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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: The Identity of the Holy Spirit

Don Stewart :: What Different Titles Are Ascribed to the Spirit of God?

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What Different Titles Are Ascribed to the Spirit of God?

The Identity of the Holy Spirit – Question 15

As we study the Scripture we find that the Spirit of God is never given a formal name, such as we have with God the Son. He has the name Jesus Christ. However, no such name is ever given to the Holy Spirit. Instead, we find that the Third Person of the Trinity is designated by a number of titles.

The Spirit of God

The most common title in the Old Testament is the Spirit of God, or the Spirit of the Lord. In the second verse of the Bible we find Him called the “Spirit of God.”

The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters (Genesis 1:2 NASB).

When He is first introduced to us it is as the “Spirit of God.”

The Spirit of the Lord

Isaiah the prophet uses the title “Spirit of the Lord” when describing Him. We read.

Like cattle that go down to the plain, they were given rest by the Spirit of the LORD. This is how you guided your people to make for yourself a glorious name (Isaiah 63:14 NIV).

Therefore, He is called both the “Spirit of God” as well as the “Spirit of the Lord.”

The Holy Spirit

The most common title found in the New Testament is the Holy Spirit. Jesus said the following about Him.

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him! (Luke 11:13 NKJV).

He is called Holy because He is the Spirit of the Holy One.

The Spirit

The “Spirit” is another common designation for the Third Person of the Trinity in the New Testament. Jesus said.

Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit” (John 3:6-8 TNIV).

The New Living Translation says.

Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives new life from heaven. So don’t be surprised at my statement that you must be born again. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit. (John 3:6-8 NLT).

Thus, sometimes He is referred to as the “Spirit.”

The Titles Can Be Placed into Three Basic Categories

The titles of the Spirit of God, or the Holy Spirit, can be simply placed into three basic categories. They include the following.

  1. There are titles that show how He relates to God the Father.
  2. Other titles relate Him to God the Son.
  3. There are other titles that reflect His divine attributes and divine works.

Titles That Relate the Spirit of God to the Father

Some of the titles of the Holy Spirit reveal His relationship to God the Father. They include the following.

1. The Spirit of God

Paul uses the term the “Spirit of God” when referring to the third Person of the Trinity.

Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16 NKJV).

He is the Spirit of God or the Spirit who comes from God the Father.

2. The Holy Spirit of God

The “Holy Spirit of God” is another designation. This emphasizes that He is somehow related to God the Father. Paul wrote.

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

He is the Holy Spirit of God.

3. Spirit of Our God

Paul calls him the “Spirit of our God” when he wrote to the Corinthians. Our God would probably refer to God the Father.

And this is what some of you used to be. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God (1 Corinthians 6:11 NRSV).

The Spirit is the Spirit of our God.

4. His Spirit

He is called “His Spirit.”

But Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the LORD’s people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit on them!” (Numbers 11:29 NRSV).

Again, this is likely a reference to God the Father.

5. The Spirit of the Lord God

Isaiah uses the term “Spirit of the Lord God.”

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners (Isaiah 61:1 NASB).

This is also translated as the “Spirit of the Sovereign Lord.” The New International Version puts it this way.

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners (Isaiah 61:1 NIV).

This verse was quoted by Jesus in the New Testament when He said that the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him.

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor (Luke 4:18 TNIV).

This reference also links the Holy Spirit with God the Father.

6. The Spirit of the Living God

The “Spirit of the Living God” is a term used by Paul.

You are like a letter written by Christ and delivered by us. But you are not written with pen and ink or on tablets made of stone. You are written in our hearts by the Spirit of the living God (2 Corinthians 3:3 CEV).

This again emphasizes that the God of Scripture is the living God.

7. The Spirit of Your Father

Jesus specifically called the Holy Spirit “the Spirit of your Father.” Christ did this when He was instructing His disciples about what to say when confronted by opposition. We read His words to them.

For it won’t be you doing the talking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you (Matthew 10:20 NLT).

Each of these titles shows that there is a personal relationship between God the Father and the Spirit of God.

There Are Titles That Relate Him to Jesus, God the Son

Some of the titles of the Holy Spirit relate Him to God the Son, Jesus Christ. They are as follows.

1. The Spirit of Jesus

Paul used the term “the Spirit of Jesus” when referring to God’s Spirit.

Paul and his friends went through Phrygia and Galatia, but the Holy Spirit would not let them preach in Asia. After they arrived in Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not let them (Acts 16:6, 7 CEV).

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus. This means that He is the Spirit whom Jesus sends to the world to represent Him while He is in heaven.

2. The Spirit of Christ

Paul also uses the term the “Spirit of Christ” when he referred to the Holy Spirit. He wrote the following to the Romans.

You, however, are not controlled by the sinful nature but are in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ (Romans 8:9 TNIV).

The Holy Spirit is the “Spirit of Christ.”

3. The Spirit of Jesus Christ

Paul also speaks of the “Spirit of Jesus Christ.” He wrote the following in the first chapter of his letter to the church of Philippi.

For I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance (Philippians 1:19 NRSV).

The Spirit of God is the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Again, He is the Spirit which represents Christ while Jesus is no longer upon the earth.

4. The Spirit of His Son

The Holy Spirit is called the “Spirit of His Son.”

And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” (Galatians 4:6 NKJV).

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of His son. This further links the Holy Spirit with Jesus.

5. The Spirit of the Lord

The Spirit of God is called the “Spirit of the Lord.”

Then Peter said to her, “How could you and your husband agree to test the Lord’s Spirit? Those who buried your husband are standing at the door, and they will carry you outside for burial” (Acts 5:9 God’s Word).

In this context, the Lord seems to refer to Jesus.

There Are Titles That Relate to His Divine Attributes and Divine Works

There are a number of titles of the Holy Spirit that reveal His divine attributes as well as His divine works.

1. The Spirit Who Is from God

He is also designated “the Spirit who is from God.” The Apostle Paul stated the following in his letter to the Corinthians.

And God has actually given us his Spirit (not the world’s spirit) so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us (1 Corinthians 2:12 NLT).

He is the Spirit who is from God.

2. The Spirit of Life

Paul called Him the “Spirit of life.” Paul wrote to the Romans.

For the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you through Christ Jesus from the power of sin that leads to death (Romans 8:2 NLT).

The Spirit of God is the Spirit of life. Only God can give life.

3. The Spirit of Truth

Jesus called the Holy Spirit the “Spirit of truth.”

The Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you (John 14:17 NKJV).

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth.

4. The Spirit of Glory

Peter refers to the Spirit of God as the “Spirit of glory.” He wrote.

If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you (1 Peter 4:14 TNIV).

Glory belongs to God alone.

5. The Lord, the Spirit

Paul called the Holy Spirit, “the Lord, the Spirit.” He wrote.

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18 NKJV).

He is the Lord, the Spirit.

6. The Spirit of Holiness

The title “the Spirit of Holiness” is used to describe the Holy Spirit. Paul wrote the following to the Romans.

And Jesus Christ our Lord was shown to be the Son of God when God powerfully raised him from the dead by means of the Holy Spirit (Romans 1:4 NLT).

The Holy Spirit is indeed the spirit of holiness.

7. The Holy One

John, in his first letter to the believers, calls the Holy Spirit the “Holy One.” He wrote.

But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and all of you have knowledge (1 John 2:20 NRSV).

Only God is holy.

8. The Spirit of Grace

The writer to the Hebrews calls Him “the Spirit of grace.” The writer to the Hebrews puts it in this manner.

How much worse punishment do you think will be deserved by those who have spurned the Son of God, profaned the blood of the covenant by which they were sanctified, and outraged the Spirit of grace? (Hebrews 10:29 NRSV).

The Lord is the only one who can be gracious to sinners.

9. The Seven Spirits

The Holy Spirit is called the “seven Spirits.” We read of this in the Book of Revelation.

John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne (Revelation 1:4 RSV).

The number seven speaks of completion or fullness.

10. The Good Spirit

In the Book of Nehemiah we find the Holy Spirit referred to as “the good Spirit.” Scripture says the following.

You sent your good Spirit to instruct them, and you did not stop giving them bread from heaven or water for their thirst (Nehemiah 9:20 NLT).

He is indeed the “good Spirit.”

Jesus made it clear that no one is good but God.

Once a religious leader asked Jesus this question: “Good teacher, what should I do to get eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “Only God is truly good” (Luke 18:18, 19 NLT).

The Holy Spirit is God.

11. The Spirit of Grace and Supplication

He is also known as the “Spirit of grace and supplication.” The prophet Zechariah recorded the Lord saying the following.

And I will pour out a spirit of compassion and supplication on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that, when they look on the one whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn (Zechariah 12:10 NRSV).

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of grace.

12. The Spirit of Adoption (Sonship)

The Holy Spirit is called the “Spirit of adoption” or “Sonship.”

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15 RSV).

It is the Spirit of God who adopts us into the family of God..

Consequently, these titles used of the Holy Spirit are another indication that He is in fact the Third Person of the Trinity. Indeed, only God could be given titles such as He has been given.

Summary – Question 15
What Different Titles Are Ascribed to the Spirit of God?

While God the Son has the formal name of Jesus Christ, there is no formal name for the Third Person of the Trinity. Instead He is known by a number of titles.

The most common title in the Old Testament is the Spirit of God, or the Spirit of the Lord. The most common title in the New Testament is “the Holy Spirit. The various titles given to the Holy Spirit can be placed into three simple categories.

First, there are titles that show His relationship with God the Father. When we examine them we find that there is an intimate relationship between the Father and the Spirit.

Next, there are titles that reflect His relationship to God the Son. Again, we find that an intimate relationship exists between the Son and the Spirit. This is further evidence that they are of the same essence.

Finally, there are titles of the Spirit of God that show His divine attributes as well as His divine works. Indeed, these titles could never be used of any being less than God.

Thus, these titles make it clear that the Spirit of God is God Himself, the Third Person of the Holy Trinity. Consequently, they provide further evidence of the deity of God the Holy Spirit.

Has the Holy Spirit Performed Divine Works? ← Prior Section
Why Is the Holy Spirit Called, "the Spirit of Jesus Christ" and, the "Spirit of Jesus?" Next Section →
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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