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The Holy Spirit

(Contours of Christian Theology #6)

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  890 ratings  ·  60 reviews
The Holy Spirit, once forgotten, has been "rediscovered" in the twentieth century - or has he? Sinclair Ferguson believes we should rephrase this common assertion: "While his work has been recognized, the Spirit himself remains to many Christians an anonymous, faceless aspect of the divine being." In order to redress this balance, Ferguson seeks to recover the who of the S ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 23rd 1997 by IVP Academic (first published August 16th 1996)
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4.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  890 ratings  ·  60 reviews

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Spencer R
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
Not scintillating, but solid.
Jimmy Reagan
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There’s no doubt that Sinclair Ferguson is a savvy theological writer. There’s no doubt that the Contours of Christian Theology series by IVP is a theological heavyweight either. While I couldn’t exactly call this my favorite Ferguson title, it did dig deep as the series is known to do. Books in this series don’t merely regurgitate the main tenets of a doctrine but linger where it makes sense to look under stones where treasure might be found. I always reach for this series when I’m starting a d ...more
Aug 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
An outstanding book by one of the best theologians of the modern age. I particularly liked his discussion of the "Spirit of Christ", and the argument that Christ's power to work miracles should be ascribed of the Holy Spirit enabling him to perform wonders and cast out demons. The view, prevalent among Fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals, that the miracles should be attributed to Christ's divine nature probably reflects their inadequate understanding of Christ's humanity. For instance, ...more
Nov 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
All too often, Reformed theology is accused of diminishing the Holy Spirit. Ferguson does an excellent job of proving the opposite true. Whether it be through the sacraments, our union with Christ, or our sanctification, the Spirit is at the center of our Christian lives. The chapters "The Spirit of Christ," "Spiritus Recreator," and "The Sanctifying Spirit" were personal highlights.
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Diria que é leitura obrigatória para todos os que desejam conhecer o que a Escritura tem a dizer sobre a Pessoa e obra do Espírito Santo de Deus. Essa obra magnífica junta exegese sã, teologia bíblica e sistemática sem perder o enfoque pastoral, sempre nos remetendo a Cristo, uma vez que o Espírito sempre nos aponta para Ele. Recomendadíssimo!
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Comprehensive treatment of the third person of the Godhead, well worth reading. I can see this one being referred to again and again.
Rick Beideman
Mar 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
Overly intellectual (more than it needs to be in my opinion). Hard to read through. I did not find it very helpful in my personal life or understanding of the Holy Spirit.
Tim Casteel
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
R. C. Sproul calls Sinclair Ferguson the world’s leading expert on the person and work of the Holy Spirit today.

Sinclair Ferguson is one of those rare authors that gives you MUCH more than you bargained for.

In reading Ferguson, you’re not just learning about the Holy Spirit, but so much more - Union with Christ, sanctification, what it means to be made in the image of God, the history of sacraments, what it means to fall short of the glory of God. In reading great authors you reap the benefit o
Mar 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
Sinclair Ferguson's biblical-theological treatment on the Holy Spirit is a rich and sumptuous theological feast for any serious-minded believer who wants to know more about the so-called "shy member of the Trinity." In eleven meaty chapters, Ferguson gives a comprehensive, if not exhaustive, biblical overview of the person and work of the Holy Spirit, all along the way drawing on historical theology and charitably interacting with perspectives different from his own.

Chapter one, "The Spirit and
Samuel Parkison
Feb 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was an incredible book. I only found objectionable that which any Baptist would find objectionable when reading any Presbyterian. What I particularly found helpful was Ferguson's discussions on:
- the Spirit's role in the Ordo Solutis
- repentance and faith
- the centrality of union with Christ
- Spiritual Christology (this particular discussion helped to scratch some itchiness that has been driving me crazy as of late).

This is definitely my favorite book of 2017 so far. Embarrassingly, this is
May 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
Excellent. Not in full agreement with Ferguson on his view of the gifts of the Spirit, but he is charitable even where he disagrees. And his overall grasp of the Spirit's role in the New Testament is brilliant.
Jacob Aitken
Jun 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reformed-stuff
Combines the best of historical and systematic theology. I think his defense of the Filioque could have been a lot stronger and more convincing.
Caleb Batchelor
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a gift this book is to the church! The Holy Spirit may be one of my favorite books I've read in recent years. While I do not agree with everything Ferguson contends for, this book is a theological goldmine. His explanation of the Spirit's relationship to the Son is breath-taking. In commenting on 1 Corinthians 15:45, he says,

"Thus, to have the Spirit is to have Christ; to have Christ is to have the Spirit. Not to have the Spirit of Christ is to lack Christ. To have the Spirit of Christ is
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
Written with the seminarian in mind, this work uses a lot of technical language, including Greek and Latin terms. Because I have been under strong biblical teaching for most of my Christian life, this book introduced me to little new knowledge about the Holy Spirit and His unique work. I have a four-year college education, but was forced to read this with an open dictionary to be able to understand what the author was trying to convey much of the time. It is not a bad thing to expand one's vocab ...more
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
outstanding book. It will remain my chosen desert island book on the Holy Spirit. My only one caveat is that I do wish Sinclair didn't feel it necessary to write with such difficult and sometimes really obscure English words - on a couple of occasions they weren't even in the Oxford Concise Dictionary - and not just theological words either - just obscure English. HOWEVER the work is brilliant. Thank you Dr. Ferguson.
Thomas Kuhn
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Helpful read. Covers the breadth of issues relating to the Holy Spirit. A really great starting point for anyone who wants to begin the process of thinking deeply about the person and work of the Holy Spirit and the Trinity in general.

Ferguson is dealing with lots of scholarly issues that he doesn't address by name which can be off-putting if you aren't expecting that.
William Albers
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the best book (outside the Bible) on the Holy Spirit that I've ever encountered. Ferguson provides scholarly analysis (written in an accessible way) for the person and work of the Holy Spirit. Controversial issues (i.e. gifts of the Holy Spirit) are handled in a way that is wise and pastoral. Highly recommend!
Andrew Watkins
Mar 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book contains a great amount of good, true information, but it’s written in such a way that you will have to read with the book in one hand and a dictionary in the other if you plan to understand anything.
Ryan Shelton
Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Masterful, reasonably comprehensive, fair and conversant, articulate, illuminating. This is now my standard for pneumatology texts.
Craig Marshall
Aug 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I re-read sections of this book over and over again, and I feel like it is slowly sinking in. Such rich theology explained so well.
Dec 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic. A great help in seeing our whole salvation as Trinitarian. [A bit more technical than I expected, but still readable for the non-academic.]
Oliver Pierce
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Pretty much the best accessible book on the topic out there. Highly recommended.
Nate H
Jan 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Reformed but without the breath of the Spirit.
Brooke E
Oct 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
"To have the Spirit is to have Christ."
Great book for knowing how Christ's work are applied to us through his Spirit.
Not only academic but also great for the Christian life.
Daniel Wells
Jun 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Simply the best contemporary exposition on pneumatology. Highly recommend.
Shea Riniker
Aug 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Excellent book, but hard to read. Not recommended for a first book in theology; get a few others under your belt first
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
Really fantastic!
Logan Thune
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really good. Though we might separate on a few points, I learned loads. Filled with refreshing truths and insights, nevertheless, the book was sometimes unnecessarily and theologically dense.
Yuliya Stepnova
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Profound academic book on the Holy Spirit which took many years to be written and will take few more attempts from my side to digest it all
Brian Whited
Dec 05, 2010 rated it liked it
Ferguson writes about the Holy Spirit as a biblical theologian. The framework around biblical theology states that everything in the Bible has a redemptive historical value to it. He begins with this comment, “The central role of the Spirit is to reveal Christ and to unite us to him and to all those who participate in his body…. Every facet of the application of Christ’s works ought to be related to the way in which the Spirit unites us to Christ himself, and viewed as directly issuing from pers ...more
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  • The Church (Contours of Christian Theology, #4)
  • The Bible and the Future
  • The Person of Christ (Contours of Christian Theology, #7)
  • Reformed Dogmatics Volume 1 : Prolegomena
  • The Doctrine of God (Contours of Christian Theology, #1)
  • The Doctrine of God (A Theology of Lordship)
  • Historical Theology: An Introduction to Christian Doctrine: A Companion to Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology
  • The Christ of the Covenants
  • Given for You: Reclaiming Calvin's Doctrine of the Lord's Supper
  • The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way
  • God's Indwelling Presence: The Holy Spirit in the Old and New Testaments
  • Redemption Accomplished and Applied
  • Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments
  • Above All Earthly Pow'rs: Christ in a Postmodern World
  • Believer's Baptism: Sign of the New Covenant in Christ (New American Commentary Studies in Bible & Theology, #2)
  • Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament: A Decision-Maker's Guide to Shaping Your Church
  • Keep in Step with the Spirit: Finding Fullness in Our Walk with God
  • Blessed Are the Hungry: Meditations on the Lord's Supper
Sinclair B. Ferguson is Associate Preacher at St Peter's Free Church in Dundee and also Distinguished Visiting Professor of Systematic Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was Senior Minister of First Presbyterian Church of Columbia, South Carolina and prior to that, he was minister of St. George's-Tron Church in Glasgow.

Other books in the series

Contours of Christian Theology (8 books)
  • The Doctrine of God (Contours of Christian Theology, #1)
  • The Work of Christ (Contours of Christian Theology, #2)
  • The Providence of God (Contours of Christian Theology, #3)
  • The Church (Contours of Christian Theology, #4)
  • The Doctrine of Humanity (Contours of Christian Theology, #5)
  • The Person of Christ (Contours of Christian Theology, #7)
  • The Revelation of God (Contours of Christian Theology, #8)