Spirit Wind

Pneuma Edit

Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.” (John 3:5-8)

Daily Bible Reading: Leviticus 14:33 – 16:34

Relate: Pneuma. The word can mean “Spirit” or it can mean “wind”. Pneuma is used five times in these four verses. Three times we translate it to be talking about the Holy Spirit. Once it is our spirit. And once it is wind. Although we translate it differently, when Jesus is speaking to Nicodemus, every time He is using the exact same word. If we didn’t translate the word at all in the NLT it would look like this:

I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and pneuma. Humans can reproduce only human life, but pneuma gives birth to pneuma. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ Pneuma blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear it but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of pneuma.

The thing is, to an ancient Greek, the word doesn’t just mean wind. Outside of scripture it is often used to mean “breath” and it is from this concept that the philosophers began using it to mean “spirit”. The philosophers believed there was a wind inside of us that gave birth to our thought and our will. Pneuma was a key concept of Stoic philosophy. They used it to mean “breath of life” and believed that our pneuma was a combination of air and fire. So let us look at Jesus words again translating the word pneuma as “breath” where we would see “spirit”.

I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and breath. Humans can reproduce only human life, but breath gives birth to breath. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ Wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear it but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of breath.

React: When God created Adam, He formed him from the dust of the ground. He then breathed on him and it was only at this point that Adam became a living person. Forgive me for the interpretative license but I would say that, in a sense, when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate the fruit, they exhaled. They breathed out,. They rejected the Breath of Heaven. From that point forward people were born and living sacks of dust and water. They went through the functions of life but they were not truly Alive. Every now and then scripture would say that the Spirit, the breath, would come on someone, but it didn’t really enter in. Something was missing. In the end of John, the first time Jesus meets up with His disciples after His resurrection, what does He do? He breathes on them. Then He tells them “receive the Holy Spirit.” What was lost has been found. They have come alive. The breath of heaven has come to dwell in them.

Respond: 

God, breathe on me again. I am desperate for the wind of Your Spirit. It is in You that I have life. It is through You that I can breathe. You are my source. You are my purpose. All that I have, all that I am is Yours. Let Your Spirit move me and carry me and sustain me and direct me. I am desperate for You. You alone are my life.

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13 thoughts on “Spirit Wind

  1. Well written! This reflects a good bit of research and study into the topic. Thanks for sharing this.

    Steven

  2. Pingback: John 3:5-8 | A disciple's study

  3. Pingback: Creation of the earth and man #22 Man in the image and likeness of the Elohim #6 Spirits, spiritual bodies and illusory perception – Messiah For All

  4. While every Christian has received the regeneration of the Spirit in the New Birth we need the progressive sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit in order that the work, that has been begun may be developed. A key aspect of sanctification is the infilling of the Spirit. A continual work which Paul likened to one who is drunk with wine. How we need to be under the possession, under the control of the Spirit each and every day? This is what we pray for when we seek the wind of God in the life of the Christian. Something else we pray for is Revival. This occurs when Spiritual Power falls upon an entire company of Christians at once. The course of nations have been altered by such an awakening. The most striking historical example is the Protestant Reformation. The revival in New York in 1858 is another, which eventually spread to Ireland and to the rest of the British Isles. There are other examples of more localised revivals. We must pray for such a Breath from Heaven.

    “O Breath of life, come sweeping through us,
    revive your church with life and power.
    O Breath of life, come, cleanse, renew us;
    and fit your church to meet this hour.

    O Wind of God, come bend us, break us,
    till humbly we confess our need.
    Then in your tenderness remake us;
    revive, restore, for this we plead.

    O Breath of love, come breathe within us,
    renewing thought and will and heart.
    Come, love of Christ, afresh to win us;
    Revive your church in every part.”

    Author , Bessie Porter Head

  5. Great contemplation! I always get so much out of translations being used to add meaning to what I am limited to in English. Saying that Adam & Eve breathed out their spirit when they sinned makes a great deal of sense. People who have had near death experiences talk about everything being MORE; more colorful, more fragrant, more alive. We are just walking bags of water and dust. Fortunately, God likes that sort of thing! 🙂

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