At any point, can the Holy Spirit take control of a person completely so that the person may act beyond his control? I am trying to understand the Biblical view on this. My understanding is that the Holy Spirit is a submissive spirit, but, I have heard people say such as "Holy Spirit was controlling me". Looking forward eagerly for the answers.

  • As it is now, this question is very much an opinion based one. It would be improved if it was changed to ask for the Biblical basis for the idea that the HS can completely control people. – curiousdannii Jun 2 '14 at 3:08

Whether or not it is technically possible, it would contradict the nature of God to do so.

To overwhelm a person dispenses with free will, and most Christians view God as granting mankind the ability to choose him freely. As illustrated in Hosea

“Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her. (Hosea 2:14)

and Isaiah

“I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me. To a nation that did not call on my name, I said, ‘Here am I, here am I.’ 2 All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations — 3 a people who continually provoke me to my very face, offering sacrifices in gardens and burning incense on altars of brick; (Isaiah 65:1-3)

God's nature is one of patience and long suffering towards his people. A formulation that occurs throughout the old testament testifies to his longsuffering as well:

I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity (Jonah 4:2)

In short, the nature of God is to woo, not whelm.

It is much like the old saw "Can God make a rock so big that he can't lift it?" In truth, God cannot, not because he lacks adequate strength, but rather because doing so would violate his own attributes. In the case of the rock, God is all-powerful. His omnipotence constrains him to be all-powerful. In the case of not overriding free will, his love constrains his action. Because God is all-loving, his attributes constrain him from overwhelming those he loves.

The Holy Spirit definitely compels people to act in accordance with the will of God (e.g. Acts 20:22)

"And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there.

But, that is a far cry from a demon possession like experience.


Yes it is possible. However, God prefers you doing what he wants you to do willingly.

Here are the references

This passage is interesting, you should read the whole chapter. Saul went to Naioth to do something else but something different happened

1 Samuel 19:23-24 So Saul (Saul, the king of Israel) went to Naioth at Ramah. But the Spirit of God came even on him, and he walked along prophesying until he came to Naioth. And he stripped off his clothes also, and prophesied before Samuel in like manner, and lay down naked all that day and all that night. Therefore they say, Is Saul also among the prophets?

The effect of Spirit is likened to being drunk with wine. When you are drunk, you lose control and you do those things you wouldn't do normally. But unlike wine, you'll do positive things.

Ephesians 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit

The spirit came on Elijah and he ran unlike an ordinary man. Same is Samson.

1 Kings 18:45-46: 45 Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain started falling and Ahab rode off to Jezreel. 46 The power of the Lord came on Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel

Ezekiel 47 describes the effect of the different level of the Holy Spirit, the highest compared to a river. The more the water, the less your resistance to it until it carries you to wherever it wants

Ezekiel 47:5 Again he measured one thousand, and it was a river that I could not cross; for the water was too deep, water in which one must swim, a river that could not be crossed

You can read this article for a better understanding and you are advised to reason with the content. You may not take it as it is.

But I cannot remember where this happened in the new testament.


I must take offense with answer #2. One of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control. Therefore if the Spirit completely overtakes you it violates who He is and is at enmity with Himself. This is absolute proof that this "Holy laughter" and "being slain in the Spirit" cannot possibly be the work of the Holy Spirit. I have no doubt that "spirits" are involved but it is not God's. If the Holy Spirit takes control of you , you personally have lost all self-control. This is totally against the Nature of God. The Spirit of God will certainly empower you but never take your self-control. The scriptures used by answer #2 show this clearly. In every case they were led to do something, compelled to obey God, and were empowered to accomplish what they were called to do. It therefore must be either a "different" spirit that would take your self-control or the Bible is a lie. Being "controlled" by the Spirit is much different from obeying the Spirit. Obeying constitutes having a choice . You may well have a negative outcome from disobeying the Holy Spirit but you get to make that choice . Hope this helps. Amen

  • 1
    Your answer would be strengthened by some exegesis. – Kazark Oct 20 '12 at 13:20
  • Welcome to C.SE. You may want to check out our FAQ to find out what makes a good, supported answer. You should also be aware that as people vote on these answers, the order will change, so you should probably at least link directly to "answer #2" – Affable Geek Oct 21 '12 at 22:15

com•pel / kəmˈpel/ verb past tense: compelled; past participle: compelled 1. force or oblige (someone) to do something. "a sense of duty compelled Harry to answer her questions"

The answer to the question is YES!!! The Spirit can and does compell us regardless of what our Will is. When we accept Jesus we give up our rights, (designed to protect us from Men), and are completely in His charge. we WILL do His Will whether we want to or not.

See "Jonah"


Salvation from hell is by grace through faith in Christ alone ( Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 6:23).

Once a person received Christ the Lord as his Savior ( John 1:12), he/she is now possessing free will either to disobey God ( consequence is chastisement not hell- Hebrews ) or to obey God ( consequence is temporal blessings not heaven- Hebrews , Matthew 6:33).

As we can notice, the consequence of a believer's action always leads to persevering in the faith just as the Scriptures says " the just shall live by faith" and " from faith to faith"( Romans, Hebrews).

Hebrews 13:2 Look on Jesus who is the source and the completer of our faith.

What this means is that salvation from hell is monergistic but sanctification on earth is synergistic ( Philippians 2:11-13).

Therefore, the Holy Spirit cannot completely control the Christian in the sense that he/she did not choose it. God acts upon our choice. [ Note that this is only for those saved by grace through faith apart from any works].

The Christian will be under the complete control of the Holy Spirit via exterminating his/her free will to disobey either at death , rapture or at the resurrection.[ As to why God still allows his children to sin is for their sake because he\she can prove himself\herself the victory over sin he\she have in Christ Jesus].

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