During the early weeks of my seminary education, a doctoral student invited me to his dorm room. When I arrived, he sat me down, put a Greek Bible in my hands, and said, “I noticed that you called the Holy Spirit an ‘it’ while we were talking at dinner tonight. He is not an ‘it.’” This man then led me through the New Testament, translating scriptures concerning the third person of the Trinity. An hour later he said, “The one thing I want you to remember is that the Holy Spirit is a Somebody.”
God’s Spirit possesses three defining characteristics of personhood: intelligence, will, and emotion. Let me prove these points by guiding you to some New Testament verses, just as that doctoral student did for me. First Corinthians 2:10-11 explains that the Spirit knows God’s thoughts and illuminates the truth for us. Later in the same book, He is identified as the One who determines the spiritual gift(s) of each believer (1 Corinthians 12:7-11). Finally, the Holy Spirit’s feelings are revealed in verses like Romans 15:30, which tells of His love, and Ephesians 4:30, which warns against grieving Him.
Consider also that Jesus spoke of a Helper who would come after Him (John 14:16, 14:26). Aiding and assuring others are the acts of a person, as is teaching—these are some of the Holy Spirit’s primary tasks.
Perhaps you misunderstand the Spirit of God as I once did. He isn’t an “it” any more than God the Father or Jesus Christ is. The Spirit is a member of the Trinity, and if you’re a believer, He is with you now. God has given you His Spirit as a special Helper—one who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).
Bible in One Year: Nehemiah 11-13