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Holy Spirit, The

The mysterious power or presence of God in nature or with individuals and communities, inspiring or empowering them with qualities they would not otherwise possess. In the OT, three major emphases may be identified: the Holy Spirit as an agent in creation (Gen 1:2; Ps 33:6; Ezek 37:1-10); the Holy Spirit as a source of inspiration and power for Israel’s leaders and prophets; and the Holy Spirit as God’s presence in the covenantal community (see esp. Ezek. 11:14–21). In the NT, a more diverse range of meaning is seen. It is the Spirit of God that endows Jesus with power as the Messiah (Matt 3:13-17; Matt 12:28) and empowers the church for its mission (Acts 2). At a deeper level, the Holy Spirit comes to represent both the presence and activity of God and the continuing presence of Jesus Christ in the believer and in the church (Acts 2:33; Gal 4:6). This idea comes to fullest expression in (John 14), where the Holy Spirit is described as an “Advocate” (Paraclete), or “Helper,” who represents both divine presence and guidance for the disciples.

  • Powell, Mark Allan, ed. HarperCollins Bible Dictionary. Abridged Edition. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2009.