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Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit, or Holy Ghost, in Trinitarian Christian belief, is God, the third Person of the Holy Trinity; the word "Spirit" commonly translates the Greek New Testament word pneuma.

In Christianity, the Holy Spirit is one person of the Trinity, co-equal with the Father and the Son (Jesus).

Christians believe it is the Holy Spirit who leads people to faith in Jesus and the one who gives them the ability to lead a Christian life. The Spirit dwells inside every true Christian, each one's body being His temple (First Epistle to the Corinthians 3:16). He is depicted as a 'Counsellor' or 'Helper' (paraclete in Greek), guiding them in the way of the truth. The 'Fruit of the Spirit' (i.e. the result of His work) is "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" (Galatians 5:22).

The Holy Spirit is also supposed to give abilities to Christians. These include the fascinating gifts such as prophecy, tongues, healing, and knowledge. Christians agree almost universally that certain more mundane "spiritual gifts" are still in effect today, including the gifts of ministry, teaching, giving, leadership, and mercy. In some sects of Christianity, the experience of the Holy Spirit is referred to as being anointed.

Christians believe that it was the Holy Spirit whom Jesus mentioned as the promised "Comforter" (i.e. "strengthener", "fortifier") in John 14:26. After his resurrection, Christ told his disciples that they would be "baptized with the Holy Ghost", and would receive power from this event (Acts 1:4-8); a promise that was fulfilled in the events recounted in the second chapter of Acts. On the first Pentecost, Jesus' disciples were gathered in Jerusalem when a mighty wind was heard and tongues of fire appeared over their heads. A multilingual crowd heard the disciples speaking, and each of them heard them speaking in his or her native language. The Christian movement called Pentecostalism derives its name from these events.

The Pentecostal movement places special emphasis on the work of the Holy Spirit, and especially on the gifts mentioned above, believing that they are still given today. Many Pentecostals believe in a 'Baptism of the Holy Spirit', in which the Spirit's power is received by the Christian in a new way. Some Pentecostal sects hold that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the one sure sign of Christianity in a person, or conversely, that until a person has experienced this baptism of the Holy Spirit, they cannot be certain of their salvation.

While most Christians think of the person of the Holy Spirit as being a He or It, Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists, and others, believe that the Holy Spirit is a feminine Motherly Being, deriving this from the Hebrew language, rather than Greek or Latin. They also believe that ancient (and modern) Goddesses, and the veneration of Mary by Catholics, are derived from this truth. The Jews believe that the Holy Spirit and the Shekinah (both of which are feminine words in the Hebrew) are one and the same, though they do not generally believe in Her individual Personhood. This feminine aspect of the Holy Spirit is a prominent feature in the Jewish Kabbalah.

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