The Holy Spirit Comes

April 25th, 2013

The excerpt below is from Adult Bible Studies Spring 2013 ©Cokesbury.
Used with permission.
For the complete lesson, scroll download to view or print the pdf.


To receive the reality of God's Spirit in our lives and in the church.

Hearing the Word

The Scripture for this lesson is printed below. The background text is Acts 2:1-36.

Acts 2:1-13

1 When Pentecost Day arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound from heaven like the howling of a fierce wind filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be individual flames of fire alighting on each one of them. 4 They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them to speak.

5 There were pious Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd gathered. They were mystified because everyone heard them speaking in their native languages. 7 They were surprised and amazed, saying, “Look, aren’t all the people who are speaking Galileans, every one of them? 8 How then can each of us hear them speaking in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes, and Elamites; as well as residents of Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the regions of Libya bordering Cyrene; and visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism), 11 Cretans and Arabs––we hear them declaring the mighty works of God in our own languages!” 12 They were all surprised and bewildered. Some asked each other, “What does this mean?” 13 Others jeered at them, saying, “They’re full of new wine!”

Key Verse: They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them to speak. (Acts 2:4)

Seeing the Need

Years ago I read somewhere that the Holy Spirit is the unknown member of the Trinity. Though I cannot remember who said it, I know it is true. My decades as a pastor, preacher, and teacher have given me firsthand evidence. Most Christians can explain at least some of their beliefs about God or Jesus Christ, but only a few can define what they believe about the Holy Spirit.

It is important that we know as much as possible about all of our Christian teachings, but it is particularly important that we know about the Holy Spirit. On the last evening that Jesus spent with his disciples before his arrest and crucifixion, he spoke at length about the Holy Spirit. He explained that it was important that he go away because otherwise “the Companion [that is, the Holy Spirit] won’t come to you” and that “when the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you in all truth” (John 16:7, 13).

Since Jesus laid so much emphasis on the place of the Holy Spirit in our individual lives and in the community of believers, it is strange indeed that we know so little about the Spirit. If we are to receive the reality of God’s Spirit in our lives and in the church, we need to learn more about the Holy Spirit.

In what ways have you experienced the Holy Spirit?

Prayer: Help us, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, to be your witnesses in our time and place; in Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

The entire lesson is available below as a pdf.

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