I'm wondering those who were baptized byJohn's baptism only,we're they also baptized in the name of Jesus to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit? (Acts 2:38)

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. [Acts 2:38 KJV]

  • Welcome to the group Anita. I think there was a typo in your headline question. I took the liberty of editing it. If I got it wrong please let me know. Commented May 27 at 16:14
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    Welcome to Biblical Hermeneutics, Anita. It would be helpful if you would type out what it says in Acts 2:38 to help us better understand what you want to know. Also, if you take our Tour you will see what we look for in well-researched questions: hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/tour
    – Lesley
    Commented May 29 at 16:37
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    – Nigel J
    Commented May 30 at 20:43

2 Answers 2


John the Baptist was sent to prepare the Israelites to receive the ministry of Jesus, who was to "save his people from their sins" (Mat.1:21). The Hebrew scriptures foretold this, such as Isaiah 40:3. That 'Lord' was the foretold Messiah; John was the messenger sent before him - as per Malachi 3:1. That 'Lord' was the Messenger of the Covenant. John heralded his arrival as the Light, the Lamb of God. His ministry prepared the people of God back then for Christ's arrival.

The many people who came to John for baptism in Aenon, near to Salim ("because there was much water there" John. 3:23) were being prepared to then receive Jesus Christ as that Light, as that Lamb. Their hearts were being made ready to receive the implanted seed of gospel truth that would then grow and bring forth much fruit. (See the parable of the four types of 'soil', Mark 4:3-8 & 14-20.) As explained here:

"The beginning of the gospel is the changed mind which results from the ministry of a preparative messenger. A changed mind is suited to an honest and good heart. [See Hebrews 8:10-13.] When God gives a man a new mind, in which he writes his laws; and a new heart, in which he also writes his laws; then, in such a condition, after such a baptism, is a man ready to receive the Messenger of the Covenant... The ministry of John the Baptist, the preparative messenger, is a ministry that prepares the heart and mind for the coming of Christ to the soul, as conveyed in the gospel. It, itself, does not convey Christ. It prepares for that event. And if the preparation is not received, nor will Christ be received." The Beginning of the Gospel, Nigel Johnstone, pp.45-46 Belmont, 2012 http://www.belmontpublications.co.uk

In Acts 18:24-28, Apollos (who knew only the baptism of John) readily received the gospel of Christ that Aquila and Priscilla opened up to him. He had been well prepared by John (and also by thoroughly knowing the Hebrew scriptures). This is where the first sign Jesus made, at Cana, comes in. It speaks of John's

"baptism of repentance which is unto [eis] the remission of sins. Under this baptism there is a confession of sins and an acknowledgement of sin. John cannot remit sins but the good and honest heart given under his ministry will freely confess the truth. This is to do truth and to do righteousness. Doing righteousness is a matter of being honest about one's past unrighteousnesses. It is a matter of being truthful about the iniquity that dwells within one by conception... Once filled with water to the brim by John's baptism and once the Lamb is present and once a union with him is arranged to which he has been called then, oh then, is the water no longer water... but wine.

They shall all be full of the Holy Ghost. These are they who, thus, enter the kingdom of God, John 3:5, being born of water and of the Spirit." (Ibid. pp.108-9)

The water baptism of John leads to the baptism of the Holy Spirit, for those prepared by John recognised Christ as the Light, and the Lamb, so that they begin to follow him - as did Apollos. So, when we go to Acts 2:38, we see from the context that Peter was addressing Jews, and Jewish proselytes, who had come to worship at Jerusalem's temple that Day of Pentecost. Those are the 'all' you ask about. Who knows but that the 3,000 who responded to Peter's gospel preaching had been in the area in previous years, went to hear John the Baptist and were baptised then? Nobody can say. Yet the possibility is very real that they had already been prepared.

The key point is not about seeing miraculous evidence of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, as of being prepared for the seed of gospel truth planted to take deep root, for then the Holy Spirit will be active in that person. Sadly, today, many people are given a simplistic gospel message about Christ, then prepared to expect miraculous signs of Holy Spirit activity in them. But in order to hear, and receive the word of the truth of the gospel it is necessary to first receive John's baptism. With regard to baptism, here is what the book above says:

"Two words are used, predominantly, in the gospel writings in regard to washing, louo and nipto. Jesus says to Peter, as recorded in John 13:10, He that is washed [louo], needeth not save to wash [nipto] his feet, but is clean every whit.

Washed wholly in regeneration, the heart and the mind, it is needful only, day by day, to be cleansed by the Lord, in his grace, of that which mires us in our walk through this sinful world. Yet Jesus says to Peter, If I wash [nipto] thee not, thou hast no part with me, John 13:8. To remain dirty is to have no part with Christ. Yet there is a constant temptation to shrink from a daily cleansing...

We need but to receive the washing that he gives who laid aside his garments - his glory - and took a towel - his humanity - and acted the part of a servant to wash his own people. For all those who are washed in regeneration shall find that they are the ones for whom Christ suffered in order that their sins might be remitted. The baptism of John is unto [eis] the remission of sins...

The washing of regeneration, under the ministry of John, and the renewal of the Holy Ghost, Titus 3:5, which is shed abundantly through Jesus Christ the Saviour is not - Titus 3:5 again - by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saves us." (Ibid. pp.66-67, Emphasis mine)

Water baptism is an outward confession and sign of what has already happened inwardly. The person's heart and mind have been washed wholly in regeneration. That is the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit, who indwells that believer. The gift of the Holy Spirit is given to all who have been properly prepared for their heart to receive the biblical gospel, which will take deep root and grow, producing good fruit. That is the evidence to look for.


This question is answered in part in Acts 19:

1 While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior of the country and came [down] to Ephesus where he found some disciples. 2 He said to them, “Did you receive the holy Spirit when you became believers?” They answered him, “We have never even heard that there is a holy Spirit.” 3 He said, “How were you baptized?” They replied, “With the baptism of John.” 4 Paul then said, “John baptized with a baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul laid [his] hands on them, the holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. 7 Altogether there were about twelve men.

So these men were re-baptized. On the other hand, in the preceding chapter, when Apollos himself joined the church, there is no mention of his being required to be baptized again.

A Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, an eloquent speaker, arrived in Ephesus. He was an authority on the scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the Way of the Lord and, with ardent spirit, spoke and taught accurately about Jesus, although he knew only the baptism of John. 26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue; but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the Way more accurately. 27 And when he wanted to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. After his arrival he gave great assistance to those who had come to believe through grace.

This seems to indicate that Apollos spoke with spiritual power and had received the spiritual gift of teaching without being baptized in the name of Jesus.

Another consideration is that some of those who had been baptized in the name of Jesus still needed to receive the Spirit:

Acts 8

14 Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, 15 who went down and prayed for them, that they might receive the holy Spirit, 16 for it had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they laid hands on them and they received the holy Spirit

Conclusion: Those who were rebaptized were first asked if they had received the holy Spirit previously. It may be that those who had indeed received the Spirit (such as Apollos?) were not required to be baptized again. In addition there were also people who had been baptized in Jesus' name but received the spirit only after they had hands laid on them by the apostles.

  • +1. Good answer. Many thanks
    – Dottard
    Commented May 27 at 22:00

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