“There is a general omission in the saints of God, in their not giving the Holy Spirit that glory that due to his person and for his great work of salvation in us, insomuch that we have in our hearts almost forgotten this Third Person.” (Thomas Goodwin, 1660)  Join us Sundays at 2:00 PM as we study the doctrine of pneumatology together. Here is the class schedule and outlines:

The Need for this Study

“Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit,saith the Lord of hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6)

Intro – The Holy Spirit is the person of the Holy Trinity who proceeds from Father and Son to bring God’s purposes to pass.

Context – This vision was intended to convince Zerubbabel that his work of rebuilding the temple would be completed.

Assumption – The church was set up as a light-bearer in this world with a “mountain” of darkness opposing it.

Illustration – The oil flows directly from the olives, into the receptacles, and into the lamps without human agency.

Problem – Trusting in our own ability to accomplish things in our lives, in the church, and in the world. Examples?

Application – We need to learn that nothing good comes to pass without the working of the Holy Spirit.

The Personhood of the Holy Spirit 

While some figurate expressions such as “filled” or  “poured out” (Acts 2:4,18) make the Holy Spirit seem impersonal, his personhood is abundantly proven by the following:

Personal Pronouns – While the Greek word pneuma is neuter, the Holy Spirit is oftentimes assigned the masculine pronoun “He” (John 14:26, 16:7-8). This is supra-grammatical.

Personal Properties – He searches (1 Cor. 2:10), knows (1 Cor. 2:11), wills (1 Cor. 12:11), approves (Acts 15:28), loves (Romans 15:30), etc.

Passive Properties – He can be lied to (Acts 5:3), tested(Acts 5:9), grieved (Eph. 4:30), insulted (Heb. 10:29), blasphemed (Matt. 12:31), etc.

Personal Actions – He speaks (Rev. 2:7), teaches (Luke 12:12), guides (John 16:13), witnesses (Rom. 8:16), helps (Rom. 8:26), commissions (Acts 13:2), forbids (Acts 16:6), etc.

 The Deity of the Holy Spirit

While nearly every passage proving the Spirit’s personhood also proves his divinity, error on this point is so fatal to the soul that it warrants a separate treatment:

The Spirit is called God in the OT – When the people tested YHVH in the wilderness (Exodus 17:7, Ps. 78:17), they were testing the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 63:10).

The Spirit is called God in the NT – Passages such as Acts 5:3-4 and 1 Cor. 6:19-20, 12:4-6 use the terms “Holy Spirit” and “God” interchangeably.

Sovereignty and supremacy belong to the Spirit – He led Jesus (Matt. 4:1), works as he pleases (John 3:8), and orders affairs in the church (1 Cor. 12:11; Acts 13:2-4, 20:28).

Divine works are ascribed to the Spirit – Creation (Job 26:13, 33:4), Providence (Isaiah 40:13, Acts 16:6-7), Inspiration (2 Tim. 3:16, 2 Peter 1:20-21), Miracles (Matt. 12:28), etc.

The Titles of the Holy Spirit

One of the ways God has revealed his nature and work is through the titles he has chosen for himself:

The Spirit –  He has no body, parts, or passions and his mode of operation is like the wind (John 4:24, 3:8; Ez. 37:9).

The Holy Spirit – His nature and work are perfect. He is like none other. (Exodus 15:11, Mark 3:28-30).

The Good Spirit – Everything he does is good (Nehemiah 9:20, Psalm 143:10, Ephesians 5:9).

The Free Spirit – He is the beneficent giver of life and joy (Psalm 51:12, 104:29-30).

The Spirit of Christ – Jesus sent him to further his cause on earth (Romans 8:9, Acts 2:33, John 16:14).

The Spirit of the Lord – He exercises divine authority and requires unhesitating submission (Acts 8:29).

The Eternal Spirit – He posses underived, independent, and eternal self-existence (Hebrews 9:14).

The Comforter – lit., com+fortis means “along side to strengthen” (John 14:16)

The Covenant Office of the Holy Spirit

Before proceeding to survey the work of the Holy Spirit in biblical history, it may prove helpful first to consider his general covenant office.

More specifically, that the Holy Spirit is the person of the Holy Trinity who proceeds from Father and Son to bring God’s purposes to pass in this world.

God is one and, as such, there exists perfect coincidence of will amongst the three persons of the Godhead. At the same time, each person has a unique office:

– The Father Ordains (Ephesians 1:3-6, 1 Peter 1:2)

– The Son Accomplishes (John 5:30, 6:39, 10:15, 17:4)

 – The Spirit Applies (John 14:25-26, 15:26)

Similar to Jesus’ description of the Spirit’s work in John 3:8, Abraham Kuyper observed that he “leaves no footprints in the sand.”

This has led to much confusion in the church.Let us always, therefore, come back to God’s unity of being and purpose as we seek to understand particular operations of the Holy Spirit in redemptive history.

The OT Work of the Holy Spirit

Creation – In the beginning, the Holy Spirit was “the agent” of creation (Gen. 1:2 and Job 26:13, 33:4).

Providence – Since then, the Holy Spirit also “renews” the face of the earth (Psalm 104:27-30).

Adam – It would also seem that the first man was indwelt by the Spirit in light of the following:

– The word “breathed” (Gen. 2:7, Ez. 37:5-10, John 20:22)

– The analogy of “Two Adams” (Rom. 5:15, 1 Cor. 15:45)

– “Renewal” suggests prior possession (Col. 3:10, Gen. 2:19)

Israel – The Spirit was given to instruct (Neh. 9:20) in a variety of ways (coming upon and into people):

        • Elders (Num. 11:16-17)
        • Judges (3:10, 6:34, etc.)
        • Kings (1 Sam. 11:6, 16:13)
        • Joshua (Numbers 27:18)
        • Artisans (Exodus 28:3, 31:2-5)
        • Prophets (Neh. 9:30, 1 Pet. 1:11)
        • John the Baptist (Luke 1:15)
        • Elizabeth (Luke 1:41)
        • Zacharias (Luke 1:67)
        • Simeon (Luke 2:25)

The Holy Spirit and Christ Jesus

We see in scripture a unique and intimate connection between the Holy Spirit and Christ Jesus:

His Incarnation – Jesus was personally anointed in his mother’s womb and afterward so that he was endowed with spiritual graces (Luke 1:35,42 and Luke 2:40,47).

His Baptism – Jesus was publicly anointed at his baptism where he received unction for his official work (Luke 3:21-22 and Matt. 3:16-17).

His Ministry – Jesus continued to experience a special anointing and leading of the Holy Spirit for his public ministry (Luke 4:1,14,18-19, 21).

His Ascension – Jesus received a full anointing of the Holy Spirit on the day he concluded his earthly work and ascended into heaven (Acts 2:33, Psalm 45:6-7, 68:18).

It was through this special anointing that Jesus fulfilled his office and was enabled to give the Spirit on others.

01/25  –  The Coming of the Holy Spirit


The substance of these outlines is adapted from the writings of A.W. Pink (1886-1952)