An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

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Holy Spirit

The third person of the Trinity. In the OT, "spirit" was primarily used to express God's power in the world. In the NT, Jesus is called the Christ because he is the one anointed by the Spirit. The gift of the Spirit to Jesus' disciples after the crucifixion is associated with the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus in Jn 20:19-23 and with the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2. The Catechism states that the church is holy "because the Holy Spirit dwells in it, consecrates its members, and guides them to do God's will" (BCP, p. 854). The Council of Constantinople in 381 stated that the Holy Spirit is as truly God as the Son, both being of "one substance" with the Father. The Nicene Creed states belief "in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the prophets" (BCP, p. 359). In the relations of the persons of the Trinity, the Spirit is said to proceed from the Father by the mode of "spiration" or "breathing," while the Son is said to proceed from the Father by the mode of "generation." Western theology came to speak of the Spirit proceeding "from the Father and the Son." The Episcopal theologian William Porcher DuBose stated in The Soteriology of the New Testament (1892) that "all God's operations in us as spiritual beings are by the word through the spirit" (p. 56). Pneumatology is the theological study of the Holy Spirit. The Hymnal 1982 provides a section of hymns on the Holy Spirit (Hymns 500-516), including "Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire" (Hymns 503-504) and "Breathe on me, Breath of God" (Hymn 508). See Filioque; see Trinity.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.