What It Means to Be Baptized in the Holy Spirit

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The baptism in the Holy Spirit is understood to be a second baptism, "in fire" or "power," spoken of by Jesus in Acts 1:8:

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (NIV)

Specifically, it refers to the experience of believers on the Day of Pentecost described in the book of Acts. On this day, the Holy Spirit was poured out on the disciples and tongues of fire rested on their heads: 

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. (Acts 2:1-4, NIV)

The following verses provide evidence that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is a distinct and separate experience from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that occurs at salvation: John 7:37-39; Acts 2:37-38; Acts 8:15-16; Acts 10:44-47.

Baptism in Fire

John the Baptist said in Matthew 11:11: "I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire."

Pentecostal Christians like those in the Assemblies of God denomination believe the baptism in the Holy Spirit is evidenced by speaking in tongues. The power to exercise the gifts of the spirit, they claim, comes initially when a believer is baptized in the Holy Spirit, a distinct experience from conversion and water baptism.

Other denominations that believe in Holy Spirit baptism are Church of God, Full-Gospel churches, Pentecostal Oneness churches, Calvary Chapels, Foursquare Gospel Churches, and many others.

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit

The gifts of the Holy Spirit that accompany the baptism in the Holy Spirit as seen in the first century believers (1 Corinthians 12:4-10; 1 Corinthians 12:28) include signs and wonders such as the message of wisdom, the message of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, miraculous powers, discerning of spirits, tongues and interpretation of tongues.

These gifts are given to God's people by the Holy Spirit for "the common good." 1 Corinthians 12:11 says the gifts are given according to God's sovereign will ("as he determines"). Ephesians 4:12 tells us these gifts are given to prepare God's people for service and for building up the body of Christ.

Receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit

For one of the best descriptions of what it means to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit, check out this teaching by John Piper, found at Desiring God: "How to Receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit."

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Your Citation
Fairchild, Mary. "What It Means to Be Baptized in the Holy Spirit." Learn Religions, Aug. 25, 2020, learnreligions.com/baptism-in-the-holy-spirit-700716. Fairchild, Mary. (2020, August 25). What It Means to Be Baptized in the Holy Spirit. Retrieved from https://www.learnreligions.com/baptism-in-the-holy-spirit-700716 Fairchild, Mary. "What It Means to Be Baptized in the Holy Spirit." Learn Religions. https://www.learnreligions.com/baptism-in-the-holy-spirit-700716 (accessed March 28, 2023).

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