by Bill Burns
Faith Tabernacle
P. O. Box 1148
Kremmling, Colorado 80459


There is much debate in today’s church regarding the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues.  Some denominations teach that you get all of the Holy Spirit that is available when you are born again.  And then, there are those who believe that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is a secondary experience and something that is available to those who are born again.

I am one who has sought to understand the scriptures as personally revealed by the Holy Spirit rather than believing the many different doctrinal positions as taught by man.  With that in mind, please allow me to share with you what the Holy Spirit has revealed to me through the holy scriptures regarding the baptism of the Spirit.

John chapter 20 records the actual account of the born-again experience of the disciples: 

John 20:19  Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, "Peace be with you."
John 20:20  When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
John 20:21  So Jesus said to them again, "Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you."
John 20:22  And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.

In this passage of scripture Jesus breathed on His disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”  Strongs uses three references to describe the word breathed, #1720 and #1722, which means “to blow or breathe upon.”  Additionally #5453 means “to be born, to spring up, to grow.”

Since the disciples did not speak in tongues in John 20, and because they were told to go to the Upper Room and wait for the promise of the Father (Acts 1:4), we can see that what was to occur in the Upper Room was in addition to their born-again experience.  In Acts 1:5 Jesus tells them that they were to be baptized with the Holy Spirit, and in verse 8 He said that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them and then they would be witnesses.

If the baptism of the Spirit isn’t the born-again experience, then what is it?  It is for empowerment for service (to be Christ’s witnesses).  Strong’s reference for baptized is #907, which is to dip repeatedly, to immerse, to submerge.  We know that when we are baptized with water we are not dipped repeatedly.  However, when we search the scriptures we find that the disciples experienced repeated infillings (baptisms) of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4, Acts 4:31 and Acts 13:52).  These repeated infillings are required to keep one full of the Spirit for service.  When one remains full of the Holy Spirit, then the Holy Spirit can work His gifts through the person as He wills (1 Corinthians 12:11). 

Some have said that the gifts of the Spirit passed away with the apostles, but the scriptures do not tell us of such an event.  The scriptures tell us otherwise. 

Acts 2:38  Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:39  "For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call."

Consider the account in Acts 8 where Philip went to Samaria and preached Christ to the people.  These people received Jesus as their Lord and were baptized in water, but they were not baptized in the Holy Spirit, and so Peter and John went to Samaria and prayed for them.

Acts 8:14  Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them,
Acts 8:15  who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.
Acts 8:16  For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Acts 8:17  Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

These scripture verses validate the fact that those who were not apostles received the gift of the Holy Spirit (baptism), and they did so after they were born again.  Also read Acts 10:44-48, Acts 11:15-17, Acts 15:6-9 and Acts 19:1-6.

The question is – who will we believe, the scriptures or the teaching of men?  Some have used 1Corinthians 13:8 to say that tongues will pass away, and that is true.  But, the question is – when?  Verse 13 tells us “then” when we know Jesus just as He knows us.  He is the perfect One, which is to come (verse 10), for we cannot be known by the Bible, but we are known by Jesus Christ.

I believe that much of this controversy about the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues is due to a lack of understanding of the gift of tongues.  The scriptures reveal four different kinds (diversities) of tongues.  1Corinthians 13:1 tells us that there are tongues of men (known) and tongues of angels (unknown).  The word for tongues in the Greek is glossa, which means a language of uncertain affinity, and could be a tongue known to man but unknown to the speaker, or it could be unknown to all men, such as the language of angels.  Let’s examine the four different tongues as revealed in the Word of God.

1.       The Public Gift (known tongue):  This gift was demonstrated on the Day of Pentecost when the disciples spoke in tongues of men – not known to themselves, but known to others who heard them speak.  (See Acts 2:5-11).  This gift is for a witness to those who don’t know Jesus as Lord as it reveals His supernatural presence.  Many testimonies have been given of missionaries, who could not speak the native language, being enabled to speak the native language for a specific assignment as a witness to God’s kingdom.  1 Corinthians 14:22  Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe.

2.       The Church Gift (unknown tongue):  Tongues which are spoken to the congregation in church must be interpreted (1 Corinthians 14:5-12, 27-28).  Tongues with interpretation is equal to prophesy.  Tongues with interpretation brings a message from God to His people in the same way that a word of prophesy does.

3.       The Devotional Gift (unknown tongue):  This tongue is that which comes when one is baptized in the Holy Spirit.  This gift comes through man as he speaks to God (1 Corinthians 14:2).  In the church gift God is speaking to men, but in the devotional gift, man is speaking or singing to God.  1 Corinthians 14:15  What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.

The Apostle Paul tells us that we should both pray and sing with our understanding (a known tongue) and with the Spirit (an unknown tongue).  In devotional tongues one speaks the mysteries of God (1 Corinthians 14:2), and this speaking in tongues will edify (build up and strengthen) those who allow the Holy Spirit to speak through them.  (1 Corinthians 14:4 and Jude 20).

Was the Apostle Paul against speaking in tongues?  Let’s allow the scriptures to answer that question:

1 Corinthians  14:18  I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all.
1 Corinthians 14:39  Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues.

4.       The Travail of the Spirit:  In this tongue, words are not spoken, but unintelligible groaning may be heard.  Romans 8:26  Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  In this kind of tongues (groaning) the Holy Spirit is interceding through man according to the will of God.  Man’s mind is bypassed, and the Holy Spirit, who knows how to pray for a specific situation, prays the will of God over the circumstance.

Every Christian needs the baptism in the Holy Spirit so that they can have the spiritual power that is necessary for the days that are ahead of us.  Receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit comes in the same way that one receives Jesus Christ as Savior.  It takes an act of faith as you simply ask for that which God has said you can have.

Mark 11:24  "Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

Luke 11:9  "So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.Luke 11:10  "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
Luke 11:11  "If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish?
Luke 11:12  "Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
Luke 11:13  "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"