A Greek study of Receiving

Home Page Contents Change Language and Version Articles - Index Terminology - overview - summary Become a Christian Bible Studies - Index Keys of the Kindom - Doctrines Help using this site Messages - Index What happens at conversion About  this site

Receiving the Spirit and Baptism in the Spirit

The Link  Between Acts and the Gospels

see John 20:22 -- taking or receiving

What is the difference between receiving the Holy Spirit and Baptism in the Holy Spirit?

There is no difference.  They are one and the same thing.  Receiving the Spirit is a more general term which could include Circumcision of the Heart by the Spirit.

Was the Holy Spirit Baptism given while Jesus was on Earth?


When was the Holy Spirit Baptism released to the Jews?


When was the Holy Spirit first given to the Gentiles?

In Acts Chapter 8 the Gospel was received by the Samaritans and in Acts 10 the gospel was received by the Gentiles.  This was after Pentecost.

Does the Glorification of Christ refer to his Ascension or his Resurrection?

Probably the Ascension.

The Gospels are about who?


How do they begin?

With the birth and introduction of Jesus.

How do they end?

With the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus.

Do they all teach the same thing?

Yes, but not everything that Jesus said and did was recorded in every gospel.

Are there any conflicts or inconsistencies between any of the Gospels?


In Acts 1:4-5 what did Jesus say was going to happen in a few days?

He said that they would be Baptized with the Holy Spirit.

When did he say this?

During the forty days that he was  with the disciples after his resurrection and before his ascension.  John 20:19 says it was on the first day of the resurrection.

When was it fulfilled?

On the day of Pentecost (50 days after his resurrection).

Are there any parallel passages in the Bible?

Yes.  Luke 24:36-49 could be considered to be a parallel passage to Acts 1:4-5.  In fact Luke and Acts are both written by the same author and Acts picks up where Luke leaves off.  

Luke ends with Jesus saying "I am going to send you what my father has promised but stay in the City until you have been clothed with power from on high" followed by Jesus ascension.

Acts starts with Jesus saying "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the Gift that my father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."  This was followed by Jesus ascending.

Are Luke 24:36-49 and John 20:19-23 parallel passages?

Yes, Luke 24:36-49 refers to the same occasion mentioned in John 20:19-23.  It was the day of the Lord's resurrection, when Jesus first appeared to the disciples without Thomas.  Luke 24:49 leaves us no doubt that the Holy Spirit had not yet been imparted to the disciples at that point. 

What did Jesus say to the disciples in John 20:22?

Take (Receive) the Holy Spirit.

Greek words have been given numbers and anglicised in order to help people who cannot read Greek study the Language.  Eg Strong Numbers and Goodrick-Kohlenberger numbers.

Numbering systems, however, do not distinguish between different variations and tenses of the root word upon which a word is based.  Past, future, imperfect, aorist tenses and pleural forms of the word and derivatives of the word are all given the same number.

For example, Strong's Number (2983) - lambano includes over twenty different words related to the root word 'lambano'.  Lambano is usually translated as 'take' or 'receive' but it can be translated as received, took, receiveth, taken, taketh, taking, caught, have, come, had, obtain, accepteth, amazed, assaying, attained, began, called, forgotten, receiving and held in the King James Version  alone.   This is because the word has many tenses.  When you look at a specific word in a particular tense is is usually translated more consistently within the same Bible version.  In order to do this, you have to look at the original Greek.

It is necessary to go back to the original Greek to appreciate that 2983 (lambano) could refer to several different parses (tenses) of the Greek word 'lambano'.

In order to study a particular word in a particular parse (tense), it is necessary to look at the original Greek translation.  With computers, it is possible to find all the occurrences of a particular word and then see if they have been consistently translated.

The word for 'receive' in John 20:22 is used only seven times in the New Testament and on every other occasion, it is translated as "take".  It would make sense that it should also be translated this way in John 20:22.  Looking at the context and other scriptures, it also makes sense to translate it this way.

Does a study of the original Greek New Testament shed any light on this?

Yes.  The word translated as "received" in John 20:22 is used seven times in the New Testament.  On three of the times it was by Jesus at the last super saying "Take the bread and eat, this is my body" (Matt 26:26, Mark 14:22 & Luke 22:17).  On two occasions it was used by Pilate when he said "you take him and judge him by your own law" and "you take him and crucify him.  As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him."  (John 18:31 & John 19:6)  On one occasion, it was used by James when he said "as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets" (James 5:10).  And in John 20:22 Jesus says to the disciples "take (receive) the Holy Spirit".  

In most English translations of the Bible, John 20:22 has been translated as 'receive' and not 'take'.  The resulting implication is that the disciples actually received the Holy Spirit then.  If it is translated as 'take' then the scripture would read as follows:

John 20:21 Again Jesus said "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, I am sending you"  22 and with that, he breathed on them and said "Take the Holy Spirit"  23 "If you forgive anyone their sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."

Furthermore, the word for breathed in John 20:22 is unique, occurring only once in the New Testament.  It is not listed in most lexicons (dictionaries).

If the disciples received the Holy Spirit while Jesus was still with them, why do the other Gospels not mention such an important and significant event?

Because the disciples did not receive / take the Holy Spirit at that point.  (Luke 24:49) They received him after the ascension/glorification of Jesus on the day of Pentecost.  Jesus was saying "stay in Jerusalem until you receive the Holy Spirit and when you have received him, take him with you and go and preach to the Nations"

The word for 'receive' in John 20:22 can also be translated as 'take'.  In fact, on the other six instances this word is used in the New Testament, it is translated as 'take'.  Could Jesus have been telling the disciples to take the Holy Spirit and go to the Gentiles?

Yes, it is quite likely that he was telling them to take the Holy Spirit with them and go to the Gentiles.

Can we tell whether Jesus was saying As the father has sent me, I am sending you.....Take (receive) the Holy Spirit (now) and if you forgive anybody their sins, I will forgive them   OR  As the father has sent me, I am sending you.....take the Holy Spirit (which I am about to give you) and if you forgive anybody their sins, I will forgive them ?

Yes.  The Greek word that is translated as 'receive' in John 20:22 is used seven times in the Bible.  On all other occasions it is translated as 'take'.  Looking at the context of John 20:22, it is clear that this is what Jesus was saying to the disciples.   In John 20:21, Jesus said he was sending the disciples to preach to the nations.  In John 20:22, Jesus said he wanted the disciples to take the Holy Spirit with them and in John 20:23 Jesus says that whoever they forgave, would be forgiven.  This agrees with Matthew 16:17-20 in which Jesus gave Peter the keys of the Kingdom and said what ever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in Heaven.  

Furthermore, this is why the believers did not receive the Spirit in Acts 8 until the disciples arrived and opened the door to the Samaritans (Acts 8:14-17) and subsequently to the Gentiles as well (Acts 10:44-46).  

Reading John 20:19-23 and Luke 24:36-49 together, it is apparent that Jesus was telling the disciples to stay in Jerusalem until they received the Holy Spirit and then to take him where ever they went, baptizing believers in the name of the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit.  (Matt 28:16-20)

Which of these explanations agrees with other passages in the Bible that talk about receiving the Holy Spirit?

The later, because receiving the Holy Spirit cannot be separated from Baptism in the Holy Spirit because they are the same thing.  (See Luke 24:49  Acts 1:4-5 Acts 2:4  Acts:2:38)

What about Luke 11:13.  How do you explain that?

Jesus was talking to the Jews.  The Jews were already God's children, but God wants them to Receive the Spirit (be Baptized in the Spirit) so they can partake of a better covenant. 

For the Gentiles, receiving the Spirit, Baptism in the Spirit and regeneration are the same thing.

This verse can arguably be used to show that receiving the Holy Spirit is not necessary for Gentiles to become children of God.  People who argue this invariably believe in two types of receiving (The Acts type and the John type) and that this verse refers to the Acts type of receiving.

There is, however, only one type of receiving and this is the same as Baptism in the Spirit which makes Gentiles Children of God, empowers both Jews and Gentiles alike and entitles both Jew and Gentile the right to partake of the New Covenant.  

If this verse was for the Gentiles, the reason the Father can give the Holy Spirit to his Gentile children is because of his foreknowledge.  (Romans 8:29-30

John 1:12 and Acts 10:47 use the same Greek word for receive.  These two verses together show that Baptism in the Spirit is necessary to become a child of God and that this occurs when we believe (ie at conversion).

Which of these explanations agrees with the other Gospels?

The later, because the other Gospels make no mention of the disciples receiving the Holy Spirit before his departure to be with the Father.  This would be the only place that it is recorded in the bible if it were true.  It is unlikely that John intended the former given John 7:39 and John 16:7-8.  As Luke gives a more detailed account of that occasion (Luke 24:36-49), it is unlikely that he would leave out a significant event such as the disciples receiving the Holy Spirit.

Which of these explanations agrees with John 7:39 and  John 16:7-8?

The later, because Jesus had not gone away or been fully glorified before his ascension.

Could  Luke 24:36-49 John 20:19-23 and Acts 1:4-5 be parallel passages?

Yes.  These passages refer to the imminence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit which Jesus announced on the day of his resurrection.  This was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, 10 days after Christ's ascension, 50 days after the resurrection, when the disciples received the Holy Spirit, were baptized in the Holy Spirit and were filled with the Holy Spirit all in one go!




Home Page Contents Change Language and Version Articles - Index Terminology - overview - summary Become a Christian Bible Studies - Index Keys of the Kindom - Doctrines Help using this site Messages - Index What happens at conversion About  this site