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Difference Between Holy Ghost and Holy Spirit

Holy Ghost vs Holy Spirit

The very first translation of the King James Version of the Bible was in 1611. “Holy Ghost” and “Holy Spirit” are considered synonymous in modern times and were both used in the King James Version in many instances after being translated from Greek. It was not until so much later when the “Holy Spirit” was used in most Bible translations to primarily signify the third person in the Holy Trinity after the Father and the Son.

The differences are actually in linguistics rather than in a theological sense. The confusion is mainly due to past usage versus present usage and because of the different languages that were incorporated into the modern English language. For example, the word “ghost” is derived from the Old English word “gast” which is closely related to the German word “geist.” In modern English, the word “gast” sneaked into the word “aghast” which means “to be terrified, shocked, or rendered breathless.” Also, the German word “Zeitgeist” directly means “the spirit of times.”

Modern English users rarely use “Holy Ghost” nowadays. According to Bible students, the title “Holy Ghost” was learned from the Authorized Version, the other name for the KJV. The KJV used the title “Holy Spirit” rarely. But with the most recent translations of the Holy Scriptures, the title “Spirit” is used to replace “Ghost” in almost all instances. This came about mainly due to the fact that words do not always hold their true meanings. In the days of King James or Shakespeare, “ghost” meant the live essence of a person which could also be connected to “soul” or “breath” and were considered to be synonymous to “ghost.” In those times, “spirit” was used when pertaining to the departed essence of a person or a paranormal demonic apparition.

In the Middle Ages, the English Bible was transcribed by Christian translators using different words for a Greek word to signify that there are two distinctions. These translators decided that the “Holy Spirit” and the “Holy Ghost” were two entirely different ideas. “Holy Spirit” was used as a description of the Spirit of the Lord, or God’s Spirit, that visited the Hebrew people in the Old Testament. On the other hand, the term “Holy Ghost” was used as a description of the third person or spirit in the Holy Trinity.

In the 6th century, printers of the Bible used capital letters to make a strong distinction between the titles using lower case for “spirit” in the Old Testament and “Spirit” in the New Testament. These differences in translation are not based on the original Greek or Hebrew words. The Greek “pneuma” is used for “ghost” and “hagion” for “holy.” These words were combined as “hagion pneuma” in all instances which have been translated to English as “Ghost” or “Spirit” greatly depending on the interpretation of the translator.

In the Bible, the title “Holy Ghost” was used 90 times in the New Testament of the KJV while “Holy Spirit” appears 4 times. The context of the New Testament usage was from a prophetic point of view. The Bible translators were consistent in retaining the contextual distinction between the many forms of “spirit,” such as “Spirit of the Lord” and “Spirit of God.”

In the 17th century, however, the word “ghost” was synonymous to “spirit.” The Bible translators used both words to stress differences between the ideas of the spirit of God and the third part of the Trinity in the Old Testament. Eventually, though, the word “ghost” was used to pertain to the soul of a departed person and became a scary and eerie being that haunts people. In modern times, all the Bible translations, except for the King James Version, use “Holy Spirit” in all instances including those that the KJV called as the “Holy Ghost.”


1.In modern times, the titles “Holy Ghost” and “Holy Spirit” are considered synonymous.

2.The differences in the usage of “Holy Ghost” and “Holy Spirit” are mostly due to the nuances of the English language affected by the incorporation of words from other languages.

3.In the Middle Ages, the title “Holy Spirit” was used to describe or pertain to God’s Spirit or the Spirit of the Lord, whereas “Holy Ghost” was used to describe the third person in the Holy Trinity.

4.Although based on the Greek words “pneuma hagion,” the translations for “Holy Ghost” and “Holy Spirit” greatly depended on the translator’s understanding and interpretation of the context.

5.In modern times, almost all of the translations of the Bible, except the King James Version, use “Holy Spirit” for all instances.

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  1. For many people a useful meaning of the word “spirit” signifies the overall “attitude” of a person, place, or thing. i.e. The spirit of Christmas. The spirit of baseball. The spirit of America. The spirit of St Louis, etc.

    Likewise, the word “ghost” (i.e. soul) could be more useful when understanding and applying the word to include the overall “personality” of an individual, i.e. emotions, will, desires, etc.

    • When i got saved i recieved gods spirit and it is holy but later i recieved the holy ghost the power of god.you dont give a child the keys to a car and tell the to go to the store not it reaches a certain age.the same with the holy ghost when you reach a certain maturity you will recieve the holy ghost.the holy ghost is sanaminous with power.

    • Ghost = spirit + soul
      so Holy ghost is the third person of trinity
      Holy spirit = spirit of God = the power of God

  2. Was a big help

  3. It’s also worth noting that in Latin, Spanish, French, Italian, etc.; the word for “Spirit” has always been used for Holy Spirit.

    In Latin “The Holy Spirit” is called “et Spiritus Sancti”

  4. Extremely helpful! Thank you so much!

  5. The Holy Spirit is de really state of God not ghost since ghost is de spirit of a dead person.

    • Still yo saying a “ghost is a spirit” of a dead… Yo agreeying to the synonymousity of the words u would have said Ghost is a ghost of a dead person.

    • The holy ghost is the personality who can only dwell in those who beleived and received Jesus. Holy Spirit is the spirit of God which came on Mary to conceive Jesus. The Holy Ghost is the permanent presence of Jesus as a resurrected body in you. John 14/20, Revelation 3/20.

  6. I’m still researching on this. This doesn’t all the way collide with me. When the KJV was written, which I read from others as well, I found that the Scholars whom transpose the KJV into English from Greek and Hebrew, they all came together in unity and prayed to decide which English word would be the closest to each word they translated. The Holy Ghost, I’m thinking wasn’t mention till after Jesus resurrected. I doing more research on trying to find out why the Scholars used Holy Ghost and Holy Spirit. When Jesus came to earth, He was the Holy Spirit, God’s Son. After Jesus came back to Earth, when he arose on the third day, The Holy Ghost was among them when He ascended back to Heaven. Jesus became the gate way to God. They are all one, yes. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit; Before Resurrection and after. Does this mean, That God Is the Holy Spirit? When we go through our Savior to reach God, We really need to go through the Holy Ghost? The tittle Ghost is from someone whom already passed over. This would make sence to me for Jesus to now be the Holy Ghost. When we become saved through Jesus Christ, we keep the Holy Spirit, God, in our Heart. I believe when we receive miracles or even feel his strong presence at times stronger than average, wouldn’t this be called The Holy Ghost. Holy Ghost can come and go and the Holy Spirit stays with us? Like I said, I’m still doing research on this.

  7. Ghost is entity from the dead….. Jesus is Risen so the Comforter he sent to us is the Holy Spirit

  8. So much helpful. Thank you

  9. I grew up reading the King James version Bible and recently started using the NKJV. I have both versions on my phone as I use KJV for my morning devotion and the NKJV my Midday Meditation and at our church. I have had my encounter with God over 1 year now and in my church it is referred to as receiving the Holy Spirit. It is an experience that cannot be adequately described with words. You have to have this experience for yourself to understand. However, Having the Holy Spirit you must have, live, be a living testimony of the 9 Characteristics that is defined in the Bible of having the Characters of Jesus. see Galatians 5: 22-23
    KJV John 3 vs 5 States: Jesus answered, Verily,verily, I say to unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.
    My neighbor and I have been at odds recently in regard to what is the Holy Spirit and what is the Holy Ghost. I told her it was just a matter of translation and oh my! it almost cost us 5 years of friendship, peace and harmony of living on the same apartment complex, I have visited her church she has visited my church. After 3 weeks has passed and we are have let by gones be by gones, well so I thought, in her quest to be “Correct” I was told not less than and hour ago that when you receive the Holy Ghost you are able to speak in Tongues.
    If you are not able to speak in Tongues at least one Time then you have not received the Holy Ghost, she further explained that speaking in Tongues is the assurance that you have the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is what allows one to speak in Tongues other that those who were specifically given the Gift of Tongues.
    So I said I have spoken in Tongues only once. And she said, that was all I needed to confirm that I had the Holy Ghost. As the Holy Spirit is the Comforter sent by God, but in order to Heal and cast out demons etc as Paul and Jesus’ Disciples you must have the Holy Ghost.

    However, knowing that I have the Holy Spirit and that i am living and being Faithful to God in all ways, not just in my Tithes. I am happy in Christ. Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost. I have researched and researched and I keep getting the same answers. It is just a matter of Translation from the Original written language. I only want to serve God, win souls for the Kingdom of Heaven and help to keep Satan kingdom empty and have a continual feast in heaven. Strive to be filled with the Holy Spirit/Ghost. It is a must. It is a new Life. It is what Jesus says you are to have. When you receive the this you will understand why Jesus said what he said. You think Like Jesus, you handle Problems Like Jesus, you forgive, love, be at peace through all adversity like Jesus did. Most of all, you are humble like a child. Not Weak. But Stong and Humble.

    • Great bro.. soul lifting.. God bless you.

    • John 3:5 The ‘Spirit’ here is the Spirit of God in which without it you can’t enter the kingdom of God.

      Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. Holy Ghost here is God the Holy Ghost that’s the third person in Trinity

      Thank you Maxine!

  10. Luke 4:1
    Then Jesus being filled with the Holly Spirit returned from The Jordan and was led by Spirit into the wilderness, there’s no any need to discuss the difference between Holly Spirit and Holly ghost again Ghost is entity from dead. And in ghost is devilish. Thanks.

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