Baptized, Filled, Received

When describing the receipt of the Spirit, the Book of Acts applies several Greek verbs, including “baptize,” “receive,” “filled,” “given,” and “came upon.” Do they refer to different experiences or aspects of the Gift, or does each refer to the same thing? In other words, do “baptized with” and “received” refer to the same experience common to all believers?

In the Book’s opening paragraph, Jesus told his disciples that they would be “BAPTIZED in the Holy Spirit not many days hence,” and they would “receive power” when the “Holy Spirit CAME UPON” them.

Alpine Stream - Photo by Jeremy Bezanger on Unsplash
[Photo by Jeremy Bezanger on Unsplash]

In the literary context, Christ’s prediction was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost when the 120 disciples were “
all FILLED with the Holy Spirit” and spoke in tongues - (Acts 1:5-8, 2:4).

Peter explained that the event was in fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy that “in the last days, I will POUR OUT my Spirit on all flesh, and he exhorted the crowd of Jewish pilgrims to repent and “RECEIVE the Gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Thus, in the first two chapters of Acts, five different verbs are applied to the same experience of receiving the Holy Spirit - (Acts 2:17, 2:38).

In Samaria, Peter and John arrived from Jerusalem to pray for the new converts to “RECEIVE the Holy Spirit.” This was necessary since the Gift had not yet “FALLEN UPON any of them.” Observing this, Simon the magician concluded that through the “laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Spirit was GIVEN.” – (Acts 8:15-19).

After his Damascus Road encounter with the Risen Christ, Ananias was sent to pray for Paul. Upon his arrival, he laid hands on him and prayed for Paul to “BE FILLED with the Holy Spirit” - (Acts 9:17).

In Caesarea, the Spirit “FELL ON” the Gentiles. The Jewish men present with Peter were astonished since on the “Gentiles also was POURED OUT the Gift of the Spirit.” Peter described it as the very same Gift that the 120 disciples received on the Day of Pentecost - the Gentiles “RECEIVED” the same Gift and in the same manner as Jewish believers did, thus, confirming their acceptance by God – (Acts 10:44-48).

When Peter recounted these events to the Assembly in Jerusalem, he reiterated that the “Holy Spirit FELL ON them even as on us at the beginning.” This was in fulfillment of the Lord’s declaration before his ascension that “John baptized with water, but you will be BAPTIZED in the Holy Spirit.” God “GAVE” the Gentiles the “like Gift” – (Acts 11:15-17).

Furthermore, in Ephesus, Paul laid hands on twelve disciples of John the Baptist, and the Spirit “CAME ON them,” and so they “spoke in tongues and prophesied” - (Acts 19:3-7)

Regardless of which Greek verb is used, in each case, it refers to the same experience of receiving the Holy Spirit as prophesied by John the Baptist and granted to the Church by Jesus. Receiving the Gift of the Spirit is the common experience that unites all true disciples of Christ – (Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, Acts 1:5).

  • In Jerusalem - (Jesus commanded his disciples to tarry in Jerusalem until they received the Spirit, empowering them to be his witnesses on the earth- Acts 1:1-11)
  • When Pentecost Arrived - (On the day of Pentecost, the long-anticipated time of fulfillment arrived when Jesus bestowed the Spirit on his church)
  • First Sermon - (Peter explained what God accomplished in Jesus to a confused crowd on the Day of Pentecost, stressing fulfillment in Jesus – Acts 2:16-36)

Popular Posts