Holy Spirit


Holy Spirit
The Hebrew ruach and Greek pneuma mean ‘breath’ or ‘wind’ and are translated by ‘spirit’, denoting an unseen life-giving force. United with ‘holy’, the force is said to be divine, though the combination of the two words occurs only three times in the OT: (Isa. 63:10, 11; Ps. 51:11).
The spirit in Gen. 1:2 is the power of God by which he creates the universe. It is the spirit which enlivens the community with hope for the future (Ezek. 11:14–21) and which breathes life into the dry bones in the vision of the valley (Ezek. 37:1–10). It is prophesied that the future messianic era will be marked by the gift [[➝ gifts]] of God's spirit on all people regardless of age or gender (Joel 2:28).
There is little in the synoptic gospels about the Holy Spirit, except at the birth of Jesus (Matt. 1:18; Luke 1:35) and his baptism (Mark 1:8), and it is said that the Spirit operates in the ministry of Jesus against the forces of evil (Matt. 12:28). The paucity of references may be due to the belief that the work of the Holy Spirit was only apparent after Jesus' resurrection (John 7:39).
After the resurrection the Spirit is said to be the agent of the missionary zeal of the Church (Acts 1:8) as Jesus had promised (Luke 24:49); fifty days after Easter (Acts 2:1) or on Easter evening (John 20:22) the Spirit was given, the Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:4; 2 Cor. 3:18). Paul does not identify Christ and the Spirit, even in 2 Cor. 3:17, but there is an identity of function in the work of redemption. The Spirit works through the Church, and the Acts of the Apostles is largely the story of the guidance by the Spirit of apostles and evangelists. In the gospel of John the Spirit is five times called the ‘Paraclete’, meaning a defending counsel. He is to promote the disciples' understanding of the truth concerning Christ.
Just as the Spirit fills the Church (Eph. 4:4), it is also the power which guides individual believers and endows them with a diversity of gifts for the service of the whole Body (1 Cor. 12:7), not to be confused with evil spirits (Rom. 8:15) which foment dissension (1 Tim. 4:1). ‘Spirit’ is therefore contrasted with ‘flesh’, characteristics respectively of the life of the new age and the former age.
In later Christian theology, the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity— not a doctrine explicitly discernible in the NT, but it is maintained that the NT writers were feeling their way to what the Fathers in due course, operating in a Greek philosophical climate, were to define. They used the terminology of their times to draw out the metaphysical implications of the NT data.

Dictionary of the Bible.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Holy Spirit — Spirit Spir it, n. [OF. espirit, esperit, F. esprit, L. spiritus, from spirare to breathe, to blow. Cf. {Conspire}, {Expire}, {Esprit}, {Sprite}.] 1. Air set in motion by breathing; breath; hence, sometimes, life itself. [Obs.] All of spirit… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Holy Spirit — Holy Ho ly, a. [Compar. {Holier}; superl. {Holiest}.] [OE. holi, hali, AS. h[=a]lig, fr. h[ae]l health, salvation, happiness, fr. h[=a]l whole, well; akin to OS. h?lag, D. & G. heilig, OHG. heilac, Dan. hellig, Sw. helig, Icel. heilagr. See… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Holy Spirit — n [singular] God in the form of a ↑spirit according to the Christian religion = ↑Holy Ghost …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Holy Spirit — • The doctrine of the Catholic Church concerning the Holy Ghost forms an integral part of her teaching on the mystery of the Holy Trinity Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Holy Spirit — (or Holy Ghost) ► NOUN ▪ (in Christianity) the third person of the Trinity; God as spiritually active in the world …   English terms dictionary

  • Holy Spirit — n. the spirit of God; specif. the third person of the Trinity …   English World dictionary

  • Holy Spirit — In mainstream Christianity, the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost is one of the three entities of the Holy Trinity which make up the single substance of God; that is, the Spirit is considered to act in concert with and share an essential nature with God… …   Wikipedia

  • Holy Spirit — 1. the spirit of God. 2. the presence of God as part of a person s religious experience. 3. See Holy Ghost. [1350 1400; ME] * * * or Holy Ghost or Paraclete In Christianity, the third person of the Holy Trinity. Though references to the spirit of …   Universalium

  • Holy Spirit — noun the third person in the Trinity; Jesus promised the Apostles that he would send the Holy Spirit after his Crucifixion and Resurrection; it came on Pentecost (Freq. 2) • Syn: ↑Holy Ghost, ↑Paraclete • Instance Hypernyms: ↑hypostasis,… …   Useful english dictionary

  • HOLY SPIRIT —    the Third Person in the CHRISTIAN GODHEAD or TRINITY. The Holy Spirit is believed by Christians to indwell believers and guide the CHURCH. In the twentieth century the THEOLOGY of the Holy Spirit has become a central issue in the CHARISMATIC… …   Concise dictionary of Religion


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