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Baptism in the Spirit: Is it Normal to Receive At or After Conversion?


To confirm the meaning “should have happened” the other three usages must be examined. The first usage in John’s Gospel occurred after Jesus spoke of the Spirit as flowing like a river: “But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet [oudepo] glorified” (John 7:39). There are two “not yet” in this passage. The first “not yet” is the Greek word oupo. The second “not yet” referring to Jesus’ glorification is the word oudepo. This usage cannot mean “had not but should have as this would mean Christ was glorified before He made His life a ransom for many.

The next occurrence of oudepo is in John 19:41: “Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet [oudepo] been laid.” This passage refers to the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, and that Joseph had not yet been buried in it. It would be ridiculous to think that this man had not but should have been buried. This usage certainly does not confirm the “should have happened” definition.

The final place where oudepo appears is after the disciples, Peter and John saw the empty tomb, the Scriptures state, “For as yet [oudepo] they did not know the Scripture, that he must rise again from the dead” (John 20:9). Are we to believe that the disciples had not but should have known the Scripture that he would rise again? For us reading this passage after the resurrection, it would be easy to read into it that they should have known. But did Jesus expect them to know?

Prior to his rising, Christ’s teaching regarding his resurrection was hidden from the disciples: “This saying was hidden from them, and they did not know the things which were spoken” (Luke 18:34). It was not until after his rising did Christ open up their understanding regarding his resurrection: “And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day’” (Luke 24:44-46). Before he arose Christ did not expect them to know what the Scripture taught regarding His resurrection; it was hidden from their understanding. There is nothing in the accounts that implies that the disciples did not but should have understood the Scriptures regarding Christ’s resurrection. This usage does not confirm the “should have happened” definition.

Not one of these three Greek lexicons examined defined oudepo as “should have happened.” Neither did one of the Scriptural usages of oudepo intimate the connotation of “should have happened.” To state that oudepo means “should have happened” is to give it a definition that neither Greek lexicons nor New Testament usage supports. Nothing in the Greek supports the theory that the Samaritans’ reception of the Spirit after conversion was unique.

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Category: Spirit, Summer 1999

About the Author: Michael D. Peters has ministered among charismatic and noncharismatic Christians for over twenty-five years. For the past 14 years (as of Fall 1998) he has pastored Christ the King Covenant Church in Webster Groves, Missouri. He hold a Masters in Theology from Covenant Theological Seminary and is presently pursuing a doctorate in historical theology at Saint Louis University.

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