What would we know about the Holy Spirit if Galatians were our only Bible?

I found this post from Pastor Ray Ortlund to be very thought-provoking earlier this year. He posed the question, “What if Philippians were our only Bible?” He proceeded to give an impressive list of truths about God and the Christian life that we know strictly from this little letter. He closed by saying, “Makes me wonder, how much more is there in this Bible which I hardly know?”

As I have been working through Galatians on Sunday mornings, I have been struck by the prominent teaching on the work of the Holy Spirit in this letter that I usually associate strictly with justification. This lead me to ask myself as I waited for my wife the other day, “What would we know about the Holy Spirit if Galatians was our only Bible?” I’m sure this is not as thorough as it could be, but here is the list I compiled sitting in the car.

We begin the Christian life by the Spirit, through conversion (3:2)

We are to continue on in the Christian life by the Spirit as we began, not by works of the Law (3:2)

God supplies the Spirit to us by hearing with faith, not by our working and earning (3:5, 14)

The Spirit was “promised” in some sense in the Old Testament (3:14)

The Spirit is received as a result of Christ’s redemptive work (3:14)

The Spirit is closely linked with the Father and the Son in the work of our salvation, implying his equality (4:4-6)

The Spirit is rightly called, “The Spirit of God’s Son,” again closely tying his ministry to us with Christ’s (4:6)

The Spirit has been sent into the hearts of believers (4:6)

The Spirit within believers cries out “Abba, Father!”, affirming that we have been adopted as sons (4:6)

Isaac was said to have been born “according to the Spirit” rather than through fleshly human efforts as Ishmael was, and this parallels the believer’s conversion (4:29)

Through the Spirit, we wait for the hope of righteousness (5:5)

In our daily lives, we are commanded to “walk by the Spirit” (5:16)

The Spirit moves us away from gratifying the desires of the flesh (5:16)

The Spirit is in ongoing conflict with the flesh within the believer (5:17)

The Spirit leads the believer (5:18)

There is no law against the Spirit (5:18)

The Spirit produces Christ-like character and virtue in the believer (5:22-23)

The believer lives by the Spirit, and therefore should “keep in step” with the Spirit (5:25)

We are commanded to “sow to the Spirit,” and promised that if we do, we will “reap” from the Spirit eternal life (6:8)


About Eric Smith

Sinner saved by the grace of Jesus, husband of Candace, father of Coleman and Crockett, West Tennessean, pastor of Sharon Baptist Church, student at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
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