Does the Holy Spirit Cause Chills?
I’ve seen many people on forums online and people I’ve talked to in person describe this experience to me. When they feel the presence of the Holy Spirit, they suddenly get chills or goosebumps.
This is a common thing I hear about, but is it in the Bible? In this article, I’ll share a few scriptures and my own experiences with the Holy Spirit. My hope is that you’ll have a better understanding of the Holy Spirit and what His presence can feel like.
I’ll start off by making it clear that the Holy Spirit manifests Himself differently to each person. Just like you and I act a little differently when we’re around different people, God is personal and will reveal His presence in a unique and personal way.
The short answer is yes, the Holy Spirit can cause chills and goosebumps. But, the Holy Spirit can also feel like a burning hot fire within you. And sometimes you won’t feel anything.
In Job 4, one of Job’s friends describes getting goosebumps when a spirit (likely an angel, not the Holy Spirit) passes by him:
"A spirit glided past my face, and the hair on my body stood on end. It stopped, but I could not tell what it was. A form stood before my eyes, and I heard a hushed voice: ‘Can a mortal be more righteous than God? Can even a strong man be more pure than his Maker?'"
Job 4:15-17 NIV
Our feelings fluctuate up and down. If you’re married, you might not always feel love towards your spouse, but that doesn’t mean love isn’t there. You can have a knowing and complete faith in God without feelings and emotions.
“And to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
Ephesians 3:19 NIV
This verse shows us that God’s love far surpasses our human knowledge. Our brain and emotions don’t determine God’s love for us. So, even when there’s a lack of feeling and emotions, know that God’s love never runs out, and that He never leaves us.
God’s promise that “I will never leave you nor forsake you” is found in multiple books of the Bible, in both the Old and New Testaments. The Bible is true and will never deceive you. Our emotions and feelings are usually based on what we’re experiencing in that moment.
It’s also wise to not just blindly trust the experiences other people have had. God is who He says He is, not necessarily who other people say He is. It’s important to keep your faith in the Word of God, which is more than worthy of our trust.
“The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”
John 3:8 NLT
What does the Holy Spirit feel like?
The Holy Spirit is first mentioned in Genesis 1:2 “…and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” (NIV)
We have a hard time describing what the word spirit means, because it’s not something tangible. But the Holy Spirit is a person. The Bible always describes the Holy Spirit as He or Him.
Understanding the original Hebrew can also help you understand what Spirit means in this instance. The Hebrew word in Genesis 1:2 is ruach (roo’-akh). This word is translated as “spirit” about 200 times throughout the Bible. It’s also translated as “wind” 98 times, and “breath” 31 times. So, you can think of the Spirit of God as the breath of God or the wind of God.
Many passages in the Bible talk about “…and the Spirit of the Lord came upon him/her/them…”. You can imagine a wind blowing around you and what that would feel like.
The Spirit is described in various parts of scripture as fire, power, faith, peace, joy, fullness, or holiness. And the fruit of the Spirit is listed in Galatians 6. All these things come from God or are a result we can experience when the Spirit makes His presence known. We’ll usually feel some of these things in one way or another.
Personally, I’ve felt the presence of the Holy Spirit in different ways as I’m praying, in church, or listening to worship music. Sometimes it feels like a cool wind that causes chills, and other times it feels like a fire that warms me up. Either way, the Holy Spirit always brings a peaceful and joyful feeling to me.
Throughout the book of Acts, we can see the result of when the Holy Spirit comes upon people.
The Holy Spirit empowers us and inspires us to share the Good News.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Acts 1:8 NIV
The Holy Spirit makes us bold.
“After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”
Acts 4:31 NIV
The Holy Spirit fills us with faith.
“He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.”
Acts 11:24 NIV
The Holy Spirit fills us with joy.
“And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”
Acts 13:52 NIV
While the Bible doesn’t tell us exactly what we’re going to feel, we can expect to become bold, joyful, and faith-filled when we encounter the Holy Spirit.