5 Myths About the Holy Spirit that Too Many People Still Believe (Maybe Even You!)

Benjamin Asmussen, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The Holy Spirit is probably the most misunderstood of the three persons of the Trinity. Don’t believe any of these myths, and help spread the truth!

Myth 1: The Holy Spirit is a “force”

Truth: The Holy Spirit is actually a person, just like the Father and the Son. The fact he is called “Spirit,” rather than a term we’re used to using for people (like Father and Son), might make this confusing, but he is a person nonetheless.

Myth 2: The Holy Spirit didn’t exist in the Old Testament

Truth: The Holy Spirit has always been the third person of the Trinity from all eternity, including during the Old Testament. Whenever God does something in the Old Testament, that’s the Holy Spirit at work!

Myth 3: The Holy Spirit is of a lesser status than the Father and the Son

Truth: Yes, we call the Holy Spirit the third person of the Trinity. But this refers to relations between the divine persons and does not indicate any lesser status. All three persons are co-equal, as is confessed in the Athanasian Creed.

Myth 4: The Holy Spirit is just a part of God

Truth: Actually all three persons of the Trinity are all of God. This might be confusing, but God has no parts. Anything God does, all three persons do, including the Holy Spirit.

Myth 5: A true Christian with the Holy Spirit will “speak in tongues”

Truth: First, there is a great deal of controversy over what “speaking in tongues” even means. Though many modern Christians believe it refers to a Christian speaking what sounds like gibberish, traditionally it was understood as the gift to speak in multiple real human languages, as the Apostles did at Pentecost.

In any case, the Church teaches that a person receives the Holy Spirit and becomes a Christian at Baptism, and is strengthened in the gifts of the Holy Spirit at Confirmation, regardless of whether one evidences “speaking in tongues.”

[See also: The “Eternal Sin”: The True Meaning of “Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit”]

[See also: The Forgotten Power of Holy Water, Explained in One Infographic]