Who is the Holy Spirit?
There are many misconceptions about the Holy Spirit. Some people think of the Holy Spirit simply as a mystical power we can plug into when we need spiritual power. Others think of the Spirit as an impersonal force skin to something out of a George Lucas movie: "May the Force be with you!" Through investigating the Scriptures, we can overturn misconceptions and learn the truth about the Holy Spirit.
First, the Holy Spirit is fully God. The Holy Spirit is referred to as God (Ac 5:3-4) and the “eternal Spirit”. (Heb 9:14). Along with the Son and the Father, the Holy Spirit was involved in the creation of the universe (Gn 1:2; Jb 33:4, Ps 104:30). Second, the Holy Spirit is a person, not an impersonal force (Jn 14-16). This does not mean that the Holy Spirit is a person like you and me, but it does mean that He exists as a Being who thinks, acts, relates, and loves. Therefore the Scripture says He is able to comfort, encourage, convict and help us in our weaknesses (Rm 8:26).
Third, the Holy Spirit is distinct from the Son and Father. Matthew 3:16 says,” After Jesus was baptized, He went up immediately from the water. The heavens suddenly opened for Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on Him. And there was a voice from Heaven: This is My beloved Son. I take delight in Him!” The Bible declares that only one God exists, yet we see here three distinct persons: The Father (speaking from heaven), The Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Fourth, the Holy Spirit indwells Christians. Jesus told His disciples that the Holy Spirit would come and dwell within them once He left for heaven (Jn 14:16-18). He also said the Holy Spirit would guide them into the truth and remind them of everything He told them while He was on the earth (Jn 14:26). Because the Holy Spirit reminded the disciples of what Jesus taught them, we have the opportunity to own a Bible today – not only as a book written by men, but one inspired by God Himself (2Pt 1:21).
Fifth, we learn that God gives the Holy Spirit to anyone who believes in Jesus. Jesus said “If anyone is thirsty, he should come to Me and drink! The one who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him” (Jn 7:37-38). Jesus said this about the Spirit. If you are spiritually thirsty and come to Jesus, He will fill you with His Holy Spirit just like He did the believers in the New Testament. Consider the message at Pentecost: “Repent”, Peter said to them, “and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Ac 2:38). For those who obey Peter’s instructions, this promise holds true today. Jesus will give you the gift of the Holy Spirit to walk in wisdom and purity. This will give you the power to live an effective Christian life!
This article can be found in "Apologetics Study Bible for Students", page 1158.
Please also see our comprehensive study for the book of Acts that includes commentary from www.enduringword.com.