SPIRIT and SPIRITS, HOW THEY INFLUENCE YOUR MIND- UNIT 4
The Bible has much to say about “spirit” and “spirits”, a topic carefully handled by religionists in a way as to keep most people ignorant and confused. An ignorant and confused following makes for a dependent following and a dependent following is one that is easily manipulated and kept under control.
The words “spirit” and “spirits” occur in combination between 600 and 700 times in scripture, depending on what version of the Bible you may be using.
SPIRIT / SPIRITS – Spirit / Spirits are of a genre of words found in the Bible, which have complex meanings, rarely conveyed by simple all-encompassing definitions.
In the Bible, there are at least eleven different categories of definitions attached to the words, Spirit/spirits yet people have a tendency to choose only one (their personal favorite). Then they attach that meaning anywhere they see the word in the Bible.
The Eleven categories (Groups of meanings) these words fall into are as follows:
1. HOLY SPIRIT, THE HOLY SPIRIT, A HOLY SPIRIT, SPIRIT OF God (Example)
Luke 1:35 “In answer the angel said to her: “Holy spirit will come upon you, and power of the Most High will overshadow you. For that reason also what is born will be called holy, God’s Son.”
2. SPIRIT AS LIFE FORCE (Example)
James 2:26 YLT “for as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also the faith apart from the works is dead.”
3. HOLY SPIRIT – As a POWER or a FORCE for accomplishment (Example)
Psalm 104:30 NIB “When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth”.
4. SPIRIT as a Dominant Motivation, Inclination or Awareness (Example)
Proverbs 18:14 JPS “The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a broken spirit who can bear?”
5. SPIRITS as Someone or Something, with Individuality, a living being (Example) 2
Chronicles 18:20 NJB “A spirit then came forward and stood before Yahweh and said, “I will entice him.” “How?” Yahweh asked”.
6. DIFFERENT KINDS OF SPIRITS (7 Examples)
Numbers 14:24 BBE ”But my servant Caleb, because he had a different spirit in him”.
John 14:17 NJB “the Spirit of truth”.
1 Kings 22:22 NJB “a deceptive spirit”
Ephesians 6:12 BBE “spirits of evil”
1 Timothy 4:1 NLT “lying spirits”
Hosea 5:4 NIB “A spirit of prostitution is in their heart; they do not acknowledge the LORD”.
Ephesians 1:17 NWT. “a spirit of wisdom”
7. SPIRIT‘S RESIDENCY IN HUMANS (4 Examples)
Ephesians 2:22 NWT “In union with him YOU, too, are being built up together into a place for God to inhabit by spirit.
2 Timothy 1:14 ASV “That good thing which was committed unto thee guard through the Holy Spirit which dwelleth in us”.
Romans 8:11 NJB “and if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead has made his home in you, then he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your own mortal bodies through his Spirit living in you.”
1 Corinthians 6:19 NKJ “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?”
While the above verses all relate to forms of Holy Spirit, God’s spirit, the quintessence of godly spirits, there are also other spirits which affect humans. The following verses all allude to evil (bad spirits) which may also reside within humans. They are mentioned in various Bibles as “evil spirits”, “demons”, “devils”, “demoniac” and “unclean spirits”, depending on which version of the bible you are reading.
Examples of scriptural use;
Matthew 7:22 BBE “A great number will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, were we not prophets in your name, and did we not by your name send out evil spirits, and by your name do works of power? KJB demons, NAS devils
Matthew 8:16 BBE “And in the evening, they took to him a number of people who had evil spirits; and he sent the spirits out of them with a word, and made well all who were ill;” YLT “demoniacs” NIV “demon-possessed”.
1 Timothy 4:1 BBE “But the Spirit says clearly that in later times some will be turned away from the faith, giving their minds to spirits of deceit, and the teachings of evil spirits, NIV deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.” DRA “spirits of error and doctrines of devils” NRS “deceitful spirits and teachings of demons”
8. SPIRIT in RELATION to MIND – (Mental disposition or inclinations as influenced by Spirit) (2 Examples)
Romans 8:5 NIV “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires”.
Romans 9:1 NRS “I am speaking the truth in Christ– I am not lying; my conscience confirms it by the Holy Spirit”
9. SPIRIT AS A TEACHER or REVEALER of information (Example)
John 14:26 NWT “But the helper, the holy spirit, which the Father will send in my name, that one will teach YOU all things and bring back to YOUR minds all the things I told YOU”.
10. SPIRIT AS A GIFT FROM GOD (Example)
Acts 2:38 NAU “Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.“
11. SPIRITUAL, as a different REALM or DIMENSION (3 Examples).
Luke 24:39 BBE “See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; feel me and see, because a spirit does not have flesh and bones .”
John 6:63 NWT, “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.”
NIV John 3:6 NJB “what is born of human nature is human; what is born of the Spirit is spirit”.
When one analyzes one hundred and thirty-two verse in the Bible containing the expression; “spirit of”, one comes away with a good collective understanding behind the word “spirit”as used in those verses.
Therein we see “spirit” in its fundamental terms as a driving force behind the way someone acts. Clearly that driving force is a mental condition for it is within the mind of an individual where it takes residence and influences the physical and emotional behavior of that person.
However, a commonly held application for the word is of an incorporeal entity apart from the body and that man has an immortal spirit within him that can be conscious after death. This was the understanding of the Greek philosophers, the Pharisees of Jesus’s day, and numerous pagan religions. While this understanding may be open to questions in the minds of many Bible experts. Though it is not explicitly confirmed Scripturally. it has nevertheless been accepted and promoted by most religious leaders today.
Our debate is not over whether this concept is erroneous or not. The problem is that it is misapplied too often in instances where one confronts the word ‘Spirit” in the bible.
One of the most important meanings in connection with spirit/spirits alludes to the fact that we can have one or more ‘spirits’ residing within us at the same time, and they can all influence our thoughts and our behavior. This highly significant meaning behind the word ‘spirit’ is ignored by most people, to their own detriment.
This is an important biblical understanding and should not be overlooked, yet, it is only one example where ignorance of a true meaning is far from “bliss”. But this is not the point we want to stress here. Our point is that instead of teaching that there are differing meanings for the word “spirit”, most religious teachers are content to promote a single favorite meaning (wrong or right) like the one above, while disregarding other meanings. When the definition they apply doesn’t appear to fit the context of the verse they are reading confusion sets in and raises questions and doubts about the Bible in reader’s minds.
In this case, ignorance about the proper application as it applies to the verse being considered contributes to confusion and often doubt, painting God’s word in its entirety in a questionable light. Then, people are apt to question the verses validity and either go back to their clergymen with their doubts where they are given another explanation, (also frequently flawed), or lose confidence in God’s word altogether. Either way, God’s arch enemy is the benefactor.
Whether examples like these, are mere mistaken circumstance or deliberate forms of deception can be difficult to determine based on any one example. However when one finds a pattern and multiple examples where ignorance and confusion are the strings operating the puppet of deception, pre-meditation enters the picture. Then it becomes a matter of the greatest importance to know the difference between a spirit of truth and a spirit of deception.
The next unit in this series will explore how we can know the difference between the spirits of truth and the spirits of deception as we confront them or rather, as they confront us, as they surely will if we are true Christians.