This outline is a brief Biblical overview that highlights the presence and activity of the Holy Spirit with humanity. The structure is primarily promise, fulfillment, and the Spirit’s ongoing activity in and among his people. You can simply read through it on your own or do it with others as a study, pausing at various times to discuss what you have read.
1. He was present at creation:
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters” (Genesis 1:1-2).
2. He was experienced by Moses and others:
a. God said to Moses: “I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the power of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them [the elders]. They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone” (Numbers 11:17). . . . “Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke with him [Moses], and he took some of the power of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied—but did not do so again” (11: 25). In response to Joshua, Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” (11: 29)
b. David: “Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me” (Psalm 51:11).
3. He was promised to us:
a. By God (in the Old Testament)
-“And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” (Ezekiel 36:27)
-“…I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.” (Joel 2:28-29)
b. By Jesus (in the New Testament)
-“‘And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth.’” (John 14:16-17; see also 14:26) -“‘When the Advocate 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; see also 16:7)
4. He is received as a gift by believing in Jesus:
a. “‘Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.’ By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.” (John 7:38-39; see also John 4:10, 13-14)
b. “‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” (Acts 2:38) c. “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard [believed] the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God” (Acts 10:44-46). “So if God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ…” (Acts 11:17).
d. “‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? . . . John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.’ On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.” (Acts 19:2, 4-6)
e. “So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?” (Galatians 3:5)
5. He is the presence of the Father and Jesus in us:
a. “You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you…” (Romans 8:9-10)
b. “‘Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.’” (John 14:23) 6. He is a new way of living:
a. “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit…” (Romans 14:17)
b. “But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.” (Romans 7:6)
c. “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” (Romans 8:5-6)
d. So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. . . . But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. . . . Against such things [the fruit of the Spirit] there is no law. . . . Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16, 18, 23 & 25). (Examples of being led by the Spirit: Acts 8:29; 10:19; 13:2, 4; 15:28; 16:6; 20:22; 21:11).
e.“‘But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.’” (John 14:26)
f. “‘But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.’” (John 16:13)
g. “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22). “Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said” (1 Corinthians 14:29). How do we “weigh” and “test” a prophecy?
-Measure it against clear teaching in the Bible.
-Is it consistent with past experiences of God’s faithfulness?
-Is it keeping with God’s / Jesus’ character in the Bible?
-Is it for the “strengthening, encouraging and comfort” (1 Corinthians 14:3) of others?
-Does it honor Jesus’ teaching and the advance of his kingdom? 7. He empowers us:
a. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
b. “ I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being . . .” (Ephesians 3:16)
8. He transforms us:
a. “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
9. He gives gifts to build up the body:
a. “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good . . . All these [prophecy, healing, wisdom, etc.] are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines” (1 Corinthians 12:7, 11; see also 12:28-31; Romans 12:6-8).