Bible Verses About the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament
Many people think the Holy Spirit is primarily in the New Testament. While the Holy Spirit plays a bigger role in the book of Acts and New Testament, He is active and present throughout the entire Bible. We see verses about the Holy Spirit in the 2nd verse of Genesis, and most books of the Bible.
The Holy Spirit did have a different role in the Old Testament than He has today, but His character has never changed. This article shares Bible verses and provides insight about what the Holy Spirit did in the Old Testament.
The Holy Spirit was present during creation
“The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”
Genesis 1:2 NKJV
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”
John 1:1-3 NIV
We see the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit were all present and played an active role in the creation of the world and humanity.
The Holy Spirit gave people supernatural gifts and abilities
Throughout the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit would rest upon individuals. This didn’t happen very often, but when it did, people would have knowledge, strength, and abilities that they didn’t previously have.
The Spirit gave Daniel (Belteshazzar) the supernatural ability to interpret dreams. He gave Samson supernatural strength. He gave Moses and the elders the ability to lead the Israelites. And gave David the ability to be king.
“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.”
Exodus 31:1-3 NIV
“So Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother, and came to the vineyards of Timnah. Now to his surprise, a young lion came roaring against him. And the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and he tore the lion apart as one would have torn apart a young goat, though he had nothing in his hand. But he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done.”
Judges 14:5-6 NKJV
“So the Lord said to Moses: “Gather to Me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them; bring them to the tabernacle of meeting, that they may stand there with you. Then I will come down and talk with you there. I will take of the Spirit that is upon you and will put the same upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, that you may not bear it yourself alone.”
Numbers 11:16-17 NKJV
“Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward.”
1 Samuel 16:13 NKJV
“This dream I, King Nebuchadnezzar, have seen. Now you, Belteshazzar, declare its interpretation, since all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known to me the interpretation; but you are able, for the Spirit of the Holy God is in you.”
Daniel 4:18 NKJV
The Holy Spirit plays the same role today—He gives people supernatural abilities to lead, teach, organize, and more.
The Spirit gave people insight and guidance
A common prayer you hear or pray is to be led by God’s Spirit. God will never force us to follow Him, so we should want to be led by God. The Holy Spirit will always lead us in the right direction, towards the life that God wants us to live.
“Yet in Your manifold mercies You did not forsake them in the wilderness. The pillar of the cloud did not depart from them by day, To lead them on the road; Nor the pillar of fire by night, To show them light, And the way they should go. You also gave Your good Spirit to instruct them, And did not withhold Your manna from their mouth, And gave them water for their thirst. Forty years You sustained them in the wilderness; They lacked nothing; Their clothes did not wear out And their feet did not swell.”
Nehemiah 9:19-21 NKJV
“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.”
Psalm 143:10 NIV
“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears.”
Isaiah 11:1-3 NIV
“I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.”
Ezekiel 36:27 NKJV
The Holy Spirit brings life and freedom
“For the Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”
Job 33:4 NLT
“When the children of Israel cried out to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for the children of Israel, who delivered them: Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he judged Israel. He went out to war, and the Lord delivered Cushan-Rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed over Cushan-Rishathaim.”
Judges 3:9-10 NKJV
“But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the Lord troubled him.”
1 Samuel 16:14 NKJV
“When the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.”
Isaiah 59:19 NKJV
“Then the Spirit came upon Amasai, the leader of the Thirty, and he said, “We are yours, David! We are on your side, son of Jesse. Peace and prosperity be with you, and success to all who help you, for your God is the one who helps you.” So David let them join him, and he made them officers over his troops.”
1 Chronicles 12:18 NLT
“The fortress will be abandoned, the noisy city deserted; citadel and watchtower will become a wasteland forever, the delight of donkeys, a pasture for flocks, till the Spirit is poured on us from on high, and the desert becomes a fertile field, and the fertile field seems like a forest. The Lord’s justice will dwell in the desert, his righteousness live in the fertile field.”
Isaiah 32:14-16 NIV
“Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.”
Psalm 51:11 NKJV
The Holy Spirit brings life. In Genesis, we see God create Adam from the earth, but he doesn’t become a living being until God breathes the breath of life into him. The Holy Spirit is the source of our life and freedom.
The Holy Spirit empowers prophecy
Prophecy is a gift from God that’s empowered by His Spirit. There are 100s of prophecies in the Old and New Testaments. In the Old Testament, prophecy was limited to certain people, called prophets.
The prophets were led by the Holy Spirit to speak the word of God, call out unrighteousness, and encourage people. Joel 2:28 is a promise that God will pour out His Spirit upon everyone, giving every person the ability to prophesy.
That doesn’t mean everyone is a prophet, but rather that we all can be filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit and prophesy God’s word. One example of this is Paul. He prophesied, but was never called a prophet.
“Now when Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he did not resort to divination as at other times, but turned his face toward the wilderness. When Balaam looked out and saw Israel encamped tribe by tribe, the Spirit of God came on him and he spoke his message: ‘The prophecy of Balaam son of Beor, the prophecy of one whose eye sees clearly, the prophecy of one who hears the words of God, who sees a vision from the Almighty, who falls prostrate, and whose eyes are opened.’”
Numbers 24:1-4 NIV
“The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person. Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you.”
1 Samuel 10:6-7 NIV
“The Spirit of the Lord spoke through me; his word was on my tongue.”
2 Samuel 23:2 NIV
“For He said, “Surely they are My people, Children who will not lie.” So He became their Savior. In all their affliction He was afflicted, And the Angel of His Presence saved them; In His love and in His pity He redeemed them; And He bore them and carried them All the days of old. But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; So He turned Himself against them as an enemy, And He fought against them.”
Isaiah 63:8-10 NKJV
“And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions.”
Joel 2:28 NKJV
“But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression, to Israel his sin.” Micah 3:8 NIV
The Bible says that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. I hope these Bible verses from the Old Testament help you learn more and grow in your relationship with Him.