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Who Is the Holy Spirit?

The Bible answers these questions with absolute clarity.

Several key passages from both the Old and New Testaments give us evidence that the Holy Spirit is an equal part of the Trinity: which is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. In Christianity we understand that God is one, yet He exists in three persons. This may seem a bit confusing to the human mind, but God is infinite, beyond our comprehension, and outside of the limits that creation is bound by. That God is three in one is possible because he is God, though it’s a mystery to us. When you think that such teaching is a contradiction to logic, remember the words of renowned theologian R. C. Sproul, who wrote, “The doctrine of the Trinity is not a contradiction but a mystery, for we cannot fully understand how God can exist in three persons.” The word trinity is not found in the Bible, but we use the word to describe the triunity of God because in the Bible we clearly see the three persons of God in action, equally divine and unified.

The Holy Spirit is seen as operating as God in a number of passages in the Old Testament, including:

  1. Hovering over the waters before creation (Gen. 1:2)
  2. Filling certain men under Moses (Exod. 35:30–35)
  3. Empowering Joshua to lead Israel (Num. 27:18)
  4. Coming upon Gideon (Judg. 6:34)
  5. Coming upon Samson (Judg. 13:25)
  6. Rushing upon David when he was anointed as king (1 Sam. 16:13)
  7. Departing from Saul (1 Sam. 16:14)
  8. Carrying along the word of the prophets (2 Peter 1:21)
  9. Enabling Ezekiel to prophesy (Ezek. 2:2)
  10. Prophesied to one day rest upon the Messiah (Isa. 61:1)

Anyone confused about where the Holy Spirit was in the Old Testament can rest assured that He was very much present and active before what is commonly known as Pentecost (Acts 2). While Jesus did promise that the Holy Spirit would come and move powerfully in the life of the church from Pentecost onward, that incredible moment was not the first time the Holy Spirit was revealed as an equal part of the Trinity.

In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit is undeniably present and divine. He moves from coming “upon” believers in the Old Testament to entering “into” believers under the new covenant through Christ. The Holy Spirit is God, and we can see this in a number of passages in the New Testament, including:

  1. He is mentioned almost one hundred times in Matthew, Mark, and Luke.
  2. He conceived Jesus in Mary’s womb (Matt. 1:20).
  3. He was present at Jesus’ baptism (Matt. 3:16).
  4. He was sent by the Father (John 14:16).
  5. He teaches the disciples all things and reminds them of what Jesus taught (John 14:26).
  6. He is God, and believers are baptized in his name (Matt. 28:19–20).
  7. He is eternal (Heb. 9:14).
  8. He has the power to seal believers so that nothing can steal their salvation (Eph. 4:30).
  9. He dwells within believers and makes them his temple (1 Cor. 6:19–20).
  10. He has the power to make believers new and washes away sin (Titus 3:5).