by Shawn Brasseaux
*By the way, pneuma is Greek for “air/spirit;” hagion is Greek for “holy.”
When most people think of the Holy Spirit, they probably think of the day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2, when the Holy Spirit came down and filled the apostles and believers in Jerusalem. While this is scriptural—it is found in the Bible—our purpose in this Bible study is to demonstrate that there is much more to the Holy Spirit than just giving people the ability to “speak in tongues” or perform miracles. Do not be so denominationally-minded that you can only think of speaking in “angelic languages” and bodily “healings” when you see or hear the words “Holy Spirit.”
Other people think of the Holy Spirit as some spooky spirit that is out to get them, something that floats around from church to church. How ridiculous!
Some groups (cults) teach that the Holy Spirit is just “God’s active force,” and they claim that He is not a Person of the Godhead. This is clearly wrong! In Acts 5:3,4 KJV, Peter tells Ananias that he has “lied to the Holy Ghost,… thou hast lied… unto God.” The Holy Spirit is not God’s active force; the Holy Spirit is God! Also, if the Holy Spirit can be “grieved” or saddened as Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:30, that means that the Holy Spirit is a Person, because “forces” never grow sad—it would be utterly silly if a force could be sad!
In this Bible study, let us see what the Bible says about the Holy Spirit and the various roles that He plays in Scripture.
THE FIRST INSTANCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT: The Holy Spirit appears in the Bible long before Acts chapter 2. The first reference to the Holy Spirit is in the second verse of the Bible, Genesis 1:2 KJV: “And the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” The Holy Spirit has existed from eternity past, just like God the Father and God the Son (Jesus Christ): all three were present at creation.
THE HOLY SPIRIT AND GOD’S WORD: The Holy Spirit also moved holy men to preach God’s Word before it was written down, as well as caused them to write down God’s Word. Look at 2 Peter 1:20,21 KJV: “but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” Not only has the Holy Spirit inspired God’s Word and words, the Holy Bible, but He has also preserved God’s Word down through the ages through the line of the King James Bible and its underlying Antiochian New Testament texts, the Majority Text, or Textus Receptus / Received Text (fulfilling the promise of Psalm 12:6,7, Psalm 33:11, Isaiah 40:6-8, Matthew 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luke 21:33, and 1 Peter 1:25). The role of the Holy Spirit concerning the Bible is evident from many verses. The doctrine of Bible inspiration is best described by Jesus Christ in Matthew 4:4 KJV: “It is written [Deuteronomy 8:3], Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (cf. Luke 4:4 KJV). In Acts 1:16 KJV, the Apostle Peter says about the Old Testament Scripture he is quoting, “which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake….” The Apostle Paul, also quoting the Old Testament, says in Acts 28:25 KJV, “Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers….” Jesus Christ Himself, when He quoted the Old Testament, commented: “For David himself said by the Holy Ghost…” (Mark 12:36 KJV). Our Lord Jesus asked, “Have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God…?” (Matthew 22:31 KJV). Thus, the Bible says of itself in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God.” Interestingly enough, the root spir in inspiration means “breath, air.” The Greek word translated “inspiration of God” in 2 Timothy 3:16 is theopneustos. The root pneu forms the Greek word pneuma, meaning “spirit, air.” Pneuma is paired with hagion (“holy”), thus becoming pneuma hagion, translated as “Holy Spirit” or “Holy Ghost.” When we say the Holy Bible is “inspired of God,” did you know we are actually emphasizing the Person (the Holy Ghost) who gave it to us? Wow!
THE HOLY SPIRIT AND JESUS CHRIST: The Holy Spirit, not Joseph, was the father of Jesus Christ’s physical body. Read Matthew 1:20,21: “But while he [Joseph] thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Luke 1:35 affirms: “And the angel answered and said unto her [Mary], The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” Because Jesus had no earthly, biological father, He had no sin nature. Immediately after John the Baptist water baptized the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit came down and manifested Jesus as the Son of God, Israel’s Messiah (Matthew 3:16,17; Mark 1:10,11; Luke 3:21-23; John 1:32-34).
THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE NATION ISRAEL: In the Old Testament, King David said, “The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue” (2 Samuel 23:2 KJV). The Apostle Peter wrote of the Old Testament prophets: “Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ, which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:10,11 KJV). Peter elaborates in 2 Peter 1:20,21 KJV: “Knowing this first, that no scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” In Bible days, there were both preaching prophets and writing prophets. Some would speak forth God’s Word (Elijah, Elisha, et al.), others wrote it (David, Joel, et al.), and some prophets spoke it and wrote it (Daniel, Jeremiah, et cetera). Regardless of their ministry, it was the same Holy Spirit working in all of God’s prophets. This is true in both the Old and New Testament Scriptures. When speaking of the spiritual gifts, 1 Corinthians 12:4,8,9,11 KJV say: “Now there are many diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit…. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;… But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally [individually] as he will.” The Holy Spirit empowered Israel’s apostles and believing remnant in the early Acts period to accomplish His will, as prophesied by Joel 2:28-32 (cf. Acts 2:16-21; Luke 24:49). The Holy Spirit taught Israel’s apostles and prophets what to say. John 14:16,17,26 KJV: “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you…. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” And John 15:26 KJV: “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:” Finally, John 16:7, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” Acts 2:4 KJV is the reality of Jesus’ earlier statements: “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” In the future, after our dispensation is over, God will fill Israel with His Holy Spirit, and cause them to walk in His ways with the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-36; Hebrews 8:8-13).
THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE CHURCH THE BODY OF CHRIST: If you are a believer today in the Gospel of the Grace of God (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)—someone who has trusted Jesus Christ alone as your personal Saviour, a member of the Church the Body of Christ—the Holy Spirit is actively playing a role in your life today, and He will continue that work until you are raptured with the rest of the Body of Christ (Philippians 1:6). So, what exactly is the Holy Spirit doing in our lives today as believers? Plenty! 🙂
- The Holy Spirit indwells all members of the Church the Body of Christ; that is, after someone places his or her faith in the Gospel of Grace of 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, the Holy Spirit comes to live within that Christian (Romans 8:9, 11; Ephesians 1:13). Read 1 Corinthians 6:19,20 KJV: “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” And 2 Timothy 1:14 KJV: “That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.” Hence, Colossians 1:27 says “Christ in us, the hope of glory.” The Holy Spirit will indwell us until the rapture, when our physical bodies are redeemed: “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30 KJV).
- The Holy Spirit “baptizes” (not water baptism!) the believers into the Body of Christ the moment they trust the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished crosswork: “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13 KJV). The Holy Spirit has also unified all believers in Christ by placing them all into the Church the Body of Christ: “Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;” (Ephesians 4:3,4 KJV).
- The Holy Spirit fulfills God’s laws in the Christian (Romans 7:6; Romans 8:4): “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” The Holy Spirit is the Person by whom Jesus Christ lives in and through us (Romans 8:14,15; Galatians 2:20,21; Galatians 5:17,18; Ephesians 2:10; Ephesians 5:8,9, 18; Titus 2:11-15). For instance, read Romans 8:14,15 KJV: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” The Holy Spirit is saddened/grieved when we sin and hinder God’s Word working with us. “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30 KJV). “Quench not the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19 KJV).
- The Holy Spirit is a witness to the Christian’s salvation. He confirms our salvation: “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Romans 8:16 KJV). All believers are sealed with the Holy Spirit as soon as they trust Jesus Christ alone as their personal Saviour, and the Holy Spirit is the “earnest”—the KJV’s word for “down payment”, or “guarantee”—of our inheritance with Christ in the heavenly places (2 Corinthians 1:21,22; Ephesians 1:3,14).
- Through the blood of Christ Jesus, both Jews and Gentiles have access by the Holy Spirit unto God the Father: “For through him [Jesus Christ] we both [Jew and Gentile] have access by one Spirit unto the Father” (Ephesians 2:18 KJV).
- The Holy Spirit, through Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon, has revealed to us God’s Dispensation of Grace, and the “revelation of the mystery.” “For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles; if ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: how that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit” (Ephesians 3:1-5 KJV).
- As we read, study, and believe God’s Word rightly divided, the Holy Spirit will take His Word and strengthen our inner man. Ephesians 3:16,17 KJV: “[I pray] That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ would dwell in your hearts by faith….” And 1 Thessalonians 2:13 KJV: “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.”
- The Holy Spirit teaches us using the words of the Bible, so we can understand what God wants us to know and do: “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; then we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:10-16 KJV). Once we understand what God has to say in His Word to us, and we believe what we read, the result is spiritual maturity—the more Scripture we understand and believe, the more spiritually mature we become. The Holy Spirit takes the Bible verses we study and believe, and He brings them into our lives on a daily basis, thereby bringing the Lord Jesus Christ glory!
- The Holy Spirit enables us to pray effectually as members of the Body of Christ: He intercedes for us, and He brings the verses that we have memorized to memory, which verses relate to those life issues, those issues we cannot adequately express in words: “Likewise the Spirit itself also helpeth our infirmities: for we know what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26,27 KJV).