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What is Pneumatology?

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The word Pneumatology comes from two Greek words which mean "wind, air, spirit" and "word" - combining to mean "the study of the Holy Spirit." Pneumatology is the study of God the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity. It answers numerous important questions about the Holy Spirit:

Who / what is the Holy Spirit? There are many misconceptions about the identity of the Holy Spirit. Some view the Holy Spirit as a mystical force. Others understand the Holy Spirit as the impersonal power God makes available to followers of Christ. What does the Bible say about the identity of the Holy Spirit?

When / How do we receive the Holy Spirit? This discussion is controversial because the ministries of the Holy Spirit are often confused. The receiving / indwelling of the Spirit occurs at the moment of salvation. The filling of the Spirit is an ongoing process in the Christian life.

What is the baptism of the Holy Spirit? The baptism of the Holy Spirit may be defined as that work whereby the Spirit of God places the believer into union with Christ and into union with other believers in the Body of Christ at the moment of salvation.

How can I be filled with the Spirit? It is important to distinguish between the indwelling and filling of the Spirit. The permanent indwelling of the Spirit is not for a select few believers, but rather for all believers. This is in contrast to the commanded filling of the Spirit found in Ephesians 5:18.

Are the miraculous gifts of the Spirit for today? This is not a question of can the Holy Spirit give someone a miraculous gift. The question is does the Holy Spirit still dispense the miraculous gifts today. Above all else, we entirely recognize that the Holy Spirit is free to dispense gifts according to His will (1 Corinthians 12:7-11).

Many Christians have an unbiblical perception of the Holy Spirit. Some understand the Holy Spirit as a power or force given to us from God. This is not biblical. Pneumatology teaches us that the Holy Spirit is a Person, with a mind, emotions, and will. The Holy Spirit is Jesus’ "replacement" on earth (John 14:16-26; 15:26; 16:7). The Holy Spirit is received at salvation (Romans 8:9) and is the permanent possession of every believer in Christ (Ephesians 1:13-14). Pneumatology helps us to understand these issues and recognize the Biblical roles of the Holy Spirit in our lives today.

The study of Pneumatology is of immense benefit to the Christian. In the pages of Scripture, we come face to face with the third Person of the Trinity, God Himself in spirit, and we see His very personal and intimate ministry to us. Through Him, we come to know God’s love for us “because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:5). To understand the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to find joy in His role as our Comforter (John 16:7; Acts 9:31) who not only helps and comforts us, but who comes to our rescue when our hearts are so burdened we cannot even pray for relief (Romans 8:26). When we pursue the knowledge of the Holy Spirit we find, to our great delight, that He not only lives within us, but He does so forever, never to leave or forsake us (John 14:16). All these truths are burned into our hearts when we study Pneumatology.

A good summary verse for Pneumatology is John 16:8-11, "When He (the Holy Spirit) comes, He will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned."

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This page last updated: January 4, 2022