Who know that grammar could bring you into deeper relationship with Holy Spirit? After preparing to write her most recent book, Your Friendship With Holy Spirit, Sarah Bowling does. As a part of her study, she went through Romans 8, which mentions the Holy Spirit more than 20 times.
"And what I did was I looked at each of the verbs associated with each mention," the Bible teacher and daughter of Marilyn Hickey tells Dr. Steve Greene on a recent episode of the Greenelines podcast on the Charisma Podcast network. "What does Holy Spirit do? And how do we participate in that?" Her goal, she says, was to help people—no matter where they are in their relationship with Him—move into deeper intimacy and connection with this often-neglected member of the Trinity.
"We have the idea of having a relationship with a father; we think of the Trinity, Father, Son, Holy Spirit," Bowling says. "And we think of relationship with Father—that's not hard to get our head around somewhat. At least we have the theory of it. And then Jesus is good, because we have the Gospels, and that's helpful ... When you start talking about a relationship with the Holy Spirit, it gets misty, kind of cloudy."
Bowling explains that all the verbs In Romans 8 that describe the Holy Spirit's work are present tense, which in the Greek means they stand for an ongoing activity.
"The first verb is 'to walk,' and it's the Greek word parapeteo," Bowling says. She says she appreciates Paul's use of a verb that describes such a common activity because "that brings the Holy Spirit out of the mystical—'Hey, let's just take a walk. We're just going to walk today.'"
"The second verb that Paul talks about is 'to dwell' and letting Holy Spirit dwell in us. That's the word oikeo in Greek, and that has a rich context. It's not the same as 'abide,' but it means 'to make a home together,' and so letting Holy Spirit make His home in us. I think that's a rich, rich thing to pray and consider.
Another of the verbs Bowling discovered in the Romans 8 passage is "to lead. "Those who are the sons of God are led by Holy Spirit, Romans 14, and that's the Greek word augo," she says. "And that's a really powerful word ... it's real simple in the sense that when I'm walking with Holy Spirit, when I let Holy Spirit lead me from identity. It's a lot more powerful than insecurity. Because I don't think a lot of times we walk and we let Holy Spirit lead us ... out of insecurity, out of fear, out of uncertainty, out of desperation. But I think Holy Spirit says, 'I want to ground you in who you are. And you are My son; you are My daughter. And because of that, that's why I can lead you—not for any other reason."
For much more from Sarah Bowling on how to grow in true intimacy with the Holy Spirit, listen to the entire episode of Greenelines at this link, and subscribe to Greenelines on your favorite podcast platform. Find Bowling's book, Your Friendship With Holy Spirit: An Interactive Guide to Growing Your Relationship With God, wherever fine books are sold, and listen to her podcast, Sarah Bowling: Living Genuine Love, also on the Charisma Podcast Network.
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