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Who is the Holy Spirit?
Bible Study Guide/ An Introduction to Pneumatology: (The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit)/ Lesson # 1
Who Is The Holy Spirit? 

Heart Questions: [1] Who is the Holy Spirit? [2] What is He like? [3] What does He do? [4] Where is He? [5] Why should we study about Holy Spirit? 

Opening Remarks: The Holy Spirit is probably the least understood member of the Trinity. Among the myths and the mistaken concepts that are shared, He has been described as a force, a ghost, or perhaps a second-class or replacement god. He is confused and at times, been presented as an incidental figure that appears momentarily. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Holy Spirit is God. It is vital for any Bible student to know who God the Holy Spirit is: To learn how to relate to Him, to learn how to relate to worship Him, and to understand how He manifests Himself. 

Introduction: In our study of the Doctrine of God, we learned that there are three members in the Godhead (Trinity)—The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. Here is a quick Review-- We saw that the Holy Spirit is a person; we saw that the Holy Spirit is God. In this study we are going to introduce the Holy Spirit in an entirely different way. Instead of plunging in at the deep end, we will wade in shallow water, then move toward the deep. We will try to understand what we mean by the Holy Spirit as though we knew nothing. 


There are a few possible approaches to the introduction to the Spirit. 

[1] We could begin with the Old Testament. The Spirit of God is mentioned in Genesis 1-- “The earth was without form and an empty waste, and darkness was upon the face of the very great deep. The Spirit of God was moving (hovering, brooding) over the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1:2, AMP) 

There are other scattered references to the Spirit in the Old Testament, for example -- • “The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.” (Isaiah 11:2, NKJV) • “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;” (Isaiah 61:1, NKJV) 

[2] We could begin with the Synoptic gospels. The Synoptic Gospels are Matthew, Mark and Luke. They are so called because of the high degree of similarity between the texts. 

The first reference to the Holy Spirit in the New Testament is Matthew 1:18, 20; Luke 1:35 • “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 1:18, NKJV) • “But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 1:20, NKJV) • “And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35, NKJV) 

For Further Study: See how the Synoptic Gospels connect Jesus’ baptism to the Holy Spirit’s descent like a dove (Read Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22). 

[3] We could begin with the Book of Acts. Acts chapter two starts this way: “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.” (Acts 2:1–2, NKJV) 

Luke, who wrote Acts, of all the Synoptic writers had the most to say about the Holy Spirit. Having been told to wait in Jerusalem, the Spirit fell on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2). This is when the disciples fully understood who the Holy Spirit was. His salvific ministry was felt among them. They were united together as one people in purpose and mission – (evangelism). They understood reason(s) why Jesus had to die on the cross. However, they had been introduced to the Holy Spirit earlier by Jesus. 

“What was the result of the outpouring of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost? The glad tidings of a risen Saviour were carried to the uttermost parts of the inhabited world. As the disciples proclaimed the message of redeeming grace, hearts yielded to the power of this message. The church beheld converts flocking to her from all directions. Backsliders were reconverted. Sinners united with believers in seeking the pearl of great price. Some who had been the bitterest opponents of the gospel became its champions.” (The Acts of the Apostles, p. 48). 

[4] We could begin with the Apostle Paul. Paul, in his letters, most clearly defines the gospel and helps us understand the New Testament as a whole. Jesus introduced the subject of the Holy Spirit in John 14, stating that He would “ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever” (John 14:16, AMP) 

Earlier in the chapter Christ said this: “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” (John 16:12, NKJV) “There were many things pertaining to the work of the Spirit and the establishment of religion which might be said. Jesus had given them the outline; He had presented to them the great doctrines of the system, but he had not gone into details. These were things which they could not then bear. They were still full of Jewish prejudices, and were not prepared for a full development of his plans.” (Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible).  But Paul began where Jesus ended (John 16:12). Paul continued what Jesus said would be too much for the disciples to bear at that time. 

[5] New Testament Books. Other New Testament books refer to the Spirit but in them it is assumed that the readers already know something about the Holy Spirit. 

 Here are a few examples: 

 • “God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?” (Hebrews 2:4, NKJV) 

 • “Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you will hear His voice,” (Hebrews 3:7, NKJV) 

 • “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit,” (Hebrews 6:4, NKJV) 

 • “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:14, NKJV) 

 • “Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?” (Hebrews 10:29, NKJV) 

 • “Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?” (James 4:5, NKJV) 

 • “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.” (1 Peter 1:2, NKJV) 

 • “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,” (1 Peter 3:18, NKJV) 

 • “If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.” (1 Peter 4:14, NKJV) 

 • “For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:21, NKJV) 

 • “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,” (Jude 20, NKJV)

DEVOTIONAL IMPLICATION: “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16–17, NASB95) -- “In verse 15 Jesus had spoken of the disciples’ love for Him; here He revealed His love for them. In keeping with His intercessory work as their Great High Priest, Jesus promised to ask the Father to send His people another Helper—the Holy Spirit. Paraklētos (Helper) is a term the meaning of which cannot be exhausted by any one word. It literally means “one called alongside to help” and has the connotation of a helper, comforter, counselor, exhorter, intercessor, encourager, and advocate (defense attorney).”[John F. MacArthur Jr., John 12–21, MacArthur New Testament Commentary, (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2008), 112]. 

Beloved, the Holy Spirit is God. Contrary to other cults/ beliefs, the Bible clearly teaches that there is God-the Holy Spirit. He has a personality, divine offices and prerogatives, just like The Father, and The Son –(in our next study we will look at these things extensively). 

The very same prayer that Christ offered to His Father – “I will pray the Father” – is still praying today. Not that the Father would send us the Holy Spirit (because He was already sent), but rather, we would acknowledge Him and realize that He is here for us: for our benefits, our blessings, our salvation, our eternal life. 

While He was with them, Jesus had been to His disciples a counsellor, a guide, a friend; but now He was leaving. It was therefore necessary to send them One who would be “alongside to help” them. “The Comforter that Christ promised to send after He ascended to heaven, is the Spirit in all the fullness of the Godhead, making manifest the power of divine grace to all who receive and believe in Christ as a personal Saviour.” (Evangelism, p. 615). 

Beloved, the Spirit of God is there for us. He is our helper, comforter, counselor, exhorter, intercessor, encourager, and advocate (defense attorney). Listen now: He is praying for you, even as you contemplate on this study. He doesn’t want any taint of sin in you. He longs for you to confess, repent of your sins, and receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. He longs for you to be saved and have eternal life. Would you listen to Him now? 

ACTION STEP: What response do you think this lesson should inspires us to do? [1] Believe that God sent us “another Helper’ to be with us forever; [2] Believe that He is ‘the Spirit of truth,’ meaning: He will guide us into all truth (16:13); [3] Accept Him; surrender to Him now and He will reveal to you the things of God. 

MY COMMITMENT TODAY. Check the appropriate Box that reflect your decision today: 

 1. I believe that the Holy Spirit is God. 

 2. He is eternal (Heb 9:14). 

3. He is Omnipresent (Ps 139:7–13). 

4. He is Omniscient (1 Cor 2:10). 

5. He is Omnipotent (Luke 1:35; Rom 15:19). 

6. He is my Comforter (Acts 9:31; 2 Cor 1:3). 

7. He is my Sanctifier (Ezek 37:28; Rom 15:16). 

8. He helps me in my weaknesses (Rom 8:26-27) 

9. He prays, intercedes for me (Rom 8:26-27) 

10. He is my Friend, my Creator, my God, my Redeemer. I want to surrender my life to Him. 

CLOSING HYMN: – Holy Spirit, faithful Guide, [Author: M. M. Wells] 

Holy Spirit, faithful Guide, Ever near the Christian’s side; Gently lead us by the hand, Pilgrims in a desert land; Weary souls fore’er rejoice, While they hear that sweetest voice, Whisp'ring softly, “Wand'rer, come! Follow Me, I’ll guide thee home.” 

Ever present, truest Friend, Ever near Thine aid to lend, Leave us not to doubt and fear, Groping on in darkness drear; When the storms are raging sore, Hearts grow faint, and hopes give o’er. Whisp'ring softly, “Wand'rer, come! Follow Me, I’ll guide thee home.” 

When our days of toil shall cease, Waiting still for sweet release, Nothing left but heav'n and prayer, Wond'ring if our names were there; Wading deep the dismal flood, Pleading naught but Jesus’ blood, Whisp'ring softly, “Wand'rer, come! Follow Me, I’ll guide thee home.” 

Have a Blessed Day: “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:26–27, NKJV)