Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

Between the Lines: Baptism of Jesus: January 13, 2013

Text: Luke 3: 15-17; 21-22

“He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”


Whirl-fire (Photo credit: Loving Earth)

The Q text not found in Mark but in Luke and Matthew adds “with fire” to the Mark verse “I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” [Mark 1:8]. Both Luke and Matthew go on to include in John the Baptist’s speech  fire, the winnowing fork, clearing his threshing floor, gathering the wheat into the granary but the chaff to burn with unquenchable fire.

One possibility is that this part of the text was originally in Mark but was later excised. This poses the question of why later editors would remove it. On the other hand, if it is, indeed, from Q one must ask whether the words were simply unknown to Mark’s community and might have been created in later years.

For us, the disparity poses two somewhat different portraits of Jesus. From what you know of Jesus throughout the gospels would you say he is a “fire, threshing floor and unquenchable fire” kind of prophet and person? If Jesus is, as many say, a reflection of God in the flesh, what is being said of your image of God? Do you believe in, worship and pray to a God who includes such fire? How are the decisions you make daily fashioned and influenced by Holy Spirit or Holy Spirit and fire? How do you choose your way through your days with or without a threat of the threshing floor and the unquenchable fire?

– Bill Dols

“Between the Lines” is excerpted from BibleWorkbench, a weekly resource for engaging the biblical story in a new way published by the Educational Center in Charlotte, NC.  For details and subscription information, see About BibleWorkbench.


Between the Lines: Pentecost Sunday: May 27, 2012

Text: John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15

When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf.

As part of the President’s Helping America’s Y...

A mock trial at the Colonie Youth Court in Latham, New York. White House photo by Shealah Craighead (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What do you recall of a time in your life when someone has been an advocate for you? Who was it? Why did they come to your assistance? What did they do on your behalf? What truth did they speak? To whom did they speak that truth? How did you feel about them doing this?

When have you been called upon to advocate for another, at school, at work, in the church, at home? How did you act as an advocate? What motivated you to do so? What were you able to bring to the situation that otherwise might have been missing? Continue reading

Between the Lines: Lent 1: February 26, 2012

Text: Mark 1:9-15

And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him.

Deutsch: Wilde Felsentaube English: Feral Rock...

Image via Wikipedia

The Greek word eis in Mark is usually translated as in or into. Thus Mark suggests the Spirit enters into the body/being of Jesus. In Matthew and Luke the verb is hupo rather than eis. Their word is generally translated as upon. For a Jew it makes no sense that the Spirit of God would enter into a human being. On the other hand, it is common in Hebrew scripture to refer to the Spirit of the Lord coming upon – descending onto – the prophets. Continue reading