The Many Names of God –

Names of the Spirit


Genesis 1:2; Judges 3:7-11; Ezekiel 11:4-5; Isaiah 63:9-10; Luke 3:16-22, Spirit/Spirit of the Lord/Holy Spirit/Holy Ghost
John 14:16, 26, 15:26, 16:7, Helper, Advocate, Comforter, Intercessor
John 14:17, 15:26, 16:13, Spirit of Truth
Luke 4:18; Acts 5:9, 8:39; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18; Philippians 1:19; Romans 8:9; 1 Peter 1:11, Spirit of the Lord/Jesus Christ
2 Corinthians 3:3, Genesis 1:2, Exodus 31:1-5, Romans 8:14-16, Matthew 10:20, Spirit of the living God/God/your Father

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Genesis 1:2; Judges 3:7-11; Ezekiel 11:4-5; Isaiah 63:9-10; Luke 3:16-22, Spirit/Spirit of the Lord/Holy Spirit/Holy Ghost (3/23/2009)

It has always seemed to me that the Holy Spirit doesn't get much press. Think about it. In the Apostle's Creed, the Father gets 11 words, Jesus gets 62, and the Holy Spirit gets 2: "Holy Spirit." For this last week of our study on the names and titles of God, we are going to look at names and titles of the Holy Spirit.

The Nicene Creed gives us a little more: "We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. Who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who has spoken through the Prophets." This does tell us two important facts about the Holy Spirit. First, when God speaks through a human agent or empowers someone for a special job, it is the Spirit who is the active force in supplying the needed inspiration or charisma. We see this in the readings from Ezekiel and Judges. Second, the Spirit is an integral part of the Trinity, co-present with the Father and the Son. We see the scriptural basis for the eternal presence of the Spirit in Genesis 1:1, among other places. We also see a beautiful illustration of the Trinity in Luke: the Spirit comes down upon Jesus at the moment when Jesus accepts his commission on earth and the Father speaks from Heaven to approve of him.

John 14:16, 26, 15:26, 16:7, Helper, Advocate, Comforter, Intercessor (3/24/2009)
Jesus is speaking to the disciples at the Last Supper

One of the names of the Holy Spirit is "Paraclete." This word only appears five times in the New Testament, four times as a name or title for the Holy Spirit, and once as a job description for Jesus. This makes it a little bit difficult to know what the name actually means. It's as if I mention Gregory's name five times and then ask you what it means. Probably you would go and look it up in a name dictionary, and this is roughly what New Testament scholars have done. They looked at the pre-Christian and extra-Biblical literature, and they decided that a paraclete is a helper or an intercessor on behalf of someone else, or in some case an advocate or a comforter. So in our four scriptures, keep all these words in mind to get a better feeling for what the Holy Spirit does for us.

John 14:17, 15:26, 16:13, Spirit of Truth (3/25/2009)
Jesus is speaking to the disciples at the Last Supper

Last week we saw that Jesus is called Faithful and True. The Holy Spirit is called the "Spirit of Truth." God regards truth very highly, so we should try to stick to it. One way to do this is to stay constantly in the companionship of the Holy Spirit.

A while back, in one of the Bible Study Supplements, I pointed out that English does not allow us to call a person "it" (except for small children), so we tend to think of the Holy Spirit as a "he." As a matter of fact, the word "spirit" is feminine in Hebrew and neuter in Greek, and masculine, feminine, and neuter word genders don't have anything to do with the two sexes that we find on earth, in the first place. In the Greek, the "that one" in John 15:26 and 16:13 is masculine in the original, but the "it" 14:17 is neuter. Do any of your translations have "it"? I'd be surprised. Have I mentioned lately that you should get yourself a good, modern translation of the Bible, with footnotes? American English has changed a lot from the English of the King James Version, and some from the English of the Revised Standard Version. While you're browsing at the bookstore, give serious consideration to one of the so-called "gender-neutral" translations, which a lot of scholars would call "more accurate" translations!

Luke 4:18; Acts 5:9, 8:39; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18; Philippians 1:19; Romans 8:9; 1 Peter 1:11, Spirit of the Lord/Jesus Christ (3/26/2009)

Fellow-reader Pastor Clyde pointed out in response to Monday's email that "It is true the Holy Spirit gets the short end of attention when in fact, the Trinity implies a fundamental unity." The Trinity – God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – is one of the two greatest mysteries of the Christian faith. We modern Westerners think that a "mystery" is a problem to be solved. Biblically, a mystery is a secret to be revealed. For three months, we have been studying names of God, but each of these names only reveals one facet of God's character. The true revelation of who God is has come to us in the Trinity: God in three Persons. The Holy Spirit is not separate from God, but rather a Person within God.

Each of us is a different person at different times. I am Regina the Wife, Regina the Mom, and Regina the SkillSet, which is the person you see most of the time. Although the three Persons of God are a Unity with (in human terms) overlapping and sometimes shared areas of responsibility, God the Father is the Person primarily responsible for the overall creation, ownership, and management of the Universe: "The Earth is the LORD's, and everything in it," (Psalms 24:1; 1 Corinthians 10:26). God the Son is the Person primarily responsible for the nitty-gritty details of creation (John 1:3) and for the salvation of the Universe and the individuals within it (e.g., Romans 8:18-25). God the Holy Spirit is responsible for remaining with us, comforting us, advocating for us, and guiding us at all times (e.g., Romans 8:26-27). In particular, the Spirit is responsible for our sanctification, which is the life-long process of becoming Christ-like after we are saved (e.g., Galatians 5:22-26).

2 Corinthians 3:3, Genesis 1:2, Exodus 31:1-5, Romans 8:14-16, Matthew 10:20, Spirit of the living God/God/your Father (3/27/2009)

A couple of years ago I went to a dinner at which each honoree was asked to name the inventor who had had the greatest impact on our daily lives. I named Prometheus, the inventor of fire. I pointed out that once you have invented the campfire, every other energy source up to and including a nuclear power plant is just straightforward engineering.

The greatest theological insight of all time is similarly ancient: the Hebrew realization that God is the Living God. This may seem self-evident to you, but when Abraham's family made this discovery, they were all alone in the world. No one else realized that pieces of stone or wood were dead, stayed dead after you carved them, and could do nothing for you because they were dead. In the minds of the Jews, the greatest contrast between God and the gods of the other peoples in the area is that God is the Living God (e.g., 1 Samuel 17:25-37; Isaiah 44:6-20). The Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, is the Spirit of the Living God.


More Names of God
Names of God - Introduction
Sacred Names - Part 1
Sacred Names - Part 2
Other Names - Part 1
Other Names - Part 2
Other Names - Part 3
Names of Jesus - Part 1
Names of Jesus - Part 2
Names of Jesus - Part 3
Names of Jesus - Part 4
Names of Jesus - Part 5
Names of Jesus - Part 6
Names of Jesus - Part 7
Names of Jesus - Part 8
Names of Jesus - Part 9
Names of the Spirit

Copyright 2009, 2011 by Regina L. Hunter. All rights reserved. This page has been prepared for the web site by RPB.

Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the author, Regina Hunter, and may or may not be shared by the sponsors or the Bible-study participants.  Thanks to the Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers for their support and enthusiasm.  All errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.

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