[Papercut Press Publishing] 1998-07-01 - Holy Spirit

Wednesday Question: From a devotional family member: "I have been told by some that there is a difference between the Holy Ghost and the Holy Spirit. Then I've been told by others that there isn't. I haven't seen the difference when I read the bible, but I'm still a fairly new Christian (3 years in June) and some things still escape me."

I hope that when you have lived for Christ 30 years or more, you will still admit that some things still escape you. Some things still escape every honest follower of Christ. To admit that "things still escape me" shows wisdom and maturity in the faith far beyond your years of following Christ. Many followers of Christ fail to remember they don't have a monopoly on Truth and what the Bible teaches. Thank you for your question, it is a great one.

Bible translations can be confusing. One version translates a word one way while another version translates the same Greek or Hebrew word a little different. The Bible was not written in English and translators take some liberty in the process of translation. This is very evident with the translation of Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit. The KJV set the standard in 1611 with Holy Ghost and now more recent translations have mostly adopted the translation Holy Spirit.

The Hebrew (Old Testament) word for Ghost/Spirit is rauch and the Greek (New Testament) word is pneuma. That is really not important except in relation to the above question. There is one word in the Hebrew and one word in the Greek that translates into either Ghost or Spirit depending on the English translation you might be using. So to sum up: there is not a difference between the Holy Ghost or the Holy Spirit in the Bible. Since there is one Biblical word used in the Hebrew and Greek, the only difference would be one that we invented.

The Holy Spirit is the key person in our lives. It is the Spirit that we have more to do with, in this life, than any created anything. The Spirit Regenerates (John 3:3,5), Indwells (Romans 8:11), Anoints (1 John 2:20,27), Baptizes (Acts 2:17-41), Guides (John 16:13), Empowers (Micah 3:8), Sanctifies (Romans 15:16, 2 Thessalonians 2:13), Testifies (Romans 8:16, Hebrews 10:15), Comforts (John 14:16-26), Gives Joy and Peace (Romans 14:17), Gives discernment (1 Corinthians 2:10-16, 1 John 4:1-6), Bears Fruit (Galatians 5:22,23), Gives Gifts (1 Corinthians 12:3-11). This is just a short list, but suffice it to say, the Holy Spirit, even if it does not seem so, is more involved in our lives than we could ever imagine.

"O such a one doth great things, he prays, and hears, and reads...Aye but hath he the Spirit, or no? The greatest difference (that I know) in all the Book of God, between saints and sinners is, that one hath the Spirit, and the other hath not." Walter Cradock

The best book in print (that I know) on the Holy Spirit is by a minister from Scotland named Sinclair B. Ferguson, published by InterVarsity Press, ISBN #0-8308-1536-8. Strangely the book is titled, The Holy Spirit.

Soli Deo Gloria,
Tim