Scripture Question: Acts 8:14-17

In Acts 8:14-17 it says: “Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who went down and prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for it had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.”

A friend of mine told me that this passage supports his belief that baptism of the holy spirit and baptism of water are two seperate baptisms. Could any of you please explain this passage to me? Thank you and God Bless


Your friend is not correct.

The people of Samaria were baptized in Christ, but did not receive the fullness of the Spirit until they were confirmed by the elders. Confirmation is a sacrament that Jesus Christ instituted within His Catholic Church to further strengthen those who have reached adulthood.

God bless,

Do you mean to say that Confirmation = Holy Spirit Baptism?
And this Confirmation happens after Water Baptism in Jesus’ Name which happens at infancy.

At what age is this Confirmation done?


Sacrament (visible sign of an inward grace)

Confirmation (confirms that grace)

From the Catechism (echos the bible) of the Catholic Church

**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."99


**Acts 8:14-17 **

14 Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John,

15 who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.

16 For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

17 Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit.

To be sealed is to be confirmed by the laying on of hands by the bishop.

**Acts 19:5-6 **
5 When they heard 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 began speaking with tongues and prophesying.

**Hebrews 6:2 **
2of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.

**Ephesians 1:13 **
13In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation–having also believed, **you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit **of promise,

**Ephesians 4:30 **
30Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

**John 6:27 **
27"Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal."

**Revelation 9:4 **
4They were told not to hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but only the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.

The Samarian Christians had been baptized but not yet Confirmed. They are two distinct sacraments, as this passage makes clear. Nowhere does the passage refer to the Samarian’s receipt of the Holy Spirit as a “baptism,” so your friend’s error lies in calling the receipt of the Holy Spirit a “baptism of the Holy Spirit.” It isn’t a “baptism,” and the text doesn’t call it a “baptism.” On the contrary, the text’s only reference to baptism is to say that the Samarians already had been baptized.

Any time from adolescence onward.

. In the Latin Church the age for confirmation of a baptized person is 7, or the age of discretion, although another age may be set by the bishop for good pastoral reason. In the US it is anywhere after age 7. Any unbaptized person, infant, child or adult, who is baptized because they are in danger of death should also be confirmed. An unbaptized adult (anyone from age 7 onward) being brought into the Church is baptized, confirmed and receives first communion from the same priest (or bishop) at the same celebration, generally Easter.

Confirmation completes Baptism and in the Eastern church is done at the same time as Baptism even for infants (and is called Chrismation)

the scripture passage cited makes clear that water baptism and confirmation, laying on of hands and anointing in the Holy Spirit, are both necessary for full Christian initiation, and before reception of the Eucharist.

you can find fuller explanations of the sacraments of initiation on the sacrament forum

But don’t we already receive the Holy Spirit at baptism? The verse says the Spirit had not yet fallen on them, unless I’m reading it wrong.

In baptism God gave us His grace. Our body has been washed of sin and regenerated. Our soul has ben sanctified.

Check this out

You might point out that Ephesians 4:4-6 says:

“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

Your friend is correct in the sense that there are two separate sacraments (Baptism and Confirmation), but they need to be distinguished. There is one baptism, but there are seven sacraments.

I would chalk this up to the limitations of human language. It may, for example, be that an alternate translation of “fallen on” in the Greek, for example, is “been stirred up in” or something to that effect.

Either that or one could look at it in the sense that while the Holy Trinity cannot be “separated”, we yet refer to receiving Jesus at baptism, the Holy Spirit at confirmation, and the Father upon death…??


I would add that they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. That is not a valid baptism it must be in the father and son and holy spirit.

But we do recieve the Holy Spirit at baptism so the only conclusion I can make is it was not a valid baptism.

But then you would think they would have stated that they were baptised correctly the second time.

Luke likes to use this phrase in Acts to refer to a valid Christian baptism as opposed to some other kind of baptism. Acts 19:1-7 is a good example of this: Paul, encountering a group of people who have not been validly baptized, rebaptizes them, but does so “in the name of the Lord Jesus” (v. 5). He then confirms them as a separate act (v. 6).

Paul would presumably have offered a valid baptism, so these verses seem to suggest that when Luke says that someone was “baptized in the name of Jesus,” he really means that they received a valid Trinitarian baptism (as opposed to some other sort of pre-Christian baptism that isn’t valid).

(Incidentially, this is another clear example of the separation of Confirmation and Baptism as sacraments.)

Ask him what is the diference in baptism of laying of the hands and baptism of water?

Obviously he Believes in baptism of laying on of hands because he uses this passage to show the difference in baptism of water and spirit.

I have never heard of this Idea of baptism of laying on of the hands however I do believe we do and can recieve the Spirit by laying on of hands. But with his logic whatever meconisim of recieveing the spirit would to him be considered a baptism.

And we know from Scripture even Jesus who was Baptised (Water Baptism) the Spirit decended upon him.

So he uses this passage to show there is a batism of the Spirit because the Spirit decended upon those who had a laying on of hands

Why cant we believe Baptism of Water does the same thing when obviously the Spirit decended upon Jesus at his water baptism?

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