The Holy Spirit’s Presence

Learn more about the power and presence of the Holy Spirit from the Illustrated Study Bible.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8, NLT

The book of Acts clearly highlights the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. Before the coming of the Spirit, Jesus spoke of the Spirit’s influence on the growth of the church (1:8; see John 14:15‑17, 26; 15:26; 16:7‑15). The Spirit’s guidance was clear in the selection of Spirit-filled leaders to care for the needs of the Hellenistic widows (Acts 6:1‑7) and in the appointing of Barnabas and Saul for missionary service (13:1‑5). When the first church council met to consider the membership of Gentiles in the church, those present followed the Spirit’s direction (15:28). Christian workers such as Stephen and Philip were filled with the Spirit and preached by his power (6:1–8:40), and Paul’s ministry was charged with the Spirit’s energy from the beginning (9:17). In Acts, the growth, development, and expansion of the church took place entirely under the guidance and power of the Spirit (e.g., 2:4, 41‑47; 4:31; 5:32; 8:15, 17, 29; 9:31). Because of the prominence of the Spirit’s work in Acts, the book has often been called “the Acts of the Holy Spirit.”

The Holy Spirit works in many ways. He gives and restores life (Gen 2:7; Ps 104:24‑30; Ezek 37:1‑14; Joel 2:28‑32; Rom 8:9‑11). He calls and commissions workers for the service of Christ (Acts 13:2; 20:28) and guides God’s servants where and when he wants, to do as he desires (8:29; 9:15; 10:19‑20; 11:12; 16:6; 1 Cor 2:13; 1 Pet 1:12). He inspired the writing of Scripture (2 Tim 3:16‑17; 2 Pet 1:20‑21), instructing the church in Christ’s message (John 14:26; 1 Cor 12:3). He bears witness to the power of the Good News in signs and wonders (Acts 14:3; Heb 2:4), and teaches the truths of the Bible to God’s people (Acts 1:16; Heb 9:8; 10:15‑17; 1 Pet 1:11‑12). He bears witness to Jesus and brings him glory (John 15:26; 16:14). He convicts people of their sinfulness and need for the Good News (John 16:8) and warns people against hardening their hearts (Heb 3:7‑11, 15). He bestows gifts upon God’s people (1 Cor 12:4‑11), and he energizes and equips them to share the Good News, serve the Lord, and work for the Kingdom of God.

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