Acts 16:7 – The Spirit of Yeshua



“and after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Yeshua did not permit them.”

reproduced from Salvation on the Line, Volume I

In Luke’s record leading up to Paul’s vision of the man of Macedonia, which invited Paul and his party into Philippi (Acts 16:9), Luke makes a very intriguing point concerning Yeshua the Messiah.[1] Acts 16:7 actually records, “When they came to the frontier of Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia; but the Spirit of Yeshua would not let them” (CJB/CJSB), or “When they came to Mysia, they were trying to proceed into Bithynia, but the Ruach of Yeshua would not allow them” (TLV). Immediately prior in Acts 16:6, Luke indicated “They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia.”

Previously, Paul and his party “had been prevented by the Ruach HaKodesh” (Acts 16:6, CJB/CJSB) or the Holy Spirit, tou hagiou pneumatos, to go to Asia. It is then stated how “the Spirit of Jesus” or “Ruach of Yeshua” (Acts 16:7, TLV), to pneuma Iēsou, prohibited them from going to Bithynia. What is to be deduced from the terms employed in Acts 16:6, 7?

It needs to be recognized how there is no conflict present between Luke speaking about “the Holy Spirit” on one hand, and then “the Spirit of Yeshua” on another. This actually provides Bible readers a unique perspective of the Godhead, which often gets overlooked by the most well-meaning of Believers. While it is safe to recognize how Luke fully upholds the Divinity of Yeshua in these statements, he may also suggest that the differences between the Son and the Spirit may not be as clearly defined or compartmentalized as one’s human mind may want them to be—and even the perception of some of the most thoughtful systematic theologians. While there are some differences in the functions of the Son and the Spirit, they are nevertheless unified as part of the mystery of the Godhead and God’s very being. This is perhaps why Paul is able to say, “it is written, ‘The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL’ [Genesis 2:7]. The last Adam became a life-giving spirit” (1 Corinthians 15:45).

In witnessing both “the Holy Spirit” and “the Spirit of Yeshua” being referred to in Acts 16:6, 7, we are each asked to pause and consider that tried and true direction: Let God be God. The Eternal One is not limited by any of the restrictions we place upon Him. If we affirm that Elohim is a plural unity, then let this plural unity present itself to us as we read the Holy Scriptures.


[1] This entry has been partially adapted from the commentary Philippians for the Practical Messianic, “Acts 16:11-40: Paul’s Visit to Philippi.”