April 08, 2022

The Holy Spirit: Breath of God by Bob Jones


Jesus said to them, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, so also I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:21,22)


“Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7)


“Good writing is like breathing deeply.” Moreno Zugaro




My brain kept urging my lungs, but they seemed to have forgotten how. 4am. Out of bed, walking in panic circles, heart racing, arms flapping, with nothing more than a wheeze of air able to be sucked through my mouth. What is happening to me? Is this what it feels like to die? After what seemed like a lifetime, at last a gasp and then one more. Breathing began to return to normal. But life didn’t. Every night, over the next three months, the pattern repeated itself. A specialist explained these episodes were panic attacks, most likely brought on by stress. My lungs stopped breathing to awaken me to the distress in my soul and save my life. That was 39 years ago.


Breathing is synonymous with life. That's one reason why the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, is likened to breath. At Easter, images of God the Son and God the Father are prominent but not the Holy Spirit. But no mistake, the Holy Spirit was breathing life into the narrative of Easter.


The Book of Genesis makes clear that God’s breath animates us. It sustains us. It inspires us and guides us. This is because the breath of God is indistinguishable from God’s own presence. In the act of breathing life into creation, God breathes in God’s very self. God’s breath, therefore, is equivalent to God the Holy Spirit.


Both the Hebrew word ruach, and the Greek word pneuma contain this association. These words can equally be translated as “breath” or “spirit”. Physical life begins with breath. Eternal life begins with the Holy Spirit.


“All Scripture is God-breathed…” (1 Timothy 3:16) We’re told that “prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:21) The reference is to the breath of God as wind in their sails. Their writing and their living were carried by the Spirit.


You can’t choose to be inspired, but you can choose to take a breath in. And then a breath out. And then another breath in. Our lungs are the only major organ in the body that we can directly control with our minds. I’ve not yet seen any evidence that your thoughts impact your liver or kidneys, but you can decide, at any moment, to take over your breathing.


Pam Allyn, author and Senior Vice-president for Innovation at Scholastic Education, says “Reading is like breathing in and writing is like breathing out.” Think of reading the Bible as breathing in the presence of God. Think of writing as expressing the Word of God through your creativity.


You can’t go more than a few minutes without breathing. Going a day without the Word of God is inspiration deprivation. Reading devotionals, biographies, books on leadership, marriage, parenting, and relationships is a way for the Holy Spirit to breathe life into your writing soul.


Now, if you always breathe the same air, it gets stale — just like information does. Look for new sources of inspiration from time to time, like an unknown podcast, a controversial writer, or a thought-provoking newsletter.


Writing is breathing. Sometimes it’s a background activity that we ‘just’ do, regularly, keeping things moving along. Sometimes it’s something we practice and do intentionally, whether or not we are in the mood. Peter de Vries' perspective on inspiration is spot on, “I only write when I’m inspired, so I see to it that I’m inspired every morning at nine o’clock.”


You should strive to write the best you can. But sometimes you just need to breathe, to look up from your keyboard, or notepad, stretch the kinks out of your back, and say,

Wow, I’m writing.

I’m breathing.

I’m alive.


The Holy Spirit makes all the difference between a blank sheet and a finished masterpiece.


 I write to grow hope, inspire people to be real, forge an authentic faith in Jesus, and discover their life purpose.

Please follow my writing at REVwords.com

I would love to hear from you.


  1. Thank you, Bob, for this post that's rich in wisdom and generous in vulnerability. By beginning your offering with a poignant offering from your past, you caught both my breath and my attention.
    An especial amen to these words of yours: "Going a day without the Word of God is inspiration deprivation."
    My biggest regrets are beget through neglect of soul care.
    Blessings as you continue to breathe in and breathe out God's inspiration.

  2. Thank you, Wendy. (Somehow, when I was editing my post on the 7th, it published early. It was supposed to go live on the 8th.)

    1. No problem. I felt bad because I didn't notice it yesterday because I hadn't opened the InScribe blog notification. That's what I get for assuming I already knows what's in an email. :) Thank you for your faithfulness in posting.

  3. Thanks for this inspiring post, Bob. The most impactful for me ... "Think of reading the Bible as breathing in the presence of God. Think of writing as expressing the Word of God through your creativity." I love how the Spirit nudges me to pursue a writing idea inspired by scripture. It is one of the many reasons why I love spending time in God's Word.

    1. God is so awesome and beyond all we can imagine. God's Word really does bring life, just like breathing. Thank you Valerie for reading and commenting.

  4. Thanks for your inspiring and thought filled post, Bob. Lots here to digest. My inner voice said, ‘Yes!’ as I read my way through. Learning more about the breath of God all the time. I think a whole series of devotionals or sermons could be done on just that subject.

  5. I love this thought: "Think of reading the Bible as breathing in the presence of God. Think of writing as expressing the Word of God through your creativity."

    1. Our writing is not at the same level of inspiration or authority as the Bible, but Christian writers can express the same life-giving content. TYou do that all the time, Tracy.

  6. Thanks for this inspiring post, Bob. I couldn't agree more with your words and the above comments on breathing in the Word of God, and breathing out our creativity/writing.

  7. Thank you, Sandi. Keep on breathing. Keep on inspiring.

  8. Loved your post, Bob. Had a similar experience years ago with panic attacks and fear of not having enough air to breathe. It made me so grateful for lungs that can give us the gift of breath and life.

    Like others, I'm taken with these lines in your post: "Pam Allyn ... says 'Reading is like breathing in and writing is like breathing out.' Think of reading the Bible as breathing in the presence of God. Think of writing as expressing the Word of God through your creativity."

    Thank you!

  9. I like Peter de Vries' perspective, Bob, though different seasons of life can make this an even bigger challenge than it is.

    Your post reminded me of the song that says, "It's Your breath in our lungs, so we pour out our praise, we pour out our praise...we pour out our praise to You only." Every breath a prayer or note of worship.


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