Baptism of the Holy Spirit: What It Means & How We Get It Wrong

The words baptism and spirit in bold with article copy in the background.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit has been a subject of debate and much discussion among Christians over the years. What exactly does it mean to be baptized in the Spirit? Is it a distinct event that occurs after conversion, as some maintain, or an integral part of salvation universally experienced by all believers? And what is its significance redemptive-historically, particularly as it finds expression at Pentecost (Acts 2)?

In this article, we’ll seek to answer the question, “What is the baptism of the Holy Spirit?” by examining the biblical evidence, analyzing various interpretations, and attending to its theological significance.

Where does the Bible talk about the “baptism of the Spirit”?

The New Testament uses the language of “baptism in [or ‘with’] the Spirit” seven times. Four of the references come from the lips of John the Baptist, and one each comes from Jesus, Peter, and Paul, respectively:

Chart featuring the different time baptism of the Holy Spirit is mentioned in the New Testament

All four of the Gospel accounts record John the Baptist’s prediction, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Luke 3:16; cf. Matt 3:11; Mark 1:8; John 1:33).

The next two occurrences of this language come to us in the book of Acts. In Acts 1:5 (cf. Luke 24:49), Jesus looks forward to the fulfillment of this promise at Pentecost (Acts 2:1–36). And in Acts 11:16, Peter looks back on its fulfillment, now extended to Gentiles (Acts 10:44–48; 11:15–18).

Although not using the exact language, given their similarity to these other passages that present Spirit baptism, the following narratives in Acts also seem to depict this phenomenon: the reception of the Spirit among the Samaritans (Acts 8:14–17) and the disciples of John in Ephesus (Acts 19:1–7).

Finally, the last occurrence of explicit Spirit-baptism language comes to us in 1 Corinthians 12:12–13, where Paul draws out some of the theological implications of this phenomenon.

What does “baptism of the Spirit” mean?

Six of the New Testament’s seven occurrences of Spirit baptism all use the exact same language, speaking of baptism “in” or “with” the Holy Spirit.1 In each of these constructions, Jesus is the agent, the one who performs the baptism, and the Spirit is the medium (or “element”) into which recipients are baptized. John the Baptist’s water baptism forms a comparison, making this all the more clear: as John (agent) baptized with water (medium), so Jesus will baptize folks with (or into) the Holy Spirit (Matt 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33; Acts 1:5; 11:16). This corresponds with the explanation Peter gives at Pentecost, in which he also designates Christ as the agent of this baptism: “Having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he [Christ] has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing” (Acts 2:33).

In contrast, however, 1 Corinthians 12:13 speaks of Spirit baptism in a slightly different way. It’s mildly ambiguous: Does it designate the Spirit as the medium of this baptism once again (“in” or “with the Spirit”), or does it indicate agency (“by the Spirit”), naming the Spirit as the one who conducts this baptism? The preposition can have either function depending on the context. And English translations are split, with ESV, NRSV, NET translating it as “in” or “with,” suggesting the Spirit again is the medium into which recipients are baptized (with Christ as its presumed agent once again), and the KJV, NASB, CSB, NIV, and NLT using “by,” making the Spirit the actual agent of this baptism.

Those who argue for the latter sometimes draw theological implications from this distinction. Sinclair Ferguson explains,

It has frequently been argued that Paul is speaking here about a Spirit-baptism distinct from the Spirit-baptism prophesied by John and Jesus and experienced at Pentecost. In the latter baptism, Christ is the baptizer and the Spirit is the element; in this baptism, the Spirit is the baptizer and the body of Christ is the object into which we are baptized.2

Pentecostals sometimes distinguish this baptism (in their view) performed by the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12:13, a baptism which all believers experience, from the baptism in (or with) the Spirit as recounted in the book of Acts, which they distinguish from conversion and which is not necessarily shared by all believers (more on this below).3

In my judgment, it’s far more probable that 1 Corinthians 12:13 simply refers to the same Spirit baptism seen elsewhere, with en pneumati once again functioning “locatively,” designating the Spirit as the medium (or location or sphere) of this baptism. The following reasons support this conclusion:

1. The language in each passage that refers to a baptism connected to the Spirit remains essentially unchanged in each instance,4 with Christ clearly the baptizer in every other case

Given the infrequency—and even peculiarity—of this language, it’s far more natural to assume that what is being described in 1 Corinthians 12:13 is the same phenomenon described elsewhere.

2. Paul uses two parallels clauses in 1 Corinthians 12:13 to describe believers’ initiation in the Spirit

Not only does he say we are baptized in one Spirit, but we are also made to drink one Spirit. Now if the Spirit serves as the object in the latter statement (the Spirit is what believers drink), then most likely he is the object, and not the agent, in the former statement—what believers are baptized into, not the one doing the baptism).

3. As James Dunn observes, “In the NT [this construction]5 never designates the one who performs the baptism; on the contrary, it always indicates the element in which the baptisand is immersed (or with which he is deluged)—except, of course, when it is part of a fuller phrase.”6

So in summary, as Peter explained (Act 2:33), Christ sent the Spirit at Pentecost, thus making Christ the one who performs this baptism in that Spirit. Consistent in each instance then, Jesus is the baptizer and the Spirit is the medium (or element) with which believers are baptized.

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But what exactly is baptism with the Spirit? What exactly are we talking about when we speak of “baptism in the Spirit”?

The language of “baptism” provides an analogy. Graham Cole explains,

But what is meant by “baptize” in the expression “baptize … with the Holy Spirit”? The term has a range of possible meanings including, “to dip,” “to bathe,” or “to wash (by immersing),” or metaphorically, “to deluge with” or “to overwhelm.” … [T]he expression is metaphorical. [John] the Baptist sees some analogy between his rite and the work of the coming one. His medium is water but the coming one’s medium will be the Holy Spirit.7

In other words, as John baptized people with water, so now Christ baptizes, but the “element” with which he baptizes is the Holy Spirit. And as we follow the book of Acts, this baptism with the Spirit is equated with receiving the Holy Spirit (see Peter’s description in Acts 2:38, “You will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”). The baptism with the Holy Spirit then is, quite simply, that initial reception of the Spirit from Christ.

I suspect the language of “baptism” intentionally corresponds to descriptions elsewhere of Christ “pouring out” the Spirit (e.g., Acts 2:33; 10:45). Both terms employ water metaphorically to refer to the distribution and reception of the Spirit.

Elsewhere in the New Testament, we learn that Spirit baptism is the means by which believers are incorporated into Christ and made part of his body (1 Cor 12:12–13). Via the presence of his Spirit, we are united to Christ and experience all the saving benefits found in him (e.g., 1 Cor 1:30; Phil 3:9).

Christ’s gift of the Spirit to permanently indwell his followers marks a significant redemptive-historical shift (Acts 2:33; John 7:39). As Susanne Calhoun explains,

[John] the Baptist’s prophecy signals a profound transition from the Spirit occasionally anointing and filling rare individuals under the old covenant to the widespread gift of the Spirit for God’s people under the new covenant.”8


Dispensationalism holds that God has two distinct redemptive programs for Israel and the church, respectively, consisting of certain promises for Israel and others for the church. To preserve this distinction, more traditional and classical dispensationalists maintain that the baptism of the Spirit is uniquely a possession of the church (in distinction from Israel), and thus nowhere promised to Israel in the Old Testament. For instance, the late dispensational theologian, Charles Ryrie, states,

No Old Testament prediction of the baptism [of the Spirit] exists, and our Lord said it would happen for the first time when the Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 1:5).9

Again, the underlying rationale (or hermeneutic) is the Israel/church distinction. He explains,

[Spirit Baptism] was first predicted not in any Old Testament passage but by John the Baptist (Matt. 3:11 and parallels). … This distinctive ministry served a particular purpose—adding people to the body of Christ—and since the body of Christ is distinctive to this age, then the baptizing work of the Spirit also would be.10

But this directly contradicts Peter’s explanation of the events of Pentecost (Acts 2). Having ascended into heaven as the reigning Davidic king (Acts 2:22–36), Christ pours out the Holy Spirit on his people (Acts 2:33, cf. 2:1–4). This outpouring of the Spirit manifests in the recipients speaking various unlearned languages (often translated “tongues”; Acts 2:4–13). Elsewhere in Acts, this reception of the Spirit at Pentecost is explicitly referred to as a baptism with the Spirit (cf. Acts 1:4–5; 11:15–17). And, as Peter explains (contrary to Ryrie and other dispensationalists), this Pentecostal outpouring of the Spirit fulfills Old Testament expectations.

In answer to the crowds’ question, “What does this mean?” (Acts 2:12)—that is, what just happened; and why are these folks speaking all sorts of languages they don’t know?—Peter quotes Joel 2:28–32 (Acts 2:14–21). He concludes, this outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost is what Joel prophesied (Acts 2:16). In other words, the church, this new community of Jesus followers, is the eschatological (end-time) Israel on whom God has now poured out his end-time Spirit, as predicted by prophets like Joel and others (e.g., Ezek 36:26–27; 37:1–14).

And this Spirit-filled, end-time Israel will not be confined to Jews only. As the narrative of Acts progresses and the gospel spreads to new regions, this same outpouring of the Spirit occurs among Samaritans (Acts 8:1–25) and Gentiles as well (Acts 10:1–11:18; cf. Eph 2:11–22; Gal 3:13–14, 28–29).

The case of Cornelius (Acts 10:1–11:18) is particularly insightful in demonstrating this. In God’s providence, once again it’s Peter who witnesses these events and provides an explanation. This time the Spirit comes upon Cornelius, a Gentile and God-fearing centurion (Acts 10:44–47). The narrative—both Luke’s description of the event (Acts 10:44–47) and Peter’s report of it (Acts 11:15–18)—intentionally uses language that connects and compares this incident to the initial outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2). For instance, identical language is used to describe the Spirit’s arrival: outpouring (Acts 2:17, 18, 33; 10:45); in both accounts, the Spirit’s reception is referred to as a “baptism” (Acts 1:5; 11:16) or “gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38; 10:45); in both cases, the Spirit’s newly arrived presence manifests in the recipients speaking unlearned languages (Acts 2:1–13; 10:46). Peter’s commentary makes the connection explicit (all emphasis is added): “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have” (Acts 10:47); “the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning,” i.e., at Pentecost (Acts 11:15); “God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 11:17; see also Peter’s speech in Acts 15:7–11).

Peter’s point is that the same gift of the Spirit that was given at Pentecost—fulfilling Old Testament prophecies like Joel 2—has now been extended to Gentiles as well (and Samaritans too, we might add; Acts 8:1–25). Pentecost, we might say, has “hit the road”; it’s gone mobile, with Acts 8 and Acts 10 being something like a “Samaritan Pentecost” and “Gentile Pentecost,” respectively. These events signal the entry of the gospel into Samaritan and Gentile worlds, reflecting the book’s programmatic statement in Acts 1:8.

Second Blessing?

Pentecostal theology11 asserts that the baptism of the Spirit is a second work of grace, distinguished from regeneration and the indwelling of the Spirit, that enables believers to experience increased holiness and endues them with power for Christian service. As the statement of faith of the Assemblies of God, the largest Pentecostal denomination, states, the baptism of the Spirit is “distinct from and subsequent to the experience of the new birth.”12 In other words, in Pentecostal theology, the baptism of the Spirit is not something that all believer’s necessarily possess, but is something they must “ardently expect and earnestly seek.”13 Furthermore, for most Pentecostals, speaking in other “tongues” (or languages) serves as the necessary evidence that the baptism of the Spirit has occurred.14

However, in 1 Corinthians, Paul asserts that every believer has been baptized in the Spirit: “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body” (1 Cor 12:13). In fact, Paul’s entire argument depends on this fact, for he argues for the unity of believers as one body based on their unity in all sharing in the same Spirit. So commentator Anthony Thistleton explains,

Any theology that might imply that this one baptism in 13a in which believers were baptized by [or in] one Spirit might mark off some postconversion experience or status enjoyed only by some Christians attacks and undermines Paul’s entire argument and emphasis.15

As Paul says elsewhere, believers all have the one same Spirit (Eph 2:18; 4:4). His presence characterizes every believer without exception, for “anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him” (Rom 8:9). The Spirit is the believer’s seal, firstfruits, and guarantee of salvation (Rom 8:23; 2 Cor 1:22; Eph 1:13–14). Moreover, Spirit baptism cannot occur subsequent to conversion and union with Christ since, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:12–13, baptism in the Spirit is the means by which we are incorporated into Christ and his body.16

Thus, nowhere does the New Testament command believers to seek or receive the baptism of the Spirit.17 Nor can tongues-speaking be its necessary evidence, for as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12, not all speak in tongues (1 Cor 12:30; see also vv. 4–11) despite all having been baptized in the Spirit (1 Cor 12:13). As Craig Blomberg aptly concludes,

[N]othing is said about the Corinthians having any two-stage experience. If the entire church had been baptized in the Spirit, including the large number of “carnal” Christians Paul elsewhere rebukes (1 Cor. 3:1–4), then clearly Spirit-baptism cannot guarantee a certain level of Christian maturity or holiness. And if no one spiritual gift was held by all Corinthian believers (1 Cor. 12:29–30), then neither may Spirit-baptism be uniformly equated with the reception of any particular gift of the Spirit.18

What then of passages like Acts 2:1–4, 8:14–17, and 19:1–7 in which the Holy Spirit is received by those who are already believers or disciples?

Regarding Acts 19:1–7, most likely these disciples of John the Baptist were not yet believers in Jesus, as indicated by the fact that Paul proceeds to tell them about Jesus and then baptizes them in his name. If this is the case, then Acts 19:1–7 does not refer to actual believers who received the Holy Spirit subsequent to conversion. But even if these were genuine believers, the circumstances in which these individuals found themselves were without question unique and unrepeatable. The peculiarity of the whole ordeal finds its explanation in the fact that these disciples found themselves caught “between the times.” Like Washington Irving’s fictional character Rip Van Winkle who wakes up from a twenty-year nap having missed the American Revolutionary War, these disciples looked to John but had missed the arrival of Jesus to whom John was pointing.

The reason the apostles receive the Spirit in Acts 2:1–4 following their conversion is that they became believers in Jesus prior to the era in which this new ministry of the Holy Spirit began. As Sinclair Ferguson expounds, we ought not to conclude

that the disciples’ experience is paradigmatic for the church, for the obvious reason that they, uniquely, span the period of transition from old to new covenant faith. Their experience is epoch-crossing, and consequently atypical and non-paradigmatic.19

The delay of the Spirit in Acts 8:14–17 most likely occurs in order to allow delegates from among the apostles to first be present for this outpouring of the Spirit, thus providing indubitable proof to the so-far-largely-Jewish church that the Samaritans are now also included. Even within the book of Acts, such incidences are idiosyncratic and thus not normative. Further conversion accounts—the Ethiopian Eunuch, Saul, Cornelius, Lydia, the Philippian jailer—make no mention of such delays, or even at times explicitly indicate otherwise (e.g., Acts 2:38; 10:44–48; 11:15). Neither, throughout the book, does tongues-speaking always accompany Spirit baptism. Rather, the phenomenon seems to serve a particular function in the outworking story of Acts. First, these tongues indicate the initial outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2:1–13). And second, as Peter and others experienced, tongues served to make clear the Spirit’s spread to new people groups like the Gentiles (Acts 10:45–47).20

Importantly, Pentecost must be understood as a unique redemptive-historical event. Richard Gaffin elaborates,

“Pentecost—along with Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension—is an essential part in the once-for-all event-complex in the history of redemption that forms the culmination of his saving work. The events in Luke-Acts related to Pentecost have their primary significance in terms of the once-for-all accomplishment of salvation, not its ongoing application. Pentecost belongs to the historia salutis, not the ordo salutis. The significance of Pentecost, then, is not first of all experiential but epochal. Pentecost, as we have seen, does not provide the model or pattern for Holy Spirit baptism understood as a ‘second blessing’ in addition to salvation by faith, to be sought by all believers but experienced only by some believers in distinction from others. As a climactic event in the history of redemption, Pentecost is constitutive for the church as a whole and so is the basis and has a bearing on the experience of the Spirit of not just some but everyone in the church, of not only some but everyone united to Christ by faith and in that union baptized with the Spirit.”21

In other words, just as the death and resurrection of Christ were one-time events, never to be repeated, so too was Pentecost. We should therefore no more expect Pentecost to be repeated than we expect Christ to be re-crucified and once again raised from the dead. That’s because Pentecost—and I include here its Samaritan (Acts 8) and Gentiles expansions (Acts 10)—belongs to that sequence of once-and-for-all events whereby Christ accomplished redemption and ushered in a new era of salvation history. Pentecost is a constitutive element of the saving work of Christ, following his incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension (see Acts 2:33). This side of Pentecost, we partake in what it accomplished. But we should no more think of this along the lines of a repetition of Pentecost any more than we should think of our participation with Christ in his death and resurrection (e.g., Rom 6:1–14) as the recurring of those events.


The baptism of the Spirit is Christ’s bestowal of the Holy Spirit upon every believer at the moment of his or her salvation. By this baptism, we are united to Christ, made members of his body, and thereby experience all the blessings of salvation which are to be found in him. Apart from those uniquely redemptive-historical cases in the book of Acts, baptism in the Spirit is neither separated from conversion nor is tongues-speaking its necessary sign. At Pentecost Christ first pours out the Spirit upon his church, fulfilling the Old Testament hopes that God would pour out his Spirit upon Israel in the latter days.

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  1. These use the Greek preposition εν (en).
  2. Sinclair B. Ferguson, The Holy Spirit, ed. Gerald Bray (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996,) 88.
  3. Interestingly, mid-Acts (or ultra-) dispensationalism, unrelated to Pentecostalism, also appeals to this distinction between a baptism with (or in) the Spirit (such as in Acts) from a baptism by the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12:13. As Ryrie explains, they do this in “to support their teaching of two churches within the Acts period. The Petrine church, or Jewish church, existed from Pentecost to Paul, and the body church from Paul on. The Jewish church received power by the baptism in the Spirit, and the Pauline, or body, church is formed by the baptism by the Spirit.” Charles Caldwell Ryrie, Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1999), 420.
  4. As Chad Brand notes, the only difference in Paul’s construction in 1 Cor 12:13 is “the addition of the word ‘one’ [Spirit] and the past tense” and use of “the passive voice, but that is to be expected with the subject shifting from ‘He’ [Jesus] to ‘we’ [Christians].” Chad Brand et al., eds., Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003), 170.
  5. That is, en with baptizein.
  6. James D. G. Dunn, Baptism in the Holy Spirit: A Re-Examination of the New Testament Teaching on the Gift of the Spirit in Relation to Pentecostalism Today, 2nd ed. (Norwich: Hymns Ancient & Modern Ltd, 2010), 128. Pentecostal exegete Gordon Fee agrees: “Nowhere else does this dative with the verb ‘baptize’ imply agency (i.e., that the Spirit does the baptizing); rather, it always refers to the element ‘in which’ one is baptized.” The First Epistle to the Corinthians, ed. Ned B. Stonehouse, F. F. Bruce, Gordon D. Fee, and Joel B. Green, rev. ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2014), 671.
  7. Graham A. Cole, He Who Gives Life: The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit, ed. John S. Feinberg (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2007), 182.
  8. Susanne Calhoun, “The Baptism of the Holy Spirit,” in Lexham Survey of Theology, eds. Mark Ward, Jessica Parks, Brannon Ellis, and Todd Hains (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2018).
  9. Charles Caldwell Ryrie, Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1999), 418.
  10. Charles Caldwell Ryrie, Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1999), 417.
  11. Pentecostals are most notable for this sort of theology. However, they are not alone. J. I. Packer explains: “The idea that the apostolic experience of Acts 2 (cf. 4:31) is a paradigmatic model and a personal necessity for all Christians has appeared within pietistic Protestantism in various forms. 1. John Fletcher (1729–85), Wesley’s designated successor, and some later Reformed teachers too, spoke of repeatable baptisms of the Spirit, meaning intensifyings of assurance and enhanced enablings for holy living and powerful ministry. 2. Charles Finney, D. L. Moody (1837–1899), R. A. Torrey (1856–1928), Andrew Murray, A. B. Simpson (1844–1919) and others echoed this, but assimilated it in different ways to the Wesleyan idea of a single ‘second-blessing’ experience that lifts one’s life to a permanently new level. 3. Pentecostals and charismatics generally see Spirit-baptism in this Wesleyan way, relating it to the full reception or release of the Spirit in one’s personal being, in assurance, emotional exuberance, glossolalia, inward liberty to speak for Christ, and the blossoming of all kinds of gifts for ministry, including (so it is often claimed) prophetic and healing gifts. Tongues are often made the touchstone of Spirit-baptism (see Gifts of the Spirit).” J. I. Packer, “Baptism in the Spirit,” in New Dictionary of Theology, eds. Sinclair B. Ferguson and J.I. Packer (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 73.
  12. Article 7: “The Baptism in the Holy Spirit” in “Assemblies of God 16 Fundamental Truths,” accessed May 5, 2023.
  13. Article 7: “The Baptism in the Holy Spirit” in “Assemblies of God 16 Fundamental Truths,” accessed May 5, 2023.
  14. Article 8: “The Initial Physical Evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit” in “Assemblies of God 16 Fundamental Truths,” accessed May 5, 2023.
  15. Anthony C. Thiselton, The First Epistle to the Corinthians: A Commentary on the Greek Text, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2000), 997–98.
  16. Chad Brand, “Baptism With/in the Holy Spirit,” in Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003), 170.
  17. Spirit baptism should not be confused with the “filling” of the Spirit, which throughout the New Testament does occur after conversion and is something believers are commanded to do (e.g., Eph 5:18, “Be filled with the Spirit”). To be “filled” with the Spirit means to be under the controlling influence of and empowered by the Spirit (e.g., Luke 1:15, 41, 67; Acts 2:4; 4:8, 31; 7:55; 9:17; 13:9). For example, in Ephesians 5:18 Paul contrasts being filled with the Spirit (i.e., being under the influence of the Spirit) with being under the influence of intoxicating drink. The “filling” that’s in view in these texts is not quantitative, as if believers somehow lack part of the Spirit and need more of him, but qualitative—his presence exerts a controlling influence.
  18. Craig L. Blomberg, “Baptism of the Holy Spirit,” in Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, electronic ed., Baker Reference Library (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1996).
  19. Sinclair B. Ferguson, The Holy Spirit, ed. Gerald Bray (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 80.
  20. “What of the matter of tongues as initial evidence of Spirit baptism? At Pentecost and at the house of Cornelius, the Spirit-baptized believers spoke in tongues, but this was to show that both Jews and Gentiles alike had received the promised gift of the Spirit. Nowhere in Scripture are believers told that tongues is the evidence of Spirit baptism outside of these initial moments in salvation history.” Chad Brand at al., eds. Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003), 170.
  21. Richard B. Gaffin Jr., In the Fullness of Time: An Introduction to the Biblical Theology of Acts and Paul (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2022), 155. So, too, Ferguson: “[Pentecost] is not primarily to be interpreted existentially and pneumatologically, but eschatologically and Christologically. By its very nature it shares in the decisive once-for-all character of the entire Christ-event (Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension). … Pentecost is not ‘repeated’ any more than the death or resurrection of Christ is a repeatable event.” Ferguson, Holy Spirit, 82, 86.
Written by
Kirk E. Miller

Kirk E. Miller (MDiv, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is Editor of Digital Content at Logos where he edits and writes for Word by Word. He is a former pastor and church planter with a combined fifteen years of pastoral experience. Kirk lives in Milwaukee, WI with his wife and three kids. You can follow him on social media,, and his podcast Church Theology.

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