Vol.VI No.VIII Pg.7
October 1969

Queries And Answers

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner:

What is the gift of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2: 38? GM


I would be less than honest if I did not admit some feeling of uncertainty in making this reply. The grammatical construction is genitive with the article, and many greek scholars say the Holy Spirit is the gift. But there are genitives of possession; objective genitives; and the anarthrous use of words where ou endings prove neither possession nor objective genitive. Even with article, the genitive in the N.T. may have the force of a qualifying adjective, as the steward of unrighteousness translated, the unjust steward. See Robertsons Grammar; Bagsters, Sect. XLVII Pp. XIV Analytical Greek Lexicon. Does Acts 2:38 mean (a) the H.S. as a gift, (b) something the H.S. gives, or (c) a gift, spiritual in nature???

The thing that brought the multitude together was the miraculous outpouring of the H.S. In explanation, Peter said, This is that — spoken by Joel. (Acts 2:16 Joel 2:28 -f) The single outpouring, upon Apostles, is not the whole of that prophesied, for that included daughters and hand-maidens all flesh (Gentiles, as well as Jews: rt) deliverance for the remnant — in fact, the Christian dispensation, signaled by the out-pouring of the H.S.

Now the Apostles have proclaimed Christ, listeners are pricked, and ask what to do; and are told what to do that they might be forgiven of their sins, and receive THE BLESSINGS OF THE CHRISTIAN DISPENSATION — or so the context seems to me to say.

The promise of Joel 2: was to who- so-ever shall call on the name of the Lord (Acts 2:21) and deliverance or salvation in Christ is the object. Now, following vs. 38, Peter says, For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. If this refers to the H.S. as the gift. it must be in the same vein as Christians receive God the Father, and Christ. the Son. (See Jn. 14:23 Eph. 3:17) Note the likeness of thought in Acts 3:19-20.

The language gift of the H.S. is used in Acts 10:45 with reference to Cornelius, and indicates to me that gift does not necessitate the same results. (Was Cornelius inspired; did he have same power as Apostles??) One may conclude that the gift of the H.S. in Acts 2 :38 included miraculous measures to some. but not to all. In a sense the Holy Spirit was given to Christians (the church) representatively. He brought inspiration, power, to chosen Apostles and prophets; but all believers were recipients of the blessings derived from the Holy Spirit.

Cornelius received the H.S., not as a result of obedience (Acts 10:44; 11:15) but to show Gentiles acceptable. Yet, it was within boundaries of Christian dispensation, making the promised blessings available to all flesh. The H.S. is the manifestation of deity in the Christian dispensation: representative of, and conveying all of its promised blessings.