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Is the Holy Spirit Given to Some or All?

July 18, 2018

“It shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit.” Joel 2:28-29

In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit was given to some, not all. God poured out the Spirit on some people who were called to particular tasks. The list is in many ways surprising and encouraging:

  • Craftsmen (Bezalel)—Exodus 31:1-5
  • Judges (Othniel)—Judges 3:7-11
  • Warriors (Gideon)—Judges 6:33-35
  • Prophets (Messengers of Saul)—1 Samuel 19:18-21
  • Kings (David)—Psalm 51:11

There was a kind of aristocracy of the Spirit in the Old Testament. The Spirit of God was poured out only on a chosen few. But here in Joel 2, something completely new is being promised: “I will pour out my Spirit on all people.” All people! Not a privileged few. All of God’s people!

Joel spells out what this means. “Sons and daughters”—the gift of the Spirit will not be limited by gender. “Old men and young men”—the gift of the Spirit will not be limited by age. “Servants” —the gift of the Spirit will not be limited by social status.

Knowing that the Spirit is given to all of God’s people, how might this affect your view of others based on their gender, age, or social status?

The Author
Colin Smith

Colin Smith is the senior pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He has authored a number of books, including Heaven, How I Got Here and Heaven, So Near - So Far. Colin is the president and teacher for Unlocking the Bible. Follow him on Twitter.

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