THE HOLY SPIRIT IS A PERSON

Bible Reading: John 14:15-18; 16:5-15

Knowing that His departure was close Jesus took time to teach His disciples about the Holy Spirit, whom the Father would send to them.

The first clear statement we read about the Holy Spirit is that He is a person.

Jesus said, “I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever” [John 14:16]. A key word in this verse is the word another. There are two Greek words that are translated as another. They are ‘allos’ and ‘heteros’. The word ‘heteros’ means another but totally different. We use this as an English prefix in the word heterosexual as persons who are sexually opposite. Conversely, the word ‘allos’ means another that is exactly the same. In his book, “Foundations of the Christian Faith,” James Montgomery Boice writes:

Since the word ‘allos’ occurs in this text, Jesus is saying that He will send the disciples a person just like himself, that is, one who is fully divine. Who is the first Counsellor? Jesus. He had been the disciples’ strength and counsel during the years of his ministry among them. Now He is going away, and in His place He will be sending a second Counsellor who is just like him. He will be another divine person living with them and [in this case] in them.

The Holy Spirit is a divine Person living inside the Christian. He is always referred to with the personal pronoun He and He has all the attributes of personality. Personality implies the existence of certain attributes, intellect, and emotion and can be defined as one who has knowledge, feelings and volition or will. The Holy Spirit has each of these attributes.

The Holy Spirit has intelligence. Writing to the Corinthians Paul says, “Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God” [1 Corinthians 2:11]. Writing to the Romans he speaks about, “…the mind of the Spirit” [Romans 8:26-27]. The word “mind” in this verse is a comprehensive word encompassing ‘the ideas of thought, feeling and purpose. The Holy Spirit has emotions. The Bible speaks about the love of the Spirit [Romans 15:30]; the empathy of the Spirit [Romans 8:26]; and that the Holy Spirit can be grieved [Ephesians 4:30]. The Holy Spirit has volition or will. The Holy Spirit decides to whom His gifts are distributed [1 Corinthians 12:11].

Although some speak of the Holy Spirit only in terms of an influence or power, the Bible clearly speaks of Him as a Person, in just the same way that Jesus was a Person. As God’s children we have a Divine Person, the Holy Spirit, living inside of us!

Questions:

Why did Jesus take time to talk to His disciples about the Holy Spirit before He went to the cross?

Why is it important to understand that the Holy Spirit is a Person and not just a power or an influence? What does it mean to grieve the Holy Spirit? How can we grieve the Holy Spirit?