Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Personhood and Deity of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit as a person

Before diving into the lists that follow, I'd like to explain my approach and focuses in their compiling. The Bible can be a daunting book - well over a thousand pages long, written by multiple authors over some 14 or 15 centuries. Even the "simple" message of salvation, understandable to many 3- or 4-year-olds, challenges and sometimes eludes the wisest men and women. There are multiple ways to approach studying the Bible. One is to go through an entire book or long section of a book word by word, verse by verse and paragraph by paragraph. Another is to select a word or topic and use a concordance to see what is said about that topic or how that word is used throughout Scripture. The list below came from a search, using BibleStudyTools.com, on the word "spirit". The verses below are those which refer to the Holy Spirit rather than to a demon or the human spirit and attribute to the Holy Spirit qualities only a person can have. Details which are important are sometimes easy to miss or to misunderstand the full significance thereof. My format is to give the verse (all verses are from the NASV), and then indicate its significance.

Nehemiah 9:20: You gave Your good Spirit to instruct them, Your manna You did not withhold from their mouth, and You gave them water for their thirst.
Capable of teaching, requires knowledge, understanding, thought and speech.

Isaiah 63:10: But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; Therefore He turned Himself to become their enemy, He fought against them.
Awareness and emotions.

Ezekiel 3:24: The Spirit then entered me and made me stand on my feet, and He spoke with me and said to me, "Go, shut yourself up in your house. ..."
Speech and having a will.

Ezekiel 11:5: Then the Spirit of the LORD fell upon me, and He said to me, "Say, 'Thus says the LORD, "So you think, house of Israel, for I know your thoughts. ..."
Speech, knowledge, thought and having a will.

Matthew 28:19: Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is grouped with two other persons as having authority.

Mark 3:9: but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin
Blasphemable. See also Matthew 12:31-32, Luke 12:10.

Mark 13:11: When they arrest you and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit.
Speech. See also Matt. 10:19-20.

Luke 2:26: And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
Knowledge, thought and ability to reveal things.

Luke 12:12: for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.
Knowledge, thought and ability to teach.

John 14:26: 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 that I said to you.
Knowledge, thought and ability to teach.

John 15:26: When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me
Sight, knowledge, thought and speech.

John 16:13: But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.
Speech, having a will (initiative), hearing, thought and knowledge.

Acts 1:16: Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus.
Foretelling (knowledge, thought and speech).

Acts 4:25: who by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David Your servant, said,

Acts 5:3: But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land ?
Capable of being lied to, capable of discerning truth or falsehood.

Acts 5:32: And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.
Sight, knowledge, thought and speech.

Acts 8:29: Then the Spirit said to Philip, "Go up and join this chariot."

Acts 10:19: While Peter was reflecting on the vision, the Spirit said to him, "Behold, three men are looking for you. ..."
Knowledge, thought and speech.

Acts 11:12: The Spirit told me to go with them without misgivings. These six brethren also went with me and we entered the man's house.

Acts 13:2: While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them."
Speech, foresight, knowledge, thought and having a will.

Acts 15:28: For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials
Having judgment (i.e. having knowledge, thought and a will).

Acts 16:6: They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia
Speech and having a will and authority.

Acts 20:23: except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me.
Foresight, knowledge, thought, having emotions and mannerisms, and speech.

Acts 21:11: And coming to us, he took Paul's belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, "This is what the Holy Spirit says: 'In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.'
Speech, foresight and knowledge.

Acts 28:25: And when they did not agree with one another, they began leaving after Paul had spoken one parting word, "The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers, ..."
Speech and having foresight, judgment and moral qualities (being right or wrong).

Romans 8:16: The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God
Knowledge, thought and speech.

Romans 8:26: In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words
Ability to pray and groan (actions that involve knowledge, emotions and will).

Romans 8:27: and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
Having a mind (i.e. consciousness, knowledge, thought, emotions and will).

Romans 15:30: Now I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me
Loving (an emotion that entails consciousness, knowledge, thought and will).

1 Corinthians 2:10: For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.
Search (entails knowledge, thought, will and consciousness).

1 Corinthians 2:11: For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.
Knowledge and thought.

1 Corinthians 2:13: which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.
Knowledge, understanding, thought and speech.

1 Corinthians 12:11: But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.
Having a will, purpose, thought and knowledge.

2 Corinthians 13:14: The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.
Having fellowship with other persons (entails speech, consciousness, thought, and emotions).

Galatians 4:6: Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!"
Speech, having knowledge, thought, consciousness and emotions.

Ephesians 4:30: Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Consciousness and emotions.

1 Timothy 4:1: But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons
Foretelling (knowledge, thought and speech).

Hebrews 3:7: Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, "TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE

Hebrews 10:15: And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying,
Sight, knowledge, thought and speaking of things.

Hebrews 10:29: How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?
Capable of being insulted (consciousness).

1 John 5:6: This is the One who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood. It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.
Sight, knowledge, thought and speaking of things.

Revelation 2:7: He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.
Speech. See also Revelation 2:11,17, 28; 3:6, 13, 22.

Revelation 14:13: And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, "Write, 'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!' " "Yes," says the Spirit, "so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them."
Foresight, knowledge, thought and speech.

Revelation 22:17: The Spirit and the bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.

I know, the list is lengthy, cumbersome and repetitive, and designedly so. Speaking of the Holy Spirit as having the many qualities of a person (rather than just a thing or force) pervades Scripture – both Testaments, 8 or 9 authors – and so very often as to not be metaphoric. There is significant value, I think, in just seeing how frequently, how pervasively Scripture speaks of the Holy Spirit as having the qualities peculiar to a person.

The Holy Spirit as God

It makes sense if you think about it for a moment, but there aren't a lot of passages that identify the Holy Spirit as God. Not a lot of passages that refer to the Father identify Him as God either. God seldom self-identifies Himself as such, except by speaking and acting in the authority and qualities of being God.

Job 33:4: The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
The Holy Spirit identified as Creator and life-giver.

Psalm 139:7: Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?
The Holy Spirit is omnipresent, an attribute of God.

Matthew 28:19: Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit
I guess you could call this Godhood-by-association. The Holy Spirit is shown as having the authority of God, thus the Holy Spirit is God.

Acts 5:3-4: But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? "While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God."
In lying to the Holy Spirit, Ananias lied to God.

1 Corinthians 2:11: For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.
Attributes to the Holy Spirit knowledge and understanding that only God can have.

No comments:

Post a Comment