The Spirit of God in the Mission of God: Old and New Testament Summary

Here’s today’s Installment of “The Power and Presence of the Holy Spirit“:

The Spirit in the Old and New Testaments

In the Old and New Testaments, the Spirit of God is central to prophetic revelation, the presence of God among his people, and God’s power for his people to accomplish his purposes. People are born again and empowered to love God and turn from sin by the regenerating work of God’s Spirit. In the old covenant, God’s presence among his people took the form of his Spirit remaining among them in a pillar of flame and cloud, then the cloud settled on the tabernacle. Later God took up residence by his Spirit in the temple. In the new covenant, God’s people are his temple, and God indwells his people by his Spirit.

Just as the Spirit inspired Old Testament prophets, so also New Testament prophets were inspired by the Spirit. Now that the canon of Scripture is closed, we recognize that while the Spirit illumines hearts to understand the prophetic word, there are no more Spirit inspired prophecies being given like those we read in the Bible.[1] Therefore, I understand Paul’s exhortation for people to “pursue” the ability to prophesy (1 Cor 14:1) to mean that today we should eagerly desire to understand and apply the prophetic word we have received, which is contained in the Bible.[2]

[1] I take the view that New Testament prophecy should not be distinguished from Old Testament prophecy and that this kind of prophecy no longer occurs.

[2] I understand the command to “greet one another with a holy kiss” (1 Cor 16:20) in a similar way, such that while we do not need to pharisaically obey the letter of the law and give kisses to each other, we should obey the spirit of the law and greet one another affectionately and enthusiastically.


To see all the posts in this series, go to the category “The Power and Presence of the Holy Spirit.”

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