Holy Spirit as God’s Personal Power

- also Applied by Jesus

Holy Spirit Is Paralleled with Power

     The common usage of the Jewish poetic technique of “parallelism” in the Hebrew Scriptures is used by Micah to equate God’s spirit with power when he says: “I am filled with power, with the spirit of the LORD” (Mic. 3:8). Similarly, the angel Gabriel uses this same Hebrew technique of “parallelism” in Luke’s account of the conception of Jesus when Gabriel says: “The holy Spirit will come upon you [Mary], and the power of the Most High will overshadow you” (Luke 1:35 NAB). On this text, the most distinguished professor of biblical studies Raymond E. Brown wrote:

The combination of spirit and power is very Lucan,…Not knowing the rules of parallelism in biblical poetry which make it clear that “power from the Most High” is synonymous with “Holy Spirit,” some patristic and medieval theologians thought that the references in 35b, c were respectively to the Third and Second Persons of the Trinity, so that “power” was the Second Person descending to take flesh in Mary’s womb. As we shall see, there is no evidence that Luke thought of the incarnation of a Pre-existent. The Birth of the Messiah. p.290.

So indeed, it wasn’t the holy spirit as a separate person which caused Jesus’ begetting—his coming into existence; but holy spirit is simply paralleled with God’s power. So, God performs His works, including the creation of the universe, through His powerful breath—His spirit. He created the embryonic Jesus Christ in Mary’s womb (Luke 1:35; Matt. 1:20) by means of His spirit. He empowered the many prophets to accomplish His will by means of His spirit, and further inspired the writers of the Scriptures (2 Pet. 1:21). Outstandingly, God raised Jesus from the dead to immortality (Rom. 1:4; Eph. 1:19, 20)—all by means of His spirit. These are all things that only God who is defined as “the Father” (1 Cor. 8:6) does. Indeed, nowhere in the New Testament is “holy spirit” ever called “God”—there is no person called “God the Holy Spirit” to be found in the pages of the Bible.

The Spirit Is Not Abstract Power, but Power

Associated with a Person

     Although Luke 1:35 and Micah 3:8 make the connection between “The holy spirit” and “the power of the Most High” this does not mean that they can be completely equated to each other. The following Scriptures show that power is simply one facet of holy spirit as shown by Paul, saying: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the holy Spirit” (Rom. 15:13 NAB). This means that these aspects of the Christian life are caused by God’s personal power and presence operating in their lives. This also included the miracles that God did through the apostles’ hands: “...by the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the Spirit” (Rom. 15:19). So, the various facets of ‘spirit’ include: power, energy, extended influence, presence, mind, and thought expressed into words, all of which are personal to an individual, that is, things which belong to them.


     The following Scriptures are often mistakenly taken by Trinitarians as referring to a third person in the Godhead. Nevertheless, these statements do indicate that the holy spirit is personal, that is, it is God’s own spirit—the Father’s spirit:

“And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. ‘When you are brought before synagogues, rulers, and authorities do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say”’ (Luke 12:10-12).

It makes no sense to speak of blasphemy against an impersonal power that Jesus places as higher than himself. But the blasphemy that “will not be forgiven” is that which is directed to God i.e. Yahweh—the Father.

NOTE: A further point to be made is that if, “a word [spoken] against the Son of Man will be forgiven” then evidently Jesus cannot be equal to the Father.


     The following texts show this powerful communication of holy spirit as applied by Jesus:

“It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements...” (Acts 15:28).

“And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me”

(Acts 20:22, 23).

“Coming over to us, he took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, ‘The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jews of Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles’” (Acts 21:11).

“So, as the Holy Spirit says: ‘Today, if you hear his voice...’” (Heb. 3:7).

“The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: ‘This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds. ‘Then he adds: ‘Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more’” (Heb. 10:15-17).

It is obvious from these passages that the testifying, the teaching, the decision making, the giving of instructions, the foreseeing of the future, the warnings, and the forgiving of sins cannot have been made by an impersonal force or power, but as will be shown these are the activities of God and/or Jesus, that is, their presence by spirit. However, just to labour the point they are not the activities of a third person.

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