Who Is the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the godhead. When Jesus ascended to the Father, He promised His disciples “another Helper,” the Holy Spirit (John 14:16–17). In Greek, the word another means, “another of the same kind.” Jesus promised a supernatural Helper just like Him.

The Holy Spirit’s Preexistence

The word for God is elohim, which indicates three or more (referring to the Trinity). The Holy Spirit was active at the time of creation (Genesis 1:1–2). When God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness” (Genesis 1:26), He was addressing the other two Persons of the godhead.

The Person and Nature of the Holy Spirit

Some have wrongly thought of the Holy Spirit as more of an “it” than a “He,” but Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as “He” (John 26:13). The Holy Spirit has distinct functions in the lives of believers and the church (John 14:17; 1 Corinthians 2:10–12; Acts 5:3–4). In the original Greek, the Holy Spirit is called the paraclete, which literally means, “One called alongside to help.”

The Work of the Holy Spirit in the World

In John 16, Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin (vv. 8–9) and convinces the world of righteousness and judgment (vv. 10–11). The Holy Spirit also restrains the sweeping spread of evil (2 Thessalonians 2:7).

Before we were Christians, the Holy Spirit spoke to our hearts, showing us our need for salvation. He drew us to Christ and convicted us of sin (John 15:26).

The Work of the Holy Spirit in the Believer

When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit dwells within us. Paul writes, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16).

The Holy Spirit regenerates us (Titus 3:4–7; John 3:5; 6:63); indwells us (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19); seals us (Ephesians 1:13–14); guides us (John 16:13; Romans 8:14); teaches us (John 14:26); helps us to pray (Romans 8:26–27); and empowers us (Acts 1:8).

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit

As believers, we need the power of the Holy Spirit to come upon us. This is known as the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told His disciples, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you . . . ” (Acts 1:8).

When the Holy Spirit comes upon a believer, He fills his or her mind with a genuine understanding of truth, takes possession of the believer’s abilities, and imparts gifts that qualify him or her for service in the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:4–10). The Holy Spirit imparts power for service and boldness in testimony and service (Acts 4:29, 31). (Also see: “What We Believe: The Baptism of the Holy Spirit.”)

The Power of the Holy Spirit

Someone once referred to Niagara Falls as “the greatest unused power in the world.” Actually, the greatest unused power is the Holy Spirit of the Living God. Don’t neglect the power that God has given you—Himself—through the Holy Spirit.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are taken from The Holy Bible, New King James version [NKJV], copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.