*THE WORK AND PERSONHOOD OF THE HOLY SPIRIT*
*A. Grammar and the Personhood of the Spirit*
First, *’HAGIOS PNEUMA’ in Greek*, the language of the New Testament, means ‘Holy Spirit’; translation ‘Holy Ghost’ is wrong, as ‘ghost’ in Greek is ‘phantasma’, see Matt.14:26 when the disciples with fear thought they saw a ghost but it was Jesus; ‘pneuma’ is used 234 times in the Bible, being translated ‘spirit’ (we have a human ‘spirit’ 1Thes5/23, not a human ‘ghost’) but only for the Holy Spirit it is wrongly translated ‘ghost’; a ghost is an apparition of demon.
Sometimes a little knowledge is dangerous. A relevant case is the contention by some that the Holy Spirit cannot be a person because the Greek word (pneuma) is neuter.
Those who study the Greek language discover that there are three main endings to its nouns. Because many clearly feminine objects tend to have the same ending, all the words with that pattern are called feminine. Because many clearly masculine objects seem to have the same ending, all the words with that pattern are called masculine. However, these are general designations and do not at all imply that every item in the one group is a man or that every item in the other group is a woman. The Greek words road and epistle are feminine. They are not ladies! The Greek words fruit and world are masculine. They are not men! The word spirit is indeed neuter. It is simply the Greek word for wind. Authors commonly used this neuter word for wind to refer to invisible (as wind is invisible) elements or beings. Humans are spirits. Angels are spirits. Demons are unclean or evil spirits. Likewise, God is Spirit (John 4:24). When the Biblical authors chose to make the word spirit into a proper name, the Holy Spirit, they were not trying to deny personhood any more than when a human is called a spirit. Likely, the term is intended to express His invisible nature and His power (as the wind).
The student of the Holy Spirit should also realize that there are plenty of references to Him that are not neuter but rather masculine. The word Comforter (helper) or Advocate is masculine. Christ said the Holy Spirit would be “another comforter” (John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7) i.e., another of the same kind as the Lord Himself. Just as the Lord Jesus Christ is a person, so must the Holy Spirit be a person. Furthermore, masculine personal pronouns are used of the Holy Spirit in many places (John 15:26–ekeinos,16:7–auton, 16:8–ekeinos, 16:13–ekeinos, 16:14–ekeinos;Eph 1:14–ekeinos).
*B. Elements of Personhood*
A person is defined as a being with intellect, emotion, and will. The Holy Spirit is portrayed in the Scripture as possessing all of these elements of person-hood.
The Holy Spirit searches the deep truths of God (1Cor2:10,11). According to Rom8:27, He has a mind.
‘For to us God revealed them through the Spirit, for the *Spirit searches all things*, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God *no one knows except the Spirit of God*‘ 1Cor2:10-11.
‘And He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God’ Rom8:27.
Since the Holy Spirit may be grieved, He must possess emotions.
‘And *do not grieve* the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption’ Eph4:30
The Holy Spirit decides what gift or gifts to bestow upon each believer. He definitely has a will.
‘But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just *as He wills*‘ 1Cor.12:11.
*C. Holy Spirit Performs Personal Actions*
1. He teaches Jn14:26
2. He speaks Acts13:2; 21:11; Gal4:6; 1Tim4:1; Rev2:7,11,17,29
3. He reproves Gen6:3; John16:8
4. He prays or intercedes Rom8:26
5. He leads Acts16:6; Rom8:14; Gal5:18
6. He testifies Jn15:26; Rom8:16
7. He gives life Jn3:6; Tit3:5
8. He commands and appoints Acts13:1-4; 20:28
9. He fellowships 2Cor13:14
*D. Holy Spirit Treated as a Person*
1. He may be grieved and resisted Gen6:3; Is63:10; Eph4:30)
2. He may be lied to Acts5:3
3. He may be tested Acts5:9
4. He may be insulted Heb10:29
5. He may be blasphemed Matt12:31
*E.The Deity of the Holy Spirit*
*A. Statements of Deity*
‘But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to *lie to the Holy Spirit*, and to keep back some of the price of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have *not lied to men, but to God*” Acts5:3-4.
‘Now the *Lord is the Spirit*; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty’ 2Cor3:17.
‘And the angel answered and said to her, “The *Holy Spirit* will come upon you, and the power of the *Most High* will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God” Luke1:35.
‘Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?’1Cor3:16
*B. Proofs for the Trinity*
Every evidence for the Trinity is also a proof for the deity of the Holy Spirit.
The following are some common New Testament Trinitarian formulas: Matt3:16-17; 28:19; Jn14:16-17; 15:26; 16:7-15; Rom8:14-17; 15:30; Gal4:4-6; Eph1:3-14; 4:4-6; 1Cor12:4-6; 2Cor1:21-22; 13:14; Heb9:14; 1Pet1:2. Note that the Holy Spirit is listed first in Eph4:4-6 and second in Rom15:30
*C. The God of the Old Testament as the Holy Spirit of the New Testament*
Several times a reference in the Old Testament to God is said to be speaking of the Holy Spirit by a New Testament author. Compare Is6:8-10 with Acts28:25-27; Ps95:7-11 with Heb3:7-11; and Jer31:31-34 with Heb10:15-17
*D. The Holy Spirit and Attributes/Works of Deity*
1. Omnipresence Ps139:7-10
2. Eternality Heb9:14
3. Omniscience 1Cor2:10-11
4. Creator Gen1:2; Job 33:4; possibly Job26:13 and Ps104:30
5. Life giver Jn3:6; Tit3:5; resurrection in Rom8:11
6. Author of Scriptures 2Sam23:1-2; 2Pet1:21
7. Blasphemy against the Spirit is more serious than blasphemy against God the Son Matt12:31-32
*E. Symbols of the Holy Spirit*
A. *Dove* Matt3:16; Mark1:10; Luke3:22
As a dove, the Holy Spirit should be associated with love, peace, and gentleness.
B. *Water* Ezek36:25, 27; Is44:3; Jn7:37-39; Titus3:5
As water, the Holy Spirit brings life, fullness, refreshment, and purity. Scripture sometimes speaks of the Spirit being “poured out.”
C. *Fire* Matt3:11; Luke3:16; Acts2:3
Fire in the Bible can portray the presence of God (Ex3:1), the power of God (1Kings18:38,39), the protection of God (Ex13:21), and the purging judgment of God (Heb12:29).
D. *Wind* Jn3:3-8; Acts2:2; 2Pet1:21; the word ‘moved’ is used of wind in a boat’s sails in Acts27:15,17
In the Hebrew (ruach) and the Greek (pneuma), the term for Spirit is the same as the term for wind. As wind, the Spirit is invisible and powerful. Also, God’s breath is linked with creation—the creation of man (Gen2:7), the re-creation of the nation Israel (Ezek37), the regeneration or new birth (Jn3:3-8), and the creation or “breathing out” of the Scriptures (2Tim3:16 and 2Pet1:21)
The Bible associates oil with the Holy Spirit and uses the word anoint in connection with the Spirit (see 1Sam10:1, 6; 16:13; Is61:1; Luke4:18; Acts10:38; 2Cor1:21,22; 1Jn2:20,27). Oil is related to healing (Luke10:34; James5:14), the blessings of God such as joy and comfort (Ps23:5; 45:7; 104:15; Joel 1:10; 2:24), inauguration unto a new task (Ex29:7; 1Sam10:1,16:13) and light (Ps119:105, oil lamp). The Holy Spirit heals us spiritually by bringing life. He provides joy and gladness. He gives truth, and He is the source of power for our service for God.
F. *Wine* (Luke1:15; Acts2:13; Eph5:18)
The Holy Spirit is contrasted with wine. He provided a different (beneficial) kind of control and true joy.
The Holy Spirit is likened unto a seal. In ancient times a seal conveyed thoughts of ownership, approval, and protection. The sealing of the Spirit (2Cor1:22; Eph1:13,14;4:30) guarantees the eternal security of the believer.
H. *Down Payment or Pledge*
Both 2Cor1:22 and Eph1:13-14 mention the Holy Spirit as a pledge in the same sentence that refers to His sealing work. (also 2Cor5:5). The Holy Spirit is said to be the earnest, or pledge, of our full inheritance. The King James word earnest is somewhat archaic. The phrase “down payment” communicates better. The underlying Greek word means “engagement ring” in modern Greek. Amen