The night my wife was converted to Christ she exclaimed, “Now I know who the Holy Spirit is.” Prior to that time she had thought of the Holy Spirit as an “it” rather than a personal “who.”
When we speak of the personality of the Holy Spirit, we mean that the Third Member of the Trinity is a person and not a force. This is clear from Scripture, where only personal pronouns are used when referring to the Spirit. In John 16:13, Jesus said, “When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”
Because the Holy Spirit is a real and distinct person and not an impersonal force, it is possible for us to enjoy a personal relationship with Him. Paul gives a benediction to the Corinthian church that highlights this, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen” (2 Corinthians 13:14). To have communion with someone is to enter a personal relationship with him. In addition, we are called not to sin against, resist, or grieve the Holy Spirit. Impersonal forces cannot be “grieved.” Grief can only be experienced by a personal being.
Because the Holy Spirit is a person, it is appropriate to pray to Him. His role in prayer is to assist us in expressing ourselves adequately to the Father. As Jesus intercedes for us as our High Priest, so the Holy Spirit intercedes for us in prayer.
Finally, the Bible speaks of the Holy Spirit performing tasks that only persons can perform. The Spirit comforts, guides, and teaches the elect (see John 16). These activities are done in a manner that involves intelligence, will, feeling, and power. He searches, selects, reveals, comforts, convicts, and admonishes. Only a person could do these things. The response of the Christian, then, is not mere affirmation that such a being exists, but rather, to obey, love, and adore the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity.
- The Holy Spirit is a person, not an impersonal force.
- Scripture uses personal pronouns when referring to the Holy Spirit.
- The work of the Holy Spirit both requires and exhibits personality.
- The Christian enjoys a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit.
- The Holy Spirit is to be worshiped and obeyed.