TBU: The Bible Unpacked: Comprehensive Edition

I.  General

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Chapter 4  Part I


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The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, as often indicated in the Bible. This assertion is reflected by the Holy Spirit’s divine and imposing attributes. However, the Bible also distinguishes the Holy Spirit from God, portraying him as a personal being in his own right.

(Note that in regard to the Holy Spirit and God’s people, see II. God’s Holy Spirit in His People, cross referenced above.)

The Holy Spirit of God

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God . . .

Gen 1:2  Now [in the beginning] the earth was without shape and empty, and darkness was over the surface of the watery deep, but the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the water.  NET

Eph 4:30  [Paul, to believers:] And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  NET

The Holy Spirit is God’s spirit. As such one should bear in mind that when the Bible speaks of the Holy Spirit, it is in effect speaking of God himself.

. . . God refers to the Holy Spirit as his Spirit

Ezek 39:29  I will no longer hide my face from them, when I pour out my Spirit on the house of Israel, declares the sovereign Lord.  NET

“Spirit” clearly is referring to the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is correlated with God’s presence

1Jn 3:24  [John, to believers:] And the person who keeps his commandments resides in God, and God in him. Now by this we know that God resides in us: by the Spirit he has given us.  NET

This verse correlates the Holy Spirit with God’s presence by asserting that the fact that believers have God’s Spirit verifies that God lives in them.

The Holy Spirit is from God

See also:

1Cor 2:12  [Paul, to believers:] Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things that are freely given to us by God.  NET

Acts 2:33  He [Jesus Christ] has been exalted to the right hand of God, has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit, and has poured out what you are seeing and hearing.  ISV

God and the Holy Spirit know each other’s mind

Rom 8:27  And he [God] who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes on behalf of the saints according to God’s will.  NET

1Cor 2:10-11  [Paul, to believers:] The Spirit searches out all things, even the deep secrets of God. 11Who knows the thoughts that another person has? Only a person’s spirit that lives within him knows his thoughts. It is the same with God. No one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.  NCV™

 Questions for Section A

The Holy Spirit’s Being

In addition to the following charactersitics, as the Holy “Spirit”, the Holy Spirit has no visible form.

The Holy Spirit is everywhere

Ps 139:7-8  [David, to God:] Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? 8If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!  ESV

Verse 7 links the Holy Spirit with God’s presence, and so along with v. 8 implies that the Holy Spirit is omnipresent – i.e. everywhere.

The Holy Spirit is eternal

Heb 9:14a  How much more is done by the blood of Christ. He offered himself through the eternal Spirit as a perfect sacrifice to God.  NCV™

The Holy Spirit has great power . . .

Isa 11:2  And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him [the Messiah], the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.  ESV

1Jn 4:4  [John, to believers:] You are from God, little children, and have conquered them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.  NET

The “one who is in you” is most likely referring to the Holy Spirit. As such, the description of the Holy Spirit as greater than Satan – “the one who is in the world” – is indicative of the Spirit’s great power.

. . . and the Holy Spirit can enable people to do great things

Zec 4:6b-7  [God, to Zerubbabel:] ‘Not by strength and not by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord who rules over all.” 7“What are you, you great mountain? Because of Zerubbabel you will become a level plain! And he will bring forth the temple capstone with shoutings of ‘Grace! Grace!’ because of this.”  NET

Zerubbabel would not rebuild the temple with the aid of outstanding human might or power, but through the power and direction of the Holy Spirit (v. 6) – who would help Zerubbabel overcome mountainous obstacles (v. 7a).

The Holy Spirit has great knowledge . . .

John 14:26  [Jesus, to his disciples:] But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and will cause you to remember everything I said to you.  NET

That the Holy Spirit would teach them “everything” and cause them to remember everything Jesus had said to them is indicative of the Holy Spirit’s profound knowledge.

. . . The Holy Spirit even has knowledge of the future

1Tim 4:1  Now the Spirit explicitly says that in the later times some will desert the faith and occupy themselves with deceiving spirits and demonic teachings …  NET

The Holy Spirit has great wisdom

Acts 6:9-10  But some men from the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, as well as some from Cilicia and the province of Asia, stood up and argued with Stephen. 10Yet they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke.  NET

This suggests that Stephen’s profound wisdom was a product of the Holy Spirit – indicative of the Holy Spirit having great wisdom.

 Questions for Section B

The Holy Spirit’s Personhood

The Holy Spirit is distinguished from God and Jesus Christ

John 15:26  [Jesus, to his disciples:] 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.  ESV

Eph 4:4-6  [Paul, to believers:] There is one body and one Spirit, just as you too were called to the one hope of your calling, 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.  NET

The Holy Spirit has a mind

Rom 8:27  And he [God] who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes on behalf of the saints according to God’s will.  NET

1Cor 12:11  [Paul, to believers:] But it is the Spirit who does all this and decides which gifts to give to each of us.  CEV

That the Holy Spirit “decides” such things is indicative of him having his own mind and will.

The Holy Spirit is referred to with personal pronouns

John 16:13  [Jesus, to his disciples:] But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. For he will not speak on his own authority, but will speak whatever he hears, and will tell you what is to come.  NET

1Cor 6:19  [Paul, to believers:] Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?  NET

The fact that personal pronouns are used of the Holy Spirit suggests that he is an entity in his own right, as well as alluding to him being a personal being.

The Holy Spirit has personal characteristics

Rom 15:30  [Paul, to believers:] Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, through our Lord Jesus Christ and through the love of the Spirit, to join fervently with me in prayer to God on my behalf.  NET

Gal 5:22-23a  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, and self–control.  NET

Each of these characteristics is described as a “fruit of the Spirit” because – like fruit from a tree – their source and means of growth is the Holy Spirit. Arguably this implies that as their source and the one who fosters them, the Holy Spirit’s own character is reflected in them.

The Holy Spirit communicates . . .

Rom 8:16  [Paul, to believers:] The Spirit himself bears witness to our spirit that we are God’s children.  NET

Rom 8:26b  [Paul, to believers:] But the Spirit himself speaks to God for us, even begs God for us with deep feelings that words cannot explain.  NCV™

. . . and the Holy Spirit interacts in other ways

Acts 9:31b  The church became stronger, as the Holy Spirit encouraged it and helped it grow.  CEV

Rom 8:14  For all who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God.  NET

Note: Like a person, the Holy Spirit can be treated wrongly

Eph 4:30  [Paul, to believers:] And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  NET

Note that this verse indicates that – like people – the Holy Spirit has feelings. This further testifies to the Holy Spirit’s personhood.

 Questions for Section C

Pray for persecuted Christians