Bible References About
The Gift of the Holy Ghost
The theology of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint's teaches that the Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit, is the third member of the Godhead. Like Heavenly Father and Jesus, the Holy Ghost is a separate personage. Unlike Heavenly Father and Jesus, The Holy Ghost is a spirit. The Holy Ghost acts as an liaison between God and us. Think of Him as the Secretary of State for the Godhead. The Holy Ghost is a teacher, a revelator, a sanctifier, and a comforter. He helps us and guides us. He confirms truth or error. He warns us when we are in physical or spiritual danger. The Church teaches that every man, woman, and child can receive promptings from the Holy Ghost from time to time. However, to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, which is the rights and blessings of constant companionship with the Holy Ghost, a person must be baptized for the remission of sins and have the gift conferred upon them by one holding proper Melchizedek Priesthood authority by the laying on of hands. Protestant critics of The LDS Church ridicule members who claim to receive promptings and inspirations from the Holy Ghost. Personally, I think this is because they have never had that constant companionship to receive revelation and promptings from the Holy Ghost to know what it feels like.
Here are the verses that teach us about the Holy Ghost.
1 Kings 19: 11-12
"And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice."
The Holy Ghost doesn't communicate with us in dramatic, grandiose ways. The Holy Ghost speaks to us with a still small voice. Some people describe this subtle, yet powerful, communication as promptings, feeling a burning inside, or sometimes literally hearing a still small voice. When you receive the Gift the promptings become more distinguishable when you keep your spirit in tune by keeping the commandments, praying, fasting, going to church, repenting, serving others, etc.
"And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.
And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?"
In this passage, the disciples didn't recognize the Risen Lord, even as He taught them. Once they realized who He was and their "eyes were open" the recognized that the Holy Ghost had been testifying truth to them as Jesus spoke. They described the feeling they had as the Holy Ghost confirmed the truth to them as a "burning in their heart". This is the same description of receiving a testimony from The Holy Ghost that members of The LDS Church share. It is interesting that other people who believe in the Bible mock, criticize and deride LDS Church members for having an experience that is clearly the same as as the disciples had in the Bible.
"Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."
Peter is teaching 3,000 people about Jesus and His gospel. The message is pretty self-explanatory: the Gift of the Holy Ghost only comes after baptism. The reason that baptism must come first is because when a person is baptized they make a covenant with Jesus. The covenant is to take His name upon you and keep the commandments, and then He will always allow The Spirit, or Holy Ghost, to be with you. The Gift is Him keeping His side of the covenant.
"Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,"
Peter had just exercised his priesthood authority to heal a man outside the temple. The leaders didn't like it so they brought him before them. When he confronted them and bore his testimony of Christ, it says Peter was filled with the Holy Ghost. The LDS Church teaches that the Holy Ghost is a spirit which enables Him to dwell in us so we can feel His prompting and inspirations.
"Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye."
The LDS Church teaches that the Holy Ghost has been confirming and giving witness to the truth since Adam. While some evangelical theologians teach that the Holy Ghost is strictly a New Testament phenomenon. In this verse Stephen confirms the LDS position by chastising the Jews for ignoring the Holy Ghost, just like the Old Testament Jews did.
Acts 8: 15-18
"Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money."
These verses teach the Holy Ghost is a male personage; and that just getting baptized doesn't cause you to receive him. The Gift of the Holy Ghost can only be given by those who have proper priesthood authority to bestow the gift and it must be given by the laying on of hands — and it can't be bought.
Acts 13: 2-3
"As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away."
This is an excellent verse to show how New Testament and modern day Apostles receive revelation. They fasted and prayed, and the Holy Ghost gave them their answer. Although burning bushes, first visions, and dramatic revelations due occur, the majority are after this pattern. This is also how we receive personal revelation for our own lives. We fast, we pray, and the Holy Ghost answers.
Acts 16: 6-7
"Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not."
This passage is another example of the Holy Ghost acting as a guide and revelator. It also shows why we need to be in touch to receive inspiration from the Holy Ghost.
"And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied."
Simply believing doesn't bring the Holy Ghost. These were believers that were baptized by John the Baptist, but never received the Holy Ghost. He held the Aaronic Priesthood and had authority to baptize; however, he did not have authority to confer the Gift of the Holy Ghost. That ordinance requires the higher Melchizedek Priesthood, which Paul held. This is why they received the Holy Ghost from Paul but not John.
1 Corinthians 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?"
The passage this verse comes teaches about not engaging in sexual sins. Our bodies are temples for the Holy Ghost to dwell in. The Holy Ghost cannot dwell in unclean temples so we need to obey the commandments and keep ourselves morally and spiritually clean in order for the Holy Ghost to stay with us.
"Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come."
I went out of order and included this one at the end for a reason. This passage by Jesus Christ impresses upon us just how serious the Holy Ghost is. When Christ atoned for all sins, He brought us forgiveness for a variety of sins, but not this one. If a person receives a witness and testimony of Jesus Christ through the Holy Ghost, and then turns on it, or speaks evil of the Holy Ghost, that person shall never ever receive forgiveness, as Jesus says, in this life or throughout eternity. Gifts of the Spirit must not be trifled with!