Describing the Holy Spirit

How many of us have a close relationship with the Holy Spirit in our lives? I grew up in Pentecostal churches. All my life pastors and teachers have talked about a vibrant life in the Spirit. So I am very familiar with the third member of the Trinity.

As I have learned from others and watched other Christians, I have realized that most Christians walk the path with Christ and don’t fully engage with the Holy Spirit. Some of them don’t understand him as well as they understand the Father and the Son.

Others aren’t taught about the Holy Spirit and don’t know how to have a relationship with him on a daily basis. It’s my goal as you read about holiness that you see the great possibilities a relationship with the Holy Spirit brings as we chase after God and his holiness.

To that end, let’s dive into the descriptions of the Holy Spirit from Isaiah, Jesus, John, and Paul. We want to see what they have to say about the Spirit and what he does in our lives. Most of all, we want to develop and cultivate a vibrant relationship with the one who guides us every day of our lives and connects us to Jesus.

Isaiah’s Descriptions

In the Old Testament, the prophet Isaiah spoke about God’s Spirit in seven ways (Isaiah 11:2). The number seven in Hebrew culture represents the number of perfection or completeness. To describe the Spirit in seven ways is to describe his perfection and completeness.

John also refers to the “seven Spirits of God” (Revelation 3:1). This is another reference to the Spirit. Looking at the different descriptions of the Holy Spirit from Isaiah’s point of view gives us insight into his Person and works.

First, Isaiah calls him the Spirit of the Lord. Most people might see this as a general term for the Holy Spirit. But there’s more to it than that. The Spirit of the Lord shows that he has authority from the Lord.

The Holy Spirit is authorized to do whatever the Lord wishes in us. He works within God’s will to produce holiness in our character. Everything he does in us is part of what God has predestined since we became saved (Romans 8:29-30).

Next, Isaiah refers to him as the Spirit of wisdom. Especially in wisdom literature, there are two types of wisdom. There is godly wisdom and earthly wisdom. God’s wisdom centers on making the choices that glorify and pleased him.

When we practice biblical wisdom, it’s not some kind of Eastern mysticism. It’s not a few sayings that make little sense. It’s down to earth, rubber meets the road, practical decision-making based on consulting God’s Word and Spirit.

As the Spirit of wisdom, he directs our paths so that we experience godly success. The success that God approves of happens when we make decisions that please him. Success in God’s eyes is when we reach the destination he has planned for us from the beginning.

Third, he is the Spirit of understanding. Understanding and wisdom are close in meaning, but understanding gives us more insight into God’s Spirit. The Spirit of God has insight into who we are personally. He lives inside of us and he understands us completely.

He uses this understanding to further holiness in him. Because he understands who we are inside were no analyses us, he is able to apply his program of holiness in our character. He knows exactly what needs changed and how.

Fourth, the Spirit is called the Spirit of counsel. He offers his counsel to us every day that we ask. But we must ask and seek God’s counsel. The world wants to speak in one ear and out the other. But we must choose to listen to the Spirit’s voice.

As we listen to the Spirit’s voice, we grow closer to God and do his will. We make choices that bring us into his presence. We live and walk by the Spirit. We listen to God’s voice. We will never receive better counsel from anyone else. The world follows its own path that leads to destruction. But we live in the blessings and promises of God.

Next, he is the Spirit of might. The Holy Spirit has all of God’s power and exercises it in our lives. He uses it to move us closer to God’s holiness and to demonstrate through us what God desires to see happen in our world.

We carry the power of the Holy Spirit with us. His might is the strength that gets things done. Because he is all-powerful, he can to the impossible. When we stay connected to him, we will see the great works of God and glorify him. And he wants to use us!

Sixth, he is the Spirit of knowledge. This word for knowledge can be used for many things in the Bible. But it especially talks about knowledge gained through experience. Therefore, it’s a very intimate type of knowledge.

We’ve already talked about the understanding the Spirit has because he dwells within us. But this type of knowledge as it is understood in the family of wisdom is a skillful knowledge. The Holy Spirit enables us to know how to serve God and to do his will.

We learn as he guides us through holiness how to glorify God with every fiber of our being. He teaches us how to first know God and then to practice the actions that glorify him. Every step of the way we gain insight and skill into pleasing God in all we think, say, and do. We learn how to become pure before the Lord.

Last, he is the Spirit of the fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7). Fearing the Lord is about honoring, revering, and being in awe of him and his works. It’s the beginning of wisdom because honoring the Lord first means that everything else will follow.

The Holy Spirit teaches us the fear of the Lord. We walk with God and obey him because we revere him. Because we worship him and honor him, he brings many blessings our way. Our lives become a great witness of God’s goodness.

Jesus’ Descriptions

During the Olivet Discourse when Jesus gathered for an intimate Passover dinner before he would go to the cross, he gave some descriptions of the Holy Spirit, his purposes and plans for the disciples.

One of the things he called the Holy Spirit was the Helper or Comforter. The word in the original language means, “One who comes alongside” (John 14:16, 26). The Holy Spirit walks with us on this journey of holiness. He is our Guide because he has done this before.

We can trust his guidance because he knows exactly what we need to look like as we take on the character of Christ. Trusting the Holy Spirit in our transformation toward holiness relies on the fact that he is the Spirit of Truth (John 15:26). He always leads us toward Jesus and honors him.

The Spirit tells us the truth about ourselves. He isn’t shy in warning us of returning to sin, confronting us with any sin or character traits that don’t honor Christ, and disciplining us. Ultimately, he is our Teacher, because he teaches us all things pertinent to growing in Christ (John 14:26).

John’s Descriptions

John tells us in his first letter that the Holy Spirit can be trusted. We know that he is God’s Spirit because he confesses the truth about Jesus (1 John 4:3). The Holy Spirit, who dwells in us, is greater than anything we encounter in this world (1 John 4:4).

John expands on the Spirit of Truth that Jesus mentioned. We can test the spirits because he is the Spirit of Truth and all of the other spirits that we encounter in this world tell lies (1 John 4:6). He gives us the discernment to tell the difference.

The Holy Spirit always testifies the truth about Jesus. He is one of three witnesses that Jesus is the Christ (1 John 5:7-8). For these reasons, we can always trust God’s Spirit to be truthful and to guide us away from error and the dangers in this world and the spirit realm.

Paul’s Descriptions

Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit was given to us at the moment of salvation (Ephesians 1:13-14). We were sealed in the Spirit, and he is a foretaste, a down payment to show us the glories of our inheritance in Christ.

Paul reminds us that the Spirit not only testifies the truth about Jesus, but he also testifies the truth about us, that we are God’s children (Romans 8:16). He leads us in an intimate relationship with God (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6).

We received salvation by God’s grace by the power of the Spirit, and just as we received the Spirit, we must not try to do works of our own to achieve holiness (Galatians 3:2-5). We must continue with the Spirit instead of thinking we can gain godliness on our own. He is our Guide.

Paul shows us that the Holy Spirit equips us for good works in God. He gives us gifts to minister to God’s people and to the world (1 Corinthians 12-14; Romans 12:6-8; Ephesians 4:11). He ministers to us by providing the character and deeds that glorify God in the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).


The Holy Spirit is one of our greatest allies on our road to holiness. The Father and the son sent him to us when Jesus left the earth. Through the Holy Spirit we can have intimacy with God and be ushered into his presence.

He never leaves our side as we grow in Christ and walk with him. He reminds us of the things that are coming. God promised him to us, and he delivered on yet another of his promises. Most Christians do not realize the intimate relationship they have with the Spirit.

It’s my hope that you will not only have a great relationship with the Spirit that you will know all of the great things he is doing in your life. Don’t neglect the Holy Spirit or ignore him. He wants to speak to you and declare God’s goodness in your life.

Leave a comment and tell me about your relationship with the Spirit. Have you ever thought about how close of a relationship you could have with him? Is he just a force in your life or is he the third Person of the Trinity, helping you every step of the way to become more like Christ?

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