The Word's Christian Fellowship, Inc.
#103 Teaching and Instruction                                                                 August 4, 2013

Acts 19:1-6,
1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
2  He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
3  And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism.
4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
5  When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
6  And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

In these verses the words “Holy Ghost” refer to God’s gift of holy spirit, the new birth spirit. 

In verse five there is a figure of speech called an ellipsis.  An ellipsis is simply the omission of one or more words in a sentence that must be supplied by the reader to really understand the sense of what is being said and/or to make the sentence grammatically correct.  In this figure the word or words left out are given emphasis.

Following the word “heard” in verse five there is no Greek word to be translated “this” in the Greek text.  The translators added “this” in an effort to supply the words that were deliberately left out by the figure of speech, ellipsis. If we simply leave out the added word “this”, verse five would read:

Acts 19:5, When they heard, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

In supplying the word “this” the translators caused  verse five to be completely misleading. Clearly the disciples heard something, but what they heard must be supplied in the mind of the reader from the immediate context -- not from the collective mind of the translators. 

Acts 19:4-6,
4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
6  And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

Supplying the word “this” in verse five makes it appear that these disciples heard only what is recorded in verse four: “John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.”  Then simply having heard that,  “they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” in verse five and after Paul laid his hands upon them in verse six, they manifested the gift of holy spirit by speaking in tongues and prophecy.

If they were to “believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus”, wouldn’t they have had to have been taught about Christ Jesus in order to do that, to be able to “believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus”?  That is why the words that need to be supplied in verse five are the last two words from verse four: Christ Jesus.

Acts 19:5, When they heard Christ Jesus, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Hearing about Christ Jesus took a little bit of time, quite a bit of teaching. But after they had heard about Christ Jesus, all that the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished and all that God gave because of his accomplished work, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus and Paul laid his hands upon them and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.

Something else that must be recognized is that Paul didn’t all of a sudden, out of the blue, lay hands upon them and they then automatically began to speak in tongues and prophesy.   God’s Word certainly doesn’t stipulate that every time a new Christian manifests speaking in tongues or prophecy someone has to lay hands upon them, but in this particular instance, Paul laid hands upon them to assist them in manifesting the gift of holy spirit by the manifestations of speaking in tongues and prophecy.

Quite obviously, he would have given them instruction regarding these manifestations BEFORE he laid hands upon them, otherwise they would have had no idea why he was laying his hands upon them.  Quite obviously as well, if they had not so much as heard of the gift of holy spirit, as verse two tells us, how would they have known anything about the manifestations of that gift, like speaking in tongues and prophecy, if they hadn’t received teaching and instruction?

Absolutely no one receives God’s gift of holy spirit because they recognize the difference between John the Baptist and Jesus Christ, as the translators have tried to make verse five say with the erroneous addition of the word “this”.  They receive God’s gift of holy spirit because they first receive and then believe the teaching and instruction of God’s Word to the end they fulfill the simple requirements of Romans 10:9:
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

When a Christian believer operates any of the nine manifestations of that gift, be it speaking in tongues or discerning of spirits,  it’s not because someone walks up and simply puts their hands upon them.  It’s because they receive the teaching and instruction of God’s Word and they believingly act on IT!

For the questing Christian, there is absolutely no substitute for the teaching and instruction of God’s rightly-divided Word.

©  Stephen A. Harrison,  The Word’s Christian Fellowship, Inc.  4415 Yank Road  Wilson, NC 27893