Analysis Of The Holy Spirit By J. Todd Billings

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Amidst the dilution and misinterpretation of Scripture in this day and age, J. Todd Billings’ take on how Scripture should be interpreted was utterly refreshing, although extremely repetitive. It is obvious in the first chapter that Billings is in the Trinitarian soteriology camp. He emphasizes constantly throughout his book that reading and interpreting biblical text without the guidance of the Holy Spirit is futile and useless. He uses numerous examples on how Scripture should be read and understood, both individually and as a whole church. Undoubtedly, Billings has an extremely high view that Christians should be made more and more into the image of Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, as they delve deeper into the Word. Billings believes …show more content…
In helping people to understand that the same Bible (though with limited translations), the same Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, transcends their limited beliefs within various and all cultures. Whether a first-world citizen lives in comfort or a third-world individual lives in poverty, they are all sinners before God. Lesslie Newbigin writes that in truly receiving the Gospel, it will cause a “contradiction [of the culture],” (123) and in it, true conversion (crucifying the old self to resurrect into a new creature in Christ) would occur, regardless of how depraved a culture might be. Thus, the Holy Spirit has the power to change “the heart of stone” into a “heart of flesh” in both a wealthy businessman or the most degenerate man in the Islamist group, Boko Haram. True and sound understanding of Scripture would be a sanctifying process all throughout the life of the believer in “constantly disrupt[ing] sinful cultural patterns.” …show more content…
Billings is of the opinion that historical reading of the Bible is necessary because it all points to Christ and the coming fulfillment of the Word. This is important to Christian faith because our hope is in Christ and His Second Coming. However, a sure difference between many contemporary and premodern readers might be in the purpose of reading and interpreting Scripture. While readers and scholars today might focus on gaining knowledge, the objective of premodern readers was to be sanctified by the Holy Spirit in reading the Word. This is especially important because when we look at modern churches of today, especially in first-world countries, we see a decline of the soteriology that was strong in their theology in premodern times. This may be because many believers may unintentionally compartmentalize their pursuit of knowledge and their pursuit of God. However, Billings is sure that premodern readers understood the most fundamental idea of all: that it is not just about facts and head knowledge, but in order to exegete properly, “it requires a life of prayer and worship before a holy and mysterious God.” (182) In doing so, the Church finds itself drawing nearer to

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