Holy Spirit, Names of

When we look at the Bible’s references to the Holy Spirit, it refers to him in many different ways. In this post, we will look at his names by categories.

“Seven Spirit of God” – Rev 1:4


The Essential Attributes or Nature of the Holy Spirit

The Spirit

Mat 4:1; John 3:6; 1Tim 4:1 – A spirit is a spiritual entity of a person, i.e. “his spirit”, that which gives life and action to that person. This in relation to God is God’s active hand in the world. In relation to persons, their individual spirit is what gives them “life” (see “spirit of life” below). “Spirit” (according to the Greek and Hebrew meanings of the word) can also refer to “wind” (an animator of things in nature), or “breathe” which is air which is exhaled from a person. This breathe is usually what a doctor looks for to see if there is still life in the body of the person. So as a consequence, a person’s breathe is an evidence of life still in him. It also comes out of his mouth and nose with certain aspects or characteristics of that person, so it is distinctively “his”.

In Gen 2:7, God formed man from the dust of the earth, and then “breathed in him” to animate his body with life. The inbreathing of God in man gives life to him. (See Psa 104:30, “you send your Spirit, they are created”.)

Job 33:4 The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

In John 20:22, Jesus “breathed on them” and said “Receive the Holy Spirit”. This divine breathe is somehow a medium by which divinity is placed within these human beings, not that they become divine or a god on their own, but that they have some part of God indwelling in them (see indwelling the believer below).

John 3:6-8 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. 

The need for a “spiritual” animating (instilling of the Spirit of God) is necessary for the person to be saved. This comes at the moment of salvation.

The Spirit of Life

Rom 8:2; Rev 11:11 – Again this is attributing the source of all life, and that source giving life or animation to others.

The Holy Spirit

Psa 51:11; Luke 11:13; Eph 1:13; 4:30 – This name emphasizes the Spirit essential moral character, he is holy, he makes holy. Holiness, in summary, is an “apartness” from all common in this world, and especially apart from all profane in this world. This is essentially the work of sanctification, in which God changes man to be like the moral character of God.

The Spirit of holiness

Ro 1:4 – Again this is a name which refers to both his essential character (The Holy Spirit is holy), and His work (the Holy Spirit makes holy).

The Spirit of glory

1Pe 4:14; Rom 8:16-17; cp Eph 3:16-19 – “Glory” means that there is credit, approval, or good (and high) recognition given to somebody. This is not just a commentary, but glory is based on something of high moral worth (something noble, good, outstanding, worthy, and worthy of public recognition) within somebody. This already existing “thing”, glory, is in a person, and when that is brought to public attention, then it is glory. Glory is an activity of revealing moral worth and exalting publicly.

The Spirit of Grace

Zech 12:10; Heb 10:29 – The work of salvation is applied individually into the hearts of men and women through the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the “administrator of Grace”. He does this work through working with man in instilling faith and trust in God, and specifically in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross.

The eternal Spirit

Heb 9:14 – Eternity is an element of aseity, and therefore this name of the Spirit refers to or applies the full essence of God to the Spirit.

The Free Spirit

Psa. 51:12 – A free Spirit is a spirit that is not bound or restricted.

Good Spirit

Neh 9:20; Psa 143:10 – In his essential essence, the Spirit is good. He does good and cause benefit and advantage to those who maintain his presence.

The Spirit of truth

Jn 16:13 Jn 14:17; Jn 15:26; 1Jn 4:6 – Truth is reality, because it is the opposite of what is false or unreal. Lies are the opposite of truth. But at the same time truth is morally correct or approved in God’s eyes, so it is in a sense “just” or “justice” or “righteousness.” Beyond being “real” or “true” truth is morally pure and right. Another opposite of truth is sin. We live truth. God’s Spirit is a Spirit of truth, in that what he represents and causes and effects in men is submission to God’s moral truth.

John 14:17 “The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”

The Holy Spirit’s being the Spirit of Truth means that he is in opposition to sinful man, and either sinful man will change to be morally acceptable to God, or he will be condemned and chastised in an eternal hell. Note in John 14:17, that the world has a problem even perceiving the presence of the Spirit of Truth. They cannot know him nor see him. He is invisible and unknown to them. Yet for the believer, the Spirit is perceived and known by them, and moreover, the Spirit of Truth is within, or dwelling within the person, and animating the person’s character, attitudes, and actions.

According to John 15:26, the Spirit of Truth will testify of Jesus to the believer. In other words, the character of the Holy Spirit is identical in every aspect with the character of Jesus Christ, and this character is a spiritual guide (Jn 16:13) or moral pattern for the believer, and if the believer submits to the Spirit of Truth, he will be lead into a way of living life that is identical with how Jesus showed us in his own life.

The Spirit of God

God’s Spirit – Acts 5:3-4
Spirit of God – Gen 1:2; 1Co 2:11; Job 33:4
The Spirit of the living God – 2Cor 3:3

Although this connects with the Spirit’s essential being, it focuses on His divine origin, character, and power. See 1Co 3:16 “God’s Spirit lives in you”, and Rom 8:9 “the Spirit of God lives in you”.

The Spirit of the Lord

2The 3:5; Isa 11:2 – This link is with the Lordship of God, the right and ability to command man.

The spirit of the Sovereign Lord – Isa 61:1

The Power of the Highest

Luke 1:35 – Power is the ability to accomplish things.

Spirit of might – Isa 11:2

Titles showing the nature of the Holy Spirit’s activity

The Counsellor / Comforter/Advocate

Isaiah 11:2; John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7; 1John 2:1 – The Greek word here is an advocate, or a professional counselor brought alongside a person to help him in his life. The advocate or lawyer examines the case of the person, and then tells the person what the law is, and where he is abiding by the law (comfort) or where that person is in conflict with the law (rebuke). The counselor or advocate simply states the moral standards of the law, and the individual has either of the two states depending on whether he was in conflict with the law, or abiding in the moral standard of the law.

The Oil of Joy – Heb 1:9

The Spirit of wisdom and understanding

Isa 11:2; Dt 34:9 fn; Eph 1:17 – For the Holy Spirit to instruct us, He must first have knowledge (understand the facts of life) and wisdom (be able to manipulate and use those facts such that he causes benefit and advantage).

Spirit of the fear of the Lord

Isa 11:2 – This quality is the beginning of wisdom. Without fear of the power of God, and what offending that God will eventually cause you, you cannot learn nor be wise.

Teacher

John 14:26; 1Cor 2:13 – A teacher is a person who works with an individual, first instilling facts, and secondly making the person wise, which is so that he can use knowledge to gain benefit and gain.

Revealer/Spirit of Truth

John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13; 1Cor 2:12-16; Eph 1:17 – The Holy Spirit is a revealer of truth or the Spirit of Truth. This aspect of his person reveals his messenger abilities to take the message of God and make it clear and understood to men. Truth is the reality of things, but it is also a moral standard. We accept and submit to truth (moral standard) or we do not. God says “Do not fornicate”, “Do not steal.” We either submit to that moral truth or we reject it. There can be no other options. Ignorance of it si the same as rejecting it, you do not abide by it. The Holy Spirit (both in revealing and convicting) works with us to make those moral truths known and understood to us so that we can make the decision. He uses our conscious which is acted upon by God’s Word, the Scriptures.

Witness – Related to revealing, the Spirit is a witness or testimony to Truth Rom 8:16; Heb 2:4; 10:15
Spirit of Prophecy – Rev 19:10

Guide

John 16:13 – This is another concept or view of the Holy Spirit. Every person has a relationship with God, and that person either obeys God’s will for his life, or works his own will. In order for a person to enter into the will of God for his life, he must first know that will, and this is not a general knowledge but a specific and person knowledge. Therefore the person must begin with a general knowledge of God’s will, and from there, understand the specific will of God for his life, where he will live, what vocation he is to do, who will be his soul mate, what church he will attend, etc. These things are never revealed as the general will of God, i.e. there is no real Bible verse to specifically help you. God will guide you through the Holy Spirit. The conditions here is that one has that saving relationship with God, and that there is a good foundation in the general will of God, and that the person builds a background of constantly seeking God’s will. This is essentially be very knowledge of God’s Word through personal study and participation in the ministry of God in a local church, and be sensitive to God’s direction (obey your conscience). Only then will that person be guided by the Holy Spirit.

Convicter of Sin

John 16:7-11

Spirit of Burning – Isa 4:4

Indweller of the Believer

Rom 8:9-11; Eph 2:21-22; 1Co 6:19; Causes the fruit of the Spirit in the beleiver Gal 5:22-23

Deposit/Seals/Makes Earnest the believer

2Co 1:22; 5:5; Eph 1:13-14

Spirit of Adoption

Rom 8:15 – While adoption was not technically practiced in Old Testament Israel (but see Psa 2:7), the concept is still there (2Sam 7:14). This adoption concept is one of making somebody your child/son, and the child making somebody his father. This relationship and all that comes with it IS NOT AN INHERENT RIGHT, because the adopted person is not born into the family. He is brought in after the fact of birth. Adoption (see Gal 4:4-7) by somebody means that the child being adopted is transplanted from his present family into a new family. There are new relationships established in this adoption with the parents as well as well the brothers and sisters of that family. The adopted child has new rights, privileges, and responsibilities. Also, adoption means that there is a special relationship of the person with the Father, and that special love and care coming from the Father are now given to the adopted child.  An adopted child also is now an heir to receive good things from his father (cp Exo 4:22). The centerpiece of all of this is that the newly adopted child is loved by God (see Isa 1:2; Hosea 11:1) and his family. The Holy Spirit has the duty of informing, guiding, and motivating the new believer in relationship to these situations. He is the one that causes his adoption, or situates the new believer in his new family’s environment. The “spirit of adoption” can also be considered as an attitude within a person whereby they think, live, and act as a son of somebody. Vine’s distinguishes adoption as not being put into a family by spiritual birth, but being put into the position of sons (emphasizing more the filial relationship, verses “spiritual rebirth” emphasizing the father-son relationship). See Davis Huckabee’s Systematic Theology on Adoption. Also see Church of God “The Spirit of Adoption”, specially the section on “God is reproducing himself” about a third of the way down.

The Spirit of sonship

Ro 8:15

Intercessor

Rom 8:26 The Holy Spirit is a mediator between God and man like Jesus Christ is, but he works through Christ, not independently of Christ. This intercession is to help man come to God (conviction, guidance, revelation, etc).

The Spirit of grace and supplication

Zec 12:10; Heb 10:29 – The Holy Spirit is the force, agent, or motivating power which applies the grace of God individually to men. This highlights his work as Intercessor (see previous entry), in that He stands between God and man to work for man in order to gain man’s benefit in finding and approving and applying the grace of God to each individual man.

The Spirit of judgment and fire

Isa 4:4; 28:6 – Judgment is when God enters into a situation to evaluate and declare something as “just” (approved in the sight of God) or “unjust” or guilty (disapproved). “Fire” is a difficult symbol to interpret in this case. It can be linked with judgment, being the punishment of unjust actions, but at the same time, it is the purifier of unjust nature, thus sanctification and holiness are associated with fire which changes us from sinful to holiness. Another aspect of this positive aspect is that metal is purified by much fire and heat.

The Holy Spirit in related to His Functions

The promised Holy Spirit

Ac 2:33; Eph 1:13 – The Holy Spirit was fully active in the Old Testament. But at the same time, the effect of the Holy Spirit is compared between the Old and New Testaments as being much greater and more extensive in the New Testament than the Old. In this, the Spirit is said “to have come” and “to have been promised” before his coming at the day of Pentecost.

The Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead

Ro 8:11 – The most powerful thing in all of history was the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. The Holy Spirit is directly attributed with this act.

Author of Scripture

2 Peter 1:21; 2 Timothy 3:16 – The Holy Spirit is also the person who gives, directs, guides, reveals, the will and message of God to man. His work is in communicating this message, but also in making sure it is not corrupted or changed by the passing through men to get into a fixed state.

The Spirit in relation to the Son of God

Gal 4:6; Act 16:7; Rom 8:9; Php 1:19; 1Pe 1:11

In relation to being God, or related to others in Godhead

The Spirit of the Lord/Christ/God

This reference focuses on the possession of God, His Spirit. Spirit is what “animates” man and animal, so this concept of the “Spirit” which is of God would seem to indicate the animating or working influence of God in the world.

See Gen 1:2; 41:38; 1Sa 10:10; 1Sa 19:20,23; Ro 8:9; 1Co 6:11; 2Co 3:3; Eph 4:30; Php 3:3. Jdg 3:10; Jdg 6:34; Jdg 11:29; Jdg 13:25; Jdg 14:6,19; Jdg 15:14; 1Sa 10:6; 1Sa 16:13; 2Sa 23:2 ; Isa 11:2; Isa 61:1; 2Co 3:17 Mat3:16; 2Cor 3:17; 1Pe 1:11.

Spirit of Lord God – Isa 61:1
Spirit of the Lord – Isa 11:2; Acts 5:9
Spirit of God – Gen 1:2; 1Co 2:11; Job 33:4
Spirit of the Father – Mat 10:20
Spirit of Christ – Rom 8:9; 1Pe 1:11
Spirit of the Son – Gal 4:6

The Breath of the Almighty

Job 33:4 – Breath is what goes out of one’s mouth, but yet there is the characteristics of that person in his breath.

Personal References to the Holy Spirit

My Spirit

Ge 6:3; Isa 30:1; Isa 59:21; Joel 2:28-29; Hag 2:5; Zec 4:6;Zec 6:8; Mt 12:18

His Spirit

Isa 34:16; Isa 63:10-11; Zec 7:12; Ro 8:11; Eph 2:22

Your Spirit

Ne 9:20,30; Ps 51:11; Ps 139:7; Ps 143:10

The Spirit of your Father

Mt 10:20

The Spirit of Christ/His Son/Jesus Christ

Rom 8:9; Gal 4:6; Phi 1:19; Act 2:32-33; 16:6-7,