Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 12, 1967
NUMBER 35, PAGE 2b-3a

The Holy Spirit

Robert C. Welch

What is all the recent stir about the Holy Spirit? Some seem to hint that they have found something about this subject. Some are hinting that most people of the church do not have the Spirit in their personal lives and in their worship. One writer and editor of fame intimates that he recognizes that there is something new about the Holy Spirit which the majority does not know, and that some of the present writing is but the repetition of "old sermon outlines." It just might be that the old sermon outlines presented the truth on this subject. It just might be that not enough of the "old sermon outlines" have been taught this generation and that, instead of accepting the truth, the new generation is going off after the general religious errors of the day. Much of the "new" doctrine about the Holy Spirit is borrowed straight from the denominations, especially from the "Holiness" cults. Some of it is the emotional extreme, a revival of the century-old Methodist revival, or the shakes and rigors so prominent in the days of Stone and Raccoon Smith. And some of it appears to be a borrowing of the neo-orthodox modernist doctrine of the Holy Spirit by a few who have educated themselves out of the church.

A fine young brother has asked that I write some on the subject of the Holy Spirit. He says that he needs it for his own information and use in teaching others, and that he has not found very much being written at the present on the subject. No effort will be made to present anything new, not even in a new way. As we grow older many of us need to remember that the old themes must be repeatedly taught to keep us from straying and especially to keep the rising generations instructed in the fundamentals. Even though it may be trite to us it may be new to a new generation.


"If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" (Luke 11:13). This term is used only a few times in the King James version, but is more often used in later translations into English. The word, Holy, is used often in the New Testament; applied to God, to his Son, to his people, and to the things of God. The word, Spirit, is from a Greek word, pneuma, which is frequently applied to that which is within man as a part of his conscious being. A few times it, or some form of the word, is translated wind, as in John 3:8 and Acts 2:2). It is the word for breath of life in the Septuagint (Greek) version of Genesis 2:7).

"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). "Holy Ghost" is from the same words which are translated "Holy Spirit" in the above paragraph. The King James version frequently uses this term. But in later versions the older word, Ghost, is dropped and a more modern and meaningful word is used. People use this word ghost for something which is indefinable, intangible, eerie, and mysterious. That is what many want to make of the Holy Ghost. It is a false impression. "Holy Spirit" is a more accurate expression of the teaching of the Bible.

The above passage also signifies that the Holy Spirit is a personality, not an inanimate ephemeral object. The personal pronoun, he, is used. He is described as the Comforter. He is said to be "the Spirit of truth" (John 15:26). He is described as having the attributes of a personality; of hearing, speaking, guiding, reproving (John 16:7-14).

"And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, in whom ye were sealed unto the day of redemption." (Eph. 4:30). His relationship to God is affirmed in this passage. He is Divine; he is Deity. He is an essential member of the God-hood or Godhead (see Col. 2:9; Rom. 1:20). In conjunction with the reference to the creation in the above citation, notice the statement about the Spirit of God having a part in the creation: "And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." (Gen. 1:2). This does not attempt to analyze the theologies of trinitarianism or unitarianism. But we can simply state with the Scriptures that there is the Spirit of God who had a part in creation; that there is the Holy Spirit of God who has a part in the redemption of men.

Many times he is referred to merely as "the Spirit." In such instances the context needs to be considered to determine whether the Holy Spirit or man's own spirit is under discussion. The following is an example: "But unto us God revealed them through the Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God." (1 Cor.2:10). Then in the next verse the spirit of man is compared with the Spirit of God: "For who among men knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of the man, which is in him? even so the things of God none knoweth , save the Spirit of God." (1 Cor. 2:11).

This is not to be construed to mean that the Spirit of God is not himself a personality, but merely is the inner person of God. Both God and the Spirit are personalities, and both are spiritual as contrasted with physical or material. Jesus declared; "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:24). But the fact that the Father was to send the Holy Spirit upon the apostles (John 14:26) shows that the two are separate and distinct personalities.

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