The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is a Person

The Holy Spirit is a member of the Trinity. He is God, and He has the characteristics of a person. He is not a magical force.  We can see that He is a person by the way the Bible describes many of His attributes and actions.

The Holy Spirit:


But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

John 14:26

If we don’t know or understand something from Scripture, the Holy Spirit reveals and teaches it to us.


The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”

Acts 8:29

The Holy Spirit spoke to Philip and gave very specific instructions. 

Makes decisions 

It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us.

Acts 15:28


The Holy Spirit can be grieved by our actions.

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

Eph 4:30

Decides on gifts that will be given to the church

All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. 

1 Cor 12:11

It’s not our decision, but God’s decision which gifts we have. Be happy with the gifts He gives you.

Assures us of our adoption as children

The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children

Rom 8:16

Glorifies Christ 

He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

John 16:14-15

As the Holy Spirit is a person, it means that we can have a relationship with Him. We can talk to Him and involve Him in our lives. 

The Role of the Holy Spirit

Conviction of sin

The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin. He shows us what is right and wrong. He shows us the judgement that we are under, and the consequences of our sin.

And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgement: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 1concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgement, because the ruler of this world is judged.

John 16:8-11

Regeneration and renewal

The Holy Spirit renews our spirits and re-establishes contact between us and the Father. 

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit[b] gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’

John 3:5-8

He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.

Titus 3:5

 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 

2 Cor 5:17


Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

1 Corinthians 3:16

Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.

2 Tim 1:14


He inspires us and He guides us.

For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

Rom 8:14

In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness

Rom 8:26

Reminds us 

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

John 14:26

Makes us holy 

Rom 8:29; 1 John 3:2; Gal 5:22

We are already holy in the eyes of God through Christ, but the Holy Spirit transforms us into the image of Christ as we walk through life. We struggle from day to day in different areas, but the Holy Spirit gives us victory and enables us to live a holy life.

Empowers us for ministry 

Matt 3:16-17

At the beginning of Jesus’s ministry, He was baptised in water, and then the Holy Spirit descended upon Him, He was empowered by the Holy Spirit and the spoken approval of the Father,  and then He went out and began His public ministry. The Holy Spirit then led Him into the desert. He needed to show us that Jesus was able to withstand every temptation. He then went from the temptation and did incredible miracles with healings, walking on water, multiplying food etc.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

Acts 1:8

Acts 4:8; Acts 4:18-20; 23-33 

 In the book of Acts we see the disciples in fear, silence and confusion. Then the Holy Spirit comes and they are transformed. Peter, the disciple who denied Jesus, began to speak fearlessly and with power. Three thousand got saved under the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Peter and John were in front of the Sanhedrin speaking fearlessly and boldly.

 We are in similar situations today. The world laughs at us, and asks who we want to serve. Do we serve the God of the universe or the world? The Holy Spirit gives us the courage to declare His wonders to the nations. 

Gifts of the Holy Spirit

God has given a gift to everyone. You have been given gifts!

  • The Holy Spirit gives gifts for the common good (1 Cor 12:4-11).
  • Everyone (each one) has something to give (1 Pet 4:10; Rom 12:6; 1 Cor 12:7). 
  • The gift is not for you, it is for someone else to benefit from – you just give it. You serve others with your gifts (1 Cor 12:5). It’s for the person who needs healing or a word, not for you. 
  • Gifts are for the building up of the body, and are for the common good (1 Cor 12:7). For example, prophecy (1 Cor 14:3) strengthens others, encourages them, and comforts them.
  • We need to earnestly desire the gifts (1 Cor 14:1)

The gifts are:

  •  1 Cor 12:8-10:
    • Inspirational (spoken): tongues, interpretation, prophecy
    • Power: healing, miracles, faith
    • Revelation: discerning of spirits, word of knowledge, word of wisdom
  • Also in 1 Cor 12:28 we have teaching, helping, administration 
  • In 1 Pet 4:9-10 there is the gift of hospitality
  • Rom 12:7 shows us the gifts of generosity, service, mercy with cheerfulness, and encouragement
  • In Eph 4:11 we see the apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher

Baptism in the Holy Spirit 

We see John the Baptist speaking about the baptism of the Holy Spirit which we receive through Jesus. Baptism means immersion, so it indicates that we are immersed in the Holy Spirit.

I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Matt 3:11

We see the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus at His water baptism (Matt 3:16-17), and He goes out from there and is empowered for His public ministry. 

The early believers receive a baptism in the Holy Spirit. In Acts 1:8 they are promised the Holy Spirit. In Acts 2:4 they received Him. And in Acts 10:44-46 the Gentiles also receive the Holy Spirit. In Acts 19:6 He is imparted through the laying on of hands.

Then when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in other tongues and prophesied.

Acts 19:6

We are also told to continuously be filled with the Holy Spirit. It is a life-long ongoing experience.

keep on being filled with the Holy Spirit

Eph 5:18

The Example of Jesus

Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit: 

The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. 

Luke 1:35

Some 30 years later, He began his ministrywhen the Holy Spirit descended on him (Mark 1:9-11). And when He, ‘full of the HolySpirit returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert’ (Luke 4:1). In verse 14 it says ‘Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit’. Later, the Lord announces the commencement of His ministry with the words: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor’ (Luke 4:18).Then there is evidence of the continuing work of the Holy Spirit in the ministry ofJesus Christ. Luke 5:17 says ‘the power of the Lord was with him to heal’ and, in Matthew 12:28, Jesus himself attributed his ability to cast out demons to the power of the Holy Spirit. Now if we are to follow the model of applying the life of the Lord Jesus to the life of the believer the analogies are clear:

  • There is a ‘spiritual’ birth experience
  • There is a subsequent empowering experience
  • There is an ongoing dependence on the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit imparted spiritual power. For instance,when the woman who was bleeding for 12 years touched Jesus’ garment He noted to His disciples that power had left him (Mark 5:30, Luke 8:46). In Luke 6:19, the Scripture says ‘and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.’

When the Bible speaks of believers being ‘filled with the Holy Spirit’, it seems to be referring to receiving the Holy Spirit’s power rather than to meeting the Person of the Holy Spirit:

Zacharias was filled with the Spirit and he immediately uttered an inspired prophecy.

Luke 1:67

The disciples were filled with the Spirit and began to speak in tongues. Shortly afterwards, Peter preached the gospel in the process.

Acts 2:4

Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and gave an inspired defence to the Sanhedrin, preaching the gospel in the process.

Acts 4:8

In a prayer meeting, a group of disciples were filled with the Spirit and began to speak the Word of God boldly.

Acts 4:31

Paul was filled with the Spirit, and after he regained his strength, he immediately began to preach Christ in the synagogues.

Acts 9:17


The gift of tongues is usually received when a person is baptised in the Holy Spirit.

And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues.

Mark 16:17

The Bible refers to 2 types of tongues:

1. The public use of tongues which requires an interpretation

To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 

1 Cor 12:8-10

2. The private use of tongues for self-edification 

For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit.

1 Cor 14:2 

Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church.

1 Cor 14:4 

There are examples of tongues in the Bible being in a language that others could understand, and there are other occasions where the language could not be understood, and therefore needed to be used in conjunction with the gift of interpretation of tongues:

When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!”

Acts 2:6-11

Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.

1 Cor 14:5