Bible Questions and Answers

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No one today, baptised or not, receives gifts of the Holy Spirit enabling them to speak in tongues or prophesy.

Those who claim such gifts are deluding both themselves and others.

When the apostles spoke in tongues after baptism in the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, they spoke in foreign languages which foreigners could understand.

Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. 7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? 8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? 9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, 10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

The purpose of speaking in tongues was to preach the word of God to foreigners. This is not what happens today. No one understands the gabble that is spoken today. Paul makes plain that even in the case of bona fide languages, if no one can understand what they are saying they should shut up.

1 Corinthians 14:28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.

Those who were not apostles could receive Holy Spirit gifts only by the laying on of the apostles’ hands (after water baptism).

For example: Philip baptised the Samaritans, but they did not automatically receive Holy Spirit gifts. Philip, although he had gifts of the Holy Spirit and could work miracles, could not bestow gifts upon them, because he was not an apostle. It required Peter and John to go to them from Jerusalem and lay their hands on them.

Acts 8:14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: 15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit: 16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) 17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. 18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money,

Another example: At Ephesus the converts did not automatically receive Holy Spirit gifts at baptism. Paul had to lay his hands upon them.

Acts 19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

The exception to this was the case of the household of Cornelius where God baptised them with the Holy Spirit (before water baptism) as a sign to the Jews that the Gentiles were to be received into fellowship. We see from Peter’s words that the only other time that this had happened was at Pentecost.

Acts 11:15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them, as on us at the beginning. 16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit. 17 Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?

Only Jesus Christ is recorded as receiving the Holy Spirit at baptism.

There is not one other example in the New Testament where a believer received a Holy Spirit gift without the laying on of an apostle’s hands, either before or after baptism.

When the apostles died, those who had gifts of the Spirit (as in the example of Philip) could not pass gifts to others by the laying on of hands. Consequently Holy Spirit gifts were no longer available after the end of the first century AD. This is confirmed by Church history which records the descent of the Church into apostasy over the following three hundred years; notwithstanding the successive ‘ordination’ of ‘Bishops’ by the laying on of hands.

The primary function of the Holy Spirit was to bring accurately to the apostles’ remembrance the teaching of Jesus during his 3.1/2 year ministry and to guide them into truth. This enabled the New Testament writers to record the truth.

John 14:26... the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

John 16:13... when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

With the Bible complete there is no need of further revelation either individually or collectively. Speaking in tongues was to enable the preaching of the gospel accurately to foreigners. Prophesying was for the edification of believers. Today the Bible is available in foreign languages and what it contains is profitable for preaching and edification. Holy Spirit gifts are on this basis unnecessary today.

It is noteworthy that those who profess Holy Spirit gifts are found across a spectrum of churches that cannot agree on doctrine. This fact alone should demonstrate the invalidity of their claims. God is not the author of confusion.

It is also noteworthy that the one Holy Spirit gift that is fixed upon – speaking in an unknown tongue – is the one which is both most easily falsified (howbeit in self-delusion) and of no practical use in either the dissemination of the gospel or the edification of the church.

Baptism is essential for salvation; possession of Holy Spirit gifts is not.

Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved...

1 Peter 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

My advice is to concentrate on reading and understanding the Bible and steer clear of claimants of Holy Spirit gifts no matter how they pretend that scripture justifies their spurious doctrines.

I hope you have found this helpful.

May God bless you,