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Summary of the N.T. Doctrine of the Holy Spirit


  1. The Holy Spirit is revealed as a divine Person. This is expressly declared (e.g. John 14:16, 17, 26; 15:26; 16:7-15; Mt. 28:19), and everywhere implied.
  2. The revelation concerning Him is progressive:
    1. In the O.T. (see Mal. 2:15, note) He comes upon whom He will, apparently without reference to conditions in them.
    2. During His earth-life, Christ taught His disciples (Lk. 11:13) that they might receive the Spirit through prayer to the Father.
    3. At the close of His ministry He promised that He would Himself pray the Father, and that in answer to His prayer the Comforter would come to abide (John 14:16, 17).
    4. On the evening of His resurrection He came to the disciples in the upper room, and breathed on them saying, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost” (John 20:22), but instructed them to wait before beginning their ministry till the Spirit should come upon them (Lk. 24:49; Acts 1:8)
    5. On the day of Pentecost the Spirit came upon the whole body of believers (Acts 2:1-4).
    6. After Pentecost, so long as the Gospel was preached to Jews only, the Spirit was imparted to such as believed by the laying. on of hands (Acts 8:17; 9:17, etc.).
    7. When Peter opened the door of the kingdom to the Gentiles (Acts 10), the Holy Spirit, without delay, or other condition than faith, was given to those who believed. (Acts 10:44; 11:15-18). This is the permanent fact for the entire church-age. Every believer is born of the Spirit (John 3:3, 6; 1 John 5:1), indwelt by the Spirit, whose presence makes the believer’s body a temple (1 Cor. 6:19; Rom. 8:9?15; 1 John 2:27; Gal. 4:6), and baptized by the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:12, 13; 1 John 2:20, 27), thus sealing him for God (Eph. 1:13; 4:30).
  3. The N.T. distinguishes between having the Spirit, which is true of all believers, and being filled with the Spirit, which is the believer’s privilege and duty (cf. Acts 2:4 with 4:29-31; Eph. 1:13, 14 with Eph. 5:18)—”One baptism, many fillings.”
  4. The Holy Spirit is related to Christ in His conception (Mt. 1:18-20; Lk. 1:35), baptism (Mt. 3:16; Mk. 1:10; Lk. 3:22; John 1:32-33), walk and service (Lk. 4:1-14), resurrection (Rom. 8:11), and as His witness throughout this age (John 15:26; 16:8-11, 13, 14).
  5. The Spirit forms the church (Mt. 16:18; Heb. 12:23) by baptizing all believers into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:12, 13), imparts gifts for service to every member of that body (1 Cor. 12:7-11, 27, 30), guides the members in their service (Lk. 2:27; 4:1; Acts 4:6, 7), and is Himself the power of that service (Acts 1:8; 2:4; 1 Cor. 2:4).
  6. The Spirit abides in the company of believers who constitute a local church, making of them, corporately, a temple (1 Cor. 3:16, 17).
  7. Christ indicates a threefold personal relationship of the Spirit to the believer: “With,” “in,” “upon” (John 14:17; Lk. 24:49; Acts 1:8). “With” indicates the approach of God to the soul, convicting of sin (John 16:9), presenting Christ as the object of faith (John 16:14), imparting faith (Eph. 2:8), and regenerating (John 3:3-16). “In” describes the abiding presence of the Spirit in the believer’s body (1 Cor. 6:19) to give victory over the flesh (Rom. 8:2-4; Gal. 5:16-17), to create the Christian character (Gal. 5:22-23), to help infirmities (Rom. 8:26), to inspire prayer (Eph. 6:18), to give conscious access to God (Eph. 2:18), to actualize to the believer his sonship (Gal. 4:6), to apply the Scriptures in cleansing and sanctification (Eph. 5:26; 2 Thes. 2:13; 1 Pet. 1:2), to comfort and intercede (Acts 9:31; Rom. 8:26), and to reveal Christ (John 16:14).
  8. Sins against the Spirit committed by unbelievers are: To blaspheme (Mt. 12:31), resist (Acts 7:51; Heb. 10:29, “despite,” lit. insult). Believers’ sins against the Spirit are: To grieve Him by allowing evil in heart or life (Eph. 4:30, 31), and to quench Him by disobedience (1 Thes. 5:19). The right attitude toward the Spirit is yieldedness to His sway in walk and service, and in constant willingness that He shall “put away” whatever grieves Him or hinders His power (Eph. 4:31).
  9. The symbols of the Spirit are:
    1. oil (John 3:34; Heb. 1:9);
    2. water (John 7:38-39);
    3. wind (Acts 2:1; John 3:8);
    4. fire (Acts 2:3);
    5. a dove (Mt. 3:16);
    6. a seal (Eph. 1:13; 4:30);
    7. an earnest or pledge (Eph. 1:14).

Adapted from Scofield, C. I. The Scofield Study Bible.

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