Does the Holy Spirit only dwell in us through the Word of God?
I am a member of the church we read about in the New Testament. I am currently studying the matter of the 'indwelling of the Holy Spirit.' I have reviewed both sides of the teachings. (Proverbs 18:13;17) I believe the Bible teaches a dynamic indwelling of the Holy Spirit and not just indwelling by the word. This has caused visible tension in my congregation in our Bible study class. It was the furthest thing that I wanted to do, but I could not let it go when it comes to teachings found in the Bible. I have not allowed it to grow and pester because I know division is what the devil wants. The teacher and I have expressed that it is something that we will not divide over. I have brought to light the Scriptural evidence to support a dynamic dwelling in class and left it at that. I have noticed though that the minister keeps lightly pushing the teaching away with his comments in class to suggest that I do not know what I am talking about. I am having a hard time letting it go and forgiving. I just keep silent because there is already a bit of tension in the congregation because of other matters. I am a new Christian, only a year, but I have had the opportunity to attend university to study Christian Ministry. I plan to go into the ministry in some effect, Lord willing. I say that to say that I have a lot of time on my hands to study these matters because I am single and work a job that allows me to listen to study material. I am far from knowing even a little bit of God's word but I am just firmly convicted to defend teachings found in the Bible when it comes to God's word. I need help to build unity, love, and peace. I do not want to bring division, but I also do not want to fold on a Biblical teaching. Do I keep silent, press on, and learn to build unity? Do I stand firm but lovingly just share Scripture to support what I believe that Bible teaches? I know it is only God that is going to bring about the change and I want to ensure that I exhibit what a child of His is to be in moments like this. I guess this is the first time I am experiencing conflict in the church. Anything helps.
Thanks for reaching out. As to your question about the Holy Spirit and how He interacts with us - through the Word only or through a dynamic presence within us.
This difference of opinion has been present among us for a long time and, as your message confirms, continues to be a topic of disagreement to this day. I say this because it is wise to understand this before engaging in debate. The positions are held quite strongly so the possibility for division is great and we must be careful not to allow a disagreement over this to separate us as brethren in Christ. That result would negate whichever conclusion we arrive at and demonstrate that the Spirit of God (which is love) is not at work in us or through the Word. The Holy Spirit does not teach or promote division!
Now, I happen to agree with you in that Acts 2:38 teaches that the Holy Spirit dwells in some dynamic fashion within the body of the believer. If this were the only passage that suggested this, our case might be assailable since the expression, "...you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" might be open to various interpretations. However, we also have Acts 5:32; Romans 8:9-11; I Corinthians 6:19; Ephesians 3:16; and I John 3:24 that confirm that it is the very Spirit of God that comes to dwell within us personally and not simply through the agency of His Word. As a matter of fact, we have both the Spirit dwelling within us and the power of His Word directing our minds and wills to live in a holy manner pleasing to God. When it comes to this issue, it is not a question of either/or but the reality of both/and. We receive both the Spirit and His Word.
Hope this is helpful as you move forward. Let this situation be an opportunity for you to become even more convinced of your position on this issue so that when it will be your turn to teach/preach, you will be skilled in the explanation of this and other truths found in God's word. However, avoid the temptation to be drawn into a situation where there must be a winner, this will only cause strife and will not benefit the church. We all have room to grow, some need additional time to reach certain conclusions.
Blessings on your plans to serve the Lord and His church in the future.