Today’s text has created a stir of contention among various camps of theologians. Those who believe that the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the spiritual gifts of power have passed away would argue that these twelve disciples were not saved and simply needed to hear the gospel and be born again. Those who believe that there is more power of the Holy Spirit available for the church today would argue that this group of disciples was already saved and needed a “additional experience” of power from the Holy Spirit. Read the story carefully and then allow me a few concluding words…
“And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.” Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. Now the men were about twelve in all.” Acts 19:1-7, NKJV.
Most Bible teachers argue over the one word, “Have you received the Holy Spirit “when” you believed? Some translations say, “since” you believed… The fact is, the original Greek allows for either word being used. I personally believe that arguing over that one word causes one to miss the point entirely. And the point is this; These disciples received a special empowerment of the Holy Spirit after they believed and after they were baptized. So, after salvation, Paul prayed for these disciples so that they received spiritual gifts of power. The Holy Spirit was already “in” them since they got saved. But Paul prayed that the Holy Spirit would come “upon” them for power in ministry.
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me…” Acts 1:8
Have you received the Holy Spirit in this way? If not, why not ask?
“… how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” Luke 11:13b