What We Teach about the Holy Spirit

This article summarizes what we teach about the person and work of the Holy Spirit.

We teach that the Holy Spirit is God; He is distinct from the Father and the Son and yet is the Spirit of both. He is the effective agent in our regeneration, sanctification, and glorification. He is responsible for the inspiration of Scripture, the illumination of believers, and the giving of spiritual gifts for the edification of the church.

The Bible clearly teaches that the Holy Spirit is a divine person within the Godhead. In Acts 5:3-4, Luke wrote, “But Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.’” In this passage, Peter equates lying to the Holy Spirit with lying to God, and it is self-evident that you can only lie to a person, not an inanimate force or object.

The Bible also describes the Holy Spirit as proceeding from the Father and the Son, so He is the Spirit of both. For example, Paul wrote, “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him” (Rom 8:9).

The Holy Spirit is responsible for spiritual regeneration. In Titus 3:5, Paul said that, “he [God] saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.” Sadly, many people today think that they are saved, but they have had a false conversion experience and are still spiritually dead because the Holy Spirit doesn’t dwell in them.

The Holy Spirit transforms and sanctifies the life of a true Christian by changing the heart and mind of that person. Paul described the work of the Spirit, saying, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Gal 5:22-23).

The Holy Spirit is also responsible for revealing truth to God’s people. Jesus told His disciples, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come” (John 16:13).

So, the Holy Spirit is also responsible for prophecy and the inspiration of Scripture. Peter said, “For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2Pet 1:21).

However, prophecy is just one of many different gifts that the Spirit bestows on the Church. As Paul explained, “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good…. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills” (1Cor 12:7, 11). Everyone in the church receives at least one spiritual gift, but the Spirit bestows these gifts for the mutual edification of each Christian within the body of Christ.

Lastly, the Holy Spirit plays a vital role in the resurrection and glorification of the saints. In Romans 8:11, Paul wrote, “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” Thus, it is through the miracle working power of the Holy Spirit that Christians will be resurrected with immortal, spiritual bodies when Christ returns.

So, the Bible clearly reveals that God the Holy Spirit is central to the salvation of Christians and the life of the church. He is our Comforter, Councilor and Advocate; through the work of the Spirit, sinners are regenerated, people are transformed and the dead are raised to eternal life.




All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.



22 Article Posts

Rick 28 w

The immediate context suggests that the Spirit would teach the disciples through direct, audible, prophetic revelation (cf. John 14:26, 16:12 with 1Tim 4:1). It is also true that the Holy Spirit opens a person's mind so he can accept and understand Scripture (Luke 24:45, 1Cor 2:14), but that does not appear to me to be the intended meaning in John 16:13, which is why I connected it with 2Pet 1:20-21.

Sean Diedel 28 w

Nice article Rick! What is your understanding about what it means to be guided into all truth i this scripture you mentioned? “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come” (John 16:13)