Important Facts

  1. the term “baptism in the Holy Spirit” is absent in the Scriptures.
  2. In relation with the Holy Spirit, the term “baptism” (noun) is never used.
  3. Wherever it is used, it occurs as a verb, and always in the future tense.
  4. It is only used to refer to the experience of the church on the day of Pentecost.
  5. On the day of Pentecost, when the Promise was fulfilled, the disciples were said to be “filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues.” Luke does not say that they were baptized with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:5)
  6. No apostle ever asked anyone, Were you baptized in the Holy Spirit?
  7. Only two prepositions are used in relation to baptism with regards to the Spirit—ἐν, translated as ‘in’ or ‘with’; and εἰς, translated as ‘into’ in 1 Cor 12:13. Gordon Fee notes: “In the NT ἐν with ‘baptize’ refers always to the element into which one has been baptized;”

“will be baptized in the Holy Spirit”

Matthew 3:11 “I baptize you with (ἐν) 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 (ἐν) the Holy Spirit and fire.

Mark 1:8 I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with (ἐν) the Holy Spirit.”

Luke 3:16 John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with (ἐν) the Holy Spirit and fire.

John 1:33 ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with (ἐν) the Holy Spirit.’

Acts 1:5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with (ἐν) the Holy Spirit.”

Acts 11:16 And I was reminded of the word of Our Lord, which he had said: ‘Yohannan baptized in water, but you shall be baptized in (ἐν) The Spirit of Holiness.’ (Aramaic Bible in Plain English)

1 Cor 12:13 For in (ἐν) one Spirit we were all baptized into (εἰς) one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

Note: ‘This verb is in the past tense, not the perfect tense, and denotes a single event that took place at a certain moment in our past experience. It is not “we have been baptized,” but “we were baptized.”’ – Derek Prince, The Baptism in the Holy Spirit.

Note: Gordon Fee, in God’s Empowering Presence, interprets this verse thus: The emphasis here is on the unity of the body of Christ. All Christians were immersed in the same Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the key to the Church’s unity.

Events on or after Pentecost



Acts 2:4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

Acts 4:8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people!

Acts 4:31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

Acts 9:17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

Acts 13:52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.


Eph 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,



Acts 10:47 “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.”


1 Cor 2:12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.

1 Cor 6:19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?



Acts 10:44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.

Acts 11:15 “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning.

Acts 19:6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.

Luke has his own reasons for describing the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, and on every other subsequent occasion. As faithful students of the Bible, we must discover Luke’s intentions and message. We must not impose our agenda on Luke.

SUMMARY: There is no second “work of grace beyond conversion” that can be pinpointed as “baptism in the Spirit.” A Christian’s empowered life in the Spirit is not about a single experience; it ought to be an ongoing experience.

The urgent question on the nonliturgical side, especially for the various Spirit movements that have left their mark on the church throughout its history, is whether Paul also envisaged a work of grace beyond conversion to which the language “the baptism of the Spirit” might correctly apply. To be sure, some of the Pauline texts have been interpreted in this way (e.g., 1 Cor 12:13; Gal 4:4-6), but the full contextual data make this doubtful. On the other hand, whether Paul knew of such an experience is a moot point, argued against primarily on the basis of silence. Two further points need to be made.
First, as was pointed out in chapter 2 and throughout, Paul makes a clear connection between the Spirit and the experience of power. …
Second, as is pointed out in the next chapter, Paul does not see life in the Spirit as the result of a single experience of the Spirit at conversion. The Spirit is the key to all of Christian life, and frequently Paul implies there are further, ongoing appropriations of the Spirit’s empowering. … All of this suggests that perhaps too much is made on both sides of single experiences. For Paul life in the Spirit begins at conversion; at the same time that experience is both dynamic and renewable. (Fee, God’s Empowering Presence, p. 863-4.)

SUMMARY: The empowering indwelling presence of the Spirit is more important than how or when we get initiated into that life.

One simply must not press Luke’s phenomenological use of Spirit language into service for theological precision. Although Luke says otherwise, we may assume the Samaritans and Paul to have become believers in the Pauline sense-that without the Spirit they are none of his. For Luke, however, the phenomenological expressions of the Spirit’s presence are what he describes as the “coming of” or “filling with” the Spirit.
Thus in the case of Samaria, the Pentecostals do seem to have a biblical precedent, both for subsequence and, almost certainly, for tongues as evidence. But is this single precedent the intended divine pattern, or is it, as most New Testament scholars think, a unique event in the early history? And in any case, why does it serve as a better precedent than Cornelius or Ephesus?
In thus arguing, as a New Testament scholar, against some cherished Pentecostal interpretations, I have in no sense abandoned what is essential to Pentecostalism. I have only tried to point out some inherent flaws in some of our historic understanding of texts. The essential matter, after all, is neither subsequence nor tongues, but the Spirit himself as a dynamic, empowering presence; and there seems to me to be little question that our way of initiation into that – through an experience of Spirit baptism – has biblical validity. Whether all must go that route seems to me to be more moot; but in any case, the Pentecostal experience itself can be defended on exegetical grounds as a thoroughly biblical phenomenon. (Fee, Gospel and Spirit, p. 110-111.)


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About the author

Philip Eapen, an environmental scientist by training, devoted his life to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ ever since he realized that the world needs Jesus Christ more than anyone or anything else. Apart from sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, Philip teaches Christians in order to equip them for service. He is supported by donations from readers. Philip is married to Dr. Jessimol and they are blessed with three sons and a daughter.

Date: Feb 10, 2023




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