“When I am baptised in water, will I also be baptised with the Holy Spirit?” Thats something many people aren’t clear about.

Baptism with water means to be fully immersed or saturated with water. Likewise the baptism with the Holy Spirit means to be saturated with the Holy Spirit who is poured out upon a person. The baptism in water and the baptism with the Holy Spirit don’t always happen at the same time. Let me explain.

The Holy Spirit “in”

Whenever a person makes the decision to follow Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes into that person. The Holy Spirit’s presence in a believers life guarantees their (eternal) inheritance (Ephesians 1:14). The Holy Spirit then works in them to see their life transformed (i.e. 1 Peter 1:2, Galatians 5:22)

As you read through the book of Acts, whenever you see that the Holy Spirit was “in” someone, this refers to the saving and transforming work of the Holy Spirit in a persons life.

The Holy Spirit “on”

But when Acts says that the Holy Spirit had come “on” or “upon” someone (ie Acts 10:44), this refers to the baptism with the Holy Spirit. This also refers to the supernatural empowerment released in and through a persons life (ie 1 Corinthians 12).

The bible gives an example of someone who had been baptised, but hadn’t yet been baptised with the Holy Spirit.

“Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” Acts 19:2 (see also Acts 19:2-6)

When we baptise a person, if they haven’t already been baptised with the Holy Spirit, we will also normally pray for them to be baptised with the Holy Spirit.

Finding out more

If you have more questions about baptism, the following short articles may help