The Person of the Holy Spirit Part 1: The Person of the Holy Spirit -- By: John F. Walvoord

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 097:386 (Apr 1940)
Article: The Person of the Holy Spirit Part 1: The Person of the Holy Spirit
Author: John F. Walvoord


The Person of the Holy Spirit
Part 1:
The Person of the Holy Spirit

John F. Walvoord

[Author’s note: This article is the first of a series on the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Embraced in this opening article are the following major divisions of the Person of the Holy Spirit: (1) The Personality of the Holy Spirit; (2) The Deity of the Holy Spirit; (3) the Procession of the Holy Spirit; (4) The Titles of the Holy Spirit; (5) The Types of the Holy Spirit. Subsequent articles will deal with the Work of the Holy Spirit.]

Introduction

In a discussion of the Person of the Holy Spirit, few writers will claim any large degree of originality. The revelation of the Scriptures, the theological discussion of the Christian centuries, the many publications on the subject, however brief and limited in their treatment of the subject, have summed a total of theological literature which very few can exceed in a lifetime of study. The current trend has been to emphasize the present work of the Spirit without a due consideration of His Person without which His work has no real foundation. To this end, this article will constitute another voice testifying to the fact that the study of the Persons of the Trinity is foundational to all theological truth.

The plan of consideration directs attention to the Person of the Holy Spirit to the exclusion of His work. It must be admitted that the study of His Person is never complete without the complement of the revelation of His Person in His works. For the sake of analysis, however, His Person will be considered first, with reference to His work only where necessary, leaving to later discussion the aspects of His work throughout the ages.

I. The Personality of the Holy Spirit.

It is a fundamental revelation that the Holy Spirit is a Person, in the sense that the Father is a Person, and the Son is a Person. Without denial of the one Essence of the Godhead, the personality of the Holy Spirit must be affirmed

and is subject to proof unassailable by any who accept the Scriptures as authoritative. The personality of the Holy Spirit has been attacked by Socinius and his followers ancient and modern who have held to the general position that the Holy Spirit is an impersonal energy proceeding from God. Shedd states that though the Socinians deny the personality of the Spirit they affirm the eternity of the Spirit as proceeding from the eternal God: “Socinians deny the distinct personality of the Holy Spirit; they concede eternity, because they regard the Spirit as the influence or effluence of the eternal God.”1 Centuries before, Arius had much the same id...

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