There Are Three
by Jefferson David Tant
In our Bible studies and teaching, we often refer to God the Father and Christ the Son. Obviously, this is good, as they are prominent figures in our creation, salvation, and daily living. We are also aware that there is a third being that is one of the God-head, and that is the Holy Spirit. And while we recognize that the Holy Spirit is Deity, it appears that often we do not spend as much time learning about him as we should. So let us consider some Bible passages that can give us some insight concerning the Holy Spirit and his work.
There are various religious groups that do not accept the Holy Spirit as a separate being, claiming that the term simply refers to God’s breath. Among those are Jehovah’s Witnesses, Oneness Pentecostals, Christian Science, United Church of God, etc.
Breath of the Almighty
"The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life” (Job 33:4).
Ancient Job recognized the source of his life. The words “breath” and “wind” in both Hebrew and Greek are similar and refer to “wind,” “breath” and “spirit.” The Hebrew “nashama” includes “inspiration, soul, spirit.” Thus the Holy Spirit is the source of our life. "Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7).
"And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever” (John 14:16).
“And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26).
“Helper” is also translated as “Comforter,” and is from the Greek “parakletos" – an intercessor, console: --advocate, comforter.” In some translations “comforter” is used. The Holy Spirit is the source of our strength and, as the text says, he intercedes for us.
Spirit of Counsel
“And the Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD” (Isaiah 11:2).
“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
We need to allow the Holy Spirit to guide us in our daily living as we follow his teaching in the Scriptures. “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come" (John 16:13).
“How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish unto God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:14).
Just as the Father and Son are eternal, so is the Holy Spirit. “Eternal” in the passage is from the Greek “aionios,” referring to “eternal, everlasting.”
“But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back some of the price of the land? While it remained [unsold,] did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men, but to God" (Acts 5:3-4).
In this passage, Peter uses two terms in referring to the one who was lied to. First is the Holy Spirit, and then Peter identifies him as “God.” That word is from the Greek theos, “the Supreme Divinity, God.” The Holy Spirit is not just a force or thing as some suppose but is in truth the third person of the Trinity. And how can you lie to a “thing?”
“Do not cast me away from Thy presence, And do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me” (Psalm 51:11).
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30).
Obviously, the Holy Spirit is not a physical being as we are, but he does exist in spirit form. Truly, the particulars of this existence are beyond our human understanding, but we do know that the Holy Spirit had a part in our creation.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters” (Genesis 1:1-2).
One other point to be made is the fact that when the word “Spirit” is used in referring to God, we know that he does not have a physical body. After his resurrection, Christ demonstrates to his disciples that he was bodily resurrected. "See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have" (Luke 24:39).
“Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (II Corinthians 3:17).
“Lord” is from the Greek “kurios,” and is defined as “supreme in authority, master, etc.
“And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).
In this passage, Mary is being told of the coming birth of Christ. The King James uses the word “Highest” in the passage. It is from the Greek “hupsistos” and given the meaning of “highest, i.e. (masculine singular) the Supreme (God).”
There are other terms, but the terms listed here give a pretty comprehensive view of the Holy Spirit and his purpose and work in our creation and existence. Some help has come from Hendrickson Publishers plus my own studies and comments on the Holy Spirit. The translation used is the New American Standard.