Growing up, as our Pastor closed out his sermons, a few parishioners would catch what we called, “the Holy Ghost.” They would jump up and dance like David (2 Sam. 6) to the rhythm of “timbrel and dancing, praising him with the strings and pipe, praising him with the clash of cymbals, praising him with resounding cymbals.” (Ps. 150: 4-5) Most often, the person would be repeating the name of Jesus, crying and stomping. And this was the extent of my knowledge of the Holy Spirit.
We are actually introduced to the Spirit in Genesis. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” (Gen. 1:1-2) Although the name of Jesus, the Word, is not in Genesis, we know from John 1:1-2 that He was present. “1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. The Trinity, God in Three Persons. God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit - form one capital G, God.
There are references to the Son and the Spirit throughout the Bible, but they are more fully revealed in the New Testament. In the Gospels we read about Jesus’s birth, through Mary, who was, ““pregnant through the Holy Spirit.” (Matt 1:18) In the Gospel of Luke, of the day when Mary, pregnant with Jesus, visited her cousin Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John. “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Luke 1:41)
As Jesus is preparing for His death on the cross, He tells His disciples, who are fearful of what will happen to them once Jesus is crucified, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. (John 14:16-17)
Once Jesus died on the cross, after three days, He was raised from the dead, and returns to His disciples for a period of 40 days before “he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.” (Acts 1:9) Ten days later, on what we call the day of Pentecost, “Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” (Acts 2:2-4)
It is easy to rely on church, or our Pastor, to teach us everything we need to know about the Bible, how to be saved, and how to live morally upright lives. There are some things, however, that we must read for ourselves. According to the American Bible Society, 87% of American households own at least one Bible, but the average American household has three. In a 2017 survey 53% of Americans reported having read, between none and a few passages or stories in the Bible.
I have always attended church, but I haven’t always been one to read the Bible. Reading the Bible for myself has given me great knowledge of the Holy Spirit. References to the Holy Spirit are throughout the Bible, so He must be important. As we continue to study Acts in Bible study, I am realizing that the Holy Spirit is what gives endurance to our salvation. Once we are saved, we are always saved, but living a Christian life is not a simple thing to do. As we say, the struggle is real! Life, in the Spirit, however, speaking to us, being our Advocate, our Comforter, makes a difference. Without knowledge of the Spirit, without the Spirit of God in our lives, we leave church on Sunday and step into a sinful world of traps and snares, that we can’t navigate. This week, begin reading your Bible. Don’t just open it to any random spot and start reading, start reading at the book of Matthew or John. Start reading Romans. I guarantee you will learn more from reading it yourself, than you ever learned in all of your years of going to church. Amen!
Thank you for reading this blog, now read your Bible!
I am a wife, mother, educator, and author who, between other duties, enjoys writing. My name is actually Kimberly Griffith Massey. In this blog, I will share some sighting of God's light each week.
Author Photo by
Heather G. Rollings, 2017
Cover photo by Carlton Griffith Photography