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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]

Spirit ( πνεῦμα).—This word occupies a very important place in the writings of the Evangelists, covers a wide area of thought, and is not always clearly defined as to the particular use it is put to in a given context. The prominent place thus assigned to the word may be considered as indicative of the position which the principal idea embodied by it fills in the general scheme of constructive Christian psychology. In this respect we have a good example of the almost instinctively creative power of Jewish, and especially of Christian-Jewish, religious thought. In classical writings πνεῦμα is found largely employed in a physiological sense (cf. τῷ πνεύματι τοῦ στόματος αὐτοῦ,  2 Thessalonians 2:8; and for a similar use see  John 3:8,  Hebrews 1:7), but in them it never appears as a psychological term, as it does so often in Biblical writings both of the OT and the NT (see Cremer’s Bibl.-Theol. Lex. s.v. ).

The determining factor in the employment of this word by NT writers is the profound belief, inherited from the prophets and teachers of the OT, that there existed from the very beginning a unique fellowship between God and man (cf. πνοὴν ζωῆς,  Genesis 2:7 [LXX Septuagint]). In spite of much and repeated unfaithfulness on man’s part (cf. the difficult, though, for our present purpose, the sufficiently significant passage, ‘My spirit shall not remain [καταμείνῃ] for ever in man,’  Genesis 6:3), this fellowship continued to be realized more and more intensely as one generation succeeded another, and warriors and poets, prophets and priests, all found their inspiration in the firm belief that the Spirit of God was the living motive power animating their words and deeds.

There can be no doubt that the Incarnation formed the culminating point, as well as the final guarantee of the truth, of this historic realization. Henceforth there was established in the human consciousness a relationship between God and man which can be conveyed only in terms expressive of the closest mutual intimacy and communion. Not only can it be asserted that God’s Spirit ‘dwells in’ man, but the counterpart of that truth consists in the resultant abiding of man ‘in the Spirit’ (ἐν πνεύματι,  Romans 8:9). The consequence of the Divine Spirit’s activity in this sphere is the co-operative activity of man’s spirit attesting the reality of the relationship and working towards ‘the righteousness of God’ ( Romans 10:3,  2 Corinthians 5:21; cf.  Romans 8:10-16). The Pauline identification of ‘the Spirit of Christ’ and ‘the Spirit of God’ is for us ultimately justified in the twofold story of the birth of Jesus, narrated, as we must think, from two distinct points of view. The Spirit of God was the operative agency by which the Incarnation was accomplished ( Matthew 1:18;  Matthew 1:20; cf. the interchangeable terms πνεῦμα ἅγιον and δύναμις Ὑψίστου,  Luke 1:35). The revelation of the Sonship of Jesus followed immediately upon His anointing (ἔχρισεν,  Acts 10:38) with the Holy Spirit, and the twofold connexion established by the Synoptists between this revelation and His Temptation seems to establish beyond doubt that, in their opinion, the consciousness of Jesus became then for the first time fully alive to the wondrous position which He occupied, and to the character of the work He was destined to undertake (cf. the burden of the heavenly message ὁ υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός, and the implied doubt repeated in the Temptation εἰ υἱὸς εἶ τοῦ θεοῦ, as well as the part played by the Spirit in each of these incidents,  Matthew 3:16;  Matthew 4:1 ff.,  Mark 1:11 f.,  Luke 3:22;  Luke 4:1 ff., also  John 1:32 f.; see Plummer, ‘St. Luke,’ in ICC [Note: CC International Critical Commentary.] , ad loc. ).

The realization of the abiding presence of the Spirit continued to be for Jesus the dominating feature in His ministry of power (see  Matthew 12:28; cf. the corresponding expression ἐν δακτύλῳ θεοῦ,  Luke 11:20), and gives terrible force and point to His solemn warning against that continued deliberate opposition to His claims which springs from love of darkness and obedience to the spirit of evil. Here, too, lay the secret of that absolute conviction of the truth of His message to the world, resulting as it did in the astonished recognition of its inherent authority by those who heard it (cf.  John 6:63;  John 7:39;  John 7:46,  Matthew 7:28 f.,  Matthew 13:54;  Matthew 22:33,  Mark 1:22;  Mark 6:2;  Mark 11:18,  Luke 4:32). Nor would Jesus confine this conviction to Himself. The descriptive title ‘the Spirit of truth,’ three times reiterated in the Johannine discourses, emphasized that side of His teaching which laid particular stress on the identity of the guiding principle of His life and work with that moulding the activity of His disciples. At the same time it guaranteed the continuity of the context of His message and theirs to the world ( John 14:17;  John 15:26;  John 16:13, cf. the actual bequest in which His promises were, partly at least, fulfilled,  John 20:22; see also  John 7:39). That they might entertain no doubt as to the authoritative position they were to occupy in carrying out the work begun by Him, Jesus spoke of His own permanent return to them as practically identical with the continual abiding of the Holy Spirit in and with them (cf. the phrase ἔρχομαι πρὸς ὑμᾶς,  John 14:18). ‘Christ is in fact from the moment of His Resurrection ever coming to the world and to the Church, and to men as the Risen Lord’ (Westcott, Gospel of St. John , on  John 14:3). In fact the work of ‘the Spirit of truth’ is mainly the glorification of Jesus by gradually making Him known to the world as to His Person and work (ἐκεῖνος ἐμὲ δοξάσει, ὅτι ἐκ τοῦ ἐμοῦ λἡμψεται καὶ ἀναγγελεῖ ὑμῖν· πάντα ὅσα ἔχει ὁ πατὴρ ἐμά ἐστιν, κ.τ.λ.,  John 16:14 f.; cf. ἐκεῖνος μαρτυρήσει περὶ ἐμοῦ,  John 15:26).

The profound oneness of Jesus and His followers is nowhere more insistently dwelt on than in these passages, and that not alone in the character of the aims which He and they have in view, but also in the motive power helping and the underlying principle guiding them, which are identified by Him as the forces at work in His own life and Person. By an argument a fortiori He gives them an assurance that He will bestow the Holy Spirit on those who recognize their need of His guidance ( Luke 11:13). To such the gift will always be proportionate to their immediate needs ( Luke 12:12). We must not forget that the peculiar Lukan phrase πνεύματος ἁγίου ἐπλήσθη ( Luke 1:15;  Luke 1:41;  Luke 1:67) is used in connexion with the spiritual experiences of three people whose work lay in the preparatory stage of the coming Kingdom of the Incarnation.

Notwithstanding the transcendent relationship in which Jesus stood to the Holy Spirit, we are not left without witness that even in this sphere of His life He was like us in all things (see Westcott, Gospel of St. John , on  John 11:33). It is this word (τὸ πνεῦμα) that is used to describe the death on the cross by three of the Evangelists (cf.  Matthew 27:50,  Luke 23:46,  John 19:30), although in other places we find ψυχή employed in a sense very similar (see  John 10:15;  John 10:17, cf.  John 15:3;  John 10:11). It is possible, however, to see in the use of the former word a wider range of thought, as if it was intended to include the latter in its scope. It is as if Jesus desired to commend to His Father’s keeping not only the spirit, the principle of His highest and Divinest life, but also the soul, the seat of His personal earthly life (cf. Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible, vol. iv. 612a).

That ψυχή is, nevertheless, sometimes found to denote more than this is evident from references by Jesus Himself to its indestructibility and its incomparable value as the goal of all human progress, where we should have expected either τνεῦμα or πνεῦμα and ψυχή to convey His full meaning (cf.  Matthew 10:28;  Matthew 10:39,  Luke 17:33,  Mark 8:35,  John 12:25). The distinction and confusion, however, in these two words are in accordance with OT usage, where ru̇ah (NT πνεῦμα) denotes the Divinely imparted principle of life, and nephesh (NT ψυχή) the result of the impartation (see  1 Corinthians 15:45; cf.  Genesis 2:7, where nephesh hayyâh occurs, an expression which is also used of the lower life of the animal creation,  Genesis 1:20). The indiscriminate use of these two words to denote the same idea is found, e.g. , in  Isaiah 26:9 (LXX Septuagint), a parallel to which we have in the Song of the Virgin Mary ( Luke 1:46 f.). See Soul.

In other places where this word is used in connexion with the Personality of Jesus, we find it employed somewhat vaguely and in loose contrast with the outward or physical senses. He is said to have perceived the gist of the murmured reasonings of His critics ‘in his spirit’ (ἐπιγνοὺς τῷ πνεύματι αὐτοῦ, κ.τ.λ.,  Mark 2:8; cf. Gould, ‘St. Mark’ in ICC [Note: CC International Critical Commentary.] , ad loc. ). There is here an evident contrast implied between that intuitive knowledge gained by inference and deduction, and that acquired by direct hearing with the ears. Again, He is spoken of as sighing inwardly, as distinct from audibly (ἀναστενάξας τῷ πνεύματι αὐτοῦ,  Mark 8:12), and being indignant ‘within himself’ or ‘in his spirit,’ without expressing His feelings in words (cf. ἐνεβριμήσατο τῷ πνεύματι,  John 11:38, and ἐν ἑαυτῷ,  John 11:38). An interesting example of a subtle psychological distinction between πνεῦμα and ψυχή is found in the personal experiences of Jesus with two distinct sources of trouble and sorrow. As the cross drew near, His ‘soul’ (ἡ ψυχή μου τετάρακται,  John 12:27) revolted from the horrors of the vision; while we, as we read the narrative of self-revelation, perceive the origin and cause of His sympathy with ‘the feeling of our infirmities’ ( Hebrews 4:15). On the other hand, and in close connexion with His approaching death, there was the dark treachery of Judas; and when we remember the profound joy and holy satisfaction with which Jesus reviewed the success of His work in keeping near Him those committed to His charge (see  John 17:12), we can understand the grief caused by the loss of ‘the son of perdition.’ With reference to this fact, St. John notices that Jesus ‘was troubled in spirit’ (Ἰησοῦς ἐταράχθη τῷ πνεύματι,  John 13:21), as though he would wish us to infer that He was stirred to the very depths of His being by the sight of a soul hurrying to its doom.

Instances are not wanting in the Gospels of contrasts, simple and definite, in which this word plays a part, though we have no example of the antitheses so familiar to students of the Pauline Christology. Perhaps the nearest to the latter is the reference by Jesus to the contrast between the strength and perseverance of the spirit and the weakness of the flesh (τὸ πνεῦμα πρόθυμου … ἡ σὰρξ ἁσθενής,  Mark 14:39 =  Matthew 26:41). When, in His conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus refers to fleshly (ἐκ τῇς σαρκός) birth and spiritual (ἐκ τοῦ πνεύματος) birth, He is not contrasting the limitations of the one with the inherent independence, as to time, space, etc., with their consequent imperfections, of the other. He has in His mind simply the two spheres of being to which man, quâ man, stands related. By his σάρξ he is in fellowship, spiritual, mental, and physical, with the whole visible creation. By his πνεῦμα he touches and enters the sphere of spiritual life in the entirety of his complete nature. Both orders of existence have their characteristic principles, and it is man’s unique privilege to unite the two in his complete life and experience. The perfect synthesis is accomplished only in the Incarnation, and it is only by keeping steadily in view the two great constituent elements in Jesus’ Person that we shall succeed in truly interpreting His language in His discourses at Capernaum, which were so vitally misunderstood. Neither the spirit alone nor the flesh alone can apprehend and appropriate the Christ, the Son of Man. ‘The flesh’ is of no avail (ἡ σὰρξ οὐκ ὠφελεῖ οὐδέν,  John 6:63), ‘the spirit’ alone has the power of conveying life (τό πνεῦμά ἐστιν τὸ ζωποιοῦν). At the same time, in order to a genuine participation, the life-giving message must be clothed in language which may be heard and, in part at least, understood (τὰ ῥήματα … πνεῦμά ἐστιν καί ζωή). The historic fact of the Incarnation was necessary to meet the needs of man both on his spiritual and fleshly side, and so we understand the force of the words of the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews (οὐ γὰρ δή που ἀγγέλων ἐπιλαμβάνεται,  Hebrews 2:16). And while it would be going beyond the strict limits of certainty to say that Jesus on this occasion is making specific reference to the rite which He afterwards instituted in words of similar import, it will scarcely be disputed that in His Last Supper He embodied the principles referred to above. In it, too, ‘the flesh profiteth nothing,’ it is the spirit that giveth life; but the invisible, intangible spirit is clothed with a visible, tangible body, while man, working through and by the latter, reaches upwards and partakes of the former (cf. Westcott, Gospel of St. John, ad loc. ).

When Jesus, in His conversation with the woman of Samaria, identifies Spirit with the Being of God (πνεῦμα ὁ θεός,  John 4:24), He at once proceeds to foreshadow the abiding result, as well as the condition of man’s approach to Him. The arena, so to speak, upon which the activity of the Divine Spirit displays His manifold and world-wide character, is the human spirit. If we are to offer to God a spiritual (ἑν πνεύματι) worship, and apprehend clearly the methods by which He quickens human life, the first and last requisite is that we shall be in the Spirit ( John 4:24; cf.  Romans 8:15 f.,  Ephesians 2:18 etc.). It is not enough, though it is perfectly true, to say that ‘the spirit in man responds to the Spirit of God’ (Westcott, Gospel of St. John , on  John 4:23). The spirit in man becomes the spirit of man (τῷ πνεύματι ἡμῶν,  Romans 8:16), and acting, as it does, in harmony with the Spirit of God, is guided into all the truth (cf. the sequence τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς ἀληθείας … εἰς τὴν ἀλήθειαν πᾶσαν,  John 16:13). Henceforth man’s, spiritual home is within the region of that absolute truth which the Person and the work of Jesus were destined to disclose and make real.

Just as we are led to believe in and hope for this co-operative activity of the Holy Spirit, so the Evangelists are insistent in the belief that the spirits of evil are ever watchful to make their home within us. In words of solemn warning Jesus implies that our need of spiritual guidance is so profound that we stand in constant danger of harbouring these active enemies (note εἰς τὸν οἰκόν μου,  Luke 11:24), and that the only way of successfully guarding against their presence is to admit the Holy Spirit as the supreme and only Guest (cf. Plummer, ‘St. Luke,’ in ICC [Note: CC International Critical Commentary.] , on  Luke 11:25). So close is the analogy between these conceptions that St. Mark does not hesitate to denote the presence and the relation of the evil spirits to the possessed by using the same preposition (ἐν) which he employs when speaking of the guiding influence of the Holy Ghost ( Mark 1:24;  Mark 3:22;  Mark 5:2; cf.  Mark 12:36,  Luke 2:27). The diseases which these spirits were supposed to convey to their victims were often spoken of as belonging to them inherently ( Mark 9:17;  Mark 9:25 etc. See art. Demon).

We shall not be surprised, after these considerations, to learn that when men have the same ends in view, pursue them by similar methods of work, and betray the same general characteristics in their mental and spiritual outlook, they are said to have the same spirit. John the Baptist and Elijah, though separated by centuries of time, were believed to be so far identified that the former lived and acted ‘in spirit and in power’ (ἐν πνεύματι καὶ δυνάμει,  Luke 1:17), i.e. under the shadow and guidance of the latter (cf. Jesus’ method of interpreting the popular belief in the pre-Messianic return of Elijah,  Matthew 11:14). At the same time, the historian is careful to note that the Baptist’s childhood was marked by a gradual development and strengthening in spirit side by side with his bodily growth ( Luke 1:80). See, further, artt. Flesh, Holy Spirit, Soul.

Literature.—In addition to the Lexx. and Dictionary artt. and the Lit. at Soul, see Laidlaw, Bible Doct. of Man , esp. 131 ff.; Weiss, Bibl. Theol. of NT , § 27; W. H. Hodge, ‘Bibl. Usage of Soul and Spirit’ in Pres. Ref. Rev. viii. (1897), 251; F. E. Brightman, ‘Soul, Body, Spirit’ in JThSt [Note: ThSt Journal of Theological Studies.] ii. (1900) 273; W. H. Schoemaker, ‘Use of Pneuma in NT’ in JBL [Note: BL Journal of Biblical Literature.] xxiii. (1904) 13.

J. R. Willis.

Holman Bible Dictionary [2]

ruach pneuma

In both Testaments, spirit is used of both God and human beings. Spirit , whether used of God or of human beings, is difficult to define. The kinship of spirit, breath, and wind is a helpful clue in beginning to understand spirit . In His conversation with Nicodemus ( John 3:1 ), Jesus said that the Spirit is like the wind in that one cannot see it but one can see its effects. This is true of both the Spirit of God and the spirit of a human being.

Spirit of God At the beginning of creation, the Spirit of God hovered over the waters ( Genesis 1:3 ). Elihu acknowledged to Job that the Spirit of God had made him and was the source of his life ( Job 33:4 ). The animals were created when God sent out His “breath” ( Psalm 104:30 NRSV note).

The Spirit of God is present everywhere. The psalmist sensed that no matter where he was, God's Spirit was there ( Psalm 139:7 ). The Pharaoh saw the Spirit of God in Joseph ( Genesis 41:38 ). Moses realized that the Spirit of God was on him, and he desired that God's Spirit be on all of His people ( Numbers 11:29 ). During the period of the Judges, the Spirit of the Lord came to individuals and empowered them to accomplish specific tasks ( Judges 3:10;  Judges 6:34;  Judges 11:29;  Judges 13:25;  Judges 14:6;  Judges 14:19 ). When Samuel, the last of the judges, anointed Saul, Israel's first king, he told Saul that the Spirit of the Lord would come upon him. The result was that Saul prophesied and was changed into a different person ( 1 Samuel 10:6 ). Later, the Spirit departed from Saul ( 1 Samuel 16:14 ). Likewise, the Spirit came upon David when Samuel anointed him ( 1 Samuel 16:13 ). In his last words, David said that the Spirit of the Lord had spoken through him ( 2 Samuel 23:2 ).

Isaiah spoke of one who is to come from the line of Jesse, one on whom the Spirit of the Lord would rest. This person would have the Spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel, power, knowledge, and the fear of the Lord ( Isaiah 11:1-3 ). Ezekiel prophesied that God would put His Spirit within His people, removing from them hearts of stone and putting within them hearts of flesh that would be obedient to God's way ( Ezekiel 36:26-27 ).

New Testament TeachingEach of the four Gospels has numerous references to the Spirit of God or the Holy Spirit. The Spirit was the agent of Jesus' miraculous conception ( Matthew 1:18 ,Matthew 1:18, 1:20 ), came down on Jesus at His baptism ( Matthew 3:16 ), led Him into the wilderness where He was tempted by the devil ( Matthew 4:1 ), and enabled Him to heal diseases and cast out demons ( Matthew 12:28 ). Jesus promised the Spirit to His followers as He prepared to leave the world. The Spirit would serve as Comforter and Counselor, continuing to teach Jesus' followers and reminding them of what He had said to them ( John 14:25-26 ). Not many days after Jesus' ascension, the promised Spirit came upon His followers during the Feast of Pentecost. The advent of the Spirit was accompanied by a sound that was like a mighty wind. Those who witnessed this event saw what seemed to be tongues of fire resting on the believers. Moreover, these disciples were empowered to speak in tongues other than their native language ( Acts 2:1-3 ). Throughout Luke's account of the early church, the Holy Spirit empowered and guided the followers of Jesus in their mission to the world surrounding the Mediterranean ( Acts 11:12;  Acts 13:2;  Acts 15:28;  Acts 16:6-7;  Acts 20:22;  Acts 21:11 ).

The Spirit is important in Paul's understanding of the believer's relationship to God. The Spirit is a gracious personal presence who lives in one who has confessed that Jesus Christ is Lord. Relationship to God through Christ by the Spirit is revolutionary. In Galatians, Paul argued that legalism and the way of faith are incompatible. God's Spirit comes to us as a gift based on our faith in Christ and His grace. ( Galatians 3:1-5 ). God's Spirit comes into a believer's life, with assurance that we are God's children ( Romans 8:16 ). The Spirit is God's pledge to us that we shall be fully transformed and conformed to the image of Christ. ( Romans 8:1-29;  2 Corinthians 1:22 ). Paul identified the Spirit with the Lord (the risen Christ) and asserted that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom, a growing freedom from the law of sin and death ( 2 Corinthians 3:18; compare  Romans 8:2 ).

The Spirit distributes gifts in the church which are designed to equip God's people for serving and building up the body of Christ ( 1 Corinthians 12:1;  Ephesians 4:7-13 ). Evidence that the Spirit of God is at work in a person or group of persons is love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control ( Galatians 5:22-23 ).

At the beginning of Scripture we see the Spirit at work in creation. As Scripture closes, the Spirit and the Bride, the church, issue an invitation for all who are thirsty to come and drink of the water of life ( Revelation 22:17 ).

Human Spirits In both the Old and New Testaments, spirit is used of humans and of other beings. When used of humans, spirit is associated with a wide range of functions including thinking and understanding, emotions, attitudes, and intentions. Elihu told Job it was spirit in a person, the breath of God, which gave understanding (  Job 32:8 ). When Jesus healed the paralytic, He perceived in His “spirit” that the religious leaders present were questioning His forgiving the man's sins ( Mark 2:8 ).

Spirit is used extensively with human emotions including sorrow (  Proverbs 15:4 ,Proverbs 15:4, 15:13 ), anguish ( Exodus 6:9;  John 13:21 ), anger ( Proverbs 14:29;  Proverbs 16:32 ), vexation ( Ecclesiastes 1:14 ), fear ( 2 Timothy 1:7 ), and joy ( Luke 1:47 ).

A variety of attitudes and intentions are associated with spirit. Caleb had a different spirit than most of his contemporaries in that he followed the Lord wholeheartedly ( Numbers 14:24 ). Sihon, king of Heshbon, had a stubborn spirit ( Deuteronomy 2:30 ).  1 Kings 22:1 refers to a lying spirit. The psalmist called persons who have no deceit in their spirits, “blessed” (  Psalm 32:2 ). A person's spirit can be contrite ( Psalm 34:18 ), steadfast ( Psalm 51:10 ), willing ( Psalm 51:12 ), broken ( Psalm 51:17 ), and haughty ( Proverbs 16:18 ). The Gospel of Mark has numerous references to Jesus healing persons with unclean or foul spirits.

Spirit is used of nonphysical beings, both good and evil. Satan is called the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is at work in those who are disobedient ( Ephesians 2:2 ).

One of the perennial points of conflict between the Sadducees and the Pharisees was over whether there are angels and spirits. The latter believed that there were such while the former denied that such existed. When the risen Christ appeared to the disciples, they were startled and frightened, thinking they were seeing a spirit. Jesus invited them to touch Him. He then reminded them that a spirit does not have flesh and bones ( Luke 24:37-39 ).

Steve Bond

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [3]

1: Πνεῦμα (Strong'S #4151 — Noun Neuter — pneuma — pnyoo'-mah )

primarily denotes "the wind" (akin to pneo, "to breathe, blow"); also "breath;" then, especially "the spirit," which, like the wind, is invisible, immaterial and powerful. The NT uses of the word may be analyzed approximately as follows:

 John 3:8  Hebrews 1:7 Amos 4:13 2—Thessalonians 2:8 Revelation 11:11 13:15 Job 12:10 Luke 8:55 Acts 7:59 1—Corinthians 5:5 James 2:26 Ecclesiastes 12:7 2—Corinthians 5:3,4 Luke 24:37,39 Hebrews 12:23 1—Peter 4:6 1—Corinthians 15:45 1—Timothy 3:16 1—Peter 3:18 Matthew 5:3 26:41 Mark 2:8 Luke 1:47,80 Acts 17:16 20:22 1—Corinthians 2:11 5:3,4 14:4,15 2—Corinthians 7:1 Genesis 26:35 Isaiah 26:9 Ezekiel 13:3 Daniel 7:15 2—Corinthians 12:18 Philippians 1:27 Ephesians 4:23 Revelation 19:10 Ezra 1:5 Psalm 78:8 Daniel 5:12 1—Corinthians 16:18 Genesis 6:3 2 2—Timothy 4:22 Philemon 1:25 Psalm 139:7 3 2—Corinthians 7:13 Isaiah 40:13 Luke 1:17 Romans 1:4 Numbers 14:24 Romans 8:15 Isaiah 61:3 Romans 11:8 Isaiah 29:10 2—Timothy 1:7 Joshua 5:1 Romans 8:15 Psalm 51:12 1—Corinthians 4:21 Proverbs 16:19 2—Corinthians 4:13 1—Peter 3:4 Proverbs 14:29  Matthew 4:1  Luke 4:18 Romans 7:22 2—Corinthians 4:16 Ephesians 3:16 Romans 8:4-6,10,16 Hebrews 12:9 Psalm 51:10 Matthew 8:16 Luke 4:33 1—Peter 3:19 1—Samuel 18:10 Hebrews 1:14 Acts 12:15 1—Corinthians 14:12,32 2—Thessalonians 2:2 1—John 4:1-3 John 6:63 Romans 2:29 7:6 2—Corinthians 3:6 Revelation 1:10 4:2 17:3 21:10 Matthew 14:26 Mark 6:49Apparition.Soul Matthew 22:43 Hebrews 9:14 Matthew 4:1 Matthew 1:18 Matthew 28:19 Matthew 12:32 Ephesians 1:13 Romans 8:9 2—Corinthians 3:3 1—Corinthians 2:11 1—Corinthians 6:11 Ephesians 4:30 1—Peter 4:14 Romans 8:11 Matthew 10:20 Galatians 4:6 Acts 8:39 Acts 5:9 2—Corinthians 3:18 Acts 16:7 Romans 8:9 Philippians 1:19 Romans 8:15 John 14:17 Romans 8:2 Hebrews 10:29 Matthew 22:43  Mark 12:36 Acts 4:25 Romans 14:17 1—Corinthians 2:4 Galatians 5:25  1—Peter 1:2 John 7:39 John 14:26 Luke 3:22 Galatians 3:3 Galatians 4:29  Galatians 5:17 Matthew 12:32 Mark 3:29 12:36 13:11 Luke 2:26 10:21  John 14:26 Acts 1:16 5:3 7:51 10:44,47 13:2 15:28 19:6 20:23,28 21:11 28:25 Ephesians 4:30 Hebrews 3:7 9:8 10:15 John 14:26 15:26 16:8,13,14 Romans 8:16,26

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology [4]

The Old Testament . The Hebrew word for "spirit" is ruah [רוּחַ]. It appears 389 times in the Old Testament. Its varied use almost defies analysis, but some emphases are discernible. It is used more often of God (136 times) than of persons or animals (129 times).

Its basic meaning is wind (113 times). The trees of the forest sway before a wind ( Isaiah 7:2 ); a wind sweeps over the waters ( Genesis 1:2 ); and the Lord walked in the garden at the breezy time of day ( Genesis 3:8 ). It was an east wind that brought locusts ( Exodus 10:13 ) and a strong east wind that divided the Red Sea and dried it up ( Exodus 14:21 ).

Breath is also a basic meaning of this term. It is the Lord who gives breath to people ( Isaiah 42:5 ) and to lifeless bodies ( Ezekiel 37:9-10 — in; this chapter there is a wordplay on ruah [   John 3:5,8 ,; where pneuma [   Job 19:17 ).

By extension when applied to a person ruah [   Proverbs 18:14 ), but the spirit of the troubled person can be crushed ( Psalm 34:18 ). This dynamic force can be impaired or diminished as well as renewed or increased. It was a drink that caused the spirit ( strength [   Judges 15:18-19 ) and the coming of the wagons from Egypt that revived Jacob's numb heart ( Genesis 45:26-27 ). Spirit also bespeaks limitations. When taken back, the person returns to dust ( Psalm 104:29-30 ).

The spirit of the Lord is the creative power of life ( Psalm 33:6 ). When it descends on the judges it activates and enables them to do great exploits ( Judges 3:10;  14:6 ). By contrast, there is no spirit in idols of wood and stone. They are inert and have no power to awake and arise ( Habakkuk 2:19 ).

Ruah can also refer to feelings. The queen of Sheba was left breathless when she saw the wisdom and wealth of Solomon (  1 Kings 10:5 ). She was overcome by astonishment. Eliphaz accuses Job of venting his anger on God ( Job 15:13 ). Ahab was dispirited and sullen because of Naboth's unwillingness to sell his vineyard ( 1 Kings 21:4 ). "Shortness" of spirit is impatience, whereas "longness" of spirit is patience ( Proverbs 14:29 ). To be proud in spirit is to be arrogant ( Ecclesiastes 7:8 ). The suspicious husband is said to have a (fit) spirit of jealousy ( Numbers 5:14,30 ).

Ruah can also refer to the will. Those whose spirits God had stirred up went up to rebuild the temple (  Ezra 1:5 ). Caleb had a different spirit from the other spies ( Numbers 14:24 ) and thus was resolute in his assessment relative to the conquest of the land. The psalmist prays for a steadfast spirit ( Psalm 51:10 ).

Given the distributed uses of ruah [רוּחַ] (standing twice as often for the wind/power of God as it does for the breath/feelings/will of the person), mortals cannot see themselves as independent of God. The ruah [רוּחַ] is living not simply through a surge of vitality, but because of God's initiatives and actions. The link between the anthropological and the divine ruah [רוּחַ] is not always clear and well defined.

The New Testament. Pneuma [   John 3:8 ) and breath ( Matthew 27:50;  2 Thessalonians 2:8 ), it is most generally translates "spirit"an incorporeal, feeling, and intelligent being.

It was Mary's spirit that rejoiced ( Luke 1:47 ). Jesus "grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom" ( Luke 2:40 ). He was "deeply moved in spirit" when he saw Mary weeping over the death of Lazarus ( John 11:33 ). Apollos was characterized as speaking with "great fervor" ( Acts 18:25 ) and Paul "had no peace of mind" when Titus did not meet him at Troas ( 2 Corinthians 2:13 ). Jesus pronounced a blessing on the "poor in spirit" ( Matthew 5:3 ).

In the New Testament spirit is also seen as that dimension of human personality whereby relationship with God is possible ( Mark 2:8;  Acts 7:59;  Romans 1:9;  8:16;  1 Corinthians 5:3-5 ). It is this human spiritual nature that enables continuing conversation with the divine Spirit ( Romans 8:9-17 ).

Occasionally pneuma will be treated in a parallel structure with psyche [   Luke 1:46-47 ) and seem to be interchangeable. On the other hand, there are passages that distinguish between the two. Paul speaks of Adam as a "living soul" but of Christ as a "life-giving spirit." The one is oriented to human life and the other to heavenly life.

Flesh and spirit are often juxtaposed. Both can be defiled ( 2 Corinthians 7:1 ) and both can be holy ( 1 Corinthians 7:34 ). The flesh (works) and the spirit (fruit) are unalterably opposed to each other ( Galatians 5:16-26 ). Spirit is also contrasted with letter. While the letter kills, the Spirit gives life ( 2 Corinthians 3:6 ). Spirit is also contrasted with human wisdom ( 1 Corinthians 2:5 ). Weakness of flesh can prove stronger than the spirit's will to pray ( Mark 14:38 ).

Worship of God in the spirit is acceptable, contrasting with unacceptable worship in the flesh ( Philippians 3:3 ). "God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth" ( John 4:24 ).

While God's Spirit is holy, reference is made to unclean, evil, and demonic spirits that are injurious to relationships with God and other humans.

There are a few passages that see the spirit as disembodied ( 2 Corinthians 5:1-5;  Hebrews 12:23;  1 Peter 3:19 ). Paul speaks of being absent in body, but present in spirit ( Colossians 2:5 ), and James notes that the body without the spirit is dead ( James 2:26 ).

Carl Schultz

See also Holy Spirit; Personhood Person

Bibliography . W. Dryness, Themes in Old Testament Theology  ; R. H. Gundry, Soma in Biblical Theology  ; R. Jewett, Paul's Anthropological Terms  ; A. R. Johnson, The Vitality of the Individual in the Thought of Ancient Israel  ; N. Snaith, The Distinctive Ideas of the Old Testament  ; H. W. Wolff, Anthropology of the Old Testament .

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [5]

The Hebrew word that in the Old Testament is usually translated ‘spirit’ is ruach. The equivalent New Testament Greek word, also usually translated ‘spirit’, is pneuma. Both ruach and pneuma had very broad meanings. They could mean, among other things, wind ( 1 Kings 18:45;  John 3:8), breath ( Genesis 7:15;  Genesis 7:22;  Acts 9:1), human emotion ( Genesis 41:8;  Numbers 5:14;  John 13:21;  Acts 18:25), human understanding ( Isaiah 29:24;  Mark 2:8), will-power ( Jeremiah 51:11;  Acts 19:21), human life itself ( Genesis 45:27;  Luke 8:55) and evil beings of the unseen world ( 1 Samuel 16:23;  Mark 1:23; see Unclean Spirits ). Both words were also used of God’s Spirit, the living power of God at work ( Judges 6:34;  Acts 8:39; see Holy Spirit ).

Relationship with God

An examination of the usage of ruach in the Old Testament shows that its basic meaning has to do with something unseen and powerful that is full of life or life-giving. The word can be used of God who gives life to all human beings and animals ( Job 33:4;  Psalms 104:30) and of the life that God gives to all human beings and animals ( Genesis 7:15;  Genesis 7:22).

According to this usage, ruach might be defined as the ‘life-force’ or ‘breath of life’ that God created. It belongs to him. He gives it to all people and animals for the time of their earthly existence and he takes it back at death ( Numbers 16:22;  Psalms 104:29;  Ecclesiastes 12:7). Pneuma can have a similar meaning in the New Testament ( Hebrews 12:9;  James 2:26).

However, both ruach and pneuma may be used specifically of the human spirit. That is, they may refer to the human spirit in a way that makes it different from the general life principle that humans share with animals ( Proverbs 11:13;  Proverbs 15:13;  Proverbs 16:2;  Proverbs 16:18-19;  Proverbs 16:32;  1 Corinthians 2:11;  2 Corinthians 7:1;  1 Peter 3:4; see Humanity, Humankind ) The New Testament goes further and uses pneuma to refer to that higher aspect of human existence that enables people to communicate with God and have religious experiences ( Romans 8:16;  1 Corinthians 5:5;  1 Corinthians 7:34;  Galatians 6:18;  Philippians 3:3).

‘Spirit’ may at times be another word for ‘heart’. In such cases it speaks of a person’s whole inner life ( Psalms 51:10;  Psalms 51:17;  Proverbs 16:2;  Matthew 5:3;  Romans 1:9; Philem 25; see Heart ; Mind ).

Through sin, the spirit has been corrupted. It is not able to save people from spiritual ruin or bring them eternal life. It is, in a sense, dead, and needs to be born anew through the creative power of the Spirit of God ( Ezekiel 36:26-27;  John 3:6). This leads, then, to an even more restricted meaning of the word, particularly in the New Testament, where the reference is to the reborn spirit of the person whom God has created anew ( Romans 8:10;  1 Corinthians 2:14-15;  Ephesians 4:23; see Regeneration ; Soul ).

Life after death

Yet another usage of the word ‘spirit’ is in reference to life after death. When the life of the body comes to an end, people do not cease to exist. Because they are no longer ‘in the body’, they are no longer in the physical world, but they continues to exist in the unseen world. They live on in their spirit ( Hebrews 12:23;  1 Peter 3:18;  1 Peter 4:6). This kind of existence is only temporary, for human destiny is not to live for ever in a bodiless spirit, but to experience eternal life in a renewed body ( 1 Corinthians 15:35-54;  Philippians 3:21;  1 John 3:2; see Body ).

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [6]

A word employed in various senses in Scripture.

1. For THE Holy, Holiness Spirit the third person of the Holy Trinity, who inspired the prophets, animates good men, pours his unction into our hearts, imparts to us life and comfort; and in whose name we are baptized and blessed, as well as in that of the Father and the Son. When the adjective Holy is applied to the term Spirit, we should always understand it as here explained; but there are many places whether it must be taken in this sense, although the term Holy is omitted. See Holy, Holiness Spirit

2. BREATH, respiration; or the principle of animal life, common to men and animal: this God has given, and this he recalls when he takes away life,  Ecclesiastes 3:21 . See Soul .

3. The Rational Soul which animates us, and preserves its being after the death of the body. That spiritual, reasoning, and choosing substance, which is capable of eternal happiness. See Soul .

The "spirits in prison,"  1 Peter 3:19 , it is generally thought, are the souls of antediluvian sinners now reserved unto the judgment-day, but unto whom the Spirit preached by the agency of Noah, etc.,  2 Peter 2:5 , when they were in the flesh. Thus Christ "preached" to the Ephesians, whom he never visited in person,  Ephesians 2:17 .

4. An  Mark 14:26 . It is said,  Acts 23:8 , that the Sadducees denied the existence of angels and spirits. Christ, appearing to his disciples, said to them,  Luke 24:39 , "Handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have."

5. The Disposition of the mind or intellect. Thus we read of a spirit of jealously, a spirit of fornication, a spirit of prayer, a spirit of infirmity, a spirit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of fear of the Lord,  Hosea 4:12   Zechariah 12:10   Luke 13:11   Isaiah 11:2 .

6. The Renewed Nature of true believers, which is produced by the Holy Spirit, and conforms the soul to his likeness. Spirit is thus the opposite of flesh,  John 3:6 . This spirit is virally united with, an in some passages can hardly be distinguished from the "Spirit of Christ," which animates true Christians, the children of God, and distinguishes them from the children of darkness, who are animated by the spirit of the world,  Romans 8:1-16 . This indwelling Spirit is the gift of grace, of adoption-the Holy Spirit poured into our hearts-which emboldens us to call God "Abba, my Father." Those who are influenced by this Spirit "have crucified the flesh, with its affections and lusts,"  Galatians 5:16-25 .

"Distinguishing or discerning of spirits" consisted in discerning whether a man were really inspired by the Spirit of God, or was a false prophet, an impostor, who only followed the impulse of his own spirit or of Satan. Paul speaks,  1 Corinthians 12:10 of the discerning of spirits as being among the miraculous gifts granted by God to the faithful at the first settlement of Christianity.

To "quench the Spirit,"  1 Thessalonians 5:19 , is a metaphorical expression easily understood. The Spirit may be quenched by forcing, as it were, that divine Agent to withdraw from us, by irregularity of life, frivolity, avarice, negligence, or other sins contrary to charity, truth, peace, and his other gifts and qualifications.

We "grieve" the Spirit of God by withstanding his holy inspirations, the impulses of his grace; or by living in a lukewarm and incautious manner; by despising his gifts, or neglecting them; by abusing his favors, either out of vanity, curiosity, or indifference. In a contrary sense,  2 Timothy 1:6 , we "stir up" the Spirit of God which is in us, by the practice of virtue, by compliance with his inspirations, by fervor in his service, by renewing our gratitude, and by diligently serving Christ and doing the works of the Spirit.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [7]

SPIRIT . The term is applied to God as defining His nature generally (  John 4:24 ), and also as describing one element in that nature, His self-consciousness (  1 Corinthians 2:11 ). It expresses not only God’s immateriality, but also His transcendence of limitations of time and space. In the phrases ‘Spirit of God,’ the ‘Spirit of the Lord,’ the ‘Spirit of Jesus Christ,’ the ‘Holy Spirit,’ the ‘Spirit of Truth,’ the third Person in the Godhead is described (see Holy Spirit). The term is applied to personal powers of evil other than man (  Matthew 10:1;   Matthew 12:45 ,   Luke 4:33; Luk 7:21 ,   1 Timothy 4:1; cf.   Ephesians 6:12 ), as well as personal powers of good (  Hebrews 1:14 ), and to human beings after death, either damned (  1 Peter 3:19 ) or blessed (  Hebrews 12:23 ). It is used also as personifying an influence (  1 John 4:6 ,   Ephesians 2:2 ,   Romans 8:15 ). Its most distinctive use is in the psychology of the Christian life. The contrast between ‘soul’ and ‘spirit,’ and between ‘ flesh ’ and ‘spirit,’ has already been noted in the articles on these terms. While soul and spirit are not to be regarded as separate faculties, yet ‘spirit’ expresses the direct dependence of the life in man on God, first in creation (  Genesis 2:7 ), but especially, according to the Pauline doctrine, in regeneration. The life in man, isolating itself from, and opposing itself to, God, is soul  ; that life, cleansed and renewed by the Spirit of God, is spirit  ; intimate as is the relation of God and man in the new life, the Spirit of God is distinguished from the spirit of man (  Romans 8:16 ), although it is not always possible to make the distinction. In Acts the phrase ‘holy spirit’ sometimes means the subjective human state produced (‘holy enthusiasm’), and sometimes the objective Divine cause producing (see ‘Acts’ in the Century Bible , p. 386). As the Spirit is the source of this new life, whatever belongs to it is ‘spiritual’ ( pneumatikon ), as house, sacrifices (  1 Peter 2:5 ), understanding (  Colossians 1:9 ), songs (  Colossians 3:16 ), food, drink, rock (  1 Corinthians 10:3-4 ); and the ‘spiritual’ and ‘soulish’ (rendered ‘carnal’ or ‘natural’) are contrasted (  1 Corinthians 2:14;   1 Corinthians 15:44;   1 Corinthians 15:46 ). Spirit as an ecstatic state is also distinguished from mind (  1 Corinthians 14:14;   1 Corinthians 14:16 ), as inwardness from letter (  Romans 2:29;   Romans 7:6 ,   2 Corinthians 3:6 ). The old creation the derivation of man’s spirit from God (  Genesis 2:7 ,   Isaiah 42:5 ), offers the basis for the new (  Romans 8:1-17 ,   1 Corinthians 2:11-12 ), in which man is united to God (see Inspiration).

Alfred E. Garvie.

King James Dictionary [8]

SPIR'IT, n. L. spiritus, from spiro, to breathe, to blow. The primary sense is to rush or drive.

1. Primarily, wind air in motion hence, breath. All bodies have spirits and pneumatical parts within them. This sense is now unusual. 2. Animal excitement, or the effect of it life ardor fire courage elevation or vehemence of mind. The troops attacked the enemy with great spirit. The young man has the spirit of youth. He speaks or act with spirit. Spirits, in the plural, is used in nearly a like sense. The troops began to recover their spirits. 3. Vigor of intellect genius. His wit, his beauty and his spirit. The noblest spirit or genius cannot deserve enough of mankind to pretend to the esteem of heroic virtue. 4. Temper disposition of mind, habitual or temporary as a man of a generous spirit, or of a revengeful spirit the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. Let us go to the house of God in the spirit of prayer. 5. The soul of man the intelligent, immaterial and immortal part of human beings. See Soul. the spirit shall return to God that gave it. Eceles. 12. 6. An immaterial intelligent substance. Spirit is a substance in which thinking, knowing, doubting, and a power of moving do subsist. Hence, 7. An immaterial intelligent being. By which he went and preached to the spirit in prison.  1 Peter 3 . God is a spirit.  John 4 . 8. Turn of mind temper occasions state of the mind. A perfect judge will read each work of wit, with the same spirit that its author writ. 9. Powers of mind distinct from the body. In spirit perhaps he also saw Rich Mexico, the seat of Montezume. 10. Sentiment perception. You spirit is too true, your fears too certain. 11. Eager desire disposition of mind excited and directed to a particular object. God has made a spirit of building succeed a spirit of pulling down. 12. A person of activity a man of life, vigor or enterprise. The watery kingdom is no bar to stop the foreign spirits, but they come. 13. Persons distinguished by qualities of the mind. Such spirits as he desired to please, such would I choose for my judges. 14. Excitement of mind animation cheerfulness usually in the plural. We found our friend in very good spirits. He has a great flow of spirits. -To sing thy praise, would heaven my breath prolong, Infusing spirits worthy such a song. 15. Life or strength of resemblance essential qualities as, to set off the face in its true spirit. The copy has not the spirit of the original. 16. Something eminently pure and refined. Nor doth the eye itself, that most pure spirit of sense, behold itself. 17. That which hath power or energy the quality of any substance which manifest life, activity, or the power of strongly affecting other bodies as the spirit of wine or of any liquor. 18. A strong, pungent or stimulation liquor, usually obtained by distillation, as rum, brandy, gin, whiskey. In America, spirit, used without other words explanatory of its meaning, signifies the liquor distilled from cane-juice, or rum. We say, new spirit, or old spirit, Jamaica spirit, &c. 19. An apparition a ghost. 20. The renewed nature of man.  Matthew 26 .  Galatians 5 . 21. The influences of the Holy Spirit.  Matthew 22 .

Webster's Dictionary [9]

(1): ( n.) A solution in alcohol of a volatile principle. Cf. Tincture.

(2): ( n.) A rough breathing; an aspirate, as the letter h; also, a mark to denote aspiration; a breathing.

(3): ( n.) Tenuous, volatile, airy, or vapory substance, possessed of active qualities.

(4): ( n.) Any liquid produced by distillation; especially, alcohol, the spirits, or spirit, of wine (it having been first distilled from wine): - often in the plural.

(5): ( n.) Rum, whisky, brandy, gin, and other distilled liquors having much alcohol, in distinction from wine and malt liquors.

(6): ( n.) Intent; real meaning; - opposed to the letter, or to formal statement; also, characteristic quality, especially such as is derived from the individual genius or the personal character; as, the spirit of an enterprise, of a document, or the like.

(7): ( n.) Energy, vivacity, ardor, enthusiasm, courage, etc.

(8): ( n.) Air set in motion by breathing; breath; hence, sometimes, life itself.

(9): ( v. t.) To animate with vigor; to excite; to encourage; to inspirit; as, civil dissensions often spirit the ambition of private men; - sometimes followed by up.

(10): ( v. t.) To convey rapidly and secretly, or mysteriously, as if by the agency of a spirit; to kidnap; - often with away, or off.

(11): ( n.) Life, or living substance, considered independently of corporeal existence; an intelligence conceived of apart from any physical organization or embodiment; vital essence, force, or energy, as distinct from matter.

(12): ( n.) Any one of the four substances, sulphur, sal ammoniac, quicksilver, or arsenic (or, according to some, orpiment).

(13): ( n.) The intelligent, immaterial and immortal part of man; the soul, in distinction from the body in which it resides; the agent or subject of vital and spiritual functions, whether spiritual or material.

(14): ( n.) Stannic chloride. See under Stannic.

(15): ( n.) Specifically, a disembodied soul; the human soul after it has left the body.

(16): ( n.) Any supernatural being, good or bad; an apparition; a specter; a ghost; also, sometimes, a sprite,; a fairy; an elf.

(17): ( n.) Temper or disposition of mind; mental condition or disposition; intellectual or moral state; - often in the plural; as, to be cheerful, or in good spirits; to be downhearted, or in bad spirits.

(18): ( n.) One who is vivacious or lively; one who evinces great activity or peculiar characteristics of mind or temper; as, a ruling spirit; a schismatic spirit.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [10]

Hebrew Ruach , Greek Pneuma . Man in his normal integrity ("whole," Holokleeron , complete in all its parts,  1 Thessalonians 5:23) consists of "spirit, soul, and body." The spirit links man with higher intelligences, and is that highest part receptive of the quickening Holy Spirit ( 1 Corinthians 15:47). The soul (Hebrew Nephesh , Greek Psuchee ) is intermediate between body and spirit; it is the sphere of the will and affections.

In the unspiritual, the spirit is so sunk under the animal soul (Which It Ought To Keep Under) that such are "animal" ("Seasonal," Having Merely The Body Of Organized Matter And The Soul, The Immaterial Animating Essence) , "having not the spirit" ( Judges 1:19;  James 3:15;  1 Corinthians 2:14;  1 Corinthians 15:44-48;  John 3:6). The unbeliever shall rise with an animal (Soul-Animated) body, but not, like the believer, with a spiritual (Spirit-Endued) body like Christ's ( Romans 8:11).

The soul is the seat of the appetites, the desires, the will; hunger, thirst, sorrow, joy; love, hope, fear, etc.; so that Nephesh is the man himself, and is used for person, self, creature, any: a virtual contradiction of materialism, implying that the unseen soul rather than the seen body is the man. "Man was made" not a living body but "a living soul." "The blood, the life," links together body and soul ( Leviticus 17:11).

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [11]

in Hebrew, רות in Greek, πνευμα , and in Latin, spiritus, is in the Scriptures sometimes taken for the Holy Ghost, the third person of the Holy Trinity. The word signifies also the reasonable soul which animates us, and continues in existence even after the death of the body; that spiritual, thinking and reasoning substance, which is capable of eternal happiness,   Numbers 16:22;  Acts 7:59 . The term spirit is also often used for an angel, a demon, and a ghost, or soul separate from the body. It is said, in  Acts 23:8 , that the Sadducees denied the existence of angels and spirits. Jesus Christ appearing to his disciples, said to them,  Luke 24:39 , "Handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have." And St. Paul calls the good angels "ministering spirits,"

 Hebrews 1:14 . In  1 Samuel 16:14;  1 Samuel 18:10;  1 Samuel 19:9 , it is said that an evil spirit from the Lord troubled Saul: and we have also the expression unclean spirits. Add to this, spirit is sometimes put for the disposition of the heart or mind: see  Numbers 5:14;  Zechariah 12:10;  Luke 13:11;  Isaiah 11:2 . Discerning of spirits, or the secret character and thoughts of men, was a gift of God, and placed among the miraculous gifts of the Holy Ghost,  1 Corinthians 12:10;  1 John 4:1 .

Easton's Bible Dictionary [12]

 2 Thessalonians 2:8  Ecclesiastes 8:8  Acts 7:59 1 Corinthians 5:5 6:20 7:34 Hebrews 12:23 Job 4:15 Luke 24:37,39 Hebrews 1:14 Luke 4:36 10:20 Zechariah 12:10 Luke 13:11

In Rom 1:4, 1 Timothy 3:16,2 co  Romans 3:18 , it designates the divine nature.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [13]

Spirit.  John 3:8. Both in Greek and Hebrew the word for this implies a "blowing" or "breathing;" its primary sense is "wind." In  2 Thessalonians 2:8 it is used for "breath;" in  Ecclesiastes 8:8 for the vital principle; while in other places it denotes the soul. Angels, both good and bad, souls without bodies, are thus designated.  Matthew 14:26;  Luke 24:39. The inclination is similarly expressed; hence we have a spirit of grace and of supplication,  Zechariah 12:10, a spirit of infirmity,  Luke 13:11. See Holy Spirit.

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary [14]

An incorporeal being or intelligence; in which sense God is said to be a Spirit, as are angels and the human soul.

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [15]

See Holy Ghost

Morrish Bible Dictionary [16]


Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [17]

( רוּחִ , Ruach [twice נַשְׁמָה , Nishmah, Breath,  Job 26:4;  Proverbs 20:27], Πνεῦμα [twice Φάντασμα , A Phantasm,  Matthew 14:26;  Mark 6:49], both literally meaning Wind ) , is one of the most generic terms in either the English, Hebrew, or Greek language. We therefore discuss here its lexical as well as psychological relations somewhat extensively. (See Psychology).

I. Scriptural Usage Of The Word . Its leading significations may be classed under the following heads:

1. The primary sense of the term is Wind. "He that formeth the mountains and createth the wind" ( רוח ,  Amos 4:13;  Isaiah 27:8). "The wind ( Πνεῦμα ) bloweth where it listeth" ( John 3:8). This is the ground idea of the term "spirit" air, ether, air refined, sublimated, or vitalized; hence it denotes

2. Breath, as of the mouth. "At the blast of the breath of his nostrils ( רוח אפי ) are they consumed" ( Job 4:9). "The Lord shall consume that wicked one with the breath of his mouth" ( Τῷ Μνεύματι Τοῦ Στόματος ,  2 Thessalonians 2:8).

3. The Vital principle which resides in and animates the body. In the Hebrew, נפשׁ is the main specific term for this. In the Greek it is Ψυχή , and in the Latin Anima. "No man hath power over the spirit ( ברוח ) to retain the spirit" ( Ecclesiastes 8:8;  Genesis 6:17;  Genesis 7:15). "Jesus yielded up the ghost" ( Ἀφῆκε Τὸ Πνεῦμα ,  Matthew 27:50). "And her spirit ( Πνεῦμα Αὐτῆς ) came again," etc. ( Luke 8:55). In close connection with this use of the word is another,

4. In which it has the sense of Apparition, Specter. They supposed that they had seen a spirit," i.e. specter ( Luke 24:37). "A spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have" ( Luke 24:39;  Matthew 14:26).

5. The Soul the rational, immortal principle by which man is distinguished from the brute creation. It is the Πνεῦμα , in distinction from the Ψυχή . With the Latins it is the Animus. In this class may be included that use of the word spirit in which the various emotions and dispositions of the soul are spoken of. "Into thy hands I commend my spirit" ( Τὸ Μνεῦμά Μου ,  Luke 23:46;  Acts 7:59;  1 Corinthians 5:5;  1 Corinthians 6:20;  1 Corinthians 7:34;  Hebrews 12:9). "My spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior" ( Luke 1:47). "Poor in spirit" ( Πτωχοί Τῷ Πνεύματι ) denotes humility ( Matthew 5:3). "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of ( Luke 9:55), where Πνεῦμα denotes Disposition or Temper. "He that hath no rule over his own spirit" ( רוחו ,  Proverbs 25:28;  Proverbs 16:32;  Ecclesiastes 7:9). The moral affections are denominated "the spirit of meekness" ( Galatians 6:1), "of bondage" ( Romans 8:15), "of jealousy" ( Numbers 5:14), "of fear" ( 2 Timothy 1:7), "of slumber" ( Romans 11:8). In the same way also the intellectual qualities of the soul are denominated "the spirit of counsel" ( Isaiah 11:2); the spirit of knowledge" (ibid.); "the spirit of wisdom" ( Ephesians 1:17); "the spirit of truth and of error" ( 1 John 4:6).

6. The race of superhuman created intelligences. Such beings are denominated spiritual beings because they have no bodies like ours. To both the holy and the sinning angels the term is applied. In their original constitution their natures were alike pure spirit. The apostasy occasioned no change in the Nature of the fallen angels as spiritual beings. In the New Test. demonology Δαίμων , Δαιμόνιον , Πνεῦμα Ἀκάθαρτον , Πνεῦμα Πονηρόν , are the distinctive epithets for a fallen spirit. Christ gave to his disciples power over unclean spirits ( Πνευμάτων Ἀκαθάρτων ,  Matthew 10:1;  Mark 1:23;  Luke 4:36;  Acts 5:16). The holy angels are termed spirits: "Are they not all ministering spirits?" ( Λειτουργικὰ Πνεύματα ,  Hebrews 1:14). "And from the seven spirits ( Ἑπτὰ Πνευμάτων ) which are before his throne" ( Revelation 1:4).

7. The term is applied to the Deity, as the sole, absolute, and uncreated Spirit. "God is a Spirit" ( Πνεῦμα Θεός ). This, as a predicate, belongs to the divine nature, irrespective of the distinction of persons in that nature. But its characteristic application is to the third person in the Divinity, who is called the Holy Spirit ( Πνεῦμα Ἃγιον ) because of his essential holiness, and because in the Christian scheme it is his peculiar work to sanctify the people of God. He is denominated The Spirit by way of eminence, as the immediate author of spiritual life in the hearts of Christians. The New Test. writers are full and explicit in referring the principle of the higher life to the Spirit. In the Old Test. the reference is more general. The Spirit is an all pervading, animating principle of life in the world of nature. In the work of creation the Spirit of God moved upon, or brooded over, the face of the waters ( Genesis 1:2;  Job 26:13). This relation of the Spirit to the natural world the ancients expressed as Ens Extra - , Ens Super - , Ens Intra - Mundanum. The doctrine of the Spirit, as the omnipresent life and energy in nature, differs from Pantheism, on the one hand, and from the Platonic soul of the world, on the other. It makes the Spirit the immanent divine causality, working in and through natural laws, which work is called nature; as in the Christian life He is the indwelling divine causality, operating upon the soul, and through divine ordinances; and this is termed grace. The Spirit in the world may be considered as the divine omnipresence, and be classed among the doctrines which are more peculiarly theological. But the indwelling and operation of the Spirit in the heart of the believer are an essential doctrine of Christianity. The one province of the Spirit is nature, the other grace. Upon the difference between the two, in respect to the Spirit's work, rests the Christian consciousness. The general presence and work of the Spirit in nature are not a matter of consciousness. The special presence and work of the Spirit in the heart of the believer, by the effects which are produced, are a matter of which, from consciousness, there may be the most consoling and delightful assurance. (See Spiritual).

II. Doctrinal Distinctions And Queries . The lexical usage thus pointed out gives rise to questions concerning the constitution of the nature of man. Does it consist of two or three elements? Must we accept a dichotomy or a trichotomy? The dichotomy is unquestionably established if it can be shown that soul and spirit designate only different aspects of the same subject. The passage of Scripture which is fundamental in this inquiry ( Genesis 2:7) seems, however, to distinguish three constituents in human nature the Clay ( עָפָר ), the Breath Of Life ( נַשְׁמִת חִיַּים ), and the Living Being ( נֶפֶשׁ חִיָּה ) . Some understand in the first of these elements the material substance, flesh or body ( בָּשָׂר ), out of earth; by the second, the spirit ( נֶפֶשׁ ), out of God, and by the third, the soul ( רוּחִ ), as resulting from a combination of the other elements. The soul would accordingly be the personality, as constituted of spirit and body, and is both soul and body united into one being. God forms the body, breathes into it the spirit, and the soul results from them both. But the careful reader will note that in the foregoing analysis the proper soul ( רוּחִ ) has not been brought into view at all. It is only the introduction of the vitalizing element ( נַשְׁמָה ) into the material organism ( עפר = בָּשָׂר ) that constitutes the composite being or animal ( נֶפֶשׁ ) a term which is frequently applied likewise to the low orders of creatures ( Genesis 1:20, etc.). Yet, as in Scripture universally this last distinguishing element is manifestly attributed to man, it still follows, under either view of the above passage, that Scripture teaches a trichotomy, and several passages explicitly sustain the same doctrine e.g.  Luke 1:46-47;  1 Corinthians 15:45 sq.;  1 Thessalonians 5:23;  Hebrews 4:12. To sum up the conclusion reached, the Spirit is not Soul simply, nor yet identical with the Body, but a Third somewhat which originates in the body that was formed and the soul that was inbreathed, but which itself is neither formed nor made but simply becomes ( הָיָה ). If this be true, then the spirit, itself becomes a powerful argument in behalf of a future resurrection of the body. (See Resurrection).

A second inquiry which arises has to do with the manner in which the race is derived from the first pair whom God created. All agree that it is by propagation under the terms of the original endowment ( Genesis 1:28), and with the steady cooperation of God. But in the original creation of man, God formed the body out of matter previously created, and then added a New quantity in the inbreathing of the spirit, and the question turns upon the point whether a like distinction between body and spirit is made at the beginning of the existence of every human being. Traducianism (q.v.) teaches, under its various modifications, that the original combination of body and spirit into a single soul was made for all time and for the race, and that no direct interference with the natural processes of procreation on the part of God can be assumed. The living soul is transmitted from generation to generation without the intervention of any new creative act. The various schemes of creationism (q.v.) assume that the Creator infuses the spirit into every new human personality by a direct act. The doctrine of pre-existence assumes that a soul for each individual was potentially created at the beginning, and that it attains to actuality when united with its own special body or dust. Inasmuch as the only warrant for the doctrine of preexistence is the desire to avoid the erroneous idea of new creations, which creationism is said to affirm, there is no occasion to discuss its assumption of embryonic souls. Traducianism must likewise be rejected in so far as its doctrine of the propagation of both body and spirit by purely natural processes involves a disregard of the original distinction between the forming of the one and the inbreathing of the other. In creationism the truth is limited to the origin of the spirit, the soul being the product of both the traduced and the infused factors. It is apparent that the theory of traducianisn leads logically to the dichotomy, while that of creationism leads to the trichotomy. In every form of creationism the birth of a human being involves a sacramental wonder, since God is himself directly engaged in imparting to the individual his peculiar spirit. This theory, derived from Aristotle (De Anim. Mot. 9) and transmitted through the Church fathers, was cultivated in the Middle Ages, and generally adopted by Roman Catholic writers, though not as a confessional locus. It was also largely admitted among theologians of the Reformed Church, though by no means universally. Traducianism was more generally accepted in the Lutheran Church, though here also standard and leading authorities leave the question undecided. The Pseudo- Gnostical and Semi-Pelagian heresies, which taught that the spirit of man is either not at all or but little affected by sin, grew out of a combination of creationism and the trichotomy theory; but they were the result simply of misconception. The same is true of the Apollinarian theory, which confines the human nature of Christ to body and soul (anima vegetabilis), and holds that in him the Logos supplied the place of the spirit ( Πνεῦμα ). SEE Soul, Origin Of

A third question follows, which is concerned with particulars connected with the forming of the body and the imparting of the spirit, and with the results that follow. The forming of the body extends to the entire organism with reference to all the members of the body, and to the senses, since in these consists the germ of the body. The inspiration of the spirit extends, with regard to all its far reaching consequences, over the whole of the spirit, in all its powers and abilities. Body and spirit, however, contain only germs which attain to organic development and form in the soul, the body especially becoming the form ( Μορφή ) of the soul. Psychology, the philosophy of the soul, has consequently to inquire into the bodily life of the organism, particularly with reference to the senses, the emotions, the intellect, the will, and likewise into the Νοῦς , Λόγος , Πνεῦμα , etc. In our days, psychology may even embrace in its investigations the science of language, since it has become important to demonstrate, in opposition to rationalism, pantheism, and materialism, that the germs of language, no less than of thought, inhere in the spirit; and that language, in which thought attains to expression, secures its development in the soul in harmony with the diversities of nationality, which is equivalent here to individuality, (See Mind).

A fourth question asks, whither does the soul tend? or, more exactly, what becomes of it when separated from the body? The scriptural answer is brief and confident: the spirit returns to God, but not as it came from God; it retains the nature obtained by its union with the body; and it is accordingly as a soul, i.e. affected by the body, although the latter has become dust, that the spirit returns to God. The Scriptures teach that the soul neither sleeps nor dies, but retains its spiritual character. We shall accordingly not be found utterly naked even after death, but rather clothed with conscious activity ( Ἐνδυσάμενοι , Οὐ Γυμνοί ,  2 Corinthians 5:3 a passage, however, which legitimately refers only to the finally glorified state; see Alford, Ad Loc. ) , and thus await the reunion of soul and body in the resurrection. (See Intermediate State).

The soul accordingly attains its consummation in the body, which was also the beginning and basis of the personality. Corporeity is thus the end of the ways of God, as it was the beginning in the clay from which man was formed. The three Catholic creeds close with the words "the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting;" and Paul writes, "There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body... that was... first which is natural, and afterward that which is spiritual" ( 1 Corinthians 15:44 sq.). The body is thus the first and the last; "the spirit quickeneth" by the energy of the soul, and is the bond which unites the soul and body, the agent which combines them into a single substance, so that even death is unable to effect more than a partial and temporary separation. (See Death).

See Molitor, Philosophie der Geschichte, etc. 2, 90; 3, 129, etc.; Rudloff, Lehre vom Menschen nach Geist, Seele u. Leib (1858); Von Meyer, in Bl Ä tter f Ü r h Ö here Warheiten (1823), 4, 271 sq. The above furnish information with reference to the teachings of the Cabala. According to Von Meyer, the Cabala distinguishes five souls (Nephesh, Ruach, Neshama, Chaja, Jechida). See also Dante, Divina Com. Purg. 25, etc.; Heinroth, Psychologie (1827); Schubert, Gesch. d. Seele (1833); Von Meyer, Inbegrif d. christl. Glaubenslehre (1832), p. 134, etc.; Lange, Land d. Herrlichkeit, etc. (1838); id. Positive Dogmatik (1852); Martensen, Dogmatik (1851); De Valenti, Christl. Dogmatik (1847); Ebrard, Christl. Dogmatik (1851); Delitzsch, Bibl. Psychologie (1855); Fichte, Anthropologie (2d ed. 1860); id. Zur Seelenfrage, etc. (1859); Wichart, Metaphys. Anthropologie (Minster, 1844); Polack, Unsterblichkeitsfrage (Amst. 1857); Richers, Sch Ö pfungs-, Paradies- u. S Ü ndfluth-Geschichte [Genesis 1-9] (1854), § 13, p. 210 sq.; id. Natur u. Geist (1850 sq.); Hahn [Aug.], Lehrb. d. christl. Glaubens, 2 ed. § 74; Hahn [G. E.], Theologie d. Neuen Testaments, § 149 sq.; also Lotze, Mikrokosmos... Anthropologie; Deinhardt, Begriff d. Seele mit Rucksicht auf Aristoteles (Hamb. 1840); Schmidt, De Loco Aristot. Τὸν Νοῦν Θυράθεν Ἐπειζιέναι In Aristot. Περὶ Ζώων Γενέσεως (Erfurt, 1847). Of Roman Catholic writings we mention Baltzer, De Modo Propagat. Animarum (1833); also G Ö schel, Beweise Fur D. Unsterbl. D. Seele (1835) [per contra Becker, Ueber G Ö Schel ' S Vers. Eines Beweises D. Personl. Unsterblichkeit (Hamb. 1836)]; id. Die Siebenfaltige Osterfrage, etc. (1836); id. Beitr. Zur Spekulativen Philosophie Von Gott U. D. Menschen, etc. (1838); id. Zur Lehre V. D. Letzten Dingen (Berl. 1850); id. Der Mensch Nach Leib, Seele U. Geist, etc. (Leips. 1856); Richter, Die Neue Unsterblichkeitslehre, in Jahrb. f. wissenschaftl. Kritik, 1834.-Herzog, Real-Encyklop. s.v. (See Soul).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [18]

spir´it ( רוּח , rūaḥ  ; πνεῦμα , pneúma  ; Latin, spiritus ):

1. Primary and Figurative Senses

(1) As Wind, Breath

(2) As Anger or Fury

(3) As Mental and Moral Qualities in Man

2. Shades of Meaning

(1) As Life-Principle

(2) As Surviving Death

(3) Spiritual Manifestations

3. Human and Divine Spirit

(1) The Human as Related with the Divine

(2) Operations of the Divine Spirit as Third Person of the Trinity

4. Old Testament Applications

5. Various Interpretations

1. Primary and Figurative Senses:

(1) As Wind, Breath:

Used primarily in the Old Testament and New Testament of the wind, as in  Genesis 8:1;  Numbers 11:31;  Amos 4:13 ("createth the wind");   Hebrews 1:7 (angels, "spirits" or "winds" in margin); often used of the breath , as in  Job 12:10;  Job 15:30 , and in  2 Thessalonians 2:8 (wicked consumed by "the breath of his mouth").

(2) As Anger or Fury:

In a figurative sense it was used as indicating anger or fury , and as such applied even to God, who destroys by the "breath of his nostrils" (  Job 4:9;  Exodus 15:8;  2 Samuel 22:16; see  2 Thessalonians 2:8 ).

(3) As Mental and Moral Qualities in Man:

Hence, applied to man - as being the seat of emotion in desire or trouble, and thus gradually of mental and moral qualities in general ( Exodus 28:3 , "the spirit of wisdom";  Ezekiel 11:19 , "a new spirit" etc.). Where man is deeply stirred by the Divine Spirit, as among the prophets, we have a somewhat similar use of the word, in such expressions as: "The Spirit of the Lord came ... upon him" ( 1 Samuel 10:10 ).

2. Shades of Meaning:

(1) As Life-Principle:

The spirit as life-principle in man has various applications: sometimes to denote an apparition (  Matthew 14:26 , the King James Version "saying, It is a spirit";  Luke 24:37 , the King James Version "had seen a spirit"); sometimes to denote angels, both fallen and unfallen ( Hebrews 1:14 , "ministering spirits";  Matthew 10:1 , "unclean spirits"; compare also  Matthew 12:43;  Mark 1:23 ,  Mark 1:26 ,  Mark 1:27; and in  Revelation 1:4 , "the seven Spirits ... before his throne").

(2) As Surviving Death:

The spirit is thus in man the principle of life - but of man as distinguished from the brute - so that in death this spirit is yielded to the Lord ( Luke 23:46;  Acts 7:59;  1 Corinthians 5:5 , "that the spirit may be saved"). Hence, God is called the "Father of spirits" ( Hebrews 12:9 ).

(3) Spiritual Manifestations:

Thus generally for all the manifestations of the spiritual part in man, as that which thinks, feels, wills; and also to denote certain qualities which characterize the man, e.g. "poor in spirit" ( Matthew 5:3 ); "spirit of gentleness" ( Galatians 6:1 ); "of bondage" ( Romans 8:15 ); "of jealousy" ( Numbers 5:14 ); "of fear" ( 2 Timothy 1:7 the King James Version); "of slumber" (  Romans 11:8 the King James Version). Hence, we are called upon to "rule over our own spirit" (  Proverbs 16:32;  Proverbs 25:28 ), and are warned against being overmastered by a wrong spirit ( Luke 9:55 the King James Version, "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of"). So man may submit to the "spirit of error," and turn away from the "spirit of truth" (  1 John 4:6 ). Thus we read of the "spirit of counsel" ( Isaiah 11:2 ); "of wisdom" ( Ephesians 1:17 ).

3. Human and Divine Spirit:

(1) The Human as Related with the Divine:

We go a step higher when we find the human spirit brought into relationship with the Divine Spirit. For man is but a creature to whom life has been imparted by God's spirit - life being but a resultant of God's breath. Thus life and death are realistically described as an imparting or a withdrawing of God's breath, as in  Job 27:3;  Job 33:4;  Job 34:14 , "spirit and breath" going together. The spirit may thus be "revived" ( Genesis 45:27 ), or "overwhelmed" ( Psalm 143:4 ), or "broken" ( Proverbs 15:13 ). And where sin has been keenly felt, it is "a broken spirit" which is "a sacrifice to God" ( Psalm 51:17 ); and when man submits to the power of sin, a new direction is given to his mind: he comes under a "spirit of whoredom" ( Hosea 4:12 ); he becomes "proud in spirit" ( Ecclesiastes 7:8 ), instead of being "patient in spirit"; he is a fool because he is "hasty in spirit" and gives way to "anger" ( Ecclesiastes 7:9 ). The "faithful in spirit" are the men who resist talebearing and backbiting in the world ( Proverbs 11:13 ). In such instances as these the difference between "soul" and "spirit" appears. See Soul; Psychology .

(2) Operations of the Divine Spirit as Third Person of the Trinity:

On this higher plane, too, we find the Divine Spirit at work. The terminology is very varied here: In the New Testament we read of the "Holy Spirit" ( 1 Corinthians 6:19;  Matthew 1:18 ,  Matthew 1:20;  1 Thessalonians 1:5 ,  1 Thessalonians 1:6 ); the "Spirit of God" ( 1 Corinthians 2:10 ff;   1 Corinthians 3:16;  Romans 8:9 ,  Romans 8:11;  Ephesians 3:16 , etc.); the "Spirit of Christ" ( Romans 8:9;  1 Corinthians 3:17;  Galatians 4:6 ); or simply of "Spirit," with distinct reference to God ( 1 Corinthians 2:10;  Romans 8:16 ,  Romans 8:23 , etc.). God Himself is Spirit ( John 4:24 ). Hence, God's power is manifested in human life and character ( Luke 4:14;  Romans 1:1;  1 Corinthians 2:4; especially  Luke 24:49 ). The Book of Acts may be termed the Book of the Holy Spirit, working with power in man. This Spirit is placed on a level with Father and Son in the Apostolic Benediction ( 2 Corinthians 13:14 ) and in the parting message of the Saviour to His disciples ( Matthew 28:19 ). As the agent in redemption and sanctification His work is glorified by lives "renewed" in the very "spirit of the mind" - a collocation of terms which has puzzled many interpreters ( Ephesians 4:23 ,  Ephesians 4:24 ), where pneúma and noús appear together, to indicate a renewal which is all-embracing, 'renewed in the spirit of your mind, so that the new man is put on, created in righteousness and true holiness' (see also  John 14:17 ,  John 14:26;  John 15:26;  John 16:13;  1 Corinthians 12:11 , etc.).

4. Old Testament Applications:

In the Old Testament this spirit of God appears in varied functions, as brooding over chaos ( Genesis 1:2;  Job 26:13 ); as descending upon men, on heroes like Othniel, Gideon, etc. ( Judges 3:10;  Judges 6:34 ), on prophets ( Ezekiel 37:1 ), on "cunning workmen," like Bezalel and Aholiab ( Exodus 31:2 ,  Exodus 31:3 ,  Exodus 31:4 , "filled with the Spirit of God"), and specially in such passages as  Psalm 51:11 , where the very presence of God is indicated by an abiding influence of the Holy Spirit: "The Spirit of Yahweh is Yahweh himself."

5. Various Interpretations:

May we not reach a still higher stage? Wendt in his interesting monograph ( Die Begriffe Fleisch und Geist ), of which extracts are given in Dickson's St. Paul's Use of the Terms Flesh and Spirit , draws attention to the transcendental influence of the Divine rūaḥ in the Old Testament as expressed in such phrases as 'to put on' (  Judges 6:34 ), 'to fall upon' ( Psalm 14:6 , 19), 'to settle' ( Numbers 11:25 f). May we not then rightly assume that more is meant than a mere influence emanating from a personal God? Are we not right in maintaining with Davidson that "there are indeed a considerable number of passages in the Old Testament which might very well express the idea that the Spirit is a distinct hypostasis or person.?" (see Substance ). Rejecting the well-known passage in Genesis: "Let us make man after our own image," which some have interpreted in a trinitarian sense, we may point to such texts as  Zechariah 4:6 , "by my Spirit";  Isaiah 63:10 ,  Isaiah 63:11 , "They rebelled, and grieved his holy Spirit"; "Where is he that put his holy Spirit in the midst of them?" This is borne out by the New Testament, with its warnings against "grieving the Holy Spirit," "lying against the Holy Spirit," and kindred expressions ( Ephesians 4:30;  Acts 5:3 ). It is this Spirit which "beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God" ( Romans 8:16 ) - the spirit which, as Auberlen has put it ( PRE1 , article "Geist des Menschen"), "appears in a double relationship to us, as the principle of natural life, which is ours by birth, and that of spiritual life, which we receive through the new birth ( Wiedergeburt )." Hence, Paul speaks of God whom he serves "with his spirit" ( Romans 1:9 ); and in  2 Timothy 1:3 he speaks of serving God "in a pure conscience." See Conscience; Flesh; Holy Spirit; Psychology; Soul .

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [19]

Spirit and Holy Spirit. The leading significations of the original words thus rendered may be classed under the following heads:—

The primary sense of the term is wind. 'He that formeth the mountains and createth the wind' . 'The wind bloweth where it listeth' . This is the ground idea of the term 'spirit'—air—ether—air refined, sublimated, or vitalized: hence it denotes—

Breath, as of the mouth. 'At the blast of the breath of his nostrils are they consumed' . 'The Lord shall consume that wicked me with the breath of his mouth' .

The vital principle which resides in and animates the body (;; ).

In close connection with this use of the word is another—

In which it has the sense of apparition—specter (;; ).

The soul—the rational immortal principle, by which man is distinguished from the brute creation (;;;;; ).

The race of superhuman created intelligences.

The term is applied to the Deity, as the sole, absolute, and uncreated Spirit. 'God is a Spirit.' This, as a predicate, belongs to the divine nature, irrespective of the distinction of persons in that nature. But its characteristic application is to the third person in the Divinity, who is called the Holy Spirit, because of his essential holiness, and because in the Christian scheme it is his peculiar work to sanctify the people of God. He is denominated The Spirit, by way of eminence, as the immediate author of spiritual life in the hearts of Christians.

The words Spirit, and Holy Spirit, frequently occur in the New Testament, by metonymy, for the influence or effects of His agency.

As a procreative power—'the power of the Highest' .

As an influence, with which Jesus was endued .

As a divine inspiration or afflatus, by which the prophets and holy men wrote and spoke. 'Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost' (;;;;;;; ).

As miraculous gifts and powers, with which the Apostles were endowed, to qualify them for the work to which they were called .

But the phrase, Holy Spirit, is specially used to denote a divine personal agent. The Holy Spirit is associated, as a distinct person, with the Father and the Son, in the baptismal formula and the apostolic benediction. The Father and Son are real persons. It is reasonable to think that the spirit who is joined with them in this solemn form of induction into the Christian church, is also a personal agent, and not an abstraction—a mere power or influence. The subject is baptized into the belief of three personal agents. To suppose that, in this solemn profession of faith, he avows his belief in the Father and the Son, and the power or influence of God, is forced and frigid.

He is baptized into the name of each of the three . We are not baptized into the name of an influence or a power, but into the name of a person—of three real and distinct subjects, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

In the apostolic benedictions, the Spirit, as a person, is associated in the same way with the Father and Son . In this uniting of the three there is the recognition of the distinct personality of each, in the separate gift which is appropriated to each.

Distinct personal acts and attributes are ascribed to the Holy Spirit too frequently and fully to admit of explanation by the prosopopoeia.

The Holy Ghost speaks, by Esaias the prophet , expressly . He teaches . He reproves the world of sin . The spirit helpeth our infirmities, and maketh intercession for the saints . He is grieved .

Apostles are set apart to him in the work of the ministry, and he appoints them to that work .

These are all acts which imply a personal agent. And these acts and attributes distinguish the Spirit from the person of the Father on the one hand, and from the personal subjects upon which he acts on the other.

The Spirit, as a personal agent, comes from the Father, is sent by the Father, and of course cannot be the Father. As sent by the Father, He maketh intercession for the saints, according to the will of God, i.e. the Father from whom He came. The Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God . If there be no distinct personality of the Spirit separate from that of the Father, the real import of these passages must be, that the Father comes from Himself, is sent by Himself, makes intercession to Himself, according to the will of Himself, and that He searches the deep things of Himself—which is a style of writing not to be ascribed to any rational man, and certainly not to inspired apostles.

The Spirit of God is not a created spirit; and if uncreated, It must be divine in the highest sense; but this Spirit is the Holy Spirit, and a proper person; hence He is God.

As the author of regeneration, or of the new spiritual and incorruptible life in the heart of the believer, He must be divine. This change, the Scriptures abundantly declare, is wrought by the Spirit and power of God.

Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is the only sin for which there is no remission . This sin against the Holy Spirit, in whatever it may consist, is distinguished from all other sins by a degree of guilt which renders it unpardonable. If He be not in his nature truly God, there is nothing in Him to give to sin against Him such a peculiar aggravation. Although it is not simply because the Spirit is God that blasphemy against Him is unpardonable—for then would blasphemy against the Father and the Son also be unpardonable—yet it is a sin against God, and, as being against the third person of the Godhead, it is aggravated to a degree of enormity which it could not receive if committed against any other being than God.

The divine and incommunicable attributes of the Deity are ascribed to the Spirit. These attributes belong exclusively to the divine nature; he who possesses them must have the divine nature and honor as God.

Works truly divine are attributable to the Holy Spirit, as creation and preservation, and especially the work of sanctification.

Of the office of the Holy Spirit, it is only necessary to say, that it is not ministerial, like that of the angels and apostles, but it is the peculiar work in the salvation of man which he performs, as sent by the Father and the Son.

The Nuttall Encyclopedia [20]

Breath of life), in philosophy and theology is the Divine mind incarnating itself in the life of a man, and breathing in all he thinks and does, and so is as the life-principle of it; employed also to denote any active dominating and pervading principle of life inspired from any quarter whatever and coming to light in the conduct.