Question #30: Were believers in the OT indwelt permanently by the Holy Spirit? Why or why not? Defend your answer.

Answer: No, OT believers were not permanently indwelt by the Holy Spirit, I think, simply because it was how God operated in that dispensation.  Many of passages where we see the Spirit indwelling men temporarily are here listed.  Ryrie’s outline is as follows.

(1) God the Spirit was in certain individuals, Gen 41:38, Num 27:18, Dan 4:8; 5:11-14; 6:3.

(2) The Spirit came upon some, Num 24:2; Judg 3:10; 6:34; 11:29; 13:25; 1 Sam 10:10; 16:13; 2 Chron 15:1.

(3) The Spirit filled Bezalel for a special enablement in craftsmanship for the tabernacle, Ex 31:3; 35:31.

The Holy Spirit saw it fit to work in this manner in the Old Testament.  Progressive revelation informs us that He started to permanently indwell believers only after the Pentecost.

Ryrie’s summation is appropriate here.  He writes, “Both were present during that period, but the Spirit who worked in the Old Testament would “come” in new and fuller ministries after Pentecost, just as the displays of grace in the Old Testament were dim compared with grace that flooded the world when Christ came (Jn 1:17; Tit 2:11)” (Basic Theology, 402-403).


One-Minute Theology with Chaplain T features the question and answer portions of the Systematic Theology courses that were part of my seminary work at Piedmont Baptist Graduate School. I will be posting one Q & A everyday until my ordination council meeting set for February 2014.

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