Written by Jimmy Schools
When I first began my spiritual journey I was always intrigued by the verses that included “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire”. This same statement was used in several gospels.
Luke 3:16 – John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
Matthew 3: 11 I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
Another intriguing section was Mark 16:15-18.
15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” [The earliest manuscripts and some other ancient witnesses do not have verses 9–20.]
This note is included in most translations of the modern bible. It is not included in the KJV 1611, the Geneva Bible 1599 or the Douay-Rheims 1899.
These verses along with many others sparked me on this journey to get a better understanding of what God wanted all of us to learn. The following is a short summary of what I learned over the years. There are many different opinions of this subject. Please do not take my view as the final answer. This is a journey that each person should take on their own.
My first suggestion is to put aside what you have been told all your life, and read the gospel with a fresh new approach. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you the truth and what He needs you to see. There is no need for this to be controversial or divisive. Simply begin with a new openness and a strong desire to seek the truth for your own life.
Let’s begin by reading John 20:21 – Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
This was before the day of Pentecost. Shortly after this we read this:
Acts 1: 4-5 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
Throughout the scripture we find two different types of baptisms. One was John’s baptism of water and repentance, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire.
I kept reading through Acts and saw more confirmation of these 2 separate events in a believer’s life. In Acts 8 Peter and John found new believers that had not received the Holy Spirit, they had simply been baptized in water….
Acts 8: 14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. 15 When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
18 When Simon saw (what did he see?) that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money 19 and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
Then in Acts 10 the reverse order happened. The Holy Spirit had been poured out on them for they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. After that they were baptized with water.
Acts 10:44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.
Then Peter said, 47 “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” 48 So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
In Acts 19 the 2 separate experiences are even more pronounced.
Acts 19:1 While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2 and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
3 So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?”
“John’s baptism,” they replied.
4 Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. 7 There were about twelve men in all.
These scriptures again clearly point out 2 difference baptism. Some people after reading these verses will accept the 2 difference experiences but have a problem accepting the speaking in tongues references or they will say it is not a gift for today’s times.
I think many churches today are not in sync with 1 Corinthians 14:39 on this subject. They come dangerously close to what this verse warns against.
1 Corinthians 14:39 – So, my dear brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and don’t forbid speaking in tongues.
There is almost a complete avoidance of 1 Corinthians 14 in most denominational churches of today. This is sad when Paul even wishes in verse 5 that we could all speak in tongues.
5 I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be edified.
What is the gift of tongues?
The bible points out that tongues are not meant for men.
1 Corinthians 14:2 – For those who speak in a tongue do not speak to other people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit. 3 But those who prophesy speak to people for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort. 4 Those who speak in a tongue edify themselves, but those who prophesy edify the church. 5 I would like every one of you to speak in tongues.
Praying in tongues
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
1 Corinthians 14:14
14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. 15 So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding. 16 Otherwise when you are praising God in the Spirit, how can the others, who are now put in the same situation as an inquirer, say “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since they do not know what you are saying? 17 You are giving thanks well enough, but the others are not edified.
Singing in tongues or the Spirit
17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,
What kind of arguments will you hear against the gift of tongues of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit today?
Many will say Tongues and Prophecy have ceased because 1 Corinthians 13 tells us they will cease when the Perfect comes. They claim that the “Perfect” is the canonization of the bible that happened over a first 300 years after the resurrection. Verse 12 makes it clear this is not what it is talking about. It tells us at that time we will see (Jesus) “face to face” and will know all things “fully”. Obviously that has not happened.
I think this verse is referring to a time when the church finally comes into perfect unity that leads to Christ return. See Ephesians 4 11-16 below:
Ephesians 4:11-16New King James Version (NKJV)
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
1 Corinthians 13 New International Version (NIV)
13 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness (Perfect) comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
- Many will also say there is only one baptism referring to Ephesians 4:5 – one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
This verse is used a lot because it says “one baptism”. You can’t just pull this verse out without putting it in the full context of what is going on and who Paul is talking to. When you start reading from Ephesians 3 you will see that Paul was talking about God’s plan to join the Jews and Gentiles together. See verse 6.
6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
That is the baptism he is talking about. He is pointing out there is no difference between Jew and Gentile anymore.
Some final thoughts….
- If Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever why would he give gifts to the early church and not to the latter day believers?
- If I ask him for good gifts (like the gift of tongues, prophecy, gift of healing etc..) why would he not give them to me in light of the following verses?
Luke 11:11-13New King James Version (NKJV)
11 If a son asks for bread[a] from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”
- Why would Paul spend so much time explaining proper use of the gifts (1 Cor 12,13 and 14) if it was important for the entire church?
- Why would Paul say “Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy” if he knew that is was only for the 12 disciples?
- According to John 20:21 the disciples received the Holy Spirit before the day of Pentecost in Acts 2. – Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
So if they already received the Holy Spirit could it be that on the day of Pentecost they were just “immersed or filled to over flowing, completely baptized by the fire that was promised in Luke 3:16 and Matthew 3:11?
Could it be that we need to be continually filled?
Ephesians 5:18-19King James Version (KJV)
18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
- 1 Corinthians 14:1 Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.
My cessationists friends would have to add this footnote to this verse:
This verse only applies to the original 12 disciples…Well… and Paul and Steven.. Wait….and the 70 disciples Jesus sent out in Luke 10…… and also the 120 in the upper room. Basically God just inspired this instruction to confuse us and make us humble. Actually you can pretty much skip chapters 12, 13 and 14 of 1 Corinthians and the book of Acts for that matter. The book of Acts only purpose was to show us all the cool things he let the early church do. He then had the bible written so we could grow his church by telling others about all the cool things that only those 12 guys could do 2,000 years ago. This also means you should also ignore all the verses of Mark 16 after verse 16 because they are just too weird.
Yes this was an attempt at some sarcastic humor on the subject..
In closing I want to be clear in saying this is my personal understanding of this subject. In the context of Salvation this is small issue. It is not foundational or does it have any bearing on your salvation. If someone tells you must speak in tongues to be saved, they are wrong. On the other side, if someone tells you tongues are of the devil, they are very wrong. Take them back to 1 Corinthians 14:3.
The first question in this journey is have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior? After that step you can begin a new journey that will change your life for all eternity!!
- Word of wisdom
- Word of knowledge
- Gifts of healing’s
- Working of miracles
- Discerning of spirits
- Different kinds of tongues
- Interpretation of tongues
1 Corinthians 12:28
After that: miracles then gifts of healing, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.