by Bryan Gibson
This document is not like most of our articles. However we felt it would be good to include it, if for no other reason than to impress the fact that much is said regarding the Holy Spirit throughout the entire bible. It is not possible to understand the nature and work of the Holy Spirit without performing a fairly complete and comprehensive study. The questions given below outline such a study, and while they do not contain every reference to the Holy Spirit, an attempt was made to only eliminate from consideration passages that contain information that is adequately covered elsewhere in the study.
This study puts much of the responsibility of drawing conclusions regarding the Holy Spirit on the reader. Many questions are posed and left open because we feel the scriptures adequately answer these questions. We urge you to enter into this study carefully, prayerfully, and with an open mind.
1. What characteristic of the Holy Spirit is revealed in Psalms 139:7? See also Micah 2:7.
2. What word is used to describe the Holy Spirit in Psalms 143:10?
3. What do we find the Spirit of God doing “in the beginning”? Genesis 1:1-2.
4. Was the Holy Spirit active in creation? Job 26:13; 33:4; Psalms 104:30.
5. Read Genesis 6:3, taking note of the phrase, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever.” How was the Spirit striving with man?
6. What role did the Holy Spirit play in the building of the tabernacle? Exodus 31:3-5; 35:30-35.
7. What role did the Holy Spirit play in the building of the temple? 1 Chronicles 28:11-13. What about many years later when the temple was rebuilt? Zechariah 4:1-10.
8. Read Numbers 11:16-30. Why was the Holy Spirit put on these 70 elders? What happened when the Spirit rested upon them?
9. We know that Moses had the Holy Spirit from the above account. What about Joshua? Numbers 27:18-23.
10. Numbers 24:2 tells of how the Holy Spirit came upon Balaam. Who was Balaam and what had he been asked to do by the king of Moab? (Numbers 22:1-6).
11. Name the different judges upon whom the Holy Spirit was said to come. Judges 3:10; 6:34; 11:29; 13:25; 14:6, 19; 15:14.
12. What does the Spirit do to those words the LORD has commanded? (Isaiah 34:16).
13. By whom were God’s people instructed? Nehemiah 9:20, 30; Zechariah 7:12; 2 Peter 1:21.
14. How did they sometimes respond to these instructions? Nehemiah 9:30; Psalms 106:33; Isaiah 30:1; 63:10; Acts 7:51.
15. What did the prophet Micah say that the power of the Holy Spirit enabled him to do? Micah 3:8.
1. The prophecies of Christ throughout the O. T.—by whom were these spoken? 1 Peter 1:10-12.
2. When the Spirit came upon Amasai, what effect did He have? 1 Chronicles 12:18.
3. Read 2 Chronicles 15:1-2; 20:14-15; 24:20. The Holy Spirit came upon Azariah, Jehaziel, and Zechariah. What effect did He have on these men?
4. When Samuel anointed Saul as king, what was one of the signs he gave him? 1 Samuel 10:6. Did this come true? 1 Samuel 10:10.
5. On what occasion did the Spirit of God come upon Saul again? 1 Samuel 11:1-7.
6. On what later occasion did Saul prophesy by the Spirit of the Lord? 1 Samuel 19:20-24.
7. When did the Spirit depart from Saul, and why? 1 Samuel 16:14.
8. When did the Holy Spirit come upon David? 1 Samuel 16:13.
9. What did the Holy Spirit do for David, according to the following passages: 2 Samuel 23:2; Matthew 22:42-43; Mark 12:36; Acts 1:16.
10. What request did David make of God concerning the Holy Spirit? Psalms 51:11.
11. What unusual things did the Holy Spirit do to the prophet Ezekiel? Ezekiel 2:2; 3:12, 14, 24; 8:3; 11:1, 24; 37:1; 43:5.
12. What is the point of the question in Isaiah 40:13?
13. Isaiah 42:1 speaks of “My Servant” on whom God would put His Spirit. Who is this servant? Is it the same person described in Isaiah 11:1-2? See also Isaiah 61:1. Are any of these passages quoted in the New Testament?
14. Read Joel 2:28-32. Where and when was this prophecy fulfilled? See if you can find any other passages that prophesy the pouring out of the Holy Spirit.
15. Read Isaiah 59:20-21. Which covenant is referred to in this passage?
1. At what point was John the Baptist filled with the Spirit? (Luke 1:13-15).
2. Did John perform any signs? (John 10:41).
How did John the Baptist
contrast himself with Jesus? (Matthew 3:11-12; see also
Mark 1:7-8; Luke 3:15-18).
4. Name some others who were either said to be filled with the Spirit or had the Spirit upon them. (Luke 1:41-45; 1:67-79; 2:25-32).
5. How did the angel explain the conception of Jesus in Mary’s womb? (Matthew 1:18-20; Luke 1:31-35).
In what manner did the Holy
Spirit come upon Jesus at His baptism? (Matthew 3:16;
Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22; John 1:32-33). Did the Holy Spirit “remain” with Jesus?
7. With what did God anoint Jesus? (Acts 10:38).
8. What prophecies from Isaiah did Jesus quote and apply to Himself? (Matthew 12:16-21; Luke 4:14-21).
By whom was Jesus led into
the wilderness to be tempted? (Matthew 4:1; Mark 1:12;
10. Where did the Spirit help direct Him after this series of temptations? (Luke 4:14).
11. By whom did Jesus cast out demons? (Matthew 12:28; Luke 11:20).
12. Why did Jesus cast out demons and perform other miracles? (John 20:30-31; 7:31; 3:2; 2:11; Acts 2:22).
1. In whom did Jesus rejoice? (Luke 10:21).
By whom did Jesus teach the
words of God and give commandments to His apostles?
(John 3:34; Acts 1:2).
3. By whose power was Jesus raised from the dead? (Romans 1:4; 8:11; 1 Peter 3:18).
4. Through whom did Jesus offer Himself as a sacrifice? (Hebrews 9:14).
5. Regarding the Holy Spirit, what particular sin did Jesus warn about? (Matthew 12:22-32; Mark 3:20-29; Luke 12:8-12).
6. What aid from the Spirit did Jesus promise the twelve? (Matthew 10:19-20; see also Mark 13:10-11; Luke 12:11-12).
7. Jesus promised the apostles that when He left, He would send the Holy Spirit. What would the Holy Spirit do for them? (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:13; Acts 1:4-8). Would this be the first time the Holy Spirit came upon them?
8. In whose names were the apostles told to baptize people? (Matthew 28:18-20).
9. What blessing did Jesus promise to those who believe in Him, and what was He talking about? (John 7:37-39).
10. What did Jesus promise the Father would give to those who ask Him? (Luke 11:13).
11. Jesus said in John 6:63, “It is the Spirit who gives life.” Does He explain what He means? Does He explain how the Spirit does that? (John 6:63-68).
12. According to Jesus, what would be
necessary for one to enter the kingdom of God?
Before Jesus ascended back
to heaven, He told His apostles to wait in Jerusalem. Why?
When did the Holy Spirit
come upon them, and what was the immediate effect?
3. What prophecy did Peter use to explain what happened? (Acts 2:14-21).
4. What did Jesus receive from the Father when He was exalted to His right hand? (Acts 2:33).
5. What promise was made to those who repented and were baptized? (Acts 2:37-39).
6. To whom is the Holy Spirit given? (Acts 5:32). Does this apply to Christians today?
7. Wonders and signs were performed by the ____________. (Acts 2:43; 5:12).
8. We know the Holy Spirit gave the apostles power to perform miracles. What else did the Holy Spirit enable them to do? (Acts 4:8-12; 4:31, 33).
9. What were Ananias and Sapphira guilty of, in relation to the Holy Spirit? (Acts 5:1-11).
10. When the church at Jerusalem was instructed to find seven men to help serve the widows, what qualifications were they told to look for? (Acts 6:1-4).
11. What statement is made about Stephen? (Acts 6:5). Who else is described in this way? (Acts 11:22-24).
12. When these seven men were set before the apostles, what did the apostles do? (Acts 6:6). What was the significance of this? (Acts 8:18).
13. Did Stephen and Philip perform any miracles? (Acts 6:8; 8:5-8).
14. Read Acts 6:8 carefully, along with Acts 14:3. What do these verses indicate about the purpose of miracles? See also Mark 16:15-20.
1. When Stephen appeared before the council, he said, among other things, “you always resist the Holy Spirit” (Acts 7:51). What did he mean by that?
2. How was Stephen able to gaze into heaven and see the glory of God? (Acts 7:55).
3. How did the new converts in Samaria receive the Holy Spirit? (Acts 8:14-18). What about the disciples in Ephesus? (Acts 19:1-6).
4. What did Simon try to do when he observed this, and what was Peter’s response? (Acts 8:18-24).
5. What role did the Holy Spirit play in the Ethiopian eunuch’s conversion? (Acts 8:26-40).
6. When was Paul filled with the Holy Spirit? (Acts 9:17-19). What did Paul perform by the power of the Holy Spirit? (Romans 15:18-19).
7. What work is attributed to the Holy Spirit in Acts 9:31?
8. On whom did the Holy Spirit fall in Acts 10? What was the immediate effect on these people?
9. Before all this happened, what did the Holy Spirit say to Peter? (Acts 10:19-20; 11:12).
10. Can we determine what purpose God had in mind by pouring out the Holy Spirit on Cornelius and his family? (Acts 10:44-48; 11:15-18; 15:6-10).
11. In the book of Acts, several people are identified as prophets: Agabus (Acts 11:27-28; 21:10-11); various ones in the church at Antioch (Acts 13:1); Judas and Silas (Acts 15:32); Philip’s four daughters (Acts 21:8-9). What would have been necessary for them to be able to prophesy?
12. What did the Holy Spirit testify to Paul “in every city”? (Acts 20:22-23; see also 21:10-11).
13. Using the following passages, list some activities of the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:1-4; 16:6-7; 18:5).
14. Acts 20:17-35 reveals the words of Paul to the elders of the church at Ephesus. By whom had these men been made elders? (Acts 20:28).
Miracles In The Book Of Acts
The subject of miracles is one of the most controversial of religious topics. In the bible, three Greek words are translated “miracles.” The Greek word dunamis (power) is the word from which we get our word dynamite. The second is the Greek word semeon (sign). A sign is something that is clear and obvious that points to and identifies something that is somewhat hidden. Also, teras (wonders) is sometimes used to indicate that the event could not be explained in any natural way. All three words indicate that bible miracles were obvious supernatural events—not tricks or coincidences.
To see how the bible defines those miracles that are most relevant to us today, we can go through the book of Acts and observe the miracles that occurred once the Lord’s church was established on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). Consider the characteristics of the following:
· On Pentecost itself (Acts 2), a sound like “a mighty rushing wind,” the appearance of “cloven tongues like as of fire” that sat upon the apostles, and the apostles’ ability to speak in about 14 other languages—nothing hidden at all, clearly supernatural and verifiable signs, wonders and powers.
· Other non-specified miracles were performed at this point, but they were strictly “by the hands of the apostles” (Acts 2:43; 4:43; 5:12). It is made clear that no one except the apostles had the power to perform miracles until the events of Acts 6.
· In Acts 3, Peter and John healed a man who was more than 40 years old (4:22) that had never walked prior to this; he leaped in the air (3:8), again a clear sign and power that caused wonder.
· In Acts 5 we have what we might call the first negative miracle, in that it caused death. The context of Acts 5 shows how God demonstrated His power and brought about fear (Acts 5:11) by striking dead Ananias and Sapphira his wife, two people who conspired to lie to the church about a gift that they offered.
· Acts 5:16 shows that the apostles were able to heal all that were sick or vexed with unclean spirits.
· The only remedy that the high priest thought effective was to jail the apostles (Acts 5:18). But they were immediately released by an angel of the Lord (5:19). Acts 5:23 indicates that the doors were not even opened. This would be a very clear sign, power and wonder.
· The first instance of a non-apostle performing a miracle is Steven (Acts 6:8). The apostles had laid hands upon him and six others, one of whom was Phillip (Acts 6:5-6). Stephen was stoned shortly thereafter (Acts 7), and the Christians in general were “scattered abroad … except the apostles” (Acts 8:1).
· Phillip went down to Samaria preaching Christ and validating his words with the miracles that he performed (Acts 8:6). These were clearly superior to the tricks performed by Simon the sorcerer.
· It is clear from the context of Acts 8 that, in general, baptized believers did not have power to perform miracles, and Peter and John were sent to them so that they could receive such power, which was bestowed upon them by the laying on of the apostles hands (Acts 8:18).
· A second negative miracle is recorded in Acts 9. Some say that Paul was converted on the road to Damascus; in reality he was struck blind. The Lord got his attention in this way, but then commanded him to go to Damascus “… and it shall be told thee what thou must do” (Acts 9:6). Paul was taught the same thing that all other hearers of the gospel were taught, and he obeyed the same commands (Acts 22:16).
· Later on in Acts 9:32f, the scene focuses back on Peter who heals someone who had been sick of palsy for eight years, and then he raised a woman from the dead. Both highly spectacular events.
· In Acts 10 the first gentiles hear the gospel, and some events quite similar to those on Pentecost occur (Acts 10:44f). The fact that these were not common events, however, is made clear in Peter’s explanation back to the Jewish brethren in Acts 11:15-16. If this was common at all conversions, then Peter’s statement that this was like “on us at the beginning” would have no meaning. There are only two instances identified as “baptisms in the Holy Spirit” given in the book of Acts: Acts 2 and Acts 10-11.
· A second incident of a miraculous release from prison is given in Acts 12:7f.
· A third case of a negative miracle is given in Acts 13:8f—an evil man was struck blind.
· In Acts 14:8f, during Paul’s first missionary journey, he healed a man crippled from his mother’s womb. So spectacular and different was this that the people wanted to proclaim that Barnabas was the god Jupiter and Paul was the god Mercury, which, of course, they forbade. Shortly after this Jewish enemies of the gospel persuaded these same people to stone Paul, who miraculously walked away after the stoning (8:20).
· The absence of any miracle in Acts 15 is significant. Here was a major crisis over the doctrine of circumcision that you would think God would easily resolve with a miracle. However, the context of Acts 15 shows that God had already spoken on this subject and so nothing more needed to be revealed or confirmed. Previous miracles were cited as sufficient evidence (Acts 15:12).
· Miracles still continued for the purpose of guiding the apostles and providing confirmation to those who had no other means of validating the gospel. For example, in Acts 16:26f, Paul and Silas are miraculously released from prison, leading to the conversion of the Philippian Jailor and his household.
· In contrast, no miracles were presented to those who could validate the teachings by means of the scriptures (see Acts 17:11), and no miracles were performed during Paul’s trials in Jerusalem (Acts 22-26).
· Since the New Testament had not been written at this point, there was still a need for ongoing revelation. However, the necessity for the apostles to impart these gifts is further evidenced by the events of Acts 19, and specifically, Acts 19:6.
· Some “special miracles” were performed at this time (Acts 19:11-12), indicating the unusual.
· Negative miracles also persisted (Acts 19:13f). Note the effect of this in 19:17.
· The final miracles recorded involve the saving of all aboard after the shipwreck (Acts 27), and Paul’s not being affected by the bite of a venomous snake (Acts 28:1-6), giving confirmation to the gentiles on the remote island of Melita.
If events like this were happening today there would be no way that they could be hidden, nor would there be any reason for them to be hidden. If hidden, they would not be signs. If they followed the pattern above, there would be a wide variety of healings of all types of maladies, giving life to the dead, and notable negative miracles (e.g., people struck dead or blind). Further, in the first century, even the very enemies of Christ knew that miracles were occurring, and knew that they would have no credibility at all if they denied them (see John 11:47; Acts 4:16). Our media today explores even the remotest prospects of the miraculous, and their quest for sensationalism totally assures that if anything like the miracles listed above were occurring, we would be fully aware of it. If we truly believe that the events that are recorded in the book of Acts did occur, then we cannot help but come to the conclusion that these things are not continuing today, as Paul prophesied (1 Cor. 13:8-13).
The Holy Spirit (Romans-Revelation): Part 1
1. Various passages exhort us to walk or live according to the Spirit (Romans 8:1, 5, 13; Galatians 5:16-18, 25). With what is this walk contrasted?
2. How can you tell if you are walking in or according to the Spirit? (Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 5:9; Colossians 1:8).
3. If we walk in the Spirit, then everything we do in service to the Lord should be done “in the Spirit.” Name some specific actions done “in the Spirit.” (Ephesians 6:18; Philippians 3:3; Jude 1:20).
4. What is promised to one who “sows to the Spirit”? (Galatians 6:8).
5. How is our service to the Lord described in Romans 7:6?
6. What blessings do we enjoy in or by the Spirit? (Romans 14:17; 15:13, 30; 1 Thessalonians 1:6).
7. What has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit? (Romans 5:5).
8. What work is attributed to the Holy Spirit in 2 Corinthians 3:17-18?
9. Through whom do we have access to our heavenly Father? (Ephesians 2:18).
The gospel was revealed by
or through whom? (1 Corinthians 2:10-13; Ephesians 3:1-6;
1 Peter 1:12).
11. How did Paul characterize his preaching? (1 Corinthians 2:4).
12. The letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2-3—by whom were these words spoken? (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22).
13. What is the sword of the Spirit? (Ephesians 6:17).
14. Hebrews 10:15 speaks of the Holy Spirit “witnessing” to us. How does He do that, according to the next few verses?
What should we not do to the
Spirit? (Ephesians 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19;
Does the Holy Spirit dwell
in us? (Romans 8:9, 11; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19;
Ephesians 2:22; 3:16; 2 Timothy 1:14; James 4:5).
2. If one is “filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18), what will be the effect? (Ephesians 5:19ff).
3. Read 2 Corinthians 3:7-8. What is the “ministry of death,” and what is the “ministry of the Spirit”?
4. How is receiving the Holy Spirit used to show that one is justified by faith and not by works of the law? (Galatians 3:1-5).
5. What do we eagerly wait for through the Spirit? (Galatians 5:5).
6. List the gifts of the Spirit given in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11.
7. When were these gifts to cease? (1 Corinthians 13:8-13).
8. For what reason is the Holy Spirit given, according to these passages: Ephesians 1:13-14; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; 5:5; Galatians 4:6-7?
9. As Paul closes 2 Corinthians, what desire does he express for these brethren? (2 Corinthians 13:14). On this “communion of the Holy Spirit,” see also Philippians 2:1; Hebrews 6:4.
What role does the Holy
Spirit play in our salvation, according to the following passages?
(2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2; 1 Corinthians 6:11; 12:13; Titus 3:5).
11. What invitation is given by “the Spirit and the bride”? (Revelation 22:17).
12. In what way are we blessed when we are reproached for the name of Christ? (1 Peter 4:14).
13. How do we know that we abide in Christ and He in us? (1 John 3:24; 4:13).
14. What should we endeavor to keep? (Ephesians 4:1-3).
15. 1 Timothy 4:1 begins with, “Now the Spirit expressly says…” Does the Spirit always speak expressly or explicitly?
16. What actions did the Holy Spirit perform on the apostle John? (Revelation 17:3; 21:10).
“Now Concerning Spiritual Gifts” (1 Corinthians 12:1)
Note: This lesson will focus on the teaching about spiritual
gifts, found in
1 Corinthians 12-14.
1. Who was the source of these gifts? (12:11, see also 12:4-6).
2. Through what means were these spiritual gifts imparted? (Acts 8:12-18; Acts 19:1-7; Romans 1:8-11; 2 Timothy 1:6).
3. List the spiritual gifts found in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10.
4. For whose benefit were these gifts given? (12:7).
5. Were all these gifts necessary?
6. What would render these gifts useless? (13:1-3).
7. When would these gifts cease? (13:8-13).
8. What is indicated about the purpose of these gifts in the following verses: 14:3-5, 12, 26?
9. What regulations were given for tongue speaking? (14:27-28).
10. What regulations were given for prophesying? (14:29-33).
11. What restriction was imposed upon women?
12. In what manner were all things to be done?
13. Explain the statement in 14:5, “he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues…”
False Ideas About the Holy Spirit
Note: Below you will find two false doctrines about the Holy Spirit. Using what we have learned in our study so far, prove from the Scriptures that these doctrines are indeed false.
1. Some people assert that the Holy Spirit is not a person.
a. A Watchtower publication (Jehovah Witnesses) asserts that “the holy spirit is the active force of God. It is not a person but is a powerful force that God causes to emanate from himself to accomplish his holy will” (Reasoning, p. 81).
b. Mary Baker Eddy, founder of “Christian Science,” characterized the third person of the Trinity as “Divine Science” (p. 55).
c. Parley Pratt, one of Mormonism’s original “apostles,” once described the Holy Spirit as a force like “magnetism” or “electricity.” He further spoke of the Spirit as “a divine fluid” and “impersonal energy.”
2. Some assert that the Holy Spirit still works miracles today.
False Ideas About the Holy Spirit
Note: In this lesson we will look at two more false ideas concerning the Holy Spirit. Read these carefully, and then show from the Scriptures the problems with each one.
1. One of the five tenets of Calvinism, which still influences denominational doctrine today, is the doctrine of irresistible grace (or direct operation of the Holy Spirit).
a. Here is essentially what John Calvin believed and taught: Man is so totally depraved and wholly inclined to evil, that it would take a miracle to save him and to make him want to be converted. His concept of the Holy Spirit was that He operates directly upon the heart of the sinner separate and apart from the word to bring about his salvation. This work of the Holy Spirit, according to him, is irresistible; it enables the regenerated man to understand and believe the gospel.
2. Another doctrine relates to man’s ability to understand the Bible. Some contend, that while we must study the Bible, we need the special illumination of the Holy Spirit.
a. Roy Zuck of the Dallas Theological Seminary has written: “The [Bible] interpreter must also depend on the Holy Spirit.” He cites H.C.G. Moule: “The blessed Spirit is not only the true Author of the written Word but also its supreme and true Expositor” (Zuck, p. 23).