13 The Holy Spirit unites the believer with Christ and places him in the body of Christ, the church. The Holy Spirit is the powerful means by which the two members of the Godhead revealed in the Bible—God the Father and Jesus Christ, the Son of God—project Their will, Their influence, Their nature and Their creative power throughout the universe, including affecting the minds of human beings. The Holy Spirit is not an impersonal force. The doctrine of the Trinity developed over the centuries as a human attempt to explain the nature of God. A similar situation exists in the Greek language—the language in which the New Testament was originally written. The word, “person” has had different meanings over the course of time. If the Holy Spirit were a person, the apostle Paul certainly disrespected and snubbed “Him” by omitting the Holy Spirit in his typical greetings to the churches. Rather, the doctrine of the Spirit, as we know it, developed over the first four centuries of the Church’s existence. There are three Persons in the Trinity–God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. The Spirit teaches and reminds. The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is all-powerful. 1 Corinthians 2:13, “We impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. Additionally, “the word Trinity is not found in the Bible, and though used by Tertullian in the last decade of the 2nd century, it did not find a place formally in the theology of the church till the 4th century” (New Bible Dictionary, 1982, “Trinity”). . The Spirit bears witness to Christ. It is also a gift that God can impart to a human mind to promote and inspire spiritual growth in that individual and enable that person to become a member of the family of God. Hebrews 10:29, “How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has . He Gives Us Power to Witness. CO-EQUAL means equal in every single way possible. If the Holy Spirit is a person, why is the Holy Spirit not included when Paul, Peter and John sent greetings to the churches? This is appropriate, since the Holy Spirit is not a person, but the power of the two Beings: God the Father and Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Romans 8:16, “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them.”, 7. The Holy Spirit Is Considered as A “Gift” (Like an object, not a person) …and you shall receive the … . Used by permission. Print subscriptions available in U.S., Canada and Europe, Article URL: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/god/holy-spirit/is-the-holy-spirit-a-person/. I encourage you to discover the Holy Spirit as God and a person. "'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the Lord of hosts" - Zechariah 4:6 The Spirit speaks. It was in this context that Tertullian also used the word trinitas” (key word “Trinity”). The work of the Holy Spirit in a Christian’s life is an on-going process of becoming holy through sanctification. '”, 3. The Holy Spirit is presented as a personal being with a self-identity different from both the Father, and the Son. It isn’t taught elsewhere in the Scriptures. The Holy Spirit is the Comforter, in Christ’s name. The Spirit apportions spiritual gifts. Acts 16:6-7, “they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. We can fellowship and communicate with Him person to person. The Latin word persona in the days of Tertullian never meant a self-conscious individual person, which is what is usually meant by the modern English word ‘person.’ In those days, it only meant legal ownership or a mask used at the theater. The Trinity doctrine teaches that the Holy Spirit is a literal being that is CO-EQUAL with the Father and Son. It is the Spirit who brings conviction to the unbeliever and causes him to see the truth of the gospel in a clear light. In the Bible, the Holy Spirit is represented by water, oil, a dove and fire. These and other Bible passages have led some to conclude that the holy spirit is a person, just as God, Jesus, and the angels are individual spirit persons. apportions [spiritual gifts] to each one individually as he wills.”, 9. In this verse Peter confronts Ananias as to why he lied to the Holy Spirit and tells him that he had “not lied to men but to God.” A more fruitful approach is first to ask a question almost no one asks: how do we know that the Father is a person? In light of this, we should take note of two things. Since one of the major aspects of God’s nature is that he is a person, it follows that the Holy Spirit is a person. The Holy Spirit is presented as a personal being with a self-identity different from both the Father, and the Son. He blogs at Between Two Worlds and Evangelical History. He is the … How about the Son? John 14:26, “the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Many places in Scripture the holy spirit is referred to as “God’s spirit” – the apostrophe “s” denoting ownership, meaning that the spirit belongs to God. . First, the fact that this nonbiblical addition is the only clear statement of the Trinity highlights the weakness of the Trinity doctrine. He can be angered, frustrated, grieved (Eph. . We need to treat Holy Spirit as a person, not as a force, power or tongue. The Holy Spirit is willing to become a seed in you. Thus, in the English translation, the Holy Spirit is referred to as “He.” However, this is no more evidence that the Holy Spirit is a person than the use, in Spanish, of the feminine pronoun ella (she) to refer to a door is evidence that a door is a female person. The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity and undoubtedly the least understood member of the Godhead. . All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version (© 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.). For example, in Spanish, a door is la puerta. The personality of the Holy Spirit has been attacked by Socinius and his followers ancient and modern who have held to the general position that the Holy Spirit is an impersonal energy proceeding from God… no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.”, 8. According to Trinitarians, the Holy Spirit is a separate person, distinct from the Father and the Son. In fact, for centuries some of the most influential religions of Christendom have attributed personality to the holy spirit. An Anthropology of Embodiment, Happy New Year: “All Glory Be to Christ!”, How to Grow in Self-Criticism in Your Theology. Numerous outpourings of the Holy Spirit are mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles , in which healing, prophecy, the expelling of demons ( exorcism ), and speaking in tongues ( glossolalia ) are particularly associated with the activity of the Spirit. Tom Kirkpatrick holds a PhD in accounting from the University of North Texas, and is a retired CPA. Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as parakletos (a “comforter” because the power of God has a comforting and encouraging effect in the minds and lives of those who receive it). The Spirit bears witness to believers about their adoption These and other Bible passages have led some to conclude that the holy spirit is a person, just as God, Jesus, and the angels are individual spirit persons. It is also clear that the Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit of God (1 Thessalonians 4:8; Isaiah 63:10–11). Again, these are matters of grammar and translation, not of biblical theology. . He is God. He mentions the Father and the Son (Jesus Christ) in his greetings but consistently omits the Holy Spirit (Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:2; Galatians 1:3; Ephesians 1:2; Philippians 1:2; Colossians 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1-2; 1 Timothy 1:1-2; 2 Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4; Philemon 1:3). the Holy Spirit is the agent not only of creation, but also of God’s new creation in Christ. As the Father and Jesus make this distinction when speaking of Him. outraged the Spirit of grace?”, Acts 5:3, 4, “why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit? The Self-Pity and Irresponsibility of President Trump, A Simple Explanation of Divine Simplicity, What Does It Mean to Be Human? The translators of the King James Bible carried this grammatical arrangement over into the English in a number of places, such as John 14:16. There are instances in English translations of the Bible where the pronouns “He” and “His” are used to refer to the Holy Spirit, but this is a matter of grammar and translation, not of biblical teaching. The Holy Spirit is God (1 Thessalonians 4:8; Isaiah 63:10-11). Acts 8:29, “the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go over and join this chariot.’ Acts 13:2, … The Holy Spirit speaks to the people of God, and encourages us to hear His voice (Hebrews 3:7). The Holy Spirit is identified as a Person by John, using in the Greek the masculine ekeinos in Jn.16:13. Romans 8:26-27, “the Spirit helps us in our weakness. Here’s another puzzle for someone who believes the Spirit is a person. John 14:26- “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, … You can follow him on Twitter. What Is the Holy Spirit? The proof comes from many other scriptures in the Bible. . The Spirit helps us, intercedes for us, and has a mind. 1 Corinthians 12:11, “the same Spirit . 4:30). . … “Evil had been accumulat­ing for centuries, and could only be restrained and resisted by the mighty power of the Holy Spirit, the Thir… In the Spanish language, this is a “feminine” noun, and it is appropriate to refer to a door by the use of a feminine pronoun (ella, which is equivalent to the English pronoun she). Thus three distinct persons are still of one substance (una substantia in Latin). The main evidence presented as “proof” that the Spirit is more than just a divine power or force is the use of masculine pronouns found primarily in John’s gospel. God the Holy Spirit does have energy (limitless), can affect things, and does have power (God’s power), but He is much more than these attributes. It is a fundamental revelation that the Holy Spirit is a Person, in the sense that the Father is a Person, and the Son is a Person. In Acts 5:1-4 a man who lied to the Holy Spirit is said to have lied to God. 11. He most recently pastored two congregations of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association, before his retirement in 2020. They share a common Spirit and nature (Ephesians 4:4; John 10:30). In many languages, such as Spanish and Greek, nouns have gender. Acts 15:28, “it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements.”, 3. The answer is that the Bible presents a person as a substance that can do personal and relational things (such as speaking, thinking, feeling, acting). According to the cults, such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Holy Ghost is simply God’s “active force,” not God Himself. 12 Those who respond to this conviction and place their faith in Jesus Christ receive eternal life and a new nature. Ephesians 4:30, “do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”, 4. These comparisons would make no sense if the Holy Spirit were a person, as the Trinity doctrine teaches. The Holy Spirit Is a Person The fact that the Holy Spirit is a person can be observed in six ways. This is language appropriate to use in describing a thing, rather than a person. But in English translation, door is grammatically referred to as “it,” since a door is not a female or male person, but a thing. Most modern English translations do not include these words. Therefore, in Greek, a masculine pronoun is appropriate in referring to parakletos. The Scriptures contain much information on this important topic. Third Member of the Trinity God the Holy Spirit is a Person. Holy Spirit, also called Paraclete or Holy Ghost, in Christian belief, the third person of the Trinity. They are grammatically either feminine or masculine or neuter, whether or not they refer to living things that are female or male. How does the Holy Spirit fare up under this criteria? . The apostles Peter and John also greeted the brethren in some of their epistles in the name of God the Father and Jesus Christ, similarly not mentioning the Holy Spirit—quite a disrespectful snub if the Holy Spirit is also a person (2 Peter 1:2; 2 John 1:3). Quiet Subversion After a Chaotic Election, 7 Ways to Kill the Thanksgiving Impulse in Your Life, American Christians and Islam: From the Colonial Era to the Post-9/11 World, The English Quaker Who Subverted the Bible’s Authority. Second, once these spurious words are deleted, the wording that remains in 1 John 5:6-8 mentions the Holy Spirit in a list of things—not persons—that include water, blood and the Spirit. One potential argument that the Holy Spirit is a person is to look at the Greek words in John 14:26, 15:26, and 16:13-14. This potential confusion of understanding is quite easily avoided by realizing that the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is not a person but the power by which the Father gave human life to Jesus in the womb of Mary. He has the characteristics of a person. As we turn to the Scriptures, we will see that the Holy Spirit of God is the power of God and is not (as erroneously taught and believed by many) a person—a member of a “Trinity.” The Holy Spirit is the powerful means by which the two members of the Godhead revealed in the Bible—God the Father and Jesus Christ, the Son of God—project Their will, Their influence, Their nature and Their creative power throughout the universe, including affecting the minds of human beings. As the Father and Jesus make this distinction when speaking of Him. However, these analogies do not of and by themselves prove or disprove that the Holy Spirit is not a person. For further study on this topic, read the articles in this section: “Holy Spirit: What Is the Holy Spirit?”. How Should a Christian Deal With the Coronavirus Pandemic? Christians can easily identify with God the … 12. The Holy Spirit is a Divine Person is the same way as the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit is identified as a Person by John, using in the Greek the masculine ekeinos in Jn.16:13. Is the Holy Spirit a Person of the Godhead? . . “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. Sign up to receive the week's latest articles, blog posts and updates. The Spirit makes decisions. The Bible says that He is not something, He is Someone. For the large majority of Christians, the Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghost, from Old English gast, "spirit") is the third person of the Trinity: The "Triune God" manifested as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; each Person being God. . Something that does these personal things in relationship—like God, angels, and human beings—is a person. We want to see what God’s Word says regarding the doctrine of the Holy Ghost, and not … Through the conviction and power of the Holy Spirit, believers will not indulge the sinful acts of the flesh ( Galatians 5:16-21 ) but will bear the good fruit of the Spirit ( Galatians 5:22-25 ). When we say that the Holy Spirit is a person, there are those who understand us to mean that the Holy Spirit has hands and feet and eyes and ears and mouth, and so on, but these are not the characteristics of personality but of corporeity. Justin Taylor is executive vice president for book publishing and publisher for books at Crossway. For example John the Baptizer personally witnessed God’s spirit coming down from heaven in the form of a dove. We read in Micah 3:8, “I am full of power by the Spirit … While both the Father and Christ are worshipped as the two eternal Beings of the Godhead (John 4:23-24; John 20:28; Hebrews 1:6), there is no instance in the Bible of the Holy Spirit being worshipped. All rights reserved. You have not lied to men but to God‘”, 6. The Holy Spirit is a person. The Spirit can be grieved. He convicts people of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8-11) … The Holy Spirit is a Person. As we search the Bible, we will find that the Holy Spirit is the nature, power and essence of God. The Gospel Coalition supports the church by providing resources that are trusted and timely, winsome and wise, and centered on the gospel of Jesus Christ. That would make the Holy Spirit the “father” of Jesus, if the Holy Spirit were a person. The Spirit can be outraged. But what does the true source of all right doctrine tell us about the nature of the Holy Spirit? Just as Acts 1:8 mentions, the Holy Spirit empowers Christians to … When he wrote her for counsel, this was Ellen Whites reply: “Some are ever seeking to be original, to bring out something new and startling, and they do not realize as they should the importance preserving the unity of the faith in the bonds of love. The fact that the Holy Spirit is God is clearly seen in many Scriptures, including Acts 5:3-4. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. . The Spirit can forbid or prevent human speech and plans. The Bible refers to the Holy Spirit as a “gift” that God will “pour out” on people (Acts 2:38; Acts 2:17). John 16:14, “He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”. 1 Corinthians 2:10-11, “the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. He acts like a person. Jesus prayed to the Father (John 17:1), but His mother Mary was pregnant with Him as a result of the Holy Spirit: “She was found with child of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18). The Holy Spirit is also described in the Bible as having the characteristics of God and doing God’s work. In the Greek language parakletos is a masculine noun. Copyright © 2021 The Gospel Coalition, INC. All Rights Reserved. The New World Encyclopedia notes, “Tertullian started to use the expression of ‘three persons’ (tres personae in Latin). In 1891, “Brother Chapman” felt he had discovered that the Holy Spirit did not exist, that He was not a Person and not a member of the Godhead. The Spirit glorifies Christ, takes what is Christ, and declares it to believers. Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases on Amazon.com. He personifies Christ, yet is a distinct personality.”18 In 1896, she quoted the words of Jesus in John 16:7, 8, and then wrote her earliest clear statement on the Holy Spirit as a Person in the Godhead. 1. Two years later, in 1893, she wrote, “There is altogether too little made of the work of the Holy Spirit’s influence upon the church. Acts 8:29, “the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go over and join this chariot.’, Acts 13:2, “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them. In fact, for centuries some of the most influential religions of Christendom have attributed personality to the holy spirit. And there are three that bear witness on earth” were not a part of the original text that the apostle John wrote, but were instead added much later (perhaps in an attempt to buttress the doctrine of the Trinity). The Spirit searches everything and comprehends God’s thoughts. The word “Spirit” in the Bible comes from the Greek word pneuma, which means wind or spirit.According to Strong’s Concordance, the word comes from the root pneó, which means “to blow,” much like the wind blows like a breath upon the earth.The person of God’s Spirit, then, blows the breath that brings all creatures to life. Holy Spirit is a person because He possesses all these personality characteristics. Finally, we note that some people are confused by the English wording of 1 John 5:6-8. He is not a power, an effect, or just energy. In the Trinity doctrine, a “person” is like a personality or “mask.”. Unfortunately, that argument likely doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Moreover, even Trinitarian scholars admit that the Bible does not specifically identify the Spirit as a separate person or as a member of a Trinity. As a person the Holy Spirit has a will, emotion, and intelligence. The Bible refers to the Holy Spirit as a “gift” that God will “pour out” on people. Never miss a post! The Bible also tells us that the Holy Spirit is a divine person, a being with a mind, emotions, and a will. The Holy Spirit is not a separate person from the Father and the Son. Without denial of the one Essence of the Godhead, the personality of the Holy Spirit must be affirmed and is subject to proof unassailable by any who accept the Scriptures as authoritative. In the King James and New King James Versions, these verses appear to refer to the Holy Spirit as one member of a three-person “Trinity.” This passage is quite misleading because nearly all biblical authorities agree that the words (in verses 7-8) “in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. There we see that the antecedent of the masculine ἐκεῖνος (a masculine word for “that person”) is πνεῦμα (a neuter word for “Spirit”). He has taught accounting and business courses at the university graduate level, and has served in the financial management of Church of God organizations. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”, 10. Why is the Trinity doctrine not taught in the Bible? Please make sure all fields are filled out. The Holy Spirit reminds Christians of what Christ said. The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Trinity–equal with the Father and Son in essence. Get the latest blog posts from Life, Hope & Truth straight to your inbox. Hence, so the argument goes, the Spirit is a person. The work of the most influential religions of Christendom have attributed personality to the unbeliever and Him... We need to treat Holy Spirit the “ Father ” of Jesus, if the Holy Spirit a... Congregations of the most influential religions of Christendom have attributed personality to the people of God a. Father, God the Holy Spirit to the unbeliever and causes Him to see truth. 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