Holy spirit

How does the Bible describe the Holy Spirit?

One of the most debated and misunderstood Bible doctrines is pneumatology, which is the study of the Holy Spirit. Some people think of the Holy Spirit as a sort of distinct force like you might encounter in Star Wars and Star Trek. Many believe that the Holy Spirit is a person. Others think of the Holy Spirit as a distinct force that is projected by God. With all of these ideas, how does the Bible define the Holy Spirit?

What is the Holy Spirit?

The first mention of the Holy Spirit is found in Genesis 1: 2 as follows: “And the earth was formless and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. The first key to understanding the Holy Spirit is that this verse says that “the Spirit of God” moved on the face of the waters.

The Bible says God is a Spirit (John 4:24). If the Holy Spirit is a separate force projected by God, does that mean that the Holy Spirit is a spirit projected by God who is a Spirit? If the Holy Spirit is a distinct astrological force, then does that mean that the Spirit of God belongs to God? If the Holy Spirit is a person, then who moved on the face of the waters?

First, we see that according to 1 John 5: 7 (KJV) the Father, the Word (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit (Spirit) are one. This means that the three are one and the same, commonly referred to as the Holy Trinity. This makes the Holy Spirit co-equal in authority as Father and Son. This does not mean that there are three Gods. This means that God manifests himself, or shows himself, in three persons. With this in mind, the belief that the Holy Spirit is simply a power is incorrect.

As a person, the Holy Spirit is God and has the same attributes and the same power as God. The Holy Spirit is called Him, which shows that the Bible is clear that the Holy Spirit is a person (John 14: 16-17; John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16: 7- 14). As a person, we can also see that the Holy Spirit has a personality described as follows:

  • Comforter: Refers to the constant presence of the Holy Spirit in and in the believer. This word comes from the Greek word paraclete, which means “called to your side” (John 14:26; John 15:26)
  • Guide: Refers to the role of the Holy Spirit in guiding and guiding us in understanding the Bible and its use in our lives (Psalm 119: 105; John 16:13; Romans 8:14)
  • Intercessor: Refers to the role of the Holy Spirit in facilitating communication and speaking on our behalf with the Father and the Son (Romans 8: 26-27)

As a person, the Holy Spirit has a will and a mind (1 Corinthians 12:11; Romans 8:27); He can speak and teach (John 14:26; Acts 1:16; Acts 28:25; Revelation 2: 7-11). It can inspire believers to do God’s work (Exodus 31: 2-5; Judges 6:34; Luke 4:14; Acts 8:28, Acts 13: 4). He is patient and loving (Genesis 6: 3; Romans 15:13). He has names and titles: He is God (Acts 5: 3-4). He is Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18). He is the Father and the Son (Matthew 28:19 (KJV) – note the name, not the names).

What part does the Holy Spirit have in our lives?

The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16: 7-11). However, when someone resists the conviction of the Holy Spirit regarding salvation, then he blasphemes the Holy Spirit. The blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is the only sin that is unforgivable (Matthew 12: 30-32). This is because in order for us to be saved from condemnation we must believe that we are a sinner needing Jesus Christ as our Savior to pay our wages of sin. Until we do that, we find ourselves in an unforgivable state. Therefore, we can never be forgiven for blasphemy against the Holy Spirit as an unbeliever because blasphemy means we reject salvation.

When someone receives Christ as their Savior, God gives or baptizes him in the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1: 12-14; 2 Timothy 2:19; 2 Corinthians 5: 5; Ephesians 4: 4-6; 1 Peter 3:21). At the time of salvation, a transaction takes place. It is described in the scriptures as follows:

May we be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom you also trusted, after hearing the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also after this ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the pledge of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1: 12-14)

As we trust Christ as our Savior, our penalty for our sins, or failure to keep God’s law, is paid in full by applying the blood sacrifice that Christ provided when He died on the cross. for our sins (Romans 3:19; Romans 6:23). Our sin demanded payment, death, and Christ paid the payment for us (Acts 20:28; Romans 3: 24-25; Romans 5: 9; Colossians 1: 13-14; Hebrews 9:22; 1 Peter 1 : 18-19; Revelation 1: 5).

Once forgiveness has taken place, then God seals us with the Holy Spirit, which is the non-refundable guarantee of our inheritance in heaven. We are sealed with this seal until the day of redemption, which is the day we see Christ in heaven (Ephesians 4:30). This seal or inheritance is kept, not by our own power or by the way we live, it is kept sealed by the power of God (1 Peter 1: 3-5).

Finally, as believers, the Holy Spirit empowers us to make Jesus Lord of our lives (1 Corinthians 12: 3) and to understand the Bible (1 Corinthians 2: 9-16). When we submit to the direction of the Spirit, it produces good fruit or good works in our lives (Romans 6:22; Galatians 5: 22-23; Ephesians 5: 6-11; Colossians 1: 4-6 ). This should not be confused with the gifts of the Spirit, which the Spirit gives to every believer to serve and edify others (Isaiah 11: 2-3; Acts 2:38; 1 Corinthians 12: 4-11; Philippians 4:13).


The Holy Spirit is God and is part of the Holy Trinity. The Holy Spirit is a person who has the same attributes and the same power as God. He has a personality and titles that speak of his role in the life of mankind. He convinces us of sin and our need for a Savior, but He can also be blasphemed by rejecting His conviction. At the time of salvation, he seals us until the day of redemption and produces fruit or good works in the lives of those who submit to his guidance. He also gives each believer spiritual gifts which enable him to serve and uplift others.

Resource – Scripture quotes are taken from The Holy Bible, King James Version. Resource – Williams, Michael L. (2014). Pneumatology: The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Biblical Doctrines: An Introductory Study of the Doctrines of the Bible (Chapters 6 and 7). http://www.wisdom4today.org.

Another read from Patheos: How does the Bible define true beauty?

dr-michael-williamsArticle by Dr Michael Williams

Dr. Michael L. Williams is a pastor, author, Christian educator, and Bible counselor who has served in ministry since March 2000. Dr. Mike holds undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Christian education and previously worked as a nurse. Dr. Mike is the senior pastor of Selah Mountain Ministries, which he founded in March 2010 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA (selahmountain.org). In addition to counseling, he teaches how to overcome life issues biblically on topics such as anger management, marriage, addictions, and other topics commonly referred to as mental illnesses. Dr Mike is also a writer at What Christians Want To Know. Dr Mike lives with his wife Pamela Rose and adult daughter Hollie Rose. He and Pamela have other grown children and several grandchildren. Learn more about Dr Mike on his personal ministry website Wisdom4Today