top of page

Pneumatic Exegesis

Updated: Jul 4, 2023

We at Lighthouse Bible Church are or should be familiar with what Exegesis means as that is the way our preaching and teaching methods follow. Pastor Ted and our Bible teachers strive to unpack the Holy Word of God as He presents it exegetically [1], verse by verse. But what in the world does the adjective Pneumatic attached to Exegesis mean?

When we see the word pneumatic [2], we often think of it referring to terms like air, air-filled, or inflated as we find in many dictionaries. However, when we speak about Pneumatic in Scripture, we have a totally different definition. Pneumatic in the Bible refers to the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. In studying Theology, we use the term Pneumatology.

So then, what is Pneumatic Exegesis? Have you ever heard a person saying something like, ‘I prayed to God for an answer to my situation or needs, and then I opened my Bible, I randomly put my finger on this passage, and knew He gave me the answer to my prayer.’ This kind of Pneumatic Exegesis is based more on a spiritual scheme almost as one does with a Ouija board. This kind of exegesis is more like eisegesis and is an offense to the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). Be careful in this kind of exegesis. God never gives us a text that the Spirit did not intend to give us. He gives us understanding of the text we are reading and/or studying.

That is not to say that the Spirit cannot operate in a special way as it has with me and others. One of the examples of the Spirit working is like the Eunuch in Acts when an angel appeared to Philip, “And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” So, Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.” (Acts 8:29–31) The Spirit knew the Eunuch needed help in understanding, which is a vital part of His work.

There have been times that I opened the Bible and read a passage that either convicted me or led me to something that helped me through trials or other issues. I wasn’t looking for a specific answer or conviction; I wasn't even praying about a specific thing. It simply was time to pick up the Bible to Study His Word. It fell open to a page that I had not searched for and wow, there it was blaring me in my face. That is the Holy Spirit doing what He does as He knows what we need even before we ask. He, being omniscient, knows what we need, whether we need comfort, help, knowledge, understanding, fortitude, or fear of the Lord. He illuminates our minds and so much more. We find Him all over the Bible in the OT and NT. He was so instrumental in leading men to write all of Scripture. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16–17) That is His part of the Trinity. He teaches us, reproofs us, corrects us, and trains us.

People may not know that Augustine was, a sinful, lost man prior to the Holy Spirit reaching out to save him. His mother, continued to pray for him for a very long time to save him and come to Christ. In his book “Confessions,” St. Augustine [3]"writes about how he regrets having led a sinful and immoral life. He discusses his regrets for following the Manichaean religion and believing in astrology. He writes about his friend Nebridius's role in helping to persuade him that astrology was not only incorrect but evil, and Saint Ambrose's role in his conversion to Christianity.

While reflecting in a garden, Augustine hears a child's voice chanting "take up and read.[4]" He located scripture and read “Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” (Romans 13:13–14) Through this Pneumatic conviction, he was he was led to our Lord. God did not give the text Augustine read some meaning that the Holy Spirit did not intend when He inspired Paul to write it. Rather, the Spirit enabled Augustine to understand what the text really meant. He came to fear God. There was no magic in it.[5] Augustine's conversion and diligent research of the Scriptures and what he learned and shared is often quoted.

Those who claim they received special revelation from God (Spirit) better carefully read Ephesians 4:25–32, especially verse Ephesians 4:30.


[1] exegesis \ek-suh-JEE-sis\ noun.: exposition, explanation; especially: an explanation or critical interpretation of a text. [2] 1. containing or operated by air or gas under pressure. 2.(chiefly in the context of New Testament theology) relating to the spirit. [3] [4] [5] Sproul, R. C. (2012). Who Is the Holy Spirit? (Vol. 13, p. 66). Reformation Trust.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Hyperlinks in this document are for use of members on our website and/or to take you to links on other websites

Related Posts

See All


bottom of page