God exists as a unity. There is only one God. As Ephesians 4:4-6 says, there is one Spirit and there is one faith in one Lord who is our one God. The Bible never teaches that there is more than one God.
But God is not a simple unity like one rock or one grain of sand. He is a complex being, and He is presented that way. He is revealed as having three centers of unique personality, but in essence is one God. John 1:1-3 gives a description of this unity of Jesus and the Father. The Word was with God and, at the same time, the Word was God. When we speak of the essential nature of the Word, He is God. The Word was also with God. The Word can leave that relationship to become man: to become Jesus. Jesus is God’s Word that became flesh. Yet the Word is still God. This is a mystery that we don’t understand to its fullest extent, but scripture is clear that there is one God.
So the Holy Spirit is not a separate God, not a third God, but He is a unique personality. The Holy Spirit is not an “it,” but a Somebody. He is not an impersonal force or just an expression of power, but a person of the Trinity.
The Holy Spirit has intellect. In 1 Corinthians 2:9-16, we see that God reveals things through the Holy Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the thoughts of God. He knows God’s thoughts. If the Holy Spirit knows something, He must have intellect.
The Holy Spirit has emotions and sensibility. The Holy spirit can be grieved and He can love. Ephesians 4:30 warns us not to grieve the Holy Spirit. In Romans 15:30, Paul appeals to us by Jesus and the love of the Holy Spirit separately.
The Holy Spirit has a will. He can choose to give as He wills. In 1 Corinthians 12:11 the Holy Spirit apportions His gifts as He determines. He is able to make a determination and choose.
The Holy Spirit is able to teach, remind and bear witness. In John 14:25-26, Jesus tells His disciples that when the Holy Spirit comes, He will teach them all things and remind them of what Jesus taught while He was with them. In John 15:26, Jesus teaches that the Holy Spirit will bear a true witness about Him. He will teach, explain, and testify about the truth of Jesus Christ and God’s Word.
The Holy Spirit calls people, directs them, and gives them a special purpose. In Acts 13:2-4, the Holy Spirit calls Barnabas and Paul, and He gives them a special work to perform. When people are called to the mission field or service, it is done by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit directed Philip in Acts 8:26-40 to go and stand by the chariot of an Ethiopian so that Philip would be in the right place at the right time, then took Philip off to another place of ministry.
The Holy Spirit can be obeyed or resisted, and He can be blasphemed. In Acts 10, the Holy Spirit speaks to Peter, tells him what to do, and Peter obeys. In Acts 7:51-53, Stephen tells the priests that they are stubborn and have resisted the Holy Spirit. Jesus teaches in Matthew 12:22-32 that blaspheming the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
The Holy Spirit is divine. He is God’s Spirit. Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 6:11 that we are washed, sanctified, and justified by the Holy Spirit. In John 14:16-17, Jesus says that God will send another helper. The Greek language is able to distinguish between another of the same kind and another of a different kind. Jesus says here that God will be sending another of the same kind as Himself.
The Holy Spirit is attributed actions that are claimed for God only. In 2 Timothy 3:16, we are taught that scripture is breathed out by God, and in 2 Peter 1:21, Peter says that the scriptures have their origin in the Holy Spirit. So the Holy Spirit is described as performing work that attributed to God.
The Holy Spirit is identified as Jehovah God, Yaweh. In Acts 28:25-27, Paul says it is the Holy Spirit who spoke through Isaiah, and when we look at the verses quoted from Isaiah 6, it is clearly God, identified as Yaweh (signified in English with Lord in all capital letters), who is speaking. Paul talks about the Holy Spirit, where Isaiah records God Himself speaking. Therefore, when the Holy Spirit speaks, that is God speaking.
The Holy Spirit is on equal terms with the Father and the Son. In 2 Corinthians 13, Paul says that it is Jesus who is in them and all three parts of the Trinity are mentioned in verse 14. The Holy Spirit was active in creation along with Jesus. Genesis 1:2 reveals that the Spirit of God was moving on the face of the waters. Isaiah says in Isaiah 40:12-14 that no one teaches or leads the Spirit of God to understanding.
The Holy Spirit is responsible for giving us the Bible. We have already looked at 2 Peter 1:21 that says that the authors of scripture were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 2 Samuel 23:2, Ezekiel 2:2, Micah 3:8, Matthew 22:43, Acts 1:16, and Acts 4:25 all reference the Holy Spirit as the one who is speaking when God’s words are quoted or given.
The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament indwelled only certain people, not every believer. Numbers 27:18, Daniel 4:8, Judges 14:6, and 1 Samuel 16:13 all speak of the Holy Spirit being on specific people in a special way that sets them apart from other parts of the community of believers. God’s Spirit indwelled selectively, living with the believers not in them.
But this is the big change after the Pentecost following the resurrection and ascension of Jesus. In John 14:17, Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would be with us and in us. After Pentecost, described in Acts 2, the Holy Spirit began to indwell and live in all believers.
This is part 1 of the fifth lesson in a twelve part series on Basic Theology. Each part is broken into two half-hour sections. These recordings are part of a series called Theologoumenon. They were recorded by Dr. Bush in 1979 so that people in the churches, not just in seminary classrooms, could have easy access to lessons in basic theology.
1. The Word of God (part 1 – part 2)
2. God the Creator (part 1 – part 2)
3. God the Redeemer (part 1 – part 2)
4. Redemption (part 1 – part 2)
5. The Holy Spirit and His Gifts (part 1 – part 2)
6. The Trinity (part 1 – part 2)
7. The Doctrine of Sin Part 1 (part 1 – part 2)
8. The Doctrine of Sin Part 2 (part 1 – part 2)
9. Salvation (part 1 – part 2)
10. Doctrine of the Church (part 1 – part 2)
11. Last Things (part 1 – part 2)
12. How to Recognize Heresy (part 1 – part 2)