By Whitney Hopler, Crosswalk.com
The Holy Spirit can seem mysterious. Although the Bible often mentions the Holy Spirit, the Spirit’s work is more mystical than the work of God the Father or Jesus Christ. What or who is the Holy Spirit? Is the Spirit a universal yet impersonal force, or an actual personal being? What does the Holy Spirit do? These 30 Holy Spirit scriptures can help us learn more about the Holy Spirit’s work. Discover what Bible verses about the Holy Spirit reveal, and how to enjoy a closer relationship with the Spirit.
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/sakepaint
What or Who Is the Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit is a personal part of God – one of the three aspects of the holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). So, the Spirit is more than an impersonal force. The Spirit is a person. When you interact with Holy Spirit, you do so on a personal basis, through a relationship. Jesus says in John 14:26 that the Holy Spirit is a personal advocate who helps believers: “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” It is through the Holy Spirit that God sends his love personally to you, Romans 5:5 says: “God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
After you begin a relationship with God, God’s Holy Spirit comes to be close to you – so close, that the Spirit becomes a personal part of you: 1 Corinthians 6:19 declares that “your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God”. In John 14:17, Jesus calls the Holy Spirit “the Spirit of truth” and promises believers that “he lives with you and will be in you” personally. As a personal aspect of God living within you, the Holy Spirit can empower you to choose what will bring you life and peace, Romans 8:5-6 mentions: “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”
Here are 7 things we should know about the Holy Spirit:
1. The Spirit helped create the universe.
Genesis 1:2-3 mentions the Holy Spirit working at the beginning of creation, “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.”
2. The Spirit played a significant role in Jesus’ earthly life and the early church.
Jesus incarnated on Earth through the Holy Spirit’s power, Matthew 1:20 reveals: “… an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.’” Luke 3:21-22 says that the Spirit was present at Jesus’ baptism: “When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
Acts 2:1-5 describes how God sent the Spirit to believers in the early church: “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven.” Acts 9:31 mentions that the Spirit strengthened and encouraged people in the early church: “Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.”
3. The Spirit helps us grow spiritually.
1 Corinthians 6:11 declares that the Holy Spirit cleanses us spiritually: “… But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” Jesus says in John 16:13 that the Spirit reveals truth: “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”
Galatians 5:22-23 proclaims that the Spirit helps us develop certain holy qualities: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…”. My book Wake Up to Wonder features two chapters on how to develop the fruit of the Spirit, and how doing so can help us experience more of God’s wonder in our lives. Well-being research that I cite in Wake Up to Wonder describes the benefits of working with the Spirit to build each of those spiritual qualities into our lives.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Motortion
4. The Spirit gives all believers spiritual gifts.
1 Corinthians 12:4-13 describes how the Holy Spirit gives us those gifts: “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body – whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.”
5. The Spirit helps us pray.
Romans 8:26-27 proclaims that the Holy Spirit intercedes in prayer for us, even when we can’t articulate our prayers: “… the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”
6. The Spirit testifies about what is true.
Jesus says in John 15:26 that the Holy Spirit testifies about him: “When the Advocate 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.” Romans 8:16 declares that the Spirit testifies about our true identity, as well: “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”
7. The Spirit gives us hope and joy.
Romans 5:13 reveals that the Holy Spirit gives hope: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” 1 Thessalonians 1:6 mentions that the Spirit gives joy: “You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.”
More Holy Spirit Scriptures
In addition to the 19 verses about the Holy Spirit we’ve already explored, here are 11 more Holy Spirit scriptures:
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” – Acts 1:8
“God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.” – Acts 2:32-33
“Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” – Acts 2:38
“Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” – John 3:6-8
“The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” – 1 Corinthians 2:11
“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” – 2 Corinthians 3:18
“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” – Romans 8:11
“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – Ephesians 5:18-20
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” – 2 Corinthians 3:17
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” – Matthew 28:19
“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” – 2 Corinthians 13:14
The Holy Spirit is a vital part of the Trinity that comprises God. Holy Spirit scriptures reveal that the Spirit is close to us, working powerfully in our lives. As we learn more about the Holy Spirit through the Bible, we can experience awe that inspires us to pursue closer relationships with him.
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/NiseriN