EDITORIAL: I know of no subject that is so misunderstood by so many people in the religious world today than the HOLY SPIRIT. There are so many differing concepts held by religious people that it is almost impossible to get them to agree on the subject, the HOLY SPIRIT Or any specifics that relate to it. Because of this wide spread misunderstanding of the subject, those of us that seek to find some solution to the problem have great difficulty. The root of the great disparity between pure Biblical content and emotionalism has been created by such men as Oral Robbers and his family, Benny Hinn, The Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship, and others that have spread the misinformation about the Holy Spirit, His work, The teaching about Him in the Bible, and other areas. In the study that we are preparing here, we want to tear down the current false views and doctrinal concepts of Pentecostal, tongue speaking, miracle working, and healing philosophies that is currently being espoused by many misguided religious teachers today.

While we agree that the Holy Spirit is indeed a member of the Godhead, (i.e., the Trinity),


A word not found in Scripture, but used to express the doctrine of the unity of God as subsisting in three distinct Persons. This word is derived from the Gr. trias, First used by Theophilus (AD 168-183), or from the Lat. trinitas, First used by Tertullian (AD 220), to express this doctrine.

The propositions involved in the doctrine are these:

(1.) That God is one, and that there is but one God (Deut. 6:4; 1 Kings 8:60; Isa. 44:6; Mark 12:29, 32; John 10:30).

(2.) That the Father is a distinct divine Person (hypostasis, subsistentia, persona, suppositum intellectuale), distinct from the Son and the Holy Spirit.

(3.) That Jesus Christ was truly God, and yet was a Person distinct from the Father and the Holy Spirit.

(4.) That the Holy Spirit is also a distinct divine Person. - Easton's Dictionary --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We cannot agree that the Holy Spirit is working today through people just as he worked through human agency many time in the Old Testament and in the early years of the New Testament era. The concept that the Holy Spirit is actively leading, healing, giving miraculous spiritual gifts to men and women today, and revealing inspiration to some people is false teaching. In the first place, the promises of the baptismal endowment of the Holy Spirit was limited to a few people of the early church era. In the second place, the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit were given to individuals of the first century church through a method that limited the duration of the gift - laying on of an apostle's hands. In the third place, the gift of the Holy Spirit promised to those that believe the gospel and are baptized for the remission of sins was not the baptism of the Holy Spirit nor was it the miraculous gifts of the first century either.

POINT ONE: The promise by Christ to his apostles found in the following verses were made specifically to the apostles he had chosen, not others. The promises of the baptism to the apostles of Christ were exclusive.

Luke 24:46-49, 46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And ye are witnesses of these things. 49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high, (KJV).

Acts 1:4-5, 4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. 5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence, (KJV).

CONSIDER THIS: Jesus is telling the apostles that He had chosen, that they were to go to Jerusalem and await the coming of the Holy Spirit -- i.e., the Comforter -- cf., John 14:16-17, > And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; > Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you, The coming of the Comforter to the apostles would equip them for the work of establishing the church and complete the work that Christ had assigned; later Christ said this very thing to them in John 16:12-15,

12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you.

On the day of Pentecost (see Acts 2:1), the 11 apostles of Christ were assembled while they waited for the fulfillment of the above promise from Christ. It is also interesting to note that while they were waiting for the promise to be fulfilled a new apostle was selected by the Lord by the name of Matthias, the selection of Matthias by the Lord made the company of the apostles of Christ, twelve again.

Acts 1:23-26, 23 And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, 25 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. 26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles, (KJV).

The promise to the apostles made by Christ earlier was fulfilled in Acts 2:1-14,

1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. 7 And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? 8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? 9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, 10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. 12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, what meanest this? 13 Others mocking said, these men are full of new wine. 14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: KJV

CONSIDER THIS: We know that the Holy Spirit immersed the 12 apostles because the text says that it did. Please note the contents of verse 14

"But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them"

-- the 12 Apostles of Christ were the ones that received this immersion, not the general audience. Look also at verses 3 and 4, which further indicate that the Apostles of Christ were baptized of the Holy Spirit; becoming recipients of the powers that Jesus told them He would send the Holy Spirit (i.e., comforter) to give to them after He returned to the Father. Later Saul of Tarsus would also receive these special powers when he became an Apostle of Christ (i.e., "… as one born out of due time") --

1 Cor 15:6-10, > After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. > After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. > And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. > For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. > But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me, (KJV).

NOTE: There is no evidence in this text or in any of the verses that relate to this event that would indicate men and women other than the Apostles of Christ were ever baptized of the Holy Ghost (i.e., the Holy Spirit). This is a very important point to accept as one seeks a Scriptural view of the Holy Spirit and His work. Indeed, the Lord promise the apostles that He would baptize them in the Holy Spirit, this is a promise to the apostles, this promise was never made to anyone else. The promise included the ability of the apostles to finish the work of Christ and establish the truth of it by miraculous activity.

POINT TWO: The miraculous spiritual gifts discussed in 1 Corinthians 12-14 are not referring to the baptism of the Holy Spirit that the Apostles of Christ received. The Spiritual Gifts mentioned by Paul in the Book of 1st Corinthians has reference to miraculous gifts that men received from God through the laying on of the hands of one of the 12 Apostles of Christ, or of those endowed with that power by an Apostle of Christ --

Examples -

Acts 5:12, 12 And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch. KJV

Acts 6:5-6, - 5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: 6 Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. KJV

Acts 8:14-17, - 14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: 15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: 16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) 17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. KJV

Acts 14:3, - 3 Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands. KJV

Acts 19:11-12, - 11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: 12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them. KJV

1 Tim 4:14, - 14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.

2 Tim 1:6, - 6 wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.

POINT THREE: The gift of the Holy Spirit promised to those that obey the gospel -- Acts 5:32, - 32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.
Acts 2:38, - 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. KJV

CONSIDER THIS: The gift mentioned here refers to something from the Holy Spirit that all who have faith in Christ and obey the gospel will receive. There have been several different views about the gift discussed in these two passages. We must always be aware of the fact that we cannot make an application of this gift that does damage to the context of other passages elsewhere, there are three different endowments discussed in this article - "BAPTISM" - "MIRACULOUS GIFTS" - "THE GIFT of Acts 2:38: 5:32"

Is the gift mentioned here "Salvation from sin"? Many people take the position that it is. The position is not unscriptural. Yet there are other possibilities that we must also explore.

Is the gift "the completed Written Word of God (i.e., the Bible)"? Many people also take this position. Indeed it is true that the inspiration of the Bible has been accomplished via the work of the Holy Spirit, it is also the work of the other members of the Godhead.

Is the gift one of the following: The Baptism of the Holy Spirit or the Miraculous Spiritual Gifts? I am convinced that this cannot be the gift mentioned here in Acts 2 and Acts 5.

We are told via the Scriptures that Christ Dwells in us - {2 Cor 13:5, "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? KJV}, that God dwells in us - {1 John 4:4, "Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. KJV}, and we are told in these two passages in Acts that the Holy Spirit dwells in us too - Acts 2:38: 5:32).

NOTE: It seems to me that since all members of the Godhead dwell in the child of God (i.e., those that have obeyed the gospel and are walking in the light), it is reasonable to suggest that they dwell in us to whatever degree we are faithfully maturing in the faith day by day. All Christians will receive this gift whenever conversion takes place and they consistently grow toward the Divine Pattern - 2 Peter 3:18 Eph 4:15, But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: -- it will become more and more obvious that the Godhead dwells in them by their goodly life, morals, and ethics.

By Garreth L. Clair

Return to the General Articles page

Return to the Special Studies page on the Holy Spirit

Home / Bible studies / Bible Survey / Special Studies / General Articles / Non-Bible Articles / Sermons / Sermon Outlines / Links / Questions and Answers / What Saith The Scriptures /Daily Devotional / Correspondence Courses / What is the Church of Christ / Book: Christian Growth / Website Policy / E-mail / About Me /