Summary: There are many different views in the religious world about who/what the Holy Spirit is. Some believe the Holy Spirit is an impersonal force while others believe He is a personal being and God. What do the scriptures say?
These lessons on the Holy Spirit of God are meant to just “whet your appetite.” I am attempting to condense a good bit of what we see mentioned about the Holy Spirit into 4 lessons. This series could very easily be expanded into 15-20 lessons, if not more. I pray that these lessons will be just the beginning of our studies in digging deep into scripture so we can know as much as we can about how the Holy Spirit not only worked during the time of the writing of the Old and New Testaments, but also how He works today in our lives as disciples of Jesus Christ.
DIFFICULTIES SURROUNDING THE HOLY SPIRIT
It is unfortunate that the Holy Spirit is so shrouded in mystery within the church. I’m sure many of us would say that compared to what we know about the Father and about Jesus Christ, we know very little about the Holy Spirit. There are many reasons for our lack of understanding about the Spirit. I will mention 3:
1. He is not like us! If we could easily comprehend everything there is to know about the Holy Spirit (along with the Father and Son), they would not be God! God reveals Himself in a way that we can begin to understand some things about Him. There are many things about the Holy Spirit that are difficult to understand!
2. We tend to at times overreact to false teachings of other religious groups. There are some religious groups that have a very distorted, and I would go as far to say, blasphemous teachings about the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, with these groups that put so much focus on the Spirit and His work in their lives, we tend to under-emphasize how the Spirit works in our lives, even to the point in limiting in our own minds what the Spirit does.
3. We really have studied about the Holy Spirit on many occasions but do not realize it because of preconceptions we have while approaching scripture. For instance, whenever you hear the word “God,” who is it that you think about? Usually the Father. There are so many verses within the Bible that mention God that nowhere in the context would narrow this only to the Father. There are many times within both the Old and New Testament scriptures that the word “God” refers to all three individual members of the Godhead, and times when the word God refers to the entire Godhead.
I hope we can get beyond what others say about the Holy Spirit, and see the truth of what the scriptures say about the Spirit of God.
WHO IS THE HOLY SPIRIT?
I will attempt to show three things in this lesson:
1. The Holy Spirit is a “Personal” Being
2. The Holy Spirit is God
3. The Holy Spirit is NOT the Father or the Son
Many think of the Holy Spirit as a vague, impersonal force rather than a personal being. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are one example of such a group. This is what they believe about the Holy Spirit, “The holy spirit is not a person and it is not a part of a Trinity. The holy spirit is God’s active force that he uses to accomplish his will. . . To a certain extent, it can be likened to electricity.” But this is not what scripture teaches.
A PERSONAL BEING
Though the word “Spirit (pneuma) is neuter, personal, singular, masculine pronouns are used of the Holy Spirit, such as “He,” “His,” or “Himself.” These personal pronouns are used over 20 times referring to the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit does things that only a personal being can do:
-"But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. -John 16:13 (NASB)
-"When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me” -John 15:26
He has a “will:”
-All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. -1 Cor 12:11
-For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements -Acts 15:28
He teaches: Luke 12:12
- "for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say "
He Loves: Romans 15:30
-" Now I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me " (also see Romans 5:5)