Reflections on the Holy Scripture

The Holy Spirit is one of the three persons of God in direct relation to the Trinity. The Holy Spirit is often called the Comforter, as it is He who dwells within us as Christians. After Jesus ascended to Heaven, the Holy Spirit came down to guide us in our walk with Christ (John 14:26). Through the Holy Spirit, we also receive various gifts, explained in 1 Corinthians 12. With these gifts, we can better, and as a unit, work in the best way God intends for us.

Who is the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit is one of the Trinity and therefore God. Called God in Acts 5:3-4, the Holy Spirit is the person known as the Comforter, or Counselor. His role is given by Jesus in John 14:26.

26But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

KJV

The Holy Spirit dwells in us (John 14:17), sanctifies us (1 Peter 1:2), and guides us (John 16:13). He is our Helper and is the true force behind all of our works, and therefore He is with us and guides our actions should we allow Him. Various gifts are given by the Holy Spirit to accomplish this; these gifts divinely empower the believer at the time the gift is needed (1 Corinthians 12:1-11). The Holy Spirit, who was sent to the earth after Jesus left, ensures that we accomplish His will.

Baptism in the Holy Spirit

The promise Jesus made to the apostles before His ascension was that the Holy Spirit would give power to them. We similarly are commissioned to receive the same Spirit so that we may perform His works:

4And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; 5for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now… 8But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

~ Acts 1:4,5,8 NKJV

This is known as the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. When He comes down upon us, we are imbued with His power so we may do His works. That is, He gives us certain gifts at the times we need them so that His will can be accomplished. This baptism comes after accepting Christ as a distinct event, whenever we choose to commit our life to Him.

Without Him, we cannot do perfect works for Him, and without us, He won't do His works. So we must accept the promise of God simply by praying as the Early Church did in Acts 1 and 2. With His entering comes a feeling of superfluous fullness, reverence for God, and dedication to His works. He is our Helper, and with Him in us, we are enabled to supernaturally serve Him.

Gifts of the Spirit

Once we are saved, we are called into ministry by Jesus to perform works in His name and tell others how they are saved from the wages of sin by His blood. Alone, we are unable to do this efficiently, and we need God to help us perform perfect works. The Spirit's gifts are "for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry" (Ephesians 4:12).

These gifts of the Spirit are distributed to the people of the Church; usually not one person has all the gifts, but together the entire Church has all. Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 12 that through the Spirit and the gifts, the whole Church becomes the body of Christ: a working team. So similarly, as the gifts are needed for the ministry, they are also needed for the Church's edification. Ephesians 4:16 reads,

16from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

NKJV

The gifts help the Church build on itself, correct itself, and learn all through His love.

We are called to desire the gifts (1 Corinthians 14:1) which are listed mainly in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10. Other lists of the gifts are found throughout Paul's letters, though this one is the most comprehensive and generally encompasses all of the gifts; thus the list on this page is the same as found in 1 Corinthians 12.

Word of Wisdom

The gift of wisdom is a temporary divine inspiration from God meant to illuminate a situation or problem according to God's word. This supernatural wisdom is a way of applying the Word to what is at hand. Our own wisdom is often insufficient (1 Corinthians 2:5), and thus we depend on the Spirit. This is not a gaining in wisdom, for the insight comes directly from God, but it is a temporary wisdom meant solely for the situation. When the Holy Spirit gives this gift, it is often for the guidance of the Church or against doctrine of adversaries.

Word of Knowledge

The gift of knowledge is a little different from the gift of wisdom in that, while wisdom refers to knowing the application of the Word, knowledge is knowing the truth of the Word. The Holy Spirit grants us understanding of the Bible according to His will when our own understanding fails us or leads us astray. We are told to "lean not on [our] own understanding"; rather we should trust in Him, and He will give us the knowledge we seek in His own time (Proverbs 3:5-6). Acts 5:1-10 also indicates that the knowledge of the Spirit may reveal truth behind people's actions or their plans.

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 2:12

Faith

This sort of faith that the Spirit gives is a special trust in God during different circumstances. These circumstances are the sort that would challenge faith in the Lord, that He might either preserve you through a trouble or help you accomplish an overwhelmingly difficult task. For instance, you might be confronted with a calling to go into international ministry, and the Spirit may give you the gift of faith so that you may trust that the Lord will enable you to raise money for the trip or help you adjust to the new lifestyle without quitting. The faith is miraculous in nature, and without it, trust in the Lord would fail.

The various people found in Hebrews 11 were confronted with strange and testing situations that required great faith. Just as they had the faith to obey God, so may the Holy Spirit give you a similar faith at His will so you may obey Him. Similarly, having supernatural faith may enable you to instill faith in others just as Paul did just before a shipwreck in Acts 27:25.

Gifts of Healings

The gifts of healings are miraculous restorations from disease, injury, or disability given to those who need it so that they or others around may turn to salvation or recognize the power of God. The gifts of healings are both plural; this is because the gift is for he who is being restored, not for he who is administering the gift. The gift of healing is given to the Christian to be given to the person who needs the healing. This is demonstrated by Peter in Acts 3:1-10 where he apparently has a gift of healing (verse 6) that he gives to the lame man; this gift was given to him by God, as indicated in verses 12 and 13. As Christians, we need to realize that the power of healing does not come from us; the power is of God and God alone, and through the Holy Spirit, we are able to administer these gifts.

Working of Miracles

Excluding divine healing, which are separate gifts, the working of miracles is a gift of supernatural power meant to accomplish something that normally couldn't be done. This includes casting out demons, altering circumstances, or bestowing God's judgement. An instance of miraculous power was given to Paul in Acts 13:9-11 when he through God made the sorcerer Elymas blind. These miracles are meant to glorify God and defeat Satan; these powers are not of our own might, and therefore should He give us the gift of working miracles, God should receive all the glory.

Prophecy

Prophecy is not just a predicting of events; to prophesy is to speak on God's behalf. 1 Corinthians 14:3-4 shows what prophesying does:

3But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. 4He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.

NKJV

Prophetic message is the gift that Paul considers the best because it edifies the Church. The messages of prophecy are directly from God through an individual meant to correct, improve, encourage, or challenge the congregation. As such, the advice or message is perfect and will overall improve the Church should any instruction be followed.

Keep in mind, however, of false prophets who are not of God. Their messages are not perfect and must be challenged by the congregation. It is up to the Church to test the message against Scripture to determine its origin; this will also help determine how the message should be applied if the application isn't explicit.

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 14:29

Discerning of Spirits

There are many different spirits out in the world. Some are of Satan and are sent out to deceive. These deceiving spirits, however, will tell you things contrary to what the Word of God says. The Holy Spirit, who is God, can help you distinguish spirits, judge the validity of prophecy, and reject deceptions. 1 John 4 tells us how to determine what spirit is of God and what spirit is not of God. Through Him, we can tests the spirits and therefore remain pure.

Different Kinds of Tongues

Tongues are the languages of Heaven. Occasionally, the Holy Spirit will anoint us causing us to speak in these tongues; He directs our speech, and not even we know what is being said. The gift of tongues is a Spirit-directed form of worship, and because He is directing us, the worship is perfect. This furthermore results in an edification in the spirit; personally, he who speaks in tongues is edified by God through a strengthening of union with Him and deepened reverence for Him. Because the tongues are not understandable, they do not edify the whole Church or congregation; however, the tongues can be interpreted through another gift of the Spirit.

Interpretation of Tongues

The tongues mentioned above can be interpreted by the Spirit for the congregation. 1 Corinthians 14:5 shows that just as prophecy edifies the church, so does the interpretation of tongues. Tongues always proceed an interpretation, but an interpretation does not have to follow tongues. Without an interpretation, however, the Church cannot be edified. Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:6-19 explains this ideas and tells us to pray for an interpretation by the Spirit. We ourselves cannot interpret, but only God can.

Fruit of the Spirit

Once we have the Spirit in us, He begins to work in us. Along with the gifts which help us accomplish His works, the Spirit edifies us through His fruit. We exhibit the fruit through nine primary characteristics that Paul lists in Galatians 5:22-23 which are also listed in the below table. Our way of life should adhere to these attributes in order to show justification of our faith.

Attribute Description
Love Love is perhaps the most important theme throughout the entire Bible, and as such Paul says that without love, all that we do is nothing. Love is that important. In the Bible, love is the willing commitment and ability to put the life of another above your own. Paul goes on in 1 Corinthians 13 explaining love and all of its attributes.
Joy Joy is more than just happiness. It is the delight in living the truth of God and seeing His work unfold. Joy is the result of the hope we have in Christ, as with that hope we have a purpose we can expect and therefore a reason to live. Joy keeps us from depression and self-pity so that we can appreciate God's Creation and do His will.
Peace Peace is a wholeness of life; it brings satisfaction as God provides everything we need. The sense of satisfaction allows us to move forward with our purpose and grow in Him.
Longsuffering Longsuffering is another word for patience. As its name implies, this patience does involve suffering, which includes other people aggravating us, not following valid instructions, etc. With patience, we learn that relationships take time to mature, and therefore we can forgive those who may trespass on us.
Kindness Kindness is an appreciation, generosity, goodwill, and good attitude toward others. Our kindness should follow the example that Jesus gave which is detailed in Titus 3:4-7. Our kindness should seek to help others in need like the Good Samaritan of Jesus's parable. It is given unconditionally and without expectation of a returned kindness. In general, we must follow the Golden Rule, which the Holy Spirit helps us observe.
Goodness Goodness is a generosity to give and share what you earn or have with others that might not be so fortunate. Ephesians 4:28 goes on to explain this. When we give, it should not be for selfish reasons such as recognition. Too often, the motive of someone's giving is partially influenced by a need of recognition or boost in reputation, but the Holy Spirit can help us give purely out of goodness of heart.
Faithfulness This is a complete and perpetual trust in the Lord. We can always trust that the Lord will guide us in our lives, but sometimes we lose sight of His plans. Through this attribute, the Holy Spirit can help guide our faith always toward Him. Furthermore, we must be dependable to others; other people should be able to have faith in us.
Gentleness Gentleness is a humility and concern for others. The Spirit helps us be calm in troubling situations and to calmly address people when we are angry. Rather than criticizing destructively, gentleness helps criticize constructively or encourage. It doesn't bring people down, but it rather uplifts them. We must be sure that we do not harm the emotions of others even in correction.
Self-Control Paul concludes the list of fruit with Galatians 5:24. Self-control is the repenting of our sinful nature by resisting temptations of sin. Throughout our Christian walk with God, we will be tempted to stray from His Word, but with this attribute of the Spirit's fruit, we can better resist such temptations and stay within His will.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Fix IE