Journal Acts 19 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation and notes are mine)


Scripture: And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples.

And [Paul] said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”

And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.” And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.”

On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying—there were about 12 men in all.

And [Paul] entered the synagogue and for 3 months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, [Paul] withdrew from them… (Acts 19:1-9a)

Observation: An innocent, clarifying question leads to a powerful explanation to the disciples, but apparently does not change the message much in the synagogue.

Application: Again, taking advantage of my handy-dandy computer program, I can readily see that the scriptures indicate a distinction in two types of baptism: John’s baptism for repentance and Jesus’ baptism with the Holy Spirit (all four of the Gospels and Acts are in agreement of reporting):

“John answered them all, saying, ‘I baptize you with water, but he (who is mightier than I) is coming—the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Luke 3:16)

“I (John) will baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I (whose sandals I am not worthy to carry). He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Matt 3:11) [c. also, Mark 1:8, John 1:33, Acts 1:5, Acts 2:38, and Acts 8:14-17)


So, there are two baptisms to review here from the Acts 19 passages: 1) John’s baptism and 2) Jesus’ baptism.

Paul understood the distinctions and acted with conviction and authority accordingly to those 12 disciples—maybe formed from what he said later to the church at Colossae as a mission statement, “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.” (Col 1:28)

So, what?

I am aware that there is (and has been) an ongoing disagreement about (bluntly) the function, application, and operation of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I am convicted to read the scriptures literally, plainly, and in verbatim—not with an agenda (much, anyway. Of course, I have a bias or 20; that is being candid with showing my soul)—but I tend to read in Journaling what is there, not what isn’t. Doing it this way helps me to lean on the Father for understanding and for two other things: 1) Gives me background on my own mind when I eventually review this writing and, 2) Gives the reader the same background into my mind.


On the “understanding” front, the scriptures are plain:

  • “…making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding…” Prov 2:2
  • “…call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding…” Prov 2:3
  • “For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding…” Prov 2:6
  • “…discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you.” Prov 2:11
  • “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” Prov 3:5
  • “The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge…” Prov 15:14


Candidly, while I am on the Reformed plank (Doctrines of Grace), I have a significant Charismatic doctrine weaving in and out in me. I have no apology for my positions. The book of Acts is full of the movement of the Holy Spirit with considerable examples of execution for believers to consider and mimic.


Today, with this passage of Acts 19 supporting, I seek to persuade that any biblical conviction held is based on the positive intent of God’s Living Word, the Holy Scriptures.

Paul had a biblical conviction based on knowledge and experience; he didn’t shy away from asking questions of the guys at Ephesus and then, acting accordingly to assist them to maturity.


Prayer: Lord God, I varied from my journaling procedure today. I sensed that it was right to do so. I leave conviction in your hands, Holy Spirit.

Is this how biblical persuasion is supposed to work?


Ricky Two Shoes