"THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD" The Gift Of The Holy Spirit INTRODUCTION 1. On the day of Pentecost, Jesus poured out the Spirit of God on
all flesh... a. As prophesied by Joel - Ac 2:16-17 b. As proclaimed by Peter - Ac 2:33 2. In his sermon, Peter offered hope to his guilt-stricken audience... a. He offered remission of sins b. He promised the gift of the Holy Spirit -- Provided they repent, and were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ - Ac 2:37-39 3. What is the gift of the Holy Spirit? a. Is the gift the Holy Spirit Himself? 1) As in "the gift of $100"? 2) In which the $100 is the gift? b. Is the gift something from the Holy Spirit? 1) As in "the gift of John Brown"? 2) In which John Brown is the giver of the gift? 4. The grammatical construction in English allows for either meaning... a. The Holy Spirit is the gift b. Or the Holy Spirit is the giver of the gift [As we endeavor to discern what is "the gift of the Holy Spirit", let's review some of the different arguments given for both positions. Beginning with... I. THE GRAMMATICAL ARGUMENTS A. FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT AS THE GIFT... 1. "gen., receive the Spirit as a gift, Ac 2:38." - Arndt & Gingrich, Dorea, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, p.210 2. "With the epexegetical gen. of the thing given, the Holy Ghost, Ac 2:38." - Thayer, Dorea, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, p.161 3. "In Ac 2:38, 'the gift of the Holy Ghost', the clause is epexegetical, the gift being the Holy Ghost Himself." - Vine, Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, p.147 4. "The genitive is appositional, as in v.33 the promise is the Holy Spirit, so here the gift is the Holy Spirit." - Lenski, The Acts Of The Apostles 5. "of the Holy Spirit - this clause is an appositional genitive with 'the gift' and means 'the gift, namely, the Holy Spirit.'" - Kistemaker, Acts, New Testament Commentary, p.110 -- That the Spirit is the gift in Ac 2:38 is the general consensus of Greek scholars B. FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT AS THE GIVER OF THE GIFT... 1. The phrase can easily be Objective Genitive instead of an Appositional Genitive a. E.g., the gift of John Brown; John Brown is the giver of the gift b. E.g., the gift of God; God is the giver of the gift
- Jn 4:10 2. The meaning must be determined on the basis of doctrinal truth rather on grammatical form - Franklin Puckett, The Holy Spirit, p.14 -- This view questions the doctrinal bias of Greek scholars quoted above [Then there are...] II. THE CONTEXTUAL ARGUMENTS A. FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT AS THE GIFT... 1. The immediate context a. Jesus spoke of the Spirit to His apostles as "the Promise of the Father" - Ac 1:4-5 b. Peter spoke of the outpouring of the Spirit as "the promise of the Holy Spirit" - Ac 2:33 c. Having just mentioned the "the gift of the Holy Spirit", Peter then says "For the promise is to you..." - Ac 2:38,39 d. What promise is Peter referring to in Ac 2:39? 1) The immediate context suggests the promise already mentioned and just offered as a gift 2) I.e., the promised Holy Spirit who has been poured out is now available as a gift to those who obey 2. The remote context a. The Spirit is given (i.e., a gift) to those who obey God - Ac 5:32 b. The same phrase ("the gift of the Holy Spirit") is used elsewhere when it clearly means the Holy Spirit Himself as the gift - cf. Ac 10:44-47 -- That the Spirit is the gift in Ac 2:38 is supported by both the immediate and remote context B. FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT AS THE GIVER OF THE GIFT... 1. The promise in verse 39 pertains to the blessing of salvation, the consequent result of the remission of sins - Franklin Puckett, The Holy Spirit, p.22 2. The promise relates to the Abrahamic covenant, fulfilled in and through Christ (Gen 12:1-3; 22:18; Ga 3:14-16) - ibid., p.22-26 3. This view interprets Paul's phrase "the promise of the Spirit" (Ga 3:14) as that which the Spirit promised a. But Paul may have meant receiving the Spirit was part of the blessing promised to Abraham's spiritual descendants b. Note the immediate context, in which Paul had been talking about receiving the Spirit - cf. Ga 3:2,5-9,14 [Certainly not as strong, but worthy of consideration are what others have understood in the past. What might be called...] III. THE HISTORICAL ARGUMENTS A. FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT AS THE GIFT... 1. "The Holy Ghost is one of the promises of the New Testament,
Ac 2:38-39." - Barton W. Stone, Works of Elder B. W. Stone 2. "The phrase 'the gift of the Holy Ghost' occurs Ac 2:38, and 10:45, and in both places must be understood as equivalent to the 'the Holy Spirit as a gift'' - T. W. Brents, The Gospel Plan Of Salvation 3. "The gift of the Spirit promised in Ac 2:38 was the Spirit itself" - David Lipscomb, Queries and Answers 4. "The expression means the Holy Spirit as a gift" - J.W. McGarvey, New Commentary on Acts of Apostles 5. "Certainly the gift of the Spirit is the Spirit itself given." - Moses Lard, Lard's Quarterly 6. "The gift of the Holy Spirit is not some definite thing the Holy Spirit gives, but the Holy Spirit as a gift." - R.L. Whiteside, Reflections 7. "I believe the Holy Spirit is the gift to those who repent and are baptized." - Ferrell Jenkins, The Finger Of God -- That the Spirit is the gift in Ac 2:38 is a view that has been held by many; these are but a sampling of those in the Restoration Movement B. FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT AS THE GIVER OF THE GIFT... 1. "The 'gift of the Holy Spirit' is justification by faith or spiritual salvation." - Franklin Puckett, The Holy Spirit, p.26 2. "The gift of the Holy Spirit promised...is the gift given by the Spirit, not the Holy Spirit Himself." - Richard E. Black, "What Do You Know About The Holy Spirit?", edited by Wendell Winkler, p.201 -- This view has increased in popularity in certain circles, though it is comparatively still a minority view [Finally, here are some thoughts as to the doctrinal import of this passage. What we might call...] IV. THE DOCTRINAL ARGUMENTS A. FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT AS THE GIFT... 1. Different from the "gifts" of the Spirit a. "We must distinguish the gift of the Spirit from the gifts of the Spirit. The gift of the Spirit is the Spirit himself, bestowed by the Father through the Messiah; the gifts of the Spirit are those spiritual faculties which the Spirit imparts, 'dividing to each one severally even as he will' (1Co 12:11)." - F.F. Bruce, Commentary on the Book of Acts, p.77 b. "We need, however, to distinguish between "the gift" of the Holy Spirit and what Paul called "the gifts" (ta pneumatika, 1Co 12:1; 14:1) of that self-same Spirit. "The gift" is the Spirit himself given to minister the saving benefits of Christ's redemption to the believer, while "the gifts" are those spiritual abilities the Spirit gives variously to believers 'for the common good' and sovereignly, 'just as He determines' (1Co 12:7,11). Peter's promise of the 'gift of the Holy Spirit' is a logical outcome of repentance and baptism." - Richard N. Longenecker, Expositors' Bible Commentary, Vol. 9, p.283 2. Related to the indwelling of the Spirit a. "Since the gift of the Spirit in Acts 2:38 is promised to all believing penitents who are baptized into Christ, and since the Spirit dwells in all Christians, this is the gift of the Spirit which was promised in Ac 2:38. - James D. Bales, The Holy Spirit And The Christian, p.13 b. "This indwelling is not accompanied by miraculous manifestations, but by moral and spiritual fruit (Ga 5: 22-23)." - ibid. c. If the "gift" is the Holy Spirit Himself, then it likely refers to the "indwelling" of the Spirit 1) A blessing enjoyed by all Christians
(cf. 1Co 6:19; Ro 8:9-11) 2) Which we shall examine more fully in another study B. FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT AS THE GIVER OF THE GIFT... 1. As indicated before, this view is that Peter refers to the gift of salvation given by the Spirit (cf. Puckett) 2. This view is generally held by those who... a. Oppose any concept of a literal, personal indwelling of
the Spirit b. Believe the Spirit's indwelling is entirely mediated, i.e., through the Word only 3. This view is generally held by those who... a. Warn against the potential dangers of the opposing view b. Believe it provides a stronger case against certain doctrinal errors 4. Yet these words by R.L. Whiteside regarding this view are very sobering: "...much perversion of Scripture is indulged in to support sectarian error, and some perverting is done occasionally to refute the arguments of errorists." - Reflections, p. 218 CONCLUSION 1. What is the gift of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:38? I am mostly persuaded by ... a. The overwhelming consensus of Greek scholars b. The immediate and remote contexts in which the phrase is found 2. Like many others, I believe "the gift of the Holy Spirit" is the Spirit Himself... a. Given to those who become children of God - cf. Ga 4:6 b. A promise related to the indwelling of the Spirit - cf. 1Co 6:19 3. The Spirit as the gift is an important element of the promise made to Abraham: "in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed..." - Gen 22:18 a. A promise fulfilled by Jesus blessing us, in turning us away from our sins - Ac 3:25-26 b. A promise fulfilled by the work of the Spirit, whom Jesus poured out richly upon us that we might be justified and sanctified - Tit 3:5-7; 1Co 6:11 4. Even if "the gift of the Holy Spirit" in Ac 2:38 refers to something the Spirit gives... a. Other passages speak of the Spirit as being given to the Christian - Jn 7:37-39; Ac 5:32 b. What a wonderful gift, one that refreshes the Christian like "rivers of living water"! We shall learn more of the refreshing benefit of the Spirit in the life of the Christian, when we take a look at the indwelling of the Spirit...