The Holy Spirit in the Westminster Standards?

Question
I'm doing research on the Holy Spirit. How would one study the doctrine of the Holy Spirit from the Westminster Standards? I need assistance with organizing it.
Answer
Thanks for your question. First, I would find every use of the phrase "Holy Spirit" (or "Holy Ghost," or just plain "Spirit" in some cases) in Scripture. Second, I would compare the list I obtained from Scripture to the use of the "Holy Spirit" (or "Ghost") in the Westminster Standards (see chart below). Third, I would read, The Holy Spirit, by Sinclair Ferguson, Saved by Grace: The Holy Spirit's Work in Calling and Regeneration, by Herman Bavinck, The Holy Spirit and Reformed Spirituality: A Tribute to Geoffrey Thomas, by Joel Beeke, The Work of the Holy Spirit, by Abraham Kuyper, and my favorite on this topic, Doctrine of the Holy Spirit, by George Smeaton.

To assist you, consider using J. V. Fesko's chart regarding the Westminster Standards and the Holy Spirit that I have reproduced below. It is well organized and a great aid in understanding the Holy Spirit's role in doctrinal truth.

The Holy Spirit in the Westminster Standards

Num.
Ref.
Doctrine(s)
Statement
Original 1647
Proof text(s)
Catechism
Parallels
1
I.v
Scripture Our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts 1 Cor 2:10-12; Isa 59:21
-
2
I.vi
Scripture;
Soteriology
We acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word John 6:45; 1 Cor 2:9-10, 12 WLC qq. 2, 3
3
I.x
Scripture;
Ecclesiology
The supreme judge by which all controversies of religion are to be determined ... can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture Matt 22:29, 31; Eph 2:20; with Acts 28:25
-
4
II.iii
Theology (proper);
Trinity
In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost: the Father is of none, neither begotten, nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son 1 John 5:7; Matt 3:16-17; 28:19; 2 Cor 13:14 WLC qq. 9-11; 90; WSC, 6
5
III.vi
Decree;
Soteriology
Faith in Christ by his Spirit working in due season, are justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by his power, through faith, unto salvation John 17:9; Rom 8:18-39; John 6:64-65; 10:26; 8:47; 1 John 2:19 WLC q. 32
6
IV.i
Creation It pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for the manifestation of the glory of his eternal power, wisdom, and goodness, in the beginning, to create, or make of nothing, the world Heb 1:2; John 1:2-3; Gen 1:2; Job 26:13; 33:4
-
7
VII.iii
Covenant;
Soteriology
All those that are ordained unto eternal life his Holy Spirit, to make them willing, and able to believe Ezek 36:26-27; John 6:44-45
-
8
VII.v
Covenant;
Soteriology
Through the operation of the Spirit, to instruct and build up the elect in faith in the promised Messiah 1 Cor 10:1-4; Heb 11:13; Heb 11:13; John 8:56
-
9
VIII.ii
Christology;
Pneumatology
Being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost Luke 1:27, 31, 35; Gal 4:4 HC qq. 23, 35
10
VIII.iii
Christology;
Pneumatology
The Lord Jesus, in his human nature thus united to the divine, was sanctified, and anointed with the Holy Spirit Psa 45:7; John 2:34 WLC qq. 42-43; WSC q. 24
11
VIII.v
Christology;
Pneumatology
The Lord Jesus, by his perfect obedience, and sacrifice of himself, which he, through the eternal Spirit, once offered up unto God Rom 5:19; Heb 9:14-15; 10:14; Eph 5:2; Rom 3:25-26 WLC; q. 37; WSC, q. 22
12
VIII.viii
Christology;
Pneumatology
Soteriology
Effectually persuading them by his Spirit to believe and obey, and governing their hearts by his Word and Spirit John 14:16; Heb 12:2; 2 Cor 4:13; Rom 8:9, 14; 15:18-19; John 17:17 WLC q. 38
13
X.i
Soteriology
(effectual calling)
All those whom God hath predestinated unto life, and those only, he is pleased, in his appointed and accepted time, effectually to call, by his Word and Spirit 2 Thess 2:13-14; 2 Cor 3:3, 6 WLC qq. 68, 58-59; WSC qq. 30-31
14
X.ii
Soteriology
(effectual calling)
Being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit, he is thereby enabled to answer this call 1 Cor 2:14; Rom 8:7; Eph 2:5 WSC q. 36
15
X.iii
Soteriology
(effectual calling)
Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated, and saved by Christ, through the Spirit, who worketh when, and where, and how he pleaseth Luke 18:15-16; Acts 2:38-39; John 3:3, 5; cf. 1 John 5:12; 8:9
-
16
X.iv
Providence Others, not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word, and may have some common operations of the Spirit Matt 7:22; 13:20-21; Heb 6:4-5
-
17
XI.iv
Soteriology
(justification)
They are not justified, until the Holy Spirit doth, in due time, actually apply Christ unto them Col 1:21-22; Gal 3:16; Tit 3:4-7 WLC q. 72
18
XII.i
Soteriology
(adoption)
Receive the Spirit of adoption Rom 8:15 WLC q. 75
19
XIII.i
Soteriology
(sanctification)
Through the virtue of Christ's death and resurrection, by his Word and Spirit dwelling in them John 17:17; Eph 5:26; 2 Thess 2:13 WLC q. 77, 79
20
XIII.iii
Soteriology
(sanctification)
Through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ 2 Pet. 3:18; 2 Cor. 3:18
-
21
XIV.i
Soteriology
(faith)
The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts 2 Cor 4:13; Eph 1:17-19
-
22
XVI.iii
Soteriology
(good works)
Their ability to do good works is ... wholly from the Spirit of Christ ... an actual influence of the same Holy Spirit, to work in them to will, and to do, of his good pleasure John 15:4-5; Ezek 36:26-27
-
23
XVI.v
Soteriology
(good works)
They proceed from his Spirit; and as they are wrought by us Gal 5:22-23
-
24
XVII.i
Soteriology
(perseverance)
Sanctified by his Spirit Phil 1:6; 2 Pet 1:10; John 10:28-29; 1 john 3:9; 1 Pet 1:5, 9
-
25
XVII.ii
Soteriology
(perseverance)
Upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ, the abiding of the Spirit John 14:16-17; 1 John 2:27; 3:9
-
26
XVII.iii
Soteriology
(perseverance)
Grieve his Holy Spirit Eph 4:30 WLC q. 105, 151
27
XVIII.ii
Soteriology
(assurance)
The testimony of the Spirit of adoption witnessing with our spirits that we are the children of God, which Spirit is the earnest of our inheritance Rom 8:15-16 WLC q. 81
28
XVIII.iii
Soteriology
(assurance)
Being enabled by the Spirit to know the things which are freely given him of God ... in peace and joy in the Holy Ghost John 4:13; Heb 6:11, 13; Eph 3:17-19
-
29
XVIII.iv
Soteriology
(assurance)
grieveth the Spirit Song 5:2-3, 6; Psa 51:8, 12, 14; Eph 4:30-31; Psa 77:1-10; Matt 26:69-72; Psa 31:22; 88:1-18; Isa 50:10
-
30
XVIII.iv
Soteriology
(assurance)
By the operation of the Spirit, this assurance may, in due time, be revived John 3:9; Luke 22:32; Job 13:15; Psa 73:15; 51; 8, 12; Isa 50:10; Micah 7:7-9; Jer 32:40; Isa 54:7-10; Psa 22:1; Psa 88:1-18
-
31
XIX.vii
Law of God;
Soteriology
(sanctification)
The Spirit of Christ subduing and enabling the will of man to do that freely, and cheerfully, which the will of God, revealed in the law, requireth to be done Ezek 36:27; Heb 8:10 with Jer 31:33 WLC q. 195
32
XX.i
Christian Liberty Fuller communications of the free Spirit of God 1 John 7:38-39; 2 Cor 3:13, 17, 19
-
33
XXI.ii
Religious
Worship
Religious worship is to be given to God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost Matt 4:10 with John 5:23 & 2 Cor 13:14
-
34
XXI.iii
Religious
Worship
(prayer)
By the help of his Spirit, according to his will Rom 8:26 WLC qq. 178, 182, 192
35
XXV.iii
Church;
Soteriology
(effectual calling;
sanctification)
By his own presence and Spirit, according to his promise 1 Cor 12:28; Eph 4:11-13; Matt 28:19-20; Isa. 59:21
-
36
XXVI.i
Communion
of the Saints;
Soteriology
All saints, that are united to Jesus Christ their Head, by his Spirit, and by faith 1 John 1:3; Eph 3:16-19; John 1:16; Eph 2:5-6; Phil. 3:10; Rom 6:5-6; 2 Tim 2:12
-
37
XXVII.iii
Sacraments;
Soteriology
(sanctification)
But upon the work of the Spirit, and the word of institution Matt 3:11; 1 Cor 12:13 WLC qq. 155, 159, 161, 165, 167; WSC q. 89, 91, 94
38
XXVIII.vi
Sacraments;
soteriology
The grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited, and conferred, by the Holy Ghost Gal 3:27; Tit 3:5; Eph 5:25-26; Acts 2:38, 41
-
39
XXXII.iii
State of Men
After Death;
Soteriology
(glorification)
The bodies of the just, by his Spirit, unto honor; and be made conformable to his own glorious body Acts 24:15; John 5:28-29; 1 Cor 15:43; Phil 3:21 WLC q. 87

Related Topics:

What are the Attributes of God?
What are the Names of God?

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (IIIM).