A Brief History of the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures


Revelation 22:17 NIV

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.


We’re coming to the conclusion of our journey through the Scriptures, exploring the Person and work of the Holy Spirit. Like looking at a photo album after a wonderful trip, let’s take a few moments to worshipfully view all the places we’ve been.

Today, awareness of the activity of the Holy Spirit is as vital to the Church as it has ever been. The Spirit invites us to an infilling, a deep drink, of the living water Jesus offers us.

Jesus said to his disciples, “Receive the Holy Spirit” in John 20:21-22. As we open ourselves to the Holy Spirit today, there will be parties of salvation and joy (Acts 2:1), a few things will get moved around (Acts 2:2), we’ll be filled with the fire of love for others (Acts 2:3), and we’ll be empowered with gifts for the mission of loving the world to life in Jesus’ name (Acts 2:4-8,11b).

We learn from the Old Testament (the Hebrew Bible), that the Holy Spirit is the Breath of God (ruakh) and the Original Artist (Gen. 1:1), bringing beauty from chaos (Gen. 1:2), animating human life (Gen. 2:7), and sustaining all things seen and unseen (Gen. 2:1). The Holy Spirit speaks to people (Gen. 15:12a), helps us obey (Gen. 22:1-2), rushes to a humble heart (1 Sam. 16:13a), and renews us in worship (Ps. 51:10-12). 

The Holy Spirit is with us everywhere (Ps. 139:7-10), leading us to the good life (Ps. 143:10), stirring praise in our spirit (Exo. 15:19-21), and welcoming us to awakening moments (Exo. 3:2-4). The Spirit gives us prophetic discernment (Gen. 41:38), works through our skills (Exo. 31:1-6), orchestrates such-a-time-as-this moments (Est. 4:12-14), and uses God-hearing leaders (Jud. 4:14). The Spirit gives us a heart of flesh (​Eze. 36:26-27), calls a kingdom of priests (Exo. 19:4-6a), pours out God’s presence (Joel 2:28-29;32a), and rests on the Messiah (Isa. 11:1-3). The Holy Spirit empowers the Good News that sets captives free (Isa. 61:1-2a), and gives us life (Job 33:4).

We learn from the New Testament that Jesus was with the wind (pneuma) of the Holy Spirit at creation (John 1:1-5), and the Spirit gives us the strength to obey (Luke 1:35)—working powerfully through a person aware of the Father’s love (Matt. 3:16-17). The Spirit makes us born again (John 3:5-8), is our Helper (John 14:16-17), reveals Jesus (John 15:26), and guides us into all truth (John 16:13). The Spirit glorifies Jesus (John 16:14-15) and reveals to us the depths of God (1 Cor. 2:9-12). The Spirit always builds up the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:12-14), empowers us with the Father’s love (Rom. 8:14-15), and teaches us what to say when we need to declare our faith (Luke 12:11-12). By the Spirit we learn how to walk on the path of life (Gal. 5:16-17), experience freedom (2 Cor. 3:17), gain the fruitful character of Christ (Gal. 5:22-25), quench our spiritual thirst (John 7:37-39), and come out of deserts with power (Luke 4:1-2;14-15). 

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus’ Resurrection within us (Rom. 8:11), lavishly given by the Father (Luke 11:13), showing us the way of love (1 Cor. 13:1-6) and equipping us for ministry with profound spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12:1-3). That Great Symphony of spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12:7) is expressed through the Church, and gifts are distributed to all (1 Cor. 12:4-6), many and abundant (1 Cor. 12:7-11), for the building up of the local church (Rom. 12:4-8).

The Holy Spirit strengthens the Body through gifted leaders (Eph. 4:11-13), speaks to us through the Scriptures (2 Tim. 3:14-17), through impressions and intuitions (Acts 20:22-23), through gifts of wisdom (James 3:13,17; Col. 1:9-12), and through the Body of Christ (Acts 13:2-4; Rom. 12:5). The Spirit is a deposit and guarantee of resurrection and the New Creation to come (2 Cor. 5:5), helping us wait in hope (Gal. 5:5), giving us divine perspective (Ps. 73:16-17), and opening us to the Father’s love (Gal. 4:6). 

We are strengthened inwardly by the Spirit (Eph. 3:16-19), and invited to partner in the healing of the world (John 16:7). The sword of the Spirit is God’s Word (Eph. 6:17), and worship is to flow from us in Spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24). The Holy Spirit gives us righteousness, peace, and joy (Rom. 14:17), fills the temple of the Church (1 Cor. 3:16), and helps us in our weakness (Rom. 8:26-27). And the Holy Spirit does much, much more.

While experiences with the Holy Spirit can’t be manufactured, they can be nurtured. Breathe deeply of the Holy Spirit, and drink deeply of the living waters Jesus’ promised. The Church of Jesus Christ is given the gift of the Holy Spirit—for the sake of the world. 

Receive the Holy Spirit!


Jesus, I receive the Holy Spirit! My heart is full just reading about your work in history, and your work in us as your Church. Come, Holy Spirit, I receive you with my whole heart; fill me with your presence. In Jesus’ name, amen.


Are you ready to be a part of the history of the Holy Spirit in our day and time? What is the next step you could take to do this?

For the awakening,

Dan Wilt

P.S. – If you haven’t pre-ordered your copy of Receive the Holy Spirit book yet, you can do it today in our store here.

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

2 Responses

  1. Even though this series has been about God the Holy Spirit, thank you for connecting Him to God the Father and God the Son. Far too often the focus becomes too much on only one aspect of God.

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