative with tongues and healing, but in the positive with the realization that believers are gifted to do different things within the local church. This emphasis on the Spiritual gifts has helped some to realize that all members of the body are important and can be beneficial to the Lord’s work.
The thought we want to gain is that we should study the scriptures and determine what they say about the Holy Spirit. We should then determine in our minds to go no further than Scripture states, as some have.
I would like to look for a moment at a promise, a purpose, a power and a program, in which the Holy Spirit is involved in. These items are the current main function of the Holy Spirit.
I. THE PROMISE
When the Lord was speaking to the disciples He promised to send the Holy Spirit to minister.
“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; “Even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” John 14:16-17
Some things to notice briefly from this text:
A. “another Comforter” would indicate a very close resemblance of characteristics to the Lord Himself. He was speaking in the context of leaving the disciples.
B. He will “abide” with them “forever.” This is a promise of the Spirit’s presence throughout all of eternity. He is for our benefit and not the world’s; the world won’t receive Him.
C. The Spirit was not yet indwelling them. This was a future occurrence for the disciples.
D. The coming of the Comforter was to be directly related to Christ’s ascension to be with the Father.
“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” John 16:7
Just why the Lord had to leave before the comforter could come is not clearly stated in the Word, however we can do some logical assuming for a possible answer.
There is a matter of sin that had not been taken care of for the Old Testament saints and the living apostles. The Holy Spirit could not indwell until the sin nature was cared for. This could not occur until the work of the cross and the atonement for sin in the heavenly tabernacle. Thus, we can assume that the Holy Spirit’s delay was due to the incomplete work of the cross. Upon the resurrection, the Spirit was free to come to indwell all believers.
There was to be an indwelling of believers:
“Even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” John 14:17
There was to be a testimony of Christ:
“But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me;” John 15:26
Not only by the Spirit, but the following verse mentions that the apostles also would be witnesses.
There was to be a revealing of things to the apostles. John 16:12-15. This revealing resulted in the apostles setting down the books of the New Testament.
This text mentions again as some of the other verses “truth”. The Spirit is truth and nothing false can come from Him.
There was to be an empowerment. “But ye shall receive power, after the Holy Spirit is come upon you….” Acts 1:8a We will dwell on this empowerment in the final section of our study of the Spirit.
Acts 1:8 mentions that the apostles were to receive power to do the job set before them. “But ye shall receive power, after the Holy Spirit is come upon you….” Acts 1:8a As you read through the book of Acts this empowerment is quite evident in the lives of the apostles.
The program was to be the propagation of the Gospel after the power was received.
“…And ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1:8 b
There are some symbols and names that are used of the Spirit that we need to look at in brief.
SYMBOLS OR TYPES
1. Clothed With Power: Luke 24:49 We have this being in residence. We can call upon Him for His help and aid at any moment of the day.
2. The Dove: Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22; John 1:32. Walvoord suggests that there are four aspects to the dove that make it a fitting type of the Spirit, beauty, gentleness, peace, heavenly nature and origin. The choice of a dove to symbolize the Holy Spirit was a calculated decision on the part of God. The dove must symbolize nicely the Spirit.
3. The Earnest Of The Spirit: 2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:5; Ephesians 1:14 “Of what is the Spirit the Earnest? The Scriptures make it clear. All the future blessings of God are assured by the presence of the Holy Spirit. His presence is our guarantee. Our inheritance, our salvation, our glory, our fellowship with God, our likeness unto Him, our freedom from sin and its evils, all are represented in the token payment of the Person of the Spirit.” (Walvoord, John F., A.M., Th.D.; “The Holy Spirit”; Grand Rapids: Dunham Publishing Co.; 1958, p 20)
4. Fire: Acts 2:3 Again, the symbol of fire was chosen to symbolize a specific aspect of the Spirit’s ministry. This was the time when the church was being started. It was time when the message of the Gospel would go forth into the world to change lives. The symbol of fire is also used in the Gospels to symbolize judgment.
5. Oil: A number of Old Testament references seem to use oil as a type of the Spirit. Exodus 27:20-21, Leviticus 2:1-16, Leviticus 14:10-29, Exodus
40:9-16, Leviticus 8, 1 Samuel 10:1, 16:13, 1 Kings 1:39, Psalm 23:5.
In thinking of the Holy Spirit as being pictured by oil let me share a comment. The Pastor’s Manual put out by Baptist Publications/Spring 1976/p 38/Denver mentions a man wanting to drive an iron bar into a timber. He drilled a hole the correct size, but the iron was rusty. He feared splitting the timber so poured oil into the hole. The iron was driven in without harm to the wood. So, with church change, we must allow the Holy Spirit to be our oil.
How true in our witnessing — take a little oil with you.
Oil shows the holiness, consecration and sanctification of the Spirit. He is pure, He is set apart, and He is an integrated part of every believer.
6. Seal: 2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13; 4:30. The term indicates a number of things to the believer, ownership, safety, authority, a completed agreement, security, mark of recognition, and an obligation. The Holy
Spirit is all of these things to us.
Ownership: We are the Lord’s whether we act like it or not. He has bought and paid for us — we are His.
Safety: There is nothing that can harm us. We are His and He cares for His own.
Authority: The Lord has authority over us. Indeed, like ownership, we often do not live like it, but He does own us and He does have authority over us. That authority may be set aside by the believer, but God will one day exercise His authority.
A Completed Agreement: The deal of the Gospel is done. We accepted Christ as payment for our sin, and He has done the rest. There is nothing more to do, the deal is set, the deal is finished, the deal is complete.
Security: There is a guarantee of security. We are sealed by the Spirit and this is God’s sure mark that we are His.
Mark Of Recognition: Because we are His, we are marked as His so that the principalities and powers of the air can know where we stand.
Obligation: It is God that is obligated to do as He has said. It is His legal obligation to live up to His commitment. It is however, our moral obligation to live up to our end of the bargain. He will not force us to do so, but He certainly desires that we commit ourselves to Him.
7. Servant: Walvoord presents the servant of Abraham going for a wife for Isaac as the picture of the Spirit going after the bride for Christ. The Spirit’s work in salvation being the picture.
You must admit as we continue in our study that the Holy Spirit is in the background of the ministry of God to the believer. He is very important, yet He is always in the back room serving the believer. We have the pure, perfect Servant as an integrated part of our lives, and yet we so often treat that Servant as the cruel slave owners of years past treated their slaves. Someone to do the dirty work — someone that is totally insignificant. How the Lord must grieve when we treat Him so.
8. Water: John 4:14; John 7:37-39. The characteristics of water can be seen in the ministry of the Spirit. He can be calm and waiting to work, or
He can be powerful as the sea in a storm. He can carry the believer along as the sea transports the ships of commerce. He is the need of life, as is
water. Without water our bodies thirst, without Him our souls thirst.
9. Wind: John 3:8; Acts 2:1-2; 2 Peter 1:21. As the sea moves the ships, so the wind can move ships from port to port. The wind is powerful to change the landscape. In the life of the believer the wind of the Spirit can do monumental landscaping. I was given a postcard from Matthew Rushmore, by my son after he had visited the monument. The card showed the before and after of the mountain. As we look at the lives of believers, we can see even more drastic changes than even the sculptor of Rushmore.
NAMES OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
1. The Spirit: 1 Corinthians 2:10; John 3:6-8. This title depicts his nature. He is a spiritual being and has no body. It also seems to me that this may be a name that gives us a little familiarity with Him. The terms Holy Spirit and Eternal Spirit seem to be a little stiff, yet the Spirit seems to give evidence that one that knows Him might have a familiarity that comes from knowledge and maybe even friendship. After all if we can call The Father, Abba Father, which means Daddy, according to most commentators, and we call The Son a friend, why shouldn’t we have a friendship with the Spirit as well. The thought of a teacher that is not somewhat of a friend is foreign to my thinking as a teacher.
2. Eternal Spirit: Hebrews 9:14. This depicts his state of existence. He is eternal in nature — He has always existed and always will exist. Some seem to think that this person is for their ultimate high, for their personal benefit. He is there for the believer, to minister, to teach, to lead, but He is
not there to give them a high in the worship service, he is not there to serve the believer, He is not there to bring about miraculous things of desire for the believer. He is not the spirit version of Santa Claus which gives riches and fortune to those that ask Him. He is the Eternal Spirit, the almighty God that we should desire to serve.
3. Comforter: John 15:26,
“But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth,
who proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me;”
This name should bring us to the realization that He wants to be a comfort to us in times of trouble — at all times for that matter, not just when we are in trouble. We can receive comfort in good times as well as bad.
The last thought of the verse is one of great importance as well. The Spirit is to give witness or testimony of the Son. He is not here to be lifted up, He is not here to lift up Himself, so why is He the center of attention in so many worship services? It seem that any group that concentrates on the Spirit is doing damage to His image and ministry.
4. Holy Spirit: Luke 11:13 His holiness should be a challenge to us as we realize that He is a permanent resident. We ought to live as if we really believed that.
He is holy, He is our Holy guide, He is our Holy Leader, He is our Holy teacher, He is our Holy Comforter. He is holy at all times. Any ministry He has with us is a holy ministry, one that is free from sin, free from error, and free from all possibility of error. A ministry and minister to trust.
5. Holy Ghost: Romans 5:5,
“And hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost who is given unto us.”
His presence should result in the love of God flowing out through us. This will automatically result as we walk with Him and allow the Spirit to work in and through us. This love of God is not something that we must struggle to produce, it is not something that we should concentrate on doing, it is something that will automatically become a part of our daily life, if we are in a proper relationship to Him.
Loving the unlovely, befriending the friendless and ministering to the miserable, is not something that we as humans automatically do, but it is something that we as believing humans will automatically do — if we are correctly related to God.
6. Spirit Of Truth: John 15:26; 1 John 5:6
There is nothing but truth that is revealed by the Spirit. We can trust the Word that he inspired and we can trust the leading that He can give to us on a daily basis. There is no falsehood in Him, because He is truth. His character will not allow for falsehood, nor can falsehood exist within Him, for if there be anything false in Him, then He is not God. God is truth.
7. Spirit Of Grace: Hebrews 10:29 As we allow Him to show through, we will become gracious acting people — we will have grace toward others. I have met some believers that are so very caustic in their dealing with other people. I often wonder how they are related to their God. If God is full of grace, and He indwells us, then how can we not be gracious, if we are in a proper relationship with Him?
8. Spirit Of Wisdom:
“And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord,” Isaiah 11:2
This is clearly not a promise of these things to us in this age, it is a prophecy of the coming Messiah. However, this text speaks of the same
Spirit that indwells the believer today so it gives us some insight into the ministry of the Spirit to all of mankind that has been redeemed.
Imagine, the wisdom of the universe is a part of a being that is an integrated part of us. We have available to us the wisdom that the Holy Spirit has. We have all wisdom, if we ask. James mentions,
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all [men] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” James 1:5
9. Spirit Of Understanding: Isaiah 11:2 He has all the understanding that He needs when we are in serious trouble or problems. He can minister to
us perfectly, because He understands perfectly what we are up against. He knows what we need and can give it to us when we are down. He is our understanding minister.
10. Spirit Of Counsel: Isaiah 11:2 When we need His leading, He is our perfect, and truthful counsel. When He leads us into a decision, we can kick back and know that it was the correct one. We can trust in those decisions, even later when things seem to be so wrong. We can look back and know that the decision was from our Perfect counsel and God.
11. Spirit Of Might: Isaiah 11:2 In Acts 1:8 it is mentioned that the Lord would give power in witness. This power is available to us today. As we go out to witness, we have the power that the apostle Paul had, for the Spirit has not changed.
12. Spirit Of Knowledge: Isaiah 11:2 He knows God for He is God, and He can share His knowledge with us. We can know God as we go into the Word seeking that knowledge. The Holy Spirit will lead us into the knowledge that He desires us to have each day.
Imagine the Spirit of wisdom, understanding, Counsel, might and knowledge In Residence.
As I was working through these names I was impressed with the thought that if we had a pastor or friend living next door, which had perfect wisdom, understanding, counsel, might and knowledge and the many other items depicted by these names, that the person would be constantly answering our questions. RIGHT? So why aren’t our prayer closets filled
the same way seeking all of these things from the Holy Spirit that dwells within us?
13. Spirit Of Promise: Ephesians 1:13,
“In whom ye also trusted, after ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also after ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise,”
We have God’s promise that our salvation is sure, living within.
I will list some of the other names with a reference to get you started on your own study. This would make a good devotional study. Take one name each day to study and consider.
14. Spirit Of Glory: 1 Peter 4:14
15. Spirit Of God: 1 Corinthians 3:16
16. Spirit Of Jehovah: Isaiah 11:2
17. Spirit Of The Lord Jehovah: Isaiah 61:1
18. Spirit Of The Living God: 2 Corinthians 3:3
19. Spirit Of Christ: Romans 8:9
20. Spirit Of His Son: Galatians 4:6
21. Spirit Of Jesus: Acts 16:6,7
22. Spirit Of Jesus Christ: Philippians 1:19 cf. Galatians 4:6, Romans 8:9
23. Spirit Of Life: Romans 8:2
24. Spirit Of The Lord: 2 Corinthians 3:17,18
1. We will be looking at the Spirit in an academic manner, yet there is no reason that you shouldn’t apply those academic thoughts to your own personal life, and get to know the One that has indwelled you since your spiritual birth.
2. We, the believers of the church age, are of all believers of all time thus far, most special, for we have the Holy Spirit in residence. We have the Spirit indwelling us. We have the Spirit available to minister to us. We seldom, however call upon Him to minister unto our needs.
3. A short story will close our introduction.
A pastor friend and I took a trip to Colorado Springs yesterday to see some friends of mine. About ten miles outside of Denver my car had a flat tire. As I started to get out to fix the flat the pastor said, “Sit still, Joe, I’ll take care of it.” This he did with much dispatch, and dirt as well I might add. After brushing his suit off he returned to the car and we continued on toward our destination.
As we entered town, I noticed a bar alongside the road. Knowing the pastor would not approve of going inside I told him to stay in the car while I went in for a drink.
As we continued into town I became convicted of my drinking. Not knowing how to pray, I asked the pastor to pray for me which he did without hesitation.
We arrived at my friends’ house safely and after introductions, sat down
to coffee. Knowing my friends did not like religion I asked the pastor to go into the living room while we talked in the kitchen.
Before leaving town I asked the pastor to help me pick out a good camera so we found a department store. Upon much looking and discussing the pastor told me the model 301 was by far the best buy for me. I wanted a model 1440. It was more expensive, but much nicer looking, so I bought it.
On the return trip to Denver late that night we had an accident. The car turned over in the ditch. I was pinned in and couldn’t move. The pastor walked ten miles to get help. Upon his return with help I was too busy thinking about myself to thank the pastor.
The next day laying in the hospital bed, I thought back over the previous day’s events. I had gone all day without thanking the pastor for his help, friendship and advice. I had also set him aside twice while I indulged myself in sin and fellowship with ungodly people. I hadn’t even followed his advice about the camera, advice that I had asked for.
By the way, is this the way you treat the Holy Spirit? Do you set Him aside when you’re with ungodly people? Do you reject his advice? Do you thank Him for the many things He does for you?
Consider this story and its ideas in relation to your life with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a person; He is a friend; He is a comforter — treat Him accordingly.
 Stanley L. Derickson Ph.D. B.A. (n.d.). DERICKSON’S NOTES ON THEOLOGY: A STUDY BOOK IN THEOLOGY.