In acts 8:16-17 it says that people had not recieved the holy spirit because they were only baptized at that point. I thought the church teaches that we recieve the holy spirit at baptism as jesus had.

What is the missing link here?

This verse can be used to support the Sacrament of Confirmation. Baptism is washing of original sin, and rebirth into the life of Christ. Confirmation completes this process with the infusion of the Holy Spirit, completing the initiation process that started with our baptism.

The apostles in the upper room received the Holy Spirit after Christ died. It can be assumed that they received their baptisms before that.

The following parts of the Catechism and Compendium of the Catholic Church refer to bits of Acts 8:16-17:
Bible Compendium Catechism
Acts 8:14-17 265 1315
Acts 8:15-17 265 1288
Acts 8:17-19 139 699

I have made a complete table for all Bible references at .

From the Catechism:
“1288 “From that time on the apostles, in fulfillment of Christ’s will, imparted to the newly baptized by the laying on of hands the gift of the Spirit that completes the grace of Baptism. For this reason in the Letter to the Hebrews the doctrine concerning Baptism and the laying on of hands is listed among the first elements of Christian instruction. The imposition of hands is rightly recognized by the Catholic tradition as the origin of the sacrament of Confirmation, which in a certain way perpetuates the grace of Pentecost in the Church.”[footnote 99: 99 Paul VI, Divinae consortium naturae, 659; cf. Acts 8:15-17; 19:5-6; Heb 6:2.]”


1315 “Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit; for it had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit” (Acts 8:14-17)."

These are at .

"699 The hand. Jesus heals the sick and blesses little children by laying hands on them.51 In his name the apostles will do the same.52 Even more pointedly, it is by the Apostles’ imposition of hands that the Holy Spirit is given.53 The Letter to the Hebrews lists the imposition of hands among the “fundamental elements” of its teaching.54 The Church has kept this sign of the all-powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit in its sacramental epicleses."
"51 Cf. Mk 6:5; 8:23; 10:16.
52 Cf. Mk 16:18; Acts 5:12; 14:3.
53 Cf. Acts 8:17-19; 13:3; 19:6.
54 Cf. Heb 6:2."
From .

From the Compendium:
“139. What symbols are used to represent the Holy Spirit?
There are many symbols of the Holy Spirit: living water which springs from the wounded Heart of Christ and which quenches the thirst of the baptized; anointing with oil, which is the sacramental sign of Confirmation; fire which transforms what it touches; the cloud, dark or luminous, in which the divine glory is revealed; the imposition of hands by which the Holy Spirit is given; the dove which descended on Christ at his baptism and remained with him.”

265. What place does Confirmation have in the divine plan of salvation?
1285-1288 1315
In the Old Testament the prophets announced that the Spirit of the Lord would rest on the awaited Messiah and on the entire messianic people. The whole life and mission of Jesus were carried out in total communion with the Holy Spirit. The apostles received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and proclaimed “the great works of God” (Acts 2:11). They gave the gift of the same Spirit to the newly baptized by the laying on of hands. Down through the centuries, the Church has continued to live by the Spirit and to impart him to her children.”

So does this mean that we don’t recieve the holy spirit until confirmation?

We are baptised in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit!

I thought that we received the holy spirit at baptism, but this verse threw me for a loop because it says that they had not recieved the holy spirit yet because they had only been baptized.

I think one needs to distinguish between reception of the Holy Spirit, and an outpouring of the gifts of the Spirit.

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