Beyond Today

Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow | Learn more...

What is the "baptism of the Holy Spirit"?

You are here

What is the "baptism of the Holy Spirit"?

Login or Create an Account

With a account you will be able to save items to read and study later!

Sign In | Sign Up


Matthew, Mark and Luke all mention that Jesus would baptize people with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11 Matthew 3:11I indeed baptize you with water to repentance. but he that comes after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
American King James Version×
; Mark 1:8 Mark 1:8I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.
American King James Version×
; Luke 3:16 Luke 3:16John answered, saying to them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I comes, the lace of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:
American King James Version×
). This is a symbolic way to represent Christ's giving the Holy Spirit to Christians.

Pentecostal religions teach that the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” enables recipients to “speak in tongues,” because of the unique events on the Day of Pentecost of Acts 2. But what many churches call “speaking in tongues” today is nothing like what the Bible records in the books of Acts and Corinthians. The miracle that occurred on the day of Pentecost in A.D. 31 (Acts 2:4-8 Acts 2:4-8 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?
American King James Version×
) was one of communication—apparently, in this case, not so much in the speaking, as in the hearing. The Greek word translated “tongues” is glossa and means “languages.” The miracle of “speaking in tongues” simply meant that every member of the audience could hear in his or her native tongue (language), regardless of what language the apostles spoke.

Also, some in the early Church, particularly in Corinth, had the supernatural ability to speak in different languages. In that case, speakers were able to use a language that their audience could understand. It would be like speaking Spanish to a Spanish-speaking audience or French to a French-speaking audience. Some members in Corinth were proud of their ability to “speak in tongues,” having lost sight of the fact that they should always use their spiritual gifts to serve others. Paul wrote chapter 14 of 1 Corinthians specifically to deal with this problem.

Paul reminded the Christians in Corinth that speaking different languages was of no real value if an audience could not understand the words. He admonished them to concentrate more on understandable communication than on their linguistic abilities.

All biblical examples stand in stark contrast to the type of “speaking in tongues” done today, in which the speaker utters unintelligible speech. Paul and John warn Christians not be taken in by spiritual-appearing phenomena, indicating that demon spirits sometimes imitate spiritual gifts in an attempt to confuse people (1 Timothy 4:1 1 Timothy 4:1Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
American King James Version×
; 1 John 4:1 1 John 4:1Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
American King James Version×

For more insight, please check out our link A Closer Look at Speaking in Tongues .

You might also be interested in...