What Is Baptism of The Holy Spirit?

by Jack Wellman on May 4, 2013 · Print Print · Email Email

What does it mean when someone says that they’ve been baptized by the Holy Spirit or baptized into the Holy Spirit? What does baptism of the Spirit mean?

The Word Baptism

I had a friend come up to me after I was saved asking if I had been baptized into the Holy Spirit.  I told him that I had received the Holy Spirit and then been baptized.  He said you haven’t had the baptism of the Holy Spirit?  Why not!?  Good question, so I started to find out what this fellow meant driven in part by being made to feel inferior.  I came to discover what the word baptism means.  The Greek word for baptism is “baptizo” which means to be immersed under water.  Baptizo is in the verb form which means a person was baptized (verb, it’s the action of being baptized).  The noun form is “baptisma” which literally means washing and almost always has to do with water.

I already knew about the Holy Spirit and that a person is regenerated or born again when one receives the Holy Spirit.  When a person is saved, then they are to be baptized as commanded in the New Testament.  But this “baptism of the Holy Spirit” was still a mystery to me.  What could it mean?   I hate to see Christians divide over the language of the New Testament when the Spirit should unite us instead.

Baptized With the Holy Spirit

Is the baptism of the Holy Spirit and being baptized with the Holy Spirit the same thing?  The term “baptize with the Holy Spirit” occurs in several places in the New Testament.  Let’s read some of these to see if we can find the meaning of the term of being baptized with the Holy Spirit.

John, when speaking about Jesus said, I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him.  And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit (John 1:32-33).

Again, John said about Jesus,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 the Holy Spirit and fire (Luke 3:16).

Jesus instructed the disciples just before His Ascension tonot leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.  For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5).

Baptism of the Holy Spirit

Some denominations believe that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is evidenced by their speaking in tongues.  This baptism of the Holy Spirit is seen by them as different than the initial receiving of the Holy Spirit of God.  This baptism of the Holy Spirit is believed to embolden believers, give them the ability to speak in unknown tongues, and to live a more victorious life in Christ.  Is this true?  Paul said in 1 Corinthians 12:13 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.  For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.  For in fact the body is not one member but many.”

You can not be a believer and not be baptized by the Spirit.

You can not be a believer and not be baptized by the Spirit.

So there is One Spirit and that is the Holy Spirit and Paul is saying that all believers are baptized by the Spirit.  You can not be a believer and not be baptized by the Spirit. If someone has not the Spirit of God, they are not the children of God becausethose who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God (Romans 8:14) And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us (1 John 3:24).  The Holy Spirit makes us part of the Body of Christ. If we don’t have the Holy Spirit, we are none of His since if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ” (Romans 8:9).  Indeed, “those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God (Romans 8:14).  Romans chapter 8 is almost all about the Holy Spirit.

Being Filled With the Spirit

Paul wrote about being filled with the Spirit in Ephesians 5:18-19 which says,Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord.”  It seems that being filled with the Spirit means being controlled by the Holy Spirit.  We will have complete fulfillment if we allow the Holy Spirit to control us.  To be filled with the Spirit is to be controlled by the Spirit for the Spirit’s presence is revealed in the fruit we produce (Galatians 5:22-23).  Peter is a prime example of what it means to be filled with the Spirit in Acts 4:8 when he boldly addressed the Sanhedrin, which was like the Jewish supreme court, Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people!” Peter was not alone in this as “Paul, then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind, and for a time you will be unable to see the light of the sun (Acts 13:9-11).

Here is clear evidence that when a believer is filled with the Spirit, they are obedient to the will of God. Peter and Paul’s boldness in evangelism was due to their both being filled with the Spirit of God.  But where did Paul receive this Spirit?  In Acts 9:17, 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.’” Here we see that being filled with the Spirit occurs at conversion, like with Saul (later named Paul) and being filled with the Spirit can also mean being bold in preaching the gospel or in being a witness of Christ. Being filled with the Spirit doesn’t seem to be tied with miracle gifts of healing, or tongues, or prophesying but in being controlled by Him.  Being filled with the Spirit then happens when a person is saved (like Paul’s experience) or when one is emboldened in witnessing for Christ (like Peter‘s example).


The baptism of the Holy Spirit occurs only to those who are believers.  If you are not a believer in Christ, then you are none of His (Romans 8:9).  You can’t even understand the gospel without the Holy Spirit (John 14:17, Romans 8:7) because The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14).  I pray you will put your trust in Jesus Christ today if you have not already done so.  Then you can be filled with the Spirit, sealed with the Spirit (Ephesians 1), and be born again to eternal life (John 3:3, 16).  That is my great desire for you if you have not already done so.

Take a look at this related article:

Does Baptism Save You?

Resources – New International Version Bible (NIV) THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul Jansen May 4, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Amen Pastor Jack, I’ve have been confused in the past over that same thing and it does sometimes cause the spirit of doubt to creep in. I know that when we are saved at that moment we receive every bit of the Spirit we are going to get, its the same as my Pastor has taught me, how much we develop depends on how much time we spend with Him, in quiet time, prayer and reading His word. Thanks again Jack for affirming what He has already given me, its just His way of putting His stamp on it! We may not ever meet in this life, but I will definitely be saying Hi to ya on the other side! God Bless


Jack Wellman May 4, 2013 at 1:49 pm

Wow Mr. Jansen. You are too kind. I would love to meet your pastor someday. I have already caught much heat on this on our Facebook page but that is to be expected my friend. I thank God that there are men of faith like you who are an encouragement…much like Barnabas was to Paul and others. Thank you sir.


Paul Jansen May 4, 2013 at 2:10 pm

Its all in obedience, we all need to know that we are serving properly, so when He lays it on my heart, I respond! BTW, as you know when you take heat its only because His word is doing the work it was meant to do, and will not return to Him void! When the Spirit is tearing down walls in their life they tend to lash out at what they dont understand is happening. So when ya hear the feed back just know He is at work!


Daniil Chernik May 5, 2013 at 2:28 am

Is it true that the king james version of the bible is the most accurate bible in the english language I read that all the other versions leave out a lot of important verses and have a completely different meaning in the same passages or verses?


Jack Wellman May 5, 2013 at 7:43 pm

Thank you Daniil. I believe it is very accurate but it is not the only one that is very accurate. The essentials of the faith can be found in several different translations but no translation is completely perfect but the essential doctrines of salvation are clear enough. In my studies, I use the KJV, the New King James Version, the ESV, and others so that I can get a more complete picture of what I am studying. Does this help? Other versions may leave out somethings but no one is ever lost to hell fire just because they can get a perfect translation.


Jean-Marc May 5, 2013 at 5:54 am

Pastor I’m Just 13 yrs old and I had accepted Jesus a while ago and I’ve filled filled with the Holy Ghost a couple of times and I know that if you believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord then you’ll be saved, but then some people say that you need to be baptized in the water to become a part of Gods family and inherit salvation is that true?


Jack Wellman May 5, 2013 at 7:48 pm

Hello Jean-Marc. A person is first regenerated by the Holy Spirit. This causes them to repent of their sinfulness. Then they confess their sins and apologize to God for their sin having been responsible for their being separated from a Holy God. Then a person puts their trust in Jesus Christ and He becomes their Lord and Savior. Then…after all of this, a person should get baptized for it symbolizes and makes a public profession of their old life, old man dying, their are symbolically buried with Christ and then come out of the water, a type of resurrection to eternal life. That person was saved BEFORE they were baptized though..but they still should be baptized though, even though baptism doesn’t save them. Eternal life comes from faith, a gift of God, not of our selves, like baptism, and it comes thru Christ alone, by grace alone, in faith alone…and then that saved person should be baptized.


Jean-Marc May 6, 2013 at 10:06 am

Thank you very much God Bless that’s helped me understand


Robert May 6, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Great article Jack,
I look at it like this (and, of course, I may be wrong), we are baptized in/with the Spirit when we are saved. The ‘filling’ of the Spirit occurs anytime we fully surrender to Him and get ourselves out of the way. In other words, when we give control of our choices, thoughts, and actions over to the Holy Spirit we can then be ‘filled’ with His presence and power. Anyway, just my thoughts. A great article, Jack. I’m a little surprised that you’re getting flack about it. God bless you, brother.
Yours in Christ,


Joe Sewell June 8, 2013 at 5:46 pm

You love to take on the big ones, don’t you, Jack? :-)

For the extremely literal literates, you’ve got baptism *in* the Holy Spirit vs. baptism *with* the Spirit vs. baptism *of* the Spirit vs. probably numerous other prepositions used precisely or sloppily, all too often referring to a phenomenon that a friend, Jeremy Hodges, put so well: “Satan has done great damage to the church by playing ‘bait-and-switch’ and substituting the Holy Spirit with adrenalin and endorphins.”


Jack Wellman June 8, 2013 at 6:04 pm

Correcting my sloppy grammar let me try this again: Thank you Joe so much my good friend. I guess I like to wear clothing with bull eye’s, or at least so I have been told. :-) Seriously though, I love the quote by Jeremy Hodges. It is spot on my brother.

I remember getting “reamed” a few times when I answered after being asked if I had been baptized into, with, or had the baptism of the Holy Spirit (usually they just say the “Spirit”) and since I can’t answer yes to all three, I just usually say that “I was given the Holy Spirit” but it was not even my own decision!

I do not believe that I can be any more filled up if I were a full tank of gas! You either have the Spirit or you don’t have Him. I don’t like how people use the “Spirit” as an inanimate object or something that you can get, be filled with or be baptized into…like some kind of experience or object…instead of Who He is, God the Holy Spirit.

Can God really be less or more in us if He is in us at all? For example, I am the father at home and could my family be any more filled up with me or any less with me? Now, as for being led by or walking in the guidance of the Holy Spirit, now that something that is altogether different than what they refer to as being “baptized into, with, or by” the Holy Spirit.


Helen Villaruel June 19, 2013 at 9:29 pm

Thank you and i am grateful and happy that you say 100% agree. I hope that this letter will reach to you. I have never yet told anyone(even our Pastor, in our church leaders,friends and even my family)except you about my decision to be Baptize this coming June 25, 2013,Tuesday because it falls on my Birthday and i have also to ask permission from my work. Your the first person i inform because i want to listen some advice or any message regarding my Baptism. Its been awhile or years for me to decide because i am not ready yet. The very reason why i decide now because in our church for so many sunday’s i attend i feel i am not one of them, i am just a listener and going there for an attendance only. I want to share message or to preach if that the word. Before, i ask my Pastor when i can do some church activities he said i have to be Baptize first and its in the bible thats what he told me. So, Pastor Jack i want to hear from you whats is your comments or opinion about this. I know whatever will you say its still my desire and its coming from my heart. Thank you and GOD BLESS….


Jack Wellman June 21, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Amen Helen. I believe that baptism doesn’t save anyone, as you seem to know, but we are told to be baptized after we are saved and so this is an act of obedience. The pastor probably wants your committment and you being baptized shows this to him and the church. I think some churches require it for church membership which I disagree with for that’s nowhere in the Bible but I would do it anyway for its not a big deal if you do.

Even though we are not required to be baptized to join a church I would do it anyway just to follow your local shepherd and also for the reason that you can then begin to dive into serving in different ministries of the church like children’s church, the nursery, Outreach (evangelism), etc. Thank you too for your more than kind words. There is something quite special about you Helen.


Josh June 29, 2013 at 1:09 am


You use the two examples of Paul and Peter but they both spoke in tongues. I agree the Holy Spirit is present and fills at the time of salvation but Peter was present in the upper room Pentecost was filled and spoke in tongues Acts 2:4 and only after the that was he embolden to preach with boldness. (Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.) And Paul says I speak in tongues more than you all in 1 Corinthians 14:18. One last thing do you believe the 120 were saved prior to Pentecost and if so why did they need to be filled again if being baptized/filled with the Holy spirit is in the initial work of salvation. Just some observations and questions.




Scheerie Rovai October 1, 2013 at 10:16 pm

I asked to be baptized in the holy spirit last night at our prayer meeting. I have been saved for years and have felt Gods presence in my life repeatedly. I felt the need to ask God to baptize me in the holy spirit as well last night due to the encouragement and statement made by our pastors wife. She has stated often that if you do not speak in tongues the holy spirit is not in you. Therefore you are not truly saved. I am so confused about this. Can you clarify for me so I can understand this all better. I love and serve God each and every day. Thank you for your input.


Jack Wellman October 2, 2013 at 11:04 am

Hello Scheerie and thank you for your visit here and your question. In all my work in seminary, even in my master’s work, I have never read anything or been taught anything that says that if you don’t speak in tongues you don’t have the Holy Spirit in you. That is totally in error. The pastor’s wife does not know the Bible. Anyone that has repented and placed their trust in Christ has the Holy Spirit in them. This teaching is not found in the Bible. Personally, if this pastor’s wife says this then she believes this and so must her husband, the pastor. If they believe this, I would find another church for it they are in error in this then they are in error in other places I am sure. Please don’t worry for if you have repented and trusted in Christ you have the Holy Spirit and are saved. This belief that if you don’t speak in tongues then you are not saved is outright false and what other things must they believe that are also false. I would find another church right away and one that teaches correct doctrine and straight from the Bible and a church that doesn’t elevate the gifts over the Giftgiver…and that is God Himself.


Damaris July 15, 2014 at 1:19 am

I am a Christian / Pentecostal lady that has received the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” at the age of 18 in a youth camp I attended every year since age 16.

I agree that you don’t have to speak in tongues to be saved. Salvation is a gift from God to anyone who chooses to believe that Jesus Christ is Lord. That he died for our sins and rose again. So one has NOTHING to do with the other.

Some people prefer not to have the evidence of the baptism of the Holy Ghost. … or want it or get it or what have you. Some don’t believe it exists. Some aren’t sure if they believe. Some are scared of it.

But my question is, what is your opinion or what do you think is happening when a truly saved person does speak in tongues? Do you think it’s fake?
The person is living and walking in the spirit. They display the works of the spirit. The pray, fast, read and study the bible. Are in constant communication with God. Love God. Love people. Attend services. Help people. Give tithes and offering. Everything the word of God commands. But they also speak in tongues.

Do you think it’s fake then? And if you do think it’s fake, or emotionalism… do you think that they are NOT saved because they are “making it up” or “faking it”. Which would then grieve the Holy Spirit?

What do you think it is when someone speaks in tongues?

It’s just a curious question. Not, in any way, trying to start a battle. I’m very curious as to what people think is physically or spiritually happening when they speak in tongues.



Jack Wellman July 15, 2014 at 6:55 am

Thank you for your question. I would talk with your local pastor about this since you may not agree with what I think since the Greek word that is translated into the word “tongue” is “language” so the best use of the tongue or language that any Christian can ever use if for is to speak to others in love (1 Cor 13) and to proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and seek those who are going to perish without Christ. I do believe many do fake this tongue experience and have talked to many who said just that but just because they fake it doesn’t mean that they are not saved. To grieve the Holy Spirit is to be sinning. If you read the context of what Paul wrote you will see he was talking about how sin can grieve the Holy Spirit and not misuse of the tongue.


Damaris July 18, 2014 at 12:01 pm

Thank you for your honest response.
My next question is just something to think about.
You don’t need to answer or you don’t even have to think about it, if you don’t want to.

What if there WAS something more (like being baptised in the H.S. and speaking in tongues), WHAT IF?… Wouldn’t you want to know if it was real/true and effective in giving you more power?
If there was a slight chance that speaking in tongues is actually something that does exist, would you want it?

Maybe ask God to talk to you specifically about this area. And be open-minded.
Ask Him (whole-heartedly) to reveal this to you.
Whether it be real or not.
Once and for all.

You might be suprised at what happens.

x0, D


Angel August 2, 2014 at 8:12 pm

I cannot speak in tongues. I am a believer though. God manifested himself in Jesus Christ in a brilliant bright light to me. So, how can I not believe? I am so confused by so many different doctrines and opinions concerning this. :(


Jack Wellman August 2, 2014 at 8:44 pm

Hello Angel. I think I am with you on this. I believe that the greatest use of the tongue is to bless others, to pray to God, and certainly to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with the lost. Unless they hear, how can they be saved and how can they be saved unless we tell them, therefore, is there any greater use of the tongue and the Bible backs this up, than to share the gospel of Jesus Christ? For perhaps the clearest article we have on whether tongues is required for a person to be saved or not (and it isn’t) please read this link my friend called What is Speaking in Tongues at: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/what-is-speaking-in-tongues-a-biblical-analysis/


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