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The Mystery of the Holy Spirit
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on November 8, 2011
Many times as a pastor I have heard Christians refer to the Holy Spirit as an "it," or a "power/force," or the like. I have also heard many times that the most abstract member of the trinity to many Christians is the Holy Spirit. It has been my own experience that I have had to work harder to understand and know the Holy Spirit more than any other Person in the Trinity. In this book Dr. Sproul writes with profound insight, biblical acumen, and exegetical precision and gradually peels away the mysteries surrounding the third Person in the Trinity.

There are ten good reasons to read this book and its because each chapter handles a distinct important aspect of the character or attributes of the Holy Spirit and Sproul then cogently and articulately explains the ramifications for us theologically and then practically.

In chapter one Dr. Sproul asks and answers the question "Who is the Holy Spirit?" by using various Scriptures demonstrating that the Holy Spirit is a "person;" that we are called to a have a "personal relationship with him;" and that he performs "personal tasks."

In chapter two the author gives a plethora of Scriptures and some very good logical arguments like this one: "Were the Holy Spirit not God, it is extremely unlikely that blasphemy against Him would be regarded as unpardonable," to show very clearly that the Bible teaches the deity of the Holy Spirit in both the Old and New Testaments.

In chapter three Dr. Sproul tackles and dismantles the most common objections raised against the Trinity and deals with them historically, biblically, and philosophically. He answers the following objections with great erudition, concise simplicity, and with immense sagacity:

Objection #1: The Word "Trinity" is not a biblical word and represents the invasion of foreign philosophy into biblical revelation.

Objection #2: The doctrine of the Trinity is contradictory and therefore irrational.

He demonstrates clearly in this chapter that the Trinitarian formula is neither contradictory nor irrational--rather it is biblical and logical.

Chapter four is vintage Sproul. Dr. Sproul is known for his outstanding vocabulary and for making things clear by explaining the meaning of words with reference to his subject of discussion. Dr. Sproul takes the time in this chapter to define the meanings and distinctions of the Holy Spirit as "essence" and "person." He explains this by elaborating on three concepts: contradiction, paradox, and mystery with reference to our understanding of the Holy Spirit's character and attributes.

Chapter six is a wonderful explanation of God the Holy Spirit's work in physical and spiritual creation. He summarizes the chapter in this manner: "It is the Holy Spirit who supplies the dynamic for the created world. By His power the universe has life and motion...there is a parallel between the Spirit's work in creation and redemption. As He is the generating power of biological life, so is He the source and generating power of spiritual life. His work in redemption mirrors and supplements His work in creation. He works both in creation and re-creation of a fallen world."

In Chapter six Dr. Sproul gives a masterful presentation on what it means to be "born-again" or "regenerated" by the Holy Spirit. He demonstrates from John 3 and Ephesians 2 how we are "dead" spiritually and must be "made alive" by the Holy Spirit in order to be saved. He gives an outstanding presentation of why regeneration must precede faith and obliterates the much believed idea that faith + rebirth = justification.

Chapter seven is a wonderful articulation of the eternal security of those who are indeed regenerate. Sproul gives a very good presentation on the biblical distinctions of justification (monergistically - God alone working to save us); and sanctification (synergistically - the cooperation between the Holy Spirit and us).

I think chapter 8 on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is perhaps the best in the book. The baptism of the Spirit may be one of the least understood issues in theology today. Dr. Sproul brings great clarity and synthesis to a better understanding of this doctrine and its immense importance. The thesis he defends is summed up at the end of the chapter in this manner:

"I am not saying that everyone who is a member of a Christian church has the Holy Spirit. Membership in the visible church no more guarantees the baptism of the Holy Spirit than it guarantees salvation. We know that there are unbelievers who are church members. No unbeliever has the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but every believer, every regenerate person, does have the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Every Christian from Pentecost to the present is both regenerate of the Spirit and baptized in the Spirit. That is the essence of the meaning of Pentecost. Anything less casts a shadow over the sacred importance of Pentecost in the history of redemption. Any person who is regenerate is also sealed by the Spirit, baptized in the Spirit, and has the earnest of the Spirit."

In chapter nine we have a great exposition of Galatians 5 contrasting the works of the flesh and the work of the Spirit, and lastly in chapter ten Dr. Sproul shows how the Holy Spirit is Christ's Vicar on earth to empower, comfort, and use us for the glory of Christ.

Honestly, I'm surprised this book has not been a BIG seller. As far as I'm concerned it is the best book bridging great scholarship in laymen's terms on the Person and Work of the Holy Spirit in the English language. I have read over twenty books on the Holy Spirit - and this is my third time through Sproul's work, and it is still the one I would recommend most if you are going to read one book on the Holy Spirit.
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on January 7, 2014
I bought this book because I have a goal of learning more about the Holy Spirit. From a technical standpoint, this book was very informative. I was, however, disappointed that there wasn’t more guidance in the details of what a healthy, working relationship with the Holy Spirit is like. I was seeking more of a “where the rubber meets the road” type enlightenment. I’m a very practical, active in living, middle class family mom. I so desire to fully recognize and follow the Holy Spirit’s working in my life. I want God’s full, two-way, clear participation in my survival and usefulness “on this planet”. If you know of any media that might be of use to me, please respond to this post.

Though this book was not exactly what I hoped, I do not regret reading it. I appreciated the technical Biblical outline of the Holy Spirit. I will however note that some of Mr. Sproul’s interpretations of this information disturbed me somewhat, especially on the subject of “salvation”. I felt that there was little room, respect or tolerance for other valid, well studied, interpretations. This, as well, is a great mystery of the Holy Spirit to me. How can there be so many well studied, well supported interpretations of Scripture diligently taught throughout time and cultures by people who are obviously seeking God’s truth with all their energy and heart? You would think that if we, as Christians, all have access to the same Holy Spirit, our sincere belief’s would be the same.
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on December 1, 2014
I love listening to and reading R. C. Sproul. Our Lord has gifted him in a unique manner given his training in philosophy and theology. Pneumatology has been somewhat neglected in modern times and taken a back seat to Christology. This is a shame because the essence and work of the Holy Spirit is arguably more present in our day to day, minute to minute Christian lives than the other members of the Trinity. Though fully God and co-equal and co-eternal, the Spirit is not as tangible in Scripture for us as Christ and the Father. Yet it is through the Spirit that the world is created, sustained and we are able to be "in Christ" and "in one body." Dr. Sproul has a gift for explaining theological matters in ways that are accessible for the average Christian yet not watered down or oversimplified. The very presence of the Holy Spirit defines us as a Christian for He dwells in us and with us. I commend this book to all as it has helped me tremendously.
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on July 26, 2017
This was a gift for Mom. She REALLY likes it!
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on April 10, 2017
Thank you.
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on April 27, 2016
Helps you truly appreciate the gift of the Holy Spirit. It offers great insight and revelation on the work and importance of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in God's work. Great book for those looking to get closer to the Holy Spirit. I love the Holy Spirit! Holy Spirit You are Welcome Here! .
Happy reading.
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on August 31, 2017
Described and delivered as promised
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on September 8, 2016
The finest book on the Holy Spirit I have read. Dr. Sproul helps us understand the Work of the Holy Spirit in layman's language. I would recommend this book to all, from the new believer to the lifetime Saint.
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on April 5, 2013
I have benefited greatly from reading this book. I have always been confused by the common explanations but never understood them nor found them to be biblically sound. I did understand Sproul's explanations, including the fact that the Holy Spirit is a Person to be called He, not it. Sproul gave a complete and thorough revelation that cleared up much of the mystery of the Holy Spirit for me.
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on October 1, 2015
This was a great book. The first few chapters are difficult to understand but chapter 5 rocks. If you can get to chapter 5, then it really makes sense of what the Holy Spirit is all about. I highly recommend this if you are doing some soul searching
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