The Ministry Of Conviction By The Holy Spirit -- By: Robert L. Entner

Journal: Central Bible Quarterly
Volume: CENQ 16:3 (Fall 1973)
Article: The Ministry Of Conviction By The Holy Spirit
Author: Robert L. Entner


The Ministry Of Conviction By The Holy Spirit

Robert L. Entner

The subject of conviction is a very important one for those who desire to do the work of Christ. The importance is laid out in John 16:8 where the primary work of the Holy Spirit is presented as that of conviction. Many who do the work of Christ, however, do not realize the emphasis placed on conviction in the Word of God. It is not a ministry that is produced independently by the Holy Spirit, rather the majority of Scriptural references emphasize the human instrumentality in conviction. It is found where one Christian is used of another to convict a person who has fallen into sin. Similarly, there are examples of Christians who bring conviction to the unsaved. In several instances it is seen that conviction came to individuals by the preaching of the Word of God.

The Bible also teaches that conviction may come by the conscience, as in the case of the woman taken in adultery. Parents are to convict their children of sin in Hebrews 12:5, and James writes of conviction which may come from the law. Finally, the world will experience the conviction of the Son of God Himself at the second advent when He will convict all of the ungodly of their sin (Jude 15).

The purpose of this study is to show what the New Testament teaches concerning conviction. Because of the limits in length it is impossible to completely exhaust all of the teaching of the New Testament on the subject but this study intends to show a bird’s eye view of the over-all teaching. To do this it is well to deal first with the words themselves that are used to convey the teaching, secondly, with key passages in relation to conviction, and thirdly, with an over-all view of the Scriptural teaching of conviction.

Words Used To Express Conviction

One Greek word is used to express that which is defined commonly as conviction. The word is often translated as well to “reprove” and to “rebuke” and occasionally to “confute” when used in reference to an argument. The intensive form used in Acts 18:28, which is translated “mightily convinced” gives us the understanding that Paul was the victor

in a public verbal argument. A rendering as “rebuke” gives a rather weak English understanding of the thought which is to be conveyed.

Trench gives an excellent comparison between the word which is properly rendered “rebuke” or “charge,” and the word translated “convict” or even more strongly, “convince.”

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