The Filling Of The Holy Spirit In The Book Of Acts -- By: Norman W. Brown

Journal: Central Bible Quarterly
Volume: CENQ 16:4 (Winter 1973)
Article: The Filling Of The Holy Spirit In The Book Of Acts
Author: Norman W. Brown


The Filling Of The Holy Spirit In The Book Of Acts

Norman W. Brown

Through the years, very few Bible doctrines have been subject to more misconception than that of the study of the Holy Spirit. There has arisen much confusion regarding the place of “tongues” and other charismatic gifts in the church. Even more basic, however, are the questions regarding the Holy Spirit’s work in filling the believer.

It is unfortunate that this particular ministry of the Holy Spirit is so widely misunderstood, for His filling is the very center of the entire theme of the spiritual life. There is no doctrine relating to the Holy Spirit which is more vital, or of more practical value to the Christian, than this subject, the filling of the Spirit.

There have been many attempts to explain this doctrine. Too often, however, these efforts suffer from neglect or mishandling of the evidence of Spirit-filling within the book of Acts. The result of this misuse is serious, for Acts is vital to a proper understanding of the Holy Spirit’s ministry in filling believers. In the words of Charles Caldwell Ryrie: “The historical importance of the Book of Acts is unquestioned. It is the chief source book for the facts concerning Christianity in the first century after Christ. But the book is also important doctrinally, for in it are the seed of doctrines developed later in the epistles—seeds which were nurtured in transformed lives. The doctrine of Acts is exemplified more in life than developed in systematic statement. It is doctrine in practice.”

The book of Acts, then, must be the primary object of study by the man who seeks to understand the ministry of the Holy Spirit in filling Christians. By first noting the various passages which contain Spirit-filling and then examining the nature, conditions, and results of this filling; one may arrive at a concise, Scriptural understanding of this doctrine. Only then will come the ability to truly distinguish between

what is and is not Spirit-filling, and to properly interpret other important New Testament passages regarding the work of the Spirit.

Instances Of Spirit-Filling In Acts

The book of Acts contains at least nine clear references to the “filling” of individuals by the Holy Spirit. These nine passages in the Greek Testament employ several different words which have the English translation “filled.” The three Greek words are:

1. The verb pimplemi appears in Acts 2:4; 4:8, 31; 9:17; an...

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