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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Divinity (M.Div)




There continues to be much discussion of the ministrv of the Holy Spirit within Christendom. One of the key areas~ of tension involves the understanding of the "Spirit baptism" passages. A prominent text in this discussion is 1 Corinthians 12:13, for in this single Pauline incidence, there is reference to the Holy Spirit and a baptism. Yet the type of baptism in view is strongly disputed. There are two schools of thought: those that see a Spirit baptism and those that see a water baptism. An investigation into the background of both types of baptism will aid the interpreter in drawing conclusions.
From interacting with the development of a Spirit baptism, it was found that the concept began in the OT, the specific language was first announced by John, and the fulfillment began at Pentecost. Both the OT and John associated it with cleansing/endowment. Jesus spoke of it in terms of empowerment. The Acts record it occurring in conjunction with water baptism.
The water rite of baptism was next examined and discovered to have originated prior to John the Baptist and incorporated by the early churches as a representation of any aspect of the conversion experience. Baptismal terminology was also explored with the result that eun~(Cw €t~ ~o 6vo~ and eun~(Cw £L~ are often but not always synonymous, yet this alone does not solve the ultimate issue of whether water is in view or not. The issue instead focuses on the validity of using language which ascribes to a representation of the reality and actual efficacy of the reality. Such validity was affirmed in the case of water baptism and thus opened the door to understanding water baptism in passages that appear efficacious.
After investigating 1 Corinthians 12:13a itself, it was concluded that it is most probable to understand the baptism as a reference to water baptism, spoken of in connection with the Spirit only conceptually, not in a time framework. From a theological perspective, to be water baptized into Christ is to participate in the Spirit, for water baptism represents conversion, a major part of which is participation in the Spirit.