The Holy Spirit (1)

The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. He has come to establish the Church.


The Holy Spirit has a personality (not an "it"). He has:

He is able to do things that only a "person" can do:

Distinct from God the Father & Jesus Christ the Son - Matthew 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; 1 Peter 1:2; Acts 10:38; 15:28.


The names and titles of the Holy Spirit (or "Holy Ghost", which was adopted for the Authorised Version of 1611, but is less helpful today given common usage of the term "ghost") describe His character and attributes.

Spirit of God - Exodus 31:3 - Has the attributes and performs the works of God:

The same Holy Spirit supernaturally brings us to Jesus Christ (John 6:44); reveals the truth of Christ to us (John 16:13); lives in us, energizing, directing, empowering us as the children of God. We need to submit to His presence, authority, will and be led by Him; kept by Him (cf Jude 20, 21).

Spirit of Christ - Romans 8:9

Spirit of Glory - Helps us glorify God. Reflects the glory of God in us and in the Church - 1 Peter 4:14

Comforter - John 14:26; 15:26; 16:7.

Parakletos = one who is called to come along side of us
(Latin uses "Advocatus, or advocate, a term used in 1 John 2:1 in reference to the role of Jesus Christ.)

Teacher - He is our teacher: John 16:12, 13. (This does not infer that we do not need human teacher; but in the ultimate sense what we receive from God needs to be spiritually imparted.)

Holy Spirit, or Spirit of Holiness - Luke 11:13; Romans 1:4

Spirit of Wisdom - Exodus 28:3; Ephesians 1:17.

He imparts God's eternal wisdom to us (as distinct from human wisdom, which is compromised, cf 1 Corinthians 2 and 3).

Holy Spirit of Promise

Spirit of Truth

John 14:17, 27; 16:13 He is the personification of Truth. He:

Distinguished from the "spirit of error" (1 John 4:6) in the world, inspired by Satan.

Spirit of Grace

Referred to in Hebrews 10:29; Zechariah 12:10. Imparts God's grace to us:

Spirit of Life

Makes us free from the "law of sin and death". Gives us abundant life. Romans 8:2; Revelation 11:11. He also gives us life as the Creator, the "breath of God", Psalm 104:30; Isaiah 42:5. The letter of the law "kills", but the Spirit gives life - 2 Corinthians 3:6.

Spirit of Adoption

The "agent" of our adoption, or incorporation in the family of God as His legal heirs- Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:5, 6. Confirms our sonship in our hearts.

Spirit of Burning - Isaiah 4:4 - Searching out, refining, burning dross, illuminating the believer.


Fire - Isaiah 4:4; Matthew 3:11; Luke 3:16

Holy Spirit gives us burning zeal, boldness. Speaking of the power of our witness, someone once said, "If you are on fire for Christ, people will come to watch you burn".

Wind - Job 33:4

Spirit means: "breath" or "wind:" Hebrew "Ruach"; Greek "Pneuma". Ezekiel 37:7-10; Acts 2:2 Jesus used the illustration of wind to signify the work of the Holy Spirit in conversion - John 3:8. He subsequently "breathed" on the disciples and imparted the Holy Spirit (John 20:22).

Water - Isaiah 44:3, 4; Ezekiel 36:25-27 (type); John 4:14; 7:38, 39

Water in the Bible symbolizes life, renewal. The Holy Spirit is the source of life. Human religion is like "clouds without water" (Jude), promising but not delivering. Water:

The water of the Spirit continues to flow through willing believers.

Seal - Ephesians 1:13; 4:30; 2 Corinthians 1:22

Oil - Hebrews 1:9; Luke 4:18; Acts 10:38

Oil was used for anointing (priests, kings, one prophet). Jesus was anointed (Acts 10:38). Also used for food, light, healing. The Holy Spirit in us produces these things (2 Corinthians 1:21).


Speaks of grace, gentleness, purity, peace, patience. The Holy Spirit "brooded" over the waters in Genesis 1:2. In form of a dove at Jesus' baptism (Matthew 3:16 and the 3 other Gospels).

Earnest - Ephesians 1:14 - Down-payment, deposit, guarantee of balance of payment to come.


The Holy Spirit was active in Old Testament times. Mentioned 86 times, in 27 of the 39 books.

Ruach= the Spirit (of man or God).

Created man partook of Spirit of Life (Genesis 7:22; Isaiah 17:5). 14 references in Pentateuch. Exodus = focus on Spirit of Wisdom. In Judges seen in-breathing courage, strength. Isaiah and Ezekiel have 13/15 = 28 references. The Holy Spirit transported Ezekiel to places where he was needed.



Progressively throughout the Old Testament:


JosephGenesis 41:38-40 - gave wisdom and equipped and anointed for leadership and the salvation of Israel
BezaleelExodus 31:2-5; 35:30, 31 - "filled", for the crafting of the tabernacle
Eldad and MedadNumbers 11:26 - Elders who prophesied
Moses and the Elders of Israel Numbers 11:16, 17, 25 - "rested on them"; cf Isaiah 63:11
JoshuaNumbers 27:18-23- indwelt him as a servant of Moses and a leader of Israel. See also Deuteronomy 34:9
BalaamNumbers 24:2 - prophesied about Israel
OthnielJudges 3:9, 10 - delivered Israel
GideonJudges 6:34 - came on Gideon to enable him to do exploits; lit. "clothed him"
JephthahJudges 11:29 - delivered Israel
SamsonJudges 13:24, 25 - gave great strength
  • 1 Samuel 10:6; 11:6, 7 - as king;
  • 1 Samuel 19:23, 24 - went among the people prophesying
  • intermittent; forfeited when he became proud and rebelled against God
David1 Samuel 16:13 - anointed by the Spirit as king of Israel
prayed that God would uphold him with his "free Spirit";
recognised Holy Spirit's omnipresence - Psalm 139:7
Azariah2 Chronicles 15:1, 2 - confronting the King
Zechariah2 Chronicles 24:20 -"came upon him"

Anointed prophets and kings. The anointing of oil they received was a symbol of the Spirit's anointing on them for service.

In the OT God used prophets to speak on his behalf - Hebrews 1:1, 2. He anointed them with the Holy Spirit to undertake this task. David (2 Samuel 23:2); pictured in the mantle that passed from Elijah to Elisha (1 Kings 19:19).

Recognised supremacy of the Holy Spirit in their own weakness:

Gave them revelation, illumination (though not always), words, action, commands, authority (though this did not always protect them from persecution).

Prophets did not prophecy according to their own will, even though the actual words they spoke were their own (they were not merely God's "secretaries", but expressed His message with their own vocabulary - 2 Peter 1:21.


"Men spoke from God, being moved (lit. carried along) by the Holy Spirit - 2 Peter 1:21.

The Holy Spirit was the Author of the Bible.


The Holy Spirit (the "Spirit of Christ") was active throughout Jesus' life on earth. Jesus needed the guidance and anointing of the Holy Spirit to carry out the mission for which the Father sent him, we also need the Holy Spirit to fulfil God's plan for our lives.

1. He was Identified by the Prophets

Prophesied in the Old Testament - Isaiah 11:1-2; 42:1; 61:1.

Simeon knew from the Spirit that he would see the Messiah - Luke 2:26, 27. Guided to the temple courts, with Prophetess Anna, when Joseph & Mary came to present Jesus.

John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit from before his birth - Luke 1:15. The Gospels record John's prophecy that the coming One would baptize people with the Holy Spirit - Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33 (Matthew and Luke add "fire").

2. He was Conceived by the Holy Spirit

Matthew 1:20 tells us Jesus was conceived in Mary by the Holy Spirit. The virgin birth was an act of creation as God bypassed a key link in the normal chain of birth. No explanation is given - it is a miracle.

In effect, Jesus ability to be both God and man simultaneously was the work of the Holy Spirit, not possible through the natural laws of procreation, cf Hebrews 10:5.

3. The Holy Spirit Descended on Him Like A Dove at His Baptism

Jesus' baptism in water was the means by which:

All four Gospels record the fact of the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus in the form of a dove - Matthew 3:16, 17; Mark 1:10, 11; Luke 3:21, 22; John 1:32-34. This occurred when he prayed after leaving the water. Jesus' baptism in water was distinct from the Holy Spirit coming on Him.

4. After His Baptism He was Led by the Spirit into the Wilderness

The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness - Matthew 4:1; Luke 4:1. Mark:" "drove" (lit. cast Him out, drove him out). As a man, for Jesus to disobey the Holy Spirit would have been sin.

Jesus was so full of the Spirit he did not feel hungry till after 40 days - Matthew 4:2. The Holy Spirit filled Jesus to prepare Him to do all God's work.

Being full of the Holy Spirit does not prevent temptations. But the strongest temptation cannot rob us of God's anointing either. Some people fear the temptations and trials they go through are signs of their being removed from God's will and anointing. Obviously this was not true of Jesus, and it will not be true of us if we, "live in the Spirit, and ... not gratify the desires of the sinful nature" - Galatians 5:16.

Jesus defeated the Devil (facing temptation was part of His ministry - Hebrews 2:17-18) by using the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God- available to us today (cf 1 John 5:4).

5. His Ministry was Launched in the Power of the Holy Spirit

After this Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee. His life and ministry were thereafter characterised by the power of God in action.

Jesus' repeatedly affirmed His works (healing, delivering, binding/loosing, preaching) were not something He did by himself, but as a man empowered by God, anointed by the Holy Spirit - John 5:19, 30. He is our example in ministry.

6. He was Anointed by the Spirit for Ministry

Jesus' entire ministry shows a close cooperation with the Holy Spirit, who anointed Him for ministry (Acts 10:38).

7. The Holy Spirit's Power in His Ministry was Challenged

The Pharisees claimed Jesus cast out demons by the power of Beelzebub. This was blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, an unpardonable sin.

Jesus made it clear He was casting out demons by the Spirit of God - Matthew 12:24-32; Mark 3:22-30; Luke 11:15-20; 12:10. Indicated this manifestation of the Spirit showed the Kingdom of God was in operation among them and for their benefit - Matthew 12:28.

8. The Holy Spirit was Present Through the Crucifixion

The Holy Spirit was with Jesus as He died on the cross, making possible the commitment that enabled Him to submit Himself as our sacrifice. He was also with Him when He presented His blood "without spot to God" - Hebrews 9:14. That sacrifice on our behalf was accepted by God as being fully efficacious for our sin and redemption.

9. He was involved in the Resurrection of Jesus

The Bible makes it clear the Holy Spirit was involved in the resurrection of Jesus - Romans 1:4; 8:11; 1 Peter 3:18. He makes us alive spiritually (and will resurrect us at the coming of Jesus).

10. He was also involved in the Post-Resurrection Ministry of Jesus

Between His resurrection and ascension Jesus gave instructions to His Disciples.

He did so through the Holy Spirit - Acts 1:2 (consistent with His ministry prior to the crucifixion, eg John 14:10, 14).


Jesus taught His disciples about the Holy Spirit (little was to the crowds).

The life and ministry of Jesus Christ show what the Holy Spirit can do in a yielded life. As we learn to live in the Spirit, He will reveal Himself to us in all His fullness, and His power will work through us in our lives

1. The Inspirer of the Word of God

Jesus taught the Old Testament was inspired by the Spirit, eg Matthew 22:43, 44; Mark 12:36.

2. The Father's Good Gift

The climax of Jesus teaching on prayer was a promise that the Father would give the Holy Spirit - Luke 11:9-13 (implied in Matthew 7:7-11).

3. Present to Help in Time of Persecution

Jesus sent the disciples out with the promise the Holy Spirit would be with them to provide help in persecution - Matthew 10:16-20; Mark 13:9-11; Luke 12:11, 12; 21:12-15. The promise applies (and works) in the persecuted church today (cf John 15:16; 16:2; Matthew 28:20).

4. Active in The New Birth

Jesus described the new birth (conversion, becoming a Christian) as the work of the Holy Spirit. "Born of the Spirit" - John 3:5, 6, 8.

5. Like Springs of Living Water

Jesus described the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives as "springs of living water" - John 7:37- 39. Fulfilled when the Holy Spirit came on the church at Pentecost.

(During the earthly ministry of Jesus the Holy Spirit was with the disciples, but not yet in them, cf John 14:17.)

6. Enabling Worshippers in the Spirit

Jesus taught that true worshippers worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth - John 4:23-24. Implies the Holy Spirit. Solomon realised God could not be limited to the temple in Jerusalem - 2 Chronicles 6:18.

We are the temple of the Holy Spirit (Jesus even indicated this about Himself - John 2:19).

7. Comforter

"Para" = "to the side of"; "kletos" = "to call or summon", ie one called to help, aid, advise, counsel.

The Spirit of Truth, to teach us, guide us into all truth - John 14:16; 16:12, 13. He would bring everything to the memory of the Disciples, so that their witness to the Gospel would be true. He gives us illumination, not just intellectual understanding.

John calls the Holy Spirit's teaching work an anointing - 1 John 2:20, 27. What is the proof of this anointing? Jesus is glorified! As the comforter the Holy Spirit teaches us and convinces sinners of the truth.

8. Convicting and Convincing the World

The purpose of convicting men is to bring them to repentance.

9. Breathed on the Disciples

Read John 20:19-23. Three interpretations:

Jesus treated the impartation as real when it occurred. He had already returned to the Father and been glorified (cf John 16:7, 16-22; 20:22).

The disciples were already in right relationship to God when this happened.

10. Baptism in the Name of the Holy Spirit

Jesus commanded the disciples to include the Holy Spirit in the formula for baptism - Matthew 28:19.

11. Power to be Witnesses

Disciples commanded to wait for the Holy Spirit's power, to make them witnesses - Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8. When we go out we do so in Jesus' authority.


Old TestamentNew Testament
Limited to certain tasksAvailable for everyone
Given to sharpen skillsGiven to sharpen skills
Limited to certain peopleNormal for the believer
Usually temporaryGiven for permanent help and teaching
Usually externally manifestOutward evidence, inward reality
Given to provide supernatural wisdom and guidanceGiven to provide supernatural wisdom and guidance
-Acts to sanctify the people of God
Mainly chose judges, prophets, kingsNot restricted by
  1. Age - "old men/young women"
  2. Gender - "sons and daughters"
  3. Class - "servants and handmaidens"
  4. Includes - "all flesh"


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