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Particulars of Christianity:
309 Baptisms


Synonymous Phrases: Baptism in the Holy Spirit

Preface for Baptisms Article Series
Baptisms: Introduction and Historical Background
Original Proclamations about Baptism
Two Baptisms Occurring Separately
Baptizo: Two Baptisms, One Greek Word
Synonymous Phrases: Baptism in the Holy Spirit
Water Baptism in Jesus' Name
No Record of Paul's Water Baptism
Is Baptism Essential to Salvation?
Acts 1: Parallel Account of the Great Commission
Necessity of Water Baptism: 3 Common Arguments
Survey 1: Baptisms in Acts
The Baptism of Crispus (and Assuming Evidence)
Survey 2: Baptism from Romans to Revelation
Baptism and Hebrews 10:22
Conclusions: When and How Are We Reborn?
Survey 3: Baptism and the Ante-Nicene Authors
Closing: Water Baptism for the Right Reasons



As we move ahead in our study, we will begin to do some surveys of baptism in the New Testament. But before we can begin our survey, we first need to see that there were several phrases in the New Testament that functioned as synonyms for baptism in the Holy Spirit.

Acts 1:5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence...8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Here in Acts 1, we find that Jesus is instructing the apostles that they would soon receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit. He also tells them that after the Holy Spirit comes upon them, they will also receive power. Of course, this statement by Jesus was fulfilled in the opening passages of the very next chapter. But before we move on to Acts 2, we should take note that in verse 8, Jesus uses the phrase "the Holy Spirit is come upon you" as a synonym for baptism in the Holy Spirit, which he has just mentioned in verse 5.

Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Here in Acts 2, we see the apostles being filled with the Holy Spirit, just as Jesus had instructed them in the previous chapter. And, just as Jesus had said, they also received miraculous power at that time as well as signified by their speaking in tongues. However, here in Acts 2, we also find our second synonymous phrase for baptism in the Holy Spirit. Remember from the first section of this series that the Greek word "baptizo" means "immerse." So, its not surprising that in verse 4, the phrase "filled with the Holy Spirit" is synonymous with being baptized (or "immersed") in the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

Here in Acts 2:17, Peter refers back to the prophet Joel. Peter is appealing to Joel as an explanation of the fact that he and the other apostles had just received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Yet, Joel does not use the phrase "baptize in the Holy Spirit." Instead, he uses the phrase "pour out my Spirit upon." From this we can see that "pour out my Spirit" was considered by Peter to be a synonym for baptism in the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Here in Acts 2:38, Peter refers to baptism in the Holy Spirit using the synonymous phrase "receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."

Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

Here in Acts 4:31 we see that again the place where the apostles and disciples are is shaken and they are filled with the Holy Spirit. This further indicates that "filled with the Holy Spirit" is a synonym for baptism in the Holy Spirit, which also originally occurred in Acts 2 along with the shaking of the house at that time.

In Acts 10 below, we will see many of these synonyms used in the very same passage.

Acts 10:44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, 47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

In this chapter we see the first Gentile converts receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit just as the apostles had in chapter 2. Verse 46 further demonstrates this where it tells us that these first Gentile converts began to "speak with tongues," just as the apostles in Acts 2. And here in Acts 10, we see baptism in the Holy Spirit being referred to using the synonymous phrases "Holy Spirit fell on them," "poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit," and "received the Holy Spirit."

Later, in Acts 11, Peter retells this same event.

Acts 11:15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. 16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. 17 Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?

What is significant about how Peter retells this story here in Acts 11 is that he directly equates it with the Lord's words in Acts 1:5, 8 wherein the Lord quoted John the Baptist's original teaching about the two forms of baptism. Peter also says, "the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning." In doing so, Peter equates the Holy Spirit falling on the Gentiles with the experience of the apostles on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2.

By relating these experiences from Acts 2 and Acts 10 back to the words of Jesus in Acts 1:5, 8 (which were a quote of John the Baptist), Peter demonstrates three things. First, he demonstrates that those events were baptisms in the Holy Spirit and so the phrase "Holy Spirit fell on" becomes a synonym for baptism in the Holy Spirit. Second, since Peter also refers to this as "the same gift," (a phrase he also used in Acts 10:54), he is also reinforcing that the phrase "the same gift" or "gift of the Holy Spirit" is another synonym for baptism in the Holy Spirit. And third, Peter affirms that he viewed these events as a fulfillment of the teaching and expectation first asserted by John the Baptist regarding baptism.

Lastly, we can relate this teaching about the baptism in the Holy Spirit with a previous teaching given by Jesus in John 7., which will further establish other synonymous phrases for baptism in the Holy Spirit.

John 7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

Here in John 7 we see Jesus teaching about the baptism in the Holy Spirit. We know he is teaching about the Baptism in the Holy Spirit because the John takes the time to make note of that specifically for us in verse 39 where he tells us that the Holy Spirit had not yet been given because Jesus had not yet been crucified and resurrected in his glorified body. This pinpoints the time when the Holy Spirit is first given to a period after the crucifixion and resurrection, which of course was the day of Pentecost recorded in Acts 2. Yet here in John 7 we see the phrases "drink," "rivers of living water," "receiving the Holy Spirit," and "giving the Holy Spirit" all functioning as synonyms for baptism in the Holy Spirit.

At this point we have concluded our survey establishing all the synonymous phrases used to refer to the baptism in the Holy Spirit. We will now make a list of those synonyms for the sake of simplicity and as a quick reference for later on in our study.

1. "Baptized in the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, John 1:26, 33, Acts 1:5, 8, Acts 11:14-18)
2. "Filled with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:1-4, 4:31)
3. "The Holy Spirit poured out upon" (Acts 2:16-17, Acts 10:44-48)
4. "Received the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38, Acts 10:44-48, John 7:37-39)
5. "Holy Spirit fell on" (Acts 11:14-18)
6. "Gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 10:44-48, Acts 11:14-18)
7. "Drink of the Holy Spirit" (John 7:37-39)
8. "Rivers of living water from within" (John 7:37-39)

So, why have we compiled this list of synonyms for baptism in the Holy Spirit? Simple. By knowing what terms and phrases the early Church used to refer to baptism in the Holy Spirit, we now know to look for such phrases as we read the New Testament. And when we spot such a phrase, what now know exactly what the author is referring to.