What Does the Holy Spirit Do?

Study some of the divine works of the Holy Spirit

Men praying with arms outstretched in prayer group

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What does the Holy Spirit do? According to the doctrines of the Christian faith, the Holy Spirit is one of the three persons of the Trinity, along with God the Father and God the Son. The divine works of the Holy Spirit.are described in both the Old and New Testaments. This Bible study will explore in brief the ministry and works of the Holy Spirit.

Active in Creation

The Holy Spirit, who is part of the Trinity, was present at the time of creation and played an active part in creation. In Genesis 1:2-3, when the earth was created but still in darkness and without form, the Bible says, "The Spirit of God was hovering over the waters." 

The Holy Spirit is the "breath of life" in creation: "Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being." 

Present in the Life of Jesus

From the moment of conception, Jesus Christ was empowered by the Holy Spirit: "This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 1:18; see also verse 20, and Luke 1:35)

The Holy Spirit was present at Christ’s baptism: "After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him." (Matthew 3:16; see also Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22; John 1:32)

Jesus Christ lived by the Holy Spirit (Luke 10:21; Matthew Mt 4:1; Mark 1:12; Luke 4:1; 1 Peter 3:18) and his ministry was empowered by the Holy Spirit: "For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins." (Hebrews 9:14; See also Luke 4:18; Acts 10:38)

The Holy Spirit raised Jesus from the dead. In Romans 8:11, the Apostle Paul said, "The ​Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as he raised Christ from the dead, he will give life to your mortal body by this same Spirit living within you." Furthermore, the Holy Spirit will raise believers from the dead.

Active in the Body of Christ

The church, the body of Christ, depends on the Holy Spirit. It is impossible for the church to be effective or serve faithfully without the presence of the Holy Spirit (Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:7; 1 Peter 4:14).

The Holy Spirit forms the church. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 12:13, "For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink." The Holy Spirit dwells in believers following baptism and unites them in spiritual communion (Romans 12:5; Ephesians 4:3-13; Philippians 2:1).

In the Gospel of John, Jesus speaks of the Holy Spirit being sent from the Father and from Christ: "When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me." (John 15:26) The Holy Spirit testifies of Jesus Christ.

Counsels

The Holy Spirit gives guidance to believers facing challenges, decisions, and difficulties. Jesus calls the Holy Spirit the Counselor: "But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you." (John 16:7) As Counselor, the Holy Spirit not only guides believers but also convicts them of sins they have committed.

Gives Divine Gifts

The divine gifts that the Holy Spirit gave to the disciples at Pentecost can also be given to other believers for the common good. Although all believers have received the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Bible teaches that God gives some individuals special gifts for the fulfilling of specific tasks.

The Apostle Paul listed the gifts 1 Corinthians 12:7-11:

A Seal on the Life of the Believer

The ministry and work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the church is vast and far-reaching. For instance, the Bibles describes the Holy Spirit as a seal on the lives of God’s people (2 Corinthians 1:21–22). The Holy Spirit provides spiritual life called living water (John 7:37–39). The Holy Spirit inspires Christians to praise and worship God (Ephesians 5:18–20).

These verses only scratch the surface of the ministry and work of the Holy Spirit. A thorough Bible study to answer the question, "What Does the Holy Spirit Do?" would require a giant volume book. This brief study is meant simply as a starting point.