Does the Holy Spirit Live Within the Believer?

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” ~ John 14:16-17

“We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.” ~ Acts 5:32

“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” ~ Romans 8:11

“What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.”  ~ 1 Corinthians 2:12

“But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.” ~ 1 Corinthians 6:17

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” ~ 1 Corinthians 6:19

“The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.” ~ 1 John 3:24

Is there anything particularly difficult to understand about these passages? Is there any language in them which would lead one to believe that they are only meant figuratively? Is there anything that says that the Spirit dwells in the believer through His word only?

Or do these verses simply mean what they say?

When Jesus spoke figuratively about going away (dying) and seeing Him again (being resurrected), John quoted Him as saying so:

“Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father.” ~ John 16:25

When Paul spoke figuratively and slavery to law and freedom from it, he said so:

“These things are being taken figuratively: The women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar.” ~ Galatians 4:24

If they meant to speak in parables or metaphors, the New Testament writers generally clued their readers in by saying so, as Jesus did in His kingdom parables (“the kingdom of heaven is like …”) – or they would use the highly apocalyptic language of the prophets before them (“I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day ….”) They did neither when speaking about the Spirit dwelling within the believer.

Nothing in scripture indicates that when one reads or memorizes the word of God, it is like the Spirit is living in him/her. Nothing scripture says reveals that reading or memorizing it alone IS the Spirit living in her/him.

This promise is stated literally in Joel (2:28-32), is literally fulfilled beginning in Acts 2, and continues being fulfilled throughout New Testament writings – with no record that it stopped or changed in nature or would stop or change in nature (to refer to the Spirit dwelling in someone only through the Word).

If you want to contend that Jesus promises the Holy Spirit to be only in the apostles (John 14:16-17), you still have to explain away Romans 8:11, 1 Corinthians 6:19 and 1 John 3:24.

The burden of proof is clearly on those who wish to propagate and live by a Spirit-in-the-word-only-today doctrine, and their proof continues to be assertion and adding words and/or meaning to scripture that it does not explicitly express. That’s called interpretation, and while we all do it, interpretation has rules: one begins with what scripture says and stops with what scripture actually says.

As most of the proponents of the Spirit-in-the-word-only-today doctrine would agree, “going beyond the word” (Numbers 22:18; 2 John 1:9; and some would add Revelation 22:18) is dangerous business.

They just can’t see or hear themselves doing it.

That’s why it’s so important to let the Holy Spirit lead us into all truth, and if He lives within the believer who listens for the truth, yearns for the truth, and asks for the truth … the source of truth within the written word of God is right there within from the One who inspired its writing.

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38 thoughts on “Does the Holy Spirit Live Within the Believer?

  1. Alexander Campbell correctly stated:
    Christian are, therefore, clearly and unequivocally temples of the Holy Spirit; and they are quickened, animated, encourage, and sanctified by the power and influence of the Spirit of God, working in them through the truth (The written Word of God).

  2. Guest for truth,

    As I’ve pointed out in the comments on an earlier post, Barton W. Stone disagreed with Campbell on this point. What makes Campbell correct and Stone mistaken? Both were good men. They had their opinions. But opinions do not equate to scripture.

    And scripture nowhere says that the Spirit operates only through the word, then or now.

    Someone added to Campbell’s quote above, too. In it, he did not say “…through the truth (The written Word of God).” His quote ended with “the truth.”

  3. THE FACT OF THE INDWELLING
    Since the Bible declares that Deity indwells- Deity indwells. Deity indwells all who desire and do completely the will of God.
    Six verses say the Father is in the Christian ( 1 Cor.6:16; Eph.4:6; 1Jn 3:24, 1 Jn4:4, 1Jn 4:12-13, 1Jn 4:15-16). Eleven verses say Christ is in the Christian (Jn. 6:56; Jn 15:4-5; Jn. 17:23,26; Rom 8:10; 2 Cor. 13:5; Gal. 2:20; Gal.4:19;Eph. 3:17;Col. 1:27; Col.3:11; 1 peter 3:15). Six verses say the Holy Spirit is in the Christian (Jn 14:17; Rom 8:9; 1 Cor. 3:16; 1 Cor. 6:19; 2 Tim. 1:14) Twenty-three passages reveal that the Deity indwells the Christian.But again it is asked. How?” “ In what manner does Deity dwell? The answer is: “The Father, son and the Holy Spirit indwell the Christian in the same manner – Only through the Word of God.” We need to make a Distinction between “word only” and “only through the word” . When we use “ Through” we are saying that there is a “medium” that is the way the Godhead works!

      • In the churches of Christ never has been disagreement abouth the dwelling of the Holy Spirit. you are asking where the phrase “Through the word only” the phrase ” Through the word” comes from the bible in 1 Peter 1:23 “having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever

      • The phrase does indeed appear in 1 Peter 1:23! But not in any direct connection with the Holy Spirit there … so how does one use that verse to conclude that the Holy Spirit works only through the written word?

  4. By comparing the Holy Spirit and the Effect that cause by the word in the live of the beliver. for example: Gal. 5:22 use the words ” bring fruit in our lives” and the word of God has the same purpose and effect Col. 1:5,6. Eph. 3:16 “Gives Strength” Acts 20:32, 2 Thess. 2:13 ” Santifies” John 17:17. Comparing this passages we conclude that the Holy Spirit accomplishes His work by using an medium “the Word of God” instead of working directly in a miraculous way.

  5. Guest for Truth, you said: “Comparing this passages we conclude that the Holy Spirit accomplishes His work by using an medium “the Word of God” instead of working directly in a miraculous way.”

    You can concluded that the Holy Spirit accomplishes His work by using the medium of the word of God, but you can’t conclude from those comparisons that He does so “instead of working directly in a miraculous way.” They are not excluded there.

    • I can’t find it. Chances are good that if you’re proposing that different measures of the Holy Spirit, I disagree. (John 3:34) If you’re saying that the Holy Spirit gives gifts as He determines (1 Corinthians 12:11), then I agree.

  6. sorry KB, I put two question in the same line. What do you think about position 3, that I posted before. (3) the Spirit dwell in the christian through the medium of the written word, His law (Romans 8:2) and by one’s obedience to that word. We reject calvinism #1( Direct operation of the Holy Spirit) #2 The Spirit dwells in no one today (Word Only).

    • I don’t have a problem with proposition 3 as you list it – “the Spirit dwells in the Christian through the medium of the written word, His law (Romans 8:2) and by one’s obedience to that word” – I just don’t think it’s complete. It leaves out the other way that the Spirit dwells in the believer: literally, in the body, within, offering aid in ways that the word alone cannot.

      Examples: Helps the believer in weakness; intercedes in prayer (Romans 8:26-27; Ephesians 6:18; Jude 1:20) … provides access to the Father (Ephesians 2:18) … strengthens the believer (Ephesians 3:16); Provides power, love, self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7); Provides confidence of God’s indwelling (1 John 3:24; 4:13); Gives spiritual gifts such as * a message of wisdom (1 Corinthians 12:8)
      * a message of knowledge (1 Corinthians 12:8)
      * faith (1 Corinthians 12:9)
      * healing (1 Corinthians 12:9)
      * miraculous powers (1 Corinthians 12:10)
      * prophecy (1 Corinthians 12:10)
      * distinguishing between spirits (1 Corinthians 12:10)
      * different kinds of tongues (1 Corinthians 12:10)
      * interpretations of tongues (1 Corinthians 12:10)
      * administration (1 Corinthians 12:28)
      * prophesying (Romans 12:6)
      * serving (Romans 12:6)
      * teaching (Romans 12:7)
      * encouragement (Romans 12:7)
      * giving (Romans 12:8)
      * leading (Romans 12:8)
      * showing mercy (Romans 12:8)

      Proposition 3 is a start, but only a start.

      • Ephesians 4: 7-16

        7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore He says:

        “ When He ascended on high,
        He led captivity captive,
        And gave gifts to men.”[b]
        9 (Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first[c] descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)
        11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

      • Romans 12:3-8
        3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

  7. And I ask you if you have studied the measures of the Holy Spirit? (Portion of power,or manifestations in the New Testament from a biblical point of view).

    • If you mean that there are different measures of the Holy Spirit given by God, I disagree.

      John 3:34 says: “For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for he giveth not the Spirit by measure.”

      • If you disagree, Why do you disagree? Explain it please. Because the measure of the Holy Spirit explain How God gave the Holy Spirit by measure, I am not talking about the outcome of the Spirit that dwell in the Christian today ( fruits of the Spirit). Because if you don’t believe in this measure of the Holy Spirit why to ask for supernatural power today like healing, miraculous power, different kind of tongues, interpretation of tongues, raising the deads.

      • Christ during his personal ministry possessed the Spirit without measure (Jn. 3:34;cf Luke 4:18; Acts 10:38). ). This implies that other might possess the Spirit “ by measure,” the “measure” being a portion of “power” bestow by the Holy Spirit upon man (Luke 24:49). The New Testament mention three “portion of power” or “ Manifestation” (1 Cor. 12:7), or “measures” of the Spirit given to others.

      • I’m sorry, Guest for Truth, but John 3:34 doesn’t say that God only gives Jesus the Spirit without measure. It says: “For the one whom God has sent a speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit.”

        Check the original Greek; I’m not a student of the Greek language, but it does not appear reflexive nor does the word “Him” appear between “God gives” and “the Spirit.”

        Most translations do not either, since it would be adding to the text without warrant. Don’t know where the King James Version got it from.

      • Good assertion Keith! Jesus has all power, he does not has limit. but who is the one in that context? Can we use our reasoning in this matter? Did you read the other passages? All this passages imply that other might posses the spirit.
        The KJV comes from the Textus Receptus (Latin: “received text”) is the name subsequently given to the succession of printed Greek texts of the New Testament which constituted the translation base for the original German Luther Bible, the translation of the New Testament into English by William Tyndale, the King James Version, and for most other Reformation-era New Testament translations throughout Western and Central Europe.

      • The simple question was have you studied that topic? Why rejected it before knowing about it? What I put was the biggining and I was saying what you reafirm that Jesus has not limit of power. check in the context.

      • to find that explanation whe need to think (reasoning) and discern (understand) the word of our lord. our faith is not illogical as the secular diccionary defined.

      • sorry! Keith. I should not ask you who? because you already did. Our lord Jesus Christ has the Holy Spirit with out limit!!! He was full of the Holy Spirit and he promise send the comforter in Jn. 14:26;16:13;Acts 1:5,8).

      • MEASURES OF THE SPIRIT
        Christ during His personal Ministry possessed the spirit without measure (Jn. 3:34;cf Luke 4:18;Acts 10:38). ( He was omniscient) He can read the heart and mind of the people. This implies that other might possess the Spirit “ by measure,” the “measure” being a portion of “power” bestow by the Holy Spirit upon man (Luke 24:49). The New Testament mention three “portion of power” or “ Manifestation” (1 Cor. 12:7), or “measures” of the Spirit given to others.

        1.- Jesus promised the baptism of the Spirit to the apostles to guide them into all truth (Jn. 14:26;Jn. 16:13;Acts 1:5,8)They recived an overwhelming of the “power” of the Holy Spirit on the they of Pentecost, A.D 33. This enabled them to speak in other languages (Acts 2:1-4,6,8) Perform miracles to confirm the word (Acts 2:43; 5:12; Mark 16:20; Heb. 2:3-4), and to write scripture (Rev. 1:11, 2:7). Likewise, the Gentiles (Cornelius and his household) received “the like gift” some eight years later (Acts 10:44-47; 11:15-17) to prove that “God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34-35) and that the gentiles could obey the Gospel, be saved, and be added to the Lord’s church upon the same terms as the Jews (Acts 2:47). Furthermore, we know by implication that the apostle Paul received this portion of power from the Holy Spirit as he “ was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles” (II Cor.11:5; cf 12:12).
        No one today has “the baptism of the Holy Spirit” as no one can do the miracles that the apostles did. E.g. Speaking in tongues, raising the dead etc. Therefore
        Acts 2:38 does not teach that all those who repent and are baptized shall receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This portion of power given by Christ in sending the Holy Spirit served its purpose in the apostolic age. By revealing the truth,confirming it, recording it, and spreading it into all part of the world (Col. 1:23). In A.D 64 Paul said that there is “one baptism”( Eph.4:5) This is water baptism for forgiveness of sins ( Mtt. 28:19, Acts 2:38, Acts 8:35-39;Acts 22:16; Mark 16:15-16). The baptism of Acts 2:38 is water baptism.

        2.-Certain members of the Church in the apostolic age received miraculous gift of the spirit, bestowed by “ the apostles’ hands” (Acts 8:14-19; Ro. 1:11) Timothy had a gift by the lying on of Paul’s hands ( II Tim. 1:6) Nine of these gifts are mentioned in I Corinthians 12:4-11): Miracles, prophecy,tongues,interpretation of tongues, etc. But all of these gifts were to cease with the completion of God’s revealed will ( I Cor. 13:8-13; Eph. 4:7-13), “ the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). Since no apostle is living today, and those receiving them could not pass them on, no one can receive any of these miraculous gifts. Therefore, when the last apostle died and the last man died upon whom an apostle had laid his hands, all miraculous gifts ended, having served their purpose. So, Acts 2:38 does not mean that all Jews and Gentiles who repent and are baptized will receive the miraculous gift. No one has any of these gifts today. True, they were possessed by some members of the early church ( Mark 16:17-18; I Cor. 12:28-30. But no one today can perform those miracles – they have ceased!
        The Holy Spirit operates upon the heart of man for his conviction, conversion. And sanctification through or by means of, the inspired Word of God.The Gospel is God’s power to save (Rom. 1:16). “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the Soul” (Psa. 19:7). One is “born again” by the Word, the “incorruptible seed” of the Kingdom (I Pet. 1:23; Luke 8:11). The Word of God is “the sword of the Spirit” (Eph. 6:17). The Word is our guide “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psa. 119:105;cf v. 130). The Word is able to save (jas. 1:21) and to build us up (I Pet. 22:2; Acts 20:32). There is not direct operation of the Spirit on man, over and above the word, for his soul’s salvation. This is accomplished through the Word given by inspired men (Eph. 3:3-5). The Holy Spirit, a Person, uses His Word, the instrument to operate on the heart of man (2 Cor. 1:22). The Spirit quickens, but only by means of the Word (John 6:63; Psa. 119:50). The Spirit lead us (Rom. 8:14), but is through the Word (Psa. 73:24). When an act is said to have been performed by a person and by a certain instrument, it is clearly understood that the person did the act by means of the instrument.

        3.- The Holy Spirit dwelt in the first century in the heart of obedient children of God in a non-miraculous way. That is , through their obedience to the Word. Paul commanded, for example, the Ephesians to “be filled with the Spirit” (Eph.5:18), but in a parallel passage to the Colossians he said. “ Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Col.3:16) That the spirit of God dwell in Christians is affirmed in I Cor. 3:16, I Cor.6:19; and Romans 8:9-11. There is no denying the fact of the Spirit’s indwelling, but there is a vast difference between the fact of the indwelling and the method or manner by which He indwell. Is it direct or indirect?.

      • Jesus said the Holy Spirit, “when he is come, will convict the world in respect of sin (John16:8 ASV). But how does the Spirit convic of sin?…by the law is the knowledge of Sin (Rom. 3:20; cf. Romans 7:7). The Holy Spirit as a person, uses law as an instrument to convict of sin. The medium through which the Holy Spirit accomplish his mission is the word of God. There is not other way to convict of sin.
        One should keep in mind the distinction between the Spirit and the words of the spirit; the Spirit is a person; the word is an instrument. People are not converted by the Word only nor by the Spirit only, but by the Spirit acting through the Word. The Word of God is the instrument employed by the Holy Spirit in dealing with the hearts of men.

      • Guest for truth, statements such as …

        “No one today has “the baptism of the Holy Spirit” as no one can do the miracles that the apostles did. E.g. Speaking  in tongues, raising the dead etc. Therefore
        Acts 2:38 does not teach that all those who repent and are baptized shall receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This portion of power given by Christ in sending the Holy Spirit served its purpose in the apostolic age”

        and

        “Since no apostle is living today, and those receiving them  could not pass them on, no one can receive any of these miraculous gifts. Therefore, when the last apostle died and the last man died upon whom an apostle had laid his hands, all miraculous gifts ended, having served their purpose”
        and

        “But no one today can perform those miracles – they have ceased!”
        … are assertions, unsubstatiated by scripture. The burden of proof is clearly on those who make such statements, since scripture does not support them, brother.

  8. I Cor 6:17
    The H.S. is not under consideration here. The spirit of man, being joined to Him as an heir, by our obedience. 1 John 3:24 We keep God’s commands by keeping His word. He lives in us figuratively speaking, we live in Him figuratively speaking, and we know this by the word or message that was delivered by the H.S. and then believed by us.

    • Really, Jeff? Because the context of the verse (1 Corinthians 6:17) is a teaching against sexual immorality, and is only tw verses away from verse 19: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own ….”

      If Jesus and Paul and other writers meant that the Holy Spirit lives in us only figuratively, through the word only, then why didn’t at least one of them say so in scripture? Explicitly? So that poor deluded souls like me who are silly enough to take scripture at its word – as His Word – would not be misled to believe that He actually, literally meant what He said?

      • KB. If we sin in such a way, and the Spirit is indeed in us to guide us and direct us, But we do so anyway, would that make Him a partaker of our sin or a innocent bystander? “But be doers of the word and not hearers only, decieving ourselves.” Is 1 Cor 6:17 figuratively speaking or would that make us “spirits.” I believe it is talking about the spiritual relationship we have with God, not a physcial relationship.

      • I think David feared the Holy Spirit would abandon him after his sin with Bathsheba, and wrote the heart-wrenching 51st Psalm … there is no indication that the Spirit left him. It would seem He stayed to inspire the psalm of penitence. Perhaps He convicted David of sin from within, as Nathan did from without. Perhaps He interceded for David in prayer with inexpressuble groans after he uttered, “I have sinned.” He does for us (Romans 8:13).

        We can deceive ourselves, but not God; not the Holy Spirit.

        We have a relationship with God – praise Him for it! – through Jesus, in which His Spirit of unity can be one with ours (John 17:21; 1 Corinthians 6:17-19; Romans 8:23-26).

        Would still be interested in any verse which verifies that the Spirit only dwells in our hearts as the written word, today or then, brother. Any verse that says his presence within is figurative – or any less real and experiential than the joy and peace He brings (Romans 15:13; Galatians 5:22).

      • 1Cr 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

        your version “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own ….”

        Keith look at the difference in the KJ translation, and the later more friendly versions ( to the belief that the holy spirit is a person) that is the reason no one can prove anything any more by scripture. It has drastlicy changed. The KJ version has no who, or whom in it, i don’t belive the original writing does either.

      • Laymond, neither “who” nor “which” appears in the original Greek, to the best of my understanding. But “in you” does, and since English kind of requires something there in order to make sense, the KJV inserts “which is” and most other translations “who is” before “in you.”

        What is translated as “he” in John 14 and 15 is literally “that one,” and is rendered as “he” to indicate that the sense (by usage) of “that one” means a person doing something. “It” would not indicate a person, since English has no neutral gender for people.

  9. KB, in reading your post #30 again, I take it,that you believe that man can perform miracles today. If I may ask a personal question, do you have a Pentecostal background?

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