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.
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). In the previous post, we discussed the first line of prove: that there are distinctive characteristics of personhood ascribed to the Holy Spirit. Today, we will discuss the second line of proof: the many acts that only a person can perform are ascribed to the Holy Spirit.
Searching, Speaking and Praying
For example, we read in 1 Corinthians 2:10 that the Holy Spirit searcheth the deep things of God. Here He is represented not merely as an illumination that enables us to understand the deep things of God, but a person who Himself searches into the deep things of God and reveals to us the things which He discovers. In Revelation 2:7 and many other passages, the Holy Spirit is represented as speaking. In Galatians 4:6, He is represented as crying out. InRomans 8:26, R. V., we read, “And in like manner the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity: for we know not how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit Himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Here the Holy Spirit is represented to us as praying, not merely as an influence that leads us to pray, or an illumination that teaches us how to pray, but as a Person Who Himself prays in and through us. There is immeasurable comfort in the thought that every regenerate man or woman has two Divine Persons praying for him, Jesus Christ, the Son of God at the right hand of the Father praying for us (Hebrews 7:25;1 John 2:1); and the Holy Spirit praying through us down here. How secure and how blessed is the position of the believer with these two Divine Persons, whom the Father always hears, praying for him.
Teaching and Guiding
In John 15:26,27, we read, “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.” Here the Holy Spirit is very definitely set forth as a Person giving testimony, and a clear distinction is drawn between His testimony and the testimony which those in whom He dwells give. Again inJohn 14:26 we read, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance whatsoever I have said unto you.” And again inJohn 16:12-14, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for He shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” (cf. also Nehemiah 9:20). In these passages, the Holy Spirit is set forth as a teacher of the truth, not merely an illumination that enables our mind to see the truth, but One who personally comes to us and teaches us the truth. It is the privilege of the humblest believer to have a divine person as his daily teacher of the truth of God. (cf. 1 John 2:20,27).
In Romans 8:14 (“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God”) the Holy Spirit is represented as our personal guide, directing us what to do, taking us by the hand, as it were, and leading us into that line of action that is well-pleasing to God. In Acts 16:6,7 we read these deeply significant words, “Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, after they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: But the Spirit suffered them not.” Here the Holy Spirit is represented as taking command of the life and conduct of a servant of Jesus Christ. In Acts 13:2 2 and Acts 20:28, we see the Holy Spirit calling men to work and appointing them to office. Over and over again in the Scriptures actions are ascribed to the Holy Spirit which only a person could perform.