Seven Ministries of the Holy Spirit Found in the Old Testament

Seven Ministries of the Holy Spirit Found in the Old Testament

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When we think of the Holy Spirit, we often assume that the Holy Spirit comes to us on the day of Pentecost. If we take that assumption, we would make the New Testament, particularly the book of Acts, our starting point for understanding the Holy Spirit. However, this is not the case. The Holy Spirit is one of the members of the triune God and, therefore, we meet the Holy Spirit all through the Bible.

One way of thinking about the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament is to examine every mention of the Holy Spirit and try to understand what we can learn about the Spirit. If you study all of the passages together, you will discover that there are seven key ministries of the Holy Spirit found in the Old Testament. Let’s explore each one.

First, the Spirit is the source of all life. The source of God’s life in us, in you and me, in everybody. This image of God is one of the marks that unites all of humanity. It is the Spirit of God who gives life to us and marks us as bearers of the image of God. Another way of saying this is that it is the Holy Spirit who makes us distinct from the animals. This is why Jesus, in John 20:22, breathed on the disciples and said, “receive the Holy Spirit.” It was meant to be a recollection of the first creation, even as Jesus inaugurated the new creation which was now breaking in upon the people of God.

Second, the Spirit is the one who makes God’s revelation known to us. We believe that God is a God of self-­disclosure. That means that he longs for us to know him and to understand his ways. God has not only revealed his Word to us, but he helps us to understand it and apply it to our lives by his Spirit. This should be a normal part of our Christian experience as we read God’s Word, or hear it proclaimed. In fact, Paul makes the Spirit’s guidance in our lives one of the defining marks of the Christian when he declares, “those who led by the Spirit of God, are children of God” (Rom. 8:14).

Third, the Spirit grants us discernment and wisdom. We all face many decisions in our lives, as well as the need to understand how to raise our children, or how to respond to various challenges in the surrounding culture. This requires wisdom and discernment. The Holy Spirit gives us the wisdom and discernment when we need it. My wife and I, like many of you, have faced important decisions and major crossroads throughout our life together. As we prayed and asked God for guidance, he has faithfully led us through the power and ministry of the Holy Spirit. We see this in the Jerusalem council where the apostles asked for wisdom when they were responding to God’s work among the Gentiles. They preceded their decision by the wonderful phrase, “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials” (Acts 15:28).

Fourth, the Spirit anoints us for effective service and leadership. The gifts of the Spirit not only include the gift to pastor or teach, but also the gift of administration or leadership or service. All of us have gifts that God has given us to use for his glory. The Spirit helps us to discover our gifts and then he empowers us for the effective use of those gifts.

Fifth, the Spirit convicts of sin and unites our hearts that we might not sin. This ministry of the Holy Spirit begins before we even become Christians, as he brings conviction of our sins and helps us to see our need for Christ. It continues on throughout our Christian lives as he purifies us and makes us holy. The Holy Spirit, for example, is the one who prompts our heart to ask someone to forgive us, or prompts us to pray for someone, or give them a word of encouragement. In the Upper Room teachings of Jesus, he taught us that one of the roles of the Holy Spirit is to “convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8).

Sixth, the Spirit manifests the power of God to heal and transform lives and society. The Spirit is always seeking to introduce God’s righteous reign and rule in the midst of a fractured, broken world. This work of the Spirit happens both personally (as when we pray for healing in our bodies) as well as in society, as he seeks to set things right which are not aligned with his kingdom. When someone is sick, we are commanded to call for the elders of the church to pray and “anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord” and the prayer offered in faith will “make the sick person well” (James 5:14–15). Oil, as we shall explore, is one of the symbols of the Holy Spirit in the Bible.

Finally, the Spirit universalizes God’s presence to all nations. The Spirit is always beckoning us out into the world to extend God’s rule and reign to all peoples, particularly those who have not yet called upon him. It was the Holy Spirit who spoke to the church at Antioch and called Paul and Barnabus into the fruitful, church-planting work that we know today as his three missionary journeys (see Acts 13:1–3).

One thing that is so amazing about God’s Word (among many things) is that those seven ministries of the Holy Spirit, which are all taught in the Old Testament, are brought over, celebrated, and renewed in the New Testament. They bud in the Old Testament, and they come into full flowering in the New Testament.

Did you enjoy this entry? It is part of a book by Timothy Tennent titled, The Spirit-Filled Life. In its pages, Tennent studies acts of the Spirit in the Old and New Testament, historic conversion stories, as well as modern examples from around the world, exploring the three great channels through which the Holy Spirit works in our lives:

  • power for global witness
  • holiness for sanctified purity
  • discernment for faithful living

Are you ready to be filled with the Holy Spirit? Pentecost wasn’t just a one-time event but is an ongoing process—the knot that ties the church to its holy, empowered mission in the world.

Are you looking for the fire of God to fall upon your life? Be ready. You, too, can be filled with the Holy Spirit, and it will change your life and the life of your church forever.

Get it from our store here.


One Response

  1. prayer request
    please help me and contact my prayer to your prayer team
    i deserately need prayer help

    Jesus is LORD, and he knows every thing
    he knows my every thoughts, path, and word in my toungue
    pray for me i need spiritual support and also prayer for support, strong warfare prayer and prayer chain
    i love God, ive never resisted holy spirit(he knows just pray for me)
    [1 Corinthians 8:6, KJV] But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

    please, i need constant help and strong protection. will you pray for me because i dont understand how can this happen if God’s alive. or can you just pray for my life end. i love God, i wnat him to be my everything, and i tried everything i can do. i confess Jesus Christ my Lord everyday, every second, i serve one and only true God-Yeshua if he is really he is,(hate to say this but i dont understand what im going through i suffer too much) HE KNOWS every track of my life
    all i did was repented and tried to surrender , also prayed in tounges
    please pray for me
    i constantly hear vocies mocking God. it mocks Holy Spirit, Jesus, and Father(and trinity)
    it especially mocks God’s HOLINESS, his divine nature(it says God is hard to win the game there is spiritual pleasure-lust and they once tast it, they will eventually choose it rather than protecting you and give up on your protection- i know it sounds crazy but it’s happening to me, the reason im doing this crazy thing my heart and soul tored thousand times)
    it says Bible is just synario
    it blames Form of God, and human which is after image of God
    it denies EVERY word of God
    it denies holy spirit’s personality, saying im holy spirit
    it always says the sin you have done is you againsted holy spirit so you can not be forgiven
    but i never againsted holy spirit
    God-most high know what im talking
    pray for me i need help i suffered too much
    it threats me if i ask for prayers, its your loss and it wont work and you’re shame of your heavenly father
    they put meaning of my every situation and threats me with it
    i hear plans to destroy me all day and it says you’re created for our fun and you can not say it because it’s secret of holy spirit
    i dont understand why it hates me so much
    it says i can control your body, concious, im using your evey human being for my pleasure
    and i can harm you and harm you with your memories, using your memories while you don’t realize
    it hates me and hates my family
    i hear where is your God? he has no power to save you
    and i can make him leave anytime wants
    there’s other jesus, other father. other kingdom, there is other God, other creator
    and your God, the God of Isearel, and holy spirit(and trinity) is powerless
    and in your life, they loves the other woman(specific) not you(it’s just too hard)
    and it also says you’re not his bride i am, i can steal it from you anytime
    keep ask help, they will notice me and they will love me more.
    your god is using your life for me, prayer, spiritual help for you, will finally come to me and they will give up on you its’s just you don’t know i said it and you will see(keep saying to me)
    and God doesnt know your situation, and there is no way to slove problem because i know it better, im wiser,
    it says your prayer wont work and your God have to beg and you have to ask prayer to survive last of your life time(still theatning mocking while im typing.. )
    please pray for me
    please pray for me
    please pray for me
    i have no where to lean on
    and if there’s i can do, please pray for me to let me know
    i say is true, im serious
    i really hate to say it all, admit also, but i can’t find other way i can do

    these are the Word of God i cling to

    Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.
    I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.
    I declared and saved and proclaimed, when there was no strange god among you; and you are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and I am God.
    Also henceforth I am he; there is none who can deliver from my hand; I work, and who can turn it back?”
    The LORD is a warrior; Yahweh is his name!
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
    He was in the beginning with God.
    All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
    Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
    The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.
    I cling to your testimonies, O LORD; let me not be put to shame!
    But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.(the vocie mocks holy spirit as spirit of lust it tears my soul too hard to endure)
    But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.
    The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
    to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;
    to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.
    Who is able to advise the Spirit of the LORD? Who knows enough to give him advice or teach him?
    Has the LORD ever needed anyone’s advice? Does he need instruction about what is good? Did someone teach him what is right or show him the path of justice?
    For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe.
    He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing
    He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him
    For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him.
    Let my cry come before you, O LORD; give me understanding according to your word!
    Let my plea come before you; deliver me according to your word.
    Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
    Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.
    If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.(i also pray for repentance if there is any single thing i have to repent. i do want to repent all my sins and washed by blood)
    O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.
    You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
    You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do.
    You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD.
    by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
    He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
    None of the sins that he has committed shall be remembered against him. He has done what is just and right; he shall surely live.
    I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am the one who searches out the thoughts and intentions of every person. And I will give to each of you whatever you deserve.
    yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.
    For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
    This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.
    For there are three that testify:
    the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree.
    Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.
    So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us.
    For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.
    There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
    one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all.
    However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ.
    Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.
    He is the kind of high priest we need because he is holy and blameless, unstained by sin. He has been set apart from sinners and has been given the highest place of honor in heaven.
    Unlike those other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices every day. They did this for their own sins first and then for the sins of the people. But Jesus did this once for all when he offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins.
    Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
    for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see— such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him.
    He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.
    And they were shouting with a great roar,”Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!”
    “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

    Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
    Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.

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