God the Holy Spirit


The Bible explains what kind of relationship followers of Jesus can have with the Holy Spirit. In the Bible, this person of the triune God has several names, including Comforter, Counselor, Spirit of Truth, Spirit of Christ, Spirit of Jesus, and Spirit of God.

Who is the Holy Spirit?

Some of the activities and characteristics of the Holy Spirit are mentioned in the verses below.

He calls people to do His work.

2 As 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. “ Acts 13:2 CSB

He is the revealer and searcher.

10 Now God has revealed these things to us by the Spirit, since the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 1 Corinthians 2:10 CSB

He teaches us and gives us understanding of spiritual things.

12 Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who comes from God, so that we may understand what has been freely given to us by God. 13 We also speak these things, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people. 1 Corinthians 2:12-13 CSB

He has the power of God.

4 My speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of wisdom but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, … 1 Corinthians 2:4 CSB

He can be grieved.

30 And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by him for the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:30 CSB

The Holy Spirit is just as real as God the Father and God the Son.

The verses below tell us the Holy Spirit is God.

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

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. Psalm 139:7-8 NIV

14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Hebrews 9:14 LSB

One quality belonging to the Holy Spirit, of great interest and importance to every seeking heart, is penetrability. He can penetrate matter, such as the human body; He can penetrate mind; He can penetrate another spirit, such as the human spirit. He can achieve complete penetration of and actual intermingling with the human spirit. He can invade the human heart and make room for Himself without expelling anything essentially human. The integrity of the human personality remains unimpaired. Only moral evil is forced to withdraw. A. W. Tozer, The Divine Conquest

How do you know that the Holy Spirit has penetrated your heart and lives in it?

Three Persons in One

In Genesis 1:26 we read, “Let us make man in our image. “ God exists as three persons (referred to as the Trinity), yet He is one. This idea unfolds progressively in Scripture. The three persons of the Trinity are God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. These three are one in substance, and they function in perfect harmony.

The human mind cannot fully comprehend God, especially His revelation of Himself as the Trinity. Yet we see unity with diversity in all parts of God’s creation, all of which to a limited degree illustrate God’s marvelous nature: one God in three persons.

The Father is God invisible.

18 No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him. John 1:18 NASB95 The Son is God revealed.

14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 John testified about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’ “ John 1:14-15 NASB95

1 Long ago God spoke to our ancestors by the prophets at different times and in different ways. 2 In these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son. God has appointed him heir of all things and made the universe through him. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of his nature, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. Hebrews 1:1-3 CSB

The Holy Spirit is God working in men.

8 “When he comes, he will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment: “ … John 16:8 CSB

10 Now God has revealed these things to us by the Spirit, since the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except his spirit within him? In the same way, no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 1 Corinthians 2:10-11 CSB

19 Don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought at a price. So glorify God with your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 CSB

Some of the other verses that teach about the Trinity are: Matthew 3:16-17 :: Matthew 28:19 :: John 14:16 :: 2 Corinthians 13:14 :: 1 Peter 1:2

Who Has the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit is like the wind. You cannot see the wind, but you can see, hear, and feel the effects of the wind blowing. Jesus said:

8 “The wind blows where it pleases, and you hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.“ John 3:8 CSB

The Greek term pneuma here is used for both wind and Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is involved in every spiritual birth when someone trusts Jesus.

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

13 In Him, you also, after listening to the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, unto the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory. Ephesians 1:13-14 LSB

5 He saved us, not by works which we did in righteousness, but according to His mercy, through the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that having been justified by His grace, we would become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:5-7 LSB

Every believer in Christ has been baptized into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit.

13 For also by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:13 LSB

Look at how every believer has received the Holy Spirit and what He does according to Romans 8:9-14.

9 You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to him. 10 Now if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, then he who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through his Spirit who lives in you. 12 So then, brothers and sisters, we are not obligated to the flesh to live according to the flesh, 13 because if you live according to the flesh, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons. Romans 8:9-14 CSB

In spite of their imperfect lives, Paul reminded the Corinthian believers of two particularly important truths. We will do well to remember these.

16 Don’t you yourselves know that you are God’s temple and that the Spirit of God lives in you? 1 Corinthians 3:16 CSB

How have your convictions been strengthened regarding the presence of the Holy Spirit at work in you?

The Work of the Holy Spirit

7 “Nevertheless, I am telling you the truth. It is for your benefit that I go away, because if I don’t go away the Counselor will not come to you. If I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment: 9 About sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see me; 11 and about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. 12 “I still have many things to tell you, but you can’t bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth. For he will not speak on his own, but he will speak whatever he hears. He will also declare to you what is to come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.“ John 16:7-14 CSB

  • Verses 8-11 tell us what the Spirit of God is doing today.
  • Verse 13 tells us what the Holy Spirit is doing with believers today.
  • Verse 14 tells us who the Holy Spirit emphasizes and glorifies (Jesus).

The fruits of the Spirit are the telltale signs of the presence of the Holy Spirit and His working in believers. The fruits of the Spirit all require a real relationship with Jesus to bear them. Which of this fruit has been more evident in your life in recent weeks and months?

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-25 NIV

Remember what John 15:5 says.

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. “ John 15:5 NIV

Romans 8 describes our release from bondage, which results in a transformed life of following Jesus. The Holy Spirit helps you in your life with God in Christ.

You have been freed from the law of sin and death in Christ Jesus.

2 For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has freed me from the law of sin and of death. Romans 8:2 AMPC

God’s children are led by God’s Spirit. You were set free from the fear of bondage. You are God’s very own adopted child! You are free to cry out Abba! Father! And as God’s child you know you belong to God.

14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For [the Spirit which] you have now received [is] not a spirit of slavery to put you once more in bondage to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption [the Spirit producing sonship] in [the bliss of] which we cry, Abba (Father)! Father! 16 The Spirit Himself [thus] testifies together with our own spirit, [assuring us] that we are children of God. Romans 8:14-16 AMPC

The Holy Spirit is truly our Helper.

26 So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance. Romans 8:26 AMPC

Look at how the Holy Spirit worked in the Lord’s ministry through the apostle Paul.

2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, Separate now for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them. 3 Then after fasting and praying, they put their hands on them and sent them away. 4 So then, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from [that port] they sailed away to Cyprus. Acts 13:2-4 AMPC

6 And Paul and Silas passed through the territory of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to proclaim the Word in [the province of] Asia. 7 And when they had come opposite Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them. Acts 16:6-7 AMPC

4 And my language and my message were not set forth in persuasive (enticing and plausible) words of wisdom, but they were in demonstration of the [Holy] Spirit and power [a proof by the Spirit and power of God, operating on me and stirring in the minds of my hearers the most holy emotions and thus persuading them], 5 So that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men (human philosophy), but in the power of God. 1 Corinthians 2:4-5 AMPC

In your prayer time, consider Ephesians 3:16-19. How has the Holy Spirit empowered you to grasp the love of Christ? Pray for the Holy Spirit’s power to be received by yourself and others.

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit

The foundational truths about spiritual gifts are in 1 Corinthians chapters 12 - 14. In a small nutshell from 1 Corinthians 12:

Each believer is given a gift (a spiritual ability). This means you!

7 A manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good: 1 Corinthians 12:7 CSB

11 One and the same Spirit is active in all these, distributing to each person as he wills. 1 Corinthians 12:11 CSB

The Holy Spirit decides which gifts are given to each believer.

11 One and the same Spirit is active in all these, distributing to each person as he wills. 1 Corinthians 12:11 CSB

18 But as it is, God has arranged each one of the parts in the body just as he wanted. 1 Corinthians 12:18 CSB

Verse 7 and 1 Peter 4:10 tell us the purpose of the gifts the Holy Spirit gives us.

7 A manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good: 1 Corinthians 12:7 CSB

10 Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve others, as good stewards of the varied grace of God. 1 Peter 4:10 CSB

Verses 14-20 tell us why there are a variety of gifts in the body of Christ.

14 Indeed, the body is not one part but many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I’m not a hand, I don’t belong to the body, “ it is not for that reason any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I’m not an eye, I don’t belong to the body, “ it is not for that reason any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But as it is, God has arranged each one of the parts in the body just as he wanted. 19 And if they were all the same part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body. 1 Corinthians 12:14-20 CSB

God does not want everyone to have the same gifts.

28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, next miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, leading, various kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all do miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 1 Corinthians 12:28-30 CSB

Verses 8-10 and 28-30 list the gifts.

8 to one is given a message of wisdom through the Spirit, to another, a message of knowledge by the same Spirit, 9 to another, faith by the same Spirit, to another, gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another, the performing of miracles, to another, prophecy, to another, distinguishing between spirits, to another, different kinds of tongues, to another, interpretation of tongues. 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 CSB

28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, next miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, leading, various kinds of tongues. 1 Corinthians 12:27-28 CSB

Other gifts are mentioned in Romans 12 and Ephesians 4.

6 According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts: If prophecy, use it according to the proportion of one’s faith; 7 if service, use it in service; if teaching, in teaching; 8 if exhorting, in exhortation; giving, with generosity; leading, with diligence; showing mercy, with cheerfulness. Romans 12:6-8 CSB

11 And he himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, … Ephesians 4:11 CSB

What is one way that you have been able to effectively help others? Write it down.

Perhaps what you have written down is a gift from the Holy Spirit. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Does God use this in special ways to fulfill others?
  • Do I have a fulfilling sense of God working through me?
  • Do unity and spiritual growth result from this activity?

How can you serve others with your potential spiritual gift?

How might you further develop your ability to help others?

Why… does the Holy Spirit give us spiritual gifts? They are given for the work of ministry and are simply tools to be used for that end. They should never be a source of personal pride on the part of those who possess them, nor should they be thought of as a mark of maturity…. If God chooses to give us spiritual gifts that equip us for tasks, then we should thank Him for that, and pray that He would keep us from pride over gifts that have been freely and graciously given, and which we did not earn. Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology

If someone urged you to seek a particular gift of the Holy Spirit, what scriptural guidelines from 1 Corinthians 12-14 could you use in determining your response?

Are you anxious to discover your spiritual gifts? God will reveal them to you as you grow spiritually and lead a Christlike life. Remember, you are to bear all the fruit of the Spirit but you will not possess all the gifts of the Spirit.

Your Responsibility

God’s commandment concerning the Holy Spirit is found in Ephesians 5:18.

18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but ever be filled and stimulated with the [Holy] Spirit. Ephesians 5:18 AMPC

The results of being filled with the Spirit are found in Ephesians 5:19-21.

19 Speak out to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, offering praise with voices [and instruments] and making melody with all your heart to the Lord, 20 At all times and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father. 21 Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). Ephesians 5:19-21 AMPC

Some of the other results of being filled with the Spirit are found in the verses below.

31 And when they had prayed earnestly, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with confidence. Acts 4:31 LSB

24 for he was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a considerable crowd was brought to the Lord. Acts 11:24 LSB

5 and hope does not put to shame, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:5 LSB

There are two warnings given concerning your relationship with the Holy Spirit.

30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [do not offend or vex or sadden Him], by Whom you were sealed (marked, branded as God’s own, secured) for the day of redemption (of final deliverance through Christ from evil and the consequences of sin). Ephesians 4:30 AMPC

19 Do not quench (suppress or subdue) the [Holy] Spirit; … 1 Thessalonians 5:19 AMPC

  • Have you ever grieved?
  • What do you think it means that the Holy Spirit can be grieved?
  • What are some of the things that grieve the Holy Spirit?
  • How does it make you feel that you can touch the heart of God in such a manner that the Holy Spirit would grieve?
  • Is there anything in your life that grieves the Holy Spirit?
  • What steps do you need to take to remove this from your life?

Memory Verse

13 In him you also were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed. 14 The Holy Spirit is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of the possession, to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:13-14 CSB

Things to Ponder

As you reflect on the Holy Spirit dwelling in you (1 Corinthians 6:19; Ephesians 1:13-14; Ephesians 2:22), how do you feel about being indwelt? What implications does this indwelling have for you?

As you consider the role of the Holy Spirit in your life in Christ, how have you experienced His presence, power, and counsel:

  • In your daily life?
  • In your decisions?
  • In your life goals?