The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Breath of life

The Spirit blows through Scripture and into our lives

I recently heard a woman recite Genesis 1:1-5 from memory ("and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters ..."). When she came to the word spirit, she paused, took a deep breath and literally breathed out the word. This woman, I thought, has it just right about the Spirit. Most Bible translations have a footnote that says the Hebrew word for Spirit could also be translated as wind.

Wind, breath, spirit. The biblical word for Spirit comes from this family of words.

When I grew up we called this member of the Trinity the Holy Ghost. Most of us associated the Spirit with the ghost family of words. That interpretation wasn't helpful. Wind, breath, spirit. That's the Spirit's family.

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February issue


Embracing diversity