The New Testament Centers on Jesus, but the Holy Spirit Emerges as Key in the Book of Acts
We’ve talked about how the Bible Reveals God the Father to Us and how the Bible Points Us to Jesus. The Holy Spirit forms the third part of the Trinity, the supernatural mystery of three spiritual deities in one package. Though the Bible doesn’t mention the word Trinity, most all Christians accept the concept of a triune God, albeit with variations of understanding.
The Holy Spirit emerges as the star of the church, guiding the followers of Jesus into a fuller understanding of him and showing them how to live their faith in a way pleasing to him. The book of Acts, the record of the early church, serves as a descriptor of how the church functions with the Holy Spirit at the helm.
Acts contains nearly one hundred references to the Holy Spirit. In fact Acts talks about the Holy Spirit more than it mentions Jesus. While Acts should serve as our practical guidebook to community and faith through Holy Spirit power, most followers of Jesus diminish or even dismiss him as part of our spiritual heritage and present experience.
But the Bible doesn’t relegate the Holy Spirit to the book of Acts. He shows up, by name, in all the Gospels and a majority of the books in the New Testament. The phrase “Holy Spirit” is even in the Old Testament, though “Spirit of God” is more common. The simpler label of “Spirit” occurs in about half of the Old Testament books and all of the New Testament books, except for 2 and 3 John.
In the beginning we see the Holy Spirit taking part in creation to form our reality (Genesis 1:2). In the end of time the Holy Spirit serves as the central player while God wraps up our physical existence, reality as we know it (Revelation 22:17). Clearly the Holy Spirit moves throughout the entire Bible, just as he moves through the church of Jesus and in the lives of his followers today – or at least how he should move, if only we will let him.