The Holy Spirit can sometimes be a complicated topic with many different answers. Andrew Gabriel, however, is able to navigate this discussion with wisdom and clarity. Even if you don’t come from a Pentecostal or charismatic background, Andrew’s book (Simply Spirit Filled) is able to invite you into a healthy conversation of skepticism, experience, and academia – you’ll never think of the Spirit’s activity the same again!
About the Author
Andrew K. Gabriel (PhD) is an ordained minister and professor of theology at Horizon College and Seminary. He is the author of three books (including another on the Spirit) and he blogs at andrewkgabriel.com. There’s no question Andrew has the ability to authoritatively speak towards the topic of the Spirit – not to mention, he’s Canadian. (Info taken from the back of the book).
Content and Purpose
With so many expressions of faith in our world today, there’s certainly a need for a healthy conversation around the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, many have abused the work of the Spirit, and it has led to confusion and misunderstanding. Simply Spirit-Filled sets out to identify who the Spirit is, and what the Spirit does, while addressing some common misconceptions that often hang people up.
Some topics covered:
- Slain in the Spirit and other manifestations;
- Hearing God’s voice;
- Speaking in tongues;
- Spiritual Gifts; and,
- Being spiritual.
Who should read the book?
There are two groups of people who would really benefit from reading this book.
- Anyone trying to wrap their head around the work of the Spirit and what it’s all about; and,
- Any Pentecostal or Charismatic who would like to engage in a well-balanced approach to the work of the Spirit.
As Paul wrote, ‘If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit’ (Galatians 5:25). One of the ways we can do that, is by reading and studying what we have come to understand.
As I read the book, here are few things that jumped out to me:
1) Honest Reflection
If there’s one thing that stands out in this book, it’s Andrew’s ability to honestly reflect on the topic. Truth be told, when I picked up the book, I was expecting to read a more academic text. After all, he is an academic professor. What I read, however, was an honest reflection of his study and experience with the Spirit. Everything from his experience of what he calls ‘shaking and baking’ (page 17), to addressing some of the bad reputations the Spirit may have (72) – you will benefit from his reflection.
2) Experience versus Scripture
Any discussion about the Holy Spirit is almost guaranteed to find itself in tension between experience and Scripture. While it might be easier to focus on either experience OR Scripture, Andrew dances between the two so well! That’s not to say, he allows experience to trump Scripture, rather he lets Scripture to either validate or discern the experiences that we may have. This proves to be very helpful when dealing with speaking in tongues (76+), and healing (102).
The book is also very practical and full of helpful insights. In particular, his discussion on recognizing God’s voice. Andrew is able to remind us that while God’s voice can sound dramatic and majestic, it can also sound logical and ordinary (63). The last chapter is also very practical – Andrew, very successfully, outlines what it means to live a Spirit-filled life and how the Spirit can supernaturally help grow our spiritual character (156).
The Spirit leads us into the truth (whether we like it or not). It’s easy to be encouraged when things go ‘right,’ but sometimes we fail to realize how encouraging the Spirit really is when things go ‘wrong.’ Andrew doesn’t leave this out at all! His discussion on healing in chapter 5 will leave you focusing on who God is, not on what we want.
Our faith is in God, not in what God may or may not do, and not in whether or not God is going to heal someone. Our faith is in God – period. We believe in God – period. We trust in God – period – even when healing doesn’t come.Andrew K. Gabriel (110)
The truth is, the Spirit works together to bring unity in the body (chapter 6), and to point to Jesus. We’re not perfect, but we get to serve the one who is (168).
5) Further Study
One last thing – it’s worth mentioning that each chapter ends with a scripted prayer and discussion questions. In a world where the Spirit often leads to experience and a lack of preparation, it’s actually beautiful to read a well-scripted prayer leading into a discussion section. Just because the Spirit leads us, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t think about our prayers, and even script them from time to time.
You can win a FREE copy of this book!
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- COMMENT or TWEET (tag @AtH0lm) with why you’d like to learn more about the Holy Spirit.
We’ll make the draw for the FREE book on Friday, Feb 22, 2019!