SHORT CHRISTIAN READINGS SELECTED FOR FORMER JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES



Reasoning with Jehovah's Witnesses: The Personality of the Holy Spirit

By Kevin Quick

(reformatted/edited)

 

The Personality of Holy Spirit

Jehovah's Witnesses believe that the holy spirit is God's active force, and is not a person. (Reasoning From the Scriptures, pp. 136-137, 361; Make Sure of All Things, p. 487.)


Q1. Did Jesus speak of the Holy Spirit as He and Whom?

John 14:16,17: "And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; [that is] the Spirit of the truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, [but] you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you."

John 14:26: "But the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He [Gr. that one] will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you."

John 15:26: "When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, [that is] the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness of Me."

John 16:7,8: "But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world ..."

John 16:13-15: "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose [it] to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said, that He takes of Mine, and will disclose [it] to you."


Q2. Does the Holy Spirit speak?

Matt 10:20: "it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you."

Acts 1:16: "... the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David ..."

Acts 10:19,20: the Spirit said to him ..."I have sent them Myself"

Acts 20:23: "the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me."

Heb 3:7: Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says ...

Heb 10:15: And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us, for after saying ...

Rev 22:17: The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!"


Q3. Does the Holy Spirit teach?

Luke 12:12: "the Holy Spirit will teach you"

John 14:26: "But the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you."

John 16:13-15: "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose [it] to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said, that He takes of Mine, and will disclose [it] to you."


Q4. Does the Holy Spirit bear witness?

John 15:26: "When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, [that is] the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness of Me."

Rom 8:16: The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.


Q5. Is there other Scriptural evidence that the Holy Spirit is a person?

Matt 3:16, Mark 1:10, John 1:32: the Spirit of God descending as a dove.

Acts 5:3: But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back [some] of the price of the land?"

Acts 5:9: Then Peter [said] to her, "Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test?"

Acts 15:28: "For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden ..."

1 Cor 12:11: But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

Eph 4:30: And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.


Q6. Can a Christian have fellowship with the Holy Spirit?

John 14:16,17: "And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; [that is] the Spirit of the truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, [but] you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you."

Rom 8:9: But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.

Rom 8:11: the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you...His Spirit who indwells you.

Rom 8:14: For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

Rom 8:26: the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

1 Cor 3:16: Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

1 Cor 6:19: your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you.

2 Cor 13:14: the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

2 Tim 1:14: the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.


Q7. What is the position of the Holy Spirit?

Gen 1:2: the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters ...

Gen 1:1: in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Matt 12:32: "whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven"

Luke 12:10: "he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven"

John 14:26: "the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name..."

Acts 1:16: "the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David"

Heb 1:1: God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways...

Acts 5:3-4: "lie to the Holy Spirit ... You have not lied to men, but to God."

Acts 28:25: "The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers..." [cp. Heb 1:1]

2 Cor 13:14: the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all ...

Heb 10:15-17: And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord; I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds ... I will remember their sins and their misdeeds no more."


Summary 1:

The Holy Spirit:

a. He is spoken of as He and Whom by Jesus (John 14:16,17,26, 15:26, 16:7,8,13-15).

b. Has a name (Matt 28:19).

c. Is a revealer of future events (Acts 1:16).

d. Is an inspirer of prophecy (Heb 3:7).

e. Bears witness to us through Old Testament prophecy (Heb 10:15).

f. Is God (Acts 5:3,4).

g. Descended in bodily form as a dove (Matt 3:16).

h. He is sent by the Father in Jesus' name (John 14:26).

i. He is sent by Jesus (John 15:26).

j. Is a sender of persons (Acts 10:19,20).

k. Appoints overseers (Acts 20:28).

l. Is a decider of decrees (Acts 15:28).

m. He convicts the world (John 16:8).

n. The world does not behold Him or know Him (John 14:17).

o. Can be grieved (Eph 4:30).

p. Can be spoken against (Matt 12:32).

q. Can be put to the test (Acts 5:9).

r. Can be blasphemed against (Mark 3:29).

s. Can be lied to (Acts 5:3).

t. Can forbid one to speak (Acts 16:6).

u. Gives testimony to persons (Acts 20:23).

v. Bears witness with a Christian's spirit that he is a child of God (Rom 8:16).

w. Intercedes in prayer for Christians (Rom 8:26).

x. Distributes gifts to Christians (1 Cor 12:11).

y. Speaks in Christians for their defense (Matt 10:20).

z. He is a counselor (John 14:16).

aa. He teaches a Christian all things (John 14:26).

ab. He brings to a Christian's remembrance all that Jesus said (John 16:13).

ac. He guides Christians into all the truth (John 16:13).

ad. He bears witness to Jesus (John 15:26).

ae. He glorifies Jesus (John 16:14).

af. He takes of what is Jesus' and discloses it to Christians (John 16:14).

ag. He hears (John 16:13).

ah. He is a helper (John 16:7).

ai. Is one with whom to have fellowship (2 Cor 13:14).

aj. Is a comforter (Acts 9:31).

ak. Jesus' disciples know Him (John 14:17).

al. He abides with Christians (John 14:17).

am. He will be with Christians forever (John 14:16).

an. With the bride says, "Come!" (Rev 22:17)


Summary 2:

a. The Holy Spirit is a Person.

b. The Holy Spirit is God with the Father and with the Son.


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How Can the Holy Spirit be "Poured Out"?

By Tom McGovern

(edited)


QUESTION: If the Holy Spirit is a Person, as Trinitarians claim, and not an impersonal force, as Jehovah's Witnesses teach, how can it be said (as in Acts 10:45) that the Holy Spirit is "poured out"? Can you "pour out" a person?

ANSWER: Acts 10:45 is in the context of the conversion of Cornelius, the first Gentile (non-Jew) to become a Christian. During Peter's preaching, the Holy Spirit fell upon the listening Gentiles as evidenced by their praising God and speaking in tongues. In response to seeing this, verse 45 states of the Jewish believers who were present to witness this event, "And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles."

In discussing the doctrine of the Trinity with Christians, Jehovah's Witnesses will often ask how a person can be "poured out". They will often use this phrase as an argument that the Spirit is not a Person, because -- according to them -- it makes no sense to speak of a person as being "poured out". 

However, this phrase was used several times in Scripture of persons, and apparently had a metaphorical or idiomatic meaning that first century Jews would have understood. See, for example,

Job 30:16: "And now my soul is poured out within me; days of affliction have taken hold of me."

Psalm 22:14: "I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast;"

Philippians 2:17: "Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all."

2 Timothy 4:6: "For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come."

Job, David, and Paul were all "persons", and they were said to be "poured out", so what reason could there be to believe that the Holy Spirit could not be a "person", and also be "poured out"?

Indeed, the idea of "pouring" is metaphorical, even if we were to regard the Holy Spirit as being a force. One does not "pour" gravity, or electricity, or the wind. Are Jehovah's Witnesses saying that the Holy Spirit is a liquid?

 

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THE HOLY SPIRIT IS A PERSON: 

Scriptural Proof 

By Michael J. Ediger

(edited) 

 

All cults and anti-trinitarians have one thing in common when it comes to the Holy Spirit. They all deny the Spirit is a Person, thereby also denying that the Spirit is God. This is but one of the planks in their doctrinal platform which denies the Biblical doctrine of the Trinity. 

In this brief study, we will show - with little comment - that the Scriptures teach the Holy Spirit is indeed a Person, and that He is God, thus strengthening the Biblical evidence supporting the doctrine of the Trinity. 

THE BIBLE ASCRIBES TO THE HOLY SPIRIT CHARACTERISTICS OF A PERSON

Throughout the Bible, the Holy Spirit is described as having several personal characteristics. While it is true Scripture sometimes personifies things (e.g., "Wisdom" in the Proverbs), this is not the case with the Holy Spirit. 

The Spirit is not a thing - He is not a force or power like electricity, as some teach - neither is He merely the power of God, or God's mind, as other anti-trinitarians assert. Rather, the Biblical record clearly shows the Holy Spirit is a Person: 

1. The Holy Spirit leads people: 

 Matt 4:1 (also Mark 1:12; Luke 4:11) - He led Jesus into the wilderness 

 John 16:13 - He will guide us "into all the truth." 

 Acts 8:39 - He "caught Phillip away."

 Rom 8:14 - He leads the children of God (cf. Gal 5:18) 


2. The Holy Spirit speaks 

Mark 13:11 - "it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit." (also Matt 10:19, 20) 

Acts 4:5 - He spoke "by the mouth of David."

Acts 8:29 - He speaks to Phillip 

Acts 11:12 - He told Peter to go with Cornelius’ men 

1 John 4:2 - "Spirit of God" known by His confessing that "Christ has come in the flesh." 

Rev 2:7, 11, 29; 3:6, 13, 22 - "... Let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." 

Rev 22:17 - "The Spirit and the Bride say, 'Come!'"

See also: John 16:13-14; Acts 13:2; 1 Tim 4:1; Heb 3:7; Rev 14:13; 22:17 


3. The Holy Spirit testifies/bears witness 

John 15:26; Acts 20:23; Rom 8:16; 1 John 5:7, 8 


4. The Holy Spirit teaches

Exod 31:2-4; Neh 9:20; Luke 12:12; John 14:26; 1 Cor 2:13 


5. The Holy Spirit helps us in many ways 

John 14:16, 17, 26; 16:7 - He dwells with us, teaches us, and comes to us 

Rom 8:26 - He "helps in our weaknesses", and "makes intercession for us."

Titus 3:5 - He renews us 


6. The Holy Spirit sanctifies us 

Rom 15:16; 1 Cor 6:11; 1 Pet 1:2 


7. The Holy Spirit has a mind and can reason 

Acts 15:28 - "it seemed good to us and the Holy Spirit". 

Rom 8:27 - He has a mind 

1 Cor 2:11 - He knows God’s thoughts 


8. The Holy Spirit reveals things to us 

Luke 2:26 - He revealed to Simeon he would see the Christ 

John 16:13 - He will disclose to the apostles "things to come" 

1 Cor 2:10 - God reveals things through the Holy Spirit, "for the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God."

Eph 3:5 - He reveals the mystery of Christ 

1 Pet 1:11 - "Spirit of Christ" in the prophets "testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow."


9. The Holy Spirit performs works

John 16:8-11 - He convicts 

Acts 2:4 - He gave the Apostles "utterance" 

Acts 13:4 - He "sent out" Barnabas and Saul (cf. v. 2)

Acts 16:6, 7 - He forbid Paul to go to Asia 

Acts 20:28 - The Holy Spirit "has made you overseers". 

1 Cor 12:8, 9, 11 - Gifts given through, by, and "as He wills". 

1 Cor 12:11 - "the same Spirit works all these things" 

1 Cor 12:13 - He baptizes us into Christ 

2 Cor 3:6 - "the Spirit gives life" 

2 Cor 3:8 - Paul speaks of "the ministry of the Spirit" 

Eph 3:16 - God strengthens us through His Spirit 

1 Tim 3:16 - Christ "Justified in [by] the Spirit"

2 Tim 1:14 - He helps us guard our faith 

1 Pet 3:18 - He makes us alive 

2 Pet 1:21 - He guided men to write Scripture/speak from God 


10.Other indications of the Spirit’s personhood 

Gen 1:2 - He "was hovering over the face of the waters" (compare Deut 32:11) 

Gen 6:3 - He strives with sinners 

Ps 51:11; 139:7 - Indicate His personality (in their contexts) 

Isa 48:13 - He can be informed, as by a counselor 

Matt 1:18, 28 - Jesus conceived by the Spirit (also Luke 1:35) 

Matt 12:31-32 - He can be blasphemed (also Luke 12:18) 

Luke 2:25-27 - Simeon "came by the Spirit into the temple" 

John 3:5, 6, 8 - People are "born of the Spirit"

Acts 5:3, 4 - He can be lied to 

Acts 7:51 - He can be resisted 

Acts 13:2 - He uses the first-Person pronouns "Me" and "I" 

Acts 21:4 - Disciples speak to Paul "through the Spirit"

2 Cor 13:14 - "communion (or fellowship) of the Holy Spirit (also Phil 2:1) 

Eph 4:30 - He can be grieved (also Isa 63:10) 

Heb 9:8 - "the Holy Spirit is indicating this" 


A key text in understanding that the Holy Spirit is a Person, is John 14:16, where Jesus promises to send "another Helper (or Comforter)" to His disciples. These two words -- "another" and "Helper" -- clearly prove the Spirit is indeed a Person.

The Greek word translated "another" (allos), means "another of the same kind".[1] Thus, if we believe Jesus to be a Person (and, for that matter, to be God), then we must believe the Spirit, too, is a Person, and that He is God. To believe otherwise is to make Jesus Christ a mere "power" or "force -- which is obviously false.

As a side-note, Jesus' use of the adjective, "another" clearly demonstrates the Holy Spirit is distinct from the Father and the Son, thus providing support for the doctrine of the Trinity. 

Further, the word translated "Helper" (parakletos), includes the idea of "one called alongside to help."[2] Surely this indicates another Person called upon for aid, and not some thing!

FOOTNOTES:

1 "allos" generally denotes simply a distinction of individuals; "heteros" involves the secondary idea of difference of kind; e.g. 2 Cor 6:4; Gal 1:6, 7." Joseph Thayer, The New Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1981), 29. 

2 "a helper, succorer, aider, assistant; so of the Holy Spirit destined to take the place of Christ with the apostles (after His ascension to the Father)" Ibid., 483.  Note: the same word is used of Christ in 1 John 2:2.


THE BIBLE TEACHES THE HOLY SPIRIT IS ALSO GOD

That the Holy Spirit is also God, is revealed throughout the Scriptures. The several passages which speak of the "Spirit of God", or the "Spirit of Christ" and other like terms, all indicate the Spirit is God. The Holy Spirit is specifically called “God” in Acts 5:3, 4 and “Lord” in 2 Cor 3:17.

That the Holy Spirit is a distinct Person from the Father and the Son is seen in several key texts. These texts clearly and unmistakably separate the three Persons of the Godhead. 

Birth of Jesus announced - Luke 1:26-38 

Baptism of Jesus - Matt 3:16-17 

See also: Matt 28:19; Luke 11:13; John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7-15; 1 Cor 12:3-6; 2 Cor 13:14; Eph 4:4-6; 1 Pet 1:2. 

If the Holy Spirit were merely God’s personal power or force, as some maintain, then it would be redundant for Jesus (Matt 28:19 and the texts from John’s Gospel) and the Apostle Paul (especially 2 Cor 13:14), to speak of the three members of the Godhead as they do. 

The only plausible explanation is that the three - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit - are in fact three distinct Persons, comprising the one and only God. 

This is the plain teaching of the Bible. 

(A good book on this subject is R.C. Sproul’s The Mystery of the Holy Spirit)