What is the Holy Spirit?
Is the Spirit an impersonal force like electricity or gravity, or is He a person?
Traditionally, the early Christians concluded the Holy Spirit was a person. But is there any Biblical evidence to support that conclusion?
I think there is.
Of course, it depends on how you define the word person.
If you define a person as someone who has a mind, will, and emotion, then here are three Biblical proofs for the personhood of the Spirit.
First, the Holy Spirit has a mind. Paul referred to the mind of the Spirit:
Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God (Rom 8:27, emphasis added).
His speaking and teaching prove the Spirit’s mind:
Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.” (Acts 8:29, emphasis added)
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” (Acts 13:2, emphasis added).
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you” (John 14:26, emphasis added).
Can an impersonal force do that? Does electricity teach, or does gravity speak? Of course not. Only a person can.
Second, the Holy Spirit has a will. For example, when Paul wanted to go to Bithynia, the Spirit had other plans and forbade them from going:
Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them (Acts 16:6-7, emphasis added).
Does electricity prefer to power a freezer rather than a fan? No, because impersonal forces don’t have wills. But persons do.
Third, and finally, the Holy Spirit has emotions. For example, you can grieve the Spirit by sinning:
But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit;
So He turned Himself against them as an enemy,
And He fought against them (Isa 63:10).
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption (Eph 4:30).
Does gravity get depressed when you fall out of bed? Obviously, not. But people have emotions.
So what is the Holy Spirit?
If you define a person as possessing mind, emotion, and will, then the early Christians were right to conclude that the Holy Spirit is a person, not a thing.