Holy Spirit

From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [1]

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [2]

There is only one God, and this God has always existed in a trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Our understanding of the Holy Spirit is therefore tied up with our understanding of the Trinity, and that in turn is tied up with the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Yet, though the revelation reaches its climax in Christ, its origins are in the Old Testament.

The Old Testament period

When people of Old Testament times saw some remarkable demonstration of the power of God, they called that power by the Hebrew word ruach. This word was used in everyday speech without any particular reference to God and could have the meaning of wind ( 1 Kings 18:45), breath ( Genesis 7:15;  Genesis 7:22) or spirit (in the sense of a person’s life or feelings) ( Genesis 41:8;  Genesis 45:27).

In relation to God, ruach could apply to the wind that God used to direct the course of nature ( Genesis 8:1;  Exodus 10:19), to the breath of God’s ‘nostrils’ or ‘mouth’, by which he did mighty deeds ( Psalms 18:15;  Psalms 33:6), or to his spirit, through which he had power, actions and feelings as a living being ( Genesis 1:2;  Genesis 6:3). The ruach of God indicated to the Hebrews something that was powerful and irresistible. It was not only full of life itself but was also life-giving ( Judges 6:34;  2 Kings 2:16;  Job 33:4;  Psalms 104:30;  Ezekiel 37:14).

On certain occasions this Spirit of God, or power of God, came upon selected people for specific purposes. It may have resulted in victorious leadership ( Judges 3:10;  Judges 6:34;  Zechariah 4:6), superhuman strength ( Judges 14:6;  Judges 14:19;  Judges 15:14;  Judges 16:20) or artistic ability and knowhow ( Exodus 31:3-5). Frequently it produced unusual behaviour ( Numbers 11:25-29;  1 Samuel 10:6;  1 Samuel 10:10-11;  1 Samuel 19:23-24). Always it was on the side of right and opposed to wrong ( Psalms 51:10-12;  Isaiah 32:15-16;  Isaiah 63:10;  Micah 3:8). Prophets who received God’s messages and passed them on to his people did so through the activity of God’s Spirit upon them ( 2 Samuel 23:2;  2 Chronicles 24:20;  Nehemiah 9:30;  Isaiah 61:1;  Zechariah 7:12; see Prophecy, Prophet )

God promised that a day was coming when not merely selected people, but all God’s people, regardless of status, sex or age, would have God’s Spirit poured out upon them ( Joel 2:28-29; cf.  Numbers 11:29;  Ezekiel 36:27). And the one upon whom God’s Spirit would rest in a special way was the Messiah ( Isaiah 11:1-5; see Messiah ).

In spite of all this, it is probably still true to say that when the Old Testament people spoke of the Spirit of God, they were thinking more of the living and active power of God than of a person within a trinity. They probably had no more understanding of the Spirit of God as a person within a triune Godhead than they had of the Son of God as a person within a triune Godhead.

These Old Testament believers, however, did not regard the Spirit as simply an impersonal force. They identified the Spirit with a personal God, yet at the same time they made some distinction between God the Almighty and his Spirit ( Genesis 1:1-2;  1 Samuel 16:13;  Ezekiel 37:26). It was all a preparation for the fuller revelation of the Trinity that came through the life and work of Jesus Christ.

The coming of Jesus

With the coming of Jesus came a much clearer revelation concerning the Spirit of God. People may not always have realized it, but every work ever done in people’s hearts, whether in turning them initially to God or in creating new character within them, was the work of God’s unseen Spirit. In more spectacular demonstrations of God’s working, the Spirit of God had come upon selected people for certain tasks, but Jesus had the Spirit without limit. He lived his life and carried out his work through the unlimited power of God’s Spirit working through him unceasingly ( Isaiah 11:1-5;  Isaiah 42:1-4;  Matthew 1:18;  Matthew 3:16-17;  Matthew 12:28;  Luke 4:1;  Luke 4:14;  Luke 4:18;  John 3:34-35;  Acts 10:38).

Through Jesus people now began to have a new understanding of the Spirit. As Jesus’ baptism showed, God the Father was in heaven, God the Son was on earth, and God the Spirit had come from the Father to rest upon the Son ( Matthew 3:16-17). Through Jesus it was shown that the Spirit was more than merely the power of God. Certainly, the Spirit demonstrated the power of God, but people now began to see that the Spirit was a person – someone distinct from Father and Son, yet equal with them and inseparably united with them ( Matthew 28:19;  John 14:15-17;  John 16:13-15;  Acts 5:30-32;  1 Corinthians 12:4-6; see Trinity ).

Unlike the Son, the Spirit did not become flesh, but he was still a person, having knowledge, desires and feelings ( Acts 16:6;  Romans 8:27;  Romans 15:30;  1 Corinthians 2:11;  1 Corinthians 2:13;  Ephesians 4:30). Nor was the Spirit merely a ‘part’ of God. He was God himself ( Acts 5:3-4;  1 Corinthians 3:16;  1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

The Spirit always had been fully God and fully personal, even in Old Testament times. The difference between Old and New Testament times was not that there was some change or development in the Holy Spirit (for since he is God, he is eternal and unchanging;  Hebrews 9:14). There may have been a change in the way the Spirit worked, and there was a development in how people understood the Spirit, but the Spirit himself did not change.

With the coming of Jesus and the events that followed in the early church, people now had a better understanding of what God had been doing during the pre-Christian era. They now saw more in Old Testament references to the Spirit of God than the Old Testament believers themselves understood (cf.  Joel 2:28-29 with  Acts 2:16-18; cf.  Zechariah 7:12 with  Acts 7:51;  Acts 28:25;  1 Peter 1:11).

Once God had come into the world in the person of Jesus, Jesus became the means by which God gave his Spirit to others ( John 1:33;  John 20:22). Jesus became the one mediator between God and the human race. No one could come to the Father except through Jesus, and no one could receive God’s Spirit except through Jesus ( John 14:6;  John 14:16-17;  John 14:26;  John 15:26;  Acts 2:33).

Jesus’ promise to his disciples

During his earthly life Jesus accepted the limitations of time and distance that apply to people in general. Consequently, the work that the Holy Spirit was doing in the world through him was limited to those times and places where Jesus worked. The Spirit was, so to speak, tied to Jesus.

Jesus, however, would not remain in the world indefinitely. After he had completed the work his Father had given him to do (a work that could be completed only through his death and resurrection), he would return to his Father, leaving his followers to carry on his work upon earth. To enable them to do this work satisfactorily, the Father would give them the same Spirit as had worked through Jesus ( John 14:16-18;  John 15:26;  John 16:13-15).

This was why Jesus told his disciples that once he had returned triumphantly to his Father, they would do greater works than he had done. The power of the Spirit had previously been limited to the few years of one man’s ministry in one place; but now that power would be poured out on all Jesus’ disciples, and they would carry on his work in all countries, till the end of the age ( John 14:12;  John 14:16). In view of this, it was to the disciples’ advantage that Jesus leave them and return to his Father; for then they too would be indwelt by God’s Holy Spirit ( John 14:17;  John 16:7).

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ

Although the Holy Spirit is a separate person from the Son, he is inseparably united with the Son, as the Son is with the Father ( John 5:43;  John 14:26). The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus Christ. He bears the stamp of Jesus’ character, as Jesus bore the stamp of his Father’s character ( Acts 16:6-7;  Romans 8:9;  Galatians 4:6;  Philippians 1:19;  1 Peter 1:11; cf.  Hebrews 1:3).

Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus continues to abide with his disciples, even though physically he is no longer in the world ( John 14:18;  Galatians 2:20;  Colossians 1:27). The Spirit is called the Counsellor or Helper, for he gives Jesus’ followers the same counsel or help as Jesus gave them when he was physically with them. Through the Holy Spirit, the presence of Jesus, previously limited to first century Palestine, becomes timeless and worldwide ( John 14:16;  John 14:18;  John 14:26;  John 15:26;  John 16:7).

It is impossible, therefore, to have the Spirit without having Christ. Equally it is impossible to have a relationship with God through the Spirit but not through Christ ( Acts 2:38;  Romans 8:9-11). The Spirit does not exalt himself above Christ, for the Spirit’s task is to direct people to Christ ( John 15:26;  1 Corinthians 12:3).

There is no competition between the Spirit and Christ, for the Spirit is the Spirit of Christ. Life ‘in Christ’ is life ‘in the Spirit’ and vice versa ( Romans 8:1;  Romans 8:9;  2 Corinthians 3:14-18). Just as Jesus received his authority from the Father, glorified the Father and taught people about the Father, so the Spirit receives his authority from Christ, glorifies Christ and teaches people about Christ (cf.  John 8:28 with  John 16:13; cf.  John 17:4 with  John 16:14; cf.  John 17:8 with  John 14:26;  John 16:15).

The Spirit and the early church

Because Jesus was to be the channel through whom God would give the Holy Spirit to believers in general, Jesus had to complete the work given him by his Father before believers could receive the Spirit. Moreover, the Father wanted to show his satisfaction with Christ’s work by raising him from the dead and giving him glory. Only after such a triumphant conclusion to Christ’s earthly ministry would the Father give the Spirit to others ( John 7:39;  1 Peter 1:21).

Jesus therefore told his disciples to wait in Jerusalem after his ascension and they would receive the Holy Spirit as he had promised ( Acts 1:4-5). The fulfilment of this promise came on the Day of Pentecost. Just as there were unusual happenings when God poured out the Spirit on Jesus, so there were when he poured out the Spirit on Jesus’ disciples ( Acts 2:1-4;  Acts 2:33; cf.  Matthew 3:16-17;  John 1:33; for details see Baptism With The Spirit ). The new age had dawned. God had promised to pour out his Spirit on all believers, regardless of status, sex or age, and that promise was now fulfilled ( Joel 2:28-29;  Acts 2:16-18;  Acts 2:33;  Acts 2:39).

Having received the Holy Spirit, the disciples then carried on the work of Jesus. Jesus had begun that work during the time of his earthly ministry ( Acts 1:1-2), and he continued to do the work through his followers ( Acts 3:6;  Acts 4:10;  Acts 4:27-30;  Acts 5:12; cf.  Luke 4:18).

Jesus was working through his disciples by the power of the Holy Spirit whom he had given them. Through that Spirit the disciples were bearing witness to Jesus, whose life, death and resurrection had changed the course of history. Jesus had made forgiveness available to the repentant, but judgment certain for the unrepentant. As the disciples made known this message, they presented their hearers with the alternatives of forgiveness and judgment ( John 16:7-11;  John 20:22-23;  Acts 1:8;  Acts 5:32).

All this may be summarized by saying that the Holy Spirit is the one who equips God’s people for the task of spreading the gospel of Jesus, making disciples of Jesus and establishing the church of Jesus ( Acts 1:8;  Acts 9:31;  Acts 13:2;  Acts 20:28). He gives different abilities to different people to enable the church to function harmoniously and fruitfully. These abilities are called gifts of the Spirit ( 1 Corinthians 12:4-7; see Gifts Of The Spirit ).

Examples from the early church show that the Holy Spirit works in both spectacular and unspectacular ways. He gives Christians boldness in the face of opposition ( Acts 4:8;  Acts 6:10;  Acts 13:9-10), but also the quiet ability to organize church affairs smoothly ( Acts 6:3). He guides Christians through inner promptings and visions ( Acts 8:29;  Acts 8:39;  Acts 10:19;  Acts 11:28), but also through reasoned discussion ( Acts 15:28). He directs Christian activity by opening new opportunities ( Acts 13:4), but also through closing others ( Acts 16:6-7). (See also Church ; Prophecy ; Tongues .)

Salvation through the Spirit

By nature all people are dead in sin and under God’s judgment, with no way of saving themselves. Only by the work of the Holy Spirit can they be cleansed from sin and given spiritual life ( John 3:5;  John 6:63;  John 16:7-11;  1 Corinthians 6:11;  Ephesians 2:1-4;  Titus 3:3-6; see Regeneration ). (Concerning the sin against the Holy Spirit see Blasphemy .) The Holy Spirit, having given believers new life, remains with them in an unbroken union. The Spirit dwells within them permanently ( Romans 8:9-11;  1 Corinthians 6:19;  2 Timothy 1:14;  1 John 3:24;  1 John 4:13).

Christians, then, may be described as those who are ‘in the Spirit’ ( Romans 8:9), who ‘have the Spirit’ ( Romans 8:9), who are ‘led by the Spirit’ ( Romans 8:14) and who ‘live by the Spirit’ ( Galatians 5:25). The Spirit is God’s seal, God’s mark of ownership, upon them. He gives them the inner assurance that God has made them his sons, and he guarantees to them that they will inherit his eternal blessings ( Romans 8:15-17;  2 Corinthians 1:22;  Galatians 4:6;  Ephesians 1:13-14;  Ephesians 4:30;  Hebrews 10:15-17).

Christian life and conduct

There is a constant conflict in the lives of believers, because the old sinful nature (the flesh) fights against the Spirit of God who has now come and dwelt in them ( Romans 8:5-7;  Galatians 5:17;  Ephesians 4:29-32). They triumph over the sinful desires of the flesh not by putting themselves under a set of laws, but by allowing God’s Spirit to direct their lives ( Galatians 3:3;  Galatians 5:16-25).

Because of their union with Christ, believers have died to the law. The Spirit has given them life and freedom – not a freedom to do as they like, but a freedom from the bondage that the law brings ( Romans 7:6;  Galatians 5:1). Through the Spirit they now have the freedom, and the power, to develop the righteousness that the law aimed at but could never produce ( Romans 8:1-4;  2 Corinthians 3:6;  2 Corinthians 3:17;  Galatians 5:5; see Flesh ; Freedom ; Law ).

This change in the behaviour of believers does not happen automatically as a result of the Spirit’s dwelling within them. It requires self-discipline and effort ( Romans 12:9-13;  1 Corinthians 9:27;  Galatians 6:7-10;  Ephesians 6:11-18;  2 Timothy 2:1-6; see Self-Discipline But if the Spirit of Christ has control in their lives and is directing their self-discipline and effort, the result will be a quality of character that is like that of Christ himself ( Romans 14:17;  2 Corinthians 3:18;  Galatians 5:22-23; see Love ).

Such Christlike character is what the Bible calls the fruit of the Spirit ( Galatians 5:22). The production of spiritual fruit, not the exercise of spiritual gift, is the evidence of the Spirit’s working in people’s lives. Even those who are unspiritual can exercise abilities given them by the Spirit, but they cannot produce the character that only the Spirit of God can create (cf.  1 Corinthians 1:7;  1 Corinthians 3:1-4;  1 Corinthians 12:1-3).

A constant helper

Christians should not think that the Spirit-controlled life will be without disappointment, hardship or sorrow. If Jesus suffered, his followers can expect to suffer also ( Matthew 10:24-25;  2 Timothy 3:12), but the Spirit of Jesus within them will help them maintain joy and peace through their sufferings ( John 14:18;  John 14:26;  John 16:33;  Acts 13:52;  Acts 20:23;  1 Thessalonians 1:5-6;  1 Peter 4:13-16; see Joy ; Peace ).

When believers allow God’s Spirit within them to have full control in their lives, they are said to be filled with the Spirit. This filling of the Spirit is not a once-for-all event, but the constant spiritual state of all who live in a right relationship with God and with others ( Acts 6:3;  Acts 6:5;  Acts 11:24;  Ephesians 4:16;  Ephesians 5:18-21).

A person full of the Spirit is, in other words, a spiritual person (as someone full of wisdom is a wise person, or someone full of joy a joyful person;  Acts 6:3;  Acts 6:5;  Acts 6:8;  Acts 9:36;  Acts 11:24;  Romans 15:13-14). Yet this Spirit-filled person may receive additional ‘fillings’ in certain circumstances. That is, the person who truly lives by the Spirit can be assured of the Spirit’s added help when special needs arise (cf.  Acts 6:5 with 7:55; cf.  Acts 9:17 with 13:9-11). Often the Spirit gives such special help to enable believers to have boldness when facing opposition because of their allegiance to Jesus Christ ( Acts 2:4;  Acts 4:8-12;  Acts 4:31;  Acts 7:55;  Acts 13:50-52).

Just as believers who allow God to control their lives are said to be filled with the Spirit, so those who allow the old sinful nature to control their lives are said to grieve the Spirit ( Ephesians 4:29-32; cf.  Acts 5:9;  1 Thessalonians 5:15-19). Obedience and faith are as necessary for enjoying the Spirit’s power as they are for receiving the Spirit in the first place ( Acts 5:32;  Galatians 3:2).

Worship, prayer and the Word

The Holy Spirit creates unity and fellowship among Christians ( 1 Corinthians 12:12-13;  2 Corinthians 13:14;  Ephesians 4:3-4;  Philippians 2:1-2; see Fellowship ). When Christians join together in worship, the Holy Spirit is the one who unites them in a common purpose and directs their worship ( Acts 13:2;  1 Corinthians 12:7-8). In fact, they can worship God acceptably only as the Spirit works in their thoughts and words ( John 4:24;  Philippians 3:3; see Worship ).

True prayer, like true worship, is an activity that believers can carry out only through the activity of the Holy Spirit in them ( Ephesians 6:18;  Judges 1:20). Jesus Christ is their mediator in heaven ( Romans 8:34;  Hebrews 7:25), and the Spirit of Jesus Christ is within them on earth ( Romans 8:9). As believers pray, the Spirit helps them and brings their real desires before God. This is particularly so when they themselves cannot find the right words to express those desires ( Romans 8:26-27;  Ephesians 2:18; see Prayer ).

Not only the believer’s word to God, but also God’s word to the believer involves the activity of the Spirit. Just as a person’s own spirit, and no one else’s, knows what is going on inside that person, so the Spirit of God, and no one else, knows what is going on within God. Therefore, only those who have the Spirit of God can properly understand the Word of God or teach it to others ( 1 Corinthians 2:10-13). Christian teachers or preachers, while they are careful to make sure that the hearers understand their message, must nevertheless rely upon the working of God’s Spirit for that message to be effectual ( Acts 4:8;  1 Corinthians 2:3-5; see Preaching ).

God’s Spirit and God’s Word are inseparable, because each works through the other. The Old Testament Scriptures were written by the inspiration of God’s Spirit upon the writers ( 2 Timothy 3:16;  2 Peter 1:20-21; see Inspiration ). This same Spirit worked in his fulness through Jesus, and enlightened Jesus’ followers by applying and developing his teachings ( John 14:26;  John 16:12-15;  1 Peter 1:12). Through the work of the Holy Spirit in those men, the New Testament Scriptures came into being. As people read those Scriptures, the Spirit continues to bear witness to Jesus ( John 15:26).

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology [3]

Third person of the Trinity.

Old Testament . Some have argued that Old Testament believers were saved and sanctified by the Spirit just as New Testament believers. But such teaching appears nowhere in the Old Testament. However people were made right with God, the focus of the Old Testament roles of the Spirit lies elsewhere.

In the earliest Scriptures, the Spirit does not clearly emerge as a distinct personality. The Hebrew word for "spirit" ( ruah [   Genesis 1:2;  Job 33:4;  34:14-15 ), a mode of his interacting with humans ( Genesis 6:3 ), his agent of revelation ( Genesis 41:38;  Numbers 24:2 ), and a mode of empowering select leaders of God's people (Moses and the Seventy —  Numbers 11:17-29; possibly Joshua  Numbers 27:18;  Deuteronomy 34:9 ). All of these uses recur throughout the Old Testament, but one other remains unique to these earliest daysequipping Bezalel and Oholiab with the skills of craftsmanship for constructing the tabernacle ( Exodus 31:3;  35:31 ), although the provision of gifts of the Spirit in the New Testament will become a close analogue.

In the books of Judges, Samuel, and Kings, certain characteristic activities of the Spirit begin to emerge. He comes upon significant individuals, almost as an energizing power, temporarily equipping leaders for physical prowess and military victory. Four judges are so characterized (Othniel  Judges 3:10; Gideon 6:34; Jephthah 11:29; Samson 14:19; cf. Amasai  1 Chronicles 12:18 ). This supernatural power combines with inspiration for verbal utterances in the earliest form of prophecy, usually assumed to have been somewhat uncontrollable or "ecstatic" (cf. Saul's "ravings" in  1 Samuel 19:20-23;  10:6,10;  11:6; for David, see  2 Samuel 23:2 ). With the advent of the monarchy, the presence of the Spirit functions as divine authentication of the legitimate king. When Saul no longer remains God's choice for the throne, the Spirit leaves him and comes upon David instead ( 1 Samuel 16:13-14 ). First Samuel 16:13 further suggests that David retained the Spirit as a permanent possession, apparently unlike others in the Old Testament. In  1 Chronicles 28:12 , the Spirit reveals to David the blueprint for the temple. By the time of the divided kingdom, the Spirit is beginning to inspire and empower prophets, guiding individuals to specific places where they proclaim messages of salvation or judgment from God to appointed audiences (Elijah  1 Kings 18:12;  2 Kings 2:16; Micaiah  1 Kings 22:24; Azariah  2 Chronicles 15:1; Jahaziel  2 Chronicles 20:14; Zechariah son of Jehoiada  2 Chronicles 24:20 ).

Of all the canonical Wisdom literature, the Spirit appears unambiguously only in the psalms. In addition to uses already noted, the Spirit is now for the first time called "Holy" ( Psalm 51:11 ) and "good" (143:10). The first of these texts demonstrates a characteristic fear in Old Testament times; even David in his unique situation did not have the assurance of God's abiding presence that would later characterize the New Testament age. The second text reflects the development of a belief in the Spirit's role in personal and moral guidance.  Psalm 139:7 ("Where can I go from your Spirit?") is embedded in a key passage on the omnipresence of God.

The writing prophets preserve many of the older insights about the Spirit but for the first time begin to disclose the coming of a new era in the Spirit's ministry. God's people can look forward to restoration from exile and to a new covenant in which the Spirit will empower all his followers in the creation of a new spiritual community.

Isaiah develops this theme in several texts. God will bring a new spirit of judgment and of fire (4:4)perhaps the inspiration for John the Baptist in  Matthew 3:11 . The Spirit will rest on the messianic "branch" with wisdom, power, knowledge, and holiness (11:2; cf. 42:1,61:1, in which the Spirit similarly anoints the Suffering Servant). He will be poured out corporately on all of God's people to bring about justice, righteousness, and peace (32:15; 34:16), including their descendants forever (44:3; 59:21).  Isaiah 63:10-11 contains the only other Old Testament use of "Holy Spirit, " harking back to God's guidance of Moses and the wilderness wanderers. Isaiah also recognizes the Spirit as the inspiration for his own prophecy (48:16; 59:21).

For Ezekiel, the most characteristic activity of the Spirit is "lifting" him up, sometimes literally from prostration (2:2; 3:24), many times transporting him to new locations (3:12-14; 11:1; 37:1; 43:5), including those seen only in visions (8:3; 11:24). In 11:5, he is explicitly said to be the source of Ezekiel's prophecy. In 36:27, the future eschatological restoration again appears. God will give Israel a new spirit: He will put his spirit in them and move them to obey the law and receive the fulfillment of all of his promises. Again we see a corporate presence of the Spirit not previously encountered (cf. also  Ezekiel 37:14;  Ezekiel 39:29 ).

Perhaps the most important prophetic text on the Spirit is  Joel 2:28-32 , which Peter quotes at Pentecost ( Acts 2:17-21 ). Here the prophet envisages a day in which God will pour out his Spirit on individuals irrespective of gender, age, social status, or ethnicity, particularly bestowing the gift of prophecy on many of his choice. Other themes recur too.  Micah 3:8 affirms the prophecy's origination in the Spirit.   Haggai 2:5 and   Zechariah 4:6 connect the Spirit's presence with the empowerment for rebuilding the temple. In   Zechariah 6:8 the execution of God's will brings his Spirit rest.

The Old Testament thus concludes self-consciously open-ended, anticipating a new era in which the Spirit will work among a greater number of individuals and different kinds of people to create a more faithful community of men and women serving God. Apparently they will also be more mightily empowered. The fulfillment of these promises in the New Testament conforms to the prophecy of the Old Testament.

New Testament . Although relatively infrequent in his Old Testament appearances, the Spirit now emerges to dominate the theology and experience of the major New Testament witnesses. The term "Holy Spirit" ( pneuma [Πνεῦμα] hagion [Ἅγιος]) becomes common, although the absolute use remains frequent and "Spirit of God/the Lord" and even "Spirit of Christ" appear too. A distinct personality emerges and, ultimately, explicit trinitarian teaching.

The Spirit is the agent of Mary's virginal conception of Jesus ( Matthew 1:18,20;  Luke 1:35 ). Christian theology has frequently perceived here God's chosen manner of enabling his Son to be fully divine as well as fully human. John the Baptist, the prophet who will herald Jesus as Messiah, "will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth" ( Luke 1:15 ). This prophecy alerts his parents to his unique nature; no one in Old Testament times was filled so early. John announces Jesus as the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire ( Matthew 3:11 ), purifying and judging his people, to be classically fulfilled at Pentecost and finally consummated at the final judgment. The Spirit himself descends and anoints Jesus at his baptism to prepare him for ministry. All four evangelists use simile in describing the descent like a dove ( Matthew 3:16;  Mark 1:10;  Luke 3:22;  John 1:32 ); what was literally seen remains unknown. Symbolically, the dove may represent peace, re-creation, or love. The Spirit's arrival should not be taken to imply that Jesus had no previous experience of the Spirit but, in characteristically Lucan fashion, reflects empowerment for bold proclamation of the gospel.

First, however, the Spirit must lead Jesus to the place of temptation by the devil ( Luke 4:1 ). Will Christ succumb to the lure to use his power for self-aggrandizement or will he follow the road to the cross? The Spirit's role here teaches two important truths: God remains sovereign over the devil but God himself tempts no one (cf.  James 1:13 ). When Jesus resists the tempter's wiles, the Spirit again empowers him for service ( Luke 4:14 ), which John makes clear is a gift without its previously characteristic limits ( John 3:34 ). Jesus' whole ministry is therefore Spirit-led, but particularly significant manifestations include the fulfillment of prophecy ( Matthew 12:18 ,; citing  Isaiah 42:1;  Luke 4:18 ,; citing  Isaiah 61:1 ), exorcisms ( Matthew 12:28 ), and miracles more generally ( Acts 10:38;  Romans 15:19 ). Because Jesus' signs and wonders most directly reveal God's spirit at work, attribution of them to Satan puts one in jeopardy of committing an unforgivable sin (the "blasphemy against the Spirit" [  Matthew 12:31 ] probably equivalent to persistent and unrepentant rejection of Christ ).

Jesus agrees with the Old Testament prophets that Scripture is Spirit-inspired ( Matthew 22:43 ,; citing  Psalm 110:1 ). The Holy Spirit gives him joy ( Luke 10:21 ). Christ gives as part of the Great Commission a trinitarian baptismal formula ( Matthew 28:19 ), which even if it reflects the liturgical language of the later church (contrast  Acts 2:38 ), gathers together Jesus' authentic self-understanding as uniquely one with God and the Spirit (cf.  Matthew 11:26-27;  12:28-32 ).

As the Spirit has empowered Jesus, so Jesus promises that he will similarly empower the disciples.  John 7:39,14:17 make plain that the full future outpouring of the Spirit is not yet present even with Jesus but awaits his glorification. Then his followers will be emboldened to testify even under hostile circumstances (  Matthew 10:19-20 ). The Spirit will be the preeminent good gift for which they can pray ( Luke 11:13; cf.  Matthew 7:11 ). He will make possible the new birth, over which Nicodemus so marvels ( John 3:5-8 ), and will create new spiritual lives (6:63).

Jesus' most extensive and distinctive teaching about the Spirit emerges in the five "Paraclete" passages found only in John's Gospel. Parakletos [   John 14:16 ). Five distinct functions can be discerned in these passages: The Spirit will help Jesus' followers, remaining with them forever (14:15-21); he will enable them to interpret Jesus' words (14:15-17); he will testify to the world who Jesus is (15:26-16:4); he will prosecute sinners, convicting them of their offenses (16:5-11); and he will reveal further truth (16:12-15), doubtless including though not explicitly specified as the New Testament canon. A week after his resurrection, Jesus begins to fulfill these promises as he breathes the Spirit on the eleven (20:22); fuller fulfillment will come a month and a half later at Pentecost.

Luke develops several distinctive themes of the Spirit's work. Most characteristic are his references to people whom the Spirit "fills." Consistently such individuals quickly proceed to speak inspired words or otherwise boldly proclaim God's Word. With Elizabeth ( Luke 1:41 ), Zechariah (1:67), and Simeon (2:25-27), the Spirit comes with temporary power as in the Old Testament. From Pentecost on, however, the Spirit becomes a permanent possession of God's people, yet believers may still be repeatedly "filled" in order to speak courageously for Christ (the 120  Acts 2:4; Peter 4:8; all Jerusalem believers 4:31; Saul 9:17; 13:9). On the other hand, Luke reserves the expression "full of the Spirit" to refer to a mature, godly character (the first "deacons"  Acts 6:3,5; Barnabas 11:24).

The testimony of Acts agrees with the Gospels that the Old Testament writers were inspired by the Spirit ( Acts 1:16;  4:25;  28:25 ), as was Jesus himself (1:2). The Spirit and God in certain contexts are interchangeable (5:3-4). The Spirit is clearly a person who can be resisted (7:51) and lied to (5:3). He supplies personal guidance and instruction (for obliterating social taboos 10:19; 11:12 for choosing church leaders 13:1-4; 20:28 for making difficult theological decisions 15:28 for making travel/ ministry plans 16:6-7). He inspires predictive prophecy (11:28; 21:11), even if it remains subject to potential misinterpretation by the prophets in ways not found in the Old Testament.

Three passages in Acts are particularly controversial. At Pentecost (2:1-41) the Holy Spirit "comes on" the disciples (1:8), but also fills them (2:4), leading them to speak in foreign languages that they did not previously know. But this phenomenon (vv. 5-13) was not required to facilitate communication because Peter subsequently explains what has happened in normal speech (vv. 14-36). Rather, it must be a sign to authenticate the message and ministry of the disciples. Here is the fulfillment and end of the old covenant and the beginning of the new. The Spirit who has spoken in past prophecy (2:17-18), including through Jesus (2:33), now makes himself available as a "gift" along with the forgiveness of sins to all who repent (2:38) and obey (5:32). Although baptism is closely linked as a testimony to this repentance, Peter does not likely see it as essential for reception of forgiveness or the Holy Spirit, since his next closely parallel sermon concludes only with the call for repentance (3:19). The four elements of this "Pentecostal package" (repentance, baptism, the coming of the Spirit, and forgiveness) nevertheless provide a paradigm for much subsequent New Testament theology (cf. Peter's own repeated references back to this event in passages that mention the Spirit 10:44; 11:15-16; 15:8).

In two places in Acts, however, the "package" seems to be broken up. In 19:1-7 Paul encounters in Ephesus followers of John the Baptist whom Luke calls "disciples" (v. 1). But upon subsequent conversation, he discovers they have never heard of the Holy Spirit (v. 2). This suggests that they were not Jews and that they had a very truncated understanding even of John's message. So it is inconceivable that Paul could have viewed them as truly regenerate believers in Christ. They do respond to his preaching about faith in Jesus, though, and are thereafter baptized, upon which they receive the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues and prophesy. The Pentecostal package, in fact, remains intact.

 Acts 8:1-7 proves more complex. Samaritans "believed Philip as he preached" (v. 12a) and are baptized (v. 12b); yet they do not receive the Holy Spirit until Peter and John come from Jerusalem to see what has happened (vv. 14-17). At least three interpretations are defensible and it is impossible to choose definitively among them. First, the belief of verse 12 may have been more intellectual than volitional and hence not salvific. The baptism then, though well-intentioned, would have been premature. Second, because of the unusual hostility between Jews and Samaritans, God may have chosen to act differently on this occasion at the beginning of the church's mission outside Jewish boundaries. The Jewish apostles' arrival then enables them to confirm the salvation of the Samaritans and to begin to dissipate the previous hatred that had divided them. Third, the Spirit may not have come in a consistently predictable fashion among the first believers; he has the sovereign freedom to act however he wants (  John 3:8 )! Whichever explanation is given, however, the passage remains an anomaly, even in Acts, and therefore cannot be made paradigmatic for subsequent Christian experience.

Paul's theology of the Spirit is the richest of all of the biblical witnesses and least amenable to short summary. He echoes previous themes, seeing his own writing as Spirit-inspired ( 1 Corinthians 7:40 ), as with the ministry of apostles and prophets more generally ( Ephesians 3:5 ). Incipient trinitarianism emerges in the benediction of  2 Corinthians 13:14 (cf. also   Ephesians 2:18 ). The word of God contains dynamic, Spirit-induced power to overwhelm the forces of evil ( Ephesians 6:17 ), and the Spirit may bring physical deliverance ( Philippians 1:19 ).

Paul develops several relatively new themes as well. The constituting characteristic of a Christian is the presence of the Spirit ( Romans 8:9 ). Paul commands all believers to be continually or repeatedly "filled" with the Spirit ( Ephesians 5:18 ), defined as including musical praise of God, thanksgiving, and mutual submission (vv. 19-21). The Spirit is the person who raised Jesus from the dead and exalted him to heaven, thereby vindicating his message and ministry ( 1 Timothy 3:16 ), and powerfully confirming his Sonship ( Romans 1:4 ). Christ's resurrection guarantees that all believers will be raised by the Spirit as well ( Romans 8:11 ). One of Paul's most distinctive contributions is his concept of the Spirit as "deposit" ( 2 Corinthians 1:22 ) and "seal" ( Ephesians 1:13-14 ). The Spirit's presence in a believer's life is a promise of more to come, a partial installment of future blessings, and a divine guarantee of preservation by God.

The Spirit is God's agent for bringing people to himself and helping them to mature spiritually. Only through his power can individuals first receive God's Word as divine ( 1 Thessalonians 1:5-6 ). Those who convert are "saved through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit" ( Titus 3:5 ). The Spirit "justifies" them, acquitting them of sin ( 1 Corinthians 6:11 ). He then initiates the lifelong process of sanctification ( Romans 15:16;  2 Thessalonians 2:13 ), producing attributes such as love, righteousness, peace, joy, and hope. These are well-epitomized as the "fruit of the Spirit" ( Galatians 5:22-23 ).

In sharp contrast stand the works of the flesh (vv. 19-21), reflecting a characteristic Pauline opposition between a Spirit-controlled life and attempts to live under one's own power, variously attributed to the flesh, body, sin, or law ( Romans 2:29;  7:6;  8:1-14; 2Col 3:1-18;  Galatians 3:1-5;  5:16-26 ). In short, Paul is closing the door on a past reliance on one's own accomplishments (and, arguably, for Jews, on their national identity) which is incompatible with the new covenant and the endowment of the Spirit. But believers should want to "walk by the Spirit" ( Galatians 5:25 ), in this new sphere of existence, because he alone provides true freedom, glory ( 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 ), and mastery over sin ( Romans 6:1-14 ). The distinctive and characteristic form of ministry for each believer is then described in terms of the diverse "gifts" of the Spirit ( Romans 12:1-8;  1 Corinthians 12-14;  Ephesians 4:7-14 ).

The Spirit also makes unique spiritual insight available to believers ( 1 Corinthians 2:10-16 ). In light of the consistent scriptural use, this likely involves more volition (obedience to God) than cognition (the mere ability to state truths about God accurately, which many unbelievers can in fact do!). Corporately, the Spirit indwells his church to make her holy, like the temple of old ( 1 Corinthians 3:16;  6:19 ), and to build her up like a dwelling ( Ephesians 5:23 ), creating unity and fellowship out of former enemies ( Ephesians 2:18;  4:3-4;  Philippians 2:1 ). Individually, he aids in believers' prayers, bringing a newfound intimacy with God ( Romans 8:15-16;  Galatians 4:6 ).

No other New Testament writer gives the Spirit nearly so prominent a role. He is the author of Scripture ( Hebrews 3:7;  10:15 ), the one who empowers Christ (9:14) and believers (6:4), sovereignly bestows gifts (2:4), and can be insulted through apostasy (10:29). He sanctifies ( 1 Peter 1:2 ), inspires prophets ( 1 Peter 1:11-12;  2 Peter 1:21 ), vindicates Christ ( 1 Peter 3:18 ), and brings blessing to believers ( 1 Peter 4:14 ). He provides assurance of salvation ( 1 John 3:24;  4:13 ), testifies to who Jesus is (5:6-8), and produces orthodox Christology (4:1-3). He is the characteristic mark of Christians ( Jude 19 ) who pray in him (v. 20). The Spirit creates the states in which John receives his visions ( Revelation 1:10;  4:2;  17:3;  21:10 ), is the source for the messages to the seven churches (chaps. 2-3), and one of the heavenly speakers John overhears (14:13; 22:17).

A biblical theology of the Spirit is difficult to epitomize. He sovereignly Acts as he chooses! Most Christian traditions stress the data of certain portions of Scripture (most notably Acts or Paul) at the expense of others. But an essential summary ought to include at least that the Spirit is the transcendent, omnipresent spiritual and localizable presence of God's personality and power, living in and divinely empowering all of God's true people in diverse and incomplete ways that foreshadow their complete, future renewal at the end of the age.Craig L. Blomberg

See also Blasphemy Against The Holy Spirit; God  ; Gifts Of Holy Spirit

Bibliography . D. I. Block, JETS 32 (1989): 27-49; G. W. Bromiley, ISBE, 2:730-46; G. M. Burge, The Anointed Community  ; J. D. G. Dunn, Jesus and the Spirit  ; D. Ewert, The Holy Spirit in the New Testament  ; M. Green, Believe in the Holy Spirit  ; D. Guthrie, New Testament Theology  ; G. F. Hawthorne, The Presence and the Power  ; W. E. Mills, The Holy Spirit: A Bibliography  ; G. T. Montague, The Holy Spirit  ; C. F. D. Moule, The Holy Spirit  ; H. Mller, NIDNTT, 3:689-709; L. Neve, The Spirit of God in the Old Testament  ; J. I. Packer, Keep in Step with the Spirit  ; W. Russell, TrinityJ 7 (1986): 47-63; E. Schweizer, The Holy Spirit  ; idem, TDNT, 6:332-455; R. J. Sklba, CBQ 46 (1984): 1-17; R. Stronstad, The Charismatic Theology of St. Luke  ; L. J. Wood, The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament .

Holman Bible Dictionary [4]

Old Testament The term “Holy Spirit” in the Old Testament is found only in  Psalm 51:11;  Isaiah 63:10-11 . References to the spirit of God, however, are abundant. In one sense the Spirit of God is depicted as a mighty wind, Hebrew using the same word ruach for wind, breath, and spirit. During the time of the Exodus, God deployed this wind to part the sea thus enabling the Israelites to pass through safely and elude Pharaoh and his army (  Exodus 14:21 ). God used this agent in two ways: as a destructive force that dries up the waters ( Hosea 13:15 ), or as the power of God in gathering clouds to bring the refreshing rain ( 1 Kings 18:45 ). The spirit exercised control over the chaotic waters at the beginning of creation ( Genesis 1:2;  Genesis 8:1; Compare  Psalm 33:6;  Job 26:13 ). Of the eighty-seven times that the Spirit is described as wind, thirty-seven describe the wind as the agent of God, mostly baneful, and ever strong and intense. This property of the Spirit clearly reflects the power of God. An additional quality of the Spirit is that of mysteriousness.  Psalm 104:3 demonstrates that the Spirit as wind is able to transport God on its wings to the outer limits of the earth. No one can tell where He has been or where He is going. Power and mystery state the nature of God.

God's Spirit can be expressed as an impersonal force, or it can manifest itself in individuals. The Old Testament has numerous examples when God inspired the prophets indirectly by the Spirit. The prime revelation of the Spirit in the Old Testament, in the personal sense, is by means of prophecy. Joseph's dreams are perceived to be divinely inspired ( Genesis 41:38 ); King David, as a mouthpiece for God, proclaimed that “the Spirit of the Lord speaks” ( 2 Samuel 23:2 ); and Zechariah announced the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,' saith the Lord of Hosts” ( Zechariah 4:6 ). Much like the power of the wind, the Spirit equipped the heroes of Israel with extraordinary strength ( Judges 14:6 ). The judges are described as being Spirit-possessed individuals as in the case of Othniel ( Judges 3:10 ). Sometimes, The Spirit came upon individuals mightily, so as to alter their normal behavior ( 1 Samuel 10:16;  1 Samuel 19:23-24 ).

The Spirit is also the ultimate origin of all mental and spiritual gifts, as it is in the underlying inspiration of the men of wisdom ( Exodus 31:1-6;  Isaiah 11:2;  Job 4:15;  Job 32:8 ). Not only did the prophets benefit from the influence of the Spirit, but also the Spirit will be shed upon the people of God ( Isaiah 44:3 ) and upon all the people ( Joel 2:28 ). Ezekiel and Isaiah express the idea of the Spirit more than any other Old Testament source. Many of Ezekiel's allusions to the Spirit are in regard to Israel's restoration in the future. The reception of the new Spirit, prophesied in Ezekiel and Jeremiah, is dependent upon repentance ( Ezekiel 18:31 ) and is associated with the creation of a new heart ( Jeremiah 31:31-34 ). This prophetic foreshadowing, in light of the individual, sporadic, and temporary manifestation of the Spirit in the Old Testament, looked forward to a time when the Spirit of God would revitalize His chosen people, empower the Messiah, and be lavishly poured out on all humankind.

New Testament When John the Baptist burst on the scene proclaiming the advent of the kingdom of God, the spirit-inspired prophetic voice returned after a 400-year absence. Zechariah and Elizabeth, John's parents, were informed that their son will “be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb” ( Luke 1:15 ). Similarly, the angel Gabriel visited Mary with the news that “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest will overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee will be called the Son of God” ( Luke 1:35 ).

A watershed in biblical history occurred at the event of Jesus' baptism when He was anointed by the Spirit of God ( Luke 3:22 ). The Holy Spirit was then responsible for thrusting Jesus out into the wilderness to undergo temptation ( Luke 4:1-13 ). Luke has many more references to the Holy Spirit than do the other synoptic accounts. This can be accounted for by Luke's theological interests which are extended in the Acts of the Apostles, which has been rightly named “The Acts of the Holy Spirit” because of the prominence given to the Spirit.

All apostolic writers witnessed to the reality of the Spirit in the church; however, the apostle Paul, who wrote more than any other author, offers the most theological reflection on the subject. The main chapters to consult are  Romans 8:1;  1 Corinthians 2:1;  1 Corinthians 12-14;  2 Corinthians 3:1; and  Galatians 5:1 .

Johannine theology is rich in its doctrine of the Spirit. In the Gospel of John, the Spirit possesses Christ ( John 1:32-33 ); is indicative of the new birth ( John 3:1-16 ); will come upon Jesus' departure ( John 16:7-11 ); and will endow the believer after the resurrection ( John 20:22 ). The Christian community is anointed by the Spirit ( 1 John 2:20 ); and the Spirit assures the believer of the indwelling presence of Jesus ( 1 John 3:24 ). In the prophetic Book of Revelation, John, in Old Testament fashion, depicted himself as a prophet inspired by the Spirit. See God .

Paul Jackson

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [5]

(1) Revelation .-A similar representation is given in the Revelation of St. John. That Jesus governs the Christian society through the Spirit is attested here by its having received the gift of prophecy. What the Apocalypse speaks of figuratively as a writing of Jesus to the angels of the Churches it also designates literally as a speaking of the Spirit to the Churches ( Revelation 2:7, etc.; cf.  Revelation 19:10). When consolation is given to those who are dying in the Lord, or when the Church prays for the Coming of Jesus, it is the Spirit that speaks ( Revelation 14:13,  Revelation 22:17). As every prophet receives the Spirit in such wise as to possess Him individually, the Spirit is also referred to as plural: God is the Lord of the spirits of the prophets ( Revelation 22:6; cf.  1 Corinthians 14:32). The relation of the Spirit to Christ is set forth in the assertion that the Lamb has seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God ( 1 Copyright StatementThese files are public domain.Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission. Bibliography InformationHastings, James. Entry for 'Holy Spirit'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdn/h/holy-spirit.html. 1906-1918.

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary [6]

See Holy Ghost

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [7]

hō´li spir´it  :

I. Old Testament Teachings as to the Spirit

1. Meaning of the Word

2. The Spirit in Relation to the Godhead

3. The Spirit in External Nature

4. The Spirit of God In Man

5. Imparting Powers for Service

(1) Judges and Warriors

(2) Wisdom for Various Purposes

(3) In Prophecy

6. Imparting Moral Character

7. The Spirit in in the Messiah

8. Predictions of Future Outpouring of the Spirit

II. The Spirit in the Non-Canonical Literature

1. The Spirit in Josephus

2. The Spirit in the Pseudepigrapha

3. The Spirit in the Wisdom of Solomon

4. The Spirit in Philo

III. The Holy Spirit in the New Testament

1. In Relation to the Person and Work of Christ

(1) Birth of Jesus

(2) Baptism of Jesus

(3) Temptation of Jesus

(4) Public Ministry of Jesus

(5) Death, Resurrection and Pentecostal Gift

2. The Holy Spirit in the Kingdom of God

(1) Synoptic Teachings

(2) In the Writings of John

(3) In Acts

(4) In Paul's Writings

(a) The Spirit and Jesus

(b) In Bestowing Charismatic Gifts

(c) In the Beginnings of the Christian Life

(d) In the Religious and Moral Life

(e) In the Church

(f) In the Resurrection of Believers

(5) The Holy Spirit in Other New Testament Writings


The expression Spirit, or Spirit of God, or Holy Spirit, is found in the great majority of the books of the Bible. In the Old Testament the Hebrew word uniformly employed for the Spirit as referring to God's Spirit is רוּח , rūaḥ meaning "breath," "wind" or "breeze." The verb form of the word is רוּח , rūaḥ , or ריח , rı̄aḥ used only in the Hiphil and meaning "to breathe," "to blow." A kindred verb is רוח , rāwaḥ , meaning "to breathe" "having breathing room," "to be spacious," etc. The word always used in the New Testament for the Spirit is the Greek neuter noun πνεῦμα , pneúma , with or without the article, and for Holy Spirit, πνεῦμα ἅγιον , pneúma hágion , or τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον , tó pneúma tó hágion ̌ . In the New Testament we find also the expressions, "the Spirit of God," "the Spirit of the Lord," "the Spirit of the Father," "the Spirit of Jesus," "of Christ." The word for Spirit in the Greek is from the verb πνέω , pnéō , "to breathe," "to blow." The corresponding word in the Latin is spiritus , meaning "spirit."

I. Old Testament Teachings as to the Spirit

1. Meaning of the Word

At the outset we note the significance of the term itself. From the primary meaning of the word which is "wind," as referring to Nature, arises the idea of breath in man and thence the breath, wind or Spirit of God. We have no way of tracing exactly how the minds of the Biblical writers connected the earlier literal meaning of the word with the Divine Spirit. Nearly all shades of meaning from the lowest to the highest appear in the Old Testament, and it is not difficult to conceive how the original narrower meaning was gradually expanded into the larger and wider. The following are some of the shades of Old Testament usage. From the notion of wind or breath, rūaḥ came to signify: (1) The principle of life itself; spirit in this sense indicated the degree of vitality: "My spirit is consumed, my days are extinct" (  Job 17:1; also  Judges 15:19;  1 Samuel 30:12 ); (2) human feelings of various kinds, as anger ( Judges 8:3;  Proverbs 29:11 ), desire ( Isaiah 26:9 ), courage ( Joshua 2:11 ); (3) intelligence ( Exodus 28:3;  Isaiah 29:24 ); (4) general disposition ( Psalm 34:18; 5l 17;  Proverbs 14:29;  Proverbs 16:18;  Proverbs 29:23 ).

No doubt the Biblical writers thought of man as made in the image of God ( Genesis 1:27 f), and it was easy for them to think of God as being like man. It is remarkable that their anthropomorphism did not go farther. They preserve, however, a highly spiritual conception of God as compared with that of surrounding nations. But as the human breath was an invisible part of man, and as it represented his vitality, his life and energy, it was easy to transfer the conception to God in the effort to represent His energetic and transitive action upon man and Nature. The Spirit of God, therefore, as based upon the idea of the rūaḥ or breath of man, originally stood for the energy or power of God ( Isaiah 31:3; compare A. B. Davidson, Theology of the Old Testament , 117-18), as contrasted with the weakness of the flesh.

2. The Spirit in Relation to the Godhead

We consider next the Spirit of God in relation to God Himself in the Old Testament. Here there are several points to be noted. The first is that there is no indication of a belief that the Spirit of God was a material particle or emanation from God. The point of view of Biblical writers is nearly always practical rather than speculative. They did not philosophize about the Divine nature. Nevertheless, they retained a very clear distinction between spirit and flesh or other material forms. Again we observe in the Old Testament both an identification of God and the Spirit of God, and also a clear distinction between them. The identification is seen in  Psalm 139:7 where the omni-presence of the Spirit is declared, and in   Isaiah 63:10;  Jeremiah 31:33;  Ezekiel 36:27 . In a great number of passages, however, God and the Spirit of God are not thought of as identical, as in  Genesis 1:2;  Genesis 6:3;  Nehemiah 9:20;  Psalm 51:11;  Psalm 104:29 f. Of course this does not mean that God and the Spirit of God were two distinct beings in the thought of Old Testament writers, but only that the Spirit had functions of His own in distinction from God. The Spirit was God in action, particularly when the action was specific, with a view to accomplishing some particular end or purpose of God. The Spirit came upon individuals for special purposes. The Spirit was thus God immanent in man and in the world. As the angel of the Lord, or angel of the Covenant in certain passages, represents both Yahweh Himself and one sent by Yahweh, so in like manner the Spirit of Yahweh was both Yahweh within or upon man, and at the same time one sent by Yahweh to man.

Do the Old Testament teachings indicate that in the view of the writers the Spirit of Yahweh was a distinct person in the Divine nature? The passage in  Genesis 1:26 is scarcely conclusive. The idea and importance of personality were but slowly developed in Israelite thought. Not until some of the later prophets did it receive great emphasis, and even then scarcely in the fully developed form. The statement in   Genesis 1:26 may be taken as the plural of majesty or as referring to the Divine council, and on this account is not conclusive for the Trinitarian view. Indeed, there are no Old Testament passages which compel us to understand the complete New Testament doctrine of the Trinity and the distinct personality of the Spirit in the New Testament sense. There are, however, numerous Old Testament passages which are in harmony with the Trinitarian conception and prepare the way for it, such as   Psalm 139:7;  Isaiah 63:10;  Isaiah 48:16;  Haggai 2:5;  Zechariah 4:6 . The Spirit is grieved, vexed, etc., and in other ways is conceived of personally, but as He is God in action, God exerting power, this was the natural way for the Old Testament writers to think of the Spirit.

The question has been raised as to how the Biblical writers were able to hold the conception of the Spirit of God without violence to their monotheism. A suggested reply is that the idea of the Spirit came gradually and indirectly from the conception of subordinate gods which prevailed among some of the surrounding nations (I.F. Wood, The Spirit of God in Biblical Literature , 30). But the best Israelite thought developed in opposition to, rather than in analogy with, polytheism. A more natural explanation seems to be that their simple anthropomorphism led them to conceive the Spirit of God as the breath of God parallel with the conception of man's breath as being part of man and yet going forth from him.

3. The Spirit in External Nature

We consider next the Spirit of God in external Nature. "And the Spirit of God moved (was brooding or hovering) upon the face of the waters" ( Genesis 1:2 ). The figure is that of a brooding or hovering bird (compare  Deuteronomy 32:11 ). Here the Spirit brings order and beauty out of the primeval chaos and conducts the cosmic forces toward the goal of an ordered universe. Again in  Psalm 104:28-30 , God sends forth His Spirit, and visible things are called into being: "Thou sendest forth thy Spirit, they are created; and thou renewest the face of the ground." In  Job 26:13 the beauty of the heavens is ascribed to the Spirit: "By his Spirit the heavens are garnished." In   Isaiah 32:15 the wilderness becomes a fruitful field as the result of the outpouring of the Spirit. The Biblical writers scarcely took into their thinking the idea of second causes, certainly not in the modern scientific sense. They regarded the phenomena of Nature as the result of God's direct action through His Spirit. At every point their conception of the Spirit saved them from pantheism on the one hand and polytheism on the other.

4. The Spirit of God in Man

The Spirit may next be considered in imparting natural powers both physical and intellectual. In  Genesis 2:7 God originates man's personal and intellectual life by breathing into his nostrils "the breath of life." In   Numbers 16:22 God is "the God of the spirits of all flesh." In   Exodus 28:3;  Exodus 31:3;  Exodus 35:31 , wisdom for all kinds of workmanship is declared to be the gift of God. So also physical life is due to the presence of the Spirit of God ( Job 27:3 );. and Elihu declares ( Job 33:4 ) that the Spirit of God made him. See also  Ezekiel 37:14 and   Ezekiel 39:29 . Thus man is regarded by the Old Testament writers, in all the parts of his being, body, mind and spirit, as the direct result of the action of the Spirit of God. In  Genesis 6:3 the Spirit of God "strives" with or "rules" in or is "humbled" in man in the antediluvian world. Here reference is not made to the Spirit's activity over and above, but within the moral nature of man.

5. Imparting Powers for Service

The greater part of the Old Testament passages which refer to the Spirit of God deal with the subject from the point of view of the covenant relations between Yahweh and Israel. And the greater portion of these, in turn, have to do with gifts and powers conferred by the Spirit for service in the ongoing of the kingdom of God. We fail to grasp the full meaning of very many statements of the Old Testament unless we keep constantly in mind the fundamental assumption of all the Old Testament, namely, the covenant relations between God and Israel. Extraordinary powers exhibited by Israelites of whatever kind were usually attributed to the Spirit. These are so numerous that our limits of space forbid an exhaustive presentation. The chief points we may notice.

(1) Judges and Warriors

The children of Israel cried unto Yahweh and He raised up a savior for them, Othniel, the son of Kenaz: "And the Spirit of Yahweh came upon him, and he judged Israel" ( Judges 3:10 ). So also Gideon ( Judges 6:34 ): "The Spirit of Yahweh came upon (literally, clothed itself with) Gideon." In  Judges 11:29 "the spirit of Yahweh came upon Jephthah"; and in   Judges 13:25 "the Spirit of Yahweh began to move" Samson. In   Judges 14:6 "the Spirit of Yahweh came mightily upon him." In   1 Samuel 16:14 we read "the Spirit of Yahweh departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from Yahweh troubled him." In all this class of passages, the Spirit imparts special endowments of power without necessary reference to the moral character of the recipient. The end in view is not personal, merely to the agent, but concerns theocratic kingdom and implies the covenant between God and Israel. In some cases the Spirit exerts physical energy in a more direct way (  2 Kings 2:16;  Ezekiel 2:1 f;   Ezekiel 3:12 ).

(2) Wisdom for Various Purposes

Bezalel is filled with the Spirit of God in wisdom and in understanding to work in gold, and silver and brass, etc., in the building of the tabernacle ( Exodus 31:2-4;  Exodus 35:31 ); and the Spirit of wisdom is given to others in making Aaron's garments ( Exodus 28:3 ). So also of one of the builders of Solomon's temple ( 1 Kings 7:14;  2 Chronicles 2:14 ). In these cases there seems to be a combination of the thought of natural talents and skill to which is superadded a special endowment of the Spirit. Pharaoh refers to Joseph as one in whom the Spirit of God is, as fitting him for administration and government ( Genesis 41:38 ). Joshua is qualified for leadership by the Spirit ( Numbers 27:18 ). In this and in  Deuteronomy 34:9 , Joshua is represented as possessing the Spirit through the laying on of the hands of Moses. This is an interesting Old Testament parallel to the bestowment of the Spirit by laying on of hands in the New Testament ( Acts 8:17;  Acts 19:6 ). Daniel is represented as having wisdom to interpret dreams through the Spirit, and afterward because of the Spirit he is exalted to a position of authority and power ( Daniel 4:8;  Daniel 5:11-14;  Daniel 6:3 ). The Spirit qualifies Zerubbabel to rebuild the temple ( Zechariah 4:6 ). The Spirit was given to the people for instruction and strengthening during the wilderness wanderings ( Nehemiah 9:20 ), and to the elders along with Moses ( Numbers 11:17 ,  Numbers 11:25 ). It thus appears how very widespread were the activities of the redemptive Spirit, or the Spirit in the covenant. All these forms of the Spirit's action bore in some way upon the national life of the people, and were directed in one way or another toward theocratic ends.

(3) In Prophecy

The most distinctive and important manifestation of the Spirit's activity in the Old Testament was in the sphere of prophecy. In the earlier period the prophet was called seer ( ראה , rō'eh ), and later he was called prophet ( נביא , nābhı̄' ). The word "prophet" ( Προφήτης , prophḗtēs ) means one who speaks for God. The prophets were very early differentiated from the masses of the people into a prophetic class or order, although Abraham himself was called a prophet, as were Moses and other leaders (  Genesis 20:7;  Deuteronomy 18:15 ). The prophet was especially distinguished from others as the man who possessed the Spirit of God ( Hosea 9:7 ). The prophets ordinarily began their messages with the phrase, "thus saith Yahweh," or its equivalent. But they ascribed their messages directly also to the Spirit of God ( Ezekiel 2:2;  Ezekiel 8:3;  Ezekiel 11:1 ,  Ezekiel 11:24;  Ezekiel 13:3 ). The case of Balaam presents some difficulties ( Numbers 24:2 ). He does not seem to have been a genuine prophet, but rather a diviner, although it is declared that the Spirit of God came upon him. Balaam serves, however, to illustrate the Old Testament point of view. The chief interest was the national or theocratic or covenant ideal, not that of the individual. The Spirit was bestowed at times upon unworthy men for the achievement of these ends. Saul presents a similar example. The prophet was God's messenger speaking God's message by the Spirit. His message was not his own. It came directly from God, and at times overpowered the prophet with its urgency, as in the case of Jeremiah ( Jeremiah 1:4 ).

There are quite perceptible stages in the development of the Old Testament prophecy. In the earlier period the prophet was sometimes moved, not so much to intelligible speech, as by a sort of enthusiasm or prophetic ecstasy. In  1 Samuel 10 we have an example of this earlier form of prophecy, where a company with musical instruments prophesied together. To what extent this form of prophetic enthusiasm was attended by warnings and exhortations, if so attended at all, we do not know. There was more in it than in the excitement of the diviners and devotees of the surrounding nations. For the Spirit of Yahweh was its source.

In the later period we have prophecy in its highest forms in the Old Testament. The differences between earlier and later prophecy are probably due in part to the conditions. The early period required action, the later required teaching. The judges on whom the Spirit came were deliverers in a turbulent age. There was not need for, nor could the people have borne, the higher ethical and spiritual truths which came in later revelations through the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah and others. See  2 Samuel 23:2;  Ezekiel 2:2;  Ezekiel 8:3;  Ezekiel 11:24;  Ezekiel 13:3;.  Micah 3:8;  Hosea 9:7 .

A difficulty arises from statements such as the following: A lying spirit was sometimes present in the prophet ( 1 Kings 22:21 f); Yahweh puts a spirit in the king of Assyria and turns him back to his destruction (  Isaiah 37:7 ); because of sin, a lying prophet should serve the people ( Micah 2:11 ); in Micaiah's vision Yahweh sends a spirit to entice Ahab through lying prophets ( 1 Kings 22:19 ); an evil spirit from Yahweh comes upon Saul ( 1 Samuel 16:14;  1 Samuel 18:10;  1 Samuel 19:9 ). The following considerations may be of value in explaining these passages. Yahweh was the source of things generally in Old Testament thought. Its pronounced monotheism appears in this as in so many other ways. Besides this, Old Testament writers usually spoke phenomenally. Prophecy was a particular form of manifestation with certain outward marks and signs. Whatever presented these outward marks was called prophecy, whether the message conveyed was true or false. The standard of discrimination here was not the outward signs of the prophet, but the truth or right of the message as shown by the event. As to the evil spirit from Yahweh, it may be explained in either of two ways. First, it may have referred to the evil disposition of the man upon whom God's Spirit was acting, in which case he would resist the Spirit and his own spirit would be the evil spirit. Or the "evil spirit from Yahweh" may have referred, in the prophet's mind, to an actual spirit of evil which Yahweh sent or permitted to enter the man. The latter is the more probable explanation, in accordance with which the prophet would conceive that Yahweh's higher will was accomplished, even through the action of the evil spirit upon man's spirit. Yahweh's judicial anger against transgression would, to the prophet's mind, justify the sending of an evil spirit by Yahweh.

6. Imparting Moral Character

The activity of the Spirit in the Old Testament is not limited to gifts for service. Moral and spiritual character is traced to the Spirit's operations as well. "Thy holy Spirit" ( Psalm 51:11 ); "his holy spirit" ( Isaiah 63:10 ); "thy good Spirit" ( Nehemiah 9:20 ); "Thy Spirit is good" ( Psalm 143:10 ) are expressions pointing to the ethical quality of the Spirit's action. "Holy" is from the verb form (קדשׁ , ḳādhash ), whose root meaning is doubtful, but which probably meant "to be separated" from which it comes to mean to be exalted, and this led to the conception to be Divine. And as Yahweh is morally good, the conception of "the holy (= Divine) one" came to signify the holy one in the moral sense. Thence the word was applied to the Spirit of Yahweh. Yahweh gives His good Spirit for instruction ( Nehemiah 9:20 ); the Spirit is called good because it teaches to do God's will ( Psalm 143:10 ); the Spirit gives the fear of the Lord ( Isaiah 11:2-5 ); judgment and righteousness ( Isaiah 32:15 ); devotion to the Lord ( Isaiah 44:3-5 ); hearty obedience and a new heart ( Ezekiel 36:26 f); penitence and prayer (  Zechariah 12:10 ). In  Psalm 51:11 there is an intense sense of guilt and sin coupled with the prayer, "Take not thy holy Spirit from me." Thus, we see that the Old Testament in numerous ways recognizes the Holy Spirit as the source of inward moral purity, although the thought is not so developed as in the New Testament.

7. The Spirit in the Messiah

In both the first and the second sections of Isaiah, there are distinct references to the Spirit in connection with the Messiah, although the Messiah is conceived as the ideal King who springs from the root of David in some instances, and in others as the Suffering Servant of Yahweh. This is not the place to discuss the Messianic import of the latter group of passages which has given rise to much difference of opinion. As in the case of the ideal Davidic King which, in the prophet's mind, passes from the lower to the higher and Messianic conception, so, under the form of the Suffering Servant, the "remnant" of Israel becomes the basis for an ideal which transcends in the Messianic sense the original nucleus of the conception derived from the historic events in the history of Israel. The prophet rises in the employment of both conceptions to the thought of the Messiah who is the "anointed" of Yahweh as endued especially with the power and wisdom of the Spirit. In  Isaiah 11:1-5 a glowing picture is given of the "shoot out of the stock of Jesse." The Spirit imparts "wisdom and understanding" and endows him with manifold gifts through the exercise of which he shall bring in the kingdom of righteousness and peace. In   Isaiah 42:1 , the "servant" is in like manner endowed most richly with the gifts of the Spirit by virtue of which he shall bring forth "justice to the Gentiles." In  Isaiah 61:1 occur the notable words cited by Jesus in   Luke 4:18 f, beginning, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me" etc. In these passages the prophet describes elaborately and minutely the Messiah's endowment with a wide range of powers, all of which are traced to the action of God's Spirit.

8. Predictions of Future Outpouring of the Spirit

In the later history of Israel, when the sufferings of the exile pressed heavily, there arose a tendency to idealize a past age as the era of the special blessing of the Spirit, coupled with a very marked optimism as to a future outpouring of the Spirit. In  Haggai 2:5 reference is made to the Mosaic period as the age of the Spirit, "when ye came out of Egypt, and my Spirit abode among you." In   Isaiah 44:3 the Spirit is to be poured out on Jacob and his seed; and in   Isaiah 59:20 a Redeemer is to come to Zion under the covenant of Yahweh, and the Spirit is to abide upon the people. The passage, however, which especially indicates the transition from Old Testament to New Testament times is that in   Joel 2:28 ,  Joel 2:32 which is cited by Peter in   Acts 2:17-21 . In this prophecy the bestowal of the Spirit is extended to all classes, is attended by marvelous signs and is accompanied by the gift of salvation. Looking back from the later to the earlier period of Old Testament history, we observe a twofold tendency of teaching in relation to the Spirit. The first is from the outward gift of the Spirit for various uses toward a deepening sense of inner need of the Spirit for moral purity, and consequent emphasis upon the ethical energy of the Spirit. The second tendency is toward a sense of the futility of the merely human or theocratic national organization in and of itself to achieve the ends of Yahweh, along with a sense of the need for the Spirit of God upon the people generally, and a prediction of the universal diffusion of the Spirit.

II. The Spirit in Non-Canonical Jewish Literature

In the Palestinian and Alexandrian literature of the Jews there are comparatively few references to the Spirit of God. The two books in which the teachings as to the Spirit are most explicit and most fully developed are of Alexandrian origin, namely, The Wisdom of Solomon and the writings of Philo.

In the Old Testament Apocrypha and in Josephus the references to the Spirit are nearly always merely echoes of a long-past age when the Spirit was active among men. In no particular is the contrast between the canonical and noncanonical literature more striking than in the teaching as to the Spirit of God.

1. The Spirit of Josephus

Josephus has a number of references to the Holy Spirit, but nearly always they have to do with the long-past history of Israel. He refers to 22 books of the Old Testament which are of the utmost reliability. There are other books, but none "of like authority," because there has "not been an exact succession of prophets" (Josephus, Against Apion I, 8). Samuel is described as having a large place in the affairs of the kingdom because he is a prophet ( Ant. , VI, v, 6). God appears to Solomon in sleep and teaches him wisdom (ibid., VIII, ii); Balaam prophesies through the Spirit's power (ibid., IV, v, 6); and Moses was such a prophet that his words were God's words (ibid., IV, viii, 49). In Josephus we have then simply a testimony to the inspiration and power of the prophets and the books written by them, in so far as we have in him teachings regarding the Spirit of God. Even here the action of the Spirit is usually implied rather than expressed.

2. The Spirit in the Pseudepigrapha

In the pseudepigraphic writings the Spirit of God is usually referred to as acting in the long-past history of Israel or in the future Messianic age. In the apocalyptic books, the past age of power, when the Spirit wrought mightily, becomes the ground of the hopes of the future. The past is glorified, and out of it arises the hope of a future kingdom of glory and power. Enoch says to Methuselah: "The word calls me and the Spirit is poured out upon me" (En 91:1). In 49:1-4 the Messiah has the Spirit of wisdom, understanding and might. Enoch is represented as describing his own translation. "He was carried aloft in the chariots of the Spirit" (En 70:2). In Jubilees 31:16 Isaac is represented as prophesying, and in 25:13 it is said of Rebekah that the "Holy Spirit descended into her mouth." Sometimes the action of the Spirit is closely connected with the moral life, although this is rare. "The Spirit of God rests" on the man of pure and loving heart (XII the Priestly Code (P), Benj. 8). In Simeon 4 it is declared that Joseph was a good man and that the Spirit of God rested on him. There appears at times a lament for the departed age of prophecy ( 1 Maccabees 9:27;  14:41 ). The future is depicted in glowing colors. The Spirit is to come in a future judgment (XII the Priestly Code (P), Levi 18); and the spirit of holiness shall rest upon the redeemed in Paradise (Levi 18); and in Levi 2 the spirit of insight is given, and the vision of the sinful world and its salvation follows. Generally speaking, this literature is far below that of the Old Testament, both in moral tone and religious insight. Much of it seems childish, although at times we encounter noble passages. There is lacking in it the prevailing Old Testament mood which is best described as prophetic, in which the writer feels constrained by the power of God's Spirit to speak or write. The Old Testament literature thus possesses a vitality and power which accounts for the strength of its appeal to our religious consciousness.

3. The Spirit in the Wisdom of Solomon

We note in the next place a few teachings as to the Spirit of God in Wisd. Here the ethical element in character is a condition of the Spirit's indwelling. "Into a malicious soul wisdom shall not enter: nor dwell in the body that is subject unto sin. For the holy spirit of discipline will flee deceit, and will not abide when unrighteousness cometh in" (The Wisdom of  Song of Solomon 1:4 f). This "holy spirit of discipline" is evidently God's Holy Spirit, for in 1:7 the writer proceeds to assert, "For the Spirit of the Lord filleth the world," and in 1:8,9 there is a return to the conception of unrighteousness as a hindrance to right speaking. In The Wisdom of   Song of Solomon 7:7 the Spirit of Wisdom comes in response to prayer. In 7:22-30 is an elaborate and very beautiful description of wisdom: "In her is an understanding spirit, holy, one only, manifold, subtle, lively, clear, undefiled, plain, not subject to hurt, loving the thing that is good, quick, which cannot be letted, ready to do good, kind to man, steadfast, sure," etc. "She is the brightness of the everlasting light, the unspotted mirror of the power of God, and the image of his goodness," etc. No one can know God's counsel except by the Holy Spirit (9:17). The writer of The Wisdom of Solomon was deeply possessed of the sense of the omnipresence of the Spirit of God, as seen in 1:7 and in 12:1. In the latter passage we read: "For thine incorruptible spirit is in all things."

4. The Spirit in Philo

In Philo we have what is almost wholly wanting in other Jewish literature, namely, analytic and reflective thought upon the work of the Spirit of God. The interest in Philo is primarily philosophic, and his teachings on the Spirit possess special interest on this account in contrast with Biblical and other extra-Biblical literature. In his Questions and Solutions , 27,28, he explains the expression in   Genesis 8:1 : "He brought a breath over the earth and the wind ceased." He argues that water is not diminished by wind, but only agitated and disturbed. Hence, there must be a reference to God's Spirit or breath by which the whole universe obtains security. He has a similar discussion of the point why the word "Spirit" is not used instead of "breath" in Gen in the account of man's creation, and concludes that "to breathe into" here means to "inspire," and that God by His Spirit imparted to man mental and moral life and capacity for Divine things ( Allegories , xiii). In several passages Philo discusses prophecy and the prophetic office. One of the most interesting relates to the prophetic office of Moses ( Life of Moses , xxiii ff). He also describes a false prophet who claims to be "inspired and possessed by the Holy Spirit" ( On Those Who Offer Sacrifice , xi). In a very notable passage, Philo describes in detail his own subjective experiences under the influence of the Holy Spirit, and his language is that of the intellectual mystic. He says that at times he found himself devoid of impulse or capacity for mental activity, when suddenly by the coming of the Spirit of God, his intellect was rendered very fruitful: "and sometimes when I have come to my work empty I have suddenly become full, ideas being, in an invisible manner, showered upon me and implanted in me from on high; so that through the influence of Divine inspiration I have become greatly excited and have known neither the place in which I was, nor those who were present, nor myself, nor what I was saying, nor what I was writing," etc. ( Migrations of Abraham , vii).

In Philo, as in the non-canonical literature generally, we find little metaphysical teaching as to the Spirit and His relations to the Godhead. On this point there is no material advance over the Old Testament teaching. The agency of the Holy Spirit in shaping and maintaining the physical universe and as the source of man's capacities and powers is clearly recognized in Philo. In Philo, as in Josephus, the conception of inspiration as the complete occupation and domination of the prophet's mind by the Spirit of God, even to the extent of suspending the operation of the natural powers, comes clearly into view. This is rather in contrast with, than in conformity to, the Old Testament and New Testament conception of inspiration, in which the personality of the prophet remains intensely active while under the influence of the Spirit, except possibly in cases of vision and trance.

III. The Holy Spirit in the New Testament

In the New Testament there is unusual symmetry and completeness of teaching as to the work of the Spirit of God in relation to the Messiah Himself, and to the founding of the Messianic kingdom. The simplest mode of presentation will be to trace the course of the progressive activities of the Spirit, or teachings regarding these activities, as these are presented to us in the New Testament literature as we now have it, so far as the nature of the subject will permit. This will, of course, disturb to some extent the chronological order in which the New Testament books were written, since in some cases, as in John's Gospel, a very late book contains early teachings as to the Spirit.

1. In Relation to the Person and Work of Christ

(1) Birth of Jesus

In  Matthew 1:18 Mary is found with child "of the Holy Spirit" ( ἐκ πνεύματος ἁγίου , ek pneúmatos hagı́ou ); an angel tells Joseph that that "which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit" ( Matthew 1:20 ), all of which is declared to be in fulfillment of the prophecy that a virgin shall bring forth a son whose name shall be called Immanuel ( Isaiah 7:14 ). In  Luke 1:35 the angel says to Mary that the Holy Spirit ( pneuma hagion ) shall come upon her, and the power of the Most High (δύναμις Ὑψίστου , dúnamis Hupsı́stou ) shall overshadow her. Here "Holy Spirit" and "power of the Most High" are parallel expressions meaning the same thing; in the one case emphasizing the Divine source and in the other the holiness of "the holy thing which is begotten" ( Luke 1:35 ). In connection with the presentation of the babe in the temple, Simeon is described as one upon whom the Holy Spirit rested, to whom revelation was made through the Spirit and who came into the temple in the Spirit ( Luke 2:25-28 ). So also Anna the prophetess speaks concerning the babe, evidently in Luke's thought, under the influence of the Holy Spirit ( Luke 2:36 ).

It is clear from the foregoing that the passages in Matthew and Luke mean to set forth, first, the supernatural origin, and secondly, the sinlessness of the babe born of Mary. The act of the Holy Spirit is regarded as creative, although the words employed signify "begotten" or "born" ( γεννηθέν , gennēthén ,   Matthew 1:20; and γεννώμενον , gennō̇menon ,  Luke 1:35 ). There is no hint in the stories of the nativity concerning the pretemporal existence of Christ. This doctrine was developed later. Nor is there any suggestion of the immaculate conception or sinlessness of Mary, the mother of our Lord. Dr. C.A. Briggs has set forth a theory of the sinlessness of Mary somewhat different from the Roman Catholic view, to the effect that the Old Testament prophecies foretell the purification of the Davidic line, and that Mary was the culminating point in the purifying process, who thereby became sinless ( Incarnation of the Lord , 230-34). This, however, is speculative and without substantial Biblical warrant. The sinlessness of Jesus was not due to the sinlessness of His mother, but to the Divine origin of His human nature, the Spirit of God.

In  Hebrews 10:5 the writer makes reference to the sinless body of Christ as affording a perfect offering for sins. No direct reference is made to the birth of Jesus, but the origin of His body is ascribed to God (  Hebrews 10:5 ), though not specificallya to the Holy Spirit.

(2) Baptism of Jesus

The New Testament records give us very little information regarding the growth of Jesus to manhood. In  Luke 2:40 a picture is given of the boyhood, exceedingly brief, but full of significance. The "child grew, and waxed strong, filled with wisdom (m "becoming full of wisdom"): and the grace of God was upon him." Then follows the account of the visit to the temple. Evidently in all these experiences, the boy is under the influence and guidance of the Spirit. This alone would supply an adequate explanation, although Luke does not expressly name the Spirit as the source of these particular experiences. The Spirit's action is rather assumed.

Great emphasis, however, is given to the descent of the Spirit upon Jesus at His baptism.  Matthew 3:16 declares that after His baptism "the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon him."   Mark 1:10 repeats the statement in substantially equivalent terms.   Luke 3:22 declares that the Spirit descended in "bodily form, as a dove" ( σωματικῷ εἲδει ὡς περιστεράν , somatikō̇ eı́dei hōs peristerán ). In  John 1:32 ,  John 1:33 the Baptist testifies that he saw the Spirit descending upon Jesus as a dove out of heaven, and that it abode upon Him, and, further, that this descent of the Spirit was the mark by which he was to recognize Jesus as "he that baptizeth in the Holy Spirit."

We gather from these passages that at the baptism there was a new communication of the Spirit to Jesus in great fullness, as a special anointing for His Messianic vocation. The account declares that the dovelike appearance was seen by Jesus as well as John, which is scarcely compatible with a subjective experience merely. Of course, the dove here is to be taken as a symbol, and not as an assertion that God's Spirit assumed the form of a dove actually. Various meanings have been assigned to the symbol. One connects it with the creative power, according to a Gentile usage; others with the speculative philosophy of Alexandrian Judaism, according to which the dove symbolized the Divine wisdom or reason. But the most natural explanation connects the symbolism of the dove with the brooding or hovering of the Spirit in  Genesis 13 . In this new spiritual creation of humanity, as in the first physical creation, the Spirit of God is the energy through which the work is carried on. Possibly the dove, as a living organism, complete in itself, may suggest the totality and fullness of the gift of the Spirit to Jesus. At Pentecost, on the contrary, the Spirit is bestowed distributively and partially at least to individuals as such, as suggested by the cloven tongues as of fire which "sat upon each one of them" ( Acts 2:3 ).  John 3:34 emphasizes the fullness of the bestowal upon Jesus: "For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for he giveth not the Spirit by measure." In the witness of the Baptist the permanence of the anointing of Jesus is declared: "Upon whomsoever thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and abiding" (  John 1:33 ).

It is probable that the connection of the bestowal of the Spirit with water baptism, as seen later in the Book of Acts, is traceable to the reception of the Spirit by Jesus at His own baptism. Baptism in the Spirit did not supersede water baptism.

The gift of the Spirit in fullness to Jesus at His baptism was no doubt His formal and public anointing for His Messianic work ( Acts 10:38 ). The baptism of Jesus could not have the same significance with that of sinful men. For the symbolic cleansing from sin had no meaning for the sinless one. Yet as an act of formal public consecration it was appropriate to the Messiah. It brought to a close His private life and introduced Him to His public Messianic career. The conception of an anointing for public service was a familiar one in the Old Testament writings and applied to the priest ( Exodus 28:41;  Exodus 40:13;  Leviticus 4:3 ,  Leviticus 4:5 ,  Leviticus 4:16;  Leviticus 6:20 ,  Leviticus 6:22 ); to kings ( 1 Samuel 9:16;  1 Samuel 10:1;  1 Samuel 15:1;  1 Samuel 16:3 ,  1 Samuel 16:13 ); sometimes to prophets ( 1 Kings 19:16; compare  Isaiah 61:1;  Psalm 2:2;  Psalm 20:6 ). These anointings were with oil, and the oil came to be regarded as a symbol of the Spirit of God.

The anointing of Jesus with the Holy Spirit qualified Him in two particulars for His Messianic office. ( a ) It was the source of His own endowments of power for the endurance of temptation, for teaching, for casting out demons, and healing the sick, for His sufferings and death, for His resurrection and ascension. The question is often raised, why Jesus, the Divine one, should have needed the Holy Spirit for His Messianic vocation. The reply is that His human nature, which was real, required the Spirit's presence. Man, made in God's image, is constituted in dependence upon the Spirit of God. Apart from God's Spirit man fails of his true destiny, simply because our nature is constituted as dependent upon the indwelling Spirit of God for the performance of our true functions. Jesus as human, therefore, required the presence of God's Spirit, notwithstanding His Divine-human consciousness. ( b ) The Holy Spirit's coming upon Jesus in fullness also qualified Him to bestow the Holy Spirit upon His disciples. John the Baptist especially predicts that it is He who shall baptize in the Holy Spirit (  Matthew 3:11; Mk 18;  Luke 3:16; see also  John 20:22; Acts 15). It was especially true of the king that He was anointed for His office, and the term Messiah (משׁיח , māshı̄aḥ , equivalent to the Greek ὁ Χριστός , ho Christós ), meaning the Anointed One, points to this fact.

(3) Temptation of Jesus

The facts as to the temptation are as follows: In  Matthew 4:1 we are told that Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.   Mark 1:12 declares in his graphic way that after the baptism "straightway the Spirit driveth ( ἐκβάλλει , ekbállei ) him forth into the wilderness."  Luke 4:1 more fully declares that Jesus was "full of the Holy Spirit," and that He was "led in the Spirit in the wilderness during 40 days." The impression which the narratives of the temptation give is of energetic spiritual conflict. As the Messiah confronted His life task He was subject to the ordinary conditions of other men in an evil world. Not by sheer divinity and acting from without as God, but as human also and a part of the world, He must overcome, so that while He was sinless, it was nevertheless true that the righteousness of Jesus was also an achieved righteousness. The temptations were no doubt such as were peculiar to His Messianic vocation, the misuse of power, the presumption of faith and the appeal of temporal splendor. To these He opposes the restraint of power, the poise of faith and the conception of a kingdom wholly spiritual in its origin, means and ends. Jesus is hurled, as it were, by the Spirit into this terrific conflict with the powers of evil, and His conquest, like the temptations themselves, was not final, but typical and representative. It is a mistake to suppose that the temptations of Jesus ended at the close of the forty days. Later in His ministry, He refers to the disciples as those who had been with Him in His temptations (  Luke 22:28 ). The temptations continued throughout His life, though, of course, the wilderness temptations were the severest test of all, and the victory there contained in principle and by anticipation later victories. Comment has been made upon the absence of reference to the Holy Spirit's influence upon Jesus in certain remarkable experiences, which in the case of others would ordinarily have been traced directly to the Spirit, as in  Luke 11:14 , etc. (compare the article by James Denney in DCG , I, 732, 734). Is it not true, however, that the point of view of the writers of the Gospels is that Jesus is always under the power of the Spirit? At His baptism, in the temptation, and at the beginning of His public ministry ( Luke 4:14 ) very special stress is placed upon the fact. Thenceforward the Spirit's presence and action are assumed. From time to time, reference is made to the Spirit for special reasons, but the action of the Spirit in and through Jesus is always assumed.

(4) Public Ministry of Jesus

Here we can select only a few points to illustrate a much larger truth. The writers of the Gospels, and especially Luke, conceived of the entire ministry of Jesus as under the power of the Holy Spirit. After declaring that Jesus was "full of the Holy Spirit" and that He was led about by the Spirit in the wilderness forty days in  Luke 4:1 , he declares, in  Luke 4:14 , that Jesus "returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee." This is followed in the next verse by a general summary of His activities: "And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all." Then, as if to complete his teaching as to the relation of the Spirit to Jesus, he narrates the visit to Nazareth and the citation by Jesus in the synagogue there of Isaiah's words beginning, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me," with the detailed description of His Messianic activity, namely, preaching to the poor, announcement of release to the captives, recovering of sight to the blind, and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord ( Isaiah 61:1 f). Jesus proclaims the fulfillment of this prophecy in Himself (  Luke 4:21 ). In  Matthew 12:18 a citation from   Isaiah 42:1-3 is given in connection with the miraculous healing work of Jesus. It is a passage of exquisite beauty and describes the Messiah as a quiet and unobtrusive and tender minister to human needs, possessed of irresistible power and infinite patience. Thus the highest Old Testament ideals as to the operations of the Spirit of God come to realization, especially in the public ministry of Jesus. The comprehensive terms of the description make it incontestably clear that the New Testament writers thought of the entire public life of Jesus as directed by the Spirit of God. We need only to read the evangelic records in order to fill in the details.

The miracles of Jesus were wrought through the power of the Holy Spirit. Occasionally He is seized as it were by a sense of the urgency of His work in some such way as to impress beholders with the presence of a strange power working in Him. In one case men think He is beside Himself ( Mark 3:21 ); in another they are impressed with the authoritativeness of His teaching ( Mark 1:22 ); in another His intense devotion to His task makes Him forget bodily needs ( John 4:31 ); again men think He has a demon ( John 8:48 ); at one time He is seized with a rapturous joy when the 70 return from their successful evangelistic tour, and Luke declares that at that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit ( Luke 10:21; compare  Matthew 11:25 ). This whole passage is a remarkable one, containing elements which point to the Johannine conception of Jesus, on which account Harnack is disposed to discredit it at certain points ( Sayings of Jesus , 302). One of the most impressive aspects of this activity of Jesus in the Spirit is its suppressed intensity. Nowhere is there lack of self-control. Nowhere is there evidence of a coldly didactic attitude, on the one hand, or of a loose rein upon the will, on the other. Jesus is always an intensely human Master wrapped in Divine power. The miracles contrast strikingly with the miracles of the apocryphal gospels. In the latter all sorts of capricious deeds of power are ascribed to Jesus as a boy. In our Gospels, on the contrary, no miracle is wrought until after His anointing with the Spirit at baptism.

A topic of especial interest is that of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Jesus cast out demons by the power of God's Spirit. In  Matthew 12:31;  Mark 3:28 f;   Luke 12:10 , we have the declaration that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is an unpardonable sin. Mark particularizes the offense of the accusers of Jesus by saying that they said of Jesus, "He hath an unclean spirit." The blasphemy against the Spirit seems to have been not merely rejection of Jesus and His words, which might be due to various causes. It was rather the sin of ascribing works of Divine mercy and power-works which had all the marks of their origin in the g

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [8]

(See Work Of The Spirit); (See Holy Ghost); (See Paraclete); (See Witness Of The Spirit).