What Is the Baptism in the Spirit? (Part 2)

In our last post, we established that all believers have the Holy Spirit within them (John 20:22 and Romans 8:9), but that Jesus commanded the apostles to wait for a further work of the Spirit to come upon them (Acts 1:4, 5).  Nor was it only for the apostles, for Acts 1:14, 15 informs us that many waited with them, and after ten days of waiting and seeking the Lord, this is what happened:

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.  And suddenly, there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.  And there appeared to them cloven tongues like fire, and it sat upon each of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.  — Acts 2:1-4

This was the first time the Church received what we commonly call “the baptism in the Spirit.” The Greek word for baptize means to fully cover, or to make fully wet.  The early Church understood baptism to mean a full immersion, including how they conducted water baptism.   The Baptism in the Spirit, therefore, is to be fully immersed in the Spirit, and this is what the believers in the upper room experienced. The entire room was filled with the Spirit, and they were also filled on the inside with the Spirit.  The evidence of the Presence of the Spirit externally around them was the manifestation of the sound of wind and the tongues of fire, while the evidence of them being filled internally was that they spoke in tongues.

While the wind and the tongues of fire are not mentioned again in succeeding stories of believers being baptized in the Spirit, the evidence of tongues is. When Peter preached to the Gentiles in Cornelius’ house, “the Holy Spirit fell on all them who heard the word.  And they of the circumcision [the Jewish believers] … were astonished … because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out also on the Gentiles, for they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God …” (Acts 10:44-46).   There were believers in Ephesus who had not yet been baptized in the Spirit.  When the Apostle Paul “laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke with tongues, and prophesied” (Acts 19:6).  That there was an outward evidence of receiving the baptism in the Spirit is also implied in Acts 8:14-19, the story of the converts in Samaria.  This evidence most likely was speaking in tongues as well.  Whatever it was was an unmistakable outward sign.

Is the baptism in the Spirit for all believers, or only for a select group?  Peter gives us the answer to this question in Acts 2:38, 39: “… Repent and be baptized [this is water baptism] every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy  Spirit.  For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all who are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”  The promise was to all those who were listening to Peter on the day of Pentecost, and to their succeeding generations, and to all who were afar off — in generations to come and in far-flung places where the gospel had not as yet been preached.

The Christians of the early Church considered it abnormal for a believer to not be baptized in the Spirit, and they took steps to rectify such situations.  When Philip preached at Samaria, the new believers there were not yet filled with the Spirit, so the apostles sent Peter and John to help them receive (Acts 8:14-16).  Paul noticed that there was something wrong with a few of the believers at Ephesus and laid hands on them so that they would receive the Spirit (Acts 19:2-6).  It is possible, although we cannot know for sure, that when Aquila and Priscilla noticed that something was not quite right in Apollos’ preaching, that the baptism in the Spirit was the missing ingredient. They then helped Apollos know “the way of God more perfectly.” (Acts 18:24-26).

Next time, we will answer a few more common questions about the baptism in the Spirit, and after that, we will get to how you can easily and confidently receive the baptism in the Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues.

What Is the Baptism in the Spirit? (Part 1)
Common Questions About the Baptism in the Holy Spirit (Part 3) 

The Baptism in the Spirit: Why You Need It & How to Get It — Mp3 Download or CD

9 responses to “What Is the Baptism in the Spirit? (Part 2)

  1. Pingback: What Is the Baptism in the Spirit? | Out of the Fire

  2. The initial filling of the Spirit in Acts 2 was accompanied by foreign languages that the disciples had never learned, not a heavenly language.

    Also, in 1 Cor. 12:29-30 it is clear that not all believers will receive the gift of tongues.


    • Hi Laura,

      In 1 Corinthians 12:29, 30, Paul is speaking of the public gift of tongues that he listed among the 9 gifts of the Spirit in vs. 8-10. Although all believers can and should be baptized with the Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues (a personal tongues for prayer purposes), not all will operate in that gift in the corporate setting, where a “message” is given in tongues for the Body and then someone operates in the gift of interpretation of tongues.

      1 Corinthians 13:1 says, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels ….” The language a person speaks or prays in, in tongues can be either. There are many testimonies of people who have heard someone else speaking in tongues and have been fluent in the language, and have been able to translate it. God seems to enjoy dispersing a wide variety of languages to His children, both earthly and heavenly.

      I hope that helps to explain somewhat.


  3. I see where you are coming from. Where do you get your Biblical support for the doctrine that all believers can and should speak in tongues?


  4. Acts 2:38,39 refers to the gift of the Holy Spirit, not to tongues. Do you have more scriptural basis for a prayer language that is for every believer?


    • Hi Laura,

      I think I’ve already laid out pretty clearly in the two posts so far that tongues is the evidence that accompanies the baptism in the Spirit, so when you receive one, as long as resistance isn’t standing in the way, you receive the other (I will have just a little more to say about that in the next post when I get to it). I will leave you with one more verse, and then be done. Jesus said in Mark 16:17, “And these signs shall follow those who believe: in my name they shall cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues.” “Those who believe” refers to believers in Jesus, as we see in v. 16 — not some of them, but all of them have this available to them.

      What I would suggest doing, at this point, is something that I have often done, when I was troubled by a doctrine or teaching that someone was presenting to me that I didn’t particularly like or know if it was true:

      Ask the Lord to give you an open mind to His truth, ask Him to show you in the Word how it really is, and then rest and expect that He will do so over a period of time. The Book of Acts is going to be the most important place to read, along with 1 Corinthians 12-14, but there are hidden nuggets in some of the other epistles as well.

      I find that asking the Lord to reveal truth to me always works. Sometimes I have had to overcome poor traditional teaching that I was indoctrinated in as a child, and I was pretty stubborn about hanging onto it, but when I sincerely asked God to show me, He did. He made Scripture verses just pop out at me that brought crystal-clear understanding, when I wasn’t even thinking at the time about the doctrine I had asked Him to show me. You can’t go wrong with being open to being taught of the Lord. 🙂


  5. Pingback: Common Questions About the Baptism in the Holy Spirit (Part 3) | Out of the Fire

  6. Pingback: How to Easily Be Baptized in the Spirit with Tongues | Out of the Fire

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