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The Personhood
Of The
Holy Spirit

In this page the term "personhood" is used to mean the fact that the Spirit is a living being, a "person", as opposed to a non-living object or influence.

The Importance of the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit.

If the Spirit is a distinct Divine Being we should worship Him.  If it is simply an influence from God we should not.

Should we worship the Spirit as we worship the Father and the Son? This is a most important question. We need to determine whether the Holy Spirit is a divine being, and therefore, worthy of our adoration, our faith and our love, or simply an influence emanating from God, a power that God imparts to us. If the Spirit is a Divine Person and we do not realize it, we are robbing a Divine Being of the love and adoration which are his due. On the other hand, if the Spirit is simply an influence from God, worshiping it is idolatry, just as it would be idolatry to worship God's compassion or His immortality or His anger, since they are merely things.

Let us consider a secular analogy. Americans honor George Washington the person for his characteristics and actions, e.g., his patriotism, and military and political leadership. They do not honor the characteristics and actions themselves. Medals and awards are given for bravery, not to bravery.

If the Spirit is a power, we should seek to control it. If it is a divine being, we should submit to it.

It is important to determine whether the Holy Spirit is a power that we can acquire and use, or whether the Holy Spirit is a personal being infinitely wise, infinitely holy, infinitely tender, who is to get hold of us and use us. The idea of a supernatural power we can control is heathenish, the other Christian. Following a divine being leads to humble submission, self-emptying and self- renunciation; seeking to control a supernatural power leads to self-exaltation.

It is important to our spiritual growth to recognize the personhood of the Holy Spirit.

It is of the highest importance in our spiritual growth that we know the Holy Spirit as a person. Many can testify to the blessing that came into their lives when they came to know the Holy Spirit not merely as a gracious influence (emanating, it is true, from God), but as an ever-present loving friend and helper.

The Fact that the Holy Spirit is a Person, not a Thing.

We may believe in theory that the Holy Spirit is a person. Do we treat Him as a person in our real thought of Him, or in our practical attitude toward Him? Do we regard Him as indeed as real a person as Jesus Christ -- as loving, wise and strong, as worthy of our confidence and love and surrender, as Jesus is?

What Christ had been to the disciples during the days of His personal companionship with them, the Spirit later came to be. Do we know "the communion" or "fellowship" of the Holy Ghost?

The Spirit of God is not simply Jehovah.

1 Corinthians 3:16 Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?

1 Corinthians 3:16 New English Bible Surely you know that you are God's temple, where the Spirit of God dwells.

Since Jehovah is a spirit, it would make no sense to talk about the spirit of God if the "Spirit" is Jehovah. It would be like talking about "the wind of wind" or "the heat of heat."

Various pronouns that clearly imply personhood are repeatedly used of the Holy Spirit.

John 15:26 When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.

John 16:7-8, 13-14 [7] But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. [8] When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: [13] But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. [14] He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.

The use of these pronouns is the more remarkable from the fact that in the Greek language the word Spirit is a neuter noun, and according to Greek usage, the pronouns that refer to it should be neuter, and yet in numerous instances a masculine pronoun is used, thus bringing out very strikingly how the Bible idea of the person- hood of the Holy Spirit dominates grammatical construction. There are instances, of course, where the natural grammatical usage is followed and a neuter pronoun is used, e.g., Romans 16:16, 26. But in many instances this construction is set aside and the masculine personal pronoun is used to refer to the neuter noun.


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