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Wordwise Insight, Issue #082
June 14, 2011

WORDWISE INSIGHT is the free monthly newsletter of


BIBLE INSIGHTS (and Reader Q & A): Is it possible to resist the Spirit of God?

WORDWISE HYMNS: My Blog called Wordwise Hymns for you to check out!

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Resist the Spirit

(Is it possible to resist the Spirit of God?)

Question: Can we resist the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:51)?

Answer: Yes, apparently we can. The example you cite comes in Stephen's stinging condemnation of the Jewish leaders of his day. He says:

"You stiffnecked [stubborn] and uncircumcised [acting like the heathen] in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers" (Acts 7:51-52).

The Bible in Basic English has, "You whose hearts are hard and whose ears are shut to me; you are ever working against the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you." The word "resist" (antipipto, in Greek) means to oppose, or strive against. In particular, in the context, Stephen seems to be referring to their habitual and continuing rejection of the Spirit-inspired Word of God (notice the reference to ears, and the prophets).

The stubborn disobedience of the Israelites to God's commands is seen many times in the Old Testament (Exod. 33:3; Deut. 9:13; Isa. 63:9-10; Jer. 6:10, etc.). Now, the Jewish leaders are guilty of rejecting Christ, and rejecting God's message about Him. The old pattern is repeating itself (cf. Matt. 23:34).

Commentator Albert Barnes (1798-1870) puts it this way: "You [i.e. those to whom Stephen spoke] oppose the message which is brought to you by the authority of God, and the inspiration of His Spirit. The message brought by Moses, by the prophets, by the Saviour, and by the apostles–all by the infallible direction of the Holy Ghost" (Barnes' Notes, p. 427).

Warren Wiersbe says, "Their ears did not hear the truth, their hearts did not receive the truth, and their necks did not bow [in submission] to ...

For the rest of this article, click on Resist the Spirit.


Come and Pay Us a Visit!

I have developed a blog that is called Wordwise Hymns. As the title suggests, it is about hymns, and church music in general.

But as many of you will know, a blog is especially designed to facilitate a conversation on its particular subject. Readers can easily post comments about what they see, and I'm able to reply. I hope you will take part in the discussion!

Through 2010, almanac entries dealt with what happened in hymn history on each day of the year. Beginning in 2011, I hope to analyze hymns from a biblical standpoint, linking to the material that has come before.

My hope is that the blog will add to the value of the website and this newsletter, and promote some profitable exchanges on the subject of sacred music.

What happened on this day in hymnology? To find out, click Wordwise Hymns.

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