1 & 2 Thess.
1 & 2 Timothy
1 & 2 Peter
Gifts of the Spirit
Exposition of The Spirit in John
- John 1:16
- "And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace".
The Apostles who authenticated John's gospel in the Epilogue ("we know that his testimony is true" - John 21:24)
also identify themselves with Johns opening witness to the Christ. "The Word . . . dwelt among us, and we beheld
his glory . . . full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). They also say, along with John of course, "and of his fulness have
all we received and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ"
(v.16-17). The words "fulness" and "grace" never appear elsewhere in the writings of John except for "grace" in the
opening salutation of his second epistle. This fact would suggest that "fulness" and "grace" were, like the prologue
itself, specially linked with the experience of the Apostles and of those first century disciples into whose custody
John committed his Gospel on its completion. In Ephesians, Spirit gifts are styled "grace" (e.g. 4:7), where the word
used is the same as that in John 1:14, 16. This is, in fact, characteristic of the writings of Paul (Eph. 3:7 RV;
Rom. 12:3; 1 Cor. 1:4-7, etc.). It seems, therefore, that John's words (1:14-17) actually cover the same field of
thought as Paul's in Ephesians and Colossians . . .
During his ministry, Jesus received the Spirit without measure from the Father, but not until he was glorified were
believers "filled with Holy Spirit". It is undoubtedly to this effusion, which began at Pentecost, that John is referring
when he says: "Of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace" - "one grace (or gift) after another" (TCNT
and BERK), in rich profusion, with Christ distributing "to man severally as he willed". From such gifts of grace came
"truth" in prophecy, revelation, doctrine and healings (1 Cor. 12 & 14). The omniscience of the Lord would ensure
that the gifts were wisely distributed out of the rich diversity of the Spirit, in exact relation to the capacity and
disposition of the recipient: "Unto everyone . . . is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ". (Eph. 4:7).†
- John 3:5
- "unless one is born of the water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God" (RSV)
- This verse is sometimes taken to mean that the one born again or born of the Spirit receives the Spirit directly at baptism.
- e.g. "As a community we correctly emphasize the need for baptism but how often do we
emphasize and explain the birth of the Spirit?"
"It is much more than a mere change of heart and each of us at our baptisms recognized this. We were not giving ourselves
coldly and analytically to God we were doing something we could not stop! There was a driving force within us that we
could not but heed, together with a warm, glowing awareness of the presence of God. In those few days we had walked
with God and we experienced within ourselves the workings of His Spirit."1
- The general context is the key to the interpretation of this verse. Baptism here does not refer to the Christian
baptism which Christ instituted three years later.2 It was John's baptism that Jesus was practising at this
stage in his ministry (cf. 3:22, 23, 26). Once the historical context in relation to baptism is clearly grasped, an
understanding of being "born of the Spirit" is much easier to grasp.
- The words "born of the Spirit" cannot mean "be given the Holy Spirit" in any sense because the Holy Spirit was
not given in this manner until Pentecost about three years later. It is an invalid argument that refers the words
to a possession of the Holy Spirit now or then.
- Jesus elaborates on the statement of being "born of the Spirit" in verses 6-8. Verse 8 should be correctly translated as:
"The Spirit breatheth where it pleaseth, and thou art hearing3 the
Voice thereof, but knowest not whence it cometh and whither it goeth".4
"The Spirit breatheth where it pleaseth"
The idea is that God was not working through the channels that the spiritual leaders expected, (i.e. the High Priest)
but through humbler persons.
"Thou art hearing the Voice thereof"5
God was speaking through John the Baptist and Jesus. John claimed: "I am the voice" (ch. 1:23). "We" (cf. v. 23, v. 11)
therefore refers to John and Jesus.
"thou knowest not whence it cometh and whither it goeth."
Nicodemus could not know when or where, or through whom, God would choose to speak to the nation.
This explanation by Jesus shows that being "born of the Spirit" was in fact believing the Divine teaching that
came through the "Voice" of "the Spirit". Only this combination of hearing the voice and being baptized could cause
the birth from above. The Apostle John confirms this by his statement in the prologue:
"As many as received him" and "believed on his name" were "born of God"
and became "sons of God"(1:12,13)
- "Faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ" (Rom. 10:17). We read
the Word of God that was given by the Holy Spirit. If it has its proper effect, then "You have been born again . . .
through the living . . . Word of God" (1 Pet. 1:23 NASB).
John chapter three agrees with other scriptures that the birth of the Spirit comes, like faith, by hearing, and that
by the Word of God. In terms of Christ's conversation with Nicodemus, a man must receive and believe "the Voice" of the
Spirit heard in the Word given through prophets such as Jesus and John the Baptist. That same Word having been permanently
recorded, it demands an identical response today, just as it did before Christ.
Obviously there is a secondary application in which the person who hears the water of life and the words of the
Spirit [now only through the written word] and is baptized in water then goes on to live a life of probation and in the
future if judged worthy [through the grace of God] is born of the Spirit, or his mortal body infused with the immortal power of the Spirit.
- John 4:14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall
give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
In other words listen to the words of Jesus and next be baptized.
- Rom. 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by
the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
- Eph. 4:5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
- Col. 2:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God,
who hath raised him from the dead.
- Matt. 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose
shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit…:
- Rom. 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from
the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
See www.christadelphia.org/books/spirit/Romans.htm#8:11 for an explanation of the last verse.
- John 4:10
- "Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift* of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me
to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water."
- The occurrence of dorean in this verse is used by some to say that:- "Dorea is never used of the
spirit gifts." It is claimed by some that it refers to "ever-lasting life".
- ". . . God gave His only begotten Son . . ." (John 3:16) is probably the idea referred to in the phrase "the gift of God".
- Symbolically, Jesus was offering to this Samaritan woman the water of life -- his teaching which would spring
"up into everlasting life" (John 4:14, cf. 3:16). It is obvious that the fuller meaning of the words "living water" in
John 4:10 occurs in ch. 7:37-39.
37 "In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Spirit was not yet given;
because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)"6
- Therefore John 7:37-39 is a fuller explanation by the inspired revelator and refers to the day of Pentecost whereas in
Acts 2:33 it is obvious that Jesus had been glorified. It is obvious to anybody who examines the evidence that more
than one miraculous gift of the Spirit was poured out at Pentecost, as evidenced by the fact that the Apostles spoke
in tongues and gave inspired revelation. Later evidence is recorded that demonstrates that they had the power to pass
on the gifts to others, so as well as all the other gifts they had this powerful ability that no one else had.
- If John 4:10 was the only occurrence of dorea or dorean then one might be excused for concluding
the initial quote in the problem. However, we have proven elsewhere at Acts 2:38,397 and in looking at the
word Gift on p 2918 that 8 out of 11 occurrences [or 73%, which is a big majority] of dorea
or dorean refer to the miraculous gifts of the Spirit.
- So the reader needs to add the wider context of John 7:39 and Ephesians 4:8 to the occurrences of
dorean in John 4:10 above and doreas in Ephesians 4:7.
- The author of the words quoted in the problem admits that Eph. 4:8 & 11 is referring to "spirit gifted
brethren is true", so in effect he admits his view of doreas in v. 7 is wrong. What was given? "Christ's gift".
What was that? "Spirit gifted brethren".
- John 4:24
- "God is spirit; and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" (RSV)
- This verse is cited to show that unless we have the Spirit we cannot worship God. It is also used to show that
God is not tangible.
- Jesus is not saying that God is immaterial9 nor is he just referring to the nature of God10,
but is stating that God is acting in a specific manner for the redemption of man, as He once acted in the past11.
- It is in the framework of this purpose that men must worship the Father12. Jesus was teaching the
woman that in the redemption he had brought, he had living waters13 to offer so that they could worship God "in spirit".
- The verse does not say that we must have received some divine effluent from God into our hearts before we can
worship correctly. The context shows that:
- correct knowledge ("in truth") is one necessity, "salvation is of the Jews". (v. 22).
- attitude of mind ("in spirit" i.e. sincerity, Josh. 24:14) is the other necessity14.
"Ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father." (v. 21).
- John 6:44
- "No one can come to Me, unless the Father . . . draws him."
- It is claimed that this is evidence of the Holy Spirit "descending in the form of an experience."
- Jesus goes on to say how the Father draws: "And they shall all be taught of God! Every one who has heard . . .
comes to me." (v. 45)
- "Faith", says Paul, "comes from hearing, and hearing by the word." (Rom. 10:17).
- James says: "In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth". (James 1:18).
- For you have been born again through the . . . word of God . . . which was preached to you. (1 Peter 1:23, 25).
- So it can be seen that the Father draws us by putting us in a place where we can hear (or read) the word of God.
He does not draw us in the sense outlined in the problem above.
- The operation can be compared to a magnet. It will only draw materials that are capable of being magnetized. God
will only draw us if we have shown some interest in Him.
- Jesus is not giving the impression that God has respect of persons and makes distinctions between men and women
in the offer of salvation; rather he is proving that God had already made provision for man's salvation. The word is
the means that God uses to draw attention to Jesus. (cf. Luke 8:15 and Acts 10:34-43).
- John 6:45
- "It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught15 of God.' Every one who has
heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me."
- This verse, if taken out of context, may appear to teach the idea that no-one can come to Christ unless they are
taught directly by God (i.e. have an experience which enables them to "see" Christ). Having thus "learned from the
Father", they can "accept Jesus".
This verse must be seen in its broad context.
Whether we take the meaning of the phrase as:
a) taught about God
b) taught by God
c) God's taught ones (B) the idea expressed is just different shades of the same thing. Probably all are correct.
However, we must not assume that God Himself did (or does) the teaching directly, for "the Son of man shall
give unto you that meat which endureth unto everlasting life (for him hath God the Father sealed)". (v. 27). "He
that hath seen the Father" did so because they "hath heard and hath learned" of the Father by listening to
Jesus speaking God's words. (Heb. 1:2). We see, therefore, that Jesus applied the prophecy of Isa. 54:13 to himself.
The contextual interpretation proves the theory expressed in the Problem is wrong.
- John 6:63
- "It is the Spirit that quickeneth..."
Christ was saying in effect 'Obedience to the words that I speak leads to eternal life'. Christ's words were Spirit
because He spoke the words of God. Also the Word of God is Spirit because it was revealed by the Holy Spirit (cf. 2 Peter 1:21).
- John 7:37-39
- ". . . Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on
me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit,
which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Spirit was not yet given because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)"
- This verse is sometimes used to show that if we believe on him we will receive the Spirit if we ask for it.
- These verses, especially the last one, are ignored by those who wish to conclude that dorea is never used of
the Holy Spirit gifts.
- The Apostle's explanation applies to first century believers generally, and not to the twelve. This is evident
from "If any man thirst, let him come unto me" (v. 37).
- The above problem arises because the context is forgotten.
They were not to receive the Spirit until Pentecost. That meant that the outpouring was limited16 on
one hand until after Pentecost. As has been demonstrated17 elsewhere in this treatise, it was limited on
the other hand by the death of the apostles. Therefore this verse cannot be used to demonstrate a continuous outpouring
of the Spirit on all18 believers.
- The gift of the Spirit was only intermittently imparted (Matt. 17:14-20) at that time. While Jesus was with
the disciples they needed not that the Spirit should dwell in them, but when he sent them to fulfill his will he
imparted to them power to perform it, if the object they were to effect, transcended ordinary human ability.
At Pentecost the gifts were imparted and the person possessed the gift given.
- The Spirit gifts in the first century enabled the possessors to dispense "living water".
- See exposition above.
- Then read carefully the exposition at John 4:10.
- John 10:41
- "John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true."
- This verse is offered as proof that although miracles cannot be worked, present possession of the Holy Spirit is
a reality just as it was in John the Baptist.
Claimants reason in this way:
- a) John had the Holy Spirit, but did "no miracle".
- b) We do no miracles. Therefore we have the Holy Spirit in the same way as John!
- Are we Johns? How can claimants in the twentieth century apply this to themselves? Where is their raiment of
camel's hair? Do they eat locusts? Do they spend their years in the desert?
- John the Baptist may not have raised the dead or spoken in tongues, but he did work the "miracle" of rousing
all Judaeal9 with his message of repentance. This would have been impossible without the Holy Spirit.
- "Claimants using John's case as a fulcrum to raise unfounded hopes, overlook completely that John was anointed
with Holy Spirit20 for his office and work of a prophet21. He was a "man sent from God22."23
- How dare any, because John (in common with many prophets) worked no spectacular wonder, claim for
themselves on that basis, a point of parallel as title to "possession" when their only parallel is their inability to
work a wonder? That has long been a universal, but not a qualifying, disability.
- As has been demonstrated24, wherever the believer possessed the Spirit contextual evidence
demonstrates that it was one or more gifts of the Spirit and it enabled them to work miracles.
- The absence of visible proof that they have the Spirit is evidence that the claimants have not got the Spirit.
John 14 - 16
For a discussion on these chapters, please see The Promise of the Parakletos (John 14-16)
- John 15:4 "Abide in me, and I in you."
John 17:23 "I in them, and thou in me."
2 Cor. 13:5 "Jesus Christ is in you."
Gal. 2:20 "Christ liveth in me."
Eph. 3:17 "Christ may dwell in your hearts."
- These verses are connected with 1 John 3:24 and 1 John 4:4, 12, 13, 15, 16 to bolster up the claim that "the
Spirit is a present possession."
- Any series of verses may be grouped together and a hasty conclusion drawn which is far from the facts. The false
doctrines of the apostasy on:
are evidence of this evil practice of wresting scripture to their own destruction. They wrest mainly by:
- the devil;
- going to heaven or hell;
- deity of Christ etc;
- not understanding the real meaning of the words;
- disregarding the context;
- making the Bible fit their theories.
- We get into Christ by Christ's words causing an effect on us so that we desire to forsake being "in Adam". By
being baptized we become "in Christ25". By us continuing on the path of righteousness, we abide26
(remain) "in Christ". It is therefore, not only something God does but is also dependent upon the steadfastness of the
disciple. This is demonstrated by the following illustration.
||Christ in us
||God in Jesus
||Jesus in God
||Does not bear fruit (2)
Cannot bear fruit (4)
Can do nothing (5)
Thrown away, burned (6)
|"bears fruit" (2)
"He (God) prunes it"(2)
"clean because of the word which I have spoken" (3)
"bears much fruit" (5)
"by this is My Father glorified" (8)
"My words abide in you" (7)
"ask whatever you wish" (16)
"if you keep my commandments" (10)
|"my words abide in you" (7)
"My disciples" (8)
"You will abide in love" (10)
"My joy may be in you" (11)
|"I abide in his love" (10)
||"I have kept my Father's commandments" (10)
||"I pray not for the world" (9)
||They have kept thy word (6)
"I am glorified in them" (10)
"they are not of the world"
"through their word" (20)
|"I pray for them" (9)
I speak in the world that
they might have my joy" (13)
|"glorify thy son"
"glorify thou me" (5)
|"Son may glorify thee" (1)
"I have glorified thee on the earth (4)
"I have finished the work" (4)
"I have manifested thy name" (6)
"I have kept them in thy name" (12)
"I have kept" (12)
"I have given them thy word" (14)
"I pray for . . . them also which shall believe on me" (20)
|1 Cor. 15
||"all die" (22)
||"all shall be made alive" (22)
- John 15:4 (continued)
If we are in Jesus, then we are in God through the fellowship that we have with Him through His Son. Jesus shows
us that the evidence of the Father in him was the works (John 14:11). Evidence of Jesus in us then will be the works
that we do and not what we claim! (cf. 1 John 2:5-6).
- Paul says, "I am again in labour until Christ is formed in you27." How was Christ formed in them?
By apostolic preaching and not by 'receiving the Spirit'!
- The last quote (Eph. 3:17) explains the others.28 Faith produces works and develops a Christ-like
character. If we have no faith then we cannot manifest Christ.
- The double relationship of abiding is made clearer by considering 1 John 5:18-19 where:
the world is in the evil one and
the evil one is in the world.
- God by His word has always been in the hearts29 of His children. An Old Testament example:
"Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell
in the high and holy place, with him also that is contrite and of a humble spirit."30
This abiding therefore, is not dependent on the giving of the Holy Spirit in New Testament times.
- For Christ to abide in us is exactly the same as "my words abide in you". It is a parallel passage (cf. John 15:7, 5).
- John 20:22
- 'He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit".'
The first time in Scripture that we meet with the phrase "He breathed" is when God breathed into the nostrils of
man "the breath of life; and man became a living being." God created and then gave life. In like manner, the body of
believers whom God created through His Son Jesus, was now given Spiritual life. The Greek word for "breathed"
(emphusao) used here is the only occurrence31 in the N.T. and is the same word used in the LXX32
for the word "breathed" in Gen. 2:7! This is obviously a fundamental point. Here we have a word of "action"; not of
"thought". Adam did not live because God thought life into his brain, but rather because of the action of the
Spirit. This distinction needs to be maintained and remembered. The Holy Spirit then, was not something which merely
altered the thought processes of the Apostles but rather in the example of Adam it gave them power for action.
The work given them was a limited one and is defined in the next verse:
"If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have33 been forgiven them; if
you retain the sins of any, they have been retained."
This limited power (of knowing whose sins had been forgiven or retained by God) continued until the day of
Pentecost when forty days later the nine Spirit Gifts were given to them.
We recall that Peter earlier had been promised this power described as the "keys of the kingdom of heaven"
(Matt. 16:19). On previous occasions Christ had given them power to heal and to raise the dead34 but this
was only a temporary arrangement.