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Acts 19:1-41

Acts 19:1-7:

19:1But it came-to-pass during Apollos being in Corinth, (for) Paul, having gone-through the upper parts, to go-down into Ephesus and to find some learning-disciples, .2and he said towards them, "If you received holy spirit having believed?" But the (learning-disciples said) towards him, "But we have neither heard if some-people receive holy spirit." .3And he said, "Into what therefore were you baptized?" And the (learning-disciples) said, "Into John's baptism." .4But Paul said, "John baptized (with the) baptism of repentance saying to the people (that his purpose is) into the (person) coming after him in order that they may believe – this is: into Jesus." .5And having heard, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus, .6and (after) Paul having put (his) hands on them, the spirit, the holy (spirit), fell on them and they uttered-forth with tongues and they prophesied. .7And all the adult-males were as-though twelve.

It happened while Apollos was in Corinth in Achaia (referenced in Acts 18:27 and 28), that after Paul went through the higher inland areas he then went down into Ephesus (his second time there, as he spoke about in Acts 18:21).

In Ephesus, Paul found some learning-disciples (students, people who already had a certain amount of knowledge regarding God and the things of God and who were interested in learning more). He asked them if they had actively received holy spirit (had they taken what was given to them to use and therefore manifested it forth, the object being holy spirit-life) after they already believed about God and the things of God. However, their answer to Paul began with "But" which indicates "emphatically and on the contrary" telling him that not only had they not received and therefore had not manifested holy spirit-life – but they had not even heard that people are receiving it! They did not know that the gift of holy spirit had already been made available by God via the Lord Jesus Christ.

Then Paul asked: "Into (directed to, with respect to, for) what therefore were you baptized?" Paul's question towards these learning-disciples shows how amazed he was that they did not know that the gift of holy spirit had been made available. Paul did not immediately think, 'Oh, they were probably water-baptized' – because for Paul the only relevant baptism there is since the day of Pentecost (recorded in Acts chapter 2) is baptism in holy spirit!

They said that they had been baptized into the baptism of John (John the baptizer, the baptist, referring to the baptism in/with/by physical water). Their learning went as far as what Apollos had taught some of the people in Ephesus previously before Priscilla and Aquila taught him the way of God more-accurately.

These learning-disciples already knew about John and what he had preached, so they would have known that at some point baptism in holy spirit would be made available, but they did not know that this had already happened. They did not know that Jesus is now the resurrected Christ, nor what had come to pass on the day of Pentecost and all that God and the Lord Jesus Christ have accomplished and made available for mankind.

Paul's response was: "John baptized with the baptism of repentance (pertaining to the changing of a person’s mind from bad to good regarding God and the things of God after re-thinking the matter) saying to the people that he is doing what he is doing for the purpose and result that all of the people would believe into the person coming after him (that they would have faith, trust emphatically directed-to and regarding the one coming behind/later than him time-wise, not John himself) – this means: into Jesus (directed to Jesus, the object of a person’s believing must be Jesus)."

After they heard what Paul said, they were baptized (immersed, surrounded) into the name of the Lord Jesus. They believed what Paul told them and therefore they were baptized into everything that the name of the Lord Jesus represents and stands for – including all of his power and ability and authority, etc, which of course means that these people accepted the gift of holy spirit. They became children of the only true God by means of the Lord Jesus Christ. They now had holy spirit-life within them and so they had become three-part beings (holy spirit-life and soul/breath-life and a physical body), no longer only two-part beings (soul/breath-life and a physical body). They were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus (and we ought to notice that there is no mention of anymore physical water, H2O, being used like it was in John’s baptism).

And after Paul placed (laid) his hands on them, the spirit – emphatically and specifically: the holy spirit – fell (as embracing with its resulting effects in manifestation; some Greek texts read “came”) down on them and they uttered-forth (spoke) with tongues, and they also prophesied (spoke forth God's words communicated to them via their holy spirit-life in a language they could understand). These learning-disciples received holy spirit-life and then they evidenced it in the physical / natural realm in two different ways:

1.      speaking with tongues, and

2.      prophesying.

The number of adult-males (grown men) were as-though twelve.

[There is a similar record in Acts 8:12-17 and it may be helpful for you to read. For further information regarding the manifestation of the one gift of holy spirit, you may read chapters 12-14 of my study on I Corinthians. Refer also to Matthew 3:2-12; Mark 1:7 and 8; Luke 3:16 and 17; John 1:29-34; Acts 1:5 and 8, 2:1-11 and 38, 10:43-46, 13:23-25, 18:25; Romans 10:9-15; I Corinthians 12:10 and 13, 14:1-4; Ephesians 1:13 and 14, 4:3-7.]


A printed paperback book of the complete study of Acts of the Apostles may be purchased at:



True Bible Study - Acts of the Apostles

Paul to Jerusalem and Rome

9 contributions of holy spirit