Research papers on the Holy Spirit illustrate that this Christian concept of a triune God begins to show up in the book of Acts in the Bible. Have the theology writers at Paper Masters help explicate the role of the Holy Spirit in a custom written research paper.
The turning point in the history of the meaning of the term Holy Spirit occurs in Acts 2. Up to this point the term Holy Spirit had the meaning that we find in the only two instances of its use, as a complete phrase, in the Old Testament.
- Is. 63:10 has "But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit";
- Ps. 51:11 has "Cast me not away from the presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me".
In both uses the Hebrew word for "spirit" means "wind" and the meaning is of God's essence, the personal, active spirit of God. We are a long way from the latter use of the term "Holy Spirit" as denoting the third person of the Trinity. Acts 2 is the transition point.
Peter, at Acts 2:16 cites the prediction contained in Joel 2:28-30, "I will pour out my spirit upon all fleshAnd I will show wonders in the heavens and the earth." The events of the Pentecost, linked by Peter to this prophecy, have already been described at Acts 2:4, "And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues. As the Spirit gave them utterance". In this usage the term "Holy Spirit" acquires a much broader meaning than being merely the spirit of God, the ineffable, unsubstantial "wind" that is His spirit. It becomes a manifestation of God within man, a granting of holy and prophetic power by an actual entry of the divine spirit into the spirit of an individual human being. There is, as yet, no statement that the Holy Spirit is a member of the Trinity, but the way is opened for this idea to be developed later.
Peter's use of the phrase in Acts 2 foreshadows the development of the Trinity in that the Holy Spirit is taken to be the agency by which Christians have access to Jesus and therefore to God. It is interesting, in this respect, to note that this access comes through a type of direct, ecstatic experience such as those undergone by those present at Pentecost. One does not climb to some species of understanding of God through an intellectual process involving book learning or the mastery of certain occult rituals. Rather, one experiences the infusion of the Holy Spirit into oneself in a direct and highly emotional way. The power of the Holy Ghost manifests itself in you. And it comes when it chooses. It is a manifestation of divine power through you. It is not your power, or your tool. Rather, it is God's power using you as His tool. In terms of its relationship to human volition and human power, it bears a resemblance to Grace.
The fact that it is attained not by reading and ritual, but that it is a direct infusion into oneself of the essence of the Divine, has some important implications. One of these is that it is essentially democratic in nature. Some ancient religions were of such a nature as to exclude all but the very learned; others involved secret rituals, participation in which was possible for only a select few. The entry of the Holy Spirit into the soul of a human being irrespective of his/her learning, intellect, social standing, or familiarity with the "mysteries" of a faith, is an egalitarian doctrine. The Spirit comes to whom it will and as it will. It may come to anyone; it may possess anyone. The person whom it possesses is qualified to prophesy by the fact that it is possessed; it needs no other qualification. Without being so possessed no other qualifications matter.