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Truth Column

The outpouring of the Spirit

As far as the Book of Acts is concerned, giving has the same meaning as falling. In the case of Samaria, the Spirit is described as having fallen upon none of them after the listeners had been baptised before the arrival of Peter and John (Acts 8:16). However, after the Spirit came, it is stated that the Spirit was given (Acts 8:17). In the case of Cornelius, the word “pour” is used (Acts 10:45) stressing that the Spirit had been given upon all those who heard the word (Acts 10:44).

Peter uses the experience he had with Cornelius and his family’s reception of the Spirit as the basis for him to support the church receiving Gentile converts. In his defence, on two separate accounts, he uses the words “fall” and “give” to express that the coming of the Spirit on Pentecost was no different from the coming of the Spirit in the house of Cornelius (Acts 11:15; 15:8). Being “baptised by the Spirit” is the same as when the Spirit is in a person, when that person receives Him. The case of Cornelius serves as an apt example of this (Acts 1:5; 11:15-16).

Jesus says that the Father and He would come to those who love Him by keeping His word (Jn. 14:23). True enough, in the ministry of the apostles, those who obeyed the word were given the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:32). In Ephesus, Paul met a group of believers who were first baptised by John the Baptist. Furthermore, they were ignorant of the teachings of the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:2-3). After preaching to them, they were re-baptised in the name of Jesus. When Paul laid hands on them, the Spirit came upon them (Acts 19:6).

So, looking at all these cases, it is not difficult to understand that all these terms point to, and denote, the coming of the Spirit upon those who had believed.

[To be continued...]

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