I have very much enjoyed doing this mini-thread on the Holy Spirit in the biblical tradition as part of the larger thread on the question of where the Trinity came from. I’ve never written on this before (the biblical views of the Spirit) or even thought about it systematically, though I have, of course, thought about the individual pieces of the puzzle for many years. But putting it all together has been instructive and interesting.
I have been talking about the role of the Spirit in Paul, Acts, and the Synoptics (esp. Luke), but all along I’ve thought that a passage in the Gospel of John is in many ways the most significant for understanding how the Spirit became part of the Trinity in later years. The passage occurs in the longest speech of Jesus in the New Testament, the “Farewell Discourse” of John 13-17.
This is a flat-out amazing speech that most people do not realize is so remarkable, simply as a speech. As you may know, in the Synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke Jesus tells a lot of parables (Mark 4 tells us it is the only way he taught the crowds); he also has a significant number of “one-liners” (“Sabbath was made for humans, not humans for the Sabbath, therefore the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath”; “If a blind man leads a blind man, both of them will fall into a pit”); and a lot of short pithy statements between the two. In these three Gospels he does not actually give long connected speeches so much as occasionally long speeches that veer from one topic to another in rapid-fire, most famously in Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7; not found in any of the other Gospels, though Luke has a number of the sayings scattered throughout his).
It is also striking that in these various teachings of Jesus in the Synoptics, Jesus says very little indeed about
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