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Don Stewart :: Who Is the Holy Spirit?

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Don Stewart

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Before we can answer any questions about the Holy Spirit, we must establish a basic understanding of who He is and what He does. The name "Holy Spirit" comes from two Greek words-hagion, meaning "holy," and pneuma, meaning "spirit."

The Holy Spirit is known by various names, including the "Spirit of God, the "Spirit of Jesus," the "Spirit of Christ," and the "Spirit of truth." Jesus referred to Him as "another Comforter," and the "Helper."

The Eternal God

The Bible makes it clear that the Holy Spirit is God. We can determine that the Holy Spirit is God in the following ways:

1. He is called God.
2. He is treated on an equal basis with God the Father and God the Son.
3. He has the characteristics of God.
4. He does the work of God.

Called God by Name

The primary reason we believe the Holy Spirit to be God is because the Scripture clearly affirms this. In the second verse of the Bible He is called the Spirit of God:

The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters (Genesis 1:2).
The Bible designates the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of the Lord God: "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me" (Isaiah 61:1).

God of the Old Testament

A close check of Scripture will show that the Holy Spirit is the God of the Old Testament. For example, Isaiah heard the voice of the Lord:

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me" (Isaiah 6:8).

The New Testament identifies the voice that spoke to Isaiah as the voice of the Holy Spirit:

So when they did not agree among themselves, they departed after Paul had said one word: "The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers" (Acts 28:25).

In the New Testament we find the following account:

But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles' feet. But Peter said, 'Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? . . . You have not lied to men but to God' (Acts 5:1-4).

The Apostle Peter made it clear that Ananias did not lie to man, but to God. The person He lied to is the Holy Spirit. The conclusion is obvious: the Holy Spirit is God.

Equal to the Father and the Son

The Holy Spirit is not only called God; He is also associated on an equal basis with the two other members of the Godhead, the Father and the Son. Jesus said:

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19).

The Apostle Paul wrote:

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

Therefore, the Holy Spirit is linked by association to the other members of the Godhead. This provides further testimony that they are of the same nature, for neither man nor angel is ever associated on the same level with God.

Attributes of the Holy Spirit

Some biblical attributes of the Holy Spirit belong to God alone:

1. The Spirit of God Is Everywhere Present

Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? (Psalm 139:7).

2. He Is All-Knowing

But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 2:10,11).

Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, or as His counselor taught Him? (Isaiah 40:13).

3. He Is Called the Eternal Spirit

How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God (Hebrews 9:14).

These attributes which the Bible ascribes to the Holy Spirit (all-knowing, everywhere present, and eternal), belong to God and to God alone.

4. Performs the Work of God

The Holy Spirit performs certain works that only God can perform. For instance, the Bible teaches that He was involved in the creation of the universe:

The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters (Genesis 1:2).

The Holy Spirit was also involved in the creation of life.

The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty give me life (Job 33:4).

5. Inspired the Bible

The Holy Spirit is the ultimate source behind the books of the Bible.

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20,21).

Since all Scripture is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16), the Holy Spirit, the source of biblical truth, is God.

Life of Christ

The Holy Spirit is the divine agent that brought Jesus, God the Son, into the world.

And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35).

The Bible says that it was the Holy Spirit who guided Jesus during His earthly life and was instrumental in His resurrection.

Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region (Luke 4:14).

And declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead (Romans 1:4).

All of these works are works of God, for no being less than God can perform them.

Titles of His Deity

The Holy Spirit is designated by a number of titles that set forth His deity. They include:

1. The Spirit (John 3:6-8)
2. The Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13)
3. The Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 3:16)
4. The Spirit of the Lord (Isaiah 63:14)
5. The Spirit of the Lord God (Isaiah 61:1)
6. The Spirit of the Living God (2 Corinthians 3:3)
7. The Spirit of the Father (Matthew 10:20)
8. The Spirit of Jesus (Acts 16:6,7)
9. The Holy Spirit of God (Ephesians 4:30)
10. The Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9)
11. The Spirit of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:19)
12. The Spirit of His Son (Galatians 4:6)
13. The Spirit which is of God (1 Corinthians 2:12).

These titles set forth the fact that the Holy Spirit is God. They also show, however, that He is a distinct Person from God the Father and God the Son.

Third Person of the Trinity

The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Trinity. The doctrine of the Trinity, simply stated, is as follows: The Bible teaches that there is one eternal God who is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. He is the only God that exists. Within the nature of this one God are three eternal persons, The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three persons are the one God. The Trinity doctrine is based on what the Scripture says concerning the nature of God. As we have seen, the Holy Spirit is called God though He is a distinct person from God the Father and God the Son.


After a close study of Scripture, we can conclude the following:

1. The Holy Spirit is called God.

2. The Holy Spirit is associated on an equal basis with the Father and the Son.

3. The Holy Spirit has the characteristics of God.

4. The Holy Spirit does work only God can do.

We conclude that the Holy Spirit is the eternal God.

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