Biblical Teaching on the Holy Spirit

Robert C. Newman

 

The Personality of the Holy Spirit

 

What do we mean by "personality"?

 

            Not the common meaning of this word

            But rather personhood, the fact of being a person

 

What do we mean by "person"?

 

One dictionary has (1) a human being, (2) an individual, (3) the body of a human being, (4) a character in a play.

Except perhaps for (2), none of these is what we mean by "person" in this case.

Rather, a person as opposed to something inanimate or non-thinking, i.e., a being having self-consciousness; grammatically, one which may refer to itself as "I" or be spoken of as "you," or spoken about at "he" or "she" rather than "it";  a being making logical, mental, moral and esthetic distinctions; or a being having mind, will and emotions.

What are evidences of mind?

            Thinking, saying, doing

What are evidences of will?

            Choosing, saying, doing, commanding

What are evidences of emotion?

            Feelings of various sorts

 

What does the Scripture say regarding the Holy Spirit?

 

Thinking:

 

Exodus 31:3 (NIV) and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts –

 

Isaiah 11:2 (NIV) The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him – the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD –

 

Saying:

 

2 Samuel 23:2 (NIV) "The Spirit of the LORD spoke through me; his word was on my tongue.

 

Nehemiah 9:30 (NIV) For many years you were patient with them. By your Spirit you admonished them through your prophets. Yet they paid no attention, so you handed them over to the neighboring peoples.

Mark 13:11 (NIV) Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.

 

Acts 8:29 (NIV) The Spirit told Philip, "Go to that chariot and stay near it."

 

Galatians 4:6 (NIV) Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, {[6] Aramaic for Father} Father."

 

Revelation 2:7 (NIV) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. [six more such statements in Rev 2 and 3]

 

Doing:

 

Genesis 6:3 (NIV) Then the LORD said, "My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years."

 

Ezekiel 3:24 (NIV) Then the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet. He spoke to me and said: "Go, shut yourself inside your house.

 

Luke 12:12 (NIV) for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say."

 

1 Corinthians 3:16 (NIV) Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?

 

Choosing:

 

Acts 15:28 (NIV) It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements:

 

Acts 16:6 (NIV) 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.

 

Acts 20:28 (NIV) Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.

 

Feeling:

 

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

 

Romans 5:5 (NIV) And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Romans 15:30 (NIV) I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.

 

Galatians 4:6 (NIV) Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father."

 

Ephesians 4:30 (NIV) And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

 

Other Items re/ Personality of Holy Spirit:

 

Matthew 12:31-32 (NIV) And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 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.

 

John 16:13 (NIV) 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. (masculine pronoun ekeinos)

 

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

 

John 15:26 (NIV) "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. (masculine pronoun ekeinos)

 

Acts 5:3 (NIV) 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?

 

Hebrews 10:29 (NIV) How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?

 

Thus it is clear that the Bible represents the Holy Spirit as a person rather than as an inanimate force or influence.

 


The Deity of the Holy Spirit

 

What do we mean by "deity"?

 

Dictionary definition:

            "God, the Supreme Being; a pagan god or goddess"

 

Biblical definition:

 

Isaiah 42:5 (NIV) This is what God the LORD says – he who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it:

 

Isaiah 44:24-28 (NIV) "This is what the LORD says – your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the LORD, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself, 25 who foils the signs of false prophets and makes fools of diviners, who overthrows the learning of the wise and turns it into nonsense, 26 who carries out the words of his servants and fulfills the predictions of his messengers, who says of Jerusalem, `It shall be inhabited,' of the towns of Judah, `They shall be built,' and of their ruins, `I will restore them,' 27 who says to the watery deep, `Be dry, and I will dry up your streams,' 28 who says of Cyrus, `He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I please; he will say of Jerusalem, "Let it be rebuilt," and of the temple, "Let its foundations be laid." '

 

Isaiah 46:9-10 (NIV) Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. 10 I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.

 

Lesser 'gods'?:

 

Isaiah 43:10-11 (NIV) "You are my witnesses," declares the LORD, "and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. 11 I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior.

 

Psalm 82:6-7 (NIV) "I said, `You are "gods"; you are all sons of the Most High.' 7 But you will die like mere men; you will fall like every other ruler."

 

The Holy Spirit is regularly grouped in a triad with God the Father and Jesus:

 

Isaiah 11:2 (NIV) The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him [Messiah] – the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORDÉ

 

Isaiah 42:1 (NIV) "Here is my [Father speaking] servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations.

 

Isaiah 48:16 (NIV) "[Messiah speaking] Come near me and listen to this: "From the first announcement I have not spoken in secret; at the time it happens, I am there." And now the Sovereign LORD has sent me, with his Spirit.

 

Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV) 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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

 

1 Corinthians 12:4-6 (NIV) There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.

 

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

 

Ephesians 4:4-6 (NIV) There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to one hope when you were called – 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

 

1 Peter 1:2 (NIV) who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.

 

The Holy Spirit is closely identified with God, so as to speak when He speaks, to be present when He is present.

 

Speaking:

 

2 Chronicles 20:14-15 (NIV) Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite and descendant of Asaph, as he stood in the assembly. 15 He said: "Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: `Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's.

 

2 Chronicles 24:20 (NIV) Then the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest. He stood before the people and said, "This is what God says: `Why do you disobey the LORD's commands? You will not prosper. Because you have forsaken the LORD, he has forsaken you.'"

 

Ezekiel 11:5 (NIV) Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon me, and he told me to say: "This is what the LORD says: That is what you are saying, O house of Israel, but I know what is going through your mind.

 

Hebrews 10:15-16 (NIV) The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: 16 "This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds." [quotes Jer. 31:33]

 

Present:

 

1 Samuel 16:13 (NIV) So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power. Samuel then went to Ramah. 14 Now the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD tormented himÉ 18:12 Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with David but had left Saul.

 

 

2 King 2:9-16 (NIV) When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, "Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?" "Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit," Elisha repliedÉ. 14 Then he took the cloak that had fallen from him and struck the water with it. "Where now is the LORD, the God of Elijah?" he asked. When he struck the water, it divided to the right and to the left, and he crossed over. 15 The company of the prophets from Jericho, who were watching, said, "The spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha." And they went to meet him and bowed to the ground before him. 16 "Look," they said, "we your servants have fifty able men. Let them go and look for your master. Perhaps the Spirit of the LORD has picked him up and set him down on some mountain or in some valley." "No," Elisha replied, "do not send them."

 

Psalm 51:11 (NIV) Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.

 

Haggai 2:4 (NIV) But now be strong, O Zerubbabel,' declares the LORD. `Be strong, O Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,' declares the LORD, `and work. For I am with you,' declares the LORD Almighty. 5 `This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.'

 

1 Corinthians 3:16 (NIV) Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?

 

1 Corinthians 6:19 (NIV) Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;

 


Miscellaneous Identifications:

 

Ezekiel 8:1 (NIV) In the sixth year, in the sixth month on the fifth day, while I was sitting in my house and the elders of Judah were sitting before me, the hand of the Sovereign LORD came upon me there. 2 I looked, and I saw a figure like that of a man. From what appeared to be his waist down he was like fire, and from there up his appearance was as bright as glowing metal. 3 He stretched out what looked like a hand and took me by the hair of my head. The Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven and in visions of God he took me to Jerusalem, to the entrance to the north gate of the inner court, where the idol that provokes to jealousy stood.

 

Acts 5:3-4 (NIV) 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? 4 Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God."

 

Acts 21:11 (NIV) Coming over to us, he took Paul's belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, "The Holy Spirit says, `In this way the Jews of Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.'"

 

1 Corinthians 2:10 (NIV) but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 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. 12 We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.

 

The Holy Spirit is seen to have attributes which are unique to God:

 

Omnipresent:

 

Psalm 139:7 (NIV) Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?

 

Omniscient:

 

Isaiah 40:13 (NIV) Who has understood the mind {[13] Or Spirit; or spirit}of the LORD, or instructed him as his counselor?

 


Eternal:

 

Hebrews 9:14 (NIV) How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, {[14] Or from useless rituals}so that we may serve the living God!

 

Blasphemy against unforgivable:

 

Matthew 12:31-32 (NIV) And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 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.