What is the relationship between the Pneumatology

What is the relationship between the Pneumatology contained in the Pauline corpus* and the experience of the author and his intended readers? What implications does your reply have for the development and application of Christian Pneumatology in the twenty-first century?


Pneuma comes from the Greek and means air current or spirit and ology is a organic structure of idea on a given capable therefore divinity, sociology etc.. Pneumatology is the divinity of the Holy Spirit as understood in the Christian tradition. Mentions to the Spirit of God are to be found throughout the Old Testament, in the New Testament and in the Pauline organic structure of Hagiographas. Moltmann ( 1992 ) contends that for many old ages the Holy Spirit was the ‘Cinderella’ [ 1 ] of modern divinity but the rise of the oecumenic motion and in peculiar the 2nd Vatican Council saw turning consciousness of the function of the Spirit. The subsequent growing of Pentecostal and Charismatic motions has since generated a renewed involvement in this ignored country of divinity.

This assignment looks at the relationship between Paul’s experiences, the Pneumatology contained within his work, and the intended receivers of his letters. On the footing of the replies to this inquiry decisions will be drawn as to their deductions for the development and application of Christian Pneumatology in the 21stcentury.

Christians were prophesying the words of Jesus before Paul came along, foremost as the Church’s tormentor and so as its foremost advocator. For many Christian minds Paul is the first Christian theologist, others see his work as take awaying from the instructions of Jesus as found in the Gospels. Bultmann ( 1972 ) maintains that in order to understand early Christianity 1 must first understand Paul. Whatever place scholar’s take with respect to Paul’s work he is most surely non an Apostle who will be ignored. Paul is known for his philippics against implemented Judaic Orthodoxy and his mission to the Gentiles, in fact he is seen by many as the foremostapostle to theGentiles. [ 2 ]

Paul’s Theology

The organic structure of work that is attributed to Paul paperss his experiences and demonstrates the development of his divinity on the footing of such experiences ( Becker, 1993 ) . Becker maintains that:

…the divinity of Paul is the divinity of experience under the influence of the Gospel and of the Spirit connected with it, . . . [ so that ] if Paul designs his theological statements on the footing of his experience of the Gospel, so the content of the Gospel must accordingly be the step and standard of everything — in short, for the reading of all world( Becker, 1993: :xi ) .

Paul came from Tarsus and was non a adherent of Jesus he had heard the sermon of the Hellenistic Church and had a dramatic transition experience on the route to Damascus. [ 3 ] Paul was a fervent and pious Jew and his transition experience led him to oppugn the Torah. This was because Paul was convinced that redemption came through the grace of Christ entirely and non through personal righteousness and attachment to the Law ( Bultmann, 1972 ) . However, he believed that the Law did demo the Jews ( and the Gentiles ) what righteousness was. Certain of the Jews tried to accomplish this through an implemented legalism and Paul said that this was non possible. The Law exposed wickedness and people’s inability to truly adhere to the Law. This, as Stendahl ( 1963 ) points out was because of his concern about what would go on to it with the coming of the Messiah and what would go on to the Jews who were God’s chosen elect.

An Eschatological and Anthropological Position

Bultmann ( 1972 ) maintains that Paul’s transition was non the consequence of penitence but instead obedient entry to the call of the opinion of God through Christ and it is this that is the footing of his divinity. Eschatology or the philosophy of the terminal times and God’s opinion on the present universe is cardinal to Paul’s thought and the presence of the Holy Spirit demonstrates this feeling of ‘now and non yet’ . [ 4 ] For Bultmann, Paul’s own apprehension of the human state of affairs is the key to understanding Paul’s divinity. Therefore Bultmann ( 1972 ) argues that Paul’s divinity is anthropological Internet Explorer. a philosophy of human existences before the life of religion and under the life of religion. Bultmann ( ibid ) contends that the pneumatology that is found in the Pauline principal can be confusing because Paul uses the term pneuma in a figure of different ways. This it seems is due to his apprehension of humanity as corporal topics who have both a mind and a spirit or pneuma.. Bultmann says:

When Pauls speaks of the Pneuma of adult male he does non intend some higher rule within him or some particular rational or religious module of his, but merely his ego, and the lone inquiry is whether the ego is regarded in some peculiar regard when it is called pneuma( Bultmann, 1972:206 ) .

Pneumatology and Christology

In Paul’s divinity the Holy Spirit is about identical from Christ and in fact in Paul’s view the two are inseparable to such an extent that the impression of the Holy Spirit as Ruach or the breath of the Father seems to hold disappeared from Paul’s theological scene. Therefore Gaffin ( 1998 ) demonstrates that in Paul,

The presence of the Spirit is the presence of Christ. There is no relationship with Christ that is non besides family with the Spirit. To belong to Christ is to be possessed by the Spirit. Elsewhere, within the comprehensive expanse of the supplication at the stopping point of Ephesians 3, for “you to be strengthened by [ the ] Spirit inwardly” is nil other than for “Christ to brood in your Black Marias through faith”( Eph. 3. 16–17 ) ( Gaffin, 1998:10 ) . [ 5 ]

It is arguably the instance that Paul viewed the Spirit in this manner because of his ain experiences whereby credence of Christ means the indwelling of the Divine Spirit and thisbears witness to our spirit that we are God’s kids( Romans, 8:16 ) . The Spirit therefore is grounds of Christ’s presence in the truster. This is a position that has been adopted by many present twenty-four hours evangelical Christians but would possibly non hold been so popular in the early Church. In the Gospels ( and even in some of Paul’s work ) the Holy Spirit is related to yet distinguishable from, the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit is a individual who is worthy of worship in his/her ain right [ 6 ]

When Paul had his transition experience he pledged obeisance to Jesus Christ. It is in Paul’s Hagiographas that Luther discovered the philosophy of justification by faith [ 7 ] In many cases in the Pauline principal the Holy Spirit is seen about as a warrant of redemption because he/she informants to the presence of Christ. [ 8 ] Scholars maintain that the missive to the Romans was written to turn to the specific demands of the churches in Rome. This may besides hold related to Paul’s ain experiences and fortunes but the general consensus is that the chief intent of Romans ( which has the most mentions to peumatology ) was to enlighten the Roman church. At that clip there were menaces to the integrity of the Church due to jobs between the Judaic Christians and the Gentiles. [ 9 ] Hahn ( 2000 ) maintains that Paul’s supplication for the Church to populate in the Spirit instead than harmonizing to the flesh was necessary in a Church that whose unit was under menace.

Paul speaks to the Church of being in the flesh or in wickedness, being a slave to transgress. The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, is what sets a believer free from wickedness and gives a individual life. Bultmann ( 1972 ) says:

Man, called to selfhood, attempts to populate out of his ain strength and therefore loses his self-his life-and hastes into decease. This is the domination of wickedness. All man’s making is directed against his true intention-viz, to accomplish life( Bultmann, 1972:246 ) .

It is the individual who has faith who receives life, here once more we see the connexion between Paul’s pneumatology and his ain personal experience of being given new life at the minute of transition. This is when a individual turns from decease to life through the ministry of the Spirit. Paul speaks to both Jew and Gentile when he says that human existences are confronted by righteousness through the Law but are unable to accomplish it. Merely God, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit can do a individual righteous [ 10 ] so that they can stand earlier God as a righteous individual ( Bultmann, 1972 ) . With the righteousness of religion comes the freedom of the Spirit as expressed in the first missive to the Corinthians.

For all things are yours…whether the universe or life or decease or the present or the hereafter, all are yours[ 11 ]

The Spirit takes on a figure of different functions in Paul’s Hagiographas and is closely connected to the constructs of eschatology and of soteriology or redemption history. Paul’s pneumatology is a pneumatology of freedom. In Paul’s believing the Christian is set free from the attentions of the universe to come in the service of God as he himself had done. Through baptism and the gift of the Spirit a individual is freed from wickedness and decease and Galatians ( 5.25 ) is encouraged to walk in the SpiritIf we live by the Spirit, allow us besides walk by the Spirit( Bultmann, 1972 ) . It would look that the whole of Paul’s experience and therefore the divinity that is found in the Pauline principal is permeated by his pneumatology. The whole of the Christian life is based on Paul’s thought of freedom in the Spirit therefore 2 Corinthians 3.17 Tells us thatwhere the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.The truster is freed from the Law. The legalism of some of the Jews had made them slaves to the Law-when it was supposed to make the antonym.

It is through religion and the gift of the spirit that the truster is adopted as a kid of God a procedure Pauls callsthe Spirit of acceptance to Sonship. [ 12 ] As adoptive kids of God we choose to walk in the Spirit instead than the flesh. It is the gift of sonship that frees trusters from slavish attachment to the Law. Bultmann ( 1972 ) writes:

Christian freedom is freedom from all

This freedom nevertheless is merely granted in God. Paul’s pneumatology points to a Christian manner of life that ismarked by or filled with God’s Spirit( Reumann, 1991:79 ) . This stems from Paul’s ain experience since giving his life to the work of God.

Other ways in which the Pauline principal refers to pneumatology are ( as his letters to the Church at Corinth demonstrate ) in footings of religious gifts such as prognostication and speech production in linguas. [ 13 ] Here Paul was covering with the surpluss of some Christians and was giving instructions on how the gifts of the Spirit should be used wisely.The Spirit is besides seen as the sanctifier of the believer’s life. Although the truster becomes righteous and free from the Law through religion, this is frequently a future righteousness that depends on the consecrating work of the Holy Spirit. [ 14 ]


.Based on the above brief study of the Pauline principal it is arguably the instance that Paul had a really distinguishable pneumatology. However, his inclination to talk of Jesus and the Spirit about interchangeably could be debatable in a modern-day, sacredly diverse society. The early Church in the chief, had a divinity of the Spirit which did non bind the Spirit to the Son. This was achieved in 381 with the add-on of the filioque clause. Originally the Spirit proceeded from the Father ( this remains the instance in the Orthodox Church ) the filioque changed this to the Spirit proceeding from the Father through the Son ( Moltmann, 1992 ) . In some respects therefore it is arguably the instance that Paul’s divinity has a inclination to restrict the function of the Holy Spirit, and the 4th Century add-on to the Nicene Creed finally split the Eastern and Western Churches in 1054. Restricting the function of the Spirit in this manner, I would reason, is damaging to the pneumatological freedom that is besides found in the Pauline principal. A pneumatology that speaks of the freedom of the Spirit is arguably a critical portion of any motion to regenerate the Christian religion in the 20 first century. Without this freedom modern-day Christianity could be said to be in danger of distancing itself from its roots and going something that should non be confused with the instructions of Christ. Thus Pneumatology in the 20 first century should be developed as one of the major subjects associating to release in Bible. A pneumatology of freedom non merely in the Christian life, but from all signifiers of unfairness and subjugation. As the Prophets would hold it knowledge of God is demonstrated by the manner in which we treat those who are oppressed.

2000 words


.Becker, J. 1980Paul the Apostle: The Triumph of God in Life and ThoughtPhiladelphia Fortress Press

Becker, J. 1993Paul: Apostle to the GentilesWestminster, John Knox Press.

Bultmann, R. 1972Theology of the New Testament: Volume 1London, SCM Press

hypertext transfer protocol: //dualravens.com/fullerlife/BiblicalPneuma.htm Gordon Fee and the Quest for a Biblical Pneumatology accessed 11/10/05

Moltmann, J. 1992The Spirit of Life A Universal AffirmationLondon, SCM Press

Reumann, J 1991Assortment and Unity in New Testament ThoughtOxford, Oxford University Press

Stendahl, K. 1963 “The Apostle Paul and the Intorspective Conscience of the West”Harvard Theological ReviewVol 56 1963 pp 422-434

Gaffin, R. 1998 “Life Giving Spirit: Probing the Centre of Paul’s Pneumatology”Jets 41/4December 1998573-589 hypertext transfer protocol: //www.etsjets.org/jets/journal/41/41-4/41-4-pp573-589-JETS.pdf accessed 11/10/05

Hahn, R.Pneumatology in Romans 8: Its Historical and Theological Contexthypertext transfer protocol: //wesley.nnu.edu/wesleyan_theology/theojrnl/21-25/21-05.htm accessed 12/10/05