In any study of the Holy Spirit, it is first necessary to define some basic concepts and words by which we communicate with one another on this subject. Understanding the definition behind key words will greatly aid our interpretation of those concepts the Holy Spirit reveals in the Bible in order to communicate to us His being, work and influence on our lives. A common understanding of definitions will also guard against confusion that often arises in any discussions that are beyond our earthly environment.
Much of the misunderstanding in studies concerning the Holy Spirit actually lies in a misunderstanding of some fundamental Bible teachings concerning four subjects: (1) the justice of God, (2) the nature of man, (3) the occurrence of confirming miracles, and (4) the person of the Holy Spirit. Once we better understanding of these fundamental teachings, we can better appreciate the nature and work of the Holy Spirit.
We must always approach a study of the Scriptures with our cultural and religious backgrounds clearly in mind. We are cultural beings, and thus, when we study any material of the Bible, our culture will affect how we understand what we read. Because of this, we will often view the work of the Spirit from the standpoint of our past and present religious culture. Therefore, our religious culture will often lead us to come to different conclusions because we have come out of different cultural/religious backgrounds.
Regardless of our culture, or past religious background, we must objectively seek to allow the Bible to speak for itself. We must subjugate our religious culture and beliefs to the authority of the Bible. We must do this, not only to understand objectively what the Bible teaches concerning the Holy Spirit, but also to maintain the fundamental teaching of the Bible that we remain united as disciples of Jesus. No study of the subject of the Holy Spirit should cause disunity among those who seek to understand the ministry of the Holy Spirit among Christians. If division does occur among us in our discussions, then we can be assured that the Holy Spirit is not the cause, for it is the work of the Spirit to bring believers together into one united body.
As we launch into the biblical definitions of the Spirit and His work, we must remind ourselves that we will never come to a complete understanding of the Spirit and His work. As previously stated, we would have to be God in order to fully understand God and His work. Therefore, we must not frustrate ourselves with our lack of understanding concerning those things that pertain to God.
The Holy Spirit realized that we would be somewhat frustrated in our efforts to understand that which pertains to the function of God in reference to the world. He does not, therefore, expect us to understand everything about His being and work. He wants to assure us that He will carry on with what He intends to do for us regardless of our lack of knowledge of what and how He ministers to our needs. We must remember that the level of our understanding does not determine the function of His work in our lives. If it did, then the Spirit would certainly be hindered because of our failure to understand fully how He works. Because of our lack of knowledge and understanding concerning the God who is past finding out by the feeble efforts of man, the Holy Spirit simply reassures us that He will do His work regardless of our understanding of how He works.
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