Regarding the Holy Spirit in the New Testament

Glenn Addington By Glenn Addington, 30th Apr 2018 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Religion

Thoughts on the Holy Spirit and receiving of the gifts of the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands in New Testament times. Also, the gifts of the Holy Spirit given according to His will.

Philip in Acts, chapter 8.

When you begin doing research on the topic of spiritual gifts in the church, one place you’ll find them in the early church is in the book of Acts, chapter 8. A man named Philip, chosen to be a deacon in the early church, left Jerusalem when many of the church members were scattered because of the persecution following the stoning of Stephen. Acts, chapter 8, verse five tells us that Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ - that is, the gospel message of salvation; Jesus having died to save men from their sins. The text goes on to tell us that Philip was successful in his efforts. Scripture tells us that the believers were baptized, both men and women. This would be consistent with Peter’s command in Acts, chapter 2, verse 38, which says “repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."

The laying on of the apostle's hands to impart special gifts.

What we read in the next passage of Scripture can be confusing. What is being referred to here is the laying on of hands to impart spiritual gifts to be used in the church for teaching and the building up of the body of Christ. This text does not at all diminish the significance or importance of their having been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus for the forgiveness of sin and receiving the indwelling gift of God’s Spirit.
Acts 8:14-17 "Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit. “ This last phrase refers to special gifts being given.

More regarding the laying on of hands

We continue to see the laying on of hands to impart spiritual gifts in other scripture passages. In Acts, chapter 19, verse six, the apostle Paul taught 12 young men, who had only received the baptism of John, that they needed to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus. Paul truly explained the death of Jesus for the sake of their sin and repentance and the need for baptism. They were then baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Paul laid his hands on them and the Scripture says,” the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying.”
The association of spiritual gifts with the laying on of hands also shows up in first Timothy, chapter 4, verse 14, where Paul says, “do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you.” The apostle Paul also says in second Timothy, chapter 1, verse six,” for this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.”

Paul's teaching the Corinthian believers on spiritual gifts

In first Corinthians, chapter 12, Paul begins teaching the believers there in Corinth regarding spiritual gifts. Having certain spiritual gifts were for some badges of honor, giving them a sense of one-upmanship over those with what were considered by some to be lesser gifts. Paul’s efforts to correct this situation prompted him to write chapters 12 through 14. A special focus was placed on love in chapter 13, as this was the greatest need in that body. As Paul ends chapter 12, in verse 27, he speaks of the believers as the body of Christ and members of it. He goes on to tell how God planned to build his church. In 1 Corinthians 12:28, Paul says, “ And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.” A study of chapter 14 will point out that tongues was not the most significant gift, as some believed. What was of greater benefit to the believers was prophesying, that is, speaking forth the truth of God.

Other New Testament passages regarding spiritual gifts

There are several other texts which make reference to the different gifts of the Holy Spirit. In Romans, chapter 12, verses three through eight, Paul speaks of the unity within the body despite differences among the members. Paul is saying that not all the members are to function in the same way, and therefore having gifts that differ according to the grace given to each, they are to use them appropriately. See verses six through eight for Paul’s teaching there.

The apostle Peter has a brief statement in his first epistle regarding spiritual gifts, which he calls ‘special gifts.’ While he says very little here, he does point out that the gifts are not to be used in a self-serving fashion, but for “one another”.
He says in I Peter 4:10-11, “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

Gifts are given according to the will of the Holy Spirit, not the desires of men or the teaching of the church

There are some who might insist that a particular gift be evident in a person’s life before they are truly saved. But this contradicts what Paul said in first Corinthians, chapter 12, verse 11.” But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.” The writer of the book of Hebrews concurs with this statement. He warns his hearers about neglecting the message of salvation. Regarding that message, he says, “After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.” These two statements point out that the gifts given by the Holy Spirit are given according to His will, not according to our desires or wishes. When Paul was ending first Corinthians, chapter 12 he asked a series of rhetorical questions. A rhetorical question is one that demands a negative answer-the answer must be ‘no’. First Corinthians 12:29-30 says, “All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they?” So to insist that all speak in tongues or have some other gift contradicts these passages just discussed. Nor is it said anywhere that any specific gift is required in order for an individual to be saved.


Peter spoke of the need for water baptism in Acts 2:38 so that one might receive the forgiveness of sin and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Special gifts were necessary in the early church and were imparted by the laying on of hands by the apostles.
The Holy Spirit is the One who decides what gift each person will be given. No one can declare that 'unless you have this gift , you cannot be or are not saved'.

Read through the scripture texts quoted above. Also see my article on "The Various Measures of the Holy Spirit". Click on the line beneath my name beside my picture to see and read all my articles that may be of interest to you. Thank you! All scripture passages are from either the New American Standard Bible or the English Standard Bible.


Holy Spirit, Laying On Of Hands, New Testament Teaching

Meet the author

author avatar Glenn Addington
I am an American, former Viet Nam veteran, and a Christian, living in East Tennessee. I am now retired and am pursuing a writing career. I would welcome writing assignments.

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