The Office of the Holy Spirit

The following is excerpted from R.A. Torrey’s article The Personality and Deity of the Holy Spirit, available as one of the many free text commentaries at the Blue Letter Bible.

Previous posts:

  1. The Personality and Deity of the Holy Spirit (introduction)
  2. Characteristics of the Holy Spirit
  3. The Acts of the Holy Spirit

From the introduction to this series:

One of the most characteristic and distinctive doctrines of the Christian faith is that of the personality and deity of the Holy Spirit. The doctrine of the personality of the Holy Spirit is of the highest importance from the standpoint of worship. If the Holy Spirit is a divine person, worthy to receive our adoration, our faith and our love, and we do not know and recognize Him as such, then we are robbing a divine Being of the adoration and love and confidence which are His due.

There are four lines of proof in the Bible that the Holy Spirit is a person (distinct from the other persons of the Trinity). We already discussed the first two in previous posts (see above). Today, we discuss the third.

The third line of proof of the personality of the Holy Spirit is that an office is predicated to the Holy Spirit that could only be predicated of a person.

“Another Comforter”

We read in John 14:16,17, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” Here we are told it is the office of the Holy Spirit to be “another Comforter” to take the place of our absent Saviour. Our Lord Jesus was about to leave His disciples. When He announced His departure to them, sorrow had filled their hearts (John 16:6). Jesus spoke words to comfort them. He told them that in the world to which He was going there was plenty of room for them also (John 14:2). He told them further that He was going to prepare that place for them (John 14:3) and that when He had thus prepared it, He was coming back for them; but He told them further that even during His absence, while He was preparing heaven for them, He would not leave them orphaned (John 14:18), but that He would pray the Father and the Father would send to them another Comforter to take His place. Is it possible that Jesus should have said this if that One Who was going to take His place after all was not a person, but only an influence or power, no matter how beneficent and divine? Still further, is inconceivable that He should have said what He does say inJohn 16:7, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but, if I depart, I will send Him unto you,” if this other Comforter that was coming to take His place was only an influence or power?

One at Our Side

This becomes clearer still when we bear in mind that the word translated “Comforter” means comforter plus a great deal more beside. The revisers found a great deal of difficulty in translating the Greek word. They have suggested “advocate,” “helper” and a mere transference of the Greek word “Paraclete” into the English. The word so translated is Parakleatos, the same word that is translated “advocate” in 1 John 2:1; but “advocate” does not give the full force and significance of the word etymologically. Advocate means about the same as Parakleatos, but the word in usage has obtained restricted sense. “Advocate” is Latin; Parakleatos is Greek. The exact Latin word is “advocatus,” which means one called to another. (That is, to help him or take his part or represent him). Parakleatos means one called alongside, that is, one who constantly stands by your side as your helper, counsellor, comforter, friend. It is very nearly the thought expressed in the familiar hymn, “Ever present, truest friend.” Up to the time that Jesus had uttered these words, He Himself had been the Parakleatos to the disciples, the Friend at hand, the Friend who stood by their side. When they got into any trouble, they turned to Him. On one occasion they desired to know how to pray and they turned to Jesus and said, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1). On another occasion Peter was sinking in the waves of Galilee and he cried, saying, “Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand, and caught him,” and saved him (Matthew 14:30,31). In every extremity they turned to Him. Just so now that Jesus has gone to be with the Father, while we are awaiting His return, we have another Person just as divine as He, just as wise, just as strong, just as able to help, just as loving, always by our side and ready at any moment that we look to Him, to counsel us, to teach us, to help us, to give us victory, to take the entire control of our lives.

A Cure for Loneliness

This is one of the most comforting thoughts in the New Testament for the present dispensation. Many of us, as we have read the story of how Jesus walked and talked with His disciples, have wished that we might have been there; but today we have a Person just as divine as Jesus, just as worthy of our confidence and our trust, right by our side to supply every need of our life. If this wonderful truth of the Bible once gets into our hearts and remains there, it will save us from all anxiety and worry. It is a cure for loneliness. Why need we ever be lonely, even though separated from the best of earthly friends, if we realize that a divine Friend is always by our side? It is a cure for breaking hearts. Many of us have been called upon to part with those earthly ones whom we most loved, and their going has left an aching void that it seemed no one and no thing could ever fill; but there is a divine Friend dwelling in the heart of the believer, who can, and who, if we look to Him to do it, will fill every nook and corner and every aching place in our hearts. It is a: cure from the fear of darkness and of danger. No matter how dark the night and how many foes we may fear are lurking on every hand, there is a divine One who walks by our side and who can and will protect us from every danger. He can make the darkest night bright by the glory of His presence.

But it is in our service for Christ that this thought of the Holy Spirit comes to us with greatest helpfulness. Many of us do what service we do for the Master with fear and trembling. We are always afraid that we may say or do the wrong thing; and so we have no joy or liberty in our service. When we stand up to preach, there is an awful sense of responsibility upon us. We tremble with the thought that we are not competent to do the work that we are called to do, and there is the constant fear that we shall not do it as it ought to be done. But if we can only remember that the responsibility is not really upon us but upon another, the Holy Spirit, and that He knows just what ought to be done and just what ought to be said, and then if we will get just as far back out of sight as possible and let Him do the work which He is so perfectly competent to do, our fears and our cares will vanish. All sense of constraint will go and the proclamation of God’s truth will become a joy unspeakable, not a worrying care.

Personal Testimony

Perhaps a word of personal testimony would be pardonable at this point. I entered the ministry because I was obliged to. My conversion turned upon my preaching. For years I refused to be a Christian because I was determined that I would not preach. The night I was converted, I did not say, “I will accept Christ,” or anything of that sort. I said, “I will preach.” But if any man was never fitted by natural temperament to preach, it was I. I was abnormally timid. I never even spoke in a public prayer meeting until after I had entered the theological seminary. My first attempt to do so was an agonizing experience. In my early ministry I wrote my sermons out and committed them to memory, and when the evening service would close and I had uttered the last word of the sermon, I would sink back with a sense of great relief that that was over for another week. Preaching was torture. But the glad day came when I got hold of the thought, and the thought got hold of me, that when I stood up to preach another stood by my side, and though the audience saw me, the responsibility was really upon Him and that He was perfectly competent to bear it, and all I had to do was to stand back and get as far out of sight as possible and let Him do the work which the Father sent Him to do. From that day preaching has not been a burden nor a duty but a glad privilege. I have no anxiety nor care. I know that He is conducting the service and doing it just as it ought to be done, and even though things sometimes may not seem to go just as I think they ought, I know they have gone right. Often times when I get up to preach and the thought takes possession of me that He is there to do it all, such a joy fills my heart that I feel like shouting for very ecstasy.

  • Mary Elizabeth

    The road was bumpy, but I’m glad you obeyed the Holy spirit..

    Sometimes He just won’t let us be until we set our feet back on the path…

    Excellent post !

  • Gary Bone

    Thank you for the encouragement. It’s amazing how we overlook the precious Spirit of God.

  • Donna Sharp

    I will never be alone again!
    I will not be Fatherless!
    I will not be an orphan!
    I will not be rejected!

    From the perspective of a child that is the Most awesome gift that could ever be given. A parent, A savior, A comforter, A helper, that will NEVER LEAVE ME OR FORSAKE ME……….

    John 14:16,17
    And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”

    I love that scripture, Thank you Jesus for your prayer and Father for your Answer to it. Your Spirit Now Abibes in Me because of it!!!

    When He gave me the understanding That I am not ever going to be alone again it changed my whole perspective on His LOVE.

    I knew he was not a man, He was My GOD, MY Daddy, My Savior.

    WOW I had a purpose, I had never had a purpose before, not one that fit anyways. Success in the World, but never a true purpose for being created.

    I became something precious and specifically created for His Purpose. Now, what ever that purpose may be in each season of my life that I pass through here is His to sculpt since I am just the Clay in the hand of the Master Potter

    Thank you My Daddy “YHWH”
    Your Daughter

  • Tess

    What wonderful witnesses to the awesome power of God and the gift of the Holy Spirit. So many times I’ve been guilty of not realizing life was not my burden to bare alone without God’s help through His Holy Spirit.

    It was such a glorious thing that happened to me when I finally realized my determination was in the way of letting the Lord reign completely in my life. I had this idea somehow that if I ran up somehow beat my sin into submission that He’d see and approve. I was actually running AT my sin and leaving Him behind! I needed to walk next to Him and not running after sin to battle it with my determination. It’s kinda like that saying. When you finally allow your focus to be about Him and not about you then He’s got something to work with.

    I don’t think I was any less saved before I was just weak, bloody and bruised. But when I just simply opened ALL my heart to His will an experience of a pouring in to overflowing of the Holy Spirit happened and His love so engulfed me that it was like nothing I can even describe. Joy upon Joy times eternity.

    I’ve thought alot about why it happened and when it happened. The only way I know how to say it is that it was like it suddenly dawned on me that I’d been standing in my own way.

    I’d always known He loved me. I’d always known He died for me but I focused too much about my part in His plan. There’s a difference in being the Boss and just obeying the Boss. I wasn’t letting Him TRULY lead me but boy did everything change when I finally got it.

    It’s like you and God standing in a parking lot. You see a robbery going on. You turn to God and say, WAIT HERE I’M GONNA GO KILL THE BAD GUY and off you run like a goof! You’re standing next to the God of the Universe and somehow you don’t get it that you can rely on HIM not yourself. He might say ok, watch this and poof no more bad guy or He might say ok here’s what I want you to do and here’s the sword, it’s Mine, it’s magic and it only needs your hand to hold it and do as I direct and by the way, I’m right beside you so don’t worry it’s a sure thing. Or He might say ok, this is where I want you to do as I trained you, go get’um girl and remember you’ll win and you’ll be stronger for having fought like I taught ya! Now I stop, listen and then act. I used to forget the glorious listen and know part.

    Most Gracious and Loving Heavenly Father Abba,
    Thank you so very much for the gift of the Holy Spirit and Your faithfulness and patience on this poor sinner. You love me and because you do I’m happy in whatever circumstance I find myself in. I pray they will all be happy and filled with joy but if they aren’t I know you had something special in those hard moments and you comforted me and guided me and will someday bring me home. I love and need you every single moment. Amen!

    • Donna Sharp

      Tess, I needed to hear & feel your testimony and trust in our Daddy this morning.

      I am in one of those great Trust Daddy battles in my life right now.

      He has me pinned in between the Pharoah and the Sea. I truly fell like I can’t wiggle out no matter what. I guess I will just give up moving myself.

      I have exerted everything I knew to do and feel not only sick but now exhausted and broken down.

      To be honest I am scared I misunderstood him and now everything is going to fall apart. That I started something I can’t finish.

      I can’t seem to fix it, everything I have tried has been rejected. I have to admit tears are rolling down my cheeks right now. I don’t know what to do exactly,I guess I will heed you advice and just stop trying, stop moving,and try to listen.

      Father, I would ask you to forgive my childish behavior, my selfish need to move things, and remember I am but dust and lead me back into your will. I need you In Yeshua’s Name……

      • Tess

        My sweet sis in Christ. Your tears are felt. During such hard times sometimes all we can do is have faith and know that where there is a beginning of woes there will also be an end. God does not leave us to suffer in the wilderness alone and He is swift to comfort, to heal and always, always to deliver and save. Set your heart on the Light, the Morning Star. Just at the darkest moment the dawn brings glory. I’m praying for you. You are most precious and loved by God.

  • Brothers and Sister in Jesus,

    Greetings to you and grace be upon you in the name of Jesus and in the name of our Father and God, Yahweh!

    Our God and Father has blessed us with His Word and with His wonderful son Jesus the Christ.

    As I read through this article I was concerned for those who read and believe this traditional teaching on the so called trinity of Gods which is a polytheistic concept of our God and Father Yahweh.

    “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” 2 Tim 3:16.

    We need to understand that God is a spirit (John 4:24) and those who worship Him must worship him in spirit and truth. We need to know that God, our Father whose name is YHWH or YAHWEH and that He is the ETERNAL Spirit as Hebrew 9:14 renders Him.

    What else are the attributes of our Great and Wonderful God?

    We know He is a spirit that fills heaven and earth. That He is the Father of all living beings. God is everywhere present or omnipresent (Psalm 139:8, Jeremiah 23:23-24)

    We know that He is eternal.( Deut 33:27, 1 Tim 1:17, Heb 9:14)

    We know God is “NOT” a man (Numbers 23:19, 1 Sam 15:29) and that He is invisible (1 Tim 1:17)but Jesus is a man (1 Tim 2:5)

    We know God is all powerful or omnipotent (Job 42:2, Luke 1:37, Jeremiah 32:17, 27)

    In fact God, YAHWEH, is ALL KNOWING or omniscient (Isa 40:28, Psalm 147:5, Mat 10:30)but Jesus the man does not know all things as we see himself admit in Matthew 24:36

    “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.”

    Here is one of the best attributes I like the most about our God…. Our God is Love! 1 John 4:8

    Our God is a spirit, a holy, awesome, wonderful, loving, invisible, all powerful, all knowing, everywhere present spirit.

    We are made up of a body, a soul and a spirit. Through our individual spirits our souls communicate and worship our God. He made us in His image and over time he is making us more and more into his likeness, that is, the likeness of His only begotten son, Jesus Christ, who is the firstborn of many brethren. (Romans 8:29).

    Let us follow the Bible and what it says and not the traditions that make our God into three gods. The bible does not say “God the Holy Spirit” anywhere. It says, The Spirit of God. This God, our God and Father, is holy and He is a spirit!

    Let’s just love Him with all are hearts and not split Him up into three separate beings… that is polytheism!

    Much Agape,
    Brother Andybob

    • Jim

      Your stand on polytheism is great, I’ve been studying this one for a about 15yrs now, and yes I don’t see anything from the Word’s point of view that supports polytheism, God is God, Jesus is Christ Jesus, and the “gift” that God gave you is holy spirit. Simple a gift from God the Giver.

      Good Job, stand strong on the Word, it’s the Word, the Word and nothing but the Word. What does that Word say?

      This is why I get down into the Greek and really understand the Greek, Ar. Lat. Heb. etc…

      The will fit, all we have to do is II Tim.2:15

      God said study… ok HOW
      Approved unto Him not man… cool
      He calls us a workman… a workman of basketball NO!!!!! workman of the Word. HOW?
      that needeth not to be ashamed… O, then it must be available to be ashamed if God is encouraging us to be not ashamed. Cool
      HOW?…rightly-dividing our own braincells… NO!!!!
      The Word of truth.

      So what did we learn hear?

      approve yourself unto God not man
      be a workman of the Word not mans work
      not to be ashamed by way of your studying, and by way of you being a workman
      rightly-cut or rightly-divide the Word of Truth.

      The secrete about rightly-dividing the Word of Truth is let the Word interprete itself, ok. Who cares what we think is says, what does IT say,

      II Peter 1:20, 21

      But ya polytheism causes confusion and you’ll be surprised on how many people really don’t know what their talking about, well maybe you do.

      good Day

  • Jim

    When we consider the Greek words pneuma hagion without the article “the,” as seen in fifty passages in the critical Greek texts of the New Testament, we discover that these words are seldom used in the sense of the Holy Spirit, who is God, the Giver. Thus, pneuma hagion, when referring to that gift of holy spirit which came on the day of Pentecost, ought always to be translated with a small h and a small s. Pneuma hagion as used in the New Testament regarding that which was received into manifestation on the day of pentecost always refers to what the Giver, the Holy Spirit, God, gave. A verse in John 3 will illustrate this clearly.

    John 3:6
    …that which is born of the Spirit (the pneuma, Spirit, God) is spirit (pneuma).

    The Giver is God, the Spirit. His gift is spirit. Failure to recognize the difference between the Giver and His gift has caused no end of confusion in the Holy Spirit field of study as well as in the understanding of the new birth.

    The gift from the Holy Spirit, the Giver, is pneuma hagion, holy spirit, power from on high, spiritual abilities, enablements. This power is spirit in contrast to the senses. Spirit is holy as opposed to the flesh, which is called by God unholy. God is Holy Spirit and God can only give that which He is; therefore, the gift from the Giver is of necessity holy and spirit.

    The gift is holy spirit, pneuma hagion, which is an inferent spiritual ability, dunamis, power from on high. This gift is “CHRIST IN YOU, THE HOPE OF GLORY” with all its fullness.

    Pneuma hagion, as used in the New Testament beginning with the day of Pentecost, refers to that which is received at the time of salvation and to the internal reception of the nine evidences or manifestations, miscalled the “gifts.”

    The Greek wrd dunamis, translated “power” is not power put forth or manifested, but inherent power received, spiritual ability given to the believer. Exousia, the Greek word from which we get our English word “exercise,” is our God-given authority and right as born-again sons of God to exercise dunamis, which is to put our inherent power into operation.

    Thus, the holy spirit, pneuma hagion, “power from on high,” is put into operation by the will of man, which in trun produces the manifestations of the spirit. These manifestations are energized by the Holy Spirit, who id God.

    John 14:17

    …for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

    At the time of the events of John 14 this pneuma hagion which was promised had not yet been given. Just prior to his ascension, Jesus instructed the apostles not to depart from Jerusalem, but to tarry there until the gift of holy spirit had been poured out.

    Acts 1:4,5

    …wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
    for John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

    Bless You, this may help for understanding,

  • Jerry S.

    Let me take it a step further and to me this is critical to comprehending the intent of the writer. Go thru the LXX and find the corresponding Hebrew word, for example spirit, Spirit, Holy Spirit, etc. These are English words, (obviously) translated with an “interpretation” that is a necessary part of the process of bringing a message from an original language to another target language. What we study to understand the WOG ourselves, II Tim 2:15 HNV, has gone from Hebrew to Greek to Latin to English. The different versions of English that we prefer over another are a smaller matter being so far removed from the original Hebrew. Yes, GOD is GOD of “all” creation, but HE presents HIMSELF to all creation through the Hebrews. The words, “(Spirit) of God”, Gen 1:2 HNV, in Hebrew is “ruwach”. To understand what that word means, go to the Jews, not the Americans or Britain’s or Italians or the Greeks. These are Hebrew concepts we are studying.


    • Jim

      OK, Well I can understand your heart behind this statement you stating. But we can understand the Greek as well by going back to that same time in Greek writings to understand that Greek word.

      For example, what if their were Greek words that didn’t exist in the Hebrew? What do you do now?

      Let’s take the words “rightly-divide”–GK orthotomounta

      II Timothy does not tell us to divide The Word; it tells us to rightly divide it. II Timothy 2:15 is the only place in the Bible where the words “rightly dividing” are found. Again a singular usage in the Word of God shows that the expression is uniquely and dynamically significant. The English words “rightly dividing” are the Greek word orthotomounta.

      Orthos means “perfectly right” or “perfectly straight.”

      Temno means “to cut.” Putting these two words together in the word orthotomounta, translated “rightly dividing” in the King James Version, literally means “a perfectly right cutting.” Its intricate nuance of meaning is that there is only one way to rightly cut The Word; all other ways are wrong cuttings. The teaching that many people give — that as long as you are sincere everything is wonderful — is not the teaching of The Word. II Timothy 2:15 says that we are to “study to show ourselves approved unto God by rightly dividing.” There is only one way to rightly cut The Word; all other ways are wrong cuttings. Now do you understand why we have splits, denominations and sects in so called Christianity? They stem from the wrong dividing of The Word.

      Now, how did the Greeks use this word only a daily bases when this part of the Word was moved within that Holy man of God? Paul.

      If you research this word you will find out they used it most of the time when talking or explaining how to cut a diamond. Ok, What happens if you cut a diamond wrong? We get a dull diamond. What happens when we rightly cut a diamond? The diamond shines with light, ya all the right angles are lined up perfectly and reflects in a right way.

      Now, what happens to a believer that wrongly divides the Word? Well you no longer have the Word for one. But the believer gets undesired prayers or undesired results, then that believer simply states, “o well it must be what God wants”.

      What? I don’t think so, the believer starts to develop a twisted relationship with God all because the Word was wrongly cut. God had nothing to do with the results, again, what happens when we wrongly divide a diamond, undesired results. Wow, crazy isn’t it, but it’s so so so simple to understand.

      Anyway, God Bless,


      • Jerry S.

        We follow the Hebrew Messiah, not one of the Greek gods, Act 17:16-33 HNV.

  • Tess

    “ruwach” So expressive. There is something about what Jerry is saying here that I pray to fully experience. Hebrew is a language that does not meanly convey a meaning. Hebrew embodies so much more than mere information. Thank you Jerry and Shalom to you in it’s fullest sense. 🙂

    P.S. I’m so proud! I’ve posted in less than 4000 words! 😕

  • Tess

    Oops! correction: …does not merely convey… oy vey!

  • Tess

    That’s true also Jim! Greek is a very precise language. Hebrew has so many meanings depending on how it’s used but Greek is so specific. But it’s not emotional like Hebrew. I read all about both and I’m sure you all know much more than I do but the beauty and emotion of Hebrew. It’s so very beautiful. Some day when I can I want to learn Hebrew. Not sure I could ever learn Greek but there is a program called Mango that will teach you many languages and I’d love to learn Hebrew. God bless you and thanks for all these wonderful insights.

    If you all would please pray for Joyce and Walter Chapman. Walter is a man who just walked into my small library today and asked for prayers. His wife is in a nursing home in Rosepine, LA. She has had 4 aneurysms and doctors say she is within 2-3 days of passing away. This man’s faith in God was such a powerful witness and despite all he and the family are going through there was the love of God shining in his eyes.

    God bless you all!

    • Jim

      You bet, that’s what we do as a household, Ephesians. But if she does pass away, teach him Thess. comfort him with the return, she’s no longer in pain, there’s no thought or speech, she’s just awaiting the return of Christ. Now, comfort him with what? That he’ll see her again and what Thess. says to say. OK. But I’ll pray that she lives more wonderful years to come. Again you got it.


      O and thanks for your response, yes the Hebrew is wonderful, when I have time, I’ll expound on verse Gen.1:2, it’s pretty cool after researching every word and around that context what really happened.

      But here’s one for now, God forms, makes, and creates in it’s perfect form right? So the earth was perfect them, ? what made the earth become, not become, it’s became. So it wasn’t in this form from the beginning, so caused all the caaaooooosss? The Devil has something to do with it. It’s cool, got to go.