What is Biologos's position on the role of the Holy Spirit in Biblical Interpretation?

Specifically on how the Holy Spirit interacts with reason, study, and scholarship. Does this site have an article on the subject and if so may you point me to it? Also if you wish, you may share your own views on this subject.

Here is a Biologos article written in 2018 from a Pentacostal perspective by Amos Wong. Of the four that popped up on a search of the phrase “holy spirit”, it was probably the most relevant one. Yet that article spends more time speaking of theodicy, science, and the place and role of the trinitarian God in all that, so I’m not sure it focuses specifically on the “Holy Spirit” so much as what you may be looking for.

Others may come up with other articles by searching more carefully than I just did. But I do intend to come back here and share my own perspectives as time may allow later today. It’s a great topic!

They give power, love and sanity to it.

The question in the title and the question in the OP are not the same. To the question in the OP my reply is…

God does as God chooses and not according to any law, rule, or role invented by human beings.

The vast majority of our observations show that for the most part God set up rules for how things work an then doesn’t interfere. Of course as theists we believe God does interact with His creation. But the laws of nature are the only rules and any interactions outside the laws of nature created by God are not patterns of God behavior that we can predict or manipulate.

As for the question in the title… I am not aware of any such position. I think the only substantial position of Biologos is that science (particularly the theory of evolution) is entirely compatible with Christianity. Biologos is not a religion, church, or theology and it is quite absurd to expect it to have a position on every theological question.


This CQ touches on the role of the Holy Spirit: How should we interpret the Bible? - Common-questions - BioLogos

I don’t think anyone is capable of explaining exactly how the Spirit does what the Spirit does. It’s more that we can affirm the Holy Spirit plays a part in our ability to interpret well.


Just sharing my own views as a response here, in recent years, I’ve come to more deeply appreciate what I see as the activity of the Spirit.

I see the Spirit as God’s agency of continued work and revelation today in regard to both old and new issues that we face. That is in direct contrast to “the Letter” in which it is deemed that something has been entirely nailed down by written scriptures already … the Lord has already spoken, and the matter is settled for all time. Protestants keen on being rooted in the Bible really, really insist on this because they have a - perhaps understandable - suspicion, even hostility toward anything that smacks of subjectivity or manipulation according to the vagaries of culture or prevalent sensibilities of the times. We want it nailed down, because any and everything not “nailed down” will get stolen and misused, or so we tell ourselves. And we have no shortage of examples to knowingly point at to drive home our point.

And yet, one can’t read very far into the New Testament without seeing that this really isn’t the way the Spirit did things in the early church. Yes - there are those passage wherein somebody is “searching scriptures” to see if something holds up - and they are commended for it. But there are also the many stories of the apostles pretty badly upsetting the “Let’s attend to scriptures” folks by deciding that the Spirit was leading them in new directions, which they -with no little controversy, decided they need to attend to, even if it meant no longer preaching and insisting on “the Letter” of scriptures as understood up to that point. Jesus did this plenty - and his disciples and the church fathers after him followed his example. Nowhere in scriptures are we warned against following these early examples - we are not told that they had special - but now expired dispensation to do this. We’re not told that we have to lapse back into some “more clarified version”, going back to following every Letter as a legalistic matter again. Those who want to go that direction are just making a new law “the Letter 2.0”, if you will, and going right back to being Pharisees with that again. But Paul will have none of this when you read Galatians, and he’s quite emphatically perturbed about it too.

So while all the “dangers of subjectivity” are quite real and in need of community vigilance, we nonetheless cannot escape the need - I would say even the imperative to be letting the Spirit lead us in fresh directions in how we understand and apply scriptures to our situations today. We really do like and prefer the “old wineskins” in so many ways - and Jesus anticipates as much - the “old wine” is just so much more comfortable and preferred by us - everything nailed down, it’s all about the Letter, and we don’t have to worry or think about anything, except … we discover life doesn’t work that way. But trying to put the new wine into the old skins doesn’t work either. I think the current and fresh leading of the Spirit is the “new wineskin” and new wine we’re called to take up.



That’s an interesting question. I would be very interested in hearing what is behind it, what prompts you to ask and seek the answer to it.

Your question actually rather made my hair stand on end, though. So, I went back and looked over the “What We Believe” page.

While I understand that the questions Biologos engages with have deep implications for Christians, I appreciate that Biologos (that is, the humans that form it), recognizes itself as a parachurch organization that is trying to help people reconcile Christian faith and scientific reality, WITHOUT attempting to replace the Church, or churches, or historic Christian doctrines.

Expanding a basic belief statement, that attempts to ground the organization in the foundational Christian beliefs, into the realm of doctrinal statements is out of the scope of the organization’s work.

You have probably noticed that there is a BROAD range of Christian beliefs expressed in the various discussions in the forum. I would hope that Biologos continues to refrain from developing formal statements that would eventually exclude Christians who are looking here for a place to work out the science/faith concerns.

We can rely on our denominational/traditional/confessional documents to help us out with the full details of Christian doctrine.

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So how do we determine between competing claims of inspiration?

I don’t understand the question. What are the competing claims?

I agree with Mitchell’s statement that Biologos cannot have a position on every question, as it is a big tent organization that welcomes many to stand under its folds. But a good question, nontheless.

My personal ex[erioence is that the role of the Spirit is primary. At times a particular passage has changed meaning for me, but those different meanings were true for their time. The danger of course, in that saying meaning is Spirit led, means everyone can claim their interpretation is the true one, to the exclusion of all others. I struggle with that, particularly when those interpretations are in opposition rather than complementary. But ultimately, take solace in knowing I am right. :wink:

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Claims of inspired meaning, of inspired interpretation, claims of orthodoxy, truth claims. You know the drill. Conservatives and liberals all invoke the Holy Spirit, claim Him, explicitly or implicitly. Who doesn’t?

Sure. But surely you are not expecting a non-profit to adjudicate claims and make official decisions about who is hearing the Holy Spirit correctly.

Not at all! But my favourite question of all professionals is, what would you do? Don’t worry. That’s rhetorical too.

I’m quite sure that Dietrich Bonhoeffer would attribute the Holy Spirit’s work as enabling the perspectives he espouses, represented here:

And this is exactly the kind of claim I mean.

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A few weeks ago, I added some more people to my “ignore” list, who seem to have entered the Forum to bully people into “the kingdom” as they understand it. I suppose Biologos can allow them go hang around, in hopes they will learn something from the folks who are willing to engage, bit that won’t be me. Biologos is gracious that way, and there are many brilliant people here, who may give them something the Holy Spirit will work with. We can pray for that.

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Is this what you want me to see, Klax?

Hi Kendel
If none here are being ministered to by what Shannon or I have posted please say so. Discussion of “faith” is welcomed on BioLogos but it seems to exclude discussion of the Author and Fnisher of “the faith”.
Bullying? I’ve seen a lot of bullying here myself. There are those who ridicule and make sarcastic remarks about my pastor, Shannon and myself. As soon as the subject of some teachings/doctrines are posted on the board they get ridiculed right away. Comments such as “You post too much scripture.” “Oh, the creationists made a mistake with their logo.”
Comments like ….“Only Kelli and her pastor knows what is right”…
It is obviously a different opinion than yours. Based on that alone you are saying your opinion is right because you believe my explanation is wrong. Okay.
If I’ve broken the blog rules and am at risk of being banned from the discussion board just say so. But the questions and the comments and the ridicule keep on coming. Why not choose to ignore my posts? Or just hide or delete everything that I have posted.

It’s not the subject. It is how you are presenting it.

Questions and comments are certainly to be expected. Given the wide range of people who post here the ridicule is not unusual.

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The moderation team tries to address blatant ridicule when we see it or when it is flagged. Rest assured that messages have been sent to certain people that their constant snark is not appreciated. We can’t babysit every thread though, and sometimes people need thicker skin, and need to extend the benefit of the doubt that not everyone who disagrees with you or expresses the opinion that your ideas are wrong or misguided is trying to personally insult you.


“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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