John 3:34 is often quoted to assert that all receive a limitless supply of the Spirit.  However, these are the words of John the Baptist as he described Jesus.  Four explanations are popular:

  • God, instead of giving occasional and limited supplies of the Spirit as had been given to the prophets, gave to Christ the fullness of the Spirit. (Did Jesus have an advantage over us?)
  • God gives the Spirit freely and abundantly to all, and thus also dispensed it to Christ. (The hearers at that time would have been confused by this new thought for the Spirit had not yet been given.)
  • Jesus proved His Messiahship by giving the Spirit without measure. (Jesus had not yet sent the Spirit, so John the Baptist could not use that as a proof to his hearers.)
  • The Spirit gives to Christ the words of God without measure. (Jesus did not tell everything, John 16:12.)

John’s points were:

27              Why should I be upset that God gave Jesus more?

28              I told you before that I am the forerunner for Jesus, so this is normal.

29              I should be happy for Jesus, not jealous.

30              This is the plan.

31 – 33       Jesus speaks from heaven, I speak from earth.

34              God does not grant the Spirit to be “with” someone in a small way, but sufficiently for the whole task, not requiring human help.

35 – 36      Jesus is the Messiah Who has all authority and through Whom is eternal life.

The role of the Spirit was to change in a qualitative way after Jesus went back to heaven and received His kingdom (John 14:17).  However, the principle remains that “God does not give the Spirit by measure.”

Is the Spirit Who dwells in all the faithful given differently or the same to each?

  • What is
    • The gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38)
    • The Spirit that dwells in us (Romans 8:9 – 11, 1 Corinthians 3:16)
    • The Spirit as a seal or pledge (2 Corinthians 5:5, 2 Corinthians 1:22, Ephesians 1:13)?
    • To be a partaker of the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 6:4)?
  • What does the Spirit do? (A short review list)
    • Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:5)
    • The Spirit aids in putting to death the deeds of the body (Romans 8:13)
    • The Spirit leads us (Romans 8:14)
    • The Spirit testifies of our adoption (Romans 8:16)
    • Transformation (2 Corinthians 3:18)
    • To perfect (Galatians 3:2 – 5)
    • Strengthen the inner man (Ephesians 3:16)
    • Knowing that the Spirit is housed in us gives us motivation to preserve a holy body (1 Corinthians 3:16, 1 Thessalonians 4:8)
    • These are worldly people, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit. (Jude 19)
  • Do we control the Spirit that dwells in us? Does it control us?  In what way?
    • Luke 11:13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.
    • We should endeavor to be filled with the Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18)
    • Do not quench the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19)
    • Having a form of godliness but denying its power (2 Timothy 3:5)
  • What would be the meaning of having more or less of the gift?
    • Should the clay complain to the potter? (Romans 9:20 – 24)
    • We are to produce a return on investment (Matthew 25:14 – 30, Luke 19:12 – 27)
    • God grants the Spirit in a quantity sufficient for the task at hand (John 3:34)