Summary: The very first chapter of the Bible reveals a divine pattern about the Spirit and the Word that will bless your life and those around you. Embracing this pattern will empower you and enable you to be lights for the Lord in this dark world.
This is the Bible’s account of the creation (“In the beginning God created…”). Genesis 1:2 is the first specific mention in Scripture of the Holy Spirit. Then immediately after the Holy Spirit is mentioned, vss. 3-27 record God speaking the heavens and earth and mankind into existence.
There is a profound truth in these verses concerning the relationship of the Spirit of God and the Word of God. I first heard this connection mentioned in a teaching on Genesis by the late, esteemed Bible teacher Kevin Conner. Kevin pointed out that the creation in vss. 3-27 was preceded by the moving of the Spirit of God in verse 2. In other words, the moving of the Holy Spirit prepared the way and opened the door for the powerful, creative Word of God — “And God said…”
What was the situation before God spoke the creative word? “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep…” (vs. 2). What happened next? “The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” (2, KJV). And what occurred immediately after the moving of the Holy Spirit upon the dark, formless, shapeless deep? God began to speak the words of creation — “And God said, ‘Let there be light’.” And this divine speaking continued for the 6 days of creation (3-27) and culminated in the capstone of God’s creative work, the bringing into being of the first man and woman, Adam and Eve.
Our takeaway today from this great creation account is this "first mention" principle that we see throughout the rest of the Bible — the moving of the Spirit of God opens the door for the Word of God. Let’s see more of this grand truth in the Scriptures.
The very Bible itself was the result of the Holy Spirit’s moving. All “prophecy of Scripture” came into being because “holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (vs. 2, KJV). The order was this: the Spirit of God moved upon human writers, who in turn wrote down the words God gave them. The Spirit moved, then the Word came forth, exactly as in the creation.
This gives us a great hint for effective Bible study. The Holy Spirit Himself communicated the Scriptures to the prophets, apostles, and others who wrote God’s Word down. The Bible writers were “moved by the Holy Spirit.” So the Spirit of God is best equipped to teach us its truths and help us understand the Scriptures. Before I read or study the Bible, my habit is to pray this prayer (in these words or something similar to seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance): “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law” (Psalm 119:18). Jesus highly encouraged us to listen to the Holy Spirit’s instruction — “The Holy Spirit…will teach you all things” (John 14:26).
This list is commonly called the “gifts of the Spirit.” They are nine supernatural gifts (not natural skills) enabled and empowered by the Spirit of God. Some of these are what we could call word gifts (they involve speaking) — the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, prophecy, tongues, interpretation of tongues. In these gifts a believer speaks words from God. How? Where did these words originate? Verse 11 sums it up: “One and the same Spirit works all these things.”
As in the creation, as also in the writing of the Bible, God’s spiritual gifts are manifested in this way: (1) the Holy Spirit moves upon a believer … (2) the believer ministers the word(s) given him [or the power to heal, to discern spirits, to do miracles, etc.]. How do we know this? Because the Scripture says that the “[Holy] Spirit works all these things,” that is, the supernatural gifts that Paul listed. We see a clear example of this Spirit —> Word link in the disciples in Acts 4:31 — “They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”
The Holy Spirit who inspired the Bible, the Word of God, takes that Word and gives it to us to use as a powerful weapon of spiritual warfare — “Take the…sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17). One of the great Bible examples of the Spirit empowering someone to use God’s Word as a spiritual weapon is the account of Jesus fasting 40 days in the wilderness (Luke 4:1-13). In the previous chapter (3:22) the Spirit of God had anointed Jesus (see also Acts 10:38). Then in Luke 4:1 the Spirit led Jesus (now “full of the Holy Spirit”) into the wilderness, where he fasted for 40 days and was tempted by the devil (vs. 2). The devil presented 3 powerful temptations to the Lord. All three times Jesus resisted Satan’s tests and overcame them by the powerful “sword of the Spirit … the word of God.” Christ’s response to each of the devil’s temptings was to overcome the enemy with Scripture! — “It is written … It is written … It is said” (vss. 4,8,12).
We’ve seen a pattern — in the creation, in the writing of the Holy Bible, and in the gifts of the Spirit. That divine pattern is (1) the moving of the Holy Spirit to prepare the way and open the door for (2) the word of God to go forth. Embrace that pattern in your own walk with the Lord. As you pray, as you worship, as you read God’s Word the Bible, as you minister to others, open your heart to the Holy Spirit to speak to you, to prompt you, to instruct you. He will take God’s Word and make it very real to you. And He will, in turn, make you a blessing to others as you live for Jesus Christ as lights in a dark world.
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©2019, James H. Feeney.
& Bible Studies by
Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.