The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament


When people speak about the Holy Spirit, they may start with images of Pentecost, speaking in tongues and the miracles of Jesus. All of these snapshots of the Holy Spirit’s work are great moments to pinpoint. But, it’s great to remember that as part of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit has been active from the beginning. Here are some examples of the Holy Spirit at work in the Old Testament…

Breathing life

We see the Holy Spirit play a key part in the orchestration of life right through the Old Testament. A common description of the Holy Spirit in these cases uses the Hebrew word ‘Ruach’ meaning ‘breath’ or ‘wind’. One of the most commonly talked about examples is the Holy Spirit hovering over the water, waiting for God to speak creation into being (Gen 1:2). Another is God breathing the ‘breath of life’ into Adam (Gen 2:7). The Hebrew word ‘Neshama’ describes this movement of the Holy Spirit and is used again to depict him as the life force for all people in the book of Job.

The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life. (Job 33:4).

Spurring creativity  

Not only does the Holy Spirit hover waiting to create and partner with God in the formation of the world, he can gives different gifts of creativity to us. In Exodus 31 we see Bezalel, among other men, given gifts in craftsmanship, design and wisdom, by the Holy Spirit. This is in order for him to create beautiful ornaments, garments and sacred structures. This creative impartation covers a whole range of mediums and skills that many people are gifted in using today.  

Then the Lord said to Moses,  “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze,  to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts. (Exodus 31:1-5 NIV)

Communicating Truth  

The Old Testament is full of prophecy – God’s word, perspective, and plans being revealed to individuals in order thar others might hear it. In Zechariah 7:12, we see that this sort of God-to-man communication comes by the Spirit. It says: “They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the Lord Almighty was very angry.” (NIV) In the Bible we see God speak directly to people over 1000 times. And then again through prophets, around 760 times. In the Old testament the majority of God’s communication falls into these two categories. Ezekiel 11 is a great example of the relationship between the Holy Spirit and man, in order for God to reveal situations and speak through visions and words.  

Then the Spirit of the Lord came on me, and he told me to say: “This is what the Lord says: That is what you are saying, you leaders in Israel, but I know what is going through your mind. (Ezekiel 11 NIV)

Photo by asoggetti on Unsplash


Taylor Bentliff

Taylor works within our brand team at TBN UK, looking after the majority of our editorial copy and wording across online, print, and production platforms. Taylor has spent 10 years working in Christian media and loves to bring words together to share God's truth.

You may have seen her on various TBN UK programmes including Big Church Day Out, TBN Meets, Start Your Day, Praise, and Partner Time.

She is also a Bible teacher and shares some of her passion for the Word of God on the channel and on our exciting new Grow with TBN UK platform. Why not join one of her workshops!

She is also the founder of Clarity Magazine for Christian women, and on the Leadership Team for Newday, a Christian youth event coming soon to TBN UK!