Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. (Acts 18:24–25, emphasis mine)

Does this mean that he was baptized by John or one of John's disciples? Or does the "baptism of John" refer to a teaching or doctrine?


Apollos could have been baptized by John the Baptist or one of his disciples. But remember John's baptism was not sufficient for salvation, as his baptism was only a precursor to baptism in the name of Jesus Christ (Mark 1:8), the baptism that gives you the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:4-5 and Acts 2 record the disciples' remembrance of Jesus's words regarding John's baptism vs. His (Jesus's) baptism. They (the disciples) themselves were baptized by the Holy Spirit (and received Him), and they also talk about how they baptized a multitude of followers in the name of Jesus Christ, who in turn received the Holy Spirit. Being baptized by the Holy Spirit and receiving His "seal" (and receiving Him) is required for salvation.

1 Corinthians 12:13

For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.

Romans 8:9

But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.

Ephesians 1:13–14

In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

This is why Apollos was baptized by the Holy Spirit in Acts 19. The passage also further explains that John's baptism was a baptism only of repentance, but not ultimately of the Holy Spirit, like the baptism in the name of Jesus Christ is (Matthew 3:6 and 11 confirm this).

Acts 19:1-7—And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”

So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.” Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. Now the men were about twelve in all.

  • This is a thorough answer, but I'm not sure I understand this sentence: Acts 1:4-5 and Acts 2 record the disciples' remembrance of Jesus's words regarding John's baptism vs. His baptism, being baptized themselves by the Holy Spirit (and receiving Him), and also talk about how they baptized a multitude of followers in the name of Jesus Christ, who in turn received the Holy Spirit. Is there punctuation that would clarify it a bit?
    – TeaJay
    Dec 15 '17 at 18:31
  • Hi, TeaJay. The purpose of that sentence was merely to stress/emphasize the point that John's baptism was a forerunner or precursor to baptism in Jesus's name. It was just an added supportive sentence to prove my point regarding that. Additionally, I was just pointing out that the disciples themselves remembered Jesus's words regarding this fact before the Day of Pentecost, and that Jesus's words were fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost.
    – David Conner
    Dec 15 '17 at 20:44
  • @David That explanation is helpful. One last thing: I don't think that this sentence is essential to the answer and possibly opens up a can of worms: Being baptized by the Holy Spirit and receiving His "seal" (and receiving Him) is required for salvation. Other than this questionable sentence this is the better answer.
    – TeaJay
    Mar 20 '18 at 21:24
  • It looks in John 20:22 that on the evening of the Resurrection, 50 days before Acts 2 and the day of Pentecost, at least 10 of the original Apostles, and other disciples also (Lk 24:13-35; Ac 1:26), received Jesus Christ inwardly through breathing His Spirit (Philip 1:19; Rm 8:9; Jn 7:39; 1 Cor 15:45; 2 Cor 3:17) into their being, thus becoming regenerated by Him, born of God, born anew, born of the Spirit, born from above (1 Pet 1:3; Jn 1:12-13; 3:3-9, 15-16; Rm 10:9-13). Christ, the Spirit, came into me to be my life, wow (Col 1:27; 3:4); and also baptizes me in His Spirit to speak boldly
    – Walter S
    Feb 24 '20 at 2:36

Apollos knew of the forerunner (John the Baptist and his baptism of repentance), but did not know that Messiah had come. He knew the way (the path, the conduct), the water baptism (repent, expect) but did not know Messiah.

This man [Apollos] was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. Acts 18:25

When Aquila and Priscilla hear him speak, they instruct him more fully. After that, Apollos begins to show that Jesus, who had already come, was Christ.

For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ. Acts 18:28

Before that instruction, Apollos was teaching a works-based way, but once he learned of Jesus Christ, he taught the message of grace.

And when he [Apollos] was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace: Acts 18:27

In the next chapter, Paul encounters some men who had been baptized by Apollos into the baptism of repentance, not knowing that Messiah had come. This confirms what happened in chapter 18; that is, Apollos knew of the forerunner, but not Jesus Christ.

Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. Acts 19:4


The book of Acts didn't account what happened to Apollos, whether if he had been baptised in the name of Jesus or not.

But one thing in the following chapter, when Paul prayed for some other Jews who had the similar situation with Apollos, who only received the Baptism of John. What happened after was 12 of those who received Holy Spirit started to speak in tongue and prophesied.

Where on the other hand, Apollos continued to preach the God's word with very strong foundation in the Scriptures, proving the promises on the Messiah has been fulfilled. And Apollos even had a great debate with the Jews and won, and proven himself to be a great help to those who received the Word by faith (because of the grace of Lord for them to have faith) but didn't have much understanding about the old testament scripture. Apollos helped them to grow and understand the Scriptures.

In contrast,

The only difference is that, having baptism in the name of Jesus, allowing one to have power and gifts from Holy Spirit. And it was presented in few ways, where speak in tongue and prophesize are one of them.

Both ending leads to an ultimate and important truth, which is the Name of the God to be glorified.

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