Q&A: God's Spirit in the Old Testament

God's Spirit in the Old Testament

How does the Old Testament suggest that God's Spirit is a person rather than an impersonal force?

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Answer

When the Old Testament uses language of "spirit" it's in the context usually of God's presence and God's power. Because the references are to a relationship with a God who is personal, it seems like that we should understand those references as referring to the personal presence of the God who is, although it's possible to read disconnected and to read those texts individualistically and isolated from the overall testimony of the Scriptures. I think if we look at the Old Testament canon as a whole and we see the Spirit's work related to, connected to, the empowerment of God himself, that at least the implication to this is the Spirit of God is a person. As we move then to the New Testament, it becomes clear and explicit that the third person of the Godhead is a person like the Father and the Son.

Answer by Dr. Glenn R. Kreider

Dr. Glenn Kreider is a Professor of Theological Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary.