Receiving the Holy Spirit


How did the people in the Bible receive the Holy Spirit?


Initially the Holy Spirit gifts were given directly by God to the recipients. Some New Testament examples of this are as follows:

  • John the Baptist - Luke 1:15
  • Elizabeth (mother of John) - Luke 1:41
  • Zacharias (father of John) - Luke 1:67
  • Jesus - Matthew 3:16-17
  • The disciples - Acts 2:1-4

After the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit was given to believers by one method only (with only one notable exception) and that was by the laying on of hands of the apostles (Acts 8:12-19; Acts 19:6).

Acts 8:12-19 - But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.

Acts 19:6 - And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

Written by Matthew Smith