I want to know
19 While Apol′los was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. 2 And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. 7 There were about twelve of them in all.
My immediate impression is that this was the sacrament we know as chrismation/confirmation. For adults, it’s still administered at the same time (nearly immediately following) Baptism in both western and eastern Christianity.
Right, it’s the one piece of evidence we have for Confirmation as a separate thing from Baptism in the New Testament. They even had to call in the Apostles (bishops) because deacons can’t Confirm.
Also, just in case you meant the physical gesture, “laying on of hands” means the literal placing of the hands upon the other person, as seen in the ceremonies of several sacraments and other Church rituals.
it’s invoking the Holy Spirit upon another through the hands of the Priest. St. Paul is a Priest.
Yes such can be said to be what is now called confirmation.
In the early centuries (as it is still in the Eastern Catholic Church and with converts in general) baptism was followed immediately with Confirmation.
Here is a look at the meaning of “laid” and of “hands” according to Strongs; this may help you:
From G1909 and G5087; to impose (in a friendly or hostile sense): - add unto, lade, lay upon, put (up) on, set on (up), + surname, X wound.
Perhaps from the base of G5494 in the sense of its congener the base of G5490 (through the idea of hollowness for grasping); the hand (literally or figuratively [power]; especially [by Hebraism] a means or instrument): - hand.
Read Acts 8:14-17. There were people from Samaria who had been baptized as Christians but they had not yet received the Holy Spirit. They had been baptized in the name of Jesus, but the Spirit had not fallen on them yet. So the apostles Peter and John went to Samaria to pray over them to receive the Holy Spirit. It says in verse 17 that they laid their hands over them and they received the Holy Spirit.
From the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible
A distinction is made in Acts between Baptism, which confers the Spirit in an invisible way (2:38), and the laying on of hands, which calls down the Spirit to manifest his presence in a visible and charismatic way. (19:6). In the interpretive tradition of the Church, this deeper conferral of the Spirit through the imposition of hands is linked with Confirmation, a sacrament that follows Baptism and is integral to the process of Christian initiation. As in this episode, deacons (Philip) can baptize, but it belongs to the bishops (Peter and John) to bestow a fuller measure of the Spirit on the baptized by the laying on of hands (CCC 1288, 1313).
Now in Acts 19 the apostle Paul goes to Ephesus and finds some who were baptized into John’s baptism. So he had them baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. And then after that he laid his hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.
So there is a distinction in both of these cases in Scripture between Baptism into Jesus and the laying on of hands to receive the Holy Spirit. In the Catholic Church this distinction is played out in the two Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. The first is a baptism for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 22:16) and the second is for the receiving of the Holy Spirit in a greater way including the charisms of the Holy Spirit.
Noting of course that one has received the Holy Spirit in baptism.
(Just want to underline this for readers.)
Although laying your hands on someone in the Bible often means touching them with your hands in a violent way (Matthew 26:50; Mark 14:46; John 7:30,44; Acts 12:1; 21:27), here and in some other places it means touching them with your hands in a friendly way, especially to impart a blessing or spiritual gift. (Matthew 19:15; Mark 6:5; 8:23,25; 10:16; Luke 4:40; 13:13; Acts 6:6; 8:17,18; 9:17; 13:3; 1 Timothy 4:14; 5:22; 2 Timothy 1:6; Hebrews 6:2)
The arms of the bishop are extended, and his hands are placed on the top of a person’s head, cupping the head somewhat.
It is a pretty ancient gesture of blessing, so Paul probably did it that way, too.