An Article by Dr. Lane Tipton

June 04, 2008


"Incarnation, inspiration, and pneumatology—how do these theological realities relate to one another? How should one be distinguished from the other? While each topic is clearly worth a study in and of itself, precisely how we relate these three theological realities is important as well. Indeed, at stake is a proper understanding of Scripture, not to mention the person of Christ.

"I propose in this essay what I take to be a Chalcedonian incarnational model and draw some meaningful analogies to the nature of inspiration. My thesis is that the proper analogy to the incarnation with reference to inspiration and hermeneutics resides not first in anthropology but in pneumatology. The incarnational analogy ought to yield both a theology of Scripture and a hermeneutic that take into account the primary theological and hermeneutical significance of the Holy Spirit's agency, on the one hand, and the subordinate theological and hermeneutical significance of human agency, on the other hand. The primacy of the divine in pneumatology finds a clear analogue in the primacy of the eternal person of the Son of God.

"Therefore, the proper and central theological category from which to draw an analogy to the event of the incarnation is pneumatology—the divine person and work of the Holy Spirit. And it is the centrality and primacy of the divine that must always and at every point frame the human, placing the human and historical in proper theological context. The eternal persons of the Godhead remain primary, whether we speak of the human nature assumed by the eternal Son of God in the incarnation or whether we speak of the human agents inspired by the eternal Spirit of God in inscripturation. The person of the Son and the word of the Spirit remain divine in both the acts of incarnation and inspiration/inscripturation, while relating truly and meaningfully to the human and historical."¹

Read the complete article.

¹Dr. Lane G. Tipton, "Incarnation, Inspiration, and Pneumatology: A Reformed Incarnational Analogy," June 2008 issue of Ordained Servant,,, (June 5, 2008).