Holy Spirit
Biblical Themes
The Holy Spirit is God's personal presence, but what does that mean? How does God plan to change the entire world through his Spirit?

Questions for Personal Reflection or Group Discussion:

  1. Describe how the Spirit is first introduced in the Hebrew Bible by reading Genesis 1:1-3. What does God’s ruakh (spirit, breath, wind) do in this passage?
  2. God’s Spirit empowers others for specific tasks. Read Genesis 41:16-39, Exodus 35:29-35, and Isaiah 61:1-4. What tasks did God empower through his Spirit, and what do these tasks have in common?
  3. Read the account of Jesus’ baptism in Matthew 3:16-17. Compare the presence of the Spirit (above the baptism waters) in this scene with the presence of the Spirit (above the chaotic waters) in Genesis 1:1-3. How does this comparison help us see that Jesus is the beginning of a new creation?
  4. Read John 20:11-23, Acts 1:1-8, and Acts 2:32-39. What did Jesus give the disciples after his resurrection? How did the disciples receive Jesus’ gift, and what did his gift specifically empower them to do?
  5. Take time to discuss other themes or key takeaways from what you read together.

The Spirit is God’s personal presence.

The Spirit is a person and not merely a force. But when we start on page one of the Bible, before creation began, we see a depiction of the Spirit of God hovering over the dark, disordered waters of the Earth. In the Bible, any time we see a description of the Spirit of God, like what is depicted in the first few verses of the Bible, the Hebrew word ruakh is used. Ruakh can describe an invisible, powerful energy that is necessary for life, making it a fitting description for the Spirit of God.

The Holy Spirit has been empowering God's followers from the beginning.

Jesus heals by the power of the Spirit.

The religious leaders of Jesus’ time saw his healing work as a threat, which eventually led to his execution. But God’s Spirit continued to work through Jesus’ sacrifice, raising him from death. The disciples said Jesus appeared to them after death glowing with the Spirit of God.

When Jesus appeared to his closest followers, he breathed the Holy Spirit into them, empowering them to spread God's goodness throughout the world. Soon after that, God's Spirit came over all of his followers. Today, through Jesus and the power he has given his followers, God's Spirit continues to hover over a dark and chaotic world, slowly healing and working toward the day when it will be made new.

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Dive Deeper and Explore More

Read the Article
How God's Presence Came to Dwell with All His People
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Following the Pattern of the Holy Spirit
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Podcast Series
Holy Spirit
4 Episodes
Follow discussions between Tim & Jon as they prepare to write the theme video on "The Holy Spirit."
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