The Spirit Of God
by Wayne Blank
The "Spirit Of God" In The Old Testament
In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word translated as "Spirit" in the term "Spirit of God" is (pronounced) roo-awkh which, surprisingly to many, literally means breath, or more specifically, exhalation, a breathing out. "Breath" may not seem to make sense as a term for Spirit until one appreciates the fact that breath represents life, a living, creative force, as plainly described in these verses in which "breath" is used as an analogy for the Spirit of God:
"then The Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being" (Genesis 2:7 RSV)
Examples of the "Roo-awkh of God," the knowledge and creative ability of God, from your Bible:
"The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit [i.e. roo-awkh, "breath"] of God was moving over the face of the waters, And God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light." (Genesis 1:2-3 RSV)
The "Spirit Of God" In The New Testament
In the New Testament, the Greek word translated as "Spirit" in the term "Spirit of God" is (pronounced) new-mah and means the same thing as the Old Testament word discussed above, breath, but with a much more profound usage - the Old Testament word was generally used to refer to the creating of physical life, while the New Testament word is used to refer to the power that will, in due time, after serving as a "deposit," or "guarantee" until then (i.e. "He has put His seal upon us and given us His Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee," 2 Corinthians 1:22 RSV) will create eternal life.
"And when Jesus was baptized [see Baptism], He went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and He saw the Spirit [i.e. new-mah, "breath"] of God descending like a dove, and alighting on Him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, "This is My beloved Son, with Whom I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:16-17 RSV)
Fact Finder: What is meant by the Biblical term "quicken"?