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The Third Person of the Godhead: The Holy Spirit.
One of the most misunderstood and misinterpreted doctrines of the Bible is the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit. This doctrine is also called “Pneumatology”. Cults such as the so-called ‘Jehovah Witnesses’ teach that the Holy Spirit is a power and not a Person.
This preview continues section A. from point 6, “Personality of the Holy Spirit” from our printed notes of the course, “Bible Doctrines 1”. There are 10 titles of the Holy Spirit in our Bible school course that demand the Personality of the Holy Spirit. We finish the last 5 titles in this preview and continue with point B through F. The course is offered in our audio MP3 CDs. Go to Bible School courses to order the complete study.
6. The Spirit of Life.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8: 2).
A saved person has life because the Spirit of God is Life. The Holy Spirit is Life and He is the author of Life. Death is natural. Death is earthy. But eternal life is supernatural and heavenly. Men do not need to be given death; that is already a part of all that man does. Man does need Life; that is the basis of all. Life can only come from God, the Spirit of Life.
- The Spirit of Promise.
13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14).
The “promise” is that God will redeem the believer’s body at the resurrection or rapture, whichever occurs first.
- The Spirit of Glory.
If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. (I Peter 4: 14).
9. The Spirit of Christ (God).
But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. (Romans 8: 9).
This is one of the most instructive verses in the Bible on the relationship of the Holy Spirit and the believer in Christ during the age of grace. Notice several facts from the verse:
- The Spirit of God is also called the Spirit of Christ.
- The believer is not “in the flesh” although he is geographically in a body of flesh.
- The believer is “in the Spirit.”
- The Holy Spirit dwells in the believer.
- Every believer is indwelled by the Holy Spirit during this age.
- This indwelling is based strictly on the believer’s relationship to Jesus Christ.
- Any man who does not have the Holy Spirit is “none of his”(Christ’s).
- The Comforter.
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; (John 14: 16).
The Holy Spirit is called the “Comforter”. A power or influence can in no way be a comforter. Only a person can be a comforter. Notice the Lord Jesus Christ refers to the Comforter as a masculine person, “he”. The pronoun, “he”, is a definite indication of personality. The Lord Jesus Christ equates the personal work of the Holy Spirit with His own personal work by saying, “another (same kind-not a different kind) Comforter”. The context of John 14 is that Jesus, the Comforter, is leaving but another Person is coming who will comfort the disciples just as the Lord Jesus Christ had done. Only a person is capable of those actions.
B. Personal Pronouns.
Although we do not look at Greek as the final and only authority, it is good to understand some things in order to know what the critics of the King James Bible are doing. The Greek word for spirit, pneuma, is a neuter noun. Of course this only serves to further mark His glorification of Christ, instead of Himself. This is the word which is translated “spirit” in the KJB in John 15:26, Romans 8:16, 26 and other places. The Greek language has neuter, masculine and feminine nouns. Every noun is masculine, feminine, or neuter. The English language does not follow this grammatical feature. The Greek language has neuter, masculine and feminine pronouns and so does English, (him, her, it, etc.). One rule of Greek grammar is that a feminine noun will have feminine modifiers, a neuter noun will have neuter modifiers, etc. Example: “ the large woman herself…” We understand “woman” is feminine in gender but in English “large” is not. However, in Greek a peculiar ending on the adjective, large, makes it feminine to agree with the noun, woman, which is also feminine. If the Greek was talking about a “large man”, the word, large, would have a masculine ending to agree with “man.”
Greek pronouns are also feminine, masculine, or neuter to agree with the particular gender of the noun they modify. Our English pronouns are also feminine, masculine, or neuter to agree with the noun. The King James Bible accurately translates Romans 8:16:
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: (Romans 8: 16).
Notice that the pronoun, “itself”, is neuter because it modifies “Spirit” which is neuter. In a transliteration of the Greek, it reads, auto to pneuma, literally, “itself the Spirit.” All Greek texts read, auto to pneuma in Romans 8:16. But the New International Version reads: “The Spirit himself …” There is no Greek manuscript to justify that kind of translation. The NIV is wrong and is not faithful in its translation of the text it professes to believe. Why do they do this? They know the Holy Spirit is a Person but they think all Greek texts are wrong and that they know more than the Greek text they profess to believe is the authority! Isn’t that a revelation of modern translators’ pride?
Now, something of note also occurs in John 15:26 in the King James Bible and Greek text:
But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: (John 15: 26).
The Greek rule is changed here. (“Spirit of truth … he”). You see, in order to teach the Holy Spirit is a Person, God breaks the Greek rules and modifies a neuter noun, (Spirit), with a masculine pronoun, (he). The King James Bible accurately translates both John 15:26 and Romans 8:16. Thus, the truth of the Personality of the Holy Spirit is retained in John 15:26 and other places, and the anonymity of the Holy Spirit is retained in Romans 8:16. He is at once both a Person and anonymous. The Holy Spirit is a Person. But, He also cannot be detected by human senses as to “whence it cometh and whither it goeth”, (John 3:8).
The translators err when they think that because grammar rules are broken by God in an exceptional case, they also have the right to break them. Their translation of the Bible becomes a Bible they understand. If this was the only case, we might say it was accidental but there are many instances like this. They do nothing less than set themselves as God and help Him out with His mistakes!
C. Relationship to Other Persons.
The personality of the Holy Spirit is proven by the fact He has a relationship to other persons. Only a person can do that.
- The personality of the apostles and elders is equated with the personality of the Holy Ghost. (Not in quality, but in fact).
For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; (Acts 15:28)
- Only a person can receive and show and glorify another.
He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. (John 16:14).
- Matthew 28:19.
The “name” is singular, but there are three Persons in the passage. The Holy Ghost is equated with the Father and the Son both in essence and fact.
4. He possesses a will.
But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. (1 Corinthians 12:11).
D. He is Distinguished From Power.
There are some groups which teach the Holy Spirit is merely a force of God rather than God himself. This is false doctrine. These cults will sometime refer to the Holy Spirit as “power”. They always emphasize the work by the Spirit and ignore the Person of the Holy Spirit.
And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. (Luke 4:14).
- Notice in the above verse the use of the word power in relation to the Holy Spirit. The word of God does not say, “in the power of the power.” It says: “the power of the Spirit.” Power is separated from the Holy Spirit by being a work of Him, not an identification with Him.
And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. (Luke 1: 35).
- Again, it would be useless repetition of words to understand this to say “the power of the power shall overshadow thee”.
How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. (Acts 10:38).
- The anointing with power is separated from the anointing with the Holy Ghost. There is no way the two can be the same. (Acts10: 38).
Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. (Romans 15:13).
- In this present church age, the believer has “the power of the Holy Ghost” to
abound in hope. This is something that comes from the Holy Ghost and is not to be confused with Himself. (Romans 15:13).
E. His Actions Indicate Personality.
Only a person who is God can perform the actions we will study in this lesson. An impersonal force cannot perform these actions. Also, the way these actions are performed dictate that this Person must be God.
- Only God can teach this, and teach this way. Notice the “all things.”
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (John 14:26).
- The indication of “testimony” is an official, legal, truthful account. Only God can do that. See also Romans 8:16.
But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: (John 15:26).
- He leads.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Romans 8: 14).
A force may blindly push or pull you along but only a person can lead. Leading suggests a plotted course, avoidance of danger with a goal in mind.
- He reproves.
7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: (John 16:7-8).
An impersonal force cannot reprove. This requires intelligent comparison capable only when personality is involved. “Reprove” simply means to go back over with the objective of testing and rendering a judgment. How could a “power” do that?
- A “power” does not have the ability to communicate, much less articulate audible commands.
As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. (Acts 13:2).
- Other actions by the Holy Spirit are: He speaks (Acts 13:2). He intercedes (Romans 8:26). He commands (Acts 16:6). He appoints (Acts 20:28). He guides (John 16:13).
F. Acts can be Performed Toward the Holy Spirit.
The importance of actions toward an entity indicate the object must be a person. In other words, you can strike a piece of wood without fear or reprisal, but you cannot do the same to a person. The fact that certain actions can be performed and that those actions are important when directed toward the Holy spirit is another proof of His personality.
- He can be obeyed.
19 While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee.
20 Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them. (Acts 10:19-20).
- He can be lied to.
But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? (Acts 5: 3).
- He can be resisted.
Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. (Acts 7: 51).
- He can be grieved.
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4: 30).
- He can be vexed.
But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them. (Isaiah 63:10).
- He can be tempted.
Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. (Acts 5:9)
- He can be blasphemed.
But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation. (Mark 3:29)