The Holy Spirit Bible study recap
For some of us, the Holy Spirit has been a bit of a background character to the Father and the Son in church. During December, our small Bible study groups thought more deeply about the Holy Spirit and his work. We explored the biblical language, the activities of the Spirit, and how those activities happen in our lives today.
Here is a summary from The Bible Project. You can watch their short, 4-minute video ~HERE.~
The Spirit is, first and foremost, God’s personal presence. The Spirit is a person and not merely a force. However, in order to let the text speak for itself, you have start on page one of the bible. Before creation ever even began, we see a depiction of the spirit of God hovering over the dark, disordered waters of the earth, ready to begin spreading goodness and creation. In the Bible, any time we see a description of the spirit of God, such as what is depicted in the first few verses of the Bible, the Hebrew word "ruakh" is used. This word is used to describe a number of things in Hebrew, but one thing they all have in common is that they are some kind of energy. Energy (such as the wind, which is one thing that the word ruakh describes) is invisible, powerful, and necessary for life, making it a fitting description for the spirit of God.
Throughout the Bible, we see the Holy Spirit power used to empower individuals for specific tasks. Joseph is empowered to understand and interpret dreams, an artist named Betzalel is empowered to create beautiful things for the tabernacle, and a group of people - the prophets - are empowered to bring messages from God to the people of Israel and to see what is happening from God's point of view.
The prophets, though, were able to see a problem. While God's spirit had created a good and perfect world, humans had given in to evil and unleashed chaos into it through their injustice. In a way, mankind had returned the earth to the dark, disordered state that it was in when the spirit of God was first hovering over it.
Addressing this problem, the prophets said that the spirit of God would come again, just like it had in Genesis, this time to transform the human heart and empower people to truly love God and others. It is through the life of Jesus that God carries out this return of His spirit.
At the beginning of Christ's mission, there is this beautiful scene where He is being baptized in the Jordan River. The Holy Ghost, God's spirit, comes down on Him in the form of a dove and empowers Him to begin his mission of healing the human condition and starting a new creation. We see this happen when He goes out and heals people and forgives them for their sins. Christ, empowered by the spirit of God, goes throughout the world fixing the chaos and disorder that mankind had brought to it.
Of course, the religious leaders of the time see these actions as a threat, and they have Jesus killed. Still, though, God's spirit is at work. When the disciples saw that Jesus had risen from the grave, they proclaimed that He glowed with the spirit of God. When Jesus appeared to His closest followers, He breathed into them the Holy Spirit, empowering them too to spread God's goodness throughout the world. Soon after that, God's spirit comes over all of His followers.
Today, through Christ and the power He has given His followers, God's spirit continues to hover over a dark and chaotic world, slowly healing it and working towards the day when it is restored to its former glory.