While in school, have you ever come up against a subject that was difficult for you to understand? Did it seem that no matter how hard you studied to understand, it just wouldn't sink in? If you have ever been in such a circumstance, you can appreciate the value of having someone to help you understand.
God, our Creator, realizes that we all face circumstances which are difficult and at times overwhelming for us. Throughout our lives, challenges will arise that will appear insurmountable. Knowing our weaknesses and limitations, God offers each of us a "helper" for these kinds of situations. This "helper" is called the Holy Spirit.
When the term "Holy Spirit" is used, do you understand what is meant? In this issue of Teen Bible Study, we will discuss what the Holy Spirit is and its importance to each of us.
What Is the Holy Spirit?
John 4:24: "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."
1. What does the word "spirit" tell us?
Comment: Spirit describes the very essence of God. Just as God is invisible so is the Holy Spirit. The word "spirit" is translated from the Greek word for wind (pneuma) which conveys to us something we cannot see and, like the wind, is a powerful force.
Pneuma can also be translated as "breath" (Revelation 11:11). As breath is essential to physical life, so is God's Spirit to spiritual life.
Revelation 15:4: "Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy."
2. What does the word "holy" mean?
3. What is holy besides God? Compare Exodus 15:11 and 1 Samuel 2:2.
Comment: God is spirit and He alone is holy. The term "Holy Spirit" then is an invisible power like the wind that is holy because it comes from God (John 15:26). "Comforter" is another name for God's Holy Spirit.
Psalm 139:7-8: " Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there."
4. Where do we find God's Spirit?
Comment: Through the Holy Spirit, God is everywhere in the universe.
Is the Holy Spirit A Person?
John 17:1: "Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: "Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You…."
1. To whom did Christ pray?
2. To whom did Christ teach the disciples to pray? Read Matthew 6:6-9.
Comment: Jesus never gave any indication that His disciples should pray to the Holy Spirit. However, we are told to ask the Father in Jesus' name (John 15:16; John 16:23).
Matthew 1:20: "But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, 'Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.'"
3. How was Jesus conceived in His mother's womb?
4. Does Jesus refer to the Holy Spirit as His father? Consider John 8:19.
Comment: It was through the Holy Spirit that Christ was conceived in Mary's womb. Yet He does not refer to the Holy Spirit as His Father. Clearly, the Holy Spirit is not a person but the power God the Father uses to accomplish His will.
Galatians 1:1: "Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead)…."
5. For whom did Paul serve as an Apostle?
6. As Paul sent greetings to the churches of God did he mention the Holy Spirit? Read the opening verses to Paul's epistles, such as, 1 Corinthians 1:3 and Ephesians 1:2. Why is there no mention of the Holy Spirit?
Comment: Paul offers greetings from God the Father and Jesus Christ to the churches in each of his letters. He never offers greetings from the Holy Spirit. These examples help us to see that the Holy Spirit is not a person.
The Holy Spirit, the Power of God
Genesis 1:2: "The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters."
1. In what condition do we find the earth in Genesis 1:2?
2. What do we find above the waters?
3. What did God accomplish through the Holy Spirit? Read also Jeremiah 32:17 and Psalm 104:30.
4. How did God use His Spirit of power to bring various creations into existence? Consider Psalm 148:1-5 and Psalm 33:6-9, then answer.
Comment: The Bible tells us that God created all things including the earth through the Holy Spirit. The Spirit proceeds from God and fills the entire universe, much like air is present everywhere on earth.
God's Spirit is the instrument or means by which God creates.
Does Man Need God's Spirit?
Romans 8:7: "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be."
1. We have noted that God is holy, but what is man's nature?
2. What is his heart like? Consider Jeremiah 17:9 before answering.
3. What does God want man to become? Read Leviticus 11:44-45 and Matthew 5:48.
4. Can man become holy on his own? How does Paul's experience as recorded in Romans 7:22-24 reveal the answer?
Comment: These verses show us that humans who want to do good face battles between good and evil. It seems that even when we want to do what is right, it proves an impossible task. The Apostle Paul poses the question, "How can I overcome my nature and become holy and pleasing to God?"
5. How does anything become holy? Can even dirt be holy? What does Moses' experience in Exodus 3:4-5 reveal?
Comment: The ground on which Moses stood was not holy apart from God. It was God's presence on that ground and His presence alone that can make anything holy.
6. How can a person overcome his nature which is most often at odds with God? What was Paul's answer in Romans 7:25?
7. How does Christ help us win in this battle? Read the next verse which is Romans 8:1.
Comment: We are able to overcome our nature by Christ living in us through the Holy Spirit. Clearly, man cannot become holy, as God is holy, without help. It is God in us that make us holy.
Help for Mankind: Power from God
Luke 24:49: "Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high."
Acts 1:8: "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you…."
1. What promise did God give to His people?
2. What is the source of the power?
Acts 2:38-39: "Then Peter said to them, 'Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.'"
3. How can we receive God's Holy Spirit?
4. Do we earn God's Spirit or is it a gift?
5. Is the Holy Spirit available to you as a young person?
What Are the Benefits of God's Spirit?
2 Peter 1:3-4: "as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."
1. How beneficial is the Holy Spirit to those who receive it?
2. Are we God's people without the Holy Spirit dwelling in us? Read Romans 8:9; Romans 8:16-17.
3. Besides power, what does the Holy Spirit impart to Christians? See 2 Timothy 1:7.
4. How is it possible for Christians to do what God asks them to do? Consider Romans 15:19.
5. From where does the ability to understand spiritual things come? Read John 16:12-13 and 1 Corinthians 2:9-14.
6. Where can we find help in our weaknesses? Read Romans 8:26.
7. What fruits does God's Spirit produce in our lives? List those found in Galatians 5:22-23.
1. How is God omnipresent (everywhere at all times)?
2. What are some things God has done by the power of the Holy Spirit?
3. By what power can we become holy?
4. How does one receive the Holy Spirit?
5. Is the Holy Spirit best described as a person or a force? What evidence can you give for your answer?