A Word from His WORD
Pastor Tony Spencer
A while back during a Bible study God revealed to me a profound truth from His Word. As I was seeking the deeper meaning of being filled with and led by the Holy Spirit, God unveiled a truth to me that has literally transformed the way I read and understood the encounter Jesus had with Nicodemus.
In John chapter 3 a Pharisee named Nicodemus came to Jesus at night saying in verse 2 “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with Him.” Jesus told Nicodemus in verse 3 “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” When Nicodemus appeared to be confused by what Jesus said, Jesus clarified the meaning by saying this in verses 5-7 “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, you must be born again.”
It is easy for any Bible student or teacher to understand that the context of John 3:1-8 is dealing with someone being spiritually born again. Jesus told Nicodemus just as you have to experience a physical birth to live in the natural, but you must experience a spiritual birth in order to live a Spiritual life. The NASB translation and most other conservative translations translated verse 8 like this; “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit (NASB).” However, when I did a word study on verse 8 God revealed to me that the best translation to this passage would read like this: “The Spirit moves where He wishes and you can hear the sound of His voice, but do not know from where He comes from and where He is going, such is everyone who have been born of the Spirit.” I noticed that the word in the Greek that most Bibles translated as wind in verse 8 was the same word translated as Spirit in the same verse. Also the same Greek word “pneuma” is used throughout the N.T. some 375 out of some 380 times (according to Logos) as spirit or Spirit depending on the context. It is only translated here wind and in Hebrews 1:7 as winds and in three other places as breath. Honestly, when I realized that the Spirit of God was translated as an “it,” I was grieved. Why? Because the Holy Spirit is God, not an it.
Think about it, we can understand the Spirit to move as the wind when we understand Who and how the Spirit ministers in our lives today. However, we may not always think of wind as describing the Holy Spirit because it is limited in its meaning. We may also understand the Spirit to be the breath of God. However, once again the word breath has a much more limited meaning than the word Spirit.
When I read this passage translated in a more literal Word for Word translation, it really helps me to understand how we are to live and move and have our being as Spirit-filled believers. Even after we are Born of the Spirit we are also called to walk in the Spirit, to be filled with the Spirit, to be guided by the Holy Spirit, to be taught by the Holy Spirit and we are to pray in the Spirit. Therefore, it only makes sense that we should listen to the voice of the Spirit as we walk with Him, as we are filled with Him, as we are guided by Him and as we pray and are taught by Him. I do not believe I have ever heard the audible voice of God, but I have experienced the still small voice of the Holy Spirit within me moving me just as John 3:8 teaches us He would. This happens often when I am praying, teaching and preaching God’s Word. It also happens often when i am witnessing and ministering to others in His Kingdom. Honestly, I’m not sure that there is ever a time when we are living intentionally for Jesus that the Holy Spirit isn’t leading us to do so.
John 3:8 NASB version says, “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Pastor Tony’s literal version “The Spirit moves where He wishes and you can hear the sound of His voice, but do not know from where He comes from and where He is going, such is everyone who have been born of the Spirit.” This is important to know because the wind doesn’t speak to us and the wind doesn’t guide us Spiritually. However, if we are Born of the Spirit we know that the Holy Spirit does speak to our heart and soul and He does lead and guide our lives. AMEN!
I believe Jesus gave Nicodemus tremendous Spiritual insight into what it would be like for Nicodemus to be Born of the Spirit. I also believe Jesus gave Nicodemus insight to how he would be able to live a Spirit-filled life after his Spiritual birth. This also means we too have been given this same insight, both in our Spiritual birth and our living a Spirit-filled life. This is why we must be “… diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
It is always my desire to know the Truth and the Truth to set me free. Therefore, I am certain that other life changing treasures and insights just like Jesus taught Nicodemus are just waiting to be discovered throughout the Word of God. It is my prayer that as we read and study the Written Word that God reveals Himself to us as the Living Word that became flesh and dwelt among us. To God be the Glory.
A Word from His Word,
More information about The Journey Church
We are a Spirit-Filled, Bible-Driven Church and our services are designed with upbeat, exciting praise and worship music. We are contemporary, yet casual, no tie required.
We have purposed at The Journey Church to offer ministries that are relevant to the entire family and all ages. It is our desire to give Cleveland and the surrounding areas a place to worship God in Spirit and Truth. This is your personal invitation to visit with us at your earliest convenience. If you are new to the area, or searching for a place to belong and the presence of God, you are welcome here at The Journey. Remember, the joy is in the journey when you are following and serving the Lord, Jesus, Christ!
In Christ Alone,