The Baptism of the Holy Spirit -- By: Lewis Sperry Chafer

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 109:435 (Jul 1952)
Article: The Baptism of the Holy Spirit
Author: Lewis Sperry Chafer

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit

Lewis Sperry Chafer

Since by the Spirit’s baptism the greatest trarisformations are wrought in behalf of the believer, it is to be expected that Satan, the enemy of God, will do all within his power to distract, misdirect, and confuse investigation respecting this specific ministry of the Holy Spirit. This harm Satan has been permitted to do. Not only is there need that all the false conceptions be corrected which have reached the masses of unsuspecting people, but special attention is demanded on the part of those who would be instructed lest they themselves fail to comprehend the precise truth which the doctrine embraces. No further explanation than the influence of Satan is needed for the otherwise inexplicable disarrangement and ignorance of, together with a corresponding prejudice toward, this specific doctrine. It is the strategic point at which Satan can accomplish most in obliterating the effect of the present truth. This nullifying of the truth is seen in at least three most important fields of doctrine, namely, the believer’s positions and standing in Christ, his eternal security, and the ground of the only effective motive for a God-honoring daily life.

In attempting to arrive at a right understanding of the essential character of this ministry of the Holy Spirit, four general divisions of the subject should be considered: (1) the meaning of the word βαπτίζω, (2) the determining Scriptures, (3) the thing accomplished, and (4) its distinctive character.


More than passing significance should be attached to the fact that the same word βαπτίζω is used in the New Testament both for real and ritual baptism, thus signifying a bond of relationship between these two aspects of truth. The word

would hardly be employed properly had it a separate unrelated meaning in the one instance. The basic word of this particular root, βάπτω, in its primary import connotes a dipping and occurs but three times in the New Testament—Luke 16:24, John 13:26 and Revelation 19:13. In its secondary meaning, which is to dye or stain—what is usually accomplished by dipping, but not always so, the word appears but once and that in the third passage cited above, which reads, “And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.” The same event and situation are presented in Isaiah 63:1...

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