The Holy Spirit: The Names Of The Spirit

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Today, we will look at some formal references and names in the Bible used to describe the Holy Spirit. Names help because they clarify, guide communication, help to understand, inspire reverence, and establish relationships. So we need these titles to help.

The person and power of the Holy Spirit has a few unique names.

First, in ancient Hebrew, the language of the Old Testament, his name is "Ruach." "Ruach" translates to English as "Spirit." This term has a wide range of meanings — wind, breath, violence, exhalation, blast, and breath. This sensory word captures the Spirit's transcendent nature coming directly from God but present and productive in this world. Here is one of the most well-known references in the first sentences of the Bible:

"The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters." — Genesis 1:2

Similarly, in ancient Greek, the language of the New Testament, his name is "Pneuma." "Pneuma" also has many meanings — a current of air, a strong breeze, blast, and breath. The attributive adjective "Holy" is sometimes used, which formalizes his title to "Holy Spirit."

Here is a well-known reference in the first verse of the New Testament.

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. — Matthew 1:18

Both these words, whether in Hebrew or Greek, convey the same concept. The Spirit is the breath of God and His intangible and immaterial essence that interacts with the world.

And in the Gospel of John, which we have been reading, we perceive this Spirit working as the wind works. Note this instance by John the Baptist:

"Then John gave this testimony. I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on Him." — John 1:32

Notice that John sees something come down "like" or "as" a dove. It was not a dove but moved like a dove. So he sees and perceives the effects of the breath of God, the Spirit, moving and coming onto Jesus.

Reading a little further ahead, Jesus references the rebirthing effect of this wind on humanity. In John 3, he says:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. — John 3:5

Again, the wind of the Spirit has this rebirthing effect on the present life and our eternal life. He is the ever-sustaining breath of the eternal God.

But as we have been reading through the Gospel of John, we came across another name for him given by Jesus. It was "Parakletos." John used this word four times in his gospel. It can be translated as Comforter, Helper, or Advocate (John 14:16, 26; John 15:26; John 16:7). Here is one of the references:

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever. — John 14:16

When he proclaims and promises the coming of the Holy Spirit, Jesus calls him the "Helper," who is someone, "called to one's side." He is one who walks with a believer as they travel in a fallen world.

So why is this important?

Well, as we reflect on the names  – Ruach, Pneuma, Parakletos – we should remember that these are not just linguistic labels. They describe the reality of the Spirit and his person, character, purpose, and work in our lives. Just as the wind is felt but unseen, so the Spirit is felt but unseen. He is a constant unseen companion and helper in every situation. We know it when he is blowing, sustaining, and helping us through life's challenges. Which means when we feel alone. We are not alone. Thus, when we feel the winds of uncertainty, the breath and wind of the Spirit offer assurance. So today, if you need help, call on his name — Ruach, Pneuma, Parakletos.

ASK THIS:

  1. How does the understanding of the Holy Spirit's various names – Ruach, Pneuma, Parakletos – enhance your perception of His role in your life? Consider how these names reflect His character, purpose, and work.
  2. In what ways can you cultivate a greater sensitivity to the Holy Spirit's presence and guidance in your daily life? Reflect on the analogy of the wind and its effects, and consider practical steps you can take to be more attuned to the Spirit's movements.

DO THIS: Call on the name of the Holy Spirit — Ruach, Pneuma, Parakletos.

PRAY THIS: Holy Spirit, as I reflect on Your diverse names – Ruach, Pneuma, Parakletos – I am reminded of Your constant and unseen presence in my life. Just as the wind is felt but remains unseen, I acknowledge Your guiding, comforting, and empowering influence. Today, I open my heart to Your guidance and companionship, knowing that Your breath sustains me through life's challenges and uncertainties.

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12 thoughts on “The Holy Spirit: The Names Of The Spirit

  1. Aaron Cox says:

    This was a wonderful devotional. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for opening my heart and opening my eyes to see how much I really need a companionship with You. Thank You, Jesus, for sending me a Helper because You knew that I would need the power of the Holy Spirit working in my life. I praise You Father for being a God who cares so much about Your people You created that You would send Jesus Your only Begotten Son that He would live and die and come back to life through resurrection and sending Your Spirit to live within us with power! Thank You for conviction. Thank You for salvation. Thank You for power. Thank You for not giving up on me! I am not alone when I am Your child. Hallelujah Thank You , Jesus! Praise God!

  2. Ruben T. Garcia, Sr says:

    Thank you for the HELPER dear Lord. The Holly Spirit is so much to us it’s really hard to put into words.

    Ruben T Garcia. Sr
    Gresham. Oregon

  3. Daniel Crofoot says:

    Hello Vince,

    Thank-you for sharing insights about the Holy Spirit. This series of discussion is helping to answer several questions I had regarding the Holy Spirit. In addition, your teaching has inspired me to become a member of RESOLUTE.

    Dan Crofoot
    Cape Coral, Florida

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