Who Is The Holy Spirit?

Norman E. Sewell

There has been so much controversy and misunderstanding about the Holy Spirit that it seems important to learn what we can about Him.  Depending on which translation of the Scriptures you are using you will find different words used to describe Him.  He is sometimes called the “Comforter,” the “Holy Ghost,” the “Helper,” the “Spirit of truth,” the “Spirit of God,” and the “Holy Spirit.”  Yet all refer to a single being or person, not a “thing”.

Jesus promised His apostles they would have help when He departed:

“25 These things I have spoken to you while being present with you.  “26  But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you” (John 14).  When the Holy Spirit came to them He did not have His own agenda but would testify of Jesus,  “26  “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me” (John 15). Other statements of Jesus clearly refer to the Holy Spirit as a person, a being who would come to the apostles to help and guide them in their work of salvation. 

But who is the Holy Spirit?  In Hebrews 9:14 He was referred to as the “eternal” Spirit, telling us that He is not a man.  It is clear this is so for He is mentioned in Genesis 1 as the Spirit of God.“

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”  By the way, Jesus was also present for John 1:1-2, and 14, show that the “Word” was with God and was God” and was present in the beginning.  This helps to understand Genesis 1:26-27 where we are told, “26  Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”  The Holy Spirit is also included in the Godhead in Matthew 28:19 where the apostles are instructed to make disciples and baptize them “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

While the Holy Spirit is not the Savior, it is clear that He is an eternal being, part of the Godhead, and plays a vital role in our salvation, leading us through the Scriptures which were revealed through Him, and in this way convicting the world of sin (John 16:7-8).  In later studies we will consider the work of the Holy Spirit in revelation and in our salvation.