Led by the Spirit or Intellect?

**As I progress through my doctoral program I will be placing some of my work on here. Please feel free to engage with me in the learning process to seek greater depth in understanding of leadership, scripture, and life.

The interpretation of scripture is not solely an intellectual exercise, nor is it solely a spiritual experience with the Holy Spirit. There must a balance of both. William Arp (2012) posed the question by asking, “Is the utilization of a procedure sufficient to enable the interpreter to arrive at the author’s intended meaning? Can the interpreter discover this meaning on his own? Or does he need some help from the Holy Spirit?” (p.50) Just as sound hermeneutics are vital to seeking the understanding of scripture, so is the ability of the interpreter to listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This insures interpretation is not simply an academic exercise of intellectual engagement, but also a spiritual experience. Paul Enns (1989) writes, “It is the “ministry of the Holy Spirit in enlightening the believer, enabling the believer to understand the Word of God.” (p. 637)

In Luke 24:49 Jesus commands his disciples to wait, or “tarry”, in the city until “you are clothed with power from on high.” (Crossway Bibles, 2007) This command to wait on the Holy Spirit can also be applied today in the interpretation of the biblical text. “This practice of waiting upon God is a self-willed human act” of obedience that allows space for him to speak to individuals. (Wall, 2013, p.38) This practice of waiting, or ‘tarrying’, to allow space for the Holy Spirit to speak can lead to deeper insight and understanding of scripture. It is the role of the Holy Spirit to “not circumvent but ‘arouse’ human intellect to know the plan of God’s salvation in order that the Church may cooperate with God in saving the world” (Wall, 2013, p. 51)


 Arp, W. (2012). Illumination: What is the Role of the Holy Spirit in Interpretation? Journal of Ministry & Theology, 16(1), 50–86.

Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English Standard Version (ESV text ed.). Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles.

Enns, P. P. (2014). The Moody Handbook of Theology.

Wall, R. W. (2013). Waiting on the Holy Spirit (Acts 1.4): Extending a Metaphor to Biblical Interpretation. Journal of Pentecostal Theology, 22(1), 37–53.


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