The idea of breathing reminded me of the basic use of breath in the Bible. Remarkably, one original word in both Old and New Testaments is translated breath, wind, or spirit. The Hebrew ruach and the Greek, pneuma, both translate to these three words, the specific meaning depending on context.
However, difficulty in finding the intended meaning in each case is highlighted in both testaments. In both Ezekiel 37—the Valley of Dry Bones—and John 3—Jesus’ discourse on spiritual birth, the overlap of meaning comes through pun style.
Ezekiel 37, uses the word ruach eight times in the first fourteen verses, both for breath and Spirit. Even a cursory reading shows that the translator could have used Spirit for breath in most locations, that is, the breath of God in this instance could equally be His Spirit.
By way of contrast, Genesis 2:7, uses a different Hebrew word, mappah, for breath. This gives the sense God forced breath into the nostrils of the first man providing basic existence, a breathing life all humans share. But in other Scriptures, the same word also means forcing breath out, or loss of life, showing the original existence is temporary.
Like the Ezekiel passage, John 3 invites us to share in a life-giving breath that is permanent. Verses 6–8 translate wind and Spirit from the same root, pneuma. Verse 8 signifies human reasoning can neither understand nor obtain this new life. It is a gift of the Spirit of God.
This revelation colours dramatically what I understand should be the breathings of my heart. Whatever passion our natural life may inspire, it is temporary, but breathing in the Spirit of God as we write will provide the seeds of immortal life as we breathe it out.
As we hear Him, from the Word, or His Spirit’s still small voice, the breathing our hearts will be the breathing of His heart within us. We will find no greater resource for our words to penetrate this life and the next.