The Holy Spirit

A Study by Scott Bushey

Lets talk about Halloween again! Spooky things, creepy crawleys, Ghosts, haunted mansions. Ghouls. We’ve all heard the stories-that house over there is haunted. What does that mean really? I remember one time when I was talking to my friend Jerry once about the Holy GHOST! Ghosts? He was like, ‘Ghosts! What do you mean?’. After Jesus’ resurrection, when the apostles first saw him, their reactions was:

They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”

Apparently, the apostles knew of a scary type of ghost.

Unlike the ghosts that frequent gory stories of Halloween and inhabit old beaten up mansions, The Holy Ghost (or spirit), resides within the believer. He takes up residence-forever. He is not scary-he comforts; although there is a fear and awe the believer acknowledges.



This teaching will be on the 3rd person of the trinity, The Holy Spirit. Theologically speaking, better known as Pneumatology. Definition: The study of Gods spirit and how he interacts with the creature.

So much can be said in respect to this lofty subject. It will be impossible to address everything; Example; The HS in Christ’s life; The Greek word pneuma, often translated ―spirit, properly means wind, as when Jesus said:

The pneuma blows where it will. (John 3:8) The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.

In the NT, the HS is mentioned some 300 times. As I have mentioned in the past, a faulty theological view of the trinity can wreck ones faith-it causes unrest. It is confusion to the core. Truth sets one free-In the same way, misunderstanding the HS, who He is and what He does is an important facet to our faith.

In the Book of Acts Paul asks the disciples:

Acts 19:1 And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples   2 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.


– John Calvin writes:
The work of the Spirit, then, is joined to the word of God. But a distinction is made, that we may know that the external word is of no avail by itself. unless animated by the power of the Spirit …All power of action, then, resides in the Spirit himself.


1 CORINTHIANS 2:14 says:
The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Lets start by doing a short refresher on the trinity and diety.
In regards to the deity of the HS: You recall that the trinity is made up of 3 persons, 1 essence. It being that the Holy Spirit is the 3rd person, He is not subordinate to the other 2 persons-Christ is not subordinate to God the Father (although he did submit to the Fathers will) as the Holy Spirit is not subordinate to Christ, etc. The HS is as much God as Jesus is God. Just because we refer to the HS as the 3rd person does not denigrate His position. We need to remember that because the human mind, by default, by using the term 3rd person, naturally denigrates. Think of horses in the starting gate……


In this study, we will address a few points in regards to this important topic: The works of the HS, The baptism of the HS, The HS in the OT vs the NT-how is it different, biblical symbolism in regards to the HS, The fruits of the Spirit and the gifts of the HS, the Blasphemy of the HS.


The attributes of the HS:
They are the same as the other two parties of the trinity. Omniscience, omnipresence, omniscience. There is truth, holiness, life giver, He is eternal, he has a will, and can speak.  He is alive.  He is a person. The JW’s say that the HS is nothing more than a force-not a person. A force cannot speak, no will is involved; a force cannot be grieved.

Acts 13: 2As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.


1) The work of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit’s work in salvation:

Men cannot be saved outside of the work of the HS. According to the order of salvation, the general call goes out when the word is preached-this is known as the outward call-it is indiscriminant-it goes out to all men. The HS makes effectual, to the elect alone, the gospel-this is called the internal call. Got that? There is the internal call to all and the external call carried along by the HS, making it effectual to the elect. Men participate by responding to the internal call by repenting, believing and accepting. Remember when we discussed ascentia and Fiducia? The HS takes the preached word (ascentia) and mixes it with faith (fiducia) which makes it effectual to the believer.

Arthur Pink says:
The part and office of the Holy Spirit in the salvation of God’s elect consists in renewing them. He quickens the heirs of glory with a spiritual life, enlightens their minds to know Christ, reveals Him to them, forms Him in their hearts, and brings them to build all their hopes of eternal glory on Him alone.

To begin with, lets look at some of the things the HS is responsible for:

1. He teaches (John 14:26).

2. He witnesses (John 15:26).

3. He convicts (John 16:7-8).

4. He regenerates (John 3:5-7).

5. He directs and commands (Acts 8:29).

6. He performs miracles (Acts 8:39).

7. He calls and sends forth to service (Acts 13:2, 4).

8. He intercedes (Rom 8:26).

9. He guides (Rom 8:14).

a)  The HS’s work in sanctification

We talked about this in previous studies how the HS uses the word of God to sanctify the believer; the HS does not sanctify outside of the word of God; in other words, the HS does not just sanctify; the word and men must participate- men reading and studying, the HS compelling the word of God to go forward. He that has begun a good work in you will take into completion (that work) until the day of Christ Jesus. So, in summary, Gods word sanctifies us-the HS makes it efficacious.

b) The HS’s work in restraining evil in the world
We all know that man is totally depraved; He could be worse per se if the HS wasn’t restraining evil. The fact that men are not worse than they are proves that the HS restrains evil. Example, law are put in place to restrain evil doers and lawless men.
Gen 6:3; 3 And the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strivei with man forever

Neh 9:20 20 You also gave Your good Spirit to instruct them,
And did not withhold Your manna from their mouth,
And gave them water for their thirst.

c)  The Holy Spirit as comforter

Jesus tells us that the HS is the comforter. He does comfort us as we draw close to God in time of need. He is always there for us. He does not grow weary. He is forever faithful.

2) The Baptism of the Holy Spirit

a) When does this occur?

Upon regeneration and conversion, the believer is filled with the Holy Spirit. This is often referred to as the gift of theHoly Spirit. Even though we are filled, the exhortation to ‘be filled’ is relevant. On one hand we are filled, yet on the other we need to pray to be filled continuously.

b) Do all believers receive the baptism?
Yes, all believers receive the gift of theHoly Spirit.

c) Is this a separate event from when one is saved? In other words, is there a filling upon being regenerated and is there a ‘baptism’?
It is not, there is no second experience. The charismatics believe in a second filling akin to what happened in the book of Acts. There is no longer a need for sign gifts, the second filling was not actually a filling but a coming upon by the HS for the work of ministry and the supernatural power to propel the church forward. It was an exceptional time and an exceptional event. The believer must not go beyond scripture- we must keep a balanced view in regards to theHoly Spirit-We must not overemphasize the spirit like many charismatics do-In the same way we must not neutralize the powers present to the church and the individual believer in respect to the HS either. Balance is key.

Eph 4:5 One Lord, One Faith, one Baptism

It is important to note that the majority of the reformed hold to a cessationist view on the gifts.

3) The Holy Spirit in the OT vs the NT-how do the roles differ?

a) Is there a difference? Yes, there is a difference. Jesus himself made mention of a vast change after his departure: Did the OT saint have the HS? Yes they did; Stop and think about this for a moment. One cannot be saved without the spirit indwelling the believer. The helper was not with them, however. What exactly does that mean Scott; They had the HS but not in the same capacity? The operations of the spirit-the modus operandi was different. The best way I can explain it, is the HS’s personality of assisting and helping in the degree he does now was not there. He did assist prominent biblical figures at times, but then lifted this gift eventually-why else would David cry out, ‘please don’t take your spirit from me’ if it wasn’t an issue?

Romans 8:9

9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.

You gave your good Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold your manna from their mouths, and you gave them water for their thirst Nehemiah 9:20; cf. also 9:30

But it is the Spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding (Job 32:8).

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground
(Psalm 143:10).

John 7:38-39; 14:16-17

The biblical symbols:
a) Fire, water, oil, wind, dove.

How can we as believers take full advantage of the gift of the Holy Spirit? In other words, how can we fully experience Gods Spirit in our walk? Ask for forgiveness of sin. Put on the mind of Christ. Repent. Conform to the image of God-by Christ’s representation and direction. Of course, the conformity to Gods word. Understanding grace. Resist the devil and he will flee. Pray that ye enter not into temptation.

– John Owen writes:

The Holy Spirit does his work powerfully. A believer may be in the saddest and darkest condition imaginable. Even so, the Holy Spirit is able to break through all this and bring to mind the promises of Christ. By this work, the Holy Spirit enables Christians to sit in dungeons, rejoice in flames and glory in troubles. If he brings to mind the promises of Christ for our comfort, neither Satan nor man, neither sin nor the world, nor even death itself shall take away our comfort. Saints who have communion with the Holy Spirit know this only too well. Sometimes the heavens are black over them, and the earth trembles under them. Disasters and distresses appear which are so full of horror and darkness that they are tempted to give up in despair. So how greatly are their spirits revived when the Holy Spirit brings the words of Christ to their minds for their comfort and joy. Thus, believers are not dependent on outward circumstances for their happiness, for they have the inward and powerfully effective work of the Holy Spirit, to whom they give themselves up by faith.


The fruits of the Spirit (handout)

Self Control

His Names

His Attributes

Symbols of

Sins Against

Power in

Christ’s Life


Acts 5:3-4


Heb. 9:14


Matt. 3:16


Matt. 12:31

Conceived of

Matt. 1:18,20


2 Cor. 3:18


Luke 1:35


Acts 2:1-4

Resist (Unbelief)

Acts 7:51


Matt. 3:16


1 Cor. 2:10


Psalm 139:7-10


Acts 2:3


Heb. 10:29

Led by

Luke 4:1

Spirit of God

1 Cor. 3:16


1 Cor. 12:11


Lied to

Acts 5:3

Filled with Power

Luke 4:14,18

Spirit of Truth

John 15:26


Rom. 15:30



Eph. 4:30

Witness of Jesus

John 15:26

Eternal Spirit

Heb. 9:14


Acts 8:29; 13:2



1 Thess. 5:19

Raised Jesus

Rom. 8:11



Gifts of the Holy Spirit (handout)

The Spiritual Gifts:
Romans 12exhortation








1 Corinthians 12administration











tongues interpretation




Ephesians 4apostle





Misc. Passagescelibacy




voluntary poverty

Blasphemy of the HS
Mark 3:29 – But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.

Matt 12:31“Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. 32“And whoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age, or in the age to come,” (All Scripture quotes are from the NASB).

There is no biblical support for a believer committing this sin. It just hasn’t happened. Also, if you are worried that you may have committed the sin and can’t be forgiven, then don’t be concerned. If you are worrying about it, then you haven’t committed it. If you are worried about it, then that is a sign that you have not committed it. If you had, you wouldn’t be concerned.

For a more thorough analysis of the Holy Spirit, here is another paper I wrote:

The Holy Spirit in the Covenant of Grace by Scott Bushey