Bible Articles on the Topic of Holy Ghost

The following articles have been compiled and indexed by inWORD Bible software.

Gift of Holy Spirit

Can we determine exactly what was the “gift of the Holy Spirit” outside of the context of these verses (Acts 2:38,39)? Or should we read the whole context for the best picture? Undoubtedly the latter.

Bible Basics: Gifts of the Holy Spirit

At various times in His dealings with men, God has delegated the use of His power (“Holy Spirit”) to men. However, this has never been in the form of a “blank cheque,” as it were, enabling them to do what they wished; always the use of this Holy Spirit has been for a specific purpose. When it was accomplished, the gift of the Holy Spirit was withdrawn. We must remember that God’s spirit acts in a way which forwards the purpose which is in His mind. His purpose often allows short-term suffering in the lives of men in order to bring about His long-term purpose, so it is to be expected that His Holy Spirit would not necessarily be used to alleviate human suffering in this life. Any such relief it does achieve will be for a higher purpose of expressing God’s mind to us.

God’s Spirit: Definition

As God is a real, personal being who therefore has feelings and emotions, it is to be expected that He will have some way of sharing His desires and feelings with us, His children, and of acting in our lives in a way that will be consistent with His character. God does all of these things by His “spirit” If we wish to know God and have an active relationship with Him, we need to know what this “spirit of God” is, and how it operates.

Bible Basics: The Principle Of Personification

[It is] a recognized feature of the Bible that inanimate or non-living things such as wisdom, riches, sin, the church are personified. The following examples will illustrate the point:

The Withdrawal of the Gifts of the Spirit

The miraculous gifts of God’s spirit will be used again by the believers in order to change this present world into God’s Kingdom, after the return of Christ. The gifts are therefore called “the powers of the world (age) to come” (Hebrews 6:4-5); and Joel 2:26-29 describes a great outpouring of the spirit gifts after the repentance of Israel.

Ye Shall Receive The Gift Of The Holy Spirit

And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38)

Use of the Term Ruah ha-Kodesh (the Holy Spirit) in Rabbinic Literature

Scholars have noted two main uses of the term Ruah ha-Kodesh [the Holy Spirit: ruah = spirit; kodesh = holy] in classic Rabbinic literature. First, it is used to signify a prophetic spirit or “divine inspiration” given by God that enables a person to prophesy, or sometimes endows him or her with other leadership abilities. This use is firmly rooted in Biblical precedent. In Rabbinic use, this spirit visits not only (or even especially) the classical literary prophets, but many biblical characters, including females. On rare occasions it is used in references to sages in the Rabbinic present.

Ruah ha-Kodesh (the Holy Spirit) in Court

The idea that Ruah ha-Kodesh [the Holy Spirit: ruah = spirit; kodesh = holy] is present in court is another Rabbinic tradition that develops over several texts. These [Biblically themed] “court scenes” not only show divine metonyms¹ interacting, but also being interchanged in different verses of the same tradition (not only in different texts, but in different manuscripts of the same text of Genesis Rabbah)... This tradition inserts Ruah ha-Kodesh ... into three biblical “court scenes” or better, “trial scenes”: “in the court of Shem, in the court of Samuel, and in the court of Solomon.” The Rabbis anachronistically describe the three trial or accusation scenes as taking place in “court” (beit din). In the first scene (Genesis 38), Judah has accused Tamar of harlotry, and she has tactfully demonstrated that he himself is the father of her unborn child. In the second scene (1 Samuel 12), Samuel calls all the people to witness that he is righteous and did not exploit the people who are now calling for a king to be appointed in his place. Finally, in the third scene, Solomon decides which woman gets to keep a disputed infant (1 Kings 3).

Ruah ha-Kodesh (the Holy Spirit) Personified in Rabbinic Literature

[In] classic Rabbinic literature,... Ruah ha-Kodesh is [often] personified... Ruah ha-Kodesh [the Holy Spirit: ruah = spirit; kodesh = holy] is used in the sense of a metonym (in this context, something associated with God that stands in for God)... Like other terms (Shekhinah, Kavod, Bat Kol) that express “divine immanence,” it [Ruah ha-Kodesh] may be used as a substitute for God’s name or as an expression of divine involvement with humanity. In some rabbinic texts, I will note that Ruah ha-Kodesh is interchanged with other such personifications. [T]he use of Ruah ha-Kodesh ... as divine metonym are attested, beginning in Tannaitic literature and continuing through both Talmudic literature and Aggadic Midrash of the Amoraic period [200 to 500 C.E.].

Ruah in the Bible

The Tanakh [the writings of Moses, the prophets, etc.] is the ancient Jewish text that most openly and directly influenced Rabbinic thought. Ruah is an important term in the Tanakh from the first page of Genesis, where Ruah Elohim, the spirit or wind of God “hovers over the face of the water.” (Genesis 1:2). The word may variously signify wind, breath, or spirit (human or divine). Ruah is dynamic, and is described in conjunction with many verbs, such as “hovering” (Genesis 1:2), “filling” (Exodus 31:3), “pouring out” (Numbers 11:25, Joel 3:1-2), “enveloping” (Judges 6:33-34), “ringing” or “pounding” (Judges 13:25), “bearing” (1 Kings 18:12), “guiding” (Isaiah 63:14), and even “tormenting” (1 Samuel 16:14-15). Ruah as wind, breath, or spirit, is used some 250 times in the Tanakh in conjunction with divine activity. These references to Ruah as the Spirit of Elohim or the Spirit of YHWH, are found in many books and are particularly prominent in Judges and the books of Samuel. Some use of the term ruah is found in all books of the Bible except for Leviticus in the Pentateuch; Obadiah, Nahum, Zephaniah in the Minor Prophets; and Ruth, Lamentations, and Esther in the Writings.

"Holy Spirit” in the Dead Sea Scrolls

The Dead Sea Scrolls present some of the earliest Jewish literature of the post-Biblical period. First discovered in 1947 in caves near the Qumran ruin in the Judaean desert, the Scrolls include a wide variety of Biblical, apocryphal, and sectarian texts dating from the mid-second century B.C.E. to the first century C.E. The languages of the scrolls are Hebrew (predominantly), Aramaic, and some Greek. Here one already finds an expansion of the meanings of the term Ruah in its connotation of “spirit.” Spirit and spirits ... are a frequent concern of the Qumran scrolls, which also introduces the formulation “Ruah Kodesh” (without the definite article and sometimes with possessives “his” or “your”) to refer to the holy spirit of God or even of human beings. In the non-Biblical, Hebrew scrolls of Qumran, the terms ruah and kodesh are juxtaposed more frequently than in the Bible. The absence of the definite article difference probably has little theological significance, but it shows an articulation that is distinct from that in Rabbinic sources.

The Heavenly Voice Speaks To The King Of Babylon

In classic Rabbinic literature, the Divine Voice of God is often personified. Called Bat Kol [literally, a daughter of a voice, that is, the small voice], this metonym¹ was used as a substitute for God’s name. In the Babylonian Talmud, Pesahim 94a and Bavli Hagigah 13a (and repeated in the Yalkut Shim‘oni on Isaiah) has the Bat Kol addressing the king of Babylon:

The Concept that Sacred Texts are “Composed with Ruah ha-Kodesh"

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness... (2 Timothy 3:16)

The Country of Jericho, and the Situation of the City

Here we will borrow Josephus’ pencil, “Jericho is seated in a plain, yet a certain barren mountain hangs over it, narrow, indeed, but long; for it runs out northward to the country of Scythopolis,—and southward, to the country of Sodom, and the utmost coast of the Asphaltites.”

The Divine Metonym: Ruah ha-Kodesh (the Holy Spirit) in Rabbinic Literature

Ruah Ha-Kodesh [the Holy Spirit: ruah = spirit; kodesh = holy] is but one of a number of personifications or metonyms¹ of divinity found in Rabbinic writings. In Rabbinic literature, divinity is referred to in various new ways that were not found explicitly in the Bible. In addition to Ruah Ha-Kodesh, there are the Shekhinah (Divine Presence), the Bat Kol [the Small Voice], and the Memra [the Word]...

The Divine Spirit

What the Bible calls “Spirit of YHWH” and “Spirit of Elohim” is called in the Talmud and Midrash “Holy Spirit” (“Ruaḥ ha-Ḳodesh.” never “Ruaḥ Ḳedoshah,” as Hilgenfeld says, in “Ketzergesch.” p. 237). Although the expression “Holy Spirit” occurs in Psalms 51:11 (LXX. πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον) and in Isaiah 63:10, 11, it had not yet the definite meaning which was attached to it in rabbinical literature: in the latter it is equivalent to the expression “Spirit of the Lord,” which was avoided on account of the disinclination to the use of the Tetragrammaton (see, for example, Targ. to Isaiah 40:13). It is probably owing to this fact that the Shekinah is often referred to instead of the Holy Spirit. It is said of the former, as of the Holy Spirit, that it rests upon a person. The difference between the two in such cases has not yet been determined. It is certain that the New Testament has πνεῦμα ἅγιον in those passages, also, where the Hebrew and Aramaic had “Shekinah”; for in Greek there is no equivalent to the latter, unless it be δόξα (=“gleam of light”), by which “ziw ha-shekinah” may be rendered. Because of the identification of the Holy Spirit with the Shekinah, πνεῦμα ἅγιον is much more frequently mentioned in the New Testament than is “Ruaḥ ha-Ḳodesh” in rabbinical literature.

The Holy Spirit As A She

The Hebrew Bible depicts YHWH as a “male” God and ... in subsequent traditional Jewish usage, such as the liturgy, God is addressed in the masculine gender.

The Promise of the Holy Spirit

Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. (Acts 2:37-39)

The Saint’s Progress and Ruah ha-Kodesh (the Holy Spirit)

The most well-known Rabbinic tradition on how to attain Ruah ha-Kodesh¹ through merit is often known as the “Saint’s Progress.”² It is a nehemta, a passage of comfort, attributed to Pinhas (Phineas) ben Yair, a fifth generation Tanna [i.e., a Jewish sage] known for his saintliness. It was added to the end of Mishnah Sotah, and carried forward into the Yerushalmi [the Jerusalem Talmud] in tractates Shabbat 1:3 (3c) and Shekalim 3:3 (47c) as well as Bavli Avodah Zara 20b, and Song of Songs Rabbah 1:9:

The Song at the Sea and Ruah ha-Kodesh (the Holy Spirit)

In the previous chapter, I noted that “resting” (Heb.: shorah) is the primary verb used to describe Ruah ha-Kodesh¹ acting as the spirit of prophecy. According to the Mekhilta², Ruah rests upon the entire people of Israel most significantly at the crossing of the Red Sea. There, it enables them remarkable powers of expression, as they sing the “Song of the Sea” (Shirat ha-yam). On the verse, “Stand by (hityatsvu) and witness the deliverance which the Lord will work for you today…” (Exodus 14:13), the Mekhilta comments:

The Key to Bible Understanding: The Spirit of God

Although invisible it is the power, force, life, breath, mind, or energy, through which God works. Genesis 1:2; Job 33:4; Psalms 139:7-10; Genesis 2:7; Acts 17:27-28. It is important to remember that it belongs solely to God.

The Uncapitalized Spirit

For Jews, first and foremost, the translation of the Bible is the translation of the Hebrew Bible, which in contents is the same as the Protestant Old Testament, but it has a different order... In my preferred kind of translation, the Hebrew appears on one page, and then facing it is the English, or German, or other modern language into which it’s been translated. Because this reminds us that the translation should be seen not as a replacement but as an accompaniment to it. And a Jewish translation will always give greater attention to the Jewish exegetical tradition, and a Jewish translation will exclude any kind of translation or interpretation that has been associated with Christians.

Much Misunderstanding About the Holy Spirit

There has been much misunderstanding about the holy spirit. The King James [Bible is essentially the only translation still in use that uses] the phrase “Holy Ghost,” but the word “ghost” carries different connotations today, and most Christians generally prefer “Holy Spirit.” Most of mainstream Christendom believes that the Holy Spirit is a person, specifically the third person of the Trinity... Historically the belief in the Holy Spirit as the third person was adopted even later that the belief that Jesus was God. The deity of Christ became official [church] doctrine in 325, while the Holy Spirit was not established as the third person of the Trinity until 381.

Synonymous Phrases Denoting the Holy Spirit

The “spirit of God,” “the spirit of the LORD,” “the Holy Spirit [or Ghost],” “the presence of God,” and “the Spirit” [along with a few others] are all interchangeable terms; there is no difference in meaning between the these phrases as the verses below make apparent:

The Holy Spirit: A Metaphor for God’s Action and Power

The Holy Spirit is sent or given only by God, not by Jesus. It is not a person for it can be poured out and is referred to in the Greek in the neutral, as “it” or “which” rather than “he” or “she” (NAB, p. 1159 fn 14.17). It is the breath of God that gives, sustains and ends life. It provides humans with the skills necessary for effecting God’s work and confirms people in office. It gives people God’s gift of faith in Christ. It makes things and people holy, sanctifies them, dedicates them to God. It provides God’s help to believers, guiding and teaching them, witnessing to them, giving God’s and Christ’s presence, interceding and comforting them, inspiring them by God breathing prophetic powers into prophets and foretelling the Christ, and imparting God’s love to them.

He or It, Whom or Which: The Spirit Masculinized by Committee

There exists a bias within English Bible translations which were translated by committees when it comes to assigning a pronoun to the spirit of God. For example, in the original Greek text for Acts 5:32 and 8:16, the word “spirit” (pneuma) is neuter in gender, and does not therefore, in itself, denote personality. Yet, despite this fact, few are the number of English translations where this fact can be verified by the average, non-Greek-reading reader. Interestingly, those translations where neuter pronouns are found preserved, most often they are translations which were performed by a single translator, and not by committee. This point can be seen in the following two passages:

The Holy Spirit is Not an Independent Entity

Most Christians believe in the Trinity since that’s what their church teaches. It says God is one essence consisting of three co-equal and co-eternal Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. So, the Holy Spirit is deemed a full-fledged Person.

The Spirit in the Primitive Church

In order rightly to appreciate the Apostle Paul’s references to the Spirit in the eighth chapter of his letter to the Romans, it is necessary to take into consideration all the information concerning the Spirit in the Christian ecclesias, which is recorded not only in that letter, but also in the other letters of that Apostle, and in the writings of the Apostle John.

The Holy Spirit in the Christian Life

This is difficult ground. It is difficult, not so much from the awkwardness of the terrain itself as from the incessant disputes of those who claim possession. Rival susceptibilities are very tender, and it might help to establish confidence if we review first of all facts on which we shall certainly agree.

The Gift of the Holy Spirit

Question: The Holy Spirit was given to the Apostles who in turn bestowed the gift on others. Peter in the Acts says: repent and be baptized and ye shall receive the Holy Spirit; the promise was given unto you and your seed and to many afar off. Is “the promise” the gift of the Holy Spirit, or the promise made to Abraham? If the former, to whom do the bold words refer?

Spirits: Divine and Human

When the Apostle Paul addressed the Athenians, he began by discreetly deprecating the idolatry that was so prevalent in their city, and enlightened his audience as to “the God Who made the world and all things therein,.... He is Lord of heaven and earth.... For in Him, we live and move and have our being.”¹ This teaching discredited the superstition and made vain the idolatry of ancient religions, according to which, each form of life and power had a separate or independent source, cause or creator. Hence there were gods of war and thunder, gods of hills and valleys, gods of waters and flies. The saying is true that “the heathen created gods like themselves.” Heathen principles, in effect, still hold sway in the world. Consider such expressions as “the power of money,” “the power of pleasure,” and “the power of politics.” The modern gods are centred on earth and not in other worlds. The root of the whole matter was, and still is, in the passions and promptings of the human heart. Hence the French proverb, “The more it changes, the more it remains the same”—only a seeming paradox.

Comforter and Reprover

The soul of Jesus was clouded with the prospect of impending persecution and suffering. This chiefly because of his disciples. The world hating him, would assuredly hate them also. So he was much concerned to fortify them against the evil to come: “These things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember (and understand; 2:17, 22; 12:16) that I told you of them” (13:29; 14:29 also). Forewarned and with yet greater confidence in their Lord as a true prophet when his words were so exactly fulfilled, they would brace their souls against the onset of antagonism and stiffen their loyalty to his cause.

God’s Sense of Holiness is Grieved

“Grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30)

The Holy Spirit: Proceeding Forth From God

To search the Scriptures is a delightful occupation. There is always more to be discovered both of the wisdom and knowledge of God, resulting in new horizons continually being revealed. Questions will undoubtedly arise, but if the question is suggested by the Word, the answer will be found there in due time, by ourselves or by another, within the covers of the Sacred Book.

The Great Trinity Debate: On the Holy Spirit

A notable feature of this debate has been the contrast between the exegetical methodologies of both sides. [My debate opponent] Rob [Bowman, Jr.] favours an approach that places great stress on the NT texts and interprets these in a Hellenistic way that frequently steps outside the first-century milieu, whereas I take a holistic approach which embraces the full range of data from OT and NT, and interprets them in a Hebraic way that is consistent with first-century Second Temple Judaism. This issue of context is central to our respective interpretations of Scriptural evidence and the conclusions that we derive from it.

The Holy Spirit: A Person or a Power?

This Appendix is an additional study to show the absurdity of viewing the Holy Spirit as a personality like the Father and Christ Jesus. Biblical teaching about the Holy Spirit is clear enough, but the options of men (prompted primarily by theological and philosophical speculations about the nature of material and spiritual substances originating near the fourth century) have clouded the whole issue. It is time that the biblical teachings about the Holy Spirit be restored to their proper place of recognition. Let us ask a series of questions about the Holy Spirit and then answer them briefly.

Is the Holy Spirit a Present Possession?

It is not the purpose of this article to attempt to define “Spirit” or the exact means of its operation—to understand that exactly is beyond mortal [understanding]. The Greek or Hebrew terms are not very enlightening, with their meanings such as “wind” and “breath.” It is sufficient to know that there is “One” Spirit (Ephesians 4:4), and that it is God’s spirit or power. God, Himself, is a spirit being (John 4:24) and “of Him are all things” (1 Corinthians 8:6, Romans 11:36). It is written of Creation, “Thou sendest forth Thy spirit, they are created” (Psalms 104:30), and “By His spirit He hath garnished the heavens” (Job 26:13). In Him—by this spirit—“we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). If God withdraws this spirit, we die (Job 34:14-15). Hence, in this spirit we are in the domain of a fixed law.

Unitarianism Defined: The Personality and Deity of the Holy Ghost

I come now to the main theme of the present Lecture, viz: The Personality and Deity of the Holy Ghost. And, to begin, what is precisely this doctrine of the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit, which Unitarians reject? In the 5th of the thirty-nine “Articles of Religion” of the Protestant Episcopal Church, we read, that, “The Holy Ghost, proceeding from the Father and the Son, is of one substance, majesty, and glory with the Father and the Son, very and eternal God;” conformably with the 1st Article: “In unity of the Godhead, there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.”

The Holy Ghost: Must Christians Have a Creed?

“I believe in the Holy Ghost.” This simple affirmation in the Apostles’ Creed commends itself to us because it is not cumbered with abstruse definitions and dubious arguments such as mar the later and much less generally accepted Nicene and Athanasian Creeds.

Biblical Themes: The Holy Spirit

The “Holy Spirit” is a phrase in the Bible used to describe the mystery and power of God’s personal presence. In this video we explore the original Hebrew meaning of the word “spirit/breath,” and how understanding this can help you see the storyline of the entire Bible in a whole new way.

Wrested Scriptures: Personality of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is the power of God. (Luke 1:35). Consequently, what the Holy Spirit does is really what God is doing. For example, the “Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit . . . shall teach you all things” (John 14:26) means simply: “God shall teach you all things through his divine power.” Similarly, although the Scriptures cannot literally “say” anything, it is written: “For the Scripture saith unto Pharaoh.” (Romans 9:17). God said this, and His human penman, guided by Holy Spirit power, reliably recorded it. In this quotation there is a merging of what “God says” with what “Scripture says”. Likewise, the Holy Spirit is said to “speak”, “bear witness”, and to be a “comforter” when in actuality it is God doing the speaking, bearing witness and comforting, by his power — the Holy Spirit. [Below is a list of] each of the passages wrested in an effort by trinitarians to prove that the Holy Spirit is a person:

Conversations with a Frustrated Trinitarian

Christian publishing houses pour forth a constant torrent of articles and books on the history, meaning, justification, practical importance, apologetic defenses, and biblical grounding of “the doctrine of the Trinity.” Evidently, there is a fairly large market for such products.But not every customer is a happy customer. In this episode, Dale Tuggy talks with Corby Amos, a Southern Baptist layman, Sunday school teacher and sometime preacher, about his frustrations with the Trinitarian material he’s encountered.

Pastor Sean Finnegan on “the Holy Spirit"

In this episode Pastor Sean Finnegan and Dale Tuggy discuss biblical spirit-talk: “the Holy Spirit,” “the Spirit of the LORD,” “God’s spirit,” “the Spirit of Christ,” etc. Sean distinguishes four types of spirit-talk in the Bible, giving many examples from both testaments.

Holy Ghost

The Spirit of God is His power by which He achieves all His purposes.  By His Spirit, God: Created all things (Genesis 1:1-2, Psalms 33:6, Revelation 4:11) Gives life to all creatures  (Psalms 104:30, Job 34:14-15) Communicated His purpose through His prophets  (2 Timothy 3:16, Deuteronomy 18:18, Numbers 12:6-7) Empowers and equips His angels to carry out His purposes   (Psalms 104:4, Psalms 103:20) Revealed His character through: His inspired revelation in both Old and New Testaments (2 Peter 1:19-21) His work with Israel  (Isaiah 63:7-14) His Son, Jesus Christ  (John 14:9, Acts 10:38) This description of God’s Spirit occurs almost exclusively in the New Testament.  The Holy Spirit is God’s Spirit directed particularly to His work of salvation in Jesus, which may be described as “the new creation in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 6:15, 2 Cor 5:17).  Although sometimes referred to in a personal sense, the Holy Spirit is not a person, but rather is God’s power active through His Son, His apostles and His prophets in the first century, and through continuing angelic ministration (Acts 10:38, Ephesians 3:5, 1 Corinthians 14:29-30, Isaiah 63:9-10).

Bath Kol

bath ́kol, bath kōl (בּת קול, bath ḳōl, “the daughter of the voice”): Originally signifying no more than “sound,” “tone,” “call” (e.g. water in pouring gives forth a “sound,” bath ḳōl, while oil does not), sometimes also “echo.” The expression acquired among the rabbis a special use, signifying the Divine voice, audible to man and unaccompanied by a visible Divine manifestation. Thus conceived, bath ḳōl is to be distinguished from God’s speaking to Moses and the prophets; for at Sinai the voice of God was part of a larger theophany, while for the prophets it was the resultant inward demonstration of the Divine will, by whatever means effected, given to them to declare (see VOICE). It is further to be distinguished from all natural sounds and voices, even where these were interpreted as conveying Divine instruction. The conception appears for the first time in Daniel 4:28 (English Versions 31)—it is in the Aramaic portion—where, however, ḳal = ḳōl, “voice” stands without berath = bath, “daughter”: “A voice fell from heaven.” Josephus (Ant., XIII, x, 3) relates that John Hyrcanus (135-104 BC) heard a voice while offering a burnt sacrifice in the temple, which Josephus expressly interprets as the voice of God (compare Babylonian Ṣōṭāh 33a and Jerusalem Ṣōṭāh 24b, where it is called bath ḳōl). In the New Testament mention of “a voice from heaven” occurs in the following passages: Matthew 3:17; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22 (at the baptism of Jesus); Matthew 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35 (at His transfiguration); John 12:28 (shortly before His passion); Acts 9:4; 22:7; 26:14 (conversion of Paul), and Acts 10:13, 10:15 (instruction of Peter concerning clean and unclean). In the period of the Tannaim (circa 100 BC-200 AD) the term bath ḳōl was in very frequent us and was understood to signify not the direct voice of God, which was held to be supersensible, but the echo of the voice (the bath being somewhat arbitrarily taken to express the distinction). The rabbis held that bath ḳōl had been an occasional means of Divine communication throughout the whole history of Israel and that since the cessation of the prophetic gift it was the sole means of Divine revelation. It is noteworthy that the rabbinical conception of bath ḳōl sprang up in the period of the decline of Old Testament prophecy and flourished in the period of extreme traditionalism. Where the gift of prophecy was clearly lacking—perhaps even because of this lack—there grew up an inordinate desire for special Divine manifestations. Often a voice from heaven was looked for to clear up matters of doubt and even to decide between conflicting interpretations of the law. So strong had this tendency become that Rabbi Joshua (circa 100 AD) felt it to be necessary to oppose it and to insist upon the supremacy and the sufficiency of the written law. It is clear that we have here to do with a conception of the nature and means of Divine revelation that is distinctly inferior to the Biblical view. For even in the Biblical passages where mention is made of the voice from heaven, all that is really essential to the revelation is already present, at least in principle, without the audible voice.


kum ́fẽr-tẽr: This is translation of the word παράκλητος, paráklētos, in the Johannine writings. In the Gospel it occurs in John 14:16, 14:26; 15:26; 16:7, and refers to the Holy Spirit. The word means literally, “called to one’s side” for help. The translation “Comforter” covers only a small part of the meaning as shown in the context. The word “Helper” would be a more adequate translation. The Spirit of God does a great deal for disciples besides comforting them, although to comfort was a part of its work for them. The Spirit guides into truth; indeed, it is called the Spirit of truth. It teaches and quickens the memory of disciples and glorifies Christ in them. It also has a work to do in the hearts of unbelievers, convicting the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment (John 14 through 16). The Comforter remains permanently with disciples after it comes in response to the prayers of Christ. The word paraklētos does not occur elsewhere in the Scriptures except in 1 John 2:1. In Job 16:2 the active form of the word (paraklētos is passive) is found in the plural, where Job calls his friends “miserable comforters.” The word “Comforter” being an inadequate, and the word “Helper” a too indefinite, translation of the word in the Gospel of John, it would probably be best to transfer the Greek word into English in so far as it relates to the Holy Spirit (see PARACLETE).


gōst (נפשׁ, nephesh; πνεῦμα, pneúma): “Ghost,” the middle-English word for “breath,” “spirit,” appears in the King James Version as the translation of nephesh (“breath,” “the breath of life,” animal soul or spirit, the vital principle, hence, “life”), in two places of the Old Testament, namely, Job 11:20, “the giving up of the ghost” (so the Revised Version), and Jeremiah 15:9, “She hath given up the ghost”; gawa‛, “to gasp out,” “expire” (die), is also several times so translated (Genesis 25:8, 25:17; 35:29; 49:33; Job 3:11; 10:18; 13:19; 14:10; Lamentations 1:19). In Apocrypha (Tobit 14:11) psuchḗ is translated in the same way as nephesh in the Old Testament, and in 2 Maccabees 3:31, en eschátē pnoḗ is rendered “give up the ghost,” the Revised Version “quite at the last gasp.”

Holy Spirit

hō ́li spir ́it:


This word occurs 5 times in the New Testament, all in the writings of John. Four instances are in the Gospel and one in the First Epistle. In the Gospel the in the Epistle, 1 John 2:1. “Paraclete” is simply the Greek word transferred into English. The translation of the word in English Versions of the Bible is “Comforter” in the Gospel, and “Advocate” in the Epistle. The Greek word is παράκλητος, paráklētos, froth the verb παρακαλέω, parakaléō. The word for “Paraclete” is passive in form, and etymologically signifies “called to one’s side.” The active form of the word is παρακλήτωρ, paraklḗtōr, not found in the New Testament but found in Septuagint in Job 16:2 in the plural, and means “comforters,” in the saying of Job regarding the “miserable comforters” who came to him in his distress.

Holy Spirit (Judaism)

The Holy Spirit (Hebrew: רוּחַ הַקֹּדֶשׁ, Modern ruach hakodesh, Tiberian ruaħ haqqodɛʃ) in Judaism, also termed “Divine Inspiration,” generally refers to the inspiration through which attuned individuals perceive and channel the Divine through action, writing or speech. Through this they attain some degree of prophetic knowledge, and possibly convey it to others.

Holy Spirit in Judaism

The Holy Spirit (Hebrew: רוּחַ הַקֹּדֶשׁ, Modern ruach hakodesh, Tiberian ruaħ haqqodɛʃ) in Judaism, also termed “Divine Inspiration,” generally refers to the inspiration through which attuned individuals perceive and channel the Divine through action, writing or speech. Through this they attain some degree of prophetic knowledge, and possibly convey it to others.


Paraclete (Gr. παράκλητος, Lat. paracletus) means advocate or helper. In Christianity, the term paraclete most commonly refers to the Holy Spirit.