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One of the three persons making up God. (In the Christian Trinitarian way of understanding him, which this author believes the most accurate he's come across so far.)
I think it's also fair to say, the most neglected or least understood person of the Trinity. A lot of Christians don't have much concept of the Holy Spirit at all. A number of Charismatic Christians go overboard on focussing on the gifts the Holy Spirit gives, like the gift of tongues (being able to speak in other languages without having learned them), prophecy, or whatever.
While these are a valid aspect of what the HolySpirit does, I think a rather neglected couple are His role as a Comforter (see NIV: John 14), and as a Prompter, reminding Christians of what Jesus has already taught them (NIV: John 14: 26) and helping them to bite the bullet and stand up for what they believe in.
It is quite hard to describe the HolySpirit, and also the things He does. Rather arbitrarily, I shall quote from a NewsBoys song:
It's an early warning sign
It keeps my life in line
But it's so hard to define...
It pushes when I quit
It smells a counterfeit
Sometimes it works a bit like a teleprompter
When it's teleprompting you
I pray you'll let it through
And I'll help you with the how - but for now
It's just a Spirit thing
It's here to guard my heart
It's just a little hard to explain...
Feel free to add in any other thoughts, issues, questions, rants, here.
I think I might just comment on this song and wonder why, considering the Holy Spirit is a person, the Newsboys have referred to Him as "It". Were they specifically referring to the Holy Spirit in this song?
I have to confess to wondering this myself :) The song was/is specific to the Holy Spirit. Maybe for the purposes of explaining to those extremely unfamiliar with the concept, they figured "it" would be more understandable than "He"...? I don't know. I wouldn't have written the song that way - but I still think it's useful for communicating some things that He does in us :) --AlexChurchill
Personally, I've always pegged the HolySpirit as an 'it', i.e. a gender-neutral person. But that's probably just my own interpretation. --MichelleHart
There's some evidence that one could refer to the Spirit as 'she'. Just to add the third option :) - SunKitten
I'm just wondering, how can we assign gender to a spirit? It's not at all important I guess, it's only a word, and it's pointless to describe things like that in words anyway. -ColinLeung
My thinking is that the importance of calling the HolySpirit He as opposed to It is that It is never normally used to describe a person but only things. Even things that are not persons in themselves but which we personify (boats, steam engines, sports cars are all often referred to in the feminine for example and most especially by those who regard them as having personality) or animals for which we have affection. Of the three persons of the Trinity, only the Son, having taken human form, can in any way be said to have gender as such. But we're designed to regard persons as having gender. God the Father has definitely been given a gender in the way we think about him (hence the name after all). I don't remember (and will shortly no doubt be proved wrong) the Spirit being referred to in such away. I believe that what SunKitten says about the femininity of the HolySpirit is because the word for spirit in Greek happens to have female gender. Would anyone who knows more NT Greek than me like to comment on this? Could they maybe come up with any passages where the HolySpirit is definitely referred to as he in our translations and comment on the translation accuracy? (A rather sleepy and rambling) MJ
- The word in Greek is female, I think, but I was more thinking about references in Proverbs to Wisdom as female. I think there's a link there - but I'm not sure and I haven't looked too closely into it. God is also referred to as a mother, you know, even if it is more common to refer to him as Father - SunKitten
- Directly as a mother, or by analogy? I can think of a number of the latter but none of the former. MJ
- I can't think of any direct references either, but I don't think it really matters, to be perfectly honest. I use 'Father', because that's how I was brought up, but I think the intent behind the word is more important than the word itself - SunKitten
Anyone who can make the word 'teleprompter' scan in a song lyric should be forgiven any and all other mistakes of fact or interpretation (except ryhming 'fire' with 'desire' which remains a capital crime).
Just wondering, how many Christians are there on the Wiki?
- Off the top of my head, at least half-a-dozen. --M-A
CategoryChristian | ReligionMatters