What Is Speaking In Tongues?

Part One

By

Craig Bluemel

 

Origins of the Words ‘Charismatic’ & ‘Pentecostal’

Speaking in tongues, speaking in unknown tongues, or speaking in a strange tongue are phrases used to describe the practice, which distinguishes Pentecostal/charismatic churches from non-charismatic churches.  The terms Pentecostal and charismatic are used interchangeably by people in our society and in the church world in general as referring to those congregations that accept the doctrine and practice of speaking in other (unknown) tongues.

 

The reason some churches are called ‘Pentecostal’ is because their experience with tongues parallels the phenomena of tongues in the Book of Acts 2:1-4.  The disciples of Jesus were gathered together in Jerusalem, praying in the upper room of a home, on the Jewish feast day called Pentecost; it was on The Day of Pentecost these disciples were purportedly “filled with the Holy Spirit,” and then, “spoke in other tongues as the spirit gave them utterance.”  Hence the contemporary Christian experience of speaking in tongues and churches that embrace the practice of speaking in tongues are called, ‘Pentecostal churches.’

 

The Greek term used in NT scripture for “tongues,” is, ‘glossa’ (language) or ‘glossalaliá’ (speaking in a language).  The word ‘charismatic’ is derived from the combination of two Greek words, “charis,” (favorable influence that calms & cheers) and, “mata,” (to operate); hence, the literal meaning of the word ‘charismatic’ is, “to operate favorably.”

 

The literal meaning of the word ‘charismatic’ and its broad-brush application, which describe churches that practice spiritual gifts is biblically inaccurate.  First of all, the Greek word ‘charis’ is the primary noun translated as, “grace,” in various Bible versions (e.g. – KJV, NASB, NIV, etc). 

 

Second, using the English word ‘grace’ to translate the Greek word, “charis,” is improperly redefining and not translating from the original Greek text. In other words, ‘charis,’ does NOT mean, ‘grace’ but is literally, “influence that calms and cheers.”

 

Why do Bible translators use the word grace instead of seeking the proper translation?  In large part, they cannot be blamed or said to be using cunning to alter the intended meaning of charis.  Theologians heavily influenced them and their translating skills were compromised by a Calvinistic bent. 

 

John Calvin, John Knox and other reformers were so infuriated by the Roman Catholic penance and manmade works, particularly the rampant abuse of indulgences, that a new definition of ‘grace’ emerged from their ranks.  This definition is still held sacred today in nearly all Christian circles, defining, ‘grace’ to mean, “unmerited or unearned favor.”

 

The true meaning of the word grace has yet to be challenged among Christian circles, with regard to its legitimacy, purity of meaning or authenticity.  Since the Great Reformation all things remain basically the same; grace continues to be embraced by Christendom as meaning, “unmerited, or undeserved favor.”  Because this definition is so pervasive in the hearts and minds of most born-again Christians, it has led to apathy, indifference and lukewarm living in the church.  The doctrine of ‘works’ is so minimized or ignored altogether, or its meaning also distorted, the Christian church in America is making little impact on the world of unbelievers it cohabits with.

 

What do you believe o man or woman of God?  How do you define grace?  Is your definition of grace aligned with the scripture? That God gives grace is unarguable; however, defining it as ‘undeserved favor’ is in serious doubt and needs serious scrutiny by discerning believers.  For example, consider the passages below, that ‘grace’ comes through what the people are willing to give, do, seek, or believe:

 

·          Acts 13:43 Now when the meeting of the synagogue had broken up, many of the Jews and of the God-fearing proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, were urging them to continue in the grace of God.   NASU

 

·          Romans 5:1-2 having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand.   NKJV

 

·          James 4:6-8 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."  Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.   NKJV

 

·          Hebrews 12:14-15 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:  looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.  NKJV

 

·          1 Peter 3:7 You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.    NASU

 

I think the concept of God’s favor being completely undeserved appeals to people because it eases and comforts their innate sense of unworthiness.  When they mess up, it is nice to know that God loves, forgives and gives you another chance, in spite of repeated personal failures.  However, is the grace that God gives totally and completely undeserved?  Or is there some basis or some criteria THAT God uses to determine TO WHOM He will give His favor?

 

Just like it is a trap to use one’s own works as the basis for justification, or the basis for boasting in self-righteousness, it is as equally deceptive to see God’s grace as an easy out for moral failure.  In other words, just because you do not deserve God’s righteousness does not mean there are not requirements to obtain it.   The passages above are but a handful of the same that prove it takes faith, humility, etc to remain in the influence of God (i.e. – grace) that gives peace and hope.

 

Taking these facts into serious consideration, the Greek word ‘charis’ was INTERPRETED by Bible translators by deciding it’s meaning based on their Calvinistic doctrine of so-called, ‘irresistible grace,’ and NOT based on the actual Greek word meaning.  The literal meaning of the Greek word ‘charis’ in 21st century dialect is, “favorable influence that leaves one calm, unruffled and hopeful.”  Charis does not mean undeserved favor.

 

Sadly, the theology of Bible translators caused them to mistranslate charis in two major flawed ways: 1) as the word, “grace” 2) as the word, “gift.” 

 

The reason I mention error #2 is simple; the same misappropriation of charis is done with the word CHARIS-matic.  Today charismatic erroneously connotes, “the operation of the spiritual gifts.”  Therefore, if a church and its congregation believe in and practice speaking in tongues, in general, Christendom dubs them ‘charismatic churches.’

 

This is no minor point because a huge rift now separates the charismatic churches from the non-charismatic churches.  Adding insult to injury is the false doctrine that teaches speaking in tongues is the EVIDENCE or the SIGN that a Christian has been filled with the Holy Spirit, an experience that charismatic churches and charismatic denominations such as the Assemblies of God (AOG) teach is an experience distinct and separate from salvation.

 

To explain the position of charismatic churches regarding speaking in tongues, they believe that when a person, through faith receives Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and repents of their wicked ways, and confesses their sin, that the Holy Spirit dwells WITH you, but He does not dwell INSIDE of you. 

 

Their doctrinal position is that you must seek and ask the Holy Spirit to come and live inside of you.  Furthermore, they also teach that without having the Holy Spirit INDWELL you, you cannot experience the dúnamis POWER God gives to live a victorious, overcomer-type of Christian life. 

 

They wrongly believe speaking (prayer) in unknown tongues is REQUIRED to confirm that you have indeed, “received the Holy Spirit,” or, “been filled with the Holy Spirit,” or have been, “baptized in the Holy Spirit,” (all phrases synonymous for one experience).  Without the visible and audible evidence of unknown tongues, a person does not possess the only biblical sign he or she has the Holy Spirit indwelling them.  Lest I be accused of making this up, below is an excerpt taken from the Encarta Encyclopedia to validate what I have already laid forth:

 

Charismatic Movement

 

Charismatic Movement (Greek charismata,” spiritual gifts”), international, interdenominational Christian revivalistic movement, also referred to as Neo-Pentecostalism. The individuals who make up the movement believe that they have been “filled” or “baptized” with the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands. The signs of this baptism include such spiritual gifts as speaking in tongues, or glossalaliá, prophecy, healing, interpretation of tongues, and discernment of spirits (see 1 Corinthians 12:8-10). See also Revivals, Religious.

 

The Pentecostal churches had their origin in a similar movement in the early 20th century, as small groups of believers withdrew from Protestant denominations in order to pray, study the Bible, and practice their gifts. See also Holiness Churches.

 

The Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship began among Pentecostalists in 1951. Its members introduced laity from other denominations to their practices, but the charismatic movement as such is usually considered to have begun in 1960, with a group of Episcopalians in Van Nuys, California. Distinct charismatic networks and organizations soon arose within the Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, and other Protestant denominations. A small element exists within Eastern Orthodoxy.

The most striking recent development is the Roman Catholic charismatic renewal, which originated in 1967 on university campuses in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; South Bend, Indiana; and East Lansing, Michigan. In 1969 the U.S. bishops' conference issued a cautiously favorable statement regarding the renewal, and in 1975 Pope Paul VI gave an appreciative speech at a special audience for 10,000 charismatics attending a Rome conference. Leon Joseph Cardinal Suenens of Belgium, a progressive at the Second Vatican Council, became the movement's sponsor within the Roman hierarchy, but many important leaders were laypeople.

 

As has Pentecostalism, the charismatic movement has produced myriad groups, independent preachers and healers, and a few near-cultic offshoots. Most charismatics, however, are orthodox in doctrine and emphasize activity within their own denominations. They are ecstatic in worship, although generally more subdued than Pentecostalists, and they align themselves with other Evangelicals in their emphasis on evangelism and personal faith in Christ. See Evangelicalism.

 

Contributed By:
Richard N. Ostling

Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2002. © 1993-2001 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

 

I cannot speak of the veracity of this article, but it proves the general view of charismatic and Pentecostal churches is interconnected with minor discrepancies in the modes of worship, so called.

Who IS the Holy Spirit?

For all the hype about charismania there is very little if any solid teaching about the actual practice of speaking in tongues.  It’s almost as if Pentecostal and charismatic churches stop at the “sign” or “evidence” of tongues, using it as a sort of badge of honor to mark them out as being more, “spiritual,” that those who have not been filled with the Holy Spirit. 

 

I speak in tongues daily and I have done so since 1974, so I have no particular axe to grind here, except exposing the misuse, abuse and ignorance of speaking in tongues.  Furthermore, for most of my Christian life, I USED TO ascribed to the position that speaking in tongues is the only initial evidence of the infilling or baptism in the Holy Spirit.  My doctrinal position in this regard began to change just over one year ago when I completed a Bible study series at this link: Jesus is the Gift of the Holy Spirit - Part 1 

 

Raised in a oneness Pentecostal church since I first got saved, my experience with speaking in tongues was defined for me by a pastor that spewed forth regurgitated apostolic/UPC doctrine.  Since I had no biblical knowledge at that time, I pretty much swallowed whatever was spoon-fed to me. 

 

Unlike Christians that believe the Holy Spirit is the third Person of the triune Godhead, I believed the terms “holy” and “spirit” described the Father’s nature.  I was taught God the Father IS spirit (John 4:23-25) and God the Father IS holy (John 17:11) making Him one and the same as the, “Holy Spirit.”

 

Furthermore, like many from that era, I learned the disciples of Christ could not receive the Holy Spirit until AFTER Jesus was glorified (John 7:37-39).  Up until the time Jesus ascended into heaven (Acts 1:10-12), the Holy Spirit of the Father God was only WITH the disciples, but could not live IN them (John 14:17).  Then, when the disciples were “filled’ with the Holy Spirit, they all spoke with tongues, as the spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4).  It all seemed to make sense to me for many years, until I seriously challenged my own doctrine! 

 

At that time, many inconsistencies emerged and I even found several contradictions.  Just one of many errors in doctrine was the fact John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit in his mother Elizabeth’s womb, long before Jesus was even crucified, let alone glorified!  Read my series recommended in the link previously, and it is an eye-opener.

 

I found out that the term ‘Holy Spirit’ is not a direct translation from either Greek or Hebrew and only about half of the roughly 60 references to the Holy Spirit in the NT OMIT the word “the” (a definite article) making the text read, “a Holy Spirit,” instead of, “the Holy Spirit.”  I highly recommend all who have not read the aforementioned series do so; it will lay the foundation for a fresh, new outlook at the concept and application of the Holy Spirit, more literally rendered, a morally blameless life.

 

What happened to Jesus’ disciples on the Day of Pentecost?  Did they speak in tongues because they were now filled with the Holy Spirit?  Does this mean speaking in tongues is the only evidence to determine if a NT believer has the Holy Spirit dwelling inside?  If so, does this mean all the Christians that don’t speak in tongues are without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit?  Try to find the answers to these questions, even on the Internet or Web, and you’ll find a lot of confusing answers.

 

Because I deal in-depth with many of these questions in my other series Jesus is the Gift of the Holy Spirit - Part 1  I am going to just tell you what I understand scripture to teach, then I will proceed into the main body of this study.  The words, “Holy Spirit,” are Anglicized transliterations of the Latin and do not represent translations from Hebrew or Greek.  Holy is derived from hágios meaning, “morally blameless.”  Spirit is derived from pneúma meaning, “movement of air or breath as the vital principle by which the human body is animated; hence it means, ‘life.’”

 

There is a great variety of meanings and applications for both Greek words hágios and pneúma; the definitions above are rudimentary not comprehensive.  Below are listed some of the many ways these words can be translated, and one can only be accurate in his or her translation of them if used IN CONTEXT with the individual theme of the scripture passage in which they are found.

 

Hágios

 

1.      Morally blameless, pure, upright in speech, attitude & conduct; uncorrupted, chaste, virtuous.

 

·          1 Peter 1:15-16 But as the one who called you is holy (hágios), you yourselves also be holy (hágios), in all your conduct and manner of living.  16 For it is written, ‘You shall be holy, (hágios), for I am holy (hágios).’  AMP

 

2.      Its fundamental idea is separation, consecration, devotion to the service of Deity, sharing in God's purity and abstaining from earth's defilement.

 

3.      Sacrificially cleansed; pure, clean, and ceremonially or morally clean, including the idea of deserved respect, reverence. It particularly means perfect, without blemish. 

 

·          Romans 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of all the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies presenting all your members and faculties as a living sacrifice, holy devoted, consecrated (hágios), and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.  AMP

 

4.      Having a sacrificial disposition and attitude of a servant.

 

Pneúma

 

1.      A movement of air, such as breath or wind.

 

2.      Life; the vital principle by which the body is animated.

 

·          James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit (pneúma) is dead, so faith without works is dead also.  KJV

 

3.      A person’s psychological, emotional or spiritual disposition that influences, fills, directs, and controls a person’s actions, speech or conduct.

 

·          2 Corinthians 12:18 I urged Titus to go, and I sent the brother with him. Titus did not take any advantage of you, did he? Did we not conduct ourselves in the same spirit (pneúma) and walk in the same steps?   NASU

 

4.      A person’s temperament, such as one’s affection, emotion, and desire.

 

5.      Spirit – either a human spirit, angelic, divine or demonic.

 

As you can see by this simple outline, the variations in meaning are extensive, and I have listed only the most predominant definitions, not all of them.  I believe that the combination of assorted cognates of hágios and pneúma combined produce a wide and diverse range of meanings.  Below I provide a link to a list several different possible meanings when the two words hágios and pneúma are combined, depending on the context, and depending on whether or not the Greek text in which they are used is anarthrous (without a definite article included).  This is the final in the series I did, intended as a Quick Reference study help: Jesus Is The Gift of the Holy Spirit - Addendum  

 

To say tongues is the only sign or initial evidence of receiving the Holy Spirit is to negate the working of God in the life of any believer who doesn’t speak in tongues.  Nowhere in scripture is it stated, “Tongues is the sign of being filled with the Holy Spirit,” yet Pentecostals continue insisting it is.  Below is The Appropriate Translation (TAT), a literal, emphasized and expanded text, contrasted with the KJV; this clearly demonstrates the deviations and translation errors by every single Bible version that uses, “the Holy Spirit,” instead of the appropriate definitions and proper contextual application of hágios and pneúma.

 

·          Acts 1:1-2 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost (hagíou pneúmatos) had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen.  KJV

 

·          Acts 1:1-2 The foremost topic of discourse I prepared, O Lover of God, with respect to all Jesus began to do and teach; he instructed his chosen apostles to the very last day, while abiding in a perfect relationship and reaching his goal through an uncorrupted, sacrificial life of devotion.  TAT

 

In the KJV text above, notice the Greek words in parenthesis, (hagíou pneúmatos); these Greek words stand alone, without the definite article.  The Greek word for “the” is a definite article, .  Because is omitted it is improper to render hagíou pneúmatos as, “the Holy Ghost,” or as, “the Holy Spirit.”  This error is made in over 95% of Bible versions wherever the words, “the Holy Spirit,” occurs in the NT; staggering, isn’t it?

 

In stark contrast, the phrase in the TAT version of Acts 1:2 (above) translates the Greek adjective ‘hagíou’ as, “an uncorrupted, sacrificial… devotion” and the Greek noun pneúmatos’ is merely rendered as, “life,” (the vital principle).  This rendering is much more accurate and true to the Greek, but even more, it shows in detail the type of life the man Christ Jesus lived to reach his intended goal; i.e. - through an uncorrupted, sacrificial life of devotion. 

The Father Gives the Holy Spirit & Jesus IS the Holy Spirit

Part Two of this study will focus on glossalaliá (tongues) in great detail.  To effectively present tongues, it is absolutely necessary that there is clarity regarding the “Holy Spirit” issue.  My series on this topic is a must read for the serious student; it is a Ten Part series with a sequel in the works.  Below are the individual links for your convenience; I suggest you read them chronologically.

 


Jesus is the Gift of the Holy Spirit series Parts 1 thru 10

 

http://bibleanswerstand.org/HolySpirit_1.htm

 

http://bibleanswerstand.org/HolySpirit_2.htm

 

http://bibleanswerstand.org/HolySpirit_3.htm

 

http://bibleanswerstand.org/HolySpirit_4.htm

 

http://bibleanswerstand.org/HolySpirit_5.htm

 

http://bibleanswerstand.org/HolySpirit_6.htm

 

http://bibleanswerstand.org/HolySpirit_7.htm

 

http://bibleanswerstand.org/HolySpirit_8.htm

 

http://bibleanswerstand.org/HolySpirit_9.htm

 

http://bibleanswerstand.org/HolySpirit_A.htm


 

Since I use this lengthy series to prove the glorified man Jesus Christ IS the same person as the Holy Spirit, I will simply continue here with that as an established fact.  Don’t just blow it off and think your old mainstay position is accurate either, because it is a mistake not to at least be noble like those in Berea, who sought the scriptures daily to determine if what was taught by the apostles was fact.

 

When the Greek NT speaks of, “the Holy Spirit,” it does so by including a definite article (= Greek for ‘the’) in front of the adjective, “Holy.” The Greek word for “holy” is “hagios” and the Greek word for, “spirit” is, “pneúma.”  Hence, the three Greek words, ‘tó hágios pneúma,’ describe Jesus in his glorified spirit form, or spiritual body, as any one of the following terms:

 

·          The Holy Spirit

·          The Pure Spirit

·          The Clean Spirit

·          The Sanctified Spirit

·          The Consecrated Spirit

·          The Refined Spirit

 

All of the above mentioned titles are applicable to the Jesus’ role and function in and on behalf of his church.  It must be emphasized however that Jesus cannot exist in his present capacity without the Father (God) supplying him with divine ability.  Jesus reiterated this point to his disciples when he was giving them final instructions regarding the Parakletos.  Below is just one of several examples from John 14, 15, and 16; highlighted in red are phrases that illustrate God the Father as the Source behind all that Jesus says and does, and the power that generates the Holy Spirit:

 

·          John 14:16 "And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (Greek = parákletos), that He may be with you forever. 

 

·          John 14:24-28 "He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine, but the Father's who sent me.  These things I have spoken to you, while abiding with you. But the Helper (Greek = parákletos), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you…You heard that I said to you, 'I go away, and I will come to you.' If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I.”  NAS

 

·          John 15:15-16 “…or all things that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you… whatever you ask of the Father in my name, He may give to you.”  NAS

 

·          John 15:26 "When the Helper (Greek = parákletos), comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness of me.”  NAS

 

·          John 16:13 "But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own initiative, but whatever he hears, he will speak; and he will disclose to you what is to come.”   NAS

 

·          John 16:23, 26-28 “if you shall ask the Father for anything, He will give it to you in my name…In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will request the Father on your behalf; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved me, and have believed that I came forth from the Father.  I came forth from the Father, and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again, and going to the Father." NAS

It is quite obvious the Father is in charge of things, and yet this does not negate that Jesus is intimate involved as the Helper, or Parakletos.  Parákletos is derived from a masculine noun in the Greek “parakaléo.”  Parakaléo originates from two Greek words:

 

1.      ‘Pará’ (3844), meaning, “to the side of”

2.      ‘Kaléo,’ (2564) meaning, “to call.” 

 

Hence, when we seek Jesus Christ as our Helper or our Advocate, he is “called to the side” of us or “called alongside” us.  You may think this is just another Bible study on attributes of God or Christ, but it isn’t. I am trying to show you what happens when you call upon the name of Jesus and what he does on your behalf.

 

For example, Jesus is the pure spirit because he has been through the same process of suffering, obedience and depending on God.  Jesus can help guide you through you own purification from former sins, IF you call on him.  Jesus gives you counsel as an older brother, and he also gives you access to the Father’s presence and power (dúnamis).  Jesus taught, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”  He now makes a way as mediator to find the Father’s divine enablement and strength for the task at hand, and thus helps us to, “see God.”

 

The verses in the NT that associate the, “Comforter, Helper, or Counselor,” with, “the Holy Spirit” (in John chapters 14, 15, and 16) are referring to Jesus and his spiritual existence after he is glorified, when he becomes one with the Father, (who IS spirit), giving Jesus a new identity and greater capacity to communicate with those that believe in and call upon his name.  As the last Adam, Jesus BECAME a life-giving spirit (1 Corinthians 15:45).

 

Jesus IS the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38); therefore he is the Helper and the ‘Parakletos,’ meaning, ‘one called alongside.’  Parakletos was used in Greek society as a legal term for someone that acts as an advocate, or benefactor, by interceding on another’s behalf.  The word parakletos also connotes the idea of comfort and consolation given to and received by the party that is being helped.  This definition fits the role Jesus plays in the life of each and every individual believer.

 

As mentioned previously, the Greek word for Helper is parákletos and it means, “to comfort, encourage or exhort.” It is properly a verbal adjective referring to an aid of any kind. In the Greek writers, parákletos was used of a legal advisor, pleader, proxy, or advocate, one who comes forward in behalf of and as the representative of another.  The text in 1 John 2:1 clearly identifies Jesus Christ the “advocate” (parákletos).

 

·          I John 2:1-2 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate (parákletos) with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.  And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.  (NKJV)

 

Jesus Christ is like a legal advisor to those that believe in him; he comes forward and stands before the judgment seat of his Father God, and he makes a plea on their behalf.  Jesus functions as both spiritual AND legal advisor; he can advocate on behalf of the believer that repents.  Jesus stands upon solid legal ground in his appeal to the mercy of the great Judge on our behalf.  He sacrificed his own life and body for our redemption; his blood was shed on our behalf, and he is the propitiation for our sins. 

 

Jesus is more than our legal advocate; he paid for our acquittal with one sacrifice.  This would be like an attorney representing a man who has pleaded guilty in court, saying, “Your honor, my client is guilty, and has admitted his guilt, and is truly sorrowful for what he has done.  And your honor, I have already paid the penalty for his transgression, which is recorded in the book of life.”

The Perfecting Spirit

Because Jesus is not visible, existing in spirit form, and being the Parakletos to each and every member of his corporeal body, and because he does this via the dunamis power of God the Father, the terms used above hardly seem adequate individually to describe who and what he is. 

 

The word group, ‘to hagios pneuma’ is descriptive of Jesus, but not as its typical usage, ‘set apart.’  What would Jesus be set apart from now that he is one with the Father in the heavenly spiritual realm?

 

Jesus is holy but NOT from an earthbound perspective, there is nothing he must be diligent to protect his heart or flesh from because he has taken on a new and incorruptible form.  Therefore, ‘the Holy Spirit,’ as such is woefully inadequate to describe or define him now.

 

All of the other possibilities run into similar snags if applied in a literal sense, such as, The Pure Spirit because being ‘pure’ implies abstinence from filth; the same is applicable to ‘The Clean Spirit’.  The Sanctified Spirit does fit, because Jesus has already been sanctified, but it doesn’t really imply what he is and does today; the same problem applies to the title of ‘The Consecrated Spirit.’  The Refined Spirit is no less problematic for adequacy as a title for Jesus in his spirit form, because it leaves his existence and nature as having reached its goal, and that’s it.

 

We can make all of the above into active verb forms and they are much more applicable to what Jesus is and how he works in our lives, such as, The Purifying Spirit, The Cleansing Spirit, The Sanctifying Spirit, The Consecrating Spirit, and The Refining Spirit.

Yes, Jesus is all of these things, but there is yet another problem… so is the Father God!  In other words, Jesus is a purifier because and ONLY because God the Father refined him through his sufferings and obedience.  Jesus is holy because His Father God made him holy, and God set Jesus apart for ministry, something that became obsolete once he was glorified.

 

There are other issues that are much more appropriate for describing Jesus in his function as the Holy Spirit, and the most important is his love, the love he received from the Father.  Wouldn’t it be much more appropriate to then consider calling him, The Loving Spirit?  If we did that however, there is no specific aspect of hagios that is linked to agape love, per say.

 

The answer that best satisfies my considerations from the general tenor of scripture is to called Jesus, The Perfect Spirit, or The Perfecting Spirit, because it incorporates aspects from both Father and son.  Jesus said, “Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.”  This command from Matthew 5:48 embraces God’s mercy as well, and sets His love apart from any other kind of love on earth, and hagios implies something set apart.

 

In fact, in Zodhiates Word Study NT, one of his descriptions of hagios accents perfection:

 

·          Pure, clean, ceremonially or morally clean, including the idea of deserved respect, reverence.  (A) It particularly means perfect, without blemish (Romans 12:1).

 

One scripture stands out above the rest with regard to the “Perfecting Spirit,” in John 14:23-26, because it shows the working of God the Father in love, working with the glorified man Christ Jesus in love, and together they come to each believer seeking their help.

 

·          John 14:23-26 Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word; and my Father will love him, and WE will come to him, and make OUR abode with him.”

SUMMARY CONCLUSION OF PART ONE

Mark 13:5-6, 9, 11 And Jesus began to say to them, "See to it that no one misleads you.  Many will come in my name, saying, ' I am He!' and will mislead many… for they will deliver you to the courts… and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, as a testimony to them…  When they arrest you and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit.”  NASU

 

·          Jesus instructs his disciples, when arrested and brought before rulers for judgment to, “… say whatever is given you in that hour.”  This implies they will receive instructions from a spiritual source in time of need, and this spiritual source is then identified in the next phrase when Jesus tells them, “… for it is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit.” 

 

In this passage, a very important truth is given, which show how Jesus, as the Perfecting Spirit, come to his disciples in need, and provides to them the words they will need to speak before their persecutors.  The truth that emerges here is that when our heart and spirit cry for help, it is Jesus that will help us to articulate what we need to say.

 

Part Two will describe speaking in tongues, which is a prayer the human spirit prays, though the mind Is unfruitful.  It then is some type of intermingling of the thoughts of the Lord Jesus, thru our human spirit, as our human spirit speaks to the Father God in a mystery, which is then revealed, so that we might speak the words of God, not in words of human wisdom, but in the demonstration of the spirit, in power and love.

 

This study is the groundwork; Part Two will be detailed exegesis on tongues, with emphasis on the personal prayer time, and how we can utilize our prayer in tongues more effectively but having our spiritual senses trained to discern good from evil, and to know the mind of Christ.

 

SELAH

Go Directly to Part Two

 


Links to the entire "What is Speaking in Tongues” Series:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

 


 

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