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JOHANNINE PNEUMATOLOGY

JOHANNINE PNEUMATOLOGY

 

THE GOSPEL OF JOHN

The following quotations reveal that the word “pneuma” (“spirit”) is found in 18 passages, being mentioned 23 times. The use of “Spirit” and “spirit” (Big “S”/Little “s”) is captured rather accurately in these quotations, and there is very little to no disagreement. Therefore, “pneuma” is actually mentioned 13 times referring to the Holy Spirit.

  1. John 1:32: “And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him.”
  2. John 1:33: “I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.”

John 1:32-33 is discussing the Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus. He is receiving POWER from the Spirit since He is now 100% human.

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  1. John 3:5: “Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”
  2. John 3:6: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
  3. John 3:8: “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

John 3:5-8 concerns Jesus’ teaching on how one is “born again,” by water (baptism) and “Spirit” (teaching from the Spirit). The Spirit reveals how to be “born again.”

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  1. John 3:34: “For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure.”

John 3:34 teaches that God the Father sent Jesus to instruct (preach/teach) and was given the Spirit to speak the truth as a human being.

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  1. John 4:23: “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.”
  2. John 4:24: “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

John 4:23-24 concerns worshipping God in “sincerity” or “genuineness of heart” and in truth (the word of God which regulates our worship. God is mentioned as being Spirit – Spirit Being.

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  1. John 6:63: “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.”

John 6:63 teaches that the Spirit gives life through His life-giving words (see John 3:5-8), therefore His words are spiritual.

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  1. John 7:39: But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”

John 7:39 is in a context dealing with the coming of Pentecost. The Spirit would not be given, which would be for the purposes of growing the kingdom through revelation/inspiration (teaching/preaching) and confirmatory miracles, beginning with the apostles, and beginning in Jerusalem (Acts 1:8). Then, revelation/inspiration and confirmatory miracles would continue with other disciples in local congregations established by the apostles, through the laying on of the apostles hands (Acts 2:17-21, 38-39; cf. Eph.4:7-15) for the spreading of the gospel.

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  1. John 11:33: Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled.”

John 11:33 is dealing with the inward man – human spirit – and emotion and or disposition of mind.

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  1. John 13:21: “When Jesus had said these things, He was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.”

John 13:21 is, again, dealing with the inward man and emotion and or disposition of mind.

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  1. John 14:17: “the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”
  2. John 14:26: “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”
  3. John 15:26: “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.”
  4. John 16:13: “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you 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 14-16 concerns Jesus applying John’s general promise of being baptized in the Spirit (Matt.3:11) to only His apostles. He is revealing to them that He is going away but He will send THEM the Spirit of truth, THEIR Helper/Comforter/Advocate Who would speak Truth through THEM and guide THEM into all truth. The Spirit would speak Truth through the apostles, guiding THEM into all truth. In so doing, the Spirit would convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment THROUGH the apostles’ doctrine, which we have in Scripture.

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  1. John 19:30: “So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

John 19:30 is about Jesus giving up His own spirit – his human spirit – as all humans have (James 2:26).

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  1. John 20:22: “And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

John 20:22 is a symbolic action. Jesus had yet to be glorified (John 7:39) therefore the Spirit had yet to be given. Moreover, in verse 21, Jesus said: “as the Father sent Me, so I send you.” They are about to embark their Great Commission and would endued with power from on High or baptized in the Spirit when the Spirit would come upon them filling them with power on the day of Pentecost (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-5,8; 2:1-4). In verse 23 Jesus told them: “whosoever sins you forgive, they are forgiven unto them, whosoever that ye retain, they are retained.” Again, the context is showing that they would receive the Spirit for teaching and their teaching would have accompanying miracles they would perform.

John’s gospel account reveals that the giving and or receiving the Spirit is directly related to inspired teaching and the miraculous. Why would it be any different in any other inspired document?

THE EPISTLE OF 1 JOHN

The following quotations reveal that the word “pneuma” (“spirit”) is found in 9 passages, being mentioned 14 times. The use of “Spirit” and “spirit” (Big “S”/Little “s”) is captured rather accurately in these quotations, and there is very little to no disagreement. Therefore, “pneuma” is actually mentioned 7 times referring to the Holy Spirit. 5:7 is a disputed verse, therefore we will say 6 times.

  1. 1 John 3:24: “Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.”

1 John 3:24 concerns Christians abiding and dwelling in the word of God, and when one dwells in the Word of God, then God dwells in him (John 14:23). Therefore, it is quite obvious that God dwells in the Christian through His Word. Dwelling is Biblical euphemism for relationship. When one submits and obeys God’s Word, then God is dwelling in him, and he in God. Obviously this is a representative dwelling. Moreover, John says “we” (the immediate audience) know THIS is what was given, namely that which came “out from” the Spirit – literally, “we know he abides in us out from the Spirit He gave us.” That which came “out from” the Spirit is knowledge (1 John 2:20, 27) or revelatory instruction, which provides wisdom. There were inspired teachers among them (Eph.4:7-15; 1 Cor.12), and this would the Spirit of truth speaking through inspired men.

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  1. 1 John 4:1: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
  2. 1 John 4:2: “By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God.”
  3. 1 John 4:3: “and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.”
  4. 1 John 4:6: “We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”

1 John 4:1-3, 6 is dealing with testing the spirits, metonymy for false prophets or teachers. They know the Truth, because every inspired prophet or teacher confesses Jesus is God come in the flesh. The Spirit cannot speak lies through tur prophets and teachers of God. The false teachers (Gnostics) could not be inspired because they denied the humanity of Christ.    

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1 John 4:13: “By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.”

1 John 4:13 says the same thing as 3:24. They know they abide in Him and He in us, “out from the Spirit He has given us.” They knew this from the knowledge they received through inspired teaching from the Spirit – through inspired men.

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  1. 1 John 5:6: “This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth.”
  2. 1 John 5:7: “For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.”
  3. 1 John 5:8: “And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.

1 John 5:6-8 states the spirit is a witness (John 15:26-27; Acts 5:32) through inspired teaching and the working of miracles through the apostles and inspired men. Again, the focus of witness is that of “truth” (Spirit of truth) which He spoke through inspired men. Verse 7 is disputed and most likely is not part of the original text. Verse 8 repeats that the Spirit is a witness. As noted above.

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Like John’s gospel, the epistle of 1 John reveals that the Spirit is related to inspired teaching and the miraculous. Why would it be any different in any other inspired document?

THE BOOK OF REVELATION

The following quotations reveal that the word “pneuma” (“spirit”) is found in 21 passages, being mentioned 21 times. The use of “Spirit” and “spirit” (Big “S”/Little “s”) is captured rather accurately in these quotations, and there is very little to no disagreement.

Revelation 1:4: “John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne.”

Revelation 1:4 is simply a reference to the Holy Spirit.

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Revelation 1:10: “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet.”

Revelation 1:10 is simply a reference to John being supernaturally controlled by the Spirit so as to receive his vision. Another point showing that the mentioning of the Spirit in the New Testament typically signifies some miraculous circumstance or power from the Spirit.

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Revelation 2:7: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”’

Revelation 2:11: ““He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.”’

Revelation 2:17: ““He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.”’

Revelation 2:29: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Revelation 2:7-29 are passages dealing with the communication or influence of the Spirit through instruction from the Word of God (either orally or written) through revelation and inspiration. The Hebrews write speaks of “hearing His voice” which meant hearing what He said in Scripture (Heb.3:7-15, 4:1-7). The point is that the Spirit spoke through the prophets who spoke to the people and those who would enter “His rest” would be those who obeyed the inspired instruction from the Spirit – through the Moses and the prophets.

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Revelation 3:1: “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.”

Revelation 3:1 is another reference to the fullness or the completeness of the Holy Spirit.

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Revelation 3:6: ““He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’

Revelation 3:13: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’

Revelation 3:22: ““He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’”

Revelation 3:6-22 concerns revelation and inspiration of God’s Word – the Holy Spirit’s instruction through inspired men.

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Revelation 4:2: “Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.”

Revelation 4:2 concerns John receiving vision from the Spirit as noted previously.

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Revelation 4:5: “And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.”

Revelation 5:6: “And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth.”

Revelation 4:5-6 are references to the Spirit.

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Revelation 14:13: “Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.”

Revelation 14:13 is John receiving revelation through his Spirit, inspired vision and then writing it down.

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Revelation 16:13: “And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.”

Revelation 16:14: “For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.”

Revelation 16:13-14 speaks of unclean demons or spirits.

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Revelation 17:3: “So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.

Revelation 17:3 concerns the miraculous activity of the Spirit with John

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Revelation 18:2: “And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird!”

Revelation 18:2 concerns wicked spirits whether of demons or men.

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Revelation 19:10: “And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

Revelation 19:10 is dealing with revelation and inspiration and the testimony of Jesus being connected with prophecy, and in this the “Spirit of prophecy.” I would have put an upper case “S,” for the Spirit’s role concerns prophecy.

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Revelation 21:10: “And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.”

Revelation 21:10 concerns miraculous activity with John.

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Revelation 22:17: “And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.”

Revelation 22:17 deals with revelation and inspiration – the inspired message FROM the Spirit, through inspired men in the 1st century church, the Bride, as the church is to take His inspired message to the world (Eph.3:10).

Johannine literature reveals John’s “pneumatology,” which is that when he mentions “Spirit” it is typically in reference to “revelation and inspiration” and the revealing of the Will of God through inspired men. There is also the connection through other miraculous activity with the Spirit. Therefore, we conclude the John does not appeal to the Person of the Spirit, but to the power that is associated with the Spirit, either through metonymy or direct reference. Since this is true with Johannine literature, why should it be different with the other inspired documents?

Acts 2 deals with the beginning of the miraculous age. It began with the baptism of the Spirit with the apostles (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-5,8, 2:1-15) and the promise of Joel, which was a promise of miraculous gifts to 1st century Christians that would come “out from” the Spirit (Acts 2:16-21, 2:38-39; cf. 8:14-17, 10:45-46, 19:1-6, etc.). Therefore, convicting of the Spirit (John 16) and the leading of the Spirit (Rom.8:14) works of the Spirit through revelation and inspiration – inspired teaching through inspired men. Miraculous activity, connected with the Spirit, was for the rapid expansion of the church and for confirmation of the Word of God. Therefore, receiving the Spirit was simply a reference to receiving revelation and inspiration or the ability to work confirmatory miracles, as the early church did.  

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