Question #26: Describe the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit.” When does it occur and what does it mean?

Answer: The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the act of God in symbolically immersing the believing person into the family of God.  It occurs immediately at conversion and it means that the believer is now indwelt by the Holy Spirit.  James Dunn writes the following concerning “The relation between Spirit baptism and conversion.”  He explains, “In the two Acts passages the metaphor retains the initiatory significance given it by John the Baptist. Ac 2:4 fulfills the promise of Ac 1:5. Since the outpouring of the Spirit was seen as the mark of ‘the last days’ (Is 44:3; Ez 39:29; Jl 2:28, 29), it was by being thus baptized in Spirit that the disciples began to experience the last days for themselves (Ac 2:17, 18). Ac 11:17 speaks of Pentecost as the occasion when they came to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord. Similarly the apostle Paul sees the gift of the Spirit as the beginning of Christian experience (2 Cor 1:22; Gal 3:3), so that ‘having the Spirit of Christ’ is the defining mark of the Christian (Rom 8:9). By being baptized in Spirit, Cornelius and his friends received the forgiveness and salvation that Peter promised them (Ac 10:43–45; 11:13–18). ‘Baptized in Spirit’ is there synonymous with ‘granted repentance unto life’ (11:18) and ‘cleansed their hearts by faith’ (15:8, 9).”

[Reference:  Elwell and Beitzel, Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, 262.]


One-Minute Theology with Chaplain T features the question and answer portions of the Systematic Theology courses that were part of my seminary work at Piedmont Baptist Graduate School. I will be posting one Q & A everyday until my ordination council meeting set for February 2014.

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