One thing I’ve learned is that I bit off a chunk that is far more than I can swallow. I dove in to study the third person of the Godhead this year. You know, the One that is only whispered about in some circles—the Holy Spirit. Studying His work, ministry, and role is something I will be doing for a lifetime, and using only one year to focus my study on Him has let me know that I’ll continue delving into this for years! It will be a life-long dive.
I began my study by first looking at the relationship within the Trinity and loved some of the insights from Micheal Reeve’s book, Delighting in the Trinity. Here are a few nuggets from that rich work:
“Perhaps, then, it is not so much the seemingly bad math of the Trinity that puts us off as the sheer imposition of an unexpected sort of God.”
“The most foundational thing in God is not some abstract quality, but the fact that He is Father.”
“The Son has his very being from the Father. In fact, he is the going out—the radiance—of the Father’s own being. He is the Son.”
“It is then through giving him the Spirit that the Father declares his love for the Son. It is deeply personal: the Spirit stirs up the delight of the Father in the Son and the delight of the Son in the Father, inflaming their love and so binding them together in the ‘fellowship of the Holy Spirit’ (2 Cor 13:14).”
Reeves’ thoughtful look at the Trinity left me with a greater love and respect for each member of the Godhead. It provided the foundation I needed to move into the study of the Holy Spirit.
At the same time I’ve been focusing on the Holy Spirit, my in-depth book study this year was Genesis. I loved seeing the Spirit involved in creation (Genesis 1:2) and to watch Abraham’s servant in Genesis 24, who in many ways typified the role of the Spirit.
Also, J. I. Packer’s book, Keep in Step with the Spirit, has been a thrilling and meaty read. I’m using his book as a resource tool by going to every Scripture reference (and there are bunches!) and prayerfully and thoughtfully reading those as I carefully work through each paragraph. I’m taking time to record my thoughts and applications in my personal journal. At some point, I hope to develop some of what I’m learning into blog posts.
For now, I’ll just share a glimpse from Packer:
In the Old Testament, the Spirit is “God active as creator, controller, revealer, quickener, enabler, and in all this God makes Himself present to man in the dynamic, demanding way in which the Lord Jesus is now made present to Christian believers.”
Do you read the Old Testament with a watchful heart? Looking to see what God is doing through the Holy Spirit? Asking the Holy Spirit to instruct you as you read?
In relation to the ministry of the Spirit since Pentecost, Packer says this:
“The Spirit makes known the personal presence in and with the Christian and the church of the risen, reigning Savior, the Jesus of history, who is the Christ of faith . . . this, essentially, is what the Spirit is doing as he empowers, enables, purges, and leads generation after generation of sinners to face the reality of God. And he does it in order that Christ may be known, loved, trusted, honored and praised, which is the Spirit’s aim and purpose . . .”
I love studying the role of this humble personage of the Deity, whose work is making Jesus Christ “real and glorious to us moment by moment” (Packer’s phrase).
Another good read that I’m using for this focus is John Owen’s Communion with the Triune God. Of all the great Puritan writers, Owen is the most prolific on this topic. He has several volumes dedicated to the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit and I love his insight.
Wow, I’ve tried to summarize six months worth of study into a quick blog post as an overview and it really doesn’t do the majestic personhood justice. I’m becoming more acquainted with Him through this season and I hope these scattered notes here may whet your appetite to dive into your own study of our very personal and intimate Comforter.