Does the Bible say ghosts are real?

ghostCopyright by Bob Rogers.
I received the following question from a man named Jason:
[My wife] came home telling me that somehow at work they got in the conversation about ghosts and whether Christians believe they are real or not. Can you help me with this? And can you provide me with specific scripture?
Here’s my answer:
The King James Version translates “Holy Spirit” as “Holy Ghost,” because in the English language four hundred years ago, the words “ghost” and “spirit” meant the same thing. However, today, we associate the word “ghost” with a shadowy image of a dead person coming back to haunt people, whereas the Bible is referring to the unseen living person of God when scripture calls Him the “Holy Spirit.”

Regarding the modern idea of ghosts, we read in I Samuel 28 that King Saul consults a medium and asks her to bring up the spirit of the dead prophet Samuel to speak to him, and she does! But the Bible strongly condemns mediums and witchcraft (see Leviticus 19:31). In fact, the first part of 1 Samuel 28 mentions that King Saul had banished the mediums and spiritists from Israel, but then violated his own law to try to bring back the ghost of Samuel. So yes, it is real, but the practice of spiritism is satanic and should be avoided. (I’m not saying that the spirit of Samuel was a demonic spirit; but that the practice of spiritism is a demonic practice. Even the spirit of Samuel, when brought up, scolded Saul for summoning his spirit from the dead.) Delving in ghosts leads people into dangerous territory. Instead, we should be consulting God’s word, not spirits of the dead. Isaiah 8:19 warns, “When they say to you, ‘Consult the spirits of the dead’… shouldn’t a people consult their God?” After all, the Holy Ghost is the Lord of hosts!

About Bob Rogers

Hospital chaplain in Mississippi. Adjunct history professor (online). Formerly a pastor for 33 years in Mississippi and Georgia. Avid cyclist.

Posted on January 28, 2013, in Books and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Bob, I somehow feel you did not answer the question. what about those that have actually seen these “ghosts” that “haunt” or “walk around”? are you trying to say that they are actually satan worshippers or dealing with satanic rituals. is there a such a thing as what I am talking about? I think this is what the writer was asking. I maybe wrong. thank you.

  2. Lianne, as I read his question, he asked whether ghosts are real and asked for scripture. I gave the pertinent scripture, and said, “yes,it’s real, but satanic.” So I believe I answered his question.
    As for your own question about whether people have actually seen ghosts that haunt, I cannot judge what somebody else claims to have seen. I can only tell you what the Bible says, which indicates that spiritism is demonic. So if they’ve really seen something like that, I would assume they saw a demonic presence.
    Yet the Bible says we can resist the devil and he will flee from us (James 4:7), so we should have nothing to fear from ghosts or demons if we call upon the name of Jesus.

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