Spirit #AtoZChallenge

This year for the Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge I have chosen a single word for each letter of the alphabet. Each of these words is important in the Bible. I am including a story in each post. Links from biblical references go to Bible Gateway.

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter S

Spirit appears in the Bible more than 550 times. Spirit is a word, which is tricky to define. In the original languages of Bible it is often represented by the word for breath. In earlier times it was sometimes translated into English as ghost. The Holy Ghost is now usually called the Holy Spirit. Ghost has spooky associations. There is nothing spooky about the Holy Spirit.

Spirit is not always used in a positive way. Spirit of jealousy is one example of a negative spirit. A deceiving spirit is another.

As well as the Spirit of God there are many references to the human spirit, high spirits and other words of which spirit forms part.

Jesus promised the Holy Spirit, who would guide the disciples into all truth. John 16:12-14

The Holy Spirit is a person. The God of the Bible is one God, but three Persons, God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ) and God the Holy Spirit. This is the Trinity. Matthew 28:19

The Spirit of God was active in creating all things Genesis 1:2

Jesus Christ claimed that Isaiah’s prophecy was fulfilled in him, when he read Isaiah 61:1

Isaiah prophesied about the Messiah, that the Spirit of the Lord would rest upon him. Isaiah 11:1-3

Joel prophesied that God would pour out his Spirit on all people. Joel 2:28 Letter P.

To jump to the story Jesus is baptised by John click here.

Many characters in the Old Testament were notable for having the Spirit of God: Joseph Genesis 41:38, Bezalel son of Uri Exodus 31:2-4, Moses and his helpers Numbers 11:16-17, Caleb Numbers 14:24, Balaam Numbers 24:2, Joshua Numbers 27:18, The judge Othniel, younger brother of Caleb Judges 3:9-11, Gideon Judges 6:34, Jephthah Judges 11:29, Samson Judges 13:24-25, King Saul (at first) 1 Samuel 10:9-13, King David 1 Samuel 16:13, Elijah and Elisha 2 Kings 2:9, Amasai, chief of the Thirty 1 Chronicles 12:18, Azariah son of Oded 2 Chronicles 15:1 , Jahaziel son of Zechariah 2 Chronicles 20:14, Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest 2 Chronicles 24:20, Ezekiel in Ezekiel 3:12 and many other verses, Daniel aka Belteshazzar Daniel 4:9

Job was aware of the Spirit’s power Job 33:4

The prophets Micah, Haggai, and Zechariah all mention the Spirit of the Lord.

Jesus is baptised by John

Luke the physician (medical doctor) wrote about John’s parents, Elizabeth and the priest, Zechariah. Elizabeth was a relative of Mary, the mother of Jesus. The angel Gabriel visited Zechariah and told him that John would be born. John was not to drink alcoholic drinks, but would be filled with the Holy Spirit from birth.

Luke set the scene of John’s ministry firmly in history. When John began to preach and baptise people Tiberias Caesar was the emperor, having already ruled for 14 years. Pontius Pilate was the governor of Judea and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee. He mentions other rulers too. The high priests were Annas and Caiaphas.

Crowds went out to the other side of the River Jordan near Bethany to hear John preach. He was dressed in the same way as Elijah had been, wearing a garment of camel hair with a leather belt around his waist. He quoted the prophet Isaiah, telling people that his prophesies were about to be fulfilled.

He told people how they should behave, sharing their goods and food with the needy, acting honestly and being content with what they were paid.

John prophesied that another man would baptise with the Holy Spirit. John himself baptised with water as a symbol that people repented of their wrongdoing.

That was why he was surprised when Jesus went to him and asked to be baptised. Jesus had done nothing wrong. He did not need to repent. John suggested it would be better for Jesus to baptise him, but Jesus insisted on being baptised by John.

The two of them went into the river. John baptised Jesus. Heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus like a dove. A voice from Heaven declared, ‘You are my son, whom I love. I am very pleased with you’. (See also Letter L)

John had been waiting for a sign that the one he was preaching about had arrived. He had received a prophecy from God that the man on whom the Spirit would come down and remain on was the one, who would baptise with the Holy Spirit.

John testified that Jesus is the Son of God.

The story is compiled from Luke 1-2, Matthew 3:13-17, Mark 1:1-11, Luke 3:1-23, John 1: 1-34

In the New Testament there is more information about the Holy Spirit. Jesus teaches his disciples and the writers of letters to churches and individuals share their understanding of the person and work of the Holy Spirit.

(John 14:15-29, Romans 5:1-5, Galatians 5:22-23 and many more passages, especially in the Acts of the Apostles.)


D is for Defender

This April on Sue’s Trifles the theme is the names of God.  There may be more than one name for some of the letters.  There may be others I have omitted.  I hope that by going through the alphabet together we may learn more about the nature of God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Letter D

Deus is the Latin word for God.  From it we have the English “deity”.  This is rather a vague word applied to any god.  For a long time God was worshipped in Latin.  There are names and other Latin phrases in books used in some churches.  For example, there is a part of the communion service (or mass)  known as the Agnus Dei.  Agnus means lamb and Dei is the genitive case of the noun Deus.  Thus Agnus Dei means Lamb of God.

Defender or Defence is a name or description of God.  In the King James (or authorised) version of the Bible there are many references in the Psalms to God being the Defence. In other books of the Old Testament “will defend” occurs or there is a prayer to God “to defend”.  Other ways defence is translated in more recent versions include “Fortress”.  Thus God is seen to be a safe place, where his people are defended from their enemies.

Daystar is a word used in the second of Peter’s letters (KJV) 2 Peter 1:19-21  If I am reading it correctly it refers to the Holy Spirit.  In the New International Version (NIV) the word is morning star.

Dayspring is used in the Old and New Testaments.  Job 38:12 and Luke 1:78.  This is not a word in current use.  In Job the idea is that God is the cause of the sun rising each morning.  (Of course the sun is stationary compared to the earth, but God either holds everything in its rightful place or has set everything in motion, depending on your point of view)  Luke is quoting the words of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist.  Again modern translators refer to the rising sun.

David’s son (or Son of David) is a name of Jesus of Nazareth.  He was descended from King David, who wrote many of the Psalms in the Old Testament.  There are prophecies in the Psalms that King David would have a greater son, whose kingdom would last for ever.  Psalm 110:1 is an example.

Further reading:  The story of the birth of John the Baptist (many people prefer the description Baptiser) can be found in Luke Chapters 1 and 2.  It is closely linked to the story of the birth of Jesus.

A prayer from the service of Evening Prayer (Book of Common Prayer)

Lighten our darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord;
and by thy great mercy defend us from all the perils and dangers of this night;
for the love of your only son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ.  Amen

Gillian Straine, an author I mentioned in C is for Creator, is offering her book to you, my readers, at the special price of £9.50 for a signed copy, free p and p in the UK.  If you are overseas, please contact her for the postage price.  (Any transaction is strictly between you and Gillian.  I am just the messenger!)

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