Holy Spirit


Holy Spirit
1. the spirit of God.
2. the presence of God as part of a person's religious experience.
3. See Holy Ghost.
[1350-1400; ME]

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In Christianity, the third person of the Holy Trinity.

Though references to the spirit of Yahweh (God) abound in the Old Testament, Christian teaching about the Holy Spirit is derived mainly from the Gospels. The Holy Spirit descended on Jesus at his baptism, and outpourings of the Spirit are mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, in which healing, prophecy, exorcism, and speaking in tongues are associated with its activity. The Holy Spirit also came to the disciples during Pentecost. The definition of the Holy Spirit as a divine person equal in substance to the Father and the Son was made at the Council of Constantinople (AD 381).

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also called  Paraclete, or Holy Ghost 

      (from Old English gast, “spirit”), in Christian (Christianity) belief, the third person of the Trinity. Numerous outpourings of the Spirit are mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts of the Apostles, The), in which healing, prophecy, the expelling of demons (exorcism), and speaking in tongues (glossolalia) are particularly associated with the activity of the Spirit.

      Christian writers have seen in various references to the Spirit of Yahweh in the Hebrew Scriptures an anticipation of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. The Hebrew word ruaḥ (usually translated “spirit”) is often found in texts referring to the free and unhindered activity of God, either in creating or in revitalizing creation, especially in connection with the prophetic word or messianic expectation. There was, however, no explicit belief in a separate divine person in biblical Judaism; in fact, the New Testament itself is not entirely clear in this regard. One suggestion of such belief is the promise of another helper, or intercessor (paraclete), that is found in the Gospel According to John.

      The definition that the Holy Spirit was a distinct divine Person equal in substance to the Father and the Son and not subordinate to them came at the Council of Constantinople (Constantinople, Council of) in AD 381, following challenges to its divinity. The Eastern and Western churches have since viewed the Holy Spirit as the bond, the fellowship, or the mutual charity between Father and Son; they are absolutely united in the Spirit. The relationship of the Holy Spirit to the other Persons of the Trinity has been described in the West as proceeding from both the Father and the Son, whereas in the East it has been held that the procession is from the Father through the Son.

      Most Catholic and Orthodox Christians have experienced the Holy Spirit more in the sacramental life of the church than in the context of such speculation. From apostolic times, the formula for Baptism has been Trinitarian. confirmation (in the Eastern Orthodox Church, chrismation) although not accepted by Protestants as a sacrament, has been closely allied with the role of the Holy Spirit in the church. The Eastern Orthodox Church has stressed the role of the descent of the Spirit upon the worshipping congregation and upon the eucharistic bread and wine in the prayer known as the epiclesis.

      From the earliest centuries of the Christian church, various groups, discontented with the lack of freedom, active charity, or vitality in the institutional church, have called for a greater sensitivity to the ongoing outpourings of the Holy Spirit; among such movements were the Holiness and Pentecostal movements of the 19th and 20th centuries. Being “filled” with the Holy Spirit is seen as the corollary of one's salvation. See also Trinity.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Holy Spirit — Spirit Spir it, n. [OF. espirit, esperit, F. esprit, L. spiritus, from spirare to breathe, to blow. Cf. {Conspire}, {Expire}, {Esprit}, {Sprite}.] 1. Air set in motion by breathing; breath; hence, sometimes, life itself. [Obs.] All of spirit… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Holy Spirit — Holy Ho ly, a. [Compar. {Holier}; superl. {Holiest}.] [OE. holi, hali, AS. h[=a]lig, fr. h[ae]l health, salvation, happiness, fr. h[=a]l whole, well; akin to OS. h?lag, D. & G. heilig, OHG. heilac, Dan. hellig, Sw. helig, Icel. heilagr. See… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Holy Spirit — n [singular] God in the form of a ↑spirit according to the Christian religion = ↑Holy Ghost …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Holy Spirit — • The doctrine of the Catholic Church concerning the Holy Ghost forms an integral part of her teaching on the mystery of the Holy Trinity Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Holy Spirit — (or Holy Ghost) ► NOUN ▪ (in Christianity) the third person of the Trinity; God as spiritually active in the world …   English terms dictionary

  • Holy Spirit — n. the spirit of God; specif. the third person of the Trinity …   English World dictionary

  • Holy Spirit — In mainstream Christianity, the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost is one of the three entities of the Holy Trinity which make up the single substance of God; that is, the Spirit is considered to act in concert with and share an essential nature with God… …   Wikipedia

  • Holy Spirit — noun the third person in the Trinity; Jesus promised the Apostles that he would send the Holy Spirit after his Crucifixion and Resurrection; it came on Pentecost (Freq. 2) • Syn: ↑Holy Ghost, ↑Paraclete • Instance Hypernyms: ↑hypostasis,… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Holy Spirit — The Hebrew ruach and Greek pneuma mean ‘breath’ or ‘wind’ and are translated by ‘spirit’, denoting an unseen life giving force. United with ‘holy’, the force is said to be divine, though the combination of the two words occurs only three times in …   Dictionary of the Bible

  • HOLY SPIRIT —    the Third Person in the CHRISTIAN GODHEAD or TRINITY. The Holy Spirit is believed by Christians to indwell believers and guide the CHURCH. In the twentieth century the THEOLOGY of the Holy Spirit has become a central issue in the CHARISMATIC… …   Concise dictionary of Religion


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