My most memorable ah-ha moment occurred as I sat in a Bible class in the basement of an old church building in Woodbridge, VA some 15 or so years ago. We were studying Romans, after having spent nearly 2 years studying 1 Corinthians. We got to Romans 8:26-27, which I had never understood, and admittedly had never given much thought to because I just couldn’t make sense of it and found it to be outright confusing. I figured it just was one of those “secret things” that belonged to God and maybe some day, when I reached Heaven, God would enlighten me.
The teacher asked a question: is the spirit being discussed here the Holy Spirit? Well, I had never considered it could be a reference to anything else. I mean, what else could it be? It’s *capitalized*, so of course it’s the Holy Spirit! The teacher explained that there was no capitalization in the Greek text, so while it could be the Holy Spirit, it did not necessarily have to be so. Okay, I was game to explore options, so the question next became, what else could be under consideration? The teacher suggested that perhaps the spirit here might actually be a reference to man’s spirit. I plugged that idea in and read the whole chapter in context. Suddenly it made sense, and the lights went on: the spirit that was groaning in verse 26 became a continuation of the idea in verse 23. I had often wondered why the Holy Spirit needed to use groanings that couldn’t be uttered when He was perfectly capable of choosing the very words to put in the mouths and hands of the inspired apostles. My ah-ha moment was that He didn’t. And I felt like a dense fog had been lifted.