It says in Acts 13:2 -- “the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’” This and similar verses are relevant because only persons issue commands (calling others for work they intend for them) and express thoughts with words.1
It says in Acts 5:3-4 -- “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit… you have not lied to men but to God.” This is relevant because only persons can be lied to.
It says in John 14:16-26 -- “I [Jesus] will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you… the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you…”1 This is relevant because only a person would be described as “another helper,” in the context of Jesus, a person, being the first teacher and helper. This conclusion is arguably supported by the fact that the Greek word translated “another” is the word for “another [of the same kind]” (allos, ἄλλος) rather than for “another [of a different kind]” (heteros, ἕτερος).
“But wait, couldn't it be that these are non-literal personifications of the holy spirit?”3
It says in John 16:13 -- “He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you.” This is relevant because only persons (like "he")1 have their own “own initiative” from which they choose not to speak from.2
Charles Ryrie: “The Greek word for spirit is pneuma (from which we derive English words that have to do with air, like “pneumatic” and “pneumonia”) and is a neuter gender word. According to every rule of grammar, any pronoun that would be substituted for this neuter noun [pneuma] would itself have to be neuter. However, in several places, the biblical writers did not follow this normal procedure of grammar, and instead of using a neuter pronoun in place of the neuter noun pneuma, they deliberately contradicted the grammatical rule and used masculine pronouns… This shows that they considered the Spirit to be a person and not merely a thing.” [The Holy Spirit (Moody, 1965) 14.]There is a problem, however, as noted by a specialist in his book Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics
Dan Wallace (NT studies professor at DTS, Founder & Director of Center for Study of New Testament Manuscripts): “The use of ekeinos here is frequently regarded by students of the NT to be an affirmation of the personality of the Spirit. Such an approach is based on the assumption that the antecedent of ekeinos, is pneuma … But this is erroneous. In all these Johannine passages, pneuma is appositional to a masculine noun. The gender of ekeinos thus has nothing to do with the natural gender of pneuma. The antecedent of ekeinos, in each case, is paraklatos, not pneuma. Pneuma not only is appositional to paraklatos, but the relative pronoun that follows it is neuter! This hardly assists the grammatical argument for the Spirit's personality.. In John 16:13-14 the immediate context is deceptive: … (“whenever that one comes-the Spirit of truth will guide you in all truth… he will glorify me”). The ekeinos reaches back to v 7, where paraklatos is mentioned.43 Thus, since paraklatos is masculine, so is the pronoun. … Indeed, it is difficult to find any text in which pneuma is grammatically referred to with the masculine gender.” [Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics (Zondervan, 1997), 331-33.2]
It says in Matthew 28:19 -- “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit”. This is relevant because “The Greek word for ‘name’ (onoma) is used some 228 times in the New Testament, and except for four places (Mark 14:32; Luke 1:26; 24:13; Acts 28:7; cf. Revelation 3:12) always refers to persons.”1 Moreover, the formula of being baptized into one's name is technical one, and is only applicable to personal agents. Moreover still, contextually, the author would expect readers to sooner interpret the name of “the Holy Spirit” to be naming a person, just as much as the name of “the Father” and the name of “the Son.”
It says in Matthew 12:31-32 -- “a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him…” This is relevant because “speaks against the Holy Spirit” is contextually best fits speaking against a person in the same way that speaking against “the Son of Man” is speaking against a person.
It says in Hebrews 10:29 -- “How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled… and insulted the Spirit of grace” This is relevant because only a person can literally be insulted.
It says in Romans 8:14 -- For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.1 This is relevant because only a person can literally lead and guide you (or at least, that is the most natural interpretation).2
• Luke 4:1 -- Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness” (cf. Ps 143:10)Relatedly, the Holy Spirit forbids actions.
• Galatians 5:18 -- “if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law”
• John 16:13 -- “He will guide you…”
It says in Romans 8:16 - “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” This is relevantt because only persons literally bear witness. Important note: Contextually, the “blood and water” also bear witness in 1 John 5:8 insofar as they are evidence, but this is because they too serve as evidences from witnesses. It is enough to point out that normally when x is a witness, x is a person.
It says in Romans 8:27 -- “the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit” This is relevant because only persons literally have minds that can be known. (Moreover, it is persons who most naturally “intercede” for others.)
It says in Romans 15:30 -- “by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit”. This is relevant because only persons can literally love.
It says in Acts 15:28 -- “…For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials”. This is relevant because only a person can literally having a seeming that something else is good. Valuational judgments come from persons
It says in Acts 16:6-7, “…having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia.… they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them.” This is relevant because only a person can literally forbid you from doing something (or at least, that is the most natural interpretation).2
It says in Acts 20:28 , “the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God”. This is relevant because only a person can literally assign someone else a duty or office, and to do it for a particular reason (in this case, for shepherding the church).
It says in Ephesians 4:30 -- “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit.” This is relevant because only persons (or at least things with sentience) can experience an emotion like grief.
But wait, couldn't it be that these are non-literal personifications of the holy spirit?”
It says in 2 Cor 13:14 -- “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.”1,2 This is relevant because only persons can be fellowshipped with.3
• …it says fellowship of the Holy Spirit, not with the Holy Spirit.
• …couldn't it be that these are non-literal personifications of the holy spirit?”
It says in 1 Corinthians 12:11 -- “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.” This is relevant because only persons literally have a will.
But wait, couldn't it be that…
• …‘as He wills’ means ‘as God (the Father) wills’
• …these are non-literal personifications of the holy spirit?”
“The Greek word translated Spirit (πνεῦμα) means wind or something impersonal.”1This is relevant because, according to the Biblical authors, the Holy Spirit is just a spirit.”
But wait… the New Testament word translated “Spirit” (pneuma, πνεῦμα) is frequently used by Biblical authors to denote personal agents as well. For example, in Matthew 8:16 -- “many who were demon-possessed; and [Jesus] cast out the spirits with a word”.2 In fact, “Holy Spirit” is meant to stand in juxtaposition with these personal “unholy spirits.” (For example, Acts 19:15 -- the evil spirit answered and said to them, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?”)
“The Bible nowhere gives a proper name to ‘the holy spirit.’ This is relevant because the Biblical authors would identify the holy spirit by its proper name if it were a person (as they did for the Father [YHWH] and the Son [Jesus]).”
But wait, couldn't it be that…
• …YHWH was a name shared by each member of the Trinity?1
• …the Holy Spirit's name wasn't known to the Biblical authors?2
• …the Holy Spirit simply didn't need/have a personal name?3
“In the Bible, the Holy Spirit is in several respects likened to a liquid: pouring out on people, 1 filling people;2 one can reportedly also be baptized in it3 and drink it.4 This is relevant because a person can in no way be like a liquid, and would not have such language ascribed to them.”
But wait… spirits (like God, Christ, or even demons) can make their abode in other persons, filling/indwelling them.5,6 This is relevant because the liquid and “pouring out” language (of the Holy Spirit) traces back to Isaiah 44:2-3, where Isaiah prophesies God's giving the Spirit, as a gift, to indwell believers en masse. This in turn is relevant because “pour out” language is a great way to communicate the concept of the Spiritual reality of this mass indwelling, and cleverly fits Isaiah's “pour out” theme in Isaiah 44:2-3 -- “I will pour out water on the thirsty land... I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring and blessing on your descendants”
“It says in 1 Thessalonians 5:19_ -- ‘Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances’1 This is relevant because any Biblical author would know that it is impossible for a person to be ‘quenched.’”
But wait… couldn't this simply mean “do not suppress/resist the influence and gifts imparted to you by the _person _of the Holy Spirit who indwells you”?1 Recall that (a) the Holy Spirit indwells believers, imparting spiritual gifts (e.g. prophecy, tongues), and that (b) the Holy Spirit is also likened to fire (2 Timothy 1:6), and has manifested Himself as tongues of fire (Acts 2:3).
“The holy spirit is regularly absent from discussions/formulas on the heavenly Father-Son relation.1 This is relevant because if the holy spirit were a person, it would be part of the Godhead, but if it were part of the Godhead, it would be included in episodes which discuss the relationship of the Father and the Son (Jesus).”
But wait,… the doctrine of the Trinity (and therefore the personhood of the Holy Spirit), if true, would have been an unnecessary and relatively advanced doctrine which many early Christians would not know of. (For example, the apostles were only given knowledge of the Holy Spirit at the end of Jesus's ministry. This emphasizes the advanced nature of the doctrine, but also straightforwardly accounts for the so-called absences referred to prior to that time [E.g. in Mark 13:32, John 8:16-18, 10:30]). Similarly, in Paul's standard salutation (which he wanted to keep consistent, since it was used to help authenticate his letters), it is not surprising that Paul would refrain from making references to doctrines that much of his readership would be puzzled at. There is also an easy explanations for the absence in Stephen's vision (Acts 7:55).2
“It says in 2 Corinthians 6:6 --‘commending ourselves as servants of God... in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love’. This is relevant because the pattern in this list is that they are impersonal virtues that one can exemplify; they are noble ways to be.”
But wait… one can be “in Christ” and Christ is a person.1 Moreover, there is no pattern of impersonal virtues in the fully expanded list of 1 Corinthians 6:6. Instead, it is a free-for-all of things which Christians might be or can be said to be “in,” and Paul has a habit of saying we are “in” the Holy Spirit.
2 Corinthians 6:4-6 -- commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger, in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, in the word of truth, in the power of God
“It says in 1 John 5:8 -- ‘the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.’ This is relevant because “the water and the blood” are impersonal, so it is contextually most natural to interpret the third item (“the spirit”) as similarly impersonal.”
But wait… John here is listing evidences (as testifiers) for belief in the Gospel, and it is not surprising if evidences for a conclusion come in the form of both one direct expert testimony as well as two material evidences (For example, “the surviving victim and the knife and the video; and these three are in agreement”).1, 2
John 19:34-35 -- “But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; Still, John predictably comments that his “testimony of men” here is inferior to the direct “testimony of God,” i.e. “the Spirit” witnessing to them from in their hearts: 1 John 5:6-11 -- “This is the One who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood. It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater; for the testimony of God is this, that He has testified concerning His Son. The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son. And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. (cf. John 14:16-17, 16:13)
“The Holy Spirit is regularly represented by impersonal objects (e.g. a dove, fire, oil).1 This is relevant because a person would not (or at least not frequently) be represented as an impersonal object.”
But wait… God (and angels) appeared in the form of fire more than the Spirit did,2 and God and Christ are both frequently represented by impersonal objects (For example, fire,3 water,4 bread,5 door,6 vine,7 light,8 truth.9)