Empowered by the Spirit of God: The Holy Spirit in the Histographic Writings of the Old Testament -- By: Daniel I. Block
Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 01:1 (Spring 1997)
Article: Empowered by the Spirit of God: The Holy Spirit in the Histographic Writings of the Old Testament
Author: Daniel I. Block
SBJT 1:1 (Spring 1997) p. 42
Empowered by the Spirit of God:
The Holy Spirit in the Histographic Writings
of the Old Testament
Daniel I. Block is the John R. Sampey Professor of Old Testament Interpretation at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author of The Gods of the Nations: Studies in Ancient Near Eastern National Theology and of a forthcoming two-volume commentary on Ezekiel in the New International Commentary on the Old Testament series. A shorter version of this article was presented as a plenary address at the 1996 national meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society.
In 1988 I read a paper at the annual convention of the Evangelical Theological Society in which I began, “Pneumatology, ‘the doctrine of the Holy Spirit,’ is essentially a New Testament Doctrine. ” Little has happened since then to change my opinion.1 Although several detailed studies of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament have appeared in the meantime,2 the effect of these on New Testament and systematic theological treatises is disappointing.3 When scholars refer to the Old Testament, it is generally handled in one of several ways: (1) Old Testament data are quickly summarized as preamble to the real study, the teaching of the New Testament or the Church Fathers; (2) Old Testament texts are referred to in passing, while the focus is fixed elsewhere; (3) Old Testament texts are helpful for illustrative purposes, as often as not to demonstrate the discontinuity between the Spirit’s operation in the two testaments. The lack of serious interest in the Old Testament may be attributed in part to linguistic4 and hermeneutical5 factors. However, since standard concordances only cite three occurrences of the expression, “Holy Spirit,”6 it is often assumed that little interest or information is to be found there.
The issue of “The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament” is obviously too large and too complex to deal with in a single paper. This investigation will be confined to one specific type of Hebrew literature—the historiographic writings, including both the Deuteronomistic (Joshua-2 Kings) writings and those often referred to as the work of the Chronicler[s] (1-2 Chronicles, Ezra-Nehemiah).7 This paper will follow the pattern established in the earlier essay on Ezekiel, beginning with a statistical study of the forms, f...
Click here to subscribe