Doctrines of the Holy Spirit and of the Bible

About this Lesson

In Lesson Two, you will examine the doctrines of the Holy Spirit and of the Bible. Through this study, we will see how the ministry of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God are vital to the believer's spiritual walk today.

When you complete this lesson, you should be able to do the following:

  • Explain who the Holy Spirit is and what ministries He performs.
  • Articulate key ideas concerning the divine origin and composition of the Bible.

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The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit

1. Q. Who is the Holy Spirit?

A. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity, truly God and therefore co-equal with the Father and the Son (Mt. 28:19; Acts 5:3-4; 2 Cor. 13:14). Since He is spirit, He does not have to be seen or felt in order to be close to us. Since He is holy, He must be met on “holy ground.” This is why people who have not separated themselves from sin lack the awareness of His presence.

2. Q. What were His roles as a member of the Godhead during the Old Testament era?

A. He acted with the Father and Son in creation (Gen. 1:2), equipped people to do God’s service (Ex. 31:1-5; Num. 11:16-17), renewed nature (Ps. 104:30), came upon Israel’s kings (1 Sam. 16:13), inspired Israel’s prophets and the men who wrote the Scriptures (1 Pet. 1:10-12; 2 Pet. 1:21), and worked in the hearts of people to lead them to believe God and do His will (Acts 7:51).

This shows how willing God is to provide supernatural strength to those who want to serve Him. Those who want to do God’s will don’t have to do it in their own power.

3. Q. What is the Holy Spirit’s relationship to the church, the body of Christ?

A. The Holy Spirit gave birth to the church (Acts 2:1-47), baptizes believers into the church (1 Cor. 12:13), abides in the church (1 Cor. 3:16), unifies the church (Eph. 2:22; 4:3-4), gives gifts to the church (1 Cor. 12:4-11), provides leaders for the church (Acts 20:28), directs the work of the church (Acts 13:2), and uses the church to hold back or hinder evil in the world (2 Th. 2:7).

Because the Holy Spirit indwells the people of God both individually and collectively, the church should not be thought of as a merely human institution. It should not be taken for granted. It should never be casually dismissed or ignored. In many ways our actions toward the church are actions taken toward God (Acts 5:1-11).

4. Q. What does the Holy Spirit do for those who have not made peace with God?

A. He draws attention to Christ (Jn. 16:13-14), empowers God’s messengers (1 Th. 1:5), brings conviction to sinners (Jn. 16:8-11), and produces the new birth (Jn. 3:5; Ti. 3:5).

For these reasons, no person is too bad or too hardened to be converted to Christ. No person is so evil that he cannot be saved. The purpose of God has never been to save only good people or to bring deliverance only to those who were naturally endowed with qualities that would make them desirable prospects for the kingdom of heaven. God sent His Spirit into the world to come to the rescue of all kinds of people—even the very worst and most hateful.

5. Q. What does the Holy Spirit do in the lives of believers?

A. He permanently indwells believers to mark us out as God’s possession (Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 6:19). He seals us to guarantee our ultimate salvation (2 Cor. 1:21-22; Eph. 1:13-14; 4:30). He fills us when we yield to Him, giving us power for life and ministry (Acts 6:3; 13:9-12; Eph. 5:18-21). He produces Christian character in us (Gal. 5:22-23). He teaches us (1 Cor. 2:10). He intercedes for us when we cannot pray (Rom. 8:26-27). He enables us to discern false teaching about Christ (1 Jn. 2:20-27). He assures us that we are God’s children (Rom. 8:16). He equips us to serve one another (Rom. 12:3-8; 1 Cor. 12:1-31). He guides us (Rom. 8:14).

We are inclined to assume that what we see in the mirror is what counts. But what really counts is what the Holy Spirit can do in a heart that is given unreservedly to Him.

6. Q. In what ways can we harm ourselves by sinning against the Holy Spirit?

A. We are warned about sinning against the Holy Spirit by grieving Him through disobedience (Eph. 4:30), lying to Him (Acts 5:3), quenching Him with a negative attitude (1 Th. 5:19), resisting Him (Acts 7:51), and insulting Him (Heb. 10:29).

For this reason, we should be far more concerned about maintaining a good relationship with the Spirit than we are about staying on good terms with our spouse, children, parents, employer, or friends.

The Doctrine of the Bible

1. Q. What sets the Bible apart from all other books?

A. The Bible in its entirety was written by men who were inspired by God (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:21). And because it is inspired (lit. “breathed out”) by God, the original documents are without error of any kind (Jn. 17:17). It is authoritative in all matters of faith and conduct (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

This book is like no other book in the world. It is a record of the life and work of the most important Person in the universe. Behind the pages, storylines, events, and people of His book, He waits to meet personally with every honest seeker. While the natural world reveals God’s power, majesty, and wisdom, the Bible reveals His plan of personal, eternal salvation. It is the Author of this book and what He offers His readers that make the Bible so timeless and important.

2. Q. How do we know that the Bible we hold in our hands accurately represents the original documents that go back more than 3,500 years?

A. The amazing similarity of thousands of well-preserved manuscript copies gives strong evidence that they accurately reflect the originals. We can be confident that if God inspired a book to reveal Himself, He would oversee the preservation of that book.

3. Q. What evidence can we give to support the claim that the Bible is the inspired Word of God?

A. Christ repeatedly expressed confidence in the reliability of the Jewish Scriptures—the 39 books of the Old Testament (Mt. 5:17-18; Lk. 24:27,44). In the fourth century, the church fathers declared these 39 books plus the 27 books of the New Testament to be divinely inspired, authoritative, and complete.

While the doctrine that the Scriptures are the inspired and inerrant Word of God is a matter of faith, it is a reasonable faith. The unity of the message of these books written over a period of about 1,600 years is astounding. Its accuracy of historical detail, its completeness of storyline, its amazingly fulfilled prophecies, its beneficial impact on society, and its transforming power in the lives of those who read it believingly are such powerful testimonies that it is actually unreasonable not to believe in the inspired Scriptures.

The best reason to believe in the Bible is that Jesus Christ, the perfect God-man, believed in it (Mt. 12:39-42; 19:4-5; Lk. 17:26-29). The most personal reason to believe is found by each individual in the wisdom, rightness, and strength that comes from following the Bible.

4. Q. How can we understand the Bible?

A. By asking the help of its divine Author, by seeking to determine what its human authors meant, by interpreting it literally and in context as we would any other book, and by submitting humbly to its message.

5. Q. What should we do when we encounter a Bible passage we can’t understand or verses that seem to contradict one another?

A. If after serious study we can’t find the answer or solution, we should proceed to other passages with the assurance that the problem is with us, and that someday, either on earth or in heaven, our difficulty will be eliminated.