What is the Holy Spirit? The word “what” is used in the question intentionally as there are differing opinions on the Spirit’s personhood found in many different religions.
But there is a correct answer to the question, so let’s find out what that is.
Before we look at what the Bible says about the Holy Spirit, we should consider what some other religions teach. For example,
- Jehovah’s Witnesses believe the Spirit is not a person at all but an impersonal force, an expression of the power of God but not God Himself.
- Modern Judaism generally takes the same view.
- Mormons believe the Holy Spirit is a fully separate spiritual being from the Father and the Son.
All of these views have one thing in common: these groups reject the Spirit as a person and instead present Him as a thing. From their perspectives, the Spirit is a “what” rather than a “who.”
But the Scriptures themselves are emphatic: The Holy Spirit is God—not a manifestation of God’s power or an impersonal force but God Himself.
In other words, and poor grammar aside, the Holy Spirit is a Who.
All throughout the Bible, He is treated as a person (Acts 5:3; 7:51; Heb. 10:29), acts like a person (John 14:26, 15:26; Rom. 8:14), has attributes of a person (1 Cor. 2:10-11; Eph. 4:30), and acts in personal ways (Isa. 63:10; Acts 13:2). He speaks, chooses, commands, grieves, teaches, seals, counsels, and comforts.
All of this to say, the Holy Spirit is a person, and we can relate to Him personally (Acts 5:3-4; 7:51) as He works in and through everyone who trusts in the person and work of Jesus.