One of the puzzling aspects of spiritual life is how the Holy Spirit and the word of God work together to transform us. As a person who regularly reads, studies, and meditates on Scripture – as well as one who seeks the leading, guiding, and filling of the Holy Spirit – the dynamic interplay between Spirit and word is important to me. It matters personally, not just theologically or theoretically. I want the word of God and the Holy Spirit to be transformative forces in my life.

A recent book has really helped me understand these issues more clearly. Dr. Timothy Wiarda retired from Gateway Seminary a few years ago but then joined the faculty at Seminarie Baptiste de Formation Pastorale et Missionnaire in Cote d’Ivoire. He has continued to teach and write, both from the depth of his insight as a New Testament scholar and from his perspective as a person regularly involved in hands-on ministry.

Dr. Wiarda’s new book is How the Spirit and Word Work Together. It is a relatively short book which distills insights from a previously published (and much longer) academic tome into a pastoral guide on the subject described in the title. He begins each chapter by describing a pastoral conversation which could be heard in almost any church anywhere in the world and then writes about how a proper understanding of Spirit and word speaks to the matters he raises. He specifically addresses Spirit and word in areas like worship, apologetics, and assurance of salvation (among many others).

The depth and precision of the biblical insights in this book are riveting. The balanced perspective is refreshing. And, the practical application of the materials to real-life questions and situations in pastoral ministry are genuine. There is too much emphasis in the American church on tricks and techniques, selling points, and celebrities. We are enthralled with the latest leadership insight and preoccupied with chasing the latest trend.  We need the dose of spiritual reality – and vitality – this book provides.

We need to reimagine how the Holy Spirit and the word of God work mysteriously to produce spiritual transformation. We need to simplify our strategies to magnify these two great resources – while acknowledging the complicated inexplicability of exactly how they work together to produce spiritual results. We need a holy expectation, coupled with spiritual discipline, to make word and Spirit watchwords of ministry preparation and execution.

Pick up this little book and let it renew your mind and refresh your spirit as the word of God and Holy Spirit do transformative work within you.

Read More

A Perfect Opportunity

Dr. Iorg expresses why he loves living in the West and in particular Southern California. The need for the gospel is great and Dr. Iorg encourages others to do more work in areas that may not be so comfortable for Christians.

Jeff Iorg
Dr. Jeff Iorg is the president of Gateway Seminary. Prior to his service at the Seminary, Dr. Iorg was the Executive Director of the Northwest Baptist Convention for almost ten years. He was also the founding pastor of Greater Gresham Baptist Church in Gresham, Oregon, and has served as a pastor in Missouri and a staff pastor in Texas.

The Lord’s Dinner

The first-century churches, when they met, ordinarily ate a proper meal together, a meal including the bread and the cup, and this meal was at the heart of their common life and worship.

John W. Taylor
Director, Academic Graduate Studies Program | Chair, Biblical Studies | Professor of New Testament
Dr. John Taylor serves as chair of biblical studies and professor of New Testament at Gateway Seminary. Dr. Taylor earned a Ph.D. in New Testament Studies at the University of Cambridge with a research interest in Pauline Studies.


10 Questions with 10 Pastors
March 20, 2023

Ruben Reyes III

Ruben Reyes III joins this episode of Ten Questions with Ten Pastors to discuss church planting, developing leaders in the church and preaching. Reyes planted Solid Rock in Claremont, California, then transitioned from

Lead On Podcast
March 19, 2023

Making Ministry Marriage Work with Ann Iorg – Part 2

In this second part of this two part podcast, Dr. Iorg talks with his wife, Ann Iorg, about some important lessons they have learned about making ministry marriage work. 

Get updates on new content!