What Is The Earnest of the Holy Spirit?

What is the earnest of the Holy Spirit? What does it have to do with God's plan of redemption? The earnest is mentioned in Ephesians 1:13,14; 2 Corinthians 1:22,23; 5:5.

It is the Greek word arrabon defined as: “to pledge; a word which seems to have passed from the Phoenicians to the Greeks, and thence into Latin, an earnest, i.e. money which in purchases is given as a pledge that the full amount will subsequently be paid.” (Thayer, p. 75)

Another Greek lexicon defines the word arrabon as: “originally, earnest money deposited by the purchaser and forfeited if the purchase was not completed, was probably a Phoenician word, introduced into Greece. In general usage it came to denote a pledge or earnest of any sort; in the N.T. it is used only of that which is assured by God to believers... in modern Greek arrabona is an engagement ring.” (Vine, p. 351)

Arrabon was a word that was used in the LXX (the Old Testament Greek translation) in Genesis 38. When Tamar’s husband died, she was promised another husband (another one of Judah’s sons when he became of marrying age), but the promise was never fulfilled. Therefore, Tamar took matters into her own hands and tricked Judah into conceiving a child with her (by disguising herself as a harlot). Before the sinful act, Tamar (as the harlot) asked Judah, “What will you give me?” Judah replies, “I will send to you a young goat from the flock.” But Judah did not have the young goat at that time. So Tamar asked what he would give to her as an earnest, that is, a down payment until he could send the young goat (Genesis 38:17-19). Judah gives her his signet, cord, and staff as a guarantee.

Judah --------- young goat -------------- Judah's signet, cord, staff (earnest) ---------------- Tamar

2 Corinthians 1:22,23 states: "Now he that establisheth us with you in Christ, and anointed us, is God; who also sealed us, and gave us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.”

Notice that the earnest of the Holy Spirit is found in the heart of Paul and other true messengers. It is “in” the hearts of the three messengers – Paul, Silvanus (Silas), and Timothy. From the earlier verses, it is trustworthy and reliable. You can fully depend upon God to deliver what He said He would. God will not go back on His promise(s).

2 Corinthians 5:1-5 states: “For we know that if the earthly house of our tabernacle be dissolved, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal, in the heavens. For verily in this we groan, longing to be clothed upon with our habitation which is from heaven: if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For indeed we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened; not for that we would be unclothed, but that we would be clothed upon, that what is mortal may be swallowed up of life. Now he that wrought us for this very thing is God, who gave unto us the earnest of the Spirit.”

Paul is speaking of the new, imperishable resurrected body that a person will receive the day the Lord returns. How do faithful Christians know God will give them a new body on that Day? His guarantee – His word that cannot lie (Titus 1:2) – revealed by the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 1:13,14 states: “in whom ye also, having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation, — in whom, having also believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is an earnest of our inheritance, unto the redemption of God’s own possession, unto the praise of his glory.”


It is possible that the word “which” here can go back to “the word” in verse 13. Therefore, it could read like this: “in whom ye also, having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation, — (...), which is an earnest of our inheritance, unto the redemption of God’s own possession, unto the praise of his glory.” It is also possible that the Holy Spirit himself is the earnest of the inheritance. 


Father ------ (inheritance provided – Matthew 25:34) ---------------------------> Faithful Christian

Son --------- (inheritance purchased – Ephesians 1:13,14) -----------------------> Faithful Christian

Holy Spirit – (inheritance revealed and confirmed – 1 Peter 1:3-5) --------------> Faithful Christian

Scriptures (inheritance promised – Ephesians 1:13,14) ---------------------------> Faithful Christian

Father ------------> Son --------------> Holy Spirit ----------> Scriptures --------> Faithful Christian


The earnest of the Holy Spirit is the faithful and reliable word of God that was revealed by the Holy Spirit.




This material is copyrighted by The Gospel of Christ and its authors.  This information is free to use in its entirety without further consent, however, modifications should not be made without contacting mail@thegospelofchrist.com for permission.  Any and all images contained herein are believed to be free for all distribution and content.