False Teaching About The Spirit


In 1856, William Arthur wrote a book entitled ‘The Tongue of Fire’ which, if you will excuse the expression, ‘reignited’ interest in the doctrine of the Person and Work of the Holy Spirit. Many religious bodies suddenly rediscovered such scriptural expressions as, ‘baptism of the Holy Spirit’, ‘indwelling of the Spirit’, ‘filled with the Spirit’, ‘gifts of the Spirit’, etc.

Unfortunately, however, the churches which like to be known as ‘Evangelical’, along with the so-called ‘Charismatic’ groups which quickly emerged in the early 1900s, used and continue to use, these Scriptural terms to propagate teaching about the Holy Spirit that is far from scriptural, and this has had the effect of causing preachers and teachers to appear reluctant to deal with the subject, lest they be misunderstood and are accused of holding suspect views, or even of leaning towards the ‘Charismatic’ movement.

Jehovah’s Witnesses

One of the most fundamental errors regarding the Holy Spirit is the tendency of some groups to deny His very personality. A ‘Watchtower publication’ asserts that, ‘the holy spirit is the active force of God. It is not a person but is a powerful force that God causes to emanate from himself to accomplish his holy will’ (Reasoning from the Scriptures 1985, 81).

What Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Believe About the Holy Spirit?

Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the deity, personality, and masculinity of the Holy Spirit. They teach that the ‘holy spirit’ (always lower case) is merely an impersonal force.

Here is an excerpt from an article on the official ‘Watchtower Society’ website. ‘What is God’s Holy Spirit? In its opening words, the Bible speaks of the holy spirit, also rendered ‘God’s active force’, as ‘moving to and fro over the surface of the waters.’ Genesis 1:2

‘In the account of Jesus’ baptism, while God is described as being in ‘the heavens,’ the Holy Spirit appears ‘descending like a dove’ upon Jesus. Matthew 3:16-17. Additionally, Jesus spoke of the holy spirit as a ‘helper.’ John 14:16.

‘These and other Bible passages have led some to conclude that the holy spirit is a person, just as God, Jesus, and the angels are individual spirit persons. In fact, for centuries some of the most influential religions of Christendom have attributed personality to the holy spirit. Despite this long-standing doctrine, many church members remain confused, and some even disagree with their religious leaders.’ ‘An honest Bible reader cannot help but conclude that the Holy Spirit differs from official church descriptions of it as a person.’

As in many other instances, the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ New World Translation of the Bible changes the words of the original Scriptures to support their false teaching. They do so from the very first verses of Genesis.

‘In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.’ Genesis 1:1-2 NKJV.

‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth proved to be formless and waste and there was darkness upon the surface of the watery deep; and God’s active force was moving to and fro over the surface of the waters.’ Genesis 1:1-2. NWT.

The ‘Watchtower Society’s Bible uses the words ‘Holy Spirit’, ‘spirit’, and ‘helper’ (all lower case) to impose its erroneous view upon Scripture, and goes through linguistic gymnastics to avoid attributing personality to the Holy Spirit.

Here are but three of hundreds of examples.

‘But when the Helper (KJV, ‘Comforter’) comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.’ John 15:26 NKJV.

‘When the helper arrives that I will send you from the Father, the spirit of the truth, which proceeds from the Father, that one will bear witness about me’. John 15:26. NWT

‘And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever – the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.’ John 14:16-17 NKJV.

‘And I will request the Father and he will give you another helper to be with you forever, the spirit of the truth, which the world cannot receive, because it neither beholds it nor knows it. You know it, because it remains with you and is in you.’ John 14:16-17 NWT.

‘Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.’ Romans 8:27 NKJV.

‘Yet he who searches the hearts knows what the meaning of the spirit is, because it is pleading in accord with God for holy ones.’ Romans 8:27 NWT.

The word translated ‘mind’ in the KJV and NKJV is ‘phronema’, which denotes the seat of reasoned thinking, and the thoughts and purposes it produces, never ‘meaning’ as in ‘the message expressed.’ But because of their doctrine of the ‘Holy Spirit,’ the editors of the ‘New World Translation’ were forced to also mistranslate ‘phronema’ in the other places it appears, twice in Romans 8:6, once in Romans 8:7, making nonsense out of those verses as well.

Christian Science

Mary Baker Eddy, founder of ‘Christian Science,’ characterized the third person of the Trinity as ‘Divine Science’. This Science of God and man is the Holy Ghost, which reveals and sustains the unbroken and eternal harmony of both God and the universe. For the Christian Scientist, the Holy Spirit is just the unfolding of the thoughts and mind of God, the Divine Science, but by no means a person on its own.


Mormon doctrine distinguishes between the Holy Ghost and the Holy Spirit, even though there is no biblical distinction. This teaching actually derives from the King James Version of the Bible. The translators translated the same Greek words ‘Hagios Pneuma’ sometimes ‘Holy Spirit’ and sometimes ‘Holy Ghost.’

The Holy Ghost is a personal being, a god, although without a body of flesh and bone. The Holy Spirit is a force of God, the ‘power’ or ‘presence’ of God. Parley Pratt, one of Mormonism’s original ‘apostles,’ once described the Holy Spirit as a force like ‘magnetism’ or ‘electricity.’ He further spoke of the Spirit as ‘a divine fluid’ and ‘impersonal energy’.


The Holy Spirit is not a person but a ‘…radiant visible power from the Father. It is an unseen power emanating from the Deity, filling all space, and by which God is everywhere present. It is the medium by which God created all things…’

‘The Spirit is not a ‘separate’ or ‘other’ person. It is God’s own radiant power, ever outflowing from Him, by which His ‘everywhereness’ is achieved.

‘The Spirit is personal in that it is of God Himself: it is not personal in the sense of being some other person within the Godhead’. (The Christadelphians: What They Believe and Preach, by Harry Tennant page 115)

Like Jehovah’s Witnesses, they refer to the Holy Spirit as ‘it’. So they have no Holy Spirit to assist them in their study and interpretation of the Scriptures! Because the Bible teaches the Holy Spirit is personal, intelligent and can speak.