Answer: The Holy Spirit is the power and influence of God. While the King James translation of the Bible attributes personality to the Holy Spirit in the New Testament calling it the “Holy Ghost” and giving it a male gender, the original Hebrew and Greek convey no such thought when referring to the Holy Spirit.
In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit is translated from the Hebrew word “ruach” – Strong’s Concordance number H7307 which means “wind; by resemblance breath; figuratively life, anger, unsubstantiality; by extension a region of the sky; by resemblance spirit, but only of a rational being (including its expression and functions).” When applied to the Heavenly Father, it refers to the spirit (including expression and functions) of God.
“The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. (3) Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.” (Gen 1:2,3 NASB). It was God’s power and influence that moved across the waters of the earth and fulfilled God’s commandment “let there be light.”
In the New Testament, God’s Holy Spirit is translated from the Greek word “pnuema” – Strong’s Concordan number G4154 which means “a current of air, that is, breath (blast) or a breeze; by analogy or figuratively a spirit, that is, (human) the rational soul, (by implication) vital principle, mental disposition, etc., or (superhuman) an angel, daemon, or (divine) God, Christ’s spirit, the Holy spirit.” It is God’s power and influence which filled Jesus (Luke 4:1), filled the apostles at Pentecost (Acts 2:4), filled the deacon Stephen (Acts 7:55), filled the apostle Paul (Acts 9:17), filled the brethren at Ephesus (Acts 19:6) and fills the body of the follower of Jesus (1 Cor. 6:19).
God’s Holy Spirit is also described in the Scriptures as the “spirit of truth” (John 15:26), “spirit of God” (1 Cor. 2:12; 1 Cor. 3:16), and “spirit of wisdom” (Eph. 1:17). It is God’s spirit that opens our minds to God’s plan of salvation for all mankind and the special opportunity that He has offered to the follower of Jesus.
As the apostle Paul writes, “But we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; (8) the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; (9) but just as it is written, “THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.” (10) For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.” (1 Cor. 2:7-10 NASB)
In addition, the Scripture that suggests the “Holy Ghost” is part of the Trinity (1 John 5:7,8) is significantly different in the oldest manuscripts of the Bible. The King James translation renders 1 John 5:7,8 as follows: “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. (8) And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.”
However, when we go translations such as the New American Standard which based on older Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, the passage reads as follows: “For there are three that testify: (8) the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.” The three witnesses in agreement (God’s Spirit, water, blood) testify that Jesus is the Christ, the anointed of God. God’s holy spirit came down upon Jesus opening his mind to God’s truth. (Matt. 3:16; John 1:32,33) It also testified that Jesus was the Christ through miracles and helped him preach the gospel (Matt. 12:28; Luke 4:18).
The phrase including “Holy Ghost” in 1 John 5:7,8 is not found in any Greek manuscripts of the New Testament before the 7th century and hence, is not part of the original message of the apostles.
For additional information please see our related booklets and videos below.
Father Son and Holy Spirit
Hereby We Know Thou Art God
Come See the Works of God
Born of the Spirit
Show Me Thy Glory
Witness of the Spirit