Are Quenching and Grieving the Spirit the Same?

by Pamela Rose Williams · Print Print · Email Email

Often times we see something in the Bible that may or may not make much sense. I believe one such thing is the concept of quenching or grieving the Holy Spirit. But are quenching and grieving the Spirit the same thing? Take a look at what I have found in my Bible study on this topic.

Quenching the Spirit

1 Thessalonians 5:19  Quench not the Spirit.

When you are very thirsty there is nothing that satisfies your thirst more than some fresh, cool water. When you drink that water you “quench” your thirst. That is one definition for quench – to satisfy. Another definition is to “put out or extinguish (fire, flames, etc.)” [1]. This is the definition that we can use when we are speaking of quenching the Spirit.

When we see the beginning of the ministry of the Holy Spirit indwelling believers in the Bible, He appears as fire:

Acts 2:3–4 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

The Holy Spirit (the person) lives inside of every true believer. He is the “consuming fire” of God (Hebrews 12:29). That fire inside of the believer is the power that tells us in the way we should go. Though it is as powerful as a burning fire, it is a “still small voice” as well. We can feel His burning within us when He is speaking to us or even urging us to “do something”. He was there on the road to Emmaus with the two disciples and they felt burning in their hearts “And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?” (Luke 24:32) He helps us daily to make good choices and when we listen to Him the power and the fire continually leads us to choose right. When we choose not to follow that leading we quench the fire. When we continually “quench” the Spirit we will walk as unbelievers and thereby we do things that grieve the Holy Spirit.

… the concepts of quenching and grieving the Holy Spirit we can see great similarities and yet they are different.

Grieving the Holy Spirit

Ephesians 4:30  And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Grief is a feeling of great sorrow. It is something that is experienced by a person. So then, when we “grieve the Holy Spirit” we are doing something that causes the Holy Spirit (the person) to feel great sorrow. The Apostle Paul speaks of some things that grieve the Holy Spirit. They are those things that as unbelievers we did regularly. In his letter to the church at Ephesus he is encouraging them not to walk like they used to walk (before they had the Holy Spirit of God inside of them to lead them to do the right thing). Instead he is teaching them how they (and we) can walk “in the Spirit”. Take a look at the following passages from Ephesians:

Ephesians 4:17-19 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

Ephesians 4:25-29 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Ephesians 5:3-5 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

Somewhere near the middle of this encouragement Paul says “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God” in other words, when you keep doing these things that you did before you had the Holy Spirit to lead you in the right way you grieve Him … you cause Him sorrow. Breaking it down, those things that grieve the Holy Spirit are:

– Living like we are unbelievers and even keeping secular practices, doing things that allow our mind to ignore what is right, like using illegal drugs and consuming too much alcohol. That “darkened” mind causes us to engage in illicit sexual behaviors and a desire to take whatever we want (even steal) because we feel entitled (vs. 17-19)

– Lying (vs. 25)

– Having fits of unrighteous anger that lingers even into the next day (vs. 26-27)

– Stealing because you are too lazy to work with your own hands (vs. 28)

– Cursing, backbiting and gossiping (vs. 29)

– Allowing anger to become bitterness, shouting to make your point heard, speaking ill of others and having an attitude that seeks to intentionally do evil. (vs. 31)

– Refusing to stand ready to forgive and holding back forgiveness (vs. 32)

– In summary some things that grieve the Holy Spirit are: sex outside of marriage, greediness, repeating nasty jokes and foolish talk, an attitude of unthankfulness and idolatry (Ephesians  5:3-5)

Final Thoughts

So when we look at the concepts of quenching and grieving the Holy Spirit we see great similarities and yet they are different. I see it as a progressive thing. We have Holy Spirit inside of us to guide us and we can choose to ignore Him. Every time we ignore when He tells us to do right, we quench His fire. Making the choice to do what is not right grieves the Spirit because He wants us to do right. He wants us to not only choose Jesus as our Savior but to live in a way that says Jesus is our Lord too (1 Corinthians 12:3). He is the consuming fire that empowers us to “mortify the deeds of the body” and walk with Him (Romans 8:12-14). He is the power that enables us to share our testimony and tell others about Jesus (Acts 1:8).

More for you to read: How to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, King James Version. [1] Quench. (n.d.). from

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