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How do we explain Acts 19 on being baptized

In Acts 19:2-6 Paul asked “ Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John's baptism.” Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied .”

We find those who are baptized by John in water, later had to be baptized in Christ. Vs. 2: “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They reply they have not as much heard whether there is a Holy Spirit. This is years afterward, and they had not heard that the one John was preparing them for (who would be the one to baptize them in the Holy Spirit) had already come. They did not know the gospel, that Messiah died and rose from the dead, only that they were baptized for repentance by John, still anticipating the Messiah would come.

They said they were baptized “Into John's baptism.” Paul finds that they are still disciples of John. This group was water baptized for repentance and never received the Spirit that was given to believers in the gospel. They probably left before Jesus was identified to them as the Messiah, they had not heard of his ministry. They were not there for the Samaritans getting saved in acts or the Gentiles being saved in Acts 10 or at Pentecost. These were Jews that had not heard of Christ’s death and resurrection, nor Pentecost.

What this clearly shows is that water baptism is different from Spirit baptism, since they were already water baptized by John. Paul laid hands on them to approve their admittance into the body of Christ.


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