Think about the last time you went to a sporting event. After the game did you say, “Wow, the lighting in the arena was really great!” Of course not. The light was there in the background allowing you to clearly see the players. In the same way the Holy Spirit acts as a light that allows us to see Christ clearly.
The Holy Spirit points us towards Christ by testifying of Him in John 15:26 and convicting the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment” in John 16:8.
Because His role is to point us towards Christ instead of Himself many people misunderstand who the Holy Spirit is. Cults, for example, present Him as merely a force or power and as a result deny the Trinity. It’s critical that Christians understand who the Holy Spirit is and are able to see from Scripture why we believe what we do about Him. So we’re going to take some time and, from the Bible, establish two points:
1) The Holy Spirit Is A Person
2) The Holy Spirit Is God
While this won’t be an exhaustive list of proof texts it’ll be enough to give you a flavor of what the Bible teaches.
1) THE HOLY SPIRIT IS A PERSON
By “Person” I mean the Holy Spirit is not an inanimate force, like many cults teach, but a being with intelligence, emotion and will. The Holy Spirit is not an “it” but a “he”.
In Scripture we see the Holy Spirit exhibiting attributes of a person.
For example He displays His will in 1 Cor 12:11 distributing gifts to “each one individually as He wills.” And in Acts 13:2, “As 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.’” And again in Acts 16:6 where Paul and Timothy, “were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia.”
He teaches in 1 Cor 2:13, “These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches.”
And He shows emotion in Eph 4:30, “do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
Will, intelligence and emotion are all attributes of a person.
In Scripture we see the Holy Spirit performing the actions of a person.
He convicts the world in John 16:8, “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” He performs miracles in Acts 8:39, “Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing.”
He helps us by interceding on our behalf in Rom 8:26 “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
And He guides us into truth in John 16:13, “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth.”
Convicting, interceding and teaching are all actions of a person.
In Scripture we see the Holy Spirit treated as a person.
He is obeyed in Acts 10:19-21, While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are seeking you. Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them. Then Peter went down to the men”
He is lied to in Acts 5:3, “But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit.” He is resisted in Acts 7:51, “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit.”
And He is blasphemed in Matthew 12:31, “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men.”
Obeying, lying to, and blaspheming are things we do to a person.
So now that we’ve established that the Holy Spirit is a person let’s be more specific.
2) THE HOLY SPIRIT IS GOD
He is the third member of the Trinity, equal to God the Father and God the Son.
In Scripture we see the Holy Spirit referred to as God.
He’s mentioned alongside the Father and Son in Matthew 28:19 “Make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. Again in Isaiah 48:16 when Christ is speaking, “Come near to Me, hear this: I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; From the time that it was, I was there. And now the Lord GOD and His Spirit Have sent Me.”
And again in 2 Cor 13:14, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”
These verses show the Holy Spirit is God, yet separate from the Father and Son.
He is called God in Acts 5:3-4 when Peter says to Ananias, “Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? You have not lied to men but to God.” And again in Heb 3:7-8, “Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you will hear His voice Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of trial in the wilderness.” This is a quote of Psalm 95 where God is clearly the speaker. But the writer of Hebrews attributes this quote to the Holy Spirit thus claiming the Holy Spirit is God.
In Scripture we see the Holy Spirit displaying the attributes of God.
He is omniscience, or all-knowing in Isaiah 40:13, “Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD or as His counselor has taught Him?” And again in 1 Cor 2:10, “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.”
He is omnipresent, or in all-places in Psalm 139:7, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?”
And He is omnipotent, or all-powerful in Luke 1:35 where an angel is speaking to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you.”
Omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence are attributes of God alone.
In Scripture we see the Holy Spirit performing the actions of God.
He is the Creator of the world in Genesis 1:1-2, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 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.”
He resurrected Christ and will resurrect us in Romans 8:11, “If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”
He is the one who applies salvation in Titus 3:5, “According to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.”
He is the seal and guarantee of our salvation in Ephesians 1:13-14,”In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”
Creating, resurrecting, applying and sealing salvation are actions of God alone.
And so we see that the Holy Spirit is a person and is God. You’ll notice that our case doesn’t rest on one verse but instead is the result of comparing Scripture with Scripture. Our interpretation is based on the whole of Scripture and not just an isolated verse.