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  • Writer's pictureKaren O'Reilly

The Holy Spirit As A Dove

Updated: Jun 21

Welcome to Day 7. of our devotional study, Who Is The Holy Spirit And What Does He Do online Bible study.  Today's Bible study is about the Holy Spirit as a dove. We will be studying Luke 3:22.

the holy spirit as a dove bible study

The Holy Spirit As A Dove

When Jesus Christ was baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist, the Bible says in Luke 3:22 that the Holy Spirit came upon Him in the form of a dove.

Read Luke 3:22

Click on the verse to read it in various Bible translations at Biblegateway.

"and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” Luke 3:22 ESV.

The Holy Spirit descended like a dove

The dove represents peace and the gentle presence of the Holy Spirit. It's a public affirmation of His identity and mission. Since the Holy Spirit is a spirit, we usually can't see Him. But during this special moment at Jesus' baptism, He chose to appear in a way that everyone could see.

All four Gospels mention a dove when describing the Holy Spirit's descent to Jesus. This has led to the traditional image of a small white dove sitting on Jesus' shoulder in artwork over many centuries. You can read about this event in the life of Jesus in Matthew 3:13-17, Mark 1:9-11, and John 1:32-33.

It's important to note that while Scripture says the Holy Spirit had some "bodily form," most references focus on how the Spirit descended, not on the exact appearance. The Bible doesn't explicitly say, "the Holy Spirit appeared like a dove and landed on Jesus." Instead, it describes the Spirit resting on Jesus in a dovelike way—perhaps suggesting a floating, settling, and gentle manner.

Doves are very sensitive birds. If doves rest on your bird feeders or trees in your garden, they usually immediately fly away when you try to get up close beside them. The fact that the dove rested on Jesus is a bold statement. A dove won't get close to conflict. It will only land where it senses peace and safety.

So when the dove landed on Jesus, it was a beautiful symbol of affirmation from God, the Father when He said, "You are my beloved Son, in you I am well-pleased."


Holy Spirit of Peace

As Christians, we are temples of the Holy Spirit ( 1 Corinthians 6:19).

"Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own," 1 Corinthians 6:19 ESV.

This means that our hearts and minds need to be places where the Holy Spirit can dwell with His peace and Presence. We must create an environment where He will be comfortable. Philippians 4:6-7 gives us guidance for a suitable environment.

"do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

The Holy Spirit also needs an environment free from strife, and in Ephesians 4:25-32 we are given the conditions necessary to provide a suitable environment for the Holy Spirit to land peacefully in our lives, to provide room for Him To work.

" Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:25-32 ESV.

Here are some steps to creating a peaceful place in your heart and life for the Holy Spirit to land on you as a dove.

Steps to create a peaceful place for the Holy Spirit:

1. Prayer:

Philippians 4:6-7 encourages us to bring all our anxieties and requests to God through prayer. By regularly praying and intentionally spending time in God's presence, we are quieting our minds and providing a welcoming environment for the Holy Spirit to work in.

2. Cultivate gratitude:

Having a heart filled with gratitude (despite any difficult circumstances) shifts our focus from what we lack to what we have. It reminds us to put our trust in God and to be expectant of the Holy Spirit working in our lives. Try and think of 3 things you are grateful for each day, and thank God for them. Maybe start a gratitude journal!

3. Forgiveness:

Unforgiveness can create unrest in our hearts. In Ephesians 4:32, we are called to be kind and compassionate, forgiving each other as in Christ God forgave us. Release any grudges or resentments through prayer and ask God to help you forgive.

4. Engage in worship:

Worship helps us focus on God and experience His presence. You can do this by reading Psalms or other praise verses, listening, and singing to worship music ( I sometimes listen to worship music on YouTube and sing along with it!)

5. Read scripture:

Make time to be still and read scripture verses that calm and encourage you. You will fins a topical scripture reading plans HERE.

30 Bible Verses on God's Promises is a great place to start.

You may also be encouraged by these verses on the topic of God Will Make A Way.

6. Being truthful

In Ephesians 4:25 we are told to always be truthful. Honesty is foundational to our relationships. By speaking the truth we build trust and unity with the people we are around. This is essential for the Holy Spirit to work effectively within and through us.

7. Anger management

In Ephesians 4:26-27 we are instructed not to let the sun go down while you are still angry, so as not to let the devil get a foothold in your life. This instruction helps prevent resentment from taking root, maintaining a peaceful heart open to the Holy Spirit.

8. Don't steal but be generous

Ephesians 4:28 tells us not to steal but instead to work and be generous with what we have. I'm sure most people reading this post do not need a reminder to not steal from people, but maybe you need the reminder to be generous with what you have.

I learned a valuable lesson recently about being generous with what I have. I have just moved to a new town for my husband's work in a church. I ran down to our nearest supermarket (a 5-minute walk - I'm not used to such luxury!) to get the staples - milk, bread and butter. I was at the self-checkout station and going through the checkout process. An older lady was beside me trying to pay for her groceries but the machine wouldn't take cash. She was quite distressed and before I realized what I was doing, I leaned over and paid for them, with the tap of my bank card. She was shocked and then kept hugging me.

Now the lesson I learned is that God provides. I got home, sat down at my computer, and received a notification of a sale for the exact amount that I had paid for the lady's groceries! God is good!

9. Wholesome speech

Ephesians 4;29 tells us not to let unwholesome talk to come out of our mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up.

Our words have the power to build up or tear down. Speaking words that edify and encourage others creates a positive and uplifting environment conducive to the Holy Spirit's presence.

10. Don't grieve the Holy Spirit

Ephesians 4:30-32 tells us:

"And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." Ephesians 4:30-32 ESV.

Grieving the Holy Spirit occurs when we harbor negative emotions and act out of malice. Instead, kindness, compassion, and forgiveness mirror Christ's love and create a welcoming atmosphere for the Holy Spirit.


The Holy Spirit longs to rest on you with His peaceful presence but He needs a peaceful environment to work in your life. By applying the princiles from Philippians 4:6-7 and Ephesians 4:25-32, we can cultivate an environment that welcomes the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to transform us and work through us to bless others.

Here are cross-references for further study:

Proverbs 3:5-6, Matthew 7;7-8, Jeremiah 33:3, Colossians 3:9, Proverbs 12;22, James 1;19, Ecclesiastes 7:9, 1 Timothy 6:18, Colossians 4:6, Colossians 3:12-13.

Let's Pray:

Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit and the peace that He gives. Help us to create a peaceful place in our hearts for the Holy Spirit to dwell. Guide us in our daily walk with You, and teach us to trust You more deeply. Help us to speak truthfully, manage our anger, work diligently, use our words to build up others, and practice kindness and forgiveness. May our lives reflect Your love and peace, making room for the Holy Spirit to work in and through us. In Jesus ' name, we pray. Amen.

Who Is The Holy Spirit And What Does He Do? Online Bible Study and Printable Journal

who is the holy spirit and what does he do bible study journal

Dive even deeper into this study with our printable journal. This journal is designed to guide you through personal reflections and insights, enhancing your experience as you engage with the Scriptures and listen to the Holy Spirit. Grab your journal HERE.

Here are some questions to consider as you study the person of the Holy Spirit:

  1. What is the most important truth I learned about the Holy Spirit?

  2. Did the Holy Spirit convict me of anything that I need to change in my life?

 Come back tomorrow as we study the Holy Spirit of Truth.

Thank you for joining me on this journey. May the Holy Spirit continue to lead you into a deeper relationship with God and empower you to live out your faith boldly and effectively.

Resources used in today's study on, The Holy Spirit As A Dove:

You may be encouraged by these resources:

  • Scriptural Grace Resource Library (FREE) HERE. 

  • Devotional Bible Studies For Women And Quiet Time Resources Forever Access Bundle HERE 

printable devotions for womens groups

Printable Devotions For Women's Groups HERE

  • Names of God resources HERE 

  • Topical Bible plans HERE 

Connect: Join me on Facebook for daily encouragement. If you have enjoyed this post, share with Facebook using the button below or pin the graphic above to Pinterest.

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Karen xx.


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