Something made sense to me today in a way that it had not made sense prior. In my philosophy class we were talking about Ludwig Wittgenstein’s emphasis on the “meaning” of a word being determined by the “use” of a word. This is something we know but it sometimes slips our minds. When I say “It is cool outside, I’d wear a jacket” and when I say, “It is cool outside” and you look through the window to see a theme mark with some trendy murals you know I mean two different things even though I am using the same wording.

When it comes to Scripture many of us have realized something like this when we read the Paul’s use of “justification by faith” and James’ use of similar language. Some has proposed these two were against each other but we must remember meaning = use. What Paul is addressing is the opposite of what James is addressing and therefore the language should not be seen as meaning one and the same thing.

I have heard people propose this for the Pauline and Lukan usages of “Spirit-filled” language, but I have continued to bang my head against an exegetical wall trying to figure out how the two work together. Now it clicked for me. We do not have to deny that Luke saw people as being “filled with the Spirit” in a way that accompanied particular signs because we think this contradicts Paul. No, Paul’s usage is different and while he would recognize particular phenomenon as being the work of the Spirit he wouldn’t equate that with the infilling of the Spirit necessary for salvific resurrection which all who place faith in Christ experience.

I know some people will say “duh”, and in retrospect I think some comments on this very blog tried to point this out to me, but it is just now falling into place for me.