Question:

I was reading one of your Q&A's Must you speak in tongues to have the Holy Spirit? I was a bit confused about this tail end of a verse "They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit." Why are their baptisms described as being "only" baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Why only?

Also I appreciate how you fill in the gap between them being baptized and receiving the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but I do not understand where you are getting "gifts of" the Holy Spirit. All I see in the verse is when they laid hands on them, they received the Holy Spirit, not the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I am aware of Paul's promise that all Christian's receive the Holy Spirit upon baptism and I was wondering if that's where you made the assumption of "gifts of the Holy Spirit" from.

Also another thing that has been bothering me is how do you explain "one baptism" in Ephesians 4:5 when it seems there were two baptisms for the apostles and for Cornelius and his household. Also is the promise of being baptized with the Holy Spirit by Jesus in Acts 11:14-16 something that he might do while we are on this earth? Or is it a promise that will be fulfilled one day in heaven?

Thank you very much for you time and closure on some of these questions which have been irking me. Thank you!


Answer:

See: In whose name are we to be baptized? The "only" refers to the fact that they had not yet received gifts from the Spirit. "For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 8:16). "Only" modifies "they had been baptized" not the name in which they were baptized. To get what you think it said, it would have to say: "They had been baptized in only the name of the Lord Jesus."

Logical deduction is a valid way of understanding a passage. Those in Samaria had been baptized, but they had not received the Holy Spirit. So either Peter misspoke in Acts 2:38-39 (which is not possible) or we are dealing with a metonomy where the giver of gifts stands in for the gifts themselves. That gifts of the Holy Spirit were given by the laying on the apostles' hands is seen in: "And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied" (Acts 19:6).

You missed the point Peter made in Acts 11:15-16. "And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, 'John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'" The event with Cornelius and his household was unusual. It had not happened since the start of the church. In other words, this is only the second time people were baptized with the Holy Spirit. Gifts were passed on by the apostles laying hands on people as in Acts 8, but this was not referred to as a baptism of the Holy Spirit. Jesus' promise in Acts 1:5 was fulfilled. "For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now" (Acts 1:5). Nothing in this statement requires that every believer must be baptized by the Holy Spirit to be true. See: Which baptism is referred to as the one baptism of Ephesians 4:5?