The Authority Of The Holy Spirit -- By: Archibald Eugene Thomson
BSac 63:251 (July 1906) p. 427
The Authority Of The Holy Spirit
It is hard to see how any one can read 1 Cor. 12:7–11 and John 14-16, and not be convinced that all things which we need for our own growth in grace and for the progress of the Kingdom are to be obtained from the Holy Spirit. The conviction and conversion of the ungodly, and, for the godly, wisdom, knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, working of miracles, prophecy, tongues and their interpretation, these all are the gift or the direct working of the Spirit. Probably most Christians will agree on this. Yet a step farther should be taken. A soldier needs not only to study the manual of arms, and interest himself in the general campaign; he needs also to acquaint himself, so far as possible, with his commanding officer, the one who has been appointed by the central government to conduct the campaign. The student needs not only to peruse the text-book: he needs also to form the acquaintance and recognize the authority of the teacher who has been appointed to guide into the mysteries of that book, and this relation will have added value if the teacher is at the same time the author of the book. We have great cause for rejoicing in the fact that, while Bible study is increasing, there is also a growing number who are coming to recognize and accept the authority of the one who gave the book,—the Holy Spirit. It is worth while to give time to a study of the Holy Spirit, with special attention to his authority. We cannot, however, ascribe authority to what has not personality. We speak of the authority of the Bible; yet, strictly, the Bible has no more
BSac 63:251 (July 1906) p. 428
authority, in itself, than the printed words of any law can have. The authority lies back, in the personal government that gave the laws. It is, therefore, necessary to devote some time to briefly reviewing a part of the argument for the personality of the Spirit, although it may be familiar ground. We shall thereby gain a platform for further discussion.
Many an argument for the personality of the Spirit is not well founded and weakens the case instead of strengthening it. Such are some of the arguments drawn from the use of the personal pronoun in our English versions. This use of the pronoun merely shows the opinion of the translators, who thought that personality should be ascribed to the Spirit. They may be entirely correct in their judgment, but the proof of that correctness must come from other sources. There are a few passages which seem to me legitimately to prove personality by the Greek use of the pronoun, but we will defer the examination of these till a later stage in the discussion.
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