The Holy Spirit in John

If we want to know what John intends for us to understand by the Holy Spirit, we need to look at its prominent place in John’s gospel. John, for example, demonstrates no interest in the Holy Spirit’s association with ecstatic phenomena or supernatural gifts. What, then, does John want us to know about the Holy Spirit?

In a coming series of posts, I will examine the role of the Holy Spirit in John in line with these affirmations from the Nicene Creed:

* The Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life
* Who Proceeds from the Father and the Son
* With the Father and the Son He is Worshiped and Glorified
* He has Spoken through the Prophets
* One Apostolic Church, One Baptism for the Forgiveness of Sins

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Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (John 20:21-23)

Following Jesus’ resurrection, John relates that Jesus breathed on his disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” This episode plays much the same role in John as the day of Pentecost does in Luke-Acts. The post-resurrection church is characterized by the presence of the Holy Spirit. Yet, even though John, Luke and Paul all agree on the centrality of the Holy Spirit, each has his own particular point of view on the matter. If we want to know what John intends for us to understand by the Holy Spirit, we need to look at its prominent place in John’s gospel. John, for example, demonstrates no interest in the Holy Spirit’s association with ecstatic phenomena or supernatural gifts. What, then, does John want us to know about the Holy Spirit?

In the following series of posts, I examine the role of the Holy Spirit in John in line with these affirmations from the Nicene Creed:

  • The Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life
  • Who Proceeds from the Father and the Son
  • With the Father and the Son He is Worshiped and Glorified
  • He has Spoken through the Prophets
  • One Apostolic Church, One Baptism for the Forgiveness of Sins

[The Nicene Creed’s detailed affirmations about the Holy Spirit were added, by the way, in the version adopted by the Council of Constantinople in 381 and not by the Council of Nicaea in 325. ]