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I answered this: Question: What is the earliest recorded instance of a clear and unambiguous affirmation that the Holy Spirit is a Person, distinct from the Father and the Son, in the history of Christianity? When did this belief reach widespread acceptance among Christians for the first time?

Here is my answer which is responsive to the original question and contains numberous Biblical citations. Yet the answer (shown below) was deleted. Why? Further the original question was dramatically altered days after being published. Why?

If my answer was egregiously wrong, I'd fix it, but I cannot see where it is wrong based on the orginal question.

My Original Answer Here are three Bible verses from the Old Testament referencing the Spirit of God or the Holy Spirit being distinct from the Father or the Son. Early Christians certainly knew the books of what we call the Old Testament so these verses would certainly have been known to them:

Genesis 1:1-2 NIV 1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

Psalm 51:11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me

Isaiah 63:10 Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them.

The earliest published reference to the spirit in the New Testament is in the Book of James which was the first book of the New Testament that was written:

James 4:5 NIV 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us?

Another one of the earlier books of the NT was 1 Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 6:19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;

The Book of Romans was published fairly early as well:

Romans 5:5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Matthew 3:11 “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

The second question raised was:

When did this belief reach widespread acceptance among Christians for the first time?

I believe this happened on Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples while they were still in Jerusalem.

Acts 2:1-4 NIV When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

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    In short, we aren't after personal interpretation of scripture here. The question should have always have specified post-New Testament. Pretty much no part of the Bible has a completely unambiguous interpretation, and the fact that lots of Christians read the NT as not teaching the Spirit's personhood means that an answer which only lists NT passages can't be a valid answer to that question, even before it was edited.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    May 1 at 4:56
  • @curiousdannii Are you saying a forum with the label Christianity is not interested in interpretation of scripture? What is it seeking? And the fact that Christians have different interpretations should not come as a surprise. How many Christian topics can you point to that do not have thoughtful people with different interpretations? Finally, are you actually suggesting that post NT sources have completely unambiguous interpretations? I'm sorry, but I do not understand your position. May 1 at 6:27
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    We want questions that can be in theory answered objectively. Church History questions usually are. For example, we could say that Gregory of Nazianzus clearly taught that the Holy Spirit had personhood, in contrast to others around him. Regardless of what anyone here believes, we should all be able to agree with that historical statement. Saying that John or Paul taught the personhood of the Spirit may be true, or it may not, but we can't state it with the same historical objectiveness that we can with a later church father. That's the sort of answer we want.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    May 1 at 7:02
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    @curiousdannii you seem to have a tortured view of objectivity. You dramatically changed the wording of the original question so that my answer would seem incorrect. Then you deleted my answer because it was incorrect. That does not seem to be objective to me at all. But if that's how things are done here, then Bravo! May 1 at 19:47
  • @KurtBrouwer. You might find christianity.meta.stackexchange.com/q/193/214 interesting reading. This site is strange, but I think it fills a useful niche, quite unlike any other Christian site I've ever come across.
    – TRiG
    May 6 at 21:33
  • @Kurt - that is how things are done here. Not sure why I still pop in occasionally, but it is certainly a strange place. Wide is the gate around here. May 7 at 20:20

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