Understanding the Personality of the Holy Spirit

Understanding the Personality of the Holy Spirit

While it is a fundamental revelation that the Holy Spirit is a Person, there have been a lot of misconceptions about the Holy Spirit. The personality of the Holy Spirit has been misunderstood, attacked and reduced to merely an inanimate force such as electricity which is very powerful but completely devoid of any sort of life, or Divine life.

As a Bible-believing Christian, I believe that the Holy Spirit is a living Person, for He can be approached or shunned, trusted or doubted, loved or hated, adored or insulted. The Bible makes it very clear that the Holy Spirit is a Person, in the sense that the Father is a Person and the Son is a Person.

The Holy Trinity

 

The Holy Spirit was sent by the Father and Son to indwell and guide believers and being God, He is equal to and in no way inferior to the other two.

An encounter with young JW’s

One Saturday morning while I was writing an article about John 3:16 as it relates to the doctrine of salvation, a group of young of Jehovah’s Witnesses came knocking at our door to give a copy of their latest Watchtower Magazine.

I really had no intention of inviting them in for sharing or discussion, but seeing how young they were (one of them just completed a college degree while the other two are still in school) made me curious to know how prepared they really are to defend what they believe in case somebody would try to challenge them.

The Watchtower

Since the cover of the Watchtower magazine is about the greatest gift one could ever receive, I asked them what the best gift they’ve received so far was. To be honest, I was a bit surprised when they said that the greatest gift they have received was Jesus Christ, who was sent by the Father.

I then took that as a sign to dive right in on the topic of the Trinity. According to them, Jesus is the Son of God but He’s not God. Then I asked what they believe about the Holy Spirit. As expected, they said that the Holy Spirit is an impersonal force through which God does His works.

Proofs from Scripture that the Holy Spirit is a Person

So why do I believe that the Holy Spirit is a person?

1) The Bible uses personal pronouns in referring to the Holy Spirit.

In the Greek language the pronoun for “spirit” is ordinarily in the neuter gender. However, in several instances such as in John 15:26, John 16:7-8 and John 16:13-15, the Greek masculine pronoun He ( “skeinos”) is used of the Holy Spirit 12 times.

The same use of the masculine maybe observed in the use of the relative pronouns in Ephesians 1:13-14, and in such a connection and supporting the thought of personality. The use of personal pronouns in relation to the Holy Spirit in Scripture is sufficiently frequent to justify a conclusion that He is a Person.

“He is introduced as a person so often, not merely in poetic or excited discourse, but in simple narrative, and in didactic instructions; and his personality is sustained by so many collateral proofs, that to explain the use of the personal pronouns in relation to him on the principle of personification, is to do violence to all the rules of interpretation.” – Charles Hodges

2) The Holy Spirit is a person for He possesses certain personal characteristics.

All the distinctive characteristics of personality, knowledge, feeling and will, are ascribed to the Holy Spirit in the Bible. When we say that the Holy Spirit is a person, we’re not saying that He’s human like us with a physical form; having hands, feet, eyes, nose and so on.

When we say that the Holy Spirit is a person, we mean that He is not merely an influence or power that God sends into our lives but that He is a being who knows, feels and wills; for anyone who has these three characteristics is a person.

“If you deny the Trinity, you’ll lose your soul. If you try to explain the Trinity, you’ll lose your mind.” – Augustine

During our Bible sharing and discussion on Facebook regarding the doctrine of the Trinity, I was trying to explain that the concept of “God as one in being and three in person” is not a contradiction, when a Unitarian accused me of reducing God’s nature into a mere human by saying that He is a Person. Needless to say, I was shocked!

a) Knowledge

In 1 Corinthians 2:10-11, knowledge is ascribed to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not just some kind of illumination that comes into our minds, but He is a Being who knows the deep things of God and who teaches us what He Himself knows.

The Holy Spirit possesses knowldege

b) Feelings

Love is ascribed to the Holy Spirit in Romans 15:30. The Holy Spirit is a person who loves as tenderly in the same way that the Father and the Son Jesus Christ do. Sadly, while we think of the love of the Father and the love of Christ every day of our lives, only a few of us meditate upon the love of the Spirit.

“Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me.” – Romans 15:30

We kneel down everyday looking up into the face of the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, thanking them of their great love. But how often do we kneel down and thank the Holy Spirit, considering that we owe our salvation not only to the love of the Father and the love of the Son but also to the love of the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit loves

The Holy Spirit does not only love but can also be grieved (Isaiah 63:10 & Ephesians 4:30). The Holy Spirit is a person who not only dwells in our hearts to observe all that we say, do and think but He is a person who is grieved by anything we think, do and say that is impure, selfish or evil in any way.

The Holy Spirit can be grieved

We also read in Matthew 12:31-32 that the Holy Spirit can be blasphemed. Only a person can be blasphemed; you cannot blaspheme an influence or power. We are told further that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the unforgivable sin.

c) Mind and will

Mind is ascribed to the Holy Spirit in Romans 8:27. The world translated “mind” here is a comprehensive word that includes the ideas of feeling, thought and purpose.

We also read in 1 Corinthians 12:11 that the Holy Spirit is a Divine Person who uses us according to His will; He is not a mere influence or power which we are to use according to our wills.

“But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.” – 1 Corinthians 12:11

* Furthermore, the Holy Spirit can be insulted (Hebrews 10:29), lied to (Acts 5:3) and blasphemed (Matthew 12: 31-32).

* The Holy Spirit is a person because He thinks, feels, purposes, knows, wills, loves and grieves. He is certainly not merely an influence, for He has the abilities of intelligence and emotions which are foreign to inanimate objects.

3)The Holy Spirit does things that only a person can do.

a) Teaches

We read in John 14:26 & John 16:12-14 that the Holy Spirit, who is called the Spirit of truth, teaches and guides the believer into all truths. In these passages, the Holy Spirit is set forth as teacher of the truth who personally comes to us to teach us the truth, not a mere illumination that enables our mind to see the truth.

b) Guides

The Holy Spirit is represented in Romans 8:14 as our personal guide who takes us by the hand to direct and lead us into doing things that are pleasing to God. We see this In Acts 16:6-7, we see the Holy Spirit taking command of the life and conduct of a servant of Jesus Christ when He did not permit Paul and his companions to preach in Asia and Bithyna. We also see the Holy Spirit calling men to work and appointing them to office in Acts 13:2 and Acts 20:28.

c) Comforts

We are told in John 14:16-17 that the Holy Spirit is to be “another Comforter” who would take the place of our Savior Jesus Christ who has gone back to be with the Father. The word translated “comforter” means so much more than just the word itself and that is why the revisers found a great deal of difficulty in translating the Greek word.

The Greek word “parakleetos” means one who stands by your side as your helper, counselor, comforter and friend. Jesus Himself had been the parakleetos to His disciples; the one who stood by their side

“I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” – John 14:18

When Jesus was about to leave the disciples, He said that He would not leave them orphaned (John 14:18), but that He would pray the Father to send them another Comforter to take His place. It wouldn’t have made sense for Jesus to say this if the One who was going to take His place was only an influence or power and not a person.

Conclusion

The Scriptures make it plain that the Holy Spirit is a Person. I honestly think that most of us believe this. But do we really treat Him as a person in our real thoughts and in our practical attitude towards Him? Do we regard Him as a real person as Jesus Christ, worthy of our love, adoration and surrender? Do we constantly walk in conscious fellowship with Him?

Understanding the doctrine of the personality of the Holy Spirit is of the highest importance because if we think of the Holy Spirit only as an impersonal power or influence, we will be constantly thinking about how to get hold of and use Him. But if we acknowledge the Holy Spirit as a divine Person, we will be constantly thinking about how He can get hold of and use us.

The Holy Spirit not only walks by our side every moment of every day; He dwells in our hearts and lives and is always ready to take complete possession of our lives. Being fully submitted and surrendered to the Holy Spirit is the secret of a real Christian life, a life of fullness, joy, power and liberty.


Recommended Resource: 

Understanding the Personality of the Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit’s Work in You – eBook

By Fuchsia Pickett

Dr. Fuchsia Pickett reveals the character of the Holy Spirit in understandable language. He is here to take possession of you and to work out God’s plan and predestined will in you, for you, and through you. Learn to acknowledge the Person of the Holy Spirit and thank Him for His love. (128 pages)

8 Replies to “Understanding the Personality of the Holy Spirit”

  1. The way I see it personally is that, they are all God, the three together, but they have their individual role. Has the father was fully represented in Jesus the Son, I think the Holy Spirit is Jesus Spirit also.

    It’s a very hard conception to grasp. As the Father said of jesus that He was His Son, the Holy Spirit descended on Him.

    Very challenging you have written there.

    1. It’s a hard concept to grasp, I agree Guy. God being one and yet three? I mean, c’mon. That is why Augustine was quoted saying, “If you try to understand the Trinity, you’ll lose your mind…”

      But if we stick to the Bible and just trust that it is God’s word and is inspired, then the concept of the Holy Spirit being God yet separate from the Father and the Son should not be that confusing. But again, we have to reiterate that there is only One God, not three. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are all God, yet they are distinct. 

      God bless!

  2. Hello Alice,

    Glad to meet someone who takes their time to study and educate others on God’s word. The Holy Spirit is an actual member of the God head as He was sent in John 16:13 to guide us into all truth.

    Also during the baptism of Jesus in Luke 3:22, the verse shows three members during the baptism. God the father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

    I’ll definitely drop by for more insightful posts.

    1. Hey Dennis, thanks for stopping by.

      And I’m glad we’re on the same page here. Acknowledging the Holy Spirit is very important if we claim to be Christians and true followers of Christ. However, there are still some groups who do not think of Him as an actual member of the Godhead, simply because they do not believe that God is tri-personal.

      The baptism of Jesus Christ is just one of the proof texts for the doctrine of Trinity, there are a lot more. Sadly, Unitarians just focus on a few verses that seem to indicate that God is only one person. 

      Anyway, in my succeeding posts, I’ll be tackling the doctrine of the Trinity and I hope to present it in a simplified way, is easier to grasp especially for the majority of believers.

      God bless!

  3. Hello Alice,

    The Holy Spirit is an actual member of the God head, the third person so to speak.

    John 16:13 “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”

    Also during the baptism of Jesus in Luke 3:22, “And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.” The verse shows three members during the baptism. God the father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

    I’ll definitely drop by for more insightful posts.

    1. The Holy Spirit is a member of the Godhead, He is the third person, He is God and is worthy to receive the same praise and adoration given to the Father and to our Lord Jesus Christ.

      Thanks for your comment Dennis, I hope to hear from you again. God bless!

  4. Very informative article.

    It seems like you really have an understanding of the Bible. I’m fairly new to religion myself so I need all the help I can get.

    I’m just wondering why people who read the same Bible seem to have a different understanding and interpretation about the personality of the Holy Spirit. I mean, if we are reading the same book, in this case, the Bible, and the Bible is saying that the Holy Spirit is a Person, then why is it that some are still saying that He’s not and that He’s only an inanimate force?

    Like I said, I’m fairly new to religion and I’m considering Christianity that’s why I am searching for answers to the many questions that seem to confront this faith. I hope to get the answers I need from your site, thanks a lot!

    1. Hey Erin,

      I just want you to know that I understand exactly where you’re coming from. Yeah, it’s tough when people who claim to be Christians and believe the Bible are saying different things with regards to what’s in the Bible.

      Like in the case of the Holy Spirit, the third person in the Godhead. Apparently, there are Christian denominations who do not believe that God is tri-personal and so they do not believe that the Holy Spirit is a person, a divine person for that matter. Even if Scriptures are pretty clear in saying He is.

      But if we really take the Bible at face value, there is no denying that the Holy Spirit is a person, distinct from the Father and the Son (Jesus Christ). Yes, there is only one God but this God that we worship is tri-personal. So if the Holy Spirit is a person who has His own will, knowledge and feelings and He is God, it’s but proper and morally right to give Him the same love and adoration that we are giving to the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

      By the way, I will be making a separate post about the doctrine of the Trinity where I hope to discuss more extensively what the Bible really has to say about this essential doctrine of the Christian faith.

      Blessings to you Erin, I hope you come back to read the other articles here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *