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The Holy Spirit of God: It or Person?

In a word play, Jesus said that just as the wind is mysterious and you don't know where it comes from or where it goes, so it is with those born of the Spirit (Jn 3:8). The same Greek word pneuma is used for both "Spirit" and "wind".

So this leads us to the question: is the Spirit of God an impersonal it, or a personhood of God?

The earliest Christians wrestled with the triune nature of God, that God was three unified, but distinct, persons in one, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit. Of course these concepts are difficult for our finite minds to comprehend, but would we expect anything less when pondering the creator of the universe (Isa 55:8; 1 Cor 1:18-25)? The Spirit of God, while certainly mysterious and difficult to understand at times, is a person, a personhood of the triune God. So the Spirit of God is referred to as a person, and not an impersonal "it".

This can have profound meaning and impact for Christians as they are to be filled with the Spirit and to walk with the Spirit (Gal 5:16), as the Spirit is their counselor, comforter, advocate (Jn 14-16), and guarantor (2 Cor 1:22; Eph 1:14) of the eternal promises of God. This is to be a personal and intimate relationship with God the Father (and mother) as we interact and surrender to God's personal Spirit that lives in us.

So, perhaps one of our first steps toward this kind of intimate relationship is to believe and understand the personal nature of God's Spirit, and that the Spirit is not an impersonal "it." Even this small change of nomenclature can help us as we walk with the Spirit, experiencing the personal nature of God's Spirit as the Spirit interacts, leads, and guides us on the journey toward the new creation, and helps us transform more into the likeness of Jesus.


Memory Scripture:

  • "The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us." - 1 John 3:24


  • Lord, help me to know, believe, understand, and experience, your personal presence that is in me through your Spirit.

Action Item:

  • If you have a tendency to refer to the Spirit as an "it", try to begin changing your language to refer to the Spirit as a person. See how this simple shift can make a difference in your relationship with God.

Study Questions:

  1. If you refer to the Spirit as an "it", why do you think you do so? Where do you think that originated?

  2. Try having a conversation with another Christian about the personal nature of the Spirit in their lives.


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