The Holy Spirit, the third person of the trinity, exercises the power of the Father and the Son in creation and redemption. Because the Holy Spirit is the power by which believers come to Christ, He is closer to us than we are to ourselves.

He is the one through whom all else is seen in a new light. This explains why the relationship of the Father and the Son is more prominent in the gospels, because it is through the eyes of the Holy Spirit that the Father-Son relationship is viewed.

The Holy Spirit appears in the Gospel of John as the power by which Christians are brought to faith and helped to understand their walk with God the Father. He brings a person to new birth: "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit" (John 3:6); "It is the Spirit who gives life" (John 6:63).

The Holy Spirit is the Helper, whom Jesus promised to the disciples after His ascension. The triune family of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are unified in ministering to believers (John 14:16,26). It is through the Helper that Father and Son abide with the disciples (John 15:26) "But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning".

It is a remarkable fact that each of the persons of the Trinitarian family serves the others as all defer to one another. The Son says what He hears from the Father (John 12:49-50). The Father witnesses to and glorifies the Son (John 8:16-18,50,54). The Father and Son honor the Holy Spirit by commissioning Him to speak in their name (John 14:16,26). The Holy Spirit honors the Father and Son by helping the community of believers.

The Holy Spirit's chief function is to illumine Jesus' teaching, to glorify His person, and to work in the life of the individual believer and the church.

This quality of generosity is prominent in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, where the Holy Spirit prepares the way for the births of John the Baptist and Jesus the Son (Matt 1:20; Luke 1:15,35,41).

At the baptism of Jesus, the Spirit of God is present in the form of a dove. This completes the presence of the triune family at the inauguration of the Son's ministry (Matt 3:16-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:33).

Jesus is also filled with the Holy Spirit as He is led into the wilderness to be tempted (Luke 4:1). He claims to be anointed by the Spirit of the Lord in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy (Isa 61:1; Luke 4:18-19). God's kingdom is not only the reign of the Son but also the reign of the Spirit, as all share in the reign of the Father.

The person and ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Gospels is confirmed by His work in the early church. The baptism with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5) is the pouring out of the Spirit's power in missions and evangelism (Acts 1:8). This prophecy of Jesus (and of Joel 2:28-32) begins on Pentecost (Acts 2:1-18).

Many of those who hear of the finished work of God in Jesus' death and resurrection (Acts 2:32-38) repent of their sins. In this act of repentance, they receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38), becoming witnesses of God's grace through the Holy Spirit.

Paul's teaching about the Holy Spirit harmonizes with the accounts of the Spirit's activity in the gospels and Acts. According to Paul, it is by the Holy Spirit that one confesses that Jesus is Lord (1 Cor 12:3). Through the same Spirit varieties of gifts are given to the body of Christ to ensure its richness and unity (1 Cor 12:4-27).

The Holy Spirit is the way to Jesus Christ the Son (Rom 8:11) and to the Father (Rom 8:14-15). The Holy Spirit acts with God the Father and Christ, God the Son, as the pledge or guarantee by which believers are sealed for the day of salvation (2 Cor 1:21-22).

Against the lust and enmity of the flesh Paul contrasts the fruit of the Spirit: "Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Gal 5:22-23).

In the long span of Old Testament prophecy the Spirit plays a prominent role. David declared, "The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me, And His word was on my tongue" (2 Sam 23:2).

Ezekiel claimed that "the Spirit entered me when He spoke to me" (Ezek 2:2). The Spirit also inspired holiness in the Old Testament believer (Ps 143:10). It also promised to give a new heart to God's people: "I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes" (Ezek 36:27).

This anticipates the crucial work of the Spirit in the ministry of the Messiah. The prophecy of Isa 11:1-5 is a Trinitarian preview of the working of the Father, the Spirit, and the Son, who is the branch of Jesse.

Looking forward to the ministry of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit inspired Isaiah to prophecy: "The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him" (Isa 11:2). The Holy Spirit inspired Jesus with wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, fear of the Lord, righteousness, and faithfulness.

Thus we come full cycle to the New Testament where Jesus claims the fulfillment of this prophecy in Himself (Isa 61:1-2; Luke 4:18-19). (from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright (c)1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

The Hebrew ruwach (OT:7307), and Greek pneuma (NT:4151), is the same for Spirit. In the Old Testament the law was in the foreground, the Holy Spirit less prominent; in New Testament the Holy Spirit is prominent, the law in the background. Jesus was anointed with the Spirit without measure, Jesus was anointed by His own Spirit; we receive a measure out "of His fullness" (John 1:16; 3:34).

Note: The word "Spirit" is mentioned in Scripture at least 575 times and "Holy Spirit" 93 times.

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