We’re going to get back to our Trinitarian study after spending yesterday at the movies. We’re going to be continuing through the book of Acts. We’re going to be moving ahead to chapter 16 and looking at verses 6-7 in the missionary journeys of Paul. Our question tonight will focus on the relationship of Jesus to the Holy Spirit. Let’s go to the text.
6Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 7When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.
In this passage, Paul and his companions are wanting to do some evangelism in some areas, but along the way, they are stopped by the Holy Spirit somehow. How? We don’t know because the text doesn’t show us. At this point, some Mormons might want to show up and say that is the burning of the bosom. That would be up to them to show. I would be inclined to think it a prophetic utterance of some kind as such has been shown to happen in the Book of Acts. However, I am skeptical of the Mormon position because I do not believe it wise to base a doctrine and what could possibly be a method. It is built too much on silence.
However, when we get to verse 7, we find more evangelism being planned and we find this time that the Spirit of Jesus is preventing Paul and his companions from doing evangelism. What exactly is going on in these texts?
It’s interesting to note first off again the casualness with which these things are spoken of. There is no explanation in the text probably because it was seen to be understood by those who were familiar with such concepts reading the texts. We modern Westerners today can often have a problem with concepts of the ANE which shows us that we need to be more educated about their time as well as ours.
My thinking is that these are really referring to the same entity. The Holy Spirit is the one that is at work, but the Holy Spirit I believe takes on a role where he does submit to Christ, which seems fitting as he is said to be the silent person of the Trinity. What it means is that Jesus was addressing the work of the apostles through his Holy Spirit.
I wish to make it clear that we must avoid oneness thought. To say Jesus works through the agency of the Spirit is not to say that Jesus is the Spirit. What the Oneness person would have to show is that the person of the Son is actually the person of the Spirit and I do not believe that a likely interpretation of the text. If someone wishes to present that argument, they will have to give the reasons for that and also they would need to show the problems of Trinitarian thought as Trinitarians can easily interpret a verse like this without doing damage to the text. Can the Oneness do the same? I do not think so.
Hopefully this clears up any confusion some readers might have. Tomorrow we shall continue going through Acts.