Biblical Teaching from a Reformed Perspective

I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy
name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou
hast magnified thy word above all thy name. Ps. 138:2

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knowing the Holy Spirit by Mike Aldridge

(compiled form various other teachers and teachings)



The Holy Spirit is not an inanimate power or force, but a Person.

     A.   Jesus and Paul both continually referred to the Holy Spirit as "He," not "It."

                 John 14:16, 17, 26; 15:26 ; 16:7, 8, 13, 14

     B.   The Spirit intercedes "with groanings which cannot be uttered."   Rom. 8:26

     C.  He speaks to man.

Luke 2:26 "And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost ..."

John 16:13 "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he ... shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak ..."

Acts 8:29 "Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot."

Acts 10: 19 , 20 "While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee. Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them."

Acts 11:12 Acts 13:2 "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 21:11; 28:5; 1 Timothy 4:1

Hebrews 3:7 "Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice"

Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22; 14:13 ; 22:17

     D.   He can be grieved (Isaiah 63:10; Ephesians 4:30 ); resisted (Acts 7:51 );
               insulted (Hebrews 10:29 ); and lied to (Acts 5:3).

     E.   He has a will (exercises choice, discretion). 1 Corinthians 12:11

     F.   He has the capacity to love (Romans 15:30 ), and we can have fellowship            with Him (2 Corinthians 13:14 ).

     G.  He has intelligence and is capable of making decisions.

              1 Corinthians 2:10, 11; Isaiah 40:13; Acts 15:28

     H.  He has a personality, and specific qualities are attributed to His character.

              1.  Goodness. Nehemiah 9:20; Galatians 5:22, 23
              2.  Holiness. Romans 1:4, etc.
              3.  Truth. John 14:17; 15:26 ; 16:13
              4.  Grace. Hebrews 10:29; Zechariah 12: 10
              5.  Comfort. John 14:26 ; 15:26
              6.  Patience, love, gentleness, etc. Galatians 5:22, 23


One of the first things we must understand about the Holy Spirit is that He is indeed God.

In Acts 5:3-4, we read:

"Then Peter said, 'Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied TO THE HOLY SPIRIT . . . You have not lied to men BUT TO GOD ' " (see also 2 ]Corinthians 3:17 ) [Emphasis Mine].

The Holy Spirit is one with God.

             Isaiah 48:16; Matthew 28:19; Acts 5:3, 4; 1 Corinthians 3:16 with 6:19 ;
             12:4-6; 2 Corinthians 13:14 ; 1 John 5:7

       A.  He has all the attributes of God.

             1.  He is eternal. Hebrews 9:14

                   a.  He was present with God in the creation of the world.

                              Genesis 1:2, 3; Job 26:13; 33:4; Psalms 104:30

                   b.  Many Old Testament scriptures speak of the Spirit of God.

                               Isaiah 11:2; 42:1; 48:16; 61:1; 63:9; Ezekiel 36:26, 27

             2.   He is everywhere (omnipresent). Psalms 139:7-10

             3.   He knows everything (omniscient). Isaiah 40:13; 1 Corinthians 2:10, 11

             4.   He is all-powerful (omnipotent). Psalms 104:30

       B.  Yet He is a distinct personality apart from both the Father and the Son.

                  Matthew 12:31 , 32 (Mark 3:29 , 30; Luke 12:10 ); John 14: 16 ; 16:5-15


What is the function of the Holy Spirit? What are His responsibilities?

       A   To instruct, teach, reveal. Nehemiah 9:20; Job 32:8; Luke 12:12; John
            14:27 ; 15:26 ; 16:13,14; Acts 13:2; 1 Corinthians 2: 10,13; Ephesians 1:16,              17; 3:5; 2 Peter 1:21; 1 John 2:20, 27

       B.  To counsel, guide. John 14:26 ; 16:13 ; Acts 11:12; 16:6, 7; 20:22 , 23;
              Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:18

       C.  To intercede and assist in prayer. Romans 8:26, 27; Ephesians 2: 18; Jude              20

       D.   To comfort. John 14:16 , 26; 15:26 ; 16:17 ; Acts 9:31

       E.   To commission to service (ministry). Isaiah 48: 16; Acts 13:2; 20:28

       F.   To convict of sin, to strive with sinners. Genesis 6:3; John 16:8-11

       G.  To give power and boldness. Acts 1:8; Acts 4:31; Eph. 3: 16; I Tim. l :6,7

       H.  To testify that we are the children of God. Romans 8:16; Galatians 4:6

       I.   To testify of Jesus. John 15:26

       J.   To empower the believer to have victory over the flesh.
             Romans 8:4, 13; Galatians 5:16, 25

       K. To inspire to prophesy. Numbers 9:30 ; 11:25 , 29; 2 Samuel 23:2, 3;
             2 Chronicles 20: 14, 15; Acts 21:4; 28:25; 2 Peter 1:21

       L.  To impart life (I Samuel 10:6, 9; Ezekiel 37:9, 14; Romans 8:11);
             hope (Romans 15:13); joy (Romans 14: 17; I Thessalonians 1:6;
             Galatians 5:22); love (Romans 5:5); skill (Exodus 31:2-5); and even
             physical strength (Judges 14:6, 19; 15;14, 15), as well as spiritual
             strength (Ephesians 3:16).


Scripture uses many types or symbols for the Holy Spirit.

        A.  Water. Isaiah 44:3; Ezekiel 36:25-27; John 7:38 , 39; 4:14 ;
              Ephesians 5:26; Revelation 22:17

        B.   Fire. Exodus 13:21; Psalms 78:14; Isaiah 4:4; Malachi 3:3, 4;
              Matthew 3:11; Hebrews 12:24; Acts 2; 3:6-11

        C.  Wind. 2 Kings 19:11; Ezekiel 37:9; John 3:8; Acts 2:2

        D.  Oil. Isaiah 61:1, 3; Hebrews 1:9; 1 John 2:20, 27

        E.   Rain; dew. Psalms 68:9; 72:6; Isaiah 32:15; Hosea 6:3; 10:12; 14:5

        F.   Dove. Genesis 1:2 ("moved on" = "brooded over" or "fluttered," Heb.);
              Matthew 3:16


''But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counsellor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you" John 16:7 .

After Jesus ascended to the throne of His Father, He kept His promise and sent the Holy Spirit to indwell the believer (John 14:17 ; 1 Corinthians 2:12 ; 3:16 ). And this promise is also for the believer today! On the Day of Pentecost, Peter boldly declared:

" . . . you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children AND FOR ALL WHO ARE FAR OFF - for all whom the Lord our God will call'' Acts 2:38 -39(read also John 14:16 ,26; 15:26 ).

The work of the Trinity can be seen in that, even as the Son came to glorify the Father
       (John 17:4), so was the Spirit sent to glorify the Son (John 8:55 ; 16:14 ).

The Father's promise to send the Spirit was given long before Jesus ever came to earth.

Isaiah 44:3 "For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring."

Isaiah 32:15 "Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest."

Ezekiel 36:27 "And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them."

Joel 2:28 "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions."

Zechariah 12:10 "And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem , the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son ..."

The Lord Jesus Himself promised that when He should leave He would send the Spirit of Truth.

Luke 24:49 "And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem , until ye be endued with power from on high."

John 14:16 "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever."

John 16:7 "Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father?"

Acts 1:4 "And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem , but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me."


Throughout the Bible, the Holy Spirit is called by a number of names which describe His character and ministry:

  1. Spirit ( Mark 1:10 ; Rev. 2:11, 17, 29 )
  2. Holy Spirit (Ghost) ( Matt. 1:18 )
  3. Spirit of God ( Matt. 3:16 )
  4. Spirit of Truth ( John 14:16 -18 )
  5. The Comforter (Helper) ( John 14:26 )
  6. Holy Spirit of God ( Eph. 4:30 )
  7. Eternal Spirit ( Heb. 9:14 )
  8. Spirit of Grace ( Heb. 10:29 )
  9. Spirit of holiness ( Ro. 1:4 )
10. Spirit of life ( Ro. 8:2 )
11. Spirit of Christ ( Ro. 8:9 )
12. Our Guarantee (Eph. 1:13 -14, 2 Cor. 1:22 , 5:5)


A. Reveals ( Eph. 3:1-7 )
B. Knows, searches ( 1 Cor.2:7-13 )
C. Works, wills ( 1 Cor. 12:11 )
D. Commands ( Acts 13:2 )
E. Teaches, instructs, reminds ( Neh. 9:20 , John 14:26 )
F. Convicts the world ( John 16:7-11 )
G. Guides, hears, speaks, glorifies ( Jn 16:13 -15 )
H. Bears witness and agrees with the Father and Son ( John 15:26, Romans 8:16-17, 1 John 5:6-8 )
I. Can be grieved ( Eph. 4:30 -32 )
J. Can be insulted ( Heb. 10:29 )
K. Moves men ( 2 Peter 1:20 -21 )
L. Is Truth ( John 14:17 , 1 John 5:6 )
M. Seals ( 1 Cor. 1:22 , Eph. 1:13 )
N. Gives life ( Gal. 6:8 )
O. His name and authority converts ( Mt. 28:19 )
P. Produces new birth ( John 3:3-5 )
Q. Given to believers ( John 7:39 , Acts 2:38 , 5:32 , 1 Thes. 4:8 )
R. Makes intercession to help believers ( Ro. 8:26 -27 )
S. Comforts ( Ro. 15:13 , Acts 9:31 )
T. Can be quenched ( 1 Thes. 5:19 )
U. Brings sanctification ( 2 Thes. 2:13 -14 )
V. Can be lied to ( Acts 5:1-11 )
W. Directs ( Acts 15:28 )
X. He washes, sanctifies, and justifies in the name Jesus Christ ( 1 Cor. 6:9-11, 1 Jn. 5:6-8 )


"We are witnesses of these things and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him'' Acts 5:32 (see also 1 John 5:6-12).

It was through God's Spirit that Jesus was baptised with power to fulfill His ministry (Luke 3:21 -22; 4:14 ,17-21), and it was through the Holy Spirit that Jesus was raised from the dead (Romans 1:4). From the beginning to the end, the Holy Spirit was involved in the work of Jesus, and He has now been given to the believer to bear witness to the fact that Jesus is indeed the Son of God and is alive today !

"When the Counselor comes . . . he will testify about me, but you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning" John 15:26 -27.


"When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to SIN and RIGHTEOUSNESS and JUDGMENT" John 16:8.

Because the world has rejected God, the Holy Spirit's aim in people's lives is to bring conviction in three areas:

  • SIN

           "... in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me . . . ''             v.9.

            The world has rejected God and sinned against Him. People             try to cover up their sin and justify themselves, but the Holy             Spirit's work is to expose sin for what it is and show the need             for God's help (see Acts 24:25).


            '' ... in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the             Father, where you can see me no longer . . . " v.10.

          Jesus was the only true standard of the righteousness of God.           Without Him, people would only have themselves to measure           by (2 Corinthians 10:12 ; Romans 2:23 ). When Jesus           returned to the Throne, He sent the Holy Spirit to indwell the           believer- and now the Holy Spirit reveals the standard of God's           righteousness, desiring that that standard would be clearly           demonstrated in the believer for all the world to see.


           '' . . . and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this           world now stands condemned'' v.11.

People's lives around us are bound by spiritual powers, but the Holy Spirit is present to reveal the marvellous truth of the Gospel - that they can be free because of the work of Jesus, for He judged our sin on the Cross and completely destroyed the legal right that the enemy has over people's lives (Colossians 2:13-15).


"For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way'' 2 Thessalonians 2:7.

The Holy Spirit is the one force in the world today that is restraining the world from plunging headlong into the darkest expression of its sin and rebellion. But there will come a time in the future when the Holy Spirit will withdraw and believers will be snatched away (Luke 17:34-36; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18) - and then the full expression of sin will be revealed in time for the outpouring of God's judgment. As vessels of the Holy Spirit, we too are encouraged to be instruments of His restraint (see Matthew 5:13; 1 Timothy 2:1-2).


"My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power" 1 Corinthians 2:4 (see also 1 Thessalonians 1:5).

The early Church was birthed in the power of the Holy Spirit, and it was that power that gave evidence of the reality of what they had experienced. One of the Holy Spirit's functions is to testify to the truth of the Gospel by performing miracles and wonders.

''Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it'' Mark 16:20 (see also Acts 2:43; 5:12,15-16; 6:8; 8:6-8,12-13;14:3).


''In the last days, God says, l will pour out my Spirit on all people . . . I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy . . . And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" Acts 2:17 -18,21.

It is God's greatest desire that His Spirit would fall on all mankind in great glory and in a revelation of the nature of God. The day is coming when this will finally happen, and through God's Spirit, the whole earth will be full of His glory.

''Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken" Isaiah 40:4-5.

The Holy Spirit's desire in the world is to draw people to Himself. This work is one of the major parts the Holy Spirit plays in God's total scheme of salvation.

''This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth" 1 Timothy 2:3-4.

But when people continually reject the Holy Spirit's encouragement, He also has a ministry of judgment - though even this ministry is so that people might yet turn back to Him.

"Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them" Isaiah 63:10 (see also Hebrews 10:29 ).


''When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me... HE WILL BRING GLORY TO ME by taking from what is mine and making it known to you" John 15:26; 16:14 .

The Holy Spirit's continual aim in everything He does is to bring glory to Jesus. His desire is that ''in everything (Jesus) might have the supremacy'' (Colossians 1:18 ), and that:

'' . . . at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord . . . '' Philippians 2:10 -11
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