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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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SPIRIT . The term is applied to God as defining His nature generally ( John 4:24 ), and also as describing one element in that nature, His self-consciousness ( 1 Corinthians 2:11 ). It expresses not only God’s immateriality, but also His transcendence of limitations of time and space. In the phrases ‘Spirit of God,’ the ‘Spirit of the Lord,’ the ‘Spirit of Jesus Christ,’ the ‘Holy Spirit,’ the ‘Spirit of Truth,’ the third Person in the Godhead is described (see Holy Spirit). The term is applied to personal powers of evil other than man ( Matthew 10:1; Matthew 12:45 , Luke 4:33; Luk 7:21 , 1 Timothy 4:1; cf. Ephesians 6:12 ), as well as personal powers of good ( Hebrews 1:14 ), and to human beings after death, either damned ( 1 Peter 3:19 ) or blessed ( Hebrews 12:23 ). It is used also as personifying an influence ( 1 John 4:6 , Ephesians 2:2 , Romans 8:15 ). Its most distinctive use is in the psychology of the Christian life. The contrast between ‘soul’ and ‘spirit,’ and between ‘ flesh ’ and ‘spirit,’ has already been noted in the articles on these terms. While soul and spirit are not to be regarded as separate faculties, yet ‘spirit’ expresses the direct dependence of the life in man on God, first in creation ( Genesis 2:7 ), but especially, according to the Pauline doctrine, in regeneration. The life in man, isolating itself from, and opposing itself to, God, is soul; that life, cleansed and renewed by the Spirit of God, is spirit; intimate as is the relation of God and man in the new life, the Spirit of God is distinguished from the spirit of man ( Romans 8:16 ), although it is not always possible to make the distinction. In Acts the phrase ‘holy spirit’ sometimes means the subjective human state produced (‘holy enthusiasm’), and sometimes the objective Divine cause producing (see ‘Acts’ in the Century Bible , p. 386). As the Spirit is the source of this new life, whatever belongs to it is ‘spiritual’ ( pneumatikon ), as house, sacrifices ( 1 Peter 2:5 ), understanding ( Colossians 1:9 ), songs ( Colossians 3:16 ), food, drink, rock ( 1 Corinthians 10:3-4 ); and the ‘spiritual’ and ‘soulish’ (rendered ‘carnal’ or ‘natural’) are contrasted ( 1 Corinthians 2:14; 1 Corinthians 15:44; 1 Corinthians 15:46 ). Spirit as an ecstatic state is also distinguished from mind ( 1 Corinthians 14:14; 1 Corinthians 14:16 ), as inwardness from letter ( Romans 2:29; Romans 7:6 , 2 Corinthians 3:6 ). The old creation the derivation of man’s spirit from God ( Genesis 2:7 , Isaiah 42:5 ), offers the basis for the new ( Romans 8:1-17 , 1 Corinthians 2:11-12 ), in which man is united to God (see Inspiration).

Alfred E. Garvie.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Spirit'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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