Jesus’ teaching about the Holy Spirit is foundational to understanding the identity, nature, and ministry of the third person of the Trinity. Though the nine statements below don’t encompass all of what the Bible says about the Holy Spirit, it is important because Jesus has been in an eternal relationship with him, making him uniquely qualified to reveal truthful and helpful information about him.
To be clear, the statements below come directly from Jesus’ teaching. Other people in the Bible have made factual statements about Jesus and the Holy Spirit that the article doesn’t include. For example, John the Baptist says Jesus would baptize people with the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:11). Other times, the Gospel writers, as narrators, made statements like “Jesus saw the Spirit of God” (Matt. 3:16) and “Jesus was led by the Spirit” (Matt. 4:1).
Keep reading to learn the answers to questions like: What did Jesus say about his own anointing? What is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? What does the Greek word parakletos mean?
Also see How To Receive Baptism of the Holy Spirit to learn more.
1. Jesus said the Holy Spirit has personhood
Jesus taught that the Holy Spirit is a person, not a force. On several occasions, Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as “he” or “him.” For example, in John 14:17, Jesus said, “Even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you” (emphasis added). Jesus could have used the third-person singular “it,” but he didn’t.
Jesus also described the Holy Spirit in ways that imply personhood. In John 14:16, for instance, he calls the Spirit a “Helper” (ESV, NASB), “Advocate” (NIV, NLT), or “Comforter” (KJV). Forces, like gravity, don’t comfort people because they don’t relate to human experiences like grief or distress.
Jesus’ teaching about the Spirit’s personhood aligns with other New Testament passages. For example, in Romans 8:26-27, he prays. In Acts 8:29, he speaks. In Ephesians 4:30, he is grieved by sin.
2. Jesus said the Holy Spirit has a will
Like the Father and the Son, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is in an eternal relationship with the other members of the Trinity (e.g. Matt. 28:19; 1 Cor. 12:4-6; Eph. 4:4-6; 1 Pet. 1:2). Simultaneously, each member has a will that is unique and united to the other two. In this context, God’s will refers to what he directly causes or allows to happen in people’s lives and the world.
Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit’s will in John 3:8, when he told Nicodemus, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” (ESV). Jesus’ analogy implies that the Spirit independently makes decisions. However, other passages reveal that the Spirit’s decisions are in unity with the joint will of the Trinity.
3. Jesus said the Holy Spirit anointed him
Luke records a time when Jesus went into the synagogue in Nazareth and read from Isaiah 61:1-2. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19, ESV, emphasis added).
Those who heard Jesus read Isaiah’s words knew that he was implying they were about him. Initially, “all spoke well of him” (4:22). But later, others “were filled with wrath. And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff.” (4:28a-29). However, Jesus escaped their attempt to murder him (4:30).
The Greek word translated “anoint” (chrio) means to consecrate or set apart for sacred use. The Holy Spirit’s anointing of Jesus is related to his title, “Christ,” which means “Anointed One.” The Spirit’s anointing confirms Jesus’ identity as Messiah and empowerment for ministry, as revealed in the description of his teaching, healing, and liberating ministries (Luke 4:19).
Also see How Does the Holy Spirit Help People? to learn more.
4. Jesus said the Holy Spirit is Truth
Jesus called the third member of the Trinity “the Spirit of truth.” In John 14:17, he says, “Even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you” (cf. John 16:13, emphasis added). Truth is an attribute of all three members of the Trinity, including the Holy Spirit.
Because the Holy Spirit testifies about Jesus (cf. John 15:26, more below), understanding what the Bible says about Jesus and truth will help readers understand what the term “Spirit of Truth” means. For instance, the Gospels teach that Jesus spoke truth (e.g. John 8:40), taught truth (e.g. John 8:32), and told his followers to worship in spirit and truth (John 4:23).
In many ways, Jesus’ teaching about truth is summarized in John 14:6 when he said, “Jesus said to [Thomas], I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (emphasis added). The Holy Spirit convicts, illuminates and promotes faith in the minds and hearts of believers that what Jesus said about truth is correct.
5. Jesus said the Holy Spirit testified about him
The last statement Jesus makes in John 15:26 partly reveals an important role that the Holy Spirit has. In summary, the Spirit confirms who Jesus is and what he says. “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me” (ESV). Other translations say the Spirit “testifies” (NIV, KJV, NASB) about Jesus.
|Part of speech||verb|
|Definition||to bear witness, testify|
|Other examples||Luke 4:22; John 1:8|
Also see What Are the 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit? to learn more.
6. Jesus said blasphemy against the Holy Spirit wouldn’t be forgiven
After Jesus performed an exorcism, the Pharisees concluded, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons” (Matt. 12:24, ESV). They irrationally argued that Jesus used the power of Satan to drive out one of his own evil underlings. Rather than following the evidence for what it revealed about Jesus’ true identity, they came to the bizarre conclusion that Satan was sabotaging his own efforts.
In response to this, Jesus said, “I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” (Matt. 12:31-32).
In summary, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is to credit God’s good works to Satan when a person is fully aware of Jesus’ true identity. This kind of transgression is unforgivable because it’s done not in ignorance but with full knowledge of the person and work of Jesus and with the intention of frustrating and demolishing the Holy Spirit’s work.
7. Jesus said the Holy Spirit lives, empowers, and speaks through believers
Jesus not only taught about the nature of the Holy Spirit and their joint ministry, but he also taught what the Spirit does in the lives of believers. Here are three examples:
- Jesus said the Holy Spirit empowers believers: “And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49)
- Jesus said the Holy Spirit equips believers: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
- Jesus said the Holy Spirit uses believers to testify about God: “For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say” (Luke 12:12).
Also see What Is the Purpose of the Fruit of the Holy Spirit? to learn more.
8. Jesus said the Holy Spirit gives new life
All three members of the Trinity participate in the salvation of sinners. The Father planned it; Jesus earned it; and the Holy Spirit applies it through convicting, illuminating, and igniting faith.
In John 3:5, Jesus tells Nicodemus, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (cf. John 6:63). While theologians and commentators debate the meaning of water (is it a description of purification, baptism, or something else?), there is agreement that Jesus highlights the necessity of the Holy Spirit’s ministry in salvation in the second part of the phrase.
9. Jesus taught the Holy Spirit would help people
In John 14:16, Jesus said, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever.” The Helper is the Holy Spirit. In response to Jesus’ request, the Father sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2). The Greek word translated as “Helper” is parakletos.
|Part of speech||noun|
|Definition||called to one’s aid|
|Range||advocate, intercessor, consoler, comforter, helper|
New Testament Greek scholar, William Mounce, writes, “When Jesus makes clear to his disciples that he is to be leaving them, he encourages them by revealing that they will not be alone… The fact that he is about to depart is an advantage, Jesus claims, for the Counselor can only come when Jesus has left (16:7).” 
1 John 2:1 expresses a similar idea: “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have [a parakleton] with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (ESV).
Also see What Does the Holy Spirit Look Like? to learn more.
 Mounce’s Complete Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words. p. 139.
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