Since born-again Christians have the Holy Spirit (which is the Spirit of Christ),1 I am confused by the words “our spirit” in Rom. 8:16, wherein it states,

16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: KJV, ©1769

Whose spirit bears witness with whose spirit that we are God’s children? Is it God’s Spirit that bears witness with the (godly) spirit He put inside of us? Or is it God’s spirit inside of us that is bearing witness to the (fleshly) spirit we had before we got saved? Or, another scenario?


1 cf. Rom. 8:9

6 Answers 6


There is no such thing as a 'fleshly spirit' which wording, I would suggest, is causing you confusion. Humanity is spirit, soul and body as Paul states in I Thessalonians 5:23.

The flesh is part of the body.

The spirit is the unique, living individual within : the soul being the immaterial part of humanity which functions in the spiritual realm.

As to the Divine Person of the Holy Spirit, he is received by faith :

This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Galatians 3:2 KJV.

Receiving him, by faith, the believing then walk after Him, and, having been justified, they are not condemned.

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Romans 8:1 KJV.

Subsequent to justification, when a believing faith (such as Abraham's) results in righteousness, God dwells in union with the justified. His Holy Spirit dwells in union with the spirit of the justified.

God's Holy Spirit, the Divine Person, dwells in union with 'our' spirit. Thus the Spirit bears witness to 'our' spirit and his very presence witnesses that 'we' are children of God since 'we' possess such a holy, such a peaceable, such a gracious, such a powerful, spirit within 'us'.


1 John 1:8 is,"IF we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us". Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. If the Truth, Jesus, is in us His presence tells us that we are sinners. So we know we are sinful when Jesus is in us. If we are sinful then we do not have a "godly" spirit because God is perfect, He does not sin.
We do have a spirit that can give into temptation and need to ask for forgiveness on a frequent basis. However, because we are in Christ when we feel a lack of peace He gives us grace to ask for forgiveness and enables us to do so as we walk with Him.
What you call the "Godly" spirit in us is dead to sin Gal 2:22 "It is no longer I who live". We have been crucified with Christ so when the old life reemerges it is like a cornered fugitive who has not long to go because "Christ who lives in me" Gal 2:20 is there ready to deal with our dead but also dying natures [spirits].


"born again Christians have the Spirit of Christ"

That is a non-biblical assumption. Many people call themselves "born again", because they feel like they have become a new person, they feel reborn, but that is not how the Bible uses that word.

That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. — John 3:6

The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. — John 3:8

When someone is saved, and born again in the sense that John meant, that person has now been resurrected as an immortal spirit being, unconfined by the restrictions of physical flesh.

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. — 1 Corinthians 15:52

I have yet to meet a self-designated born again Christian that has this attribute.

"Whose spirit bears witness with whose spirit that we are Gods children?"

One thing that distinguishes humans from animals is that we have been given a spirit that gives us intelligence, that enables us to think and make decisions that will affect the future. This spirit makes us "in the image of God", but in a very small way. And we all have this "spirit of man".

But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding. — Job 32:8

The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him. — Zechariah 12:1

For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. — 1 Corinthians 2:11

But God can give us another spirit too. At baptism, a repentant sinner can receive God's holy spirit. Much like a physical egg and sperm, the two spirits combine to conceive a new being.

This newly begotten spiritual being becomes part of us, and like a parent, we must protect and nurture it, teach it, and develop its character. It is the embryo of what we will become once we have truly been born again into God's Kingdom as immortal spirit beings.

having been begotten again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the word of God, which liveth and abideth. — 1 Peter 1:23 (ASV)

"Whose spirit is Gods spirit bearing witness to in Romans 8:16?"

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. — Romans 8:14

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. — Romans 8:15

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God — Romans 8:16

God's spirit has combined with man's spirit. Their presence together proves that they have formed a new child of God.

The acts and behaviour of a truly saved Christian set an example that testifies (bears witness) to the world.

so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. — 1 Thessalonians 1:7

Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. — 1 Timothy 4:12

in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, — Titus 2:7


Paul's terminology is not very consistent with this matter, for sometimes he calls human soul ψυχή (cf. 2 Cor.12:15), sometimes πνεύμα (cf. 1 Cor. 2:11). Here, in Romans 8:16 the "Spirit" that bears witness is the uncreated Holy Spirit, whereas the "spirit" to which this witness is given is a created human soul.

  • @downvoter Would you please articulate your objection, I will be grateful May 3, 2022 at 10:05

Whose spirit is Gods spirit bearing witness to in Romans 8:16?#

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God (KJV).

Romans 8:14-17 (NRSV)

14 "For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba![a] Father!” 16 it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him."

Under the influence of God's spirit with the spirit of " his chosen ones" (Luke 18:7, Col. 3:12 NRSV) convinces them that they are children of God, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.(Verse 17 above)

Luke 18:7 (NRSV)

7 "And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them?"

The scriptures talk about God's children ,the chosen ones and by means of his spirit , gives them a feeling of sonship, which gives rise to a unique hope of heavenly resurrection. The following verses say that they will be like him (Jesus) and that they will no longer be slaves, but Sons of God.

1 John 3:2 (NRSV)

2 "Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is."

Galatians 4:6-7 Amplified Bible (AMP)

6 "And because you [really] are [His] sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying out, “Abba! Father!” 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave (bond-servant), but a son; and if a son, then also an heir through [the gracious act of] God [through Christ]."

By means of his spirit, God induces within them such a strong heavenly hope that they forego everything in this world and devote their lives in the service of God, Jesus, Paul, Peter, and many others mentioned in the scripture are examples to us.Paul wrote they they long to be clothed in their heavenly dwelling.

2 Corinthians 5:1-5, 8 (NRSV)

5 "For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this tent we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling— 3 if indeed, when we have taken it off we will not be found naked."

4 "For while we are still in this tent, we groan under our burden, because we wish not to be unclothed but to be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.8 Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord."

The gathering of the "chosen ones" will continue until the symbolic harvest, this is shown in the Parable of the wheat and the weeds, (Matthew 13:24-26, 36-39) when the Son of Man (Jesus) will send his angels to collect the weeds and burn them up, the wheat - fine seed (Chosen Ones) will shine like sun in the kingdom of their Father. (Mat.13:43) And they are to rule as priests and kings over the earth, John wrote:“Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation."(Rev. 5:9-10 ) Those redeemed from the earth "chosen ones" total 144.000. (Revelation 14:1-5)

Understanding the word spirit in the verse. Romans 8:16

The Spirit itself

The word spirit appears twice in the verse and has two different meanings "the Spirit itself" refers to God's holy spirit, and was understood by the first century Christians, to be the power of God as shown by the verses from the OT.

Isaiah 63:11 (NRSV)

11 "Then they remembered the days of old, of Moses his servant. Where is the one who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of his flock? Where is the one who put within them his holy spirit."

Genesis 41:38 (NRSV)

38 "Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find anyone else like this—one in whom is the spirit of God?”

Exodus 31:3 (KJV)

3 "And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship."

1 Samuel 10:6 (NABRE)

6 "The spirit of the Lord will rush upon you, and you will join them in their prophetic ecstasy and will become a changed man."

Numbers 11:17 (NRSV)

17 "I will come down and talk with you there; and I will take some of the spirit that is on you and put it on them; and they shall bear the burden of the people along with you so that you will not bear it all by yourself."

"Our spirit."

Refers to a person’s individual spirit , the emotions ,thoughts , feelings and actions that emanate from a person’s figurative heart. such as:

1 Peter 3:4 (NASB)

4 "But let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God."

Colossians 3:10 (NRSV)

10 "And have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator."

Luke 1:80 (NASB)

80 "And the child continued to grow and to become strong in spirit, and he lived in the deserts until the day of his public appearance to Israel."


The Holy Spirit, which is not only the third person of the Trinity,1 but also the Spirit of the Father2 and the Spirit of the Son,3 dwells in the hearts of Christians.4 Although dwelling in the hearts of Christians, the Holy Spirit is God’s Spirit, while man has his own spirit that is distinct from the Holy Spirit. The apostle Paul wrote,5

12 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. NKJV, ©1982

Humans consist of body, spirit, and soul,5 with or without the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of God).

Although the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of God; the Spirit of Christ) dwells in us, it does not replace our own human spirit. For this reason, the apostle Paul wrote,6

22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you. Amen. NASB, ©1996

Now, if the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Son, was the only spirit within the Christian, then the apostle Paul would not state such a thing, since “the Lord” would be equivalent to “your spirit.” However, it is clear that there are two spirits within the Christian: God’s Spirit and the human spirit. For this reason, the apostle Paul wrote,7

16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: KJV, ©1769

The Holy Spirit, God’s Spirit, that dwells in our hearts, testifies with our spirit, the human spirit, that we are the children of God. “In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.”8 It is not enough for the human spirit to testify by itself, “I am the child of God.” When the Holy Spirit co-tesitifies with the Christian’s human spirit, the word is established.


1 Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:4
2 Matt. 10:19–20 // Mark 13:11
3 Rom. 8:9–11; Gal. 4:6; 1 Pet. 1:11. Also, see Augustine, “On the Trinity,” Book XV, Ch. XXVI:

And it is proved by many other testimonies of the divine words, that the Spirit, who is properly called in the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, is the Father’s and the Son’s.

Et multis aliis divinorum eloquiorum testimoniis comprobatur Patris et Filii esse Spiritum, qui proprie dicitur in Trinitate Spiritus Sanctus.

4 Gal. 4:6; 2 Cor. 1:22
5 1 Thes. 5:23
6 2 Tim. 4:22
7 Rom. 8:16
8 2 Cor. 13:1

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