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Evidence of the Spirit


"The normal initial evidence of the Holy Ghost often gets pushed back from manifestation by the deep seated constraints and restraints of believers. This is a look at what ought to be the initial or early manifestation of baptism in the Holy Spirit."


A visitor to this site asked:

Is it scripturally possible to be filled with the Holy spirit and yet not speak in tongues?


It is not unusual to come across churches that insist that if you are filled with the Holy Spirit then you must also be speaking in tongues. This is probably why the visitor to my web site asked his question in the way he did.

Are there Bible verses that indicate we could be filled with the Holy Spirit and not be speaking in tongues? I believe there are. Let's have a look in the New Testament.


In the New Testament the first letter to the Corinthians was written by the apostle Paul. At the start of this letter he addresses the Christians of the church directly. He says to them,

There is no gift of God in which you consciously come short while patiently waiting for the reappearing of our Lord Jesus Christ

1 Corinthians 1:7 - NKJV


In this we see that Paul counted it that the Christians of the church in Corinthian didn't come short in any gift of God. This is indicates quite conclusively that they had received the Holy Spirit and were filled with the Holy Spirit. We can make this conclusion because Jesus taught the disciples referring to the Holy Spirit as a gift of God. Luk.11:13.


Further on in the letter to the Corinthians Paul starts to teach and exhort on speaking and praying in tongues. He writes,

I wish you all spoke with tongues.

1 Corinthians 14:5 - NKJV


By reading 1 Corinthians 1:7 alongside 1 Corinthians 14:5 we are hearing that not all Spirit-filled Christians are speaking in tongues. The way Paul has written this desire for the Christians of the church in Corinth tells us that not all of them spoke in tongues. So we have the situation where they had received and were filled with the Holy Spirit but they weren't all speaking in tongues. He punctuates this situation by stating emphatically that he desired that they all would be.


Another question came in from a visitor to this site:

What do you believe to be the initial evidence of the baptism in the Holy Ghost?


In this question I going to take it that "baptism of the Holy Ghost" refers to the moment when the Holy Spirit is received by a person who has accepted salvation through Jesus Christ.

In the Bible the first time we read of this happening is in Acts chapter 2. In that chapter we read of it happening to the disciples on the Day of Pentecost.

Now a believer receives the Holy Spirit by faith. This follows the principle of receiving that is given in the Bible. The principle of receiving can be summed up with the words "I believed to see" or "whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them". In many ways this relates to a believer's take on the promises of God (in the Bible), namely, that of saying, "It is so because God says so." Psa.27:13, Mark 11:24.


This leads to making an important statement - one does not receive by sight or signs. Nevertheless, having received one can expect the result of this receiving to manifest in the realm that we can see and experience with our senses. The baptism of the Holy Spirit occurs by faith but subsequently there will be an outward manifestation or demonstration of its occurence.

This goes along with the words of James in his epistle. He writes,

Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

James 2:17 - 18 - NKJV


Let's explore this outward manifestation or demonstration of the baptism of the Holy Spirit using our example from Acts chapter two. There we read that on the Day of Pentecost all the disciples in the upper room were filled with the Holy Spirit.

They received by faith - their faith in the promise of the Holy Spirit being given had brought them into the upper room and kept them there. This baptism of the Holy Spirit then immediately became externalised - the disciples started to do things they could never do before. This, I believe, is the appointed pattern for the baptism of the Holy Spirit.


The initial evidence of a believer's baptism in the Holy Spirit should follow the same pattern as that of the disciples as seen in that example from the Day of Pentecost.

Three clear manifestations of the Holy Spirit came forth from the disciples on that day. We might expect the same manifestations from believers today. We might also expect these manifestations in the same order.

If this same pattern were followed then we would get this order of manifestation of the Holy Spirit:

  • speaking in tongues,
  • sharing boldly and fluently with others the Gospel of Christ,
  • receiving insight into the meanings and purposes of God by revelation.


However, in the church today, we often find that that pattern isn't necessarily the norm. I believe the reason for this is because men and women in our churches (and entering into our churches) come with all the deep seated constraints and restraints of our modern society. In this atmosphere of constraint and restraint we find church traditions, denominational doctrines, preconceived notions and pressures of community all at work to quench the operations of the Holy Spirit.

The result is, the normal initial evidence of the Holy Ghost all too often gets pushed back from manifestation. As a result, it is not until the believer hears God's Word on the Holy Spirit that that word sets him free allowing the manifestations of the Holy Spirit come forth! John 8:31-32.


Sadly, this freedom in and openness to the Holy Spirit in many, many cases never reaches the ordinary church goer. This is a matter that calls for fervent prayer by the church and particularly its Spirit-filled members. Here's a verse of encouragement for that,

The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

James 5:16b - KJV


You can find out more on the fullness of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit at the beginning of 1 Corinthians 12.

The manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

1 Corinthians 12:7 - 10 - KJV


I believe that it is reasonable to expect that if a person is baptised in the Holy Spirit he or she will soon after begin to manifest in their lives one or more of what is described in that Bible passage above as the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. They might not - for one reason or another - immediately begin exhibiting "tongues" but some other manifestation should start to be exhibited, perhaps, for example, the less conspicuous manifestation described in the passage as "faith by the same Spirit" or "word of knowledge through the same Spirit."

May the Lord encourage you as a Spirit-filled Christian in demonstrating a manifestation of the Spirit for the profit of all.

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