Laying On Hands To Receive Spirit?

(Laying On Hands To Receive Spirit?) Bible Question.


“The men and women of Acts 8 who were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus had not received the Holy Spirit until the apostles, Peter and John, laid hands on them. Was this laying on of hands to impart miraculous gifts or was it the indwelling Spirit promised in Acts 2:38?”


The whole context of the passage explains this well. In Acts 8 Philip goes to Samaria. He preaches about Jesus. Men and women believe and are baptized (Acts 8:5 – 8). A magician, named Simon, is impressed with the miracles Philip did and even he was baptized (Acts 8:9 – 13). It is later that the apostles Peter and John arrive and pray that the Spirit might come on these people. The apostles lay hands on these Christians and they receive the Spirit (Acts 8:14 – 17). It is the ability to impart the gift of the Spirit that Simon wants to gain. . .

Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, “Give this authority to me as well, so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 8:18, 19; New American Standard Bible)

Simon was not seeking to give people the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, but the miraculous powers that came from the special gift of the Spirit that came by the laying on of the apostles’ hands.

Clearly, the passage teaches that the laying on of the apostles’ hands was needed in order for people to receive miraculous powers. The indwelling gift of the Spirit is promised to all who trust in God, repent, and are baptized. . .

Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38; New American Standard Bible)

The Samaritans had believed, turned to God and been baptized. They were in Christ, and had received “the gift of the Holy Spirit”. But it took the laying on of the hands of an apostle to convey the miraculous measure of the Holy Spirit.



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