The word Pneumatology is translated spirit, wind or breath. The Greek root is pneu which denotes dynamic movement of the air.
The following are derivatives of pneu:
1. pneo - to blow (wind and air generally). Also on a musical instrument, to breathe, also in the sense of being alive, to emit a fragrance, to radiate heat, anger, courage, benevolence, etc.
2. ekpeneo - to breathe and blow out, stop breathing when used in a sense "to die" get out of breath, stop blowing, etc.
3. empeneo - to breathe in, to be breathing, to be alive, to blow into or onto something, to inspire, etc.
Pneuma is found 385 times in the Bible. 250 times it is translated Holy Spirit, 40 times it is human spirit, and it is also translated for good and evil spirits.
Definition of Pneumatology - The doctrine concerning the concept of existence in the form of a spirit which could include the study of all spirits, God as spirit, angels both faithful and fallen and the spirit of man.
The Divinity of the Holy Spirit
2 Corinthians 3:3 Spirit of the Living God
Attributes of the Holy Spirit
Isaiah 40:13-14 and I Corinthians 2:10-11 Omniscience Psalms 139:7-8 OmnipresenceHebrews 9:14 Eternity and John 14:26 Holiness - It is obvious that the very name "Holy Spirit" should let the reader know that He is holy.
Some statements regarding the person of the Holy Spirit.
1. Thomas Goodwin (Puritan writer) AD 1660 - "Most Christians don't give the Holy Spirit the glory due Him."
2. George Smeaton AD1880 - "The docrine of the Holy Spirit was almost entirely ignored by the church as a whole."
Note: Of all the books in the Bible only Philemon and 2 and 3 John don't mention the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit As A Person
The characteristics or qualities of a person include knowledge and intelligence, feeling or affection, will and possibly the ability to speak. The Holy Spirit as a person is shown in the scripture verses below.
The Holy Spirit is also know as the Paraclete or "One who is called along side." He is our ever present helper in many ways. The word parakletos appears five times in the New Testament. Kaleo means to call or summon and Para means to the side of.
A Scriptural Breakdown of the Holy Spirit
1. John 16:7,8,13-14 -- Spirit used as a masculine pronoun (ie: he)
2. Pneuma is a neuter word (neither masculine or feminine)
3. The laws of language call for a neuter word to be followed by a neuter pronoun.
4. In the name Holy Spirit the word pneuma is followed by a masculine pronoun (ie; he or him)
5. 2 Corinthians 3:17 could translate "Where the Spirit is Lord there is liberty."
The Nature Of The Holy Spirit
The word ghost originally meant spirit. The word spirit came into the English language from the French or Latin. The word ghost came into the English language from the Anglo-Saxon or the German. Ghost and spirit translate to the same Greek word.
The Hebrew word ruach and Greek word pneuma pertaining to the word spirit have similar meaning (wind, breath or spirit). In the Septuagint, the earliest extant Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures from the original Hebrew, the Hebrew equivalent of pnema is almost always ruach.
Of the 377 instances of ruach in the Masoretic text 264 are translated pneuma. The Masoretic text is the authoritative Hebrew and Aramaic text of the Tanakh for Rabbinic Judaism. It is not the original text of the Hebrew Bible. It was primarily copied, edited and distributed by a group of Jews known as the Masoretes between the 7th and 10th centuries CE.
The word anemos (wind) is used 49 times. The King James Bible uses 13 different words in order to translate ruach with a possible 33 different shades of meaning in different contexts. It also uses four different words to translate pneuma.
Problems In The Early Church
Some taught or seemed to teach that there were three gods. Among these teachers were Tertillian and Uraneus. They lived in a polytheistic society who mistook what they were saying. The Gnostics tried to distinguish between between Christ and the Holy Spirit. They believed that Christ was a radiation or emanation from God. They believed the same about the Holy Spirit. They thought that God was too holy to touch this sinful world.
Origen (3rd Century AD) of the School of Alexandria in Egypt made God the Father fully God and Jesus "under God" as not being God in the same full sense. The teaching of this school held that the Holy Spirit was on a lower level or status than Jesus Christ.
The Macedonians (341-360 AD) under Macedonius, the Bishop of Constantinople taught that the Holy Spirit was a minister and servant on a level with angels - creatures subordinate to the Father and the Son. He didn't call the Spirit God, neither did he call the Spirit a created being.
Arius (Arianism) taught that Jesus is a created being called God because he enjoyed God's favor.
Callistus of Rome taught that the Father and Son were the same person and the Holy Spirit who was incarnate in the Son is the same as the Father.
Sabellious (250 AD) taught that the one divine person manifested himself in different modes and capacities. He believed that when God was creating he was the Father, when he was on earth and on the cross he was the Son and when working in the church he was the Spirit. This is the origin or same teaching as the Oneness or "Jesus Only" heretical teaching.
The correct teaching is that the Holy Spirit part of the Godhead which is wholly spirit, uncreated and not part of the material universe. See Luke 3:21-22 and John 14:16 - 3 distinct persons.
C R Lord © 1979