College student thinks speaking in tongues is vital to Christian living, part 3

Acts 19:1-6 Paul goes and finds disciples. That means they are already followers of Christ. He says, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? So they are already believers. If you are filled with the Holy Spirit when you first believe then why would he ask if they had received it? They said, "We have not even heard there is a Holy Spirit"! So he asks them, “then what baptism did you receive?” If there is only one baptism why would he ask them which one did they receive? They replied, "John’s." Paul said John’s was one of repentance. We have already received the one of repentance. When Paul heard this he baptized them a second time into the name of the Lord Jesus. When he did this it says the Holy Spirit came upon them and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. If they already had the Holy Spirit how is it that he came on them a second time?
These men were not disciples of Jesus, but they were—like Apollos in chapter 18—proclaiming an accurate pre-cross message. They were like old Simeon, knowing Messiah would soon be revealed but not possessing the full story. The Jews were used to ceremonial washings. John's Jordan River mikveh testified that people wished to prepare for the coming Messiah by repenting. They became identified as disciples of John. Paul baptized them again so they could be identified with Jesus. The tongues testified to the unity of Christian disciples. These disciples shared in the same gift as those in Acts 2.

There is more that comes after repentance. If there wasn’t why then do we see all the BELIEVERS getting filled with the Holy Spirit after they believed? It’s not required but why shouldn’t we get all there is to get. If it’s available to everyone (and it is) then why wouldn’t we want it? Part of the Holy Spirit's job is to comfort and teach, but Acts says He does more. If there is more that He does, wouldn’t we want all of it?

Every genuine believer ought to seek the filling of the Holy Spirit. It is a command (Ephesians 5:18- no tongues there). But do Spirit-filled people somehow have more of God in them? The teaching that the “inside experience” is something to seek sounds like first century Gnosticism—not the Bible. Is not the filling ministry a submission to the word of Christ (see Colossians 3:15-17 and its parallels to Ephesians 5), an equipping for service that always results in boldness and creativity and a few times resulted in people speaking in languages they had never learned? The filling of the Holy Spirit usually did not result in speaking other languages (Acts 4:8, 31; 6:3-8; 7:55; 9:17; 11:24; 13:9, 52, not to mention all the O.T. references). If the “more” of tongues was so important, why do you have a first century apostle putting restrictions on its use? Was Paul quenching the Spirit or was he pointing out that established churches need the work of the Spirit manifested by the exposition of the word of God (prophecy)?


  1. That passage in Acts 19 interests me intently. I have read it over and over again - as well as the story of Apollos in Acts 18.

    In my NIV translation of the bible, Acts 18:24-25 says of Apollos: "He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John."

    In the new testament, reference to Scriptures usually meant the old testament, from what I understand. However, it also says that he had been instructed in the way of the Lord and that he taught about Jesus accurately. The only thing he apparently lacked was "baptism in Jesus' name" and "baptism of the Holy Ghost" -- correct?

    It's the same with the 12 disciples that Paul came across in chapter 19. They were disciples (ie followers), and they "believed" (what many denominations would consider the foundation to salvation), and they had been baptized by John the Baptist.

    Again, the only thing they seemed to lack was "baptism in Jesus' name" and "baptism of the Holy Ghost".

    Anyway, getting back to the point, I dont subscribe to the idea that you are "filled with the Holy Ghost" (or Holy Spirit, as some prefer) when you first believe. There isnt really any Scripture that specifically supports this either.

    So does this mean that you wont be filled with the Holy Spirit automatically when you are saved, or when you are baptized? (Unfortunately, these things are not done at the same time in most modern churches, as they were in those days. There is a very good study & paper written on that topic that you can download here: Becoming a Christian)

    If not then when, how and why do you receive the Holy Spirit in relation to the other salvation components? And if not everyone is given the gift of speaking in tongues, then how would you know (ie what would be the evidence) that you did indeed receive the Holy Spirit?

    RE: The filling of the Holy Spirit usually did not result in speaking other languages (Acts 4:8, 31; 6:3-8; 7:55; 9:17; 11:24; 13:9, 52, not to mention all the O.T. references).

    In Acts 4:8, it says: "Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them..." - Peter was not being filled with the Holy Spirit in that verse. Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit by Jesus himself (John 20:22). That is stated in that verse to specifiy that he was delivering a message of God.

    Acts 4:31 - it doesnt say that they *didnt* speak in tongues either. What it does say is, "And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly." The 'word of God' could be the gospel, or it could be tongues... we would have to speculate on that one.

    Acts 6:3-8 - these men already had the Holy Spirit when the apostles 'prayed and laid hands on them'. They were praying with them here as they started out in their new ministry.

    Acts 7:55 - again, this wasnt an instance of baptism of the Holy Spirit. Stephen was already full of the Holy Spirit at this point in the passage.

    Acts 11:24 - Barnabas was in on that whole "meeting place was shaken" and "spoke the word of God boldly" thing in chapter 4. So here in chapter 11 it just says he was full of the Holy Spirit and faith. He wasnt receiving baptism of the Holy Spirit.

    Acts 9:17 and 13:9 are 'assumed' as far as I am concerned. This is in reference to the same person (Saul/Paul) who was healed and received the Holy Spirit.

    Acts 13:52 - if you had the Holy Ghost, you would get that (LOL). Seriously - they were "filled with it" not "being filled with it". That's all.

    As for OT references... umm, the Holy Spirit is a new testament Gift :)

    All of this is just meant to add positively to the discussion. I appreciate the opportunity to join in!


  2. I see Scripture showing the baptism of the Holy Spirit (not to be confused with repeated Spirit-filling) to be a one-time event that unites us spiritually with the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13) rather than a later experience.

    I see Apollos as a Jew or a Gentile proselyte who had not been to Jerusalem for a long time. His fiery preaching was accurate, but he was missing the whole story. This group was obedient in identifying outwardly with Messiah Jesus. I would argue that they were already regenerate, but lacked the indwelling Spirit who is the sign of ownership on the disciples of Jesus.

    The filling ministry of the Spirit that produces boldness and creativity, making us behave as if the Lord Jesus were standing right next to us, is a delightful thing even if you are not speaking in a language you never learned.

    The Holy Spirit was just as active before Jesus came as he is now. Remember, Jesus thought "Old Testament" Nicodemus should have know about regeneration). We are blessed to know his permanent abiding presence inside us, as the seal of God's ownership (Ephesians 1:13-14), but we cannot cut his activity out of the Old Testament (starting in Genesis 1).

    Thank you for keeping the discussion lively.

  3. Make that: Nicodemus should have known about regeneration.


What do you think?