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52. Pneumatology: The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit

Purpose: The purpose of this session is to introduce the disciple to the biblical doctrine of the Holy Spirit, and to see clearly what the ministry of the Spirit is in his life.


1. The disciple will understand that he is indwelt by the Holy Spirit.

2. The disciple will understand that the Holy Spirit is a person related to the godhead—He is God.

3. The disciple will understand that his relationship with the Holy Spirit is crucial for his superior walk in this present time.

4. The disciple will learn to make full use of His presence day by day.

Scripture Memory

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. For he will not speak on his own authority, but will speak whatever he hears, and will tell you what is to come.

John 16:13


1. Sharing, prayer, and mutual accountability..

2. Discuss sessions materials and questions.

3. Explain new terms.


This is a study of the Holy Spirit and His work in the world today. It is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather a simple overview that will stimulate further study and discussion.

There is no area of theology where there is more confusion than areas involving the Holy Spirit. And in like manner, there are no areas where there is greater need for understanding. This is the age of the Holy Spirit. Without His intervention in the world, there is nothing that we could do to bring the world to the Savior. Without Him, we could not teach effectively, nor could we understand spiritual things. He is the One who works in us to bring us to completion. He is our guide. He is the Paraclete, the Comforter. And it is He who keeps back the full working of the "mystery of iniquity" 2 Thessalonians 2: 6,7.

This is a study of _________________ or the doctrine of the _________ ____________. Pneuma means both “spirit” and “wind”. Because of this word, the Holy Spirit is often depersonalized. Therefore, we will first consider the personality of the Holy Spirit.


Personality of the Holy Spirit

I. The Importance of This Consideration

Great bodies of people do not believe in the personality of the Holy Spirit. Jehovah’s Witnesses deny His personality, as do Unitarian Universalists. Indeed, many evangelicals do not think of Him as a very real Person. To not see and understand Him as a very real Person is to lose the ministry available to us today and open the door to many kinds of error.

II. Why the Confusion?

A. Names and symbols given to Him can seem impersonal. See if you can find some of these in the following verses.

John 3:5-8

Acts 2:1-4

John 20:22

1 John 2:20

Many of these names and symbols are more difficult to relate to personality than other designations might be.

B. The word for "Spirit" is neuter in Greek. As we have stated earlier in this study, the word translated “spirit” is the word pneuma which means “wind”. In the King James Version of the Bible, the neuter pronoun "itself" was used in Romans 8:16. This was a negative influence to our understanding of the Spirit for centuries.

III. How Is His Personality Taught?

Unless the personality of the Holy Spirit is established, the doctrine of tri-personal existence is impossible. But if He is seen in Scripture to be personal, and coequal with God, then it is desperately important to know this and honor Him with the honor that is due Him. Otherwise, this person is relegated to mere influence and non-personhood.

A. As we look at Scripture, we see certain names attributed to Him. Look up the following verses and see names ascribed to Him. Fill in the blanks with these names.

John 14:16; 16:7

What is there about this word that assures us that He is a Person?

Most counselors we know are those to whom we could ascribe per____________. What does a counselor do that no influence could do? 1 John 2:1 says that when we sin, we have an __________ _______ _______ ________________. This phrase is the same word from the original that is used in John 14:16 and it refers to Christ. Christ is a ___________ and we have no doubt about that. The personality of the __________ _____________ is taught by the names used for Him.

B. The personality of the Holy Spirit is taught by the use of personal pro-nouns. Read John 16:7,8,13-15 again. Count how many times the masculine pronoun "He" is used in relation to the Holy Spirit and put the answer in this blank. ________ This is the Greek masculine pro-noun ekeinos which means "that One, He". Note that the same word is used in relation to Jesus in 1 John 2:6; 3:3, 5, 7, 16. This is especially remarkable because the word for spirit is pneuma and this is a neuter noun. This is contrary to the ordinary usage of Greek. But it is necessary because the Holy Spirit is a Person and the masculine pro-noun is therefore necessary.

C. Personal characteristics are ascribed to the Holy Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 2:10, 11, the Holy Spirit is seen as ________________________and this could be ascribed only to personality. Romans 8:27 says the Holy Spirit has a ___________ and ____________________ for us. These are certainly designations of per __________________.

D. A fourth way personality is seen in the Holy Spirit is through the personal acts that are ascribed to Him. There are certain things only a person can do. Some of these are found in the following verses. See if you can find them for yourself.

Revelation 2:7

Romans 8:26

Acts 13:2

Acts 16:6-7

Acts 20:28

Looking at these verses, how do they teach the personality of the Holy Spirit?

E. And finally, look at some of the things we can do to the Holy Spirit. Ask yourself the question: can these things be done to an influence?

Ephesians 4:30_____________________________________________ The reality is, one cannot grieve an influence. Further, we can only grieve those who love us. Therefore, ______________ , which is another characteristic of persons, is also further support of His personality.

Acts 5:3-4 says He can be _______ ________ . Can we do this to a mere influence? _______________ Hebrews 10:29 ______________________I dare you to try to insult a mere influence!

Look at Matthew 12:31,32. What can we do to Him that denotes personality?

Surely these verses teach that the Holy Spirit is a divine Person. That He possesses the characteristics of what we call personality. He is not simply an influence!

The Deity of the Holy Spirit

How do the following verses teach the deity of the Holy Spirit?

Acts 5:4. Here He is called ___________.

2 Corinthians 3:18. He is here called __________.

Hebrews 9:14 gives to Him what attribute?

Psalm 139:7-10?

Luke 1:35?

1 Corinthians 2:10,11? These are characteristics that can be attributed only to God.

The Work of the Holy Spirit

I. His Work in the World

The Holy Spirit may be regarded as the Executive of the Godhead. He is God, actively involved in the world and with humanity. Job 33:4 says that the Holy Spirit ________________________________________________________. With respect to the world and men, John 16:8-11 declares Him to be One who _______________________________________________________

It is His work to _____________________ about Jesus, John 15:26.

II. His Work in Believers

John 3:3-5

Titus 3:5

It is the Holy Spirit Who brings each of us to _______________ through His quickening power. John 6:63 says the Spirit gives _____________. 1 Corinthians 6:19 says the Holy Spirit dwells __________ ___________.

What significance does this have for you?

What truth is taught in Romans 8:9?

1 Corinthians 12:13 says the Holy Spirit puts us or _____________ us into the Body of Christ. This makes us members of the mystical Body of Christ, as well as members one of another.

Ephesians 1:13,14, and 4:30 say that the Holy Spirit ___________ us until the day of ___________________________. He becomes the signet of divine ownership by the Father. He has promised to _____________________, Philippians 1:6.

The seal stands for two things: ownership and likeness.

Ephesians 5:18 says that He __________ us. This is the same thing as controlling us or _______________ us, Romans 8:14. It is His divine purpose to control the believer every moment of his earthly walk.

He is also in us to set us _____________, Romans 8:2. We yet have our sinful natures, but the Holy Spirit is in us to give us victory over __________, Galatians 5:17.

He also anoints the believer. His anointing is for at least two particular things.

1 John 2:27

John 16:13

Sins Committed Against the Holy Spirit.

I. By Believers

Ephesians 4:30-31

How do we commit this sin today?

Acts 5:3,4

How do we commit this sin today?

1 Thessalonians 5:19

How do we commit this sin today?

II. By Unbelievers.

Acts 7:51

What is this sin?

Hebrews 10:29

What is this sin?

Matthew 12:31-32

Who commits this sin today?

The Holy Spirit is the member of the Godhead we are the most involved with today. He is in the world to make Christ known, and to control us. He makes Christ known when He controls us and produces ________________ in us, Galatians 5:22-23.

Questions for Review and Discussion

1. What is wrong with the idea of desiring to "get more of the Spirit"?

2. React to this statement. "What the church needs today is continual fillings of the Holy Spirit."

3. React to this statement. "Mary has been baptized by the Holy Spirit. This will bring her whole life into perspective and she is set for life."

4. What ministry of the Holy Spirit applies to each of the following situations?

a. Jerry is having a hard time in his Bible Study.

b. Paul's witnessing seems futile.

c. There is serious division in a church I know.

d. Darrell doesn't seem to know that he has been born again.

e. Burt has an opportunity for a job that involves a major move in his location, church, and profession.

f. Carroll has a long-time struggle with a personal problem involving the "flesh".

Life Application

See if you can trust the Holy Spirit in another Christian. What can this do for you?

Related Topics: Discipleship

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