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  Bible Question:  What does it mean "Do not quench the Spirit?"
 
Bible Answer:  The scripture passage you are quoting is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:19.
 
  Do not quench the Spirit . . . (NASB) 1 Thess 5:19
 
     Meaning of the Greek. The actual Greek words read "the Spirit not quench." The Greek language places the most important part of the sentence first. So verse 19 is emphasizing "the Spirit." We also need to note that the root Greek word for "quench" is SBENNUMI which means "to extinguish" or "to go out." The word was used to refer to putting out fires, sparks, or the putting out of a lamp. The word is used in Matthew 25:8,

 
  And the foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ (NASB) Matt. 25:8
 
Now we have part of the information required to understand the verse. So far the verse says that we are not to "put out the Holy Spirit." The ministry of the Holy Spirit was evidenced by flames of fire (Acts 2:3). We must not forget that God is called a "consuming fire" (Heb. 12:29) and His angels are flames of fire (2 Thess. 1:7). The Holy Spirit is never actually called a flame or fire, but His ministry was like fire.
     Context of the Verse. Now we need the context to give us the meaning of the verse.

 
  Rejoice always;
pray without ceasing;
in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Do not quench the Spirit;
do not despise prophetic utterances.
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;
abstain from every form of evil. (NASB) 1 Thess. 5:16-22
 
This passage is wonderful. It deals with three aspects of holiness: talking to the Lord, allowing the Spirit to minister to us, and pursuing righteousness. In the Greek, the passage is broken into four statements. I have highlighted every other grouping. Each statement is like a proverb. Each group has similar ideas. The first grouping is rejoicing, praying and giving thanks. The third group is examining everything in order to hold to that which is good, and the last group is "abstaining from evil." The second group, not quench and not despise, is the one we are interested in. They go together. So how do not quenching the Holy Spirit and not despising prophetic utterances go together? The grouping is about the ministries of the Spirit.

     Meaning of the Verse. Both the meaning of the Greek and the context of the passage tell us the ministry of the Spirit is Paul's concern. We are not to quench the ministry of the Spirit! Is Paul talking about not hindering the ministry of the gifts of the Spirit, or the convicting ministry of the Spirit, or the teaching ministry of the Spirit, or His ministry of leading and filling? The answer is "Yes" to all of them.
     There are many ways one can hinder ministry of the Holy Spirit. First, we hinder His work in our life when we sin, because we grieve Him (Eph. 4:30-31).
 
  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. (NASB) Eph. 4:30-31
     
 
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