The Spirit in John’s Gospel. Part 1 -παρακλητος

Studies in Johannine pneumatology gravitate toward the second half of John’s Gospel (a.k.a. “the Book of Glory”). The reason for this focus is that along with the much debated Greek term παρακλητος, John’s presentation of the Spirit becomes more detailed and explicit in the second half of the Gospel. More particularly, the Spirit passages (except John 20:22) are concentrated in the Farewell Discourse.

While the Farewell Discourse contains the clearest descriptions of the Spirit, these passages should not be read in isolation from previous material. “The Book of Signs” (roughly chapters 1-12) develops the Spirit concept (the Spirit marks what is of the heavenly realm and reveals Jesus’ identity) and anticipates the giving of the Spirit (John 1:34; 7:39). These previous concepts feed into the Spirit/Paraclete concept of the Farewell Discourse. Scholars who attempt to understand Johannine pneumatology apart from the Book of Signs, or by simply focusing on the meaning of παρακλητος, neglect the narrative flow of the Fourth Gospel.[1] Such neglect compromises the Fourth Evangelist’s own agenda and presentation. Because the Evangelist explicitly equates παρακλητος with the Holy Spirit (John 14:26), one should assume that the Evangelist wants his readers to understand the Spirit/Paraclete in light of the previous Spirit passages.[2] The presentation of the Spirit certainly undergoes a shift, and understanding that shift elucidates the Evangelist’s agenda.

The Book of Signs presents the Spirit as identifying that which is of the realm of God.[3] The Spirit remains on Jesus (John 1:33) without measure (John 3:34) thus marking Jesus’ messianic identity and heavenly origin. Simultaneously, the narrative looks forward to Jesus giving the Spirit (John 1:33) to anyone who thirsts (John 4:10; 7:37) as a realization of eschatological promises. The Spirit is centered upon Jesus and will flow from him. This forward-looking perspective views Jesus’ glorification as the climatic eschatological hour (John 12:23–27). When the Book of Glory shifts to the hour of Jesus’ glorification, the Spirit theme turns toward Jesus giving the Spirit and what reception of the Spirit means for the disciples. While specific Spirit passages will be analyzed later, some preliminary observations in the Book of Glory show these concerns.

Jesus’ giving of the Spirit depends upon his looming departure (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:7), so that the eschatological blessings come through tribulation (see John 16:20–24, where the pain/joy of the eschaton is compared to a mother in labor). This triumph-through-tribulation perspective prepares the disciples to view Jesus’ looming death as the inauguration of the eschatological age with its attendant blessings (John 14:12; 15:11, 16; 16:15, 33; 17:2). The Book of Glory portrays these blessings (including the Spirit) in very personal/familial terms.[4] This portrayal is a natural development of centering all eschatological hopes/fulfillment on the person of Jesus. As God’s one and only son, Jesus uniquely manifests the Father’s presence (John 1:18; 10:30; 12:45; 14:9). Jesus also establishes a familial relationship between his followers and the Father, a blessing emphasized in the Farewell Discourse (John 14:2, 21, 23; 15:15; 16:15, 26–27; 17:20–26). The establishment of a renewed familial relationship between God and his people was an eschatological hope (Lev 26:11–13; Isa 65:22–25; Jer 31:33–34; Ezek 37:23–28; Zech 2:10–12).

The shift toward personal imagery is evident in the Spirit theme as John shifts from depicting the Spirit as “living water” to depicting the Spirit as “another Paraclete” whom the disciples know, “because he abides with you and will be in you” (John 14:16–17). Moreover, the Spirit continues the personal connection between the disciples on earth and the departed Jesus and the Father above (John 14:16–17, 26; 16:14–15). As Brown argues, the promised Spirit will be Jesus’ personal presence with the disciples while Jesus is with the Father.[5] The shift to personal/familial imagery coheres with the Son manifesting the true presence of the Father.[6] Jesus embodied the heavenly presence of God that earthly temples accessed. As the Son, Jesus realizes God’s presence from the familial connection (founded in the eternal heavenly realm) more than the cultic (John 3:35; 5:20–24; 8:36; 10:11–17; 14:13; 17:1).[7]

In biblical and second Temple literature, the Spirit manifested God’s presence. While the Spirit became associated with God’s presence in the Temple, the Spirit primarily manifested God’s presence among the people. God was also believed to pour out his Spirit in an expanded and intensive way in the eschaton. For John, therefore, the Spirit was an apt candidate to continue the divine presence that the Son inaugurated.[9]

In the Book of Glory, the Spirit carries overlapping temple concepts, but temple imagery has been eclipsed. Through John’s pneumatology there is a “contrast between the cultic worship of the temple, which the author is claiming to be merely human, and the eschatological worship of the Endzeit, which has its origin in God.”[10] That contrast is highlighted by a shift from cultic language to personal language as God himself is manifested in the Son and the Spirit. The Farewell Discourse does not depict eschatological water flowing from the temple, but the Son sending the Spirit to make the heavenly realities of the Father known (including God’s manifest presence).[11] Since Jesus is the true embodiment of the heavenly presence (the fulfillment of the temple), the Spirit must continue to make Jesus’ personal presence known in order for the fulfillment to abide in the post-ascension community.   

Included in the Spirit’s role of continuing to manifest the heavenly presence to Jesus’ disciples is the Spirit performing many of the functions that Jesus performed. These functions include: teaching and reminding the disciples what Jesus said (John 14:26), testifying about Jesus (John 15:26), guiding the disciples into truth (John 16:13), and glorifying the sender (John 16:14).[12] The Spirit also serves an important witnessing function amidst persecution so that the disciples, like Jesus, are empowered to witness to the truth (John 15:18–27).[13] With all the similarities between the Spirit and Jesus, the Evangelist aptly describes the Spirit as “another Paraclete.”

Although contextually understanding John’s presentation of the Spirit is primary, the meaning of the term παρακλητος must be integrated into this understanding. John chooses to employ the term παρακλητος to help define the Spirit’s role in the messianic community, even if the term has not helped such definition in the later scholarly community. The term παρακλητος, as John employs it, does not match a secular Greek or translated Hebrew title.[14] Most attempts to identify a specific background and/or a “primary” meaning of παρακλητος do not satisfactorily account for Johannine usage.[15] While παρακλητος may appear in judicial contexts in rabbinic and classical literature, Grayston has demonstrated that παρακλητος is used in other contexts with a general meaning of supporter or sponsor.[16] The παρακλητος certainly functions in forensic contexts in witness for Jesus (John 15:26), in help for the disciples amidst persecution (John 16:7–11), and in the trial motif in general (John 16:8).[17] Yet, as Grayston has shown, the forensic role does not account for much extra-biblical usage nor does it account for John’s emphasis on the Spirit’s role of manifesting Jesus’ presence.[18]

One of the reasons that the extra-biblical usage of παρακλητος does not fully match John’s usage is that John bases the Spirit as παρακλητος on Jesus as παρακλητος.[19] While John’s Gospel does not explicitly call Jesus “παρακλητος,” it implies that Jesus is the first παρακλητος since the Spirit is “another παρακλητος” (1 John 2:1 identifies Jesus as the community’s παρακλητος with the Father). As the Son of God, Jesus made the presence of God available and “sponsored” those who believed in him to become “children of God” (John 1:12). In many respects, Jesus is a patron or broker making available heavenly realities to his followers (a function previously filled by the temple).[20] As mentioned above, the Spirit assumes these functions after Jesus’ departure. John’s depiction of the Paraclete depends upon his depiction of Christ.[21] The Spirit/Paraclete is presented in very personal terms because he is manifesting Jesus’ personal presence.[22] For this reason, Jesus can refer to the Spirit’s coming as “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:18).[23] The Spirit/Paraclete teaches, testifies, guides into truth, and glorifies the Son because Jesus did these things and the Spirit continues the work. In John, as in other NT writings, the early Christian concept of the Holy Spirit is conditioned by belief in Jesus.[24] Nonetheless, the Spirit/Paraclete is distinct from Jesus. The Spirit is not the messianic center, but the efflux of that heavenly center. The Spirit remains on Jesus to mark his heavenly origin and messianic identity (John 1:33), and the Spirit will abide in the disciples to identify them as part of the messianic household (John 14:17).

What then, does the Evangelist’s use of παρακλητος add to his presentation? It provides a term that emphasizes the support and brokerage whereby Jesus the Son, then the Spirit, make access to the realm of God possible. Such patronage is necessary (John 3:3, “You must be born from the Spirit/above.”) to enter the kingdom of God. Whereas the Son ushers in the eschatological kingdom, the Spirit’s role continues the kingdom realities in the community. Both provide the needed support for entry into the household of God as well as expanding God’s kingdom in the world. Although παρακλητος probably carried some nuances lost to modern scholars, the extant evidence calls for understanding the term in a general sense of support or brokerage.[25] This sense includes judicial support and intercession, but also accounts for support for the disciples amidst persecution, as well as manifesting the presence of the Father and Son.[26]

In the next blog post, I will relate John’s use of the term “Spirit of Truth” to his overall pneumatology and to the term παρακλητος.

End notes

[1] This tendency is often influenced by other assumptions. A history of religions approach (or response to that approach using similar interpretive categories) influenced Betz into finding the interpretive key in extra-biblical literature. Otto Betz, Der Paraklet: Fursprecher im haretischen Spatjudentum, im Johannes-Evangelium und in neu gefundenen gnostischen Schriften (Leiden: Brill, 1963). Hans Windisch’s disjunctive treatment arises from his source critical assumptions, Hans Windisch, The Spirit-Paraclete in the Fourth Gospel (trans. J. W. Cox; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1968).  

[2] D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John (PNTC; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991), 481.

[3] Tricia Brown, Spirit in the Writings of John (JSNTSup 253; New York: T & T Clark, 2003), 21–22; Marie E. Isaacs, The Concept of the Spirit: A Study of Pneuma in Hellenistic Judaism and its Bearing on the New Testament (HeyMon 1; London: Heythrop College, 1976), 99–100.

[4] Burge, Anointed Community, 137143; Raymond E. Brown, The Gospel according to John (vol. 2; AB 29A; New York: Doubleday, 1966), 2:1140.

[5] Ibid., 1139–1141.

[6] Coloe shows the prominence of the familial aspects of the Farewell Discourse, even if she overemphasizes that aspect at points. Mary Coloe, Dwelling in the Household of God: Johannine Ecclesiology and Spirituality (Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 2007), 193–201. See also James McCaffrey, The House with Many Rooms: The Temple Theme of Jn. 14, 2–3 (Rome: Editrice Pontificio Instituto Biblico, 1988), 246.

[7] T. Brown (Spirit in John, 260–265) concludes that Jesus, as God’s son, is the sole broker of the Father’s presence. For this reason, the Spirit, as second broker, primarily brokers Jesus’ presence while manifesting the Father’s presence.

[9] For how the Johannine Spirit fulfills eschatological expectations and represents the divine indwelling presence see, James M. Hamilton, God’s Indwelling Presence (Nashville: B&H, 2006).

[10] Isaacs, Concept of the Spirit, 100.

[11] Note John 16:14–15, “He will glorify me, for he will take of mine and will disclose it to you.  All things that the Father has are mine, that is why I said that he takes of mine and will disclose it to you.”

[12] See Figure 7 in Burge (Anointed Community, 141).for a listing of similarities between Christ and the Paraclete. See also Brown, John, 2:1141.

[13] Ibid., John, 2:698–701.

[14] Raymond Brown, “The Paraclete in the Fourth Gospel,” NTS 13 (1967): 114.

[15] Ibid., 115–120; Köstenberger, Theology, 712. Bultmann’s theory that the Paraclete is borrowed from the Gnostic “helper” has long been refuted as using sources too late to be relevant. Rudolf Bultmann, The Gospel of John (trans. G. R. Beasley-Murray; Philadelphia: Westminster, 1971), 566–572. Betz identification of the Paraclete with Michael, the angelic intercessor of Qumran, not only lacks lexical links but is too narrow a background to account for John’s usage. Otto Betz, Der Paraklet: Fursprecher im haretischen Spatjudentum, im Johannes-Evangelium und in neu gefundenen gnostischen Schriften (Leiden: Brill, 1963). Likewise, Johnston’s response to Betz that John was countering the Qumranic concept suffers the same narrowness. George Johnston, The Spirit-Paraclete in the Gospel of John (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970). M. Eugene Boring, “The Influence of Christian Prophecy on the Johannine Portrayal of the Paraclete and Jesus,” NTS 25 (1978): 113–123 speculates the Paraclete was originally an angel that John transformed into the Spirit of prophecy. Regardless of its problems with evidence, this theory is also too narrow to account for John’s particular use. Davies’ attempt to locate the meaning of παρακλητος in the LXX is admirable, but his methodology of looking at groupings of ideas where παρακλητος is the central theme is dubious. In addition, Davies’ conclusion that the primary meaning of παρακλητος is “comforter” does not square with some Johannine usage (most notably John 16:8). J. G. Davies, “The Primary Meaning of PARAKLHTOS,” JTS NS 4 (1953): 35–38.

[16] One of the more thorough treatments of παρακλητος in the primary sources from fourth century B. C. to A. D. third century is found in Kenneth Grayston, “The Meaning of Paraklētos,” JSNT 13 (1981): 67–82. Through looking at every occurrence of παρακλητος, Grayston demonstrates that the term has a general meaning that need not have a forensic nuance. In agreement with Grayston: Margaret Davies, Rhetoric and Reference in the Fourth Gospel (JSNTSup 69; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 1992), 145.

[17] Craig S. Keener, The Gospel of John  (2 vols.; Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 2003), 2:955–971; Burge, Anointed Community, 41 see the forensic sense as second only to Christology in determining Johannine usage. Others arguing for the “advocate” meaning : C. H. Dodd, The Interpretation of the Fourth Gospel (Cambridge: University Press, 1958), 414; Antony Billington, “The Paraclete and Mission in the Fourth Gospel,” in Mission and Meaning: Essays Presented to Peter Cotterell (eds. Antony Billington, Tony Lane, and Max Turner; Carlisle, U.K.: Paternoster, 1995), 90–115.

[18] Herman Ridderbos, The Gospel of John (trans. John Vriend; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 500–501, points out that the Paraclete as “advocate” is an especially ill-fitting meaning for John 14. Similarly, Tricia Brown (Spirit in John, 217–228) demonstrates the weaknesses of the forensic understanding and how the idea of brokerage better accounts for all the occurrences of the Spirit/Paraclete. I mostly agree with her assessment.

[19] Brown, John, 2:1140.

[20] This point agrees and combines T. Brown’s (Spirit in John, 260–265) and Grayston’s (“Paraklētos,” 67) conclusions.

[21] Burge, Anointed Community, 30.

[22] B. Vawter, “John’s Doctrine of the Spirit: A Summary of His Eschatology,” in A Companion to John: Readings in Johannine Theology (ed. Michael J. Taylor; New York: Alba, 1977), 178.

[23] Köstenberger, Theology, 714.

[24] Isaacs, Concept of the Spirit, 124.

[25] T. Brown, Spirit in John, 217–228. Ridderbos (John, 503) says of παρακλητος, “the dominant idea is of someone who offers assistance in a situation in which help is needed.”

[26] Although I have simply transliterated the term because all English equivalents fall short, “helping presence” probably best sums up the above analysis (Köstenberger prefers this term in Theology, 710). The “helping” sums up the support or patronage aspect of the term while “presence” sums up the Johannine emphasis on the Spirit as realizing the Son and Father’s presence. “Helping presence” is vague and still needs qualification, but it allows the context to provide that qualification.

The Holy Spirit Brings Restoration in the End-Times Renewal

Discussions of the End-Times often center on Jesus’ return. But what role does the Spirit play in the End-Times? Beginning in the Hebrew Scriptures and continuing through the Second Temple period, the Spirit is depicted as the means by which God accomplishes his historical and eschatological plan.[1] That eschatological plan includes an expansion of the Spirit’s work upon the earth as well as the Spirit’s inner work that transforms the hearts of the covenant people.[2] The Spirit’s renewing work would prepare God’s people to experience His presence.

In his sermon at Pentecost, Peter cites the pouring out of the Spirit as evidence that the “last days” have begun (Acts 2). The New Testament writers believed that they were in the “last days” (end times) and these previous promises were being fulfilled. The Spirit would indwell and empower the church to expand God’s kingdom to the ends of the earth until Jesus’ return. This post will point out some first-century expectations concerning the Spirit in the End-Times.

Pouring out the Spirit: Eschatological Expansion

The Old Testament (OT) often portrays the Spirit of God as working in leaders and prophets to establish, deliver, judge, guide, and restore the people of God.[3] Not surprisingly then, the Spirit is also depicted as active among God’s people in the eschatological restoration.[4] The eschatological work of the Spirit increases in scope and intensity. This increase is described as a “pouring out” of the Spirit in many OT passages (Isa 32:15; 44:3; Ezek 36:25–27; 37:14; 39:28–29; Zech 12:9–10) and exemplified by Joel 2:28–31:

It will come about after this that I will pour out my Spirit on all mankind and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on the male and female servants I will pour out my Spirit in those days. I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, blood, fire and columns of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and awesome day of Yahweh comes.

Joel 2:28–31

By twice using the verb שפך (pour out) and the threefold repetition of spiritual gifts in the following lines, Joel expresses a fullness of amount as well as fullness in scope.[5] The Spirit will not only be upon leaders and prophets, but upon all of God’s people. The day of the Lord, with its theophanic imagery, brings a renewal of the covenant presence (Joel 2:27, “Thus you will know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am Yahweh your God”) and an expansion of Yahweh’s Spirit among his people. The promise of Yahweh’s restored covenant presence “in the midst of Israel” is closely connected to the Spirit in many prophetic texts (Isa 4:4–6; 59:19–21; Ezek 36:24–28; Hag 2:5–9). These Hebrew texts create an eschatological expectation for an outpouring of Yahweh’s Spirit in conjunction with a renewal of Yahweh’s covenant presence. The pouring out of the Spirit will broaden both the scope and intensity of Yahweh’s blessings.

Many scholars note an eschatological trajectory to the canon that depicts Yahweh’s presence/glory expanding to the ends of the earth. The Spirit would usher in the promised presence of God among his people as “all the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord” (Num 14:21) in the eschatological age (Isa 6:3; Hab 2:14).[6]

These expectations inform the background to many of the pneumatological promises in the New Testament. Peter quotes the above passage from Joel in his Acts 2 sermon, and claims that this promise is being fulfilled. In the remaining chapters of Acts, the Spirit is poured out into new people groups and expanding throughout the Roman empire. John’s Gospel shows a similar fulfillment in a slightly different way. John the Baptist introduces the promise that Jesus would baptize in the Spirit (John 1:33), and that promise is fulfilled literarily when Jesus breathes the Holy Spirit on his disciples (John 20:21). This impartation of the Holy Spirit is given in the context of Jesus sending his disciples into the world on a mission of redemption and revelation in continuity with Jesus’ own mission.[7] In addition, the disciples serve a representative function for the later, broader messianic community and the blessings/responsibilities (including the indwelling Spirit) of the first disciples are assumed for later disciples.[8] Jesus gives the Spirit to his disciples when the eschatological “hour” (John 4:21–23; 5:25–28; 13:1; 17:1) arrives, thus expanding God’s glory. The expansion of God’s glory through his disciples and beyond is spoken of in John 17:20–22, which states, “Not for these alone do I ask, but also for those who believe in me through their word; so that they may all be one, even as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as we are one.” The sharing of glory that denotes the unified presence of God radiates to future disciples, who will witnesses to the world.

The Spirit’s work of renewing God’s people and expanding God’s glory presence is a crucial part of End-Times fulfillment. While modern Christians often think of the “End-Times” strictly in terms of Jesus’ final return, the New Testament seems to include the entire church age in the “last days”. In these last days, the Spirit’s role is to prepare God’s people, and the whole world, for the Lord’s full and final intervention.

End Notes

[1] Willem VanGemeren and Andrew Abernethy, “The Spirit and the Future: A Canonical Approach,” in Presence, Power and Promise: The Role of the Spirit of God in the Old Testament (ed. David Firth and Paul Wegner; Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2011), 333.

[2] Robin Routledge, “The Spirit and the Future in the Old Testament: Restoration and Renewal,” in Presence, Power and Promise: The Role of the Spirit of God in the Old Testament (ed. David Firth and Paul Wegner; Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2011), 348–349.

[3] Wilf Hildebrandt, An Old Testament Theology of the Spirit of God (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1995), 67–150.

[4] Peter R. Ackroyd, Exile and Restoration: A Study of Hebrew Thought of the Sixth Century B.C. (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1968), 177, contends that the prophets Zechariah and Haggai (shortsightedly) considered the post-exilic time as this restoration. The work of the eschatological Spirit was therefore crucial in their depiction of the restoration of the temple in Zech 4:6 and Hag 2:4–5. While I disagree with Ackroyd’s assessment of the prophet’s intentions, the larger point of the Spirit’s work in the promised restoration is still relevant. The Spirit of God transcends the temple and is therefore involved in its restoration.

[5] G. A. Mikre-Selassie points out that Joel often uses repetition to emphasize fullness in “Repetition and Synonyms in the Translation of Joel—With Special Reference to the Amharic Language,” BT 36 (1985): 230–237. See also Douglas Stuart, Hosea–Jonah (WBC 31; Waco: Word, 1987), 260.

[6] G. K. Beale, The Temple and the Church’s Mission (NSBT 17; Downers Grove: Intervarsity, 2004), 25, argues that the temple was designed to foreshadow the eschatological reality of God’s presence spreading throughout the cosmos. See also James Hamilton, God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology (Wheaton: Crossway, 2010), 343. For a biblical tracking of the “all the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord” theme, see ibid., 268–269. 

[7] Andreas Köstenberger, A Theology of John’s Gospel and Letters (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009), 539–546.

[8] Ibid., 886–894.

Jesus as the Heavenly Temple in the Fourth Gospel.

The most recent edition of Bulletin of Biblical Research (28.3; 2018: pages 425-446) BBRcontains probably my last article that incorporates a large amount of material from my dissertation. Through many revisions, I was able to sharpen one of the main arguments in my thesis into an article length presentation. Below is the abstract/summary of the article. The full article can be read on JSTOR or by those who have a subscription to the Bulletin of Biblical Research. For those who have access to neither, but want the full pdf., leave a comment below and I can email you a copy.

ABSTRACT: The majority of Johannine scholars agree that the Fourth Gospel presents Jesus as fulfilling the temple. This article argues that the Fourth Gospel advances this fulfilment by closely associating Jesus with the heavenly temple more than the earthly. The thesis coheres with many previous studies but furthers the discussion by focusing on how the heavenly temple emphasis interacts with the temple-fulfillment theme. The Johannine Jesus embodied the more transcendent reality of the heavenly temple, and his return to heaven began the eschatological expansion of God’s temple presence through the Spirit. This argument is supported by (1) pointing to the pervasive importance placed on the heavenly temple in the first century, (2) examining specific temple-fulfillment texts and consistent motifs/terminology in the Fourth Gospel, and (3) showing how the correlation of Jesus with the heavenly temple better accounts for the post-resurrection fulfillment assumed in the temple-related texts.

Review of Michael Horton’s “Rediscovering the Holy Spirit.”

With high levels of interest in the Holy Spirit, Michael Horton’s Rediscovering the Holy Spirit seeks to ground and re-integrate Christian pneumatology into historic Trinitarianism. horton HSIn the first chapter Horton states this purpose: “One of my central concerns in these chapters is to explore the Spirit’s distinctive role in every external work of the Godhead. The Spirit is neither ‘shy’ nor a freelance operator; his work is not merely supplemental to the creating and redeeming work of the Father in the Son but is integral to the divine drama from beginning to end. In short, I want to widen our vision of the Spirit’s work.”(16) Throughout his book, Horton pursues this purpose by examining the Spirit’s unity with the Father and Son alongside the Spirit’s distinctive role in all of the Triune God’s various works. While books about the Holy Spirit have multiplied recently, contemporary discussions have tended to depersonalize, compartmentalize, and unmoor the Spirit from the Trinity. For this reason, Horton’s contribution is timely and worth reading. Continue reading

Book Review of Anthony Thiselton’s “The Holy Spirit—In Biblical Teaching, through the Centuries, and Today.”

Expect another post in the “Where Heaven and Earth Meet” series soon. For now, I present the following book review:

Thiselton, Anthony. The Holy Spirit—In Biblical Teaching, through the Centuries, and Today. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2013. 565 pages. 


In The Holy Spirit—In Biblical Teaching, through the Centuries, and Today, Anthony Thiselton aims not only to produce a “thorough biblical and historical study of the Holy Spirit in systematic form,” but also to initiate and develop “a mutual dialogue with Pentecostals and those influenced by the Renewal Movement” (ix). Thiselton, for the most part, achieves these aims in a modest 565 pages (considering the magnitude of the topic).   Continue reading

A Bibliography for the Spirit in the Gospel of John

Those who want to study the Holy Spirit in John’s Gospel are confronted with an enormous body of literature. Below is a bibliography of scholarly works (grouped into monographs, dissertations, and articles) that focus on the Spirit in the Fourth Gospel. To limit the scope, I have not included commentaries or general theologies on John; nor have I included systematic works on pneumatology unless they have a heavy focus on John’s presentation of the Spirit (even though these more general works should be consulted when studying the Spirit in John).  I also have not included anything before 1950. I have, however, included articles that examine specific passages in John that feature the Spirit. Due to the shear volume of material, I am sure some works have been left out. Feel free to post any suggestions in the comment section. dove
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