Monday, September 14, 2009

The Third Person

I think it's fair to say that in most of the conversations I've had or heard regarding the Christian life, with respect to the Trinity, topics regarding the First Person (i.e., God the Father) and the Second Person (i.e., God the Son) far outweigh any discussions about the Third Person (i.e., God the Holy Spirit). I'm not sure if that just means that my own life is severely deficient in this regard, but I'll go ahead and assume that is true for most other Christians as well. I don't know if it just means that our perception of the Spirit is that he is weak, but I was working through Mark 1:1-13 for my Gospels exegesis class and I saw something interesting:

Mark 1:9-12
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased." And the Spirit immediately drove him out (ἐκβάλλει) into the wilderness.

I wanted to focus on the word, ἐκβάλλει, which literally means to drive out or cast out. This is the only place as far as I can tell in the NT and LXX, where the Spirit is shown to ἐκβάλλει _______. Why did Mark choose this word? I've looked through R.T. France's NIGTC commentary and this is what he says:

"Whereas Matthew and Luke speak here of the 'leading' of the Spirit, Mark uses the more vivid verb ἐκβάλλει; the historic present adds to the immediacy of the impact. While it would be an exaggeration to say that ἐκβάλλω always suggests violence, it normally implies at least the possibility of resistance... The use of ἐκβάλλω also reinforces the OT concept of the Spirit of God as a powerful force (cf. Mi. 3:8)."

I want to do a study on this particular word sometime to see if any Greco-Roman lit. uses it to describe the actions of any particular deities, but for now, it seems that the Third Person of the Trinity is no wimp to be ignored in our conversations!


Janice said...

i've been thinking about this too lately!

francis chan actually has a new book coming out about this called "Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit":

Anonymous said...

Post more brief studies like this!

J. Suizzle said...

you are studying hard.
keep it up buddy.
i love it.
i'll look at your blog for meaning.
come to mine for design by God :D

Mike S. said...

Janice: Thanks for that link! Hope it's a good one!

Noona: Glad to be of service.

Josh: Thanks for the encouragement and give me some free shoes!

Brian LePort said...

good observation, we must not ignore that the Holy Spirit as as much God as the Father & Son.

Mike S. said...

Brian: Thanks for stopping by, hope your ThM studies are going well... but yes, I completely agree. Esp. coming from a very conservative Reformed background in my high school days probably did not help much... sad.

Anonymous said...


Sinclair Ferguson in his book the "Holy Spirit" has some great thoughts on this verse, and so does Klaus Issler in his book "Jesus in Trinitarian Perspective".

I am in the process of completing a 4 week course on the humanity of Christ which I cover this fairly well. Studied the subject for a good year. It does lead one to a deep appreication for what Christ did, and how the Holy Spirit is here to enable and empower us.

I hope you continue to post your findings should be most interesting.

Mike S. said...

Robert: Thanks for dropping in. And I actually have Ferguson's book, but it's been a while so I will def. take a look at that and I've never heard of that book by Issler, so thanks for the tip!