The Holy Spirit: What's The Baptism of the Spirit?

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Today, let's tackle the topic of Holy Spirit baptisms—yeah, you heard that right, "baptisms" with an "s." I believe the New Testament illustrates two distinct types of Holy Spirit baptism. Don't mix this up with water baptism; that's a different matter. We're looking more closely at two unique references to the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

But first, let's make sure we understand the word "baptism" because this might seem like a strange word to some. Baptism means to plunge or immerse. So when we baptize someone or something, we immerse them. Therefore, baptism of the Holy Spirit is to be immersed into His person and His power. And this is a good thing because, as we have discussed the last couple of days, we need both Jesus's saving power and the Holy Spirit's sustaining power.

So, I am going to read two references to the baptism of the Holy Spirit today, one by the apostle Paul and the other by Jesus. First, let's look at the one from Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:13. He states:

For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. — Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:13

So here are a few observations about this text:

  • Spirit baptism here is used corporately/generally to emphasize the "we/oneness" of a worldwide community of believers.
  • Spirit baptism here is used as a new seal of our oneness in a new belief system distinct from the culture (i.e., "Jews and Greeks").
  • Spirit baptism here describes how we are initiated and commune (i.e., "drink") as a believing community.

So, this is a distinct reference to the general baptism and sealing by the Holy Spirit.

Now, let's turn to Jesus, just moments before his ascension. Jesus said this about the baptism of the Holy Spirit in Acts 1:4-5:

And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” — Jesus in Acts 1:4-5

So here are a few observations from this text:

  • Jesus is speaking about Spirit baptism to men who are already believers.
  • Jesus is speaking about Spirit baptism to men who have already been baptized with water, as John taught.
  • Jesus declares Spirit baptism is still to come, and they must wait for it.
  • Jesus declares Spirit baptism will immerse or come upon them by the person and power of the Spirit.

In comparison to Paul, Jesus is speaking about a specific Spirit baptism. Not that it unites and seals us, but a baptism that will give them extraordinary power for a particular ministry. It comes with immediate capacity to do things in given moments for believers. If you read ahead, you will discover this baptism comes upon them in various ways and waves.

Thus, we see two different references to the baptism of the Holy Spirit. One that describes our unity and seal. And another that describes the effect of the Spirit at baptizing moments on a believer's life. And if you read through Acts and Paul's letters, you see this power is manifest in many different ways and waves.

So here is why this is important to discuss. There is often a lot of division in the believing community about the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the signs of this event. Some denominations dismiss certain signs, effects, and behaviors after the time of the early Apostles. They are called Cessationists. They believe specific effects of the Spirit, like miracles, have ceased to exist. To be polite, this belief is an attempt to be doctrinally precise without the recognition that the Spirit can do whatever he wants at any time. He is still the Spirit of God with the power of God. Remember that the Pharisees questioned the Spirit in Jesus on multiple occasions, and they were trying to be doctrinally precise but dead wrong.

On the other hand, some denominations are Continuationists. They believe the Spirit continues to work as he did in the early church. And just so you know, I believe the Bible teaches this, but with a tiny nuance. Here is why. Some Continuationists in certain denominations suggest that if a specific sign is absent (i.e., speaking in tongues), the Spirit baptism has not occurred in a believer. And I cannot assent to this because I believe the Bible teaches there are many manifestations of Spirit baptism, not just one. They come in different ways and waves on a believer.

But regardless of these details and opinions, there are some things we can conclude from what Jesus and Paul said today.

  1. We are connected as a community by Spirit baptism.
  2. We should display definitive evidence of Spirit baptism regardless of the type of effect.
  3. There are definitive and vital moments when we need a Spirit baptism.
  4. We should conclude that we can invite the Spirit to come on us and impart power to do things we know we cannot do.

Like all the disciples before us, we can call on the Spirit and invite him to baptize us. And we should. So, if you have to do something today that you know you cannot do (or even if you can), invite the Spirit to baptize you with his power. And then watch and see what he does. I bet you will be surprised if you will.


  1. How have you experienced or recognized the Holy Spirit's baptism in your own life? Is it more in line with the "oneness" Paul describes or the specific empowering that Jesus talks about?
  2. Are there moments today or in the near future when you know you'll need the Spirit's empowering? How can you consciously invite the Spirit to baptize you in those situations?

DO THIS: Ask the Spirit to baptize you and fill you with his power.

PRAY THIS: Holy Spirit, I acknowledge my need for Your power to live out God's will today. Immerse me in Your presence and equip me with the specific gifts and courage I need to be obedient and effective. May my actions and choices today bring glory to Jesus and draw others closer to Him. Amen.

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32 thoughts on “The Holy Spirit: What’s The Baptism of the Spirit?

  1. Aaron Cox says:

    I have been baptized in the Holy Spirit. What an amazing encounter to feel that power. I also seen the power of the Holy Spirit deliver me from drugs, alcohol and homosexuallity and also seen The Holy Spirit raise my baby boy back to life after 18 minutes of NO oxygen when he was born. He is now 2.5 years old and a very healthy boy with tons of energy. My God is big! He’s the Almighty! He still raises people back from death to life. I am just living proof of that!

  2. gonzalo correa says:

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  3. Tim Hornberger says:

    This is so interesting. The Holy Spirit and His works have always been intriguing. Thank you, Pastor Vince!
    Tim Hornberger, Richfield, PA

  4. gonzalo correa says:

    awesome devo, (as always). Holy Spirit please soak me up in your righteousness, baptize me with all power, wisdom, and understanding that I too may teach Your way and point people to Jesus!!!!

  5. Rick says:

    Such a great explanation of the different ways of Spiritual baptism…. I had no idea!!
    Thank you!!
    Holy Spirit.. I invite you into my life now to give me strength to overcome my narcissism! Thank You Lord!!


  6. Dennis Burk says:

    This is one of the best, most balanced descriptions I’ve read or heard. Thank you so much.
    One of the ministries of the Spirit is to keep us from sin as we walk in him. This needs to be every day. As a LONG time believer, I can just as easily slip (eyes wide-open), into sin that “so easily entangles us”
    It both bothers and infuriates me that I do sin, knowing full well the effects of it.
    Lest I blather on, thanks for today’s word.

  7. Paul P says:

    What helped me understand was Jesus was baptized in water and the Spirit. Matt 3:15

    He definitely had the Spirit with Him prior to that. So the Spirit baptism was a commissioning of power for His ministry.

  8. Bill McLaughlin says:

    Vince, your messages on the Empowering of the HS to do the work of the Gospel Is Spot On!!
    My church COE22 in Jax for the last month has been praying and fasting in preparation for a week we call “Saturated”. Time of renewal .
    Elder lead prayer meeting started our season of prayer and read from Acts starting in 2:14 Peter anointed and Prophecying “this is That that the prophet Joel spoke of”. An empowering of the Holy Spirit where the Church experiences the manifestation of the gifts to the Glory of God. I am an old Hippie that got redeemed in the HS outpouring in 1971 that experienced redemption and the empowering all in the same week. I tell the inmates in prison that God gave me the Lithium battery package early because I needed it!
    I am friends with Michael Mitchell, I also attended your Retreat in Fl last October. There is a Renewal happening ! I do not want to watch what Gos is doing, I want to participate in what He is Doing!!
    Remember the CCR song “put me in coach I’m ready to play. I am 72 and fully engaged.
    God has Anointed you to preach this timely message to the Church !!
    You will sense His Pleasure as you step into doing what He has called you to to do!! He is with you!!

  9. Ruben T. Garcia Sr says:

    Amen Brother Vince, we need the Holy Spirt power in all parts of our lives.

    Ruben T. Garcia Sr
    Gresham, Oregon

  10. Mark Becker says:

    Worland WY
    I have never had a study that dealt with the Holy Spirit like this one!!
    Thank you so much for deepening my understanding and journey 🙌🙌

  11. Bob Ingram says:

    Thanks Vince. You write, ask the Spirit to baptize you with His power. Words matter. This could imply multiple baptisms as needed. Rather than asking the indwelling Spirit to fill or empower me for doing something. He is always in me but not always filling me. I confess, I surrender, I yield to His leading.

  12. Tom Waller says:

    Learned two new terms today. New they existed but didn’t know there was a term for it.
    Cessationists and Continuationists. Thanks for bringing us deeper Vince.

  13. Bob Ingram says:

    Your last paragraph seems to imply that Holy Spirit does not permanently indwell a believer. Can you clarify this. It appears that you imply that baptism occurs as needed by each person and not what happens once at conversion. I am indwelt, but I yield to be empowered as I walk daily. He does not come and go.

  14. David W Krauss says:

    I read 5 devotionals a day. This is one of the best I have come across. Mr Miller takes the time to expand and explain what he’s writing about in such a way I can understand the whole message without scratching my head wondering what was left out. Awesome Devotional.

  15. Jay says:

    In a Christian society that minimizes the power of the Holy Spirit. How refreshing to hear someone stand steadfast on Gods Word. Be immersed daily with the Holy Spirit!

  16. Joe Elliott says:

    Joe Elliott
    Bogue Chitto, MS 39629
    Eph 3:14-21
    that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man… to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

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