Scripture Monday – Zechariah 4:6

Under the Branches
Image by dino_b via Flickr

So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty (Zechariah 4:6, NIV).

I appreciate the reminder in this verse that it is by God’s Spirit that I am able to make an impact on the lives and world around me – not through my own strength or intellect.

Holy Spirit in the Old Testament

Are there any references to the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament?

The particular understanding of the Holy Spirit as a person of the Trinity comes out of thought around the revelation of Jesus Christ. Thinking about the relationships between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are not something that originate out of the Old Testament, but were formed by Christians thinking about God as most clearly revealed in Jesus Christ and what this might mean. However, there are certainly places in the Old Testament in which the spirit of God is referenced. One prominent example of this is in Genesis:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. Genesis 1:1-2, TNIV.

The reference to the Spirit of God in this passage has clear resonance with reference to the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. One can translate spirit in English from the Hebrew ruah, Greek pneuma or Latin spiritus.

Is the Holy Spirit directly referenced in the Old Testament? There is none of which I am aware. Is the Spirit of God referenced in the Old Testament? Absolutely.

This question came out of a young adult small group taster last Sunday morning in which I taught about the question “What is the Trinity?”