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The Holy Spirit and the New Testament

We have seen the Holy Spirit was active in the Old Testament, particularly in inspiring the prophets. His work did not end there.

The apostles saw Jesus ascend into the clouds (Acts 1:9-11). Peter informed the people on the day of Pentecost that Christ had then ascended and was seated on the throne (Acts 2:32-33). Before he ascended, Jesus told his disciples it was necessary for Him to go away so that He could send the Helper. That Helper, who is also called the Spirit of truth, was to guide them “into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come” (John 16:7, 13). His stated purpose was to testify of Christ so the apostles could bear witness (15:26-27).

Peter explained that the same Holy Spirit who inspired the Old Testament prophets inspired those who delivered the word to the scattered Christians. One might say the Holy Spirit foretold his own coming through the prophets and announced he was here through the apostles. Angels, apparently during the time of the prophets, had an intense desire to look into God’s plan of salvation. Yet, it was not fully revealed until God, through the Holy Spirit, inspired New Testament speakers and writers to reveal His message (1 Peter 1:12).

It was the Holy Spirit who empowered the apostles to speak in languages they had never studied on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:4-21, 32-33). The Spirit gave them words to speak and guided their actions. It was the Spirit who directed Philip to overtake the chariot of the Ethiopian nobleman (Acts 8:29). He also told Peter to go with the men who had come from Cornelius (Acts 11:12).

Peter made an interesting statement about the writings of Paul. He said Paul, “according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which those who are untaught and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures” (2 Peter 3:15-16). Notice, Peter considered Paul’s writings to be part of scripture, which is the God breathed, or spoken, word (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Paul spoke of the means of delivery of his messages. He told the Corinthian Christians, “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Corinthians 2:12-13). Peter recognized Paul’s words were part of the unmerited favor God had bestowed upon him (Galatians 2:9).

We can see the main function of the Holy Spirit has been to reveal the will of God to the mind of man. He did this by inspiring spokesmen in both the Old and New Testaments. His directions and words have always been consistent with the will of the Father because he only speaks the words given him by Christ. Christ only spoke the words of the Father (John 17:8). We need to pay close attention to the words of the New Testament because they contain God’s will for our lives.


Gary C. Hampton
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