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Bible Dictionaries

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary

Spirit

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A word employed in various senses in Scripture.

1. For THE HOLY, HOLINESS SPIRIT, the third person of the Holy Trinity, who inspired the prophets, animates good men, pours his unction into our hearts, imparts to us life and comfort; and in whose name we are baptized and blessed, as well as in that of the Father and the Son. When the adjective Holy is applied to the term Spirit, we should always understand it as here explained; but there are many places whether it must be taken in this sense, although the term Holy is omitted. See HOLY, HOLINESS SPIRIT.

2. BREATH, respiration; or the principle of animal life, common to men and animal: this God has given, and this he recalls when he takes away life, Ecclesiastes 3:21 . See SOUL .

3. The RATIONAL SOUL which animates us, and preserves its being after the death of the body. That spiritual, reasoning, and choosing substance, which is capable of eternal happiness. See SOUL .

The "spirits in prison," 1 Peter 3:19 , it is generally thought, are the souls of antediluvian sinners now reserved unto the judgment-day, but unto whom the Spirit preached by the agency of Noah, etc., 2 Peter 2:5 , when they were in the flesh. Thus Christ "preached" to the Ephesians, whom he never visited in person, Ephesians 2:17 .

4. An Mark 14:26 . It is said, Acts 23:8 , that the Sadducees denied the existence of angels and spirits. Christ, appearing to his disciples, said to them, Luke 24:39 , "Handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have."

5. The DISPOSITION of the mind or intellect. Thus we read of a spirit of jealously, a spirit of fornication, a spirit of prayer, a spirit of infirmity, a spirit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of fear of the Lord, Hosea 4:12 Zechariah 12:10 Luke 13:11 Isaiah 11:2 .

6. The RENEWED NATURE of true believers, which is produced by the Holy Spirit, and conforms the soul to his likeness. Spirit is thus the opposite of flesh, John 3:6 . This spirit is virally united with, an in some passages can hardly be distinguished from the "Spirit of Christ," which animates true Christians, the children of God, and distinguishes them from the children of darkness, who are animated by the spirit of the world, Romans 8:1-16 . This indwelling Spirit is the gift of grace, of adoption-the Holy Spirit poured into our hearts-which emboldens us to call God "Abba, my Father." Those who are influenced by this Spirit "have crucified the flesh, with its affections and lusts," Galatians 5:16-25 .

"Distinguishing or discerning of spirits" consisted in discerning whether a man were really inspired by the Spirit of God, or was a false prophet, an impostor, who only followed the impulse of his own spirit or of Satan. Paul speaks, 1 Corinthians 12:10 of the discerning of spirits as being among the miraculous gifts granted by God to the faithful at the first settlement of Christianity.

To "quench the Spirit," 1 Thessalonians 5:19 , is a metaphorical expression easily understood. The Spirit may be quenched by forcing, as it were, that divine Agent to withdraw from us, by irregularity of life, frivolity, avarice, negligence, or other sins contrary to charity, truth, peace, and his other gifts and qualifications.

We "grieve" the Spirit of God by withstanding his holy inspirations, the impulses of his grace; or by living in a lukewarm and incautious manner; by despising his gifts, or neglecting them; by abusing his favors, either out of vanity, curiosity, or indifference. In a contrary sense, 2 Timothy 1:6 , we "stir up" the Spirit of God which is in us, by the practice of virtue, by compliance with his inspirations, by fervor in his service, by renewing our gratitude, and by diligently serving Christ and doing the works of the Spirit.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of the topics are from American Tract Society Bible Dictionary published in 1859.

Bibliography Information
Rand, W. W. Entry for 'Spirit'. American Tract Society Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/ats/s/spirit.html. 1859.

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Wednesday, February 19th, 2020
the Sixth Week after Epiphany
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