Monday: The Holy Spirit Is a Person

Ellen G. White wrote that the nature of the Holy Spirit is a mystery. Men cannot explain it, because the Lord has not revealed it to them. . . . Regarding such mysteries, which are too deep for human understanding, silence is golden. –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 52.

Image © Providence Collection from

Image © Providence Collection from

Nevertheless, she also affirmed that the Holy Spirit is a person, for He beareth witness with our spirits that we are the children of God. . . . He must also be a divine person, else He could not search out the secrets which lie hidden in the mind of God. — Ellen G. White, Evangelism, p. 616, 617. This statement was based on the Bible (Rom. 8:16 and 1 Cor. 2:10-11). So, although we are limited by our human nature, through the Scriptures we can at least know that the Holy Spirit is a Person and that He is Divine. What Jesus said about the Holy Spirit confirms this conclusion.

What are some of the actions of the Holy Spirit that show us He is a Person? See John 14:26, John 15:26, John 16:7-14.

Jesus mentioned several activities the Spirit carries out, all of which imply a personality. Who better than a person can teach us and bring to our remembrance all the things that Christ said (John 14:26)? Or who better than a personal being can testify of Jesus (John 15:26), convict the world (John 16:8), guide us into all truth, and also hear and speak (John 16:13)?

Following the teachings of Jesus, the New Testament writers made it clear that the Holy Spirit has the essential characteristics of a person: will (1 Cor. 12:11), intelligence (Acts 15:28, Rom. 8:27), and emotions (Rom. 15:30, Eph. 4:30).

Because the Holy Spirit is a divine Person, we must humbly surrender ourselves to His will and guidance. We will invite Him to dwell in our hearts (Rom. 8:9), to transform our lives (Titus 3:5), and to produce the fruit of the Spirit in our characters (Gal. 5:22-23). On our own, we are helpless; only through His power working in us can we become what we have been promised in Jesus.

The Holy Spirit is a gift; like most gifts, it can be rejected. How can you make sure, day by day, that you are not turning away from what the Holy Spirit seeks to do in your life?



Monday: The Holy Spirit Is a Person — 16 Comments

  1. Sincere thank you for the link to Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 5, pp 47-56 on "The Holy Spirit". I am richly blessed from reading it, and will read it again. God has blessed us with the wonderful transforming empowering presence of the Holy Spirit, and follows the gift of His presence with powerful words representing His ministry to our hearts and lives. I am blessed. May those who read also be blessed beyond.

  2. I do not like the opening paragraphs of this lesson where it presents Ellen White's comments on the personhood of the Spirit and then the Bible texts. I believe the Bible should always be pre-eminent and then one can say that based on these verses, EGW states that the Holy Spirit is a person. Ellen White's statement is not the proof, but the Bible may show Ellen White to be true.

  3. As a child I attended a Convent School from Grade 2 - Grade 8. God led my parents to send me thousands of miles away to Helderberg College where I was introduced to the Adventist "Truth". I was acquainted with the doctrine of the trinity and taught to pray "in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost" The sisters told us that we will only really know how three 'beings' can be one God. In all my years as an Adventist this has remained my understanding of God, except that it has become more understandable in that I think of the three Persons of God as a partnership or a family consisting of three persons. Jesus said that 'if you have seen me you have seen the Father'. He did not say that about the Holy Spirit. We can speculate as much as we like about what the Holy Spirit looks like - whether it is male or female (in our humanness we cannot imagine a family without a mother!) but is that important to my salvation. Sr White supports what I learnt as a child ... we shall know in Heaven! I go to the Sanctuary and as I stand before the candle sticks I think of the oil lamps we had on the farm. Daily they had to be filled with oil and have the wicks trimmed. Jesus is the Lamp lighting up our way and the Holy Spirit is the oil keeping me burning!

  4. Perhaps it would be safe not to go beyond what we can prove from the Bible alone. There is no text clearly stating that the Holy Spirit is a person. The reference to the H.S. in John 14 is to the invisible presence of Jesus himself.

    Jesus had the habit to refer to himself using the third person. A good example is his allusions to the "
    Son of man." Every time he referred to the "Son of Man" he was actually talking about himself using the third person.

    I find no case in the Bible where the H.S. was worshiped. Besides, when we go to the book of Daniel, we discover that the H.S. is absent. We find there only the angel Gabriel and Michael, who is identified with Jesus.

    Read Dan. 10:13 & 21. Daniel was sick for three weeks, but there was no one to help him except Gabriel and Michael. What happened to the omnipresence of the H.S.?

    • Hi Nic,

      It seems to me that an argument from silence is hardly a valid one, for we could come up with all sorts of inconsistent ideas with such arguments.

      However, let's take a closer look at John 14. In John 14:9-10, Jesus tells Philip that anyone who has seen Jesus has seen the Father. I see this as demonstrating the complete unity of the Father and the Son, not that the Father does not exist.

      In John 14:16, Jesus promises that He will pray the Father who will give the disciples "another Helper," namely the Holy Spirit. I understand that the Greek clearly implies "another of the same kind." By "another" Christ makes clear that the Holy Spirit is not synonymous with Himself, though He is in such unity with Him that He represents Jesus fully - just as Jesus represents the Father.

      Let us resist the temptation to make the Holy Spirit less of a person, to enable us to understand Him.

  5. Nic In Daniel 10 when Daniel says there was no spirit in him he is talking about breath. Job 27:3 and not the Holy Spirit. Just like when the Queen of Sheba saw Solomon's splendor it says there was no spirit in her. 1 Kings 10:5. What she saw was simply breathtaking. Meanwhile, Jesus would not have said it was necessary for Him to go so that He could come. That makes no sense.

  6. When Jesus said he would send another comforter he was saying another of the (same kind) in the original language. Then he simply said he would be back.

  7. What a SUPREME Brilliant act of JESUS; to secure the Connection with us completely WIRE-LESS !!! Even loooong before ONE even spoke of WIRE-LESS communication which is relavely resent. Thank You Jesus !!! HOW VERY considerate + THOUGHTFUL of YOU ! WHAT on EARTH should we have dine WITHOUT it !!! Impossible to even start imagining ...!!! Praise and Honor b to my presious Designer and keeper of ALL that is of good report. Liv

  8. Could it be that the main objection we have against a biblical interpretation of the Holy Spirit is what Ellen White wrote about this topic? Nevertheless, didn't she state in Counsels to Editors that there are things we will have to learn and unlearn?

  9. We should not be offended when the comments of Ellen G White are quoted.In whatever order it is quoted, as long they are supported by the bible there is no harm.It is just skill.

    The study of the person of the Holy Spirit helps us to appreciate that God is all over and in us.He has always helped us make decisions according to God's will.He inspires us in prayer,witnessing.He is wonderful.We cannot walk in this world without Him.

    • Where in the Bible are we told that Christ's divine nature was forever limited as a consequence of taking on human nature during His time on earth?

      "In our time there is a wide departure from their doctrines and precepts, and there is need of a return to... the Bible, and the Bible only. - Great Controversy, P. 204.

  10. William,

    Jesus' physical presence had to end in order to make room for his invisible presence. He said he would come back: "But you know him for he lives with you and be in you." As long as he was physically present, he lived with them; following his departure, he would live in them.

    This is why he could promise to them that he would be with them till the end.

    We should not be surprised by the fact that Jesus used the third person singular to refer to himself. We find numerous similar references where Jesus used this device.

    Every time he used the "The son of Man" phrase he was referring to himself. This habit of him explains why he used the third person in John 14. There is no need to invent a third member of the Godhead.

    The H.S. can be interpreted as God's invisible manifestation and presence. Whenever said presence became visible, the Bible uses the "Angel of the Lord" expression.

    This is seen in the case of Gideon, Samson's parents, and Philip in the New Testament. What started as the Spirit, later on was identified as an Angel.

    This is seen in the following biblical text:

    New International Version
    Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? Psalm 139:7]

    Quite often Hebrew poets used rephrasing to express the same thought. This poetic device is called parallelism.

    Interpreted in this manner, the need to assign a third person to the H.S. disappears. The H.S. becomes the invisible presence or manifestation of divinity.

    • Nic,I humbly refute your claim that the Holy Spirit is Christ's invisible nature manifested. Even at creation, the Godhead three were present including the Holy Spirit.In Gensis 1:2,we see the Holy Spirit manifesting itself as a single entity“The earth was without form, and void;and darkness was on the face of the deep.And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters".This text potrays that,God the Holy Spirit was equally present at creation.The Spirit of God means the Holy Spirit as we know the The Son of God to be Christ Jesus.

  11. some people say that the holys spirit is not a person because in the bible He is compareted with fire, oil, water and other figures. How we can explain it acording real interpretation?

  12. Duako,

    It all depends on whether you capitalize the word "spirit." Notice the following translation of Gen. 1:2:

    English Revised Version
    "And the earth was waste and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep: and the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."

    Notice that the translators here did not capitalize the word "spirit." Why? Because spirit means breath, wind, and even presence.

    This means that I could translate the text as follows: "the presence of God moved upon the face of the waters.


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