The Holy Spirit inside of me?!

Print Article

Author's Bias | Interpretation: conservative | Inclination: promise | Seminary: none

1. Examine carefully how the Holy Spirit interacts with the people of the Old Testament. What do you notice when you study: Numbers 27:18; Judges 6:34; 14:6, 19; 1 Samuel 16:13-14.

Throughout the Old Testament, the term "Holy Spirit" is found in only three places (Ps 51:11; Is 63:10-11). Before the arrival of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit worked with man in the following ways: the Spirit came upon, was with or dwelled within people and endowed them with special skills or power. However, in contrast to the New Testament, the Spirit could leave and depart from that person.

2. What do you notice about the Christian and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament? Examine John 14:16-23, 1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:17-20, Romans 8:11, and 2 Timothy 1:14. Does this indwelling literally mean that the Holy Spirit is in one's body? Or is it more in a figurative sense?

"Indwell" is the translation of the Greek verb used to describe this special relationship. "Oikeo," comes from the Greek word for "house." It's most descriptive use is found in 1 Corinthians 6:19.

Because of God's omnipresence, the concept of indwelling is difficult to comprehend. Is the indwelling literal or metaphoric? Many who ascribe to the metaphorical say that the indwelling describes a personal relationship rather than a physical relationship. Their view of the preposition "in" (i.e. "Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?"), does not necessarily refer to a physical sense, because it could also be used in a figurative sense as in a statement of endearment such as "you will always be in my heart."

Two lines of reasoning tends to support a literal rather than figurative interpretation.

First: The verses that refer to the body metaphorically as the "temple of God or Holy Spirit" remind the Jewish Christian of their Old Testament history found in Exodus 25:8-9. Just after the Israelites were freed from Egypt's bondage, God gave instructions for constructing the Tabernacle, the place where God's very own physical presence was to dwell in a very special way upon earth. The construction of the Tabernacle was one of the most joyful and momentous occasions in the history of Israel.

Likewise, in the New Testament, the Christian had been chosen to be God's witnesses to the other nations of the world with a difference. With the redemption of man's sin, the Tabernacle was no longer necessary for the sin offerings; Christ removed the barrier of sin that once separated man from God. God left the Tabernacle and moved into our hearts and body (Gal 4:6, Eph 3:16-20, etc). A most joyful and momentous occasion for any life! And the use of "indwelling" indicates a permanency of residence.

Second: In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit is seen as being actively involved with the process of dwelling within the Jew. He came and left according to God's will. The preposition "in" referred to both spatial position and relationship.

So the LORD said to Moses, "Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him; (Num 27:18)

The Spirit of the LORD came upon him mightily, so that he tore him as one tears a young goat though he had nothing in his hand; but he did not tell his father or mother what he had done. (Judges 14:6)

Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward. And Samuel arose and went to Ramah. Now the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD terrorized him. (1 Samuel 16:13-14)

The Holy Spirit literally dwells within each and every Christian, and because of the triune nature of the Holy Spirit, Jesus the Son and God the Father also make their home in the Christian. And as further evidence of eternal security, They will not leave us!

"Scripture is its own interpreter... This is the true method of interpretation which puts Scripture alongside Scripture in a right and proper way."

Martin Luther (1483-1546)

Copyright © 2003 All rights to this material are reserved. We encourage you to print the material for personal and non-profit use or link to this site. If you find this article to be a blessing, please share the link so that it may rise in search engine rankings.