Bro. J. Aslakson's English Class

Compiled By
KL Paulson

May 19, 1993

   There is widespread confusion and error in this day concerning
the personality [...] of the Holy Spirit.
[...]   It is [essential] to the faith of every Christian that
its scriptural teaching be seen in its true light and held in right


Personality of the Holy Spirit

   By the "personality of the Holy Spirit" is meant that He possesses or
contains in Himself the elements of personal existence as contrasted
with impersonal existence or animal life.   It is difficult to define
personality when used of the Divine Being.   God cannot be measured
by human standards.   God was not made in the image of man, but
man in the image of God.   [...]   Only God has perfect personality.
   Personality may be said to exist when there is found intelligence,
emotion, and volition, or self-consciousness and self-determina-
tion, in a single individual.   When a being possesses the attributes,
properties, and qualities of personality, then personality may be
unquestionably predicted.   As suggested under the doctrine of the
Trinity, however, the term person as applied to the members of the

Trinity is to be used in a qualified or limited sense, referring to
personal distinctions rather than separate organisms as when used
of men.

   The necessity for proof of the Holy Spirit's personality:

1. The necessity for proof.   It is a matter of historical record that
    the personality of the Holy Spirit has been disputed and denied.


    [...]   It may have been --

    a. Because, as contrasted with the other persons of the
        Godhead, the Spirit seems impersonal.   "The visible creation
        makes the personality of God the Father somewhat easy to
        conceive; the Incarnation makes it almost, if not altogether,
        impossible to disbelieve in the personality of Jesus Christ;
        but the acts and workings of the Holy Spirit are so secret and
        mystical, so much is said of His influence, grace, power and
        gifts, that we are prone to think of Him as an influence, a
        power, a manifestation or influence or the divine nature, an
        agent rather than a Person"
(W. Evans, The Great Doctrines
        of the Bible
, pp. 107-8).

    b. Because of the names and symbols used of the Holy Spirit,
        which are suggestive of the impersonal, such as: breath,
        wind, power, fire, oil, and water.   See as illustration: "(5)Jesus
        answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be
        born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the
        kingdom of God.   (6)That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that
        which is born of the Spirit is spirit.   (7)Marvel not that I said unto
        thee, Ye must be born again.   (8)The wind bloweth where it
        listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell
        whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is
        born of the Spirit"
(John 3:5-8 [-- Nicodemus]).
            "(1)And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were
        all with one accord in one place.   (2)And suddenly there came a
        sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled
        all the house where they were sitting.   (3)And there appeared
        unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each
        of them.   (4)And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and
        began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them
(Acts 2:1-4 -- cf. John 7:38,39; 20:22; Eph. 5:18; 1
        Thess. 5:19; 1 John 2:20).

    c. Because the Holy Spirit is not always associated with the
        Father and the Son in the salutations and greetings of the
        New Testament.   See as illustration: "Now God himself and
        our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto
(1 Thess. 3:11).

    d. Because the word or name Spirit is neuter in the Greek

2. Proof of the Holy Spirit's personality.

    a. Masculine personal pronouns applied to the Holy Spirit:


      when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the 
      Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the 
      Father, he shall testify of me" (John 15:26). 
        "(7)Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I 
      go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but 
      if I depart, I will send him unto you.  (8)And when he is come, he will 
      reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: ... 
      (13)Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you 
      into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he 
      shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.  
      (14)He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it 
      unto you" (John 16:7-8,13-14). 
        [I] turn to grammar to establish the personality of the Holy 
      Spirit, because the use of neuter pronouns has been largely 
      responsible for the idea of the impersonality of the Spirit.  
      The Greek word for "spirit" is pneuma, a neuter noun.  This 
      argument becomes more remarkable when we see that masculine 
      pronouns are used in connection with pneuma, except where the 
      construction compels a neuter (Rom. 8:16), thus showing that 
      the Bible's idea of the personality of the Holy Spirit dominates 
      grammatical construction. 
        Christ, the supremely authoritative spokesman of God, 
      repeatedly pours into the New Testament depository of truth 
      numerous personal pronouns referring to the Holy Spirit, which 
      show beyond all question that He recognized the Spirit as 
      personal in nature. 
        There is another grammatical testimony which must be 
      mentioned, and that is Christ's use of the masculine noun 
      parakletos [par-ak'-lay-tos] in referring to the Spirit (John 
      14:16-17).  Jesus Himself was a Comforter (1 John 2:2) to the 
      disciples, and He offers [comfort] to them as He is about to depart 
      by promising them another Comforter (parakletos).  Everything 
      Jesus was to the disciples, the other was to be, and more, 
      because of Jesus' human limitations -- a Person coming to take 
      the place of a Person.


   b. Associations of the Holy Spirit with the other persons of the 
      Godhead and with individuals: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, 
      baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the 
      Holy Ghost"                   (Matt. 28:19) [-- the Great 
      Commission]; "For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to 
      lay upon you no greater burden than those necessary things" 
      (Acts 15:28 -- cf. 2 Cor. 13:14). 
        Such associations, which are personal, can ONLY be understood 
      in relation to personalities.      

   c. Personal characteristics ascribed to the Holy Spirit.  By 
      characteristics [I] do not mean hands, feet, or eyes, for these denote 
      corporeity, but qualities such as knowledge, feeling, and 
      will, which denote personality. 
      -- Intelligence: "(10)But God hath revealed them unto us by his 
         Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep 
         things of God.  (11)For what man knoweth the things of a 
         man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the 
         things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God" (1 
         Cor. 2:10,11). 
           "And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the 
         mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the 
         saints according to the will of God" (Rom. 8:27). 
        The Holy Spirit is not merely an [enlightening] power or 
      influence, but is a Person possessed of intellect, who knows the 
      deep things of God and reveals them to us.
      -- Will: [...] (1 Cor. 12:11).  An "it," that which is 
         impersonal, is not possessed of volition. 
      -- Love: [...] (Rom. 15:30).  It may be said that we owe our 
         salvation just as truly to the love of the Spirit as we do to 
         the love of Father and the love of the Son. 
      -- Goodness: [...] (Neh. 9:20). 
      -- Grief: "And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are 
         sealed unto the day of redemption" (Eph. 4:30). 

   d. Personal acts ascribed to the Holy Spirit.  Throughout the 
      Scriptures, the Holy Spirit is represented as a personal agent, 
      performing acts attributable ONLY to a person.


       -- He searches the deep things of God: [...] (1 Cor. 2:10).
       -- He speaks: "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the
           Spirit saith unto the churches; [...]"
(Rev. 2:7).   The Spirit is also spoken
           of as crying out (Gal. 4:6) and as bearing testimony (John
       -- He makes intercession: [...] (Rom. 8:26).
       -- He teaches: [...] (John 14:26 --
           cf. John 16:12-14; Neh. 9:20).
       -- He leads and guides: [...] (Rom. 8:14 -- cf. Acts
       -- He calls and commissions men: [...] (Acts 13:2) [-- Barnabas and Paul];
           [...] (Acts 20:28) [-- Overseers are to feed the church of God].

    e. Personal treatment received by the Holy Spirit:
       -- He is rebelled against and [vexed]: [...] (Isa. 63:10 -- cf. Eph. 4:30).
       -- He is lied to: [...] (Acts 5:3) [-- Ananias].
       -- He is blasphemed: [...] (Matt. 12:31,32).
               Webster says that to blaspheme means "to speak of the
           Supreme Being in terms of impious irreverence; to revile
           or speak reproachfully of God, Christ, or the Holy Spirit."

           To blaspheme thus is clearly impossible unless the object
           of irreverence be both personal and divine.

[Summary]: By the use of personal pronouns, by personal
associations, personal characteristics possessed, personal actions
performed, and treatment received, the Scripture prove the Holy
Spirit to be a person.



   The importance of the Holy Spirit's personality:

1. In connection with worship.   If the Holy Spirit is a divine Person
    and yet is unknown or ignored as such, He is being deprived
    and robbed of the love and adoration which are His due.   If, on
    the other hand, He is only an influence, force, or power [stemming]
    from God, we are practicing idolatry or false worship.

2. From the standpoint of service.   It is necessary to decide
    whether the Holy Spirit is a power or force that we are to get
    hold of and use, or whether He is a person of the Godhead, who
    is to control and use us.   The one idea leads to self-
    exaltation and self-assertion, the other to self-abasement and

3. By reason of its relation to Christian experience.   It is of the
    highest experiential value that we know whether the Holy Spirit
    is only a mere influence and impersonal force, or whether He is
    an ever-present Friend and Helper, a divine Companion and