This site uses cookies to provide you with more responsive and personalized service and to collect certain information about your use of the site.  You can change your cookie settings through your browser.  If you continue without changing your settings, you agree to our use of cookies.  See our Privacy Policy for more information.

Define the Holy Ghost vs the Holy Spirit?

What is the difference between the Holy Spirit and the Holy Ghost?

Modern English translations describe the third person of the triune God as “the Holy Spirit.” However, the 1611 King James Version used the term “Holy Ghost” some 90 times and “Holy Spirit” seven times. The reason the KJV uses both terms is that it was translated by several teams and, apparently, they translated the term differently.

In the 17th century, the word ghost meant an immaterial being. When someone died, their immaterial part, the spirit or ghost of the deceased person, continued to live on. Maybe you’ve heard the phrase “give up the ghost,” which carries the same meaning. In modern times, the word “ghost” has come to mean an apparition. Thus, today, the better translation of the original Greek word pneuma is Spirit, not Ghost.

All that to say, there is no difference between the Holy Spirit and the Holy Ghost. He is the third person of the triune God, the Comforter sent by the Lord Jesus (John 14:16; 15:26; 16:7) who indwells all Jesus followers forever (John 14:17). He testifies of and glorifies the Lord Jesus, pointing to the Messiah rather than Himself (John 15:27; 16:14). The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, showing lost people their need for redemption through the Lord Jesus (John 16:8–11). He regenerates (Titus 3:5), indwells (Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19), baptizes (1 Cor. 12:13), and seals all Jesus followers (Eph. 1:13; 4:30), assuring their security until their day of redemption.

BY Dr. Michael Rydelnik

Dr. Michael Rydelnik is a professor of Jewish Studies at Moody Bible Institute and the host of Moody Radio’s Open Line with Michael Rydelnik. He is the author of 50 Most Important Bible Questions inspired by both his radio show and his columns for Today in the Word. Michael served on the translation team of the Holman CSB Bible and contributed to several other books and study Bibles. Michael also appeared in the Lee Stroebel video The Case for Christ. Michael and his wife, Eva, have two adult sons. The Rydelniks live in Chicago, Ill.

Find Questions and Answers by Month