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What is the Holy Spirit?


Fri, Mar 23. 2012

Editor: According to the Bible, what really is the Holy Spirit, or Holy Ghost, according to some translations? Is it really a person?{{more}} Luke 1:15 indicates that John the Baptist was to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Luke 1:41 tells us that Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. At Luke 4:1, Jesus is spoken of as being full of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:4 clearly shows that the apostles and other servants of God were filled with the Holy Spirit. Other scriptures that speak of being filled with the Holy Spirit are Acts 4:8, 31; Acts 6:5; Acts 7:55; Acts 9:17 etc. The Scriptures did not say that God’s servants were filled by the Holy Spirit, but filled with the Holy Spirit. Were God’s servants filled with a person? Of course not. Rather, they were filled with God’s active force, or power in motion, which God uses to give strength to His servants to carry out His Will. No wonder the Scriptures also speak of being baptized with the Holy Spirit at Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, and Acts 1:5. At times, the Bible mentions that the Holy Spirit speaks and teaches, as at John 14:26, but this does not mean that the Holy Spirit is a person. The Scriptures are simply using personification, giving a human quality to something, based on what that thing accomplishes. Hence, the Holy Spirit is at times given human qualities based on what it accomplishes. Personification is a figure of speech that is common in the scriptures. For example, at Genesis 4:10, God speaks of Abel’s blood crying out from the ground. At Proverbs 8:1, the scriptures speak of wisdom crying and understanding putting forth her voice. Romans 5:14 speaks of death reigning or ruling from Adam to Moses. But we do know that “blood,” “wisdom,” “understanding,” and “death” are NOT persons. They cannot cry, speak, or rule. Therefore, personifying the Holy Spirit does not mean it is a person. If it were, then it would contradict all the abovementioned scriptures that clearly indicate that God’s Holy Spirit is His active force, His power in motion, used to energize God’s servants to carry out His Will for them and also in other ways. The Scriptures do not contradict each other. God wants us to know the TRUTH as 1 Timothy 2:3, 4 point out. Thus, the truth about the identity of the Holy Spirit does matter.

Simeon James