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What does the Bible say about the role of the Holy Spirit?

Here is what the New Testament says about the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is...

  1. GOD, and must be worshiped in spirit and truth (John 4:21-24; Phil. 3:3).

  2. Our Helper (John 14:15-18; Eph. 3:16).

  3. A witness to Jesus' death and resurrection (Acts 5:32).

  4. The Spirit of adoption by which we cry out, "Abba, Father" (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:4-6).

  5. Powerful (Rom. 15:13; 1 Cor. 2:4-5; 1 Thess. 1:5; 2 Tim. 1:7).

  6. Our guarantee (2 Cor. 1:22; 2 Cor. 5:5; Eph. 1:13).

  7. The Lord (2 Cor. 3:17).

  8. The Spirit of grace (Heb. 12:9).

  9. Truth (1 John 5:6).

  10. One with the Father and the Word (1 John 5:7-8).

Past Activities of the Holy Spirit

  1. Filled specific individuals

    • John the Baptist from his mother's womb (Luke 1:15).

    • Elizabeth as she greeted Mary (Luke 1:39-45).

    • Zacharias prophesied at John the Baptist's circumcision (Luke 1:67-79).

    • Simeon, and led him into the temple to see Jesus (Luke 2:25-35).

    • Descended upon Jesus after His baptism in the form of a dove (Matt. 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22; John 1:32-34).

    • Was upon Jesus as He preached the gospel in Nazareth on the Sabbath (Luke 4:16-19).

    • Was not given "in measure" to Jesus (John 3:31-36).

    • Was put upon Jesus that He might declare justice to the Gentiles (Matt. 12:17-21).

    • The apostles [and possibly the 120 disciples ref. in Acts 1:15] (Acts 2:1-4, 16-21).

    • Peter, and he preached Jesus to the Sanhedrin (Acts 4:5-12).

    • All the Christians who were assembled together after they had prayed for boldness to preach the gospel (Acts 4:29-31).

    • Apostles instructed the disciples to select from among them men who were filled with the Holy Spirit to serve tables (Acts 6:1-4).

    • The Samaritan disciples received the Holy Spirit when Peter and John laid hands upon them (Acts 8:14-18).

    • Saul of Tarsus (Paul) received the Holy Spirit when Ananias laid hands upon him (Acts 9:17).

    • Fell upon those who heard Peter's word [the gentiles, Cornelius' household] (Acts 10:44-48; 11:15-16; 15:8).

    • Barnabas was full of the Holy Spirit and faith (Acts 11:24).

    • Filled Paul and he rebuked Elymas the sorcerer (Acts 13:9).

    • Hadn't been received by the disciples in Ephesus, so Paul baptized them in the name of Jesus (Acts 19:1-5).

    • Dwelt in the prophets (1 Pet. 1:11; 2 Pet. 1:20-21).

  2. Is the literal father of Jesus (Matt. 1:18, 20; Luke 1:34-35).

  3. Reminded of the past

    • Caused the apostles to remember everything Jesus said to them (John 14:25-27).

    • Took of what is Jesus' and declare it to the apostles (John 16:14-15).

  4. Revealed the future

    • Simeon - that he would not die until he had seen the Christ (Luke 2:25-35).

    • John the Baptist - said Jesus would be baptized with the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16).

    • Taught the apostles all things (John 14:25-27; John 16:13; 1 Cor. 7:40).

    • Jesus said the Holy Spirit would baptize the apostles in the near future, giving them power (Acts 1:4-8).

    • Peter referenced a prophecy concerning Judas which was spoken by the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:15-16).

    • Through visions (Acts 7:55; Acts 16:9; Rev. 4:2; Rev. 17:3; Rev. 21:10).

    • Agabus showed by the Holy Spirit that there was a worldwide famine coming (Acts 11:28).

    • Testified in every city that chains and tribulations await Paul (Acts 20:23; 21:4, 11).

    • Revealed the future (1 Tim. 4:1).

  5. Led individuals

    • Led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan (Matt. 4:1; Mark 1:12; Luke 4:1).

    • Would speak through the apostles as they stood before authorities (Matt. 10:19-20; Mark 13:9-11; Luke 12:12).

    • Told Philip the evangelist to overtake the Ethiopian eunuch's chariot (Acts 8:29).

    • Caught Philip away from the eunuch after he was baptized (Acts 8:39).

    • Said to separate Barnabas and Saul/Paul for a specific mission of evangelism (Acts 13:2, 4).

    • Prevented Timothy, Paul and Silas from preaching the gospel in Asia at that time (Acts 16:6-7).

    • Compelled Paul to testify to the Jews in Corinth that Jesus is the Christ (Acts 18:5).

    • Paul purposed in the Spirit that he should go to Jerusalem and Rome (Acts 19:21).

    • Paul's conscience bore witness in the Holy Spirit of the truth (Rom. 9:1).

  6. Gave power

    • The Father anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and power (Acts 10:38).

    • Powered Jesus' return to Galilee (Luke 4:14).

    • Was not given "in measure" to Jesus (John 3:31-36).

    • Was used by Jesus to cast out demons (Matt. 12:24-30).

    • To the apostles [and possibly the 120 disciples ref. in Acts 1:15], coming with the sound of a mighty rushing wind and appearing as divided tongues on each one of them, and caused them to speak in other tongues (Acts 2:1-4, 16-21).

    • Those from the Synagogue of the Feedmen who disputed with Stephen could not resist the Spirit by which Stephen spoke (Acts 6:10).

    • Paul laid hands upon the Ephesian Christians and they spoke with tongues and prophesied (Acts 19:6).

  7. Revealed the word/will of GOD

    • Inspired David to call Jesus, who was David's descendant in the flesh, his Lord (Matt. 22:41-46; Mark 12:35-37).

    • Would not speak on His own authority, but rather would speak only those things He hears (John 16:13).

    • Jesus gave commandments to the apostles through the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:2).

    • Peter referenced a prophecy concerning Judas which was spoken by the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:15-16).

    • Additional examples (Acts 10:17-19; Acts 11:12; Eph. 3:5; Heb. 3:7; Heb. 9:8-9; Heb. 10:15; Rev. 1:10; Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 29; Rev. 3:6, 13, 22; Rev. 14:13; Rev. 22:17).

    • Determined circumcision was not a requirement to be Christian (Acts 15:28).

    • Had appointed the men who were shepherds/overseers/elders/pastors of the church in that role (Acts 20:28).

    • Revealed the things GOD has prepared for those who love Him (1 Cor. 2:9-10).

    • The gospel was preached by the Holy Spirit (1 Pet. 1:12).

  8. Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit at the successful return of the seventy He sent out to evangelize (Luke 10:17-24).

  9. Testified of Jesus through the apostles (John 15:26-27).

  10. Glorified Jesus (John 16:14).

  11. Apostles instructed to receive the Holy Spirit as Jesus breathed on them after the resurrection (John 20:19-23).

  12. Was poured out by Jesus as He received the Holy Spirit from the Father (Acts 2:33).

  13. Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:1-11).

  14. Stephen accused the Jews of resisting the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:51).

  15. Simon the sorcerer attempted to buy the Holy Spirit from Peter and John (Acts 8:18-24).

  16. Comforted the early Christians (Acts 9:31).

  17. GOD [Jesus] was justified in the Spirit (1 Tim. 3:16).

  18. Jesus offered Himself through the eternal Spirit (Heb. 9:14).

Current Activities of the Holy Spirit

  1. Participates in granting access to the kingdom of GOD (John 3:1-8; Matt. 28:19-20; 1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 4:29; Titus 3:5; 1 Pet. 1:22).

  2. Participates in an individual's baptism (Matt. 28:19-20; 1 Cor. 6:11).

  3. Gives life (John 6:63; Rom. 8:10-11; 2 Cor. 3:6; Gal. 6:8; 1 Pet. 3:18; 1 Pet. 4:6).

  4. Will provide rivers of living water to drink for the thirsty one who comes to Jesus (John 7:37-39).
    [Note: v.39 clearly states that the Holy Spirit had not yet been given because Jesus hadn't been glorified. This would occur in Acts 2.]

  5. Will be given by the Father to:

    • Those who ask Him (Luke 11:9-13).

    • All who repent and are baptized for the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 2:38-39).

    • Those who obey (Acts 5:32; 13:52; Rom. 5:5; Rom. 8:15; 1 Cor. 3:16; 2 Cor. 13:14; 1 Thess. 4:8; 2 Tim. 1:7; 1 John 3:24; 1 John 4:13).

  6. Dwells in the Christian (John 14:15-18; 1 Cor. 3:16; 1 Cor. 6:19; Eph. 2:22; 2 Tim. 1:14; Heb. 6:4-5; Jam. 4:5).

  7. Confesses Jesus came in the flesh (1 John 4:2; 1 John 5:6).

  8. Serves as a witness to Jesus' death and resurrection (Acts 5:32).

  9. Declares Jesus to be the Son of GOD by the resurrection (Rom. 1:4).

  10. The circumcision of the heart is in the Spirit (Rom. 2:28-29).

  11. Pours out the love of GOD on our hearts (Rom. 5:5).

  12. Provides freedom/liberty from sin and death (Rom. 8:2; 2 Cor. 3:17).

  13. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ is not His (Rom. 8:9; Jude 19).

  14. Leads the sons of GOD (Rom. 8:14).

  15. Bears witness with our spirit that we are sons of GOD (Rom. 8:16; 1 John 5:7-8).

  16. We have the firstfruits of the Spirit (Rom. 8:22-23).

  17. Helps in our weaknesses (Rom. 8:26; Eph. 3:16).

  18. Makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered (Rom. 8:26-27).

  19. The kingdom of GOD is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14:17).

  20. Provides hope (Rom. 15:13, 19; Gal. 5:5).

  21. Sanctifies (Rom. 15:15-16; 1 Cor. 6:11; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Pet. 1:2).

  22. Searches all things, including the deep things of GOD (1 Cor. 2:10-12).

  23. Teaches (1 Cor. 2:13).

  24. Enables people to call Jesus Lord (1 Cor. 12:3).

  25. The manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person for the profit of everyone (1 Cor. 12:8).

  26. Gives gifts [abilities] (1 Cor. 12:8-11; Heb. 2:4).

  27. Has a ministry which is much more glorious than that of Moses (2 Cor. 3:7-9).

  28. Is transforming us into the same image of Jesus, from glory to glory (2 Cor. 3:18).

  29. Commends us as ministers of GOD (2 Cor. 6:4-10).

  30. Is received by the hearing of faith (Gal. 3:2-5; Gal. 3:14).

  31. Produces fruit of righteousness in the Christian's life (Gal. 5:22-23; Eph. 5:8-10).

  32. Provides access to the Father (Eph. 2:18).

  33. Strengthens us (Eph. 3:16).

  34. Provides unity (Eph. 4:3-4; Phil. 1:27; Phil. 2:1).

  35. Provides joy (1 Thess. 1:6).

  36. Rests upon the persecuted Christian (1 Pet. 4:14).

Commands Regarding the Holy Spirit

  1. Unless one is born of the water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of GOD (John 3:1-8; Matt. 28:19-20; 1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 4:29; Titus 3:5; 1 Pet. 1:22).

  2. Acceptable worship must be in spirit and truth (John 4:21-24; Phil. 3:3).

  3. If one blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven (Matt. 12:31-32; Mark 3:28-29; Luke 12:10).

  4. Individuals are to be baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19-20; 1 Cor. 6:11).

  5. Serve GOD in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter of the law (Rom. 7:6).

  6. Walk according to the Spirit (Rom. 8:1, 4, 10; Gal. 5:16, 25).

  7. Those who live according to the Spirit must set their minds on the things of the Spirit (Rom. 8:5-8).

  8. He who lives by the Spirit and puts to death the deeds of the body will live (Rom. 8:12).

  9. Be led by the Spirit (Gal. 5:18).

  10. Do not to grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30).

  11. Be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18).

  12. Arm yourself with the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of GOD (Eph. 6:17).

  13. Pray in the Spirit (Eph. 6:18; Jude 20).

  14. Love in the Spirit (Col. 1:8).

  15. Do not quench the Spirit (1 Thess. 5:19).
Tim Harris
Author: Tim Harris

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