Who Is the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit Is Guide and Counselor to All Christians

HolySpirit.jpg
Hans Neleman / Getty Images

The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity and undoubtedly the least understood member of the Godhead.

Christians can easily identify with God the Father (Jehovah or Yahweh) and his Son, Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit, however, without a body and a personal name, seems distant to many, yet he dwells inside every true believer and is a constant companion in the walk of faith.

Who Is the Holy Ghost?

Until a few decades ago, both Catholic and Protestant churches used the title Holy Ghost.

The King James Version (KJV) of the Bible, first published in 1611, uses the term Holy Ghost, but every modern translation, including the New King James Version, uses Holy Spirit. Some Pentecostal denominations which use the KJV still speak of the Holy Ghost.

Member of the Godhead

As God, the Holy Spirit has existed through all eternity. In the Old Testament, he is also referred to as the Spirit, the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of the Lord. In the New Testament, he is sometimes called the Spirit of Christ.

The Holy Spirit first appears in the second verse of the Bible, in the account of creation:

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. (Genesis 1:2, NIV).

The Holy Spirit caused the Virgin Mary to conceive (Matthew 1:20), and at the baptism of Jesus, he descended on Jesus like a dove. On the Day of Pentecost, he rested like tongues of fire on the apostles.

In many religious paintings and church logos, he is often symbolized as a dove.

Since the Hebrew word for the Spirit in the Old Testament means "breath" or "wind," Jesus breathed on his apostles after his resurrection and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit." (John 20:22, NIV). He also commanded his followers to baptize people in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The divine works of the Holy Spirit, both in the open and in secret, advance God the Father's plan of salvation. He participated in creation with the Father and Son, filled the prophets with the Word of God, assisted Jesus and the apostles in their missions, inspired the men who wrote the Bible, guides the church, and sanctifies believers in their walk with Christ today.

He gives spiritual gifts for strengthening the body of Christ. Today he acts as Christ's presence on earth, counseling and encouraging Christians as they battle the temptations of the world and the forces of Satan.

Who Is the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit's name describes his chief attribute: He is a perfectly holy and spotless God, free of any sin or darkness. He shares the strengths of God the Father and Jesus, such as omniscience, omnipotence, and eternality. Likewise, he is all-loving, forgiving, merciful and just.

Throughout the Bible, we see the Holy Spirit pouring his power into followers of God. When we think of such towering figures as Joseph, Moses, David, Peter, and Paul, we may feel we have nothing in common with them, but the truth is that the Holy Spirit helped each of them change. He stands ready to help us change from the person we are today to the person we want to be, ever closer to the character of Christ.

A member of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit had no beginning and has no end. With the Father and Son, he existed before creation. The Spirit dwells in heaven but also on Earth in the heart of every believer.

The Holy Spirit serves as teacher, counselor, comforter, strengthener, inspiration, revealer of the Scriptures, convincer of sin, caller of ministers, and intercessor in prayer.

References to the Holy Spirit in the Bible:

The Holy Spirit appears in nearly every book of the Bible.

Holy Spirit Bible Study

Continue reading for a topical Bible study on the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit Is a Person

The Holy Spirit is included in the Trinity, which is made up of 3 distinct persons: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The following verses give us a beautiful picture of the Trinity in the Bible:

Matthew 3:16-17
As soon as Jesus (the Son) was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God (the Holy Spirit) descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven (the Father) said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." (NIV)

Matthew 28:19
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (NIV)

John 14:16-17
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever-- the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. (NIV)

2 Corinthians 13:14
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (NIV)

Acts 2:32-33
God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. (NIV)

The Holy Spirit has the Characteristics of Personality:

The Holy Spirit has a Mind:

Romans 8:27
And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will. (NIV)

The Holy Spirit has a Will:

1 Corinthians 12:11
But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills. (NASB)

The Holy Spirit has Emotions, he grieves:

Isaiah 63:10
Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them. (NIV)

The Holy Spirit gives joy:

Luke 10: 21
At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure." (NIV)

1 Thessalonians 1:6
You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.

He Teaches:

John 14:26
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. (NIV)

He Testifies of Christ:

John 15:26
When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. (NIV)

He Convicts:

John 16:8
When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt [Or will expose the guilt of the world] in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: (NIV)

He Leads:

Romans 8:14
Because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. (NIV)

He Reveals Truth:

John 16:13
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. (NIV)

He Strengthens and Encourages:

Acts 9:31
Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord. (NIV)

He Comforts:

John 14:16
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; (KJV)

He Helps Us in our Weakness:

Romans 8:26
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

(NIV)

He Intercedes:

Romans 8:26
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. (NIV)

He Searches the Deep Things of God:

1 Corinthians 2:11
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. (NIV)

He Sanctifies:

Romans 15:16
To be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles with the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. (NIV)

He Bears Witness or Testifies:

Romans 8:16
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: (KJV)

He Forbids:

Acts 16:6-7
Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. (NIV)

He Can be Lied to:

Acts 5:3
Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? (NIV)

He Can be Resisted:

Acts 7:51
"You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit!" (NIV)

He Can be Blasphemed:

Matthew 12:31-32
And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. (NIV)

He Can be Quenched:

1 Thessalonians 5:19
Quench not the Spirit. (NKJV)