TBU: The Bible Unpacked: In-Depth Edition

II. God’s Holy Spirit in His People

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Chapter 17  Part II

God’s Holy Spirit in His People

God’s incomparable gift of his Holy Spirit is critical to God’s relationship with each of his people – including God’s work in and through them. In part at least, this is due to the Holy Spirit being the prime means by which God renews and helps believers.

God Gives the Holy Spirit to His People

See also:

Prelude: Prophecies of God giving his Spirit to his people

Apart perhaps from Zechariah 12:10, the following verses are referring to – or are at least applicable to – the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on God’s people under the new covenant, first occurring at Pentecost (cf. Acts 2:1-4 ). But note that some commentators see them referring to a dispensation of the Spirit in the end times, during a millennial kingdom. Possibly some of the verses have both in view. See also comments below on Joel 2:28-29 and Ezekiel 36:26-27.

Isa 32:14-15  For the palace is forsaken, the populous city deserted; the hill and the watchtower will become dens forever, a joy of wild donkeys, a pasture of flocks; 15until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is deemed a forest. ▤ 

Isa 44:3  For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. ▤ 

Ezek 36:26-27  And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.e ▤ 

e Or my just decrees

The contexts for this and the following two verses from Ezekiel speak of a national restoration of Israel, apparently in the end times (cf. Zec 12:10 ). Note that v. 26 repeats 11:19 almost verbatim. The context of the earlier occurrence (11:19) makes it easier to associate it with the giving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

Ezek 37:14  And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord. ▤ 

Ezek 39:29  And I will not hide my face anymore from them, when I pour out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, declares the Lord God. ▤ 

Joel 2:28-29  f “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. 29Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit. ▤ 

f Ch 3:1 in Hebrew

This refers at least primarily to the present era, following Jesus Christ’s inaugurating of God’s kingdom. In Peter’s use of this passage in Acts 2, “all flesh” is applied to all of God’s people, from among the Gentiles as well as the Jews.

Zec 12:10  And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him 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. ▤ 

It is possible that “spirit” refers to the Holy “Spirit” (NASB, NKJV), hence this verse’s inclusion here. Note that the verse quite likely refers to Israel in the end times.

Acts 1:4-5  And while stayingg with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; 5for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized withh the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” ▤ 

g Or eating

h Or in

  • The fulfillment at Pentecost of God’s promises of the Holy Spirit:

Acts 2:1-4  When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and restedi on each one of them. 4And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. ▤ 

i Or And tongues as of fire appeared to them, distributed among them, and rested

The “tongues as of fire” (v. 3) were a visual symbol of the presence of God’s Spirit, “tongues” quite possibly signifying the “other tongues” (v. 4) or languages that the Holy Spirit enabled the believers to speak.

God gives his people his Holy Spirit . . .

Rom 5:5  … and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. ▤ 

Gal 4:6  And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” ▤ 

1Cor 2:12  Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. ▤ 

1Cor 6:19a  Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? ▤ 

1Cor 12:13  For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slavesj or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. ▤ 

j Or servants; Greek bondservants

The expression “in one Spirit we were all baptized” speaks of Christians sharing in the Holy Spirit, being cleansed by the Spirit at conversion. This is closely associated here with – even identified with – receiving the Holy Spirit (“all were made to drink of one Spirit”).

1Thes 4:8  Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you. ▤ 

Titus 3:5-6  … he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, … ▤ 

1Jn 2:20, 27b  But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. ▤ 27… But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him. ▤ 

k Some manuscripts you know everything

This “anointing” that believers receive is taken by most commentators to refer to the Holy Spirit. Being anointed with the Holy Spirit designates and sets apart a believer for a life devoted to God. The phrases “and is true, and is no lie” (v. 27b) is either affirming that the anointing is “real, not counterfeit” (NIV®), or speaking of the Spirit’s teaching being true (cf. CEV, GNT, NLT).

Phil 2:1  So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, … ▤ 

In being given the Holy Spirit, God’s people participate in the Holy Spirit.

. . . God gives the Holy Spirit to those who believe and obey him

See also:

This subsection reiterates the teaching of the previous two subsections – i.e. that God gives the Holy Spirit to his people – but it does so by teaching that God gives the Holy Spirit to those who believe and obey.

John 7:38-39  Whoever believes in me, asl the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 39Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. ▤ 

l Or let him come to me, and let him who believes in me drink. As

Acts 11:17  If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way? ▤ 

The “gift” is the Holy Spirit (cf. vv. 15-16), given to people when they believe in Christ.

Eph 1:13  In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, … ▤ 

Gal 3:2, 14  Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? ▤ 14so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spiritm through faith. ▤ 

m Greek receive the promise of the Spirit

The latter part of v. 14 may seem like it is talking about having faith in receiving the Spirit. But as reflected by v. 2, its context shows that it is almost definitely meaning that if we have faith in Christ, we will receive the Spirit that God has promised (cf. CEV, GNT, NCV, NLT).

1Cor 12:3  Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit. ▤ 

“Jesus is Lord” was the earliest Christian confession, expressing one’s belief. This cannot be done “except in the Holy Spirit” – which illustrates the connection between having the Holy Spirit and belief.

John 14:15-17a  “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper,n to be with you forever, 17even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. ▤ 

n Or Advocate, or Counselor; also 14:26; 15:26; 16:7

This and the following verses show that God gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey him.

Acts 2:38  And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. ▤ 

This refers to repentance, which involves obedience. Thus this verse also indicates that those who obey receive the Holy Spirit.

Acts 5:32  And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him. ▤ 

1Jn 3:24  Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God,o and Godp in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us. ▤ 

o Greek him

p Greek he

  • David’s repentant plea for God to not take the Holy Spirit from him:

Ps 51:11  Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. ▤ 

Note that David had received a distinctive anointing with the Holy Spirit. For when Samuel anointed him to be king, “the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward.” (1Sa 16:13)

The Holy Spirit lives in God’s people

John 14:17  … even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. ▤ 

Note that this verse shows that in contrast to God’s people, the world cannot accept or “receive” (GNT, NASB, NCV, NKJV, NRSV) the Holy Spirit – nor discern him.

Rom 8:9a, 11  You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. ▤ 11If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. ▤ 

2Tim 1:14  By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you. ▤ 

James 4:5  Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? ▤ 

The Holy Spirit may be the “spirit” being spoken of here (cf. CEV, NASB, NCV, NKJV, NLT), who dwells within believers.

1Jn 2:27a  But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. ▤ 

1Cor 6:19  Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, … ▤ 

The reference to each believer’s body as “a temple of the Holy Spirit” is indicative of the fact that the Holy Spirit lives in believers – as reflected by the subsequent phrase (“within you”).

Eph 3:16  … that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, … ▤ 

  • The mystery of the Holy Spirit in a believer:

John 3:8  The windq blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit. ▤ 

q The same Greek word means both wind and spirit

This most likely is implying one or more of the following: the Holy Spirit is sovereign in the lives of God’s people, doing whatever he pleases; one cannot comprehend the work of the Spirit in God’s people; and/or one “can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit” (NLT).

Having the Holy Spirit verifies that a person is one of God’s people . . .

See also:

Acts 15:8  And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, … ▤ 

The phrase “bore witness to them” refers to God indicating that he had accepted people from among the Gentiles as his people – by giving them the Holy Spirit.

Rom 8:15-16  For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, … ▤ 

The Holy Spirit testifies to and assures believers that they are God’s children (v. 16). Accordingly, by the Holy Spirit believers can acknowledge or address God as Father (v. 15). Note that “Abba” is Aramaic for “Father”.

Rom 8:9  You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. ▤ 

Acts 11:17  If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way? ▤ 

God gives people the Holy Spirit “when” (cf. Eph 1:13 ) they believe. This implies that all people who believe have the Holy Spirit. As such, having the Holy Spirit verifies that a person is a believer, one of God’s people.

Eph 1:13  In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, … ▤ 

Gal 3:2-3  Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected byr the flesh? ▤ 

r Or now ending with

Like Acts 11:17 above, this implies that we receive the Holy Spirit when we believe (v. 2), at the beginning (v. 3) of our lives as one of God’s people.

. . . Having the Holy Spirit indicates that God lives in a person

1Jn 3:24  Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God,s and Godt in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us. ▤ 

s Greek him

t Greek he

Having the Spirit of God verifies that God himself lives in us.

1Jn 4:13  By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. ▤ 

The Greek translated here as “given us of his Spirit” indicates that we are given a share in God’s Spirit (cf. BKC) – a “participation in the Spirit” (Phil 2:1; cf. Rom 8:9) – which is probably a more precise description of what is meant when one speaks of God giving his Holy Spirit to his people. Also note that sharing with God of his Spirit is a key aspect to the mutual indwelling of God and believers.

John 14:16-21  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper,u to be with you forever, 17even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. 18“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” ▤ 

u Or Advocate, or Counselor; also 14:26; 15:26; 16:7

This could be referring to believers experiencing Jesus Christ’s presence (vv. 18-21) – with him living in them (v. 20) – through having the Holy Spirit (cf. vv. 16-17). For further comment, including alternative interpretations, see God and Jesus Christ enable their people to know them.

  • One must be born of the Holy Spirit to enter God’s kingdom:

John 3:5-7  Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.v 7Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘Youw must be born again.’ ▤ 

v The same Greek word means both wind and spirit

w The Greek for you is plural here

One needs to be born of the Spirit – given spiritual life by the Spirit (v. 6b) – through the Spirit’s presence, in order to enter God’s kingdom.

The Holy Spirit is God’s seal, guaranteeing what is to come

Eph 1:13-14  In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is the guaranteex of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it,y to the praise of his glory. ▤ 

x Or down payment

y Or until God redeems his possession

Eph 4:30  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. ▤ 

2Cor 1:21-22  And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.z ▤ 

z Or down payment

In saying that God “put his seal on us” (v. 22) Paul appears to be referring to God giving the Holy Spirit to believers, as in the subsequent phrase. Note that “anointed us” (v. 21b) may have in view God bestowing on believers gifts of the Holy Spirit (cf. AMP), in commissioning them for his service (cf. NLT).

2Cor 5:5  He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. ▤ 

Rom 8:11  If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. ▤ 

Although the physical bodies of believers will die due to sin (cf. v. 10), because God’s Spirit lives in them believers can be assured that God will raise them from the dead through his Spirit.

Rom 8:23  And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. ▤ 

The term “firstfruits” alludes to the firstfruits of the harvest which were offered to God. As well as preceding the rest of the harvest, it was seen as a confirmation that the rest would take place. Here the term is applied to either the spiritual fruits produced in believers by the indwelling Holy Spirit and/or the Holy Spirit himself (cf. GNT, NCV, NLT) in believers. For like the firstfruits of the harvest, the Spirit’s presence and his fruit both precede and are an assurance of the future blessings promised to believers.

Gal 5:5  For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. ▤ 

Having the Holy Spirit enables believers to await the righteousness to come – presumably one aspect of the Spirit’s role as God’s seal. This “hope of righteousness” is either referring to being pronounced right with God on Judgment Day (cf. v. 4), or being made righteous in ourselves (i.e. the consummation of our sanctification) following Christ’s return.

  • God’s promise that his Spirit (and words) will not leave his people:

Isa 59:21  “And as for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord: “My Spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your offspring, or out of the mouth of your children’s offspring,” says the Lord, “from this time forth and forevermore.” ▤ 

A millennial age is understood by many to be primarily in view, but even so (as often is the case) the truth set forth is very much applicable to believers now.

Examples of people receiving the Holy Spirit

Acts 8:14-17  Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, 15who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. ▤ 

This occurrence of the Gentiles not receiving the Holy Spirit until some time after their apparent conversion is unusual (although possibly it also occurs in Acts 19:1-6 below). As seen in the previous subsections, Scripture as a whole teaches that believers receive the Holy Spirit at the time of their conversion. A common explanation for this occurrence is that it was because these particular believers were Samaritans and being in the very early days of the church, even prior to the lesson learnt through Cornelius (cf. Acts 1-12), it was very beneficial that leaders from the church in Jerusalem be present to see these Gentiles receive the Holy Spirit. This showed the Jewish section of the church that their conversion was genuine and that God had accepted them (cf. Acts 10:44-46a ). Additionally, particularly as they received the Holy Spirit when Peter and John laid hands on them, it promoted unity and acceptance of each other.

Acts 9:17-18  So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; … ▤ 

Although it is not explicitly stated, presumably Paul received the Holy Spirit at this time, particularly as it is mentioned along with receiving back his sight in v. 17, which did occur here (v. 18).

Acts 10:44-46a  While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. 45And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. 46For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. ▤ 

Acts 19:1-6  And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inlanda country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. 2And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.” 4And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” 5On hearing this, they were baptized inb the name of the Lord Jesus. 6And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. ▤ 

a Greek upper (that is, highland)

b Or into

A number of commentators think that these disciples (v. 1) were disciples of John and had only a limited understanding of the gospel. Verses 4b-5 may well mean that it was only at this point that Jesus became the focus of their faith – which would explain why they received the Holy Spirit at this time rather than when they earlier “believed” (v. 2).

Examples of people being filled with the Holy Spirit

See also:

Being “filled with the Holy Spirit” involves one being thoroughly immersed in the Spirit and under his control, with one’s own spirit being in step with, even at one with, the Holy Spirit. At times it appears to be spoken of as occurring for a relatively short period of time, such as in empowering a person to speak or preach God’s word on a particular occasion (cf. Luke 1:41-42, 67 ; Acts 4:8 ; Acts 4:31 ; Acts 13:8-11 ). (Although this does not necessarily mean that afterwards such people were no longer filled with the Spirit.) In contrast, some people are described generally as being full of the Holy Spirit (cf. Luke 1:15 ; Acts 6:3-5 ; Acts 11:24 ). Like these people, all believers are called to keep on being filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph 5:18 ).

Luke 1:15  … for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. … ▤ 

This is a prophecy regarding John the Baptist, whose parents were Elizabeth (cf. v. 41 ) and Zechariah (cf. v. 67 ).

Luke 1:41-42, 67  And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! ▤ 67And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying, … ▤ 

Luke 4:1  And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness … ▤ 

Acts 2:4  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. ▤ 

Acts 4:8  Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, … ▤ 

Acts 4:31  And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness. ▤ 

Acts 6:3-5  Therefore, brothers,c pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. 4But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. ▤ 

c Or brothers and sisters

Acts 11:24  … for [Barnabas] he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. ▤ 

Acts 13:8-11  But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. 9But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? 11And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.” Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand. ▤ 

Note the power (v. 11) that accompanied Paul’s words that he spoke when “filled with the Holy Spirit” (v. 9).

Acts 13:52  And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. ▤ 

Ex 31:3  … and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, … ▤ 

  • Believers are to go on being filled with the Holy Spirit:

Eph 5:18  And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, … ▤ 

Here Paul implies that believers are to continue on being filled with the Holy Spirit. It also suggests that they are passively involved – they are to “let” (CEV, NLT) the Holy Spirit fill them (cf. ZBC).

Note: The concept of asking for the Holy Spirit

Luke 11:13  If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! ▤ 

This reference to asking for the Holy Spirit appears to contradict the teaching that all believers have the Holy Spirit, given to them when they first believe. In explaining this, some commentators point out that Jesus said this before the Holy Spirit was given to believers at Pentecost (although note Acts 8:14-15 below which occurred afterwards). Possibly this reference here can be applied to asking God to continue filling one with his Holy Spirit (cf. Eph 5:18 ).

Acts 8:14-15  Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, 15who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, … ▤ 

For comment, see the comment on Acts 8:14-17 – under Examples of people receiving the Holy Spirit.

Pray for persecuted Christians

God Works in His People through the Holy Spirit

God saves his people through the Holy Spirit

See also:

2Thes 2:13  But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruitsd to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. ▤ 

d Some manuscripts chose you from the beginning

Titus 3:5  … he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, … ▤ 

Eph 4:30  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. ▤ 

Being sealed by God with the Holy Spirit for “the day of redemption” indicates that the Spirit has a key role in securing a Christian’s salvation – supporting the assertion that God saves his people through the Holy Spirit.

Rom 8:11  If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. ▤ 

This refers in part at least to the culmination of the salvation of God’s people (cf. Eph 4:30 ) – i.e. their resurrection from the dead.

  • God fills his people with his love for them through the Holy Spirit:

Rom 5:5  … and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. ▤ 

God fills his people with his love for them “by means of” (GNT) the Holy Spirit.

God instructs and teaches his people through the Holy Spirit

See also:

God instructs his people through the Holy Spirit, both in teaching them and directing them.

Neh 9:20  You gave your good Spirit to instruct them and did not withhold your manna from their mouth and gave them water for their thirst. ▤ 

Isa 63:11-14  Then he remembered the days of old, of Moses and his people.e Where is he who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of his flock? Where is he who put in the midst of them his Holy Spirit, 12who caused his glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses, who divided the waters before them to make for himself an everlasting name, 13who led them through the depths? Like a horse in the desert, they did not stumble. 14Like livestock that go down into the valley, the Spirit of the Lord gave them rest. So you led your people, to make for yourself a glorious name. ▤ 

e Or Then his people remembered the days of old, of Moses

This implies that the Holy Spirit played a key role in God’s directing of his people during the Exodus and the subsequent journey.

John 16:13  When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. ▤ 

God teaches his people through the Holy Spirit, for the Spirit speaks to them of “what he hears”. (Note that this could be referring to “what he hears” from Jesus Christ rather than from God.) See also The Holy Spirit teaches God’s people . . .; . . . The Holy Spirit teaches God’s people about all things.

1Cor 2:9-10  But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— 10these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. ▤ 

Eph 3:14-19  For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15from whom every familyf in heaven and on earth is named, 16that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. ▤ 

f Or fatherhood; the Greek word patria is closely related to the word for Father in verse 14

God granting that we “be strengthened with power through his Spirit” in our inner beings (v. 16) is key to us having “strength to comprehend” (v. 18a) the things subsequently mentioned (vv. 18b-19a). It also reflects that God strengthens us spiritually through his Spirit – with power. Note that in v. 18, “the breadth and length and height and depth” has been interpreted to be speaking of the immensity of either Christ’s love (cf. GNT, NCV, NIV) or God’s love (cf. NLT). It could more generally be referring to the vastness of riches that believers have in their relationship with Christ.

Heb 10:15-16  And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, 16“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,” … ▤ 

This speaks of an example of God instructing people through the Holy Spirit by inspiring Scripture through the Spirit. Further examples of this can be found in some of the above cross references.

  • God causes his people to obey him through the Holy Spirit:

Ezek 36:27  And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.g ▤ 

g Or my just decrees

This appears to be saying that God would move his people to follow his laws through his Holy Spirit dwelling in them.

God works through his people by the Holy Spirit . . .

See also:

Ex 31:1-5  The Lord said to Moses, 2“See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 3and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, 4to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, 5in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft. ▤ 

This was for the construction of the tabernacle, which God would accomplish through craftsmen like Bezalel. The verse suggests that Bezalel’s “ability and intelligence … knowledge and … craftsmanship” (v. 3) were a result of God filling him with the Holy Spirit – to do God’s work.

Judg 3:10  The Spirit of the Lord was upon him, and he judged Israel. He went out to war, and the Lord gave Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand. And his hand prevailed over Cushan-rishathaim. ▤ 

This verse implies that the Lord empowered Othniel with the Holy Spirit, and then through Othniel defeated the king of Mesopotamia, to whom his people had been subject (cf. v. 4).

1Sam 10:6-7  Then the Spirit of the Lord will rush upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man. 7Now when these signs meet you, do what your hand finds to do, for God is with you. ▤ 

This suggests that the Lord empowered Saul with the Spirit (v. 6) to accomplish whatever the Lord led him to do (v. 7).

Ezek 3:11, 14-15  And go to the exiles, to your people, and speak to them and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God,’ whether they hear or refuse to hear.” ▤ 14The Spirit lifted me up and took me away, and I went in bitterness in the heat of my spirit, the hand of the Lord being strong upon me. 15And I came to the exiles at Tel-abib, who were dwelling by the Chebar canal, and I sat where they were dwelling.h And I sat there overwhelmed among them seven days. ▤ 

h Or Chebar, and to where they dwelt

The Spirit’s transportation of Ezekiel may have been part of his vision, although some commentators suggest that it may have involved a physical movement of Ezekiel. Whatever it actually involved, these verses are an example of God working through his people by the Holy Spirit – particularly if one associates the Holy Spirit’s work with “the hand of the Lord being strong” (v. 14b) upon Ezekiel. Note that commentators are divided over whether Ezekiel’s bitterness and anger of spirit (v. 14) was a response to being given such an arduous task, or in accordance with God’s wrath towards the sin and hard-hearted attitude of his people.

Zec 4:6-7  Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts. 7Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain. And he shall bring forward the top stone amid shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!’” ▤ 

God would accomplish the work he was doing through Zerubbabel by his Spirit. Mountainous problems would be overcome and Zerubbabel would “bring forward the top stone” (v. 7b) signifying the completion of the work, the rebuilding of the temple.

Gal 3:5  Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— ▤ 

Paul may at least partially be referring to God working miracles amongst believers by the Holy Spirit, including through individual believers.

Heb 2:4  … while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. ▤ 

One aspect of God’s work through his people by the Holy Spirit is that he gives his people gifts of the indwelling Holy Spirit for them to use in doing his work. This is discussed at length in Spiritual Gifts.

. . . God speaks through his people by the Holy Spirit

See also:

One way in which God works through his people by the Holy Spirit (as per the previous subsection) is speaking through them by the Holy Spirit.

2Sam 23:2-3  The Spirit of the Lord speaks by me; his word is on my tongue. 3The God of Israel has spoken; the Rock of Israel has said to me: When one rules justly over men, ruling in the fear of God, … ▤ 

2Chr 24:20  Then the Spirit of God clothed Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, and he stood above the people, and said to them, “Thus says God, ‘Why do you break the commandments of the Lord, so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken the Lord, he has forsaken you.’” ▤ 

Neh 9:30a  Many years you bore with them and warned them by your Spirit through your prophets. ▤ 

God spoke through his prophets by the Holy Spirit, often to admonish the Israelites.

Acts 4:29, 31  And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servantsi to continue to speak your word with all boldness, ▤ 31And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness. ▤ 

i Greek bondservants

1Cor 2:4-5  … and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. ▤ 

With the phrases “of the Spirit and of power” (v. 4b) and “in the power of God” (v. 5b), this suggests that God used the Spirit to powerfully and effectively impart his message through Paul’s preaching.

John 15:26-27  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. 27And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning. ▤ 

The Holy Spirit is said here to come “from the Father” to believers (v. 26a); it is also said that both the Holy Spirit and believers “will bear witness” (vv. 26b, 27a). As such, this passage points to God – and Jesus himself who would send the Spirit – speaking through believers by the Holy Spirit, in witnessing about Jesus.

1Pet 1:12  It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look. ▤ 

The Holy Spirit was sent by God – “sent from heaven” – to empower believers in preaching the good news from God. So in the believers preaching “by the Holy Spirit”, God spoke through them by the Holy Spirit.

Num 24:2-4  And Balaam lifted up his eyes and saw Israel camping tribe by tribe. And the Spirit of God came upon him, 3and he took up his discourse and said, “The oracle of Balaam the son of Beor, the oracle of the man whose eye is opened,j 4the oracle of him who hears the words of God, who sees the vision of the Almighty, falling down with his eyes uncovered: … ▤ 

j Or closed, or perfect; also verse 15

This is actually an example of God communicating his word by the Holy Spirit through someone who was not one of his people. Balaam was actually a pagan diviner.

  • A further example of God working through the Holy Spirit:

Isa 34:15-16  There the owl nests and lays and hatches and gathers her young in her shadow; indeed, there the hawks are gathered, each one with her mate. 16Seek and read from the book of the Lord: Not one of these shall be missing; none shall be without her mate. For the mouth of the Lord has commanded, and his Spirit has gathered them. ▤ 

The reference is to judgment on Edom, here possibly representative of Israel’s enemies generally. Such will be its desolation that the land will only be inhabited by animals that God will gather there through his Holy Spirit.

Jesus Christ works amongst God’s people through the Holy Spirit . . .

In conjunction with God and his will, Jesus Christ works amongst God’s people through the Holy Spirit – working through believers to advance God’s kingdom (cf. Rom 15:18-19 ) as well as working in their own spiritual development (cf. 2Cor 3:3 ; Rev 3:1, 6 ). A number of verses in the following subsection also point to Jesus Christ working amongst God’s people through the Holy Spirit, with the theme of the following subsection supplementing the theme of this subsection.

Rom 15:18-19  For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, 19by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ; … ▤ 

The clause “by the power of the Spirit of God” (v. 19b) – along with the two preceding clauses – is likely speaking of how Christ accomplished what he did through Paul (cf. CEV, GNT, NIrV).

2Cor 3:3  And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.k ▤ 

k Greek fleshly hearts

The Corinthians’ new spiritual lives were composed by Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit, in Paul’s ministry.

Rev 3:1, 6  And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. ▤ 6He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ ▤ 

In v. 1, “the seven spirits of God” – who Christ is said to have (cf. Rev 5:6 ) – is understood to portray the Holy Spirit, “the sevenfold Spirit” (NIV® text note). The term depicts his completeness or perfection. Verse 6 is a refrain occurring seven times in chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation (cf. 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:13, 22). Each time the refrain and the context show Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit being involved together in conveying messages to churches. If the refrain is implying that Jesus Christ conveys these words through the Holy Spirit, than these occurrences are evidence that Jesus Christ works through the Holy Spirit amongst God’s people. Alternatively they could be interpreted as showing the Holy Spirit or God working/speaking through Jesus Christ.

Rev 5:6  And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. ▤ 

This verse could well imply that Jesus Christ – the “Lamb” – works in the world (including amongst God’s people) through the Holy Spirit – “the seven spirits of God”. For the Spirit is spoken of as the “seven eyes” that Christ has (cf. Rev 3:1 ), presumably for him to use, in “all the earth”. Additionally, he may well be the one who sent out “the seven spirits of God … into all the earth”.

. . . The Holy Spirit continues Jesus Christ’s work in and through his people

John 14:16-18  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper,l to be with you forever, 17even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. 18“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. ▤ 

l Or Advocate, or Counselor; also 14:26; 15:26; 16:7

The reference to “another Helper” (v. 16) alludes to the Holy Spirit being another helper like Jesus – with the apparent implication that he would take Jesus’ place, continuing on his work with believers. Furthermore, in light of vv. 16-17, quite possibly v. 18 refers to the giving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and Jesus’ presence with believers through the Spirit’s indwelling. As such it would also reflect the fact that the Holy Spirit continues Jesus Christ’s work in believers. (Alternatively, as noted earlier in this chapter, Jesus’ appearance to the disciples after his resurrection or even his second coming may be in view in v. 18.)

John 14:26  But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. ▤ 

Jesus said God would send the Holy Spirit in his name – “in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf” (AMP; cf. CEV, NLT; John 16:7 ). As such the Holy Spirit represents Jesus Christ’s interests and continues his work, doing such things as bringing to their minds things Jesus Christ said.

John 15:26-27  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. 27And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning. ▤ 

Similar to what was commented earlier, in Jesus saying that the Holy Spirit “will bear witness” and that believers “also will bear witness”, the implication is that one of the major roles of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life is to work with them or through them to witness to others about Christ. The context also supports this assertion.

John 16:7, 12-15  Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. ▤ 12“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you. ▤ 

The Holy Spirit continues Jesus Christ’s work in believers, effectively taking Jesus Christ’s place (v. 7; cf. comments on: John 14:26 ; John 7:39 ) and continuing on to completion the teaching that Jesus began (vv. 12-15; cf. John 14:26 ). In doing the latter, the Holy Spirit takes what Jesus Christ (and/or God) has to say or teach (vv. 13-14; cf. CEV, GNT, NCV), particularly that regarding Christ’s person and work, and makes it known to Christ’s followers (vv. 14-15). Verse 14 indicates that the Holy Spirit brings glory to Jesus Christ by revealing what Jesus Christ has to say – and presumably by the manifestation of it in the lives of believers.

John 20:21-22  Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. ▤ 

Jesus Christ sends his people anointed and empowered with the Holy Spirit to continue his work, the work God sent him to do (v. 21b). Note that v. 22 is often understood as anticipating the sending of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

Acts 1:8  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. ▤ 

The Holy Spirit empowers believers to witness for Jesus Christ, throughout the world.

  • Those who believe in Jesus Christ receive the Holy Spirit:

John 7:37-39  On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38Whoever believes in me, asm the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 39Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. ▤ 

m Or let him come to me, and let him who believes in me drink. As

Note that the final statement alludes to the Holy Spirit taking Jesus Christ’s place (cf. John 16:7 ). Particularly in light of this, the fact that those who believe in Jesus Christ receive the Holy Spirit arguably reflects the reality that the Holy Spirit continues the work begun by Jesus Christ in and through believers.

Pray for persecuted Christians

The Holy Spirit Renews God’s People

The Holy Spirit brings spiritual life

See also:

The Holy Spirit brings spiritual life in the present, leading to everlasting life in the next age.

John 3:6  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.n ▤ 

n The same Greek word means both wind and spirit

The final clause appears to indicate that Christians are born of the Spirit into “spiritual life” (NCV™; cf. NLT).

John 6:63  It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. ▤ 

Particularly in light of the verse’s first clause, the second statement may indicate that the words Jesus spoke were from (cf. NIrV, CEV) or spoken through the Holy Spirit. As such they are words that the Holy Spirit uses to produce life – when people believe them and live according to them.

John 7:38-39  Whoever believes in me, aso the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 39Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. ▤ 

o Or let him come to me, and let him who believes in me drink. As

In referring to the Holy Spirit as “living water”, Jesus associates the Holy Spirit with spiritual life.

Rom 8:2, 6, 10-13  For the law of the Spirit of life has set youp free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. ▤ 6For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. ▤ 10But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. 12So then, brothers,q we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. ▤ 

p Some manuscripts me

q Or brothers and sisters; also verse 29

The Holy Spirit brings life in contrast to sin, which brings death. Regarding the meaning of “the law” (v. 2), see the comment on Rom 8:2-3 – under We have been freed from the law to live by the Holy Spirit. As indicated earlier, vv. 10-11 appear to teach that although the physical bodies of believers will die due to sin (v. 10), because God’s Spirit lives in them God will raise them from the dead through his Spirit. However, another interpretation holds that Paul may also have in view that the Spirit brings spiritual life now to each believer. Similarly it can be argued that the references to “life” in vv. 2, 6 are inclusive of spiritual life both now and in the afterlife.

2Cor 3:6b  For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. ▤ 

Gal 6:7-8  Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. ▤ 

Isa 32:14-15  For the palace is forsaken, the populous city deserted; the hill and the watchtower will become dens forever, a joy of wild donkeys, a pasture of flocks; 15until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is deemed a forest. ▤ 

This and 44:3-4 below likely portray the spiritual life and vitality that the Holy Spirit brings to God’s people. Although the latter parts of v. 15 appear to firstly refer to the Holy Spirit effecting physical blessings, they are often understood to have a spiritual application – particularly with the aforementioned reference to the Holy Spirit as being “poured upon us” (v. 15a). As often the case in the books of the OT prophets (cf. Isa 44:3-4 ; Ezek 37:13-14 ), this prophecy can be understood to have a number of fulfillments or applications. These include: the renewal of Israel after the Babylonian exile; the pouring out of the Holy Spirit following Christ’s ascension; and a renewal of Israel in the last days. Arguably it can also be applied to the Spirit’s renewing of God’s people, both corporately and individually, in any era.

Isa 44:3-4  For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. 4They shall spring up among the grass like willows by flowing streams. ▤ 

This is prophesying of – or at least has a fulfillment in – the Holy Spirit giving spiritual life and renewal to God’s people, the spiritual descendants of Israel. Similar to 32:15 above, v. 4 portrays the spiritual life and vitality of those on whom God would pour out his Spirit and consequent blessings (v. 3b). The terms used in this portrayal correspond to the language of v. 3a, implying that v. 3a has a similar spiritual meaning or application.

Ezek 37:13-14  And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. 14And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord. ▤ 

As with the above prophecies from Isaiah, this speaks of the Spirit bringing life. Primarily at least, it is speaking of the Israelite nation as a whole, but it is also applicable to believers. Note that at the time of the prophecy, Israel was in exile and practically dead as a nation. Thus the Jews’ return from the Babylonian exile was a fulfillment of this.

  • Specific reference to God’s people being renewed by the Holy Spirit:

Titus 3:5  … he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, … ▤ 

This talks of the overall theme of this section – i.e. that the Holy Spirit renews God’s people. As such it is reflected in this and the following subsections.

The Holy Spirit sanctifies God’s people

See also:

“Sanctification” and like terms can refer to: Christians being made holy in a judicial sense through Christ’s sacrifice on coming to faith; and/or to the ongoing process of Christians being made increasingly more holy. The Holy Spirit plays a key role in both.

Rom 15:16  … to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. ▤ 

1Cor 6:11  And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. ▤ 

Along with being justified, this appears to be attributing being washed and sanctified – here aspects of being justified – to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit (cf. CEV).

2Thes 2:13  But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruitsr to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. ▤ 

r Some manuscripts chose you from the beginning

1Pet 1:1-2  Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you. ▤ 

2Cor 3:18  And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord,s are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. ▤ 

s Or reflecting the glory of the Lord

One aspect of the believer’s sanctification is that their characters are being transformed into Christ’s likeness, increasingly reflecting (cf. text note) even manifesting his glory. The last statement associates the Holy Spirit with this process.

  • Jesus would baptize “with the Holy Spirit and fire”:

Matt 3:11  I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. ▤ 

Some see “fire” as referring to the purification associated with having the Holy Spirit – reflecting the theme of this subsection. However it may instead refer to Christ’s judgment on the wicked (cf. v. 12) or even to the “tongues as of fire” that came with the initial outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (cf. Acts 2:3-4).

The Holy Spirit gives God’s people love and faith

See also:

Rom 15:30  I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf, … ▤ 

The “love of the Spirit” is probably referring to love which is given by the Holy Spirit (cf. AMP, CEV, NCV, NIrV, NLT; Col 1:8 ).

Col 1:8  … and has made known to us your love in the Spirit. ▤ 

This refers to the love that believers have through partaking of the Holy Spirit – “love that God’s Spirit has given you” (CEV, cf. GNT, NCV, NLT).

2Tim 1:7  … for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. ▤ 

Here the term “spirit” may well refer to or allude to the Holy Spirit (cf. CEV, GNT).

Rom 5:5  … and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. ▤ 

This may be referring to God giving us his love to enable us to love, through the Holy Spirit – hence the verse’s inclusion here. However, it is more often taken to be speaking of God filling us with his love for us.

Acts 11:24  … for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. ▤ 

The description of Barnabas as being full of both the Holy Spirit and faith arguably suggests that faith comes with the Holy Spirit. It at least associates faith with having the Holy Spirit. Note that Acts 6:5 similarly refers to Stephen as “a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit”.

1Cor 12:8-9  For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, … ▤ 

This “faith” refers to the spiritual gift of exceptional faith or trust in God. The Holy Spirit gives to some believers such exceptional faith – for the edification of the whole church.

The Holy Spirit gives God’s people joy and peace

See also:

1Thes 1:6  And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, … ▤ 

Acts 13:52  And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. ▤ 

This may be implying – and certainly is reflective of the fact – that joy comes with or through the Holy Spirit.

Rom 14:17  For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. ▤ 

This speaks of the Holy Spirit facilitating peace and joy amongst God’s people.

Gal 5:22-23  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. ▤ 

Note the other “fruits” of the Spirit listed here.

Rom 8:6  For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. ▤ 

For those who minds are controlled by the Spirit, there will be life and peace.

Isa 63:14  Like livestock that go down into the valley, the Spirit of the Lord gave them rest. So you led your people, to make for yourself a glorious name. ▤ 

The rest given by the Holy Spirit to the Israelites is reflective of the spiritual rest and peace that believers have through the Holy Spirit.

  • Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit:

Luke 10:21  In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.t ▤ 

t Or for so it pleased you well

The Holy Spirit teaches God’s people . . .

Neh 9:20  You gave your good Spirit to instruct them and did not withhold your manna from their mouth and gave them water for their thirst. ▤ 

1Cor 2:13  And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. u ▤ 

u Or interpreting spiritual truths in spiritual language, or comparing spiritual things with spiritual

The Holy Spirit enables God’s people to know spiritual truths – and to express them to others.

Eph 3:4-5  When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. ▤ 

1Tim 4:1  Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, … ▤ 

This is an example of the Holy Spirit’s teaching of or for God’s people.

Heb 9:6-8  These preparations having thus been made, the priests go regularly into the first section, performing their ritual duties, 7but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the unintentional sins of the people. 8By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the holy places is not yet opened as long as the first section is still standing … ▤ 

The greatly restricted access into the Most Holy Place – the second section (v. 7) – was used by the Holy Spirit to show or teach the people that they did not have access into God’s presence while the first covenant – here signified by “the first section” (v. 6; cf. AMP, NCV, NLT) – was still in force.

Heb 10:12-17  But when Christv had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. 15And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, 16“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,” 17then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” ▤ 

v Greek this one

The Holy Spirit testifies or teaches, through Scripture, that through Jesus Christ’s sole sacrifice (vv. 12-14) a new covenant has been instituted (v. 16) in which the sins of God’s people are forgiven and remembered no more (v. 17).

Rev 2:7  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. ▤ 

As noted earlier, the first statement is a refrain used a further half dozen times in chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation. It is indicative of the Holy Spirit (in conjunction with Jesus Christ) being instrumental in the teaching and exhortations contained therein.

. . . The Holy Spirit teaches God’s people about all things

See also:

John 14:26  But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. ▤ 

John 16:13-15  When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you. ▤ 

As referred to earlier, the segment “he will take what is mine and declare it to you” (v. 14, repeated almost verbatim in v. 15) appears to mean that the Holy Spirit would make known to the disciples Jesus’ teaching (cf. CEV, GNT, NCV; John 14:26 ) and quite possibly also other matters pertaining to his person and work. In conjunction with this segment, v. 15a may allude to the fact that the Holy Spirit would guide them into “all truth”.

1Jn 2:20, 27  But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. ▤ 27But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him. ▤ 

w Some manuscripts you know everything

The “anointing” from God is more than likely the Holy Spirit (cf. GNT, NLT, NCV text note). Regarding v. 20, both the alternative rendering in the text note (cf. NKJV) and v. 27 imply that along with v. 27, v. 20 is speaking of the Holy Spirit teaching believers “all things”.

1Cor 2:9-10  But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— 10these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. ▤ 

This suggests that the things God reveals to us by his Holy Spirit (v. 10a) are not confined to the previously unknown things referred to in v. 9, but to some degree at least encompass “everything, even the depths of God” (v. 10).

  • The Holy Spirit enables one’s conscience to be a trustworthy guide:

Rom 9:1  I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit ▤ 

Having the Holy Spirit is linked with having wisdom and knowledge

Acts 6:3, 9-10  Therefore, brothers,x pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. ▤ 9Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and disputed with Stephen. 10But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. ▤ 

x Or brothers and sisters

1Cor 2:11-12, 14-16  For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. ▤ 14The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16“For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. ▤ 

Being the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit “comprehends the thoughts of God” (v. 11). Having received the Holy Spirit, believers gain insight into God’s thinking and ways (v. 12) – whereas those without the Holy Spirit cannot understand such things (v. 14). Furthermore, having the Holy Spirit believers have the capacity – at least to some degree – to understand and make judgment about all things (v. 15; cf. v. 10), spiritual truths probably being primarily in view. One has such spiritual understanding because by having the Holy Spirit to some degree at least one has “the mind of Christ” (v. 16a) – which is comparable to having the mind of God (v. 16b).

Eph 1:17  … that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, … ▤ 

Some translations use “Spirit” here instead of “spirit” (cf. CEV, GNT, NIV), which would make the verse relevant to this subsection.

Gen 41:37-39  This proposal pleased Pharaoh and all his servants. 38And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is the Spirit of God?”y 39Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are. ▤ 

y Or of the gods

Pharaoh acknowledges that such great wisdom in a person must come from the Spirit of God – as does Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4:8-9 immediately below (cf. text note).

Dan 4:8-9  At last Daniel came in before me—he who was named Belteshazzar after the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy godsz—and I told him the dream, saying, 9“O Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you and that no mystery is too difficult for you, tell me the visions of my dream that I saw and their interpretation. ▤ 

z Or Spirit of the holy God; also verses 9, 18

  • The spiritual gifts of wisdom and knowledge given through the Holy Spirit:

1Cor 12:8  For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, … ▤ 

In having the Holy Spirit, all believers have and grow in spiritual knowledge and wisdom. However, as spoken of earlier in this chapter, different spiritual gifts are given through the Holy Spirit to individual believers. The “utterance of wisdom” and the “utterance of knowledge” are such gifts, given only to certain believers. These gifts may broadly speaking be “the ability to give wise advice” (NLT) or insight and “the gift of special knowledge” (NLT) – with probably the application and conveying of spiritual truths being particularly in view.

Pray for persecuted Christians

The Holy Spirit Helps God’s People

The Holy Spirit helps each believer

John 14:16-17  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper,a to be with you forever, 17even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. ▤ 

a Or Advocate, or Counselor; also 14:26; 15:26; 16:7

The Greek translated as “Helper” – one “who will help you” (CEV) – was a term used for a legal “Advocate” (NRSV).

Rom 8:26  Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. ▤ 

Phil 1:18b-19  Yes, and I will rejoice, 19for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, … ▤ 

2Tim 1:14  By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you. ▤ 

The Holy Spirit leads God’s people

See also:

The Holy Spirit may lead a person by an inner conviction or sense of assurance, by circumstances, or even by a discernible revelation. (Giving such a revelation to a person with a prophetic spiritual gift is one way the Holy Spirit leads and directs Christian groups.)

Rom 8:14  For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sonsb of God. ▤ 

b See discussion on “sons” in the Preface

Gal 5:18  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. ▤ 

Ps 143:10  Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground! ▤ 

1Ki 18:12  And as soon as I have gone from you, the Spirit of the Lord will carry you I know not where. And so, when I come and tell Ahab and he cannot find you, he will kill me, although I your servant have feared the Lord from my youth. ▤ 

The speaker, Obadiah, seems to be suggesting that the Holy Spirit could supernaturally transport Elijah (cf. Acts 8:39 ). Irrespective of whether or not supernatural means are referred to, this attests to the Holy Spirit’s leading or guidance.

Isa 63:11-14  Then he remembered the days of old, of Moses and his people.c Where is he who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of his flock? Where is he who put in the midst of them his Holy Spirit, 12who caused his glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses, who divided the waters before them to make for himself an everlasting name, 13who led them through the depths? Like a horse in the desert, they did not stumble. 14Like livestock that go down into the valley, the Spirit of the Lord gave them rest. So you led your people, to make for yourself a glorious name. ▤ 

c Or Then his people remembered the days of old, of Moses

This appears to speak of the Holy Spirit’s role in the leading of Israel by God, “who led them” (v. 13a).

Luke 2:25-28  Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, … ▤ 

Verse 27 indicates that Simeon was led by the Holy Spirit to go into the temple (cf. AMP, CEV, GNT, NCV, NIV, NLT, NRSV) to see God’s Messiah. Note that v. 26 is an example of the Holy Spirit revealing God’s will to his people.

The Holy Spirit directs God’s people in doing God’s work

Acts 8:29-31, 35, 39-40  And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” 30So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. ▤ 35Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. ▤ 39And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. 40But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea. ▤ 

Verse 39-40 suggest more than spiritual guidance or direction. Most likely the Spirit miraculously removed Philip and took him to Azotus (v. 40).

Acts 10:19-20  And while Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you. 20Rise and go down and accompany them without hesitation, for I have sent them.” ▤ 

Acts 13:2-4  While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off. 4So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. ▤ 

Acts 15:28  For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: … ▤ 

Acts 16:6-7  And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. 7And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. ▤ 

For comment on these actions of the Holy Spirit, see the comment on Acts 16:6-7 – under Note: The plans of God’s people are subject to his will.

Acts 20:22-23  And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained byd the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. ▤ 

d Or bound in

In v. 22 Paul is likely speaking of the Holy Spirit compelling him to go to Jerusalem (cf. AMP, NIV, NLT, NRSV). Note that supplementary to directing Paul in doing God’s work (v. 22), the Holy Spirit also warned Paul that hardships awaited him in the work (v. 23).

1Cor 7:40  Yet in my judgment she is happier if she remains as she is. And I think that I too have the Spirit of God. ▤ 

In saying here that he thinks he too has God’s Spirit, Paul is implying that he considers that the Holy Spirit guides or affirms his judgment.

Judg 6:34  But the Spirit of the Lord clothed Gideon, and he sounded the trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called out to follow him. ▤ 

The term “clothed” implies that to some extent at least, the Holy Spirit “took control of” (CEV, GNT) Gideon, thus directing him. Note that the following subsection contains similar examples of the Holy Spirit clothing or coming upon people, empowering them to do God’s work.

1Sam 11:6-7  And the Spirit of God rushed upon Saul when he heard these words, and his anger was greatly kindled. 7He took a yoke of oxen and cut them in pieces and sent them throughout all the territory of Israel by the hand of messengers, saying, “Whoever does not come out after Saul and Samuel, so shall it be done to his oxen!” Then the dread of the Lord fell upon the people, and they came out as one man. ▤ 

Under the influence of the Holy Spirit, Saul mustered an army to defeat the Ammonites (cf. vv. 8-11).

  • The beginning of the Holy Spirit working through Samson:

Judg 13:24-25  And the woman bore a son and called his name Samson. And the young man grew, and the Lord blessed him. 25And the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol. ▤ 

This suggests that the Holy Spirit was stirring or moving Samson towards doing God’s work.

The Holy Spirit empowers God’s people to do God’s work

See also:

Acts 1:8  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. ▤ 

Through the Holy Spirit the disciples would receive “power (ability, efficiency, and might)” (AMP), enabling them to witness for Christ far and wide.

Rom 15:18-19  For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, 19by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ; … ▤ 

1Cor 2:4  … and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, … ▤ 

Here Paul may not so much be speaking of the Holy Spirit empowering him, but rather of the Holy Spirit’s power (cf. CEV, GNT, NCV, NLT) working through what he had said.

Mic 3:8  But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin. ▤ 

Zec 4:6-7  Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts. 7Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain. And he shall bring forward the top stone amid shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!’” ▤ 

God promised Zerubbabel that through the enablement of the Spirit (v. 6) he would be able to overcome any great obstacle – here metaphorically described as a mountain (v. 7) – to his work of rebuilding the temple.

Ex 31:2-5  See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 3and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, 4to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, 5in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft. ▤ 

As noted earlier, the verse suggests that it was through being filled with the Holy Spirit that Bezalel was empowered or equipped with the necessary ability, intelligence, knowledge and craftsmanship (v. 3) needed to do God’s work.

Num 11:17  And I will come down and talk with you there. And I will take some of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them, and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you may not bear it yourself alone. ▤ 

This and 27:16-19 below suggest that those spoken of would be empowered or equipped to do the work referred to through having the Holy Spirit.

Num 27:16-18  “Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation 17who shall go out before them and come in before them, who shall lead them out and bring them in, that the congregation of the Lord may not be as sheep that have no shepherd.” 18So the Lord said to Moses, “Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him. ▤ 

The Spirit’s empowerment to do the aforementioned work is likely in view.

Judg 3:10  The Spirit of the Lord was upon him, and he judged Israel. He went out to war, and the Lord gave Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand. And his hand prevailed over Cushan-rishathaim. ▤ 

The Holy Spirit came upon Othniel, empowering him for his appointed task (cf. Judg 15:14-15 ).

Judg 15:14-15  When he came to Lehi, the Philistines came shouting to meet him. Then the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him, and the ropes that were on his arms became as flax that has caught fire, and his bonds melted off his hands. 15And he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, and put out his hand and took it, and with it he struck 1,000 men. ▤ 

1Sam 10:6-7, 10  Then the Spirit of the Lord will rush upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man. 7Now when these signs meet you, do what your hand finds to do, for God is with you. ▤ 10When they came to Gibeah,e behold, a group of prophets met him, and the Spirit of God rushed upon him, and he prophesied among them. ▤ 

e Gibeah means the hill

This implies that through the empowerment of the Spirit (vv. 6, 10) – and because correspondingly God was with him (v. 7) – Saul would be able to accomplish whatever God led him to do (v. 7).

1Sam 16:13a  Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward. ▤ 

Ezek 2:2-3  And as he [God] spoke to me, the Spirit entered into me and set me on my feet, and I heard him speaking to me. 3And he said to me, “Son of man, I send you to the people of Israel, to nations of rebels, who have rebelled against me. They and their fathers have transgressed against me to this very day. ▤ 

Verse 2 may well be indicative of the Spirit’s empowerment, to do the work that God was sending Ezekiel to do (v. 3).

  • God strengthens people with power through the Holy Spirit:

Eph 3:16  … that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, … ▤ 

The Holy Spirit has a significant role in what God’s people speak

See also:

Note that the teaching of this subsection is relevant to that of the two previous subsections. For the Holy Spirit’s role in what God’s people say in doing his work is an aspect of both: the Holy Spirit’s direction in doing God’s work; and the Holy Spirit’s empowerment to do God’s work.

2Sam 23:2  The Spirit of the Lord speaks by me; his word is on my tongue. ▤ 

Matt 10:18-20  … and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. 19When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. 20For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. ▤ 

Luke 12:12  … for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say. ▤ 

Luke 24:46-49  … and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things. 49And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” ▤ 

This indicates that the disciples were to preach and witness (vv. 47-48; cf. CEV, NLT), for which they would be empowered with the promised Holy Spirit of God (v. 49). This is reflected in most of the following verses.

Acts 4:8  Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, … ▤ 

Luke uses the phrase “filled with the Holy Spirit” eight times (Luke 1:15, 41, 67; Acts 2:4; Acts 4:31 ; Acts 9:17; Acts 13:9 ). On most of these occasions the person so filled speaks words that are divinely inspired or empowered. This is indicative of the Spirit having a significant role in what they speak.

Acts 4:31  And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness. ▤ 

Acts 5:32  And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him. ▤ 

This suggests that the Holy Spirit aids those he indwells in their witnessing.

Acts 6:9-10  Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and disputed with Stephen. 10But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. ▤ 

Acts 13:9-11  But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? 11And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.” Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand. ▤ 

1Cor 2:13  And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.f ▤ 

f Or interpreting spiritual truths in spiritual language, or comparing spiritual things with spiritual

1Pet 1:12  It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look. ▤ 

God’s people worship and pray by the Holy Spirit

See also:

A further aspect of the Holy Spirit’s help of God’s people is that they are to worship and pray by or in the Holy Spirit. As such they worship and pray in reliance on the Holy Spirit – who dwells within them – under his power and guidance.

Phil 3:3  For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of Godg and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh— ▤ 

g Some manuscripts God in spirit

Eph 5:18-20  And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, … ▤ 

The exhortation to “be filled with the Spirit” (v. 18) accompanied by the exhortations to sing “to the Lord with your heart” (v. 19b) and to give thanks to God (v. 20), point to the need for believers to worship by the Holy Spirit.

Eph 6:18  … praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, … ▤ 

Jude 1:20  But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, … ▤ 

Rom 8:26-27  Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, becauseh the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. ▤ 

h Or that

This likely speaks of the Holy Spirit helping believers while they pray, overcoming their ignorance as to what to pray for by interceding on their behalf. As such one can infer from this that believers should pray by the Holy Spirit.

  • By the Holy Spirit believers call to God as their Father:

Rom 8:15  For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” ▤ 

Pray for persecuted Christians