Reflections on the Trinity and the Holy Spirit

I’ve noticed a growing practice within certain groups of the church, one in which the Holy Spirit is referred to as simply “Holy Spirit”, i.e., without use of the definite article “the”. For example, “Holy Spirit is our close friend.”

From this, I think there is the idea that “Holy Spirit” is a kind of name for the third Person of the Trinity. Hence, there is no need to use the definite article “the”. We want to speak more personally of the Spirit, so we drop the article. Just like we wouldn’t use such before our own names.

But, officially, “Holy Spirit” is not a name. Rather, it’s a title. Just as Father and Son are titles rather than names.

With that, when we are talking *about* someone while using their title, we simply use the definite article “the”. For example, “The Trinity is made up of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Notice the definite article “the” before each Person’s title. And this bears true in much of the New Testament Greek, either with the definite article written in the text or it being implied when the title is used.

Yet, when we are talking *to* someone, even when we reference their title, there is no need to use the definite article “the”. For example, “Thank you, Father, for loving me.” Or, “We need your work in our lives, Holy Spirit.”

It may seem splitting hairs, but I mention this because I have felt for some time that, in an effort to communicate greater intimacy with God, and particularly with the Holy Spirit, many try and steer clear of wording that may make the Spirit seem less personal. But using the definite article “the” before Holy Spirit is not less intimate, not less personal, not less relational. It’s simply the proper grammatical construction when speaking about someone when using their title.

In all, don’t worry about referencing the Holy Spirit as *the* Holy Spirit. The Spirit is not quenched in doing so.


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