We are discussing two different words in the Greek that have separate meanings that the KJV unhappily translated with the same word in English. Let be be more specific:
In John 1:12, the operative word is ἐξουσία (exousia) for which BDAG has seven sub-meanings, but the pertinent one here is:
- potential or resource to command, control, or govern, capability, might, power (or capacity for something), eg, Rev 9:10, 19, 11:6, Matt 9:8, Acts 8:19, Luke 12:5, John 1:12, 7:1, etc. Note the more correct translation given by BSB:
But as many as received Him, He gave to them authority to be children
of God--to those believing in His name,
The ESV is probably even better:
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the
right to become children of God,
In Acts 1:8, the operative words is δύναμις (dounamis) for which BDAG lists six sub-meanings, but the pertinent one here is:
- potential for functioning in some way, power, might, strength, force, capability, eg, Acts 1:8, 3;12, Rev 17;13, Matt 22::29, Mark 12:24, Luke 22:69, etc. Here is a good translation from BSB:
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and
you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria,
and to the ends of the earth.”
The Gift of the Holy Spirit is absolutely essentail to functioning of both the Christian life in Jesus AND the Christian community. See appendix below. There is little wonder that Paul said (Rom 8:9) that without the Holy Spirit, we cannot be regarded as Christians.
APPENDIX - Holy Spirit Function in the NT
Jesus bequeathed the Gift of the Holy Spirit (John 20:22, Acts 1:8, 2:1-4) to His church for several reasons:
- To produce the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22 & 23, see especially v24-26) and so to sanctify (make distinct) the church members.
- The above changed life is to be a distinguishing sign or seal of God’s ownership of our lives and a guarantee of better things to come (Eph 1:13, 4:30).
- To provide specific guidance for the church (John 16:7-12, 14:17, 15:26 – namely
- . Convict of sin
- . Instruct in Righteous (= right doing)
- . Convict of judgement to come
- To build up the church with spiritual (supernatural) gifts and abilities, 1 Cor 12:7, 14:12, and to influence/teach others John 7:37-39. See Rom 12:6-8, 1 Cor 12:8-10, 28-30, Eph 4:11, 1 Peter 4:10, 11, 1 Tim 4:14, Ex 35:30-33, etc.
- To strengthen the members in their daily walk to live the Christian ideals, Eph 3:16, 17, Heb 2:4, and maintain unity in the Christian community (Eph 4:3-6). The Christian must be born of the Spirit (John 3:5) by receiving the gift of the Spirit (Acts 2:38) and walk by the Spirit (Gal 5:25, John 6:63, Phil 3:3, John 4:24). In fact the whole life of Christian is to put aside the “psychical” mind and live by the Spirit (1 Cor 2:14, 1 Cor 15:44-46, Gal 5:17, Jude 19, John 6:63, 1 Peter 3:18). In short, the Holy Spirit is the only way we can know God, 1 Cor 2:10, 11, 14, John 16:13.
- To teach the church more of the character and work of Jesus and thus, imitate Jesus, John 7:38, 39, 15:26, 16:12-15, Rom 8:4, 11, Eph 3:17, 18, 4:3-6, 1 Thess 1:6, 4:8, 1 Cor 2:14.
- The Holy Spirit inspired the prophets to write Scripture, and explains such spiritual truths to us. John 14:16, 17, 15:26, 1 Cor 2:6-16, Eph 1:17-19, 2 Peter 1:21, 2 Tim 3:15, 16, 1 Thess 1:5, Heb 9:8, 1 Peter 1:12, Ps 119:18.