‘With’ the Spirit and ‘By’ the Spirit Are Different
We know there is a great deal of difference between pronouns and prepositions, but there also are differences among prepositions! These parts of speech are important, especially when it comes to Bible study.
For instance, consider how that Cornelius Stam once wrote:
“Not once does Paul in his epistles teach that members of the Body of Christ are “baptized ‘with’ or ‘in’ the Spirit.” as so many Christians falsely claim today.
In response to this, some will note this verse without giving sufficient thought to the exact words used in a few similar but vastly different verses.
First note what Paul wrote this to the members of “the body of Christ.”
“For ‘by’ one Spirit are we all baptized into one body…” (I Cor. 12:13).
Contextual Bible Study requires that we take a closer look at this verse and comparing it to similar but different verse below, to actually reveal some important differences due to the exact prepositions used in each case.
- Speaking of Christ, John the Baptist as Jesus’ forerunner to minister to Israel predicted;
“He [Messiah] shall baptize you [the believers of Israel] ‘with’ the Holy Ghost, and with fire” (Matt. 3:11).
This prophecy was fulfilled at Pentecost, where “they were all ‘filled’ [Gk. pimplemi, imbued enabled with] with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues” (Acts 2:4).
- The Apostle Paul taught that believers today are baptized “by one Spirit” as he wrote in 1Corinthian 12:13.
- We of the Gentile “body of Christ” are “baptized into the body of Christ “‘by’ one Spirit,”
- We of “His body” were not baptized “with” or “in” the Spirit as occurred on the day of Pentecost among Israelites.
Sadly, John the Baptist’s words concerning Israel in Matthew 3:11 are often confused with 1 Corinthians 12:13, concerning the members of the Gentile “the body of Christ.” It’s important to notice who is doing the baptizing;
- In Matt. 3:11 (above) ‘Christ is the Baptizer,’ and that He baptized the believers of Israel with the Spirit.
- But then We need to note that in I Corinthians 12:13 ‘the Spirit is the Baptizer,’ … baptizing believers of Paul “gospel of the grace of God” … “into one Body [of Christ],”
Christians today are NOT Baptized “with” or “in” the spirit. Paul in 1 Cor. 12:13 is telling us how we got or may get into the “body of Christ.” (Note: Unlike John’s baptism, there is no water associated with 1Corinthians 12:13 or Romans 6:3 … these baptism references are of the age of grace in which there is only “one baptism” (1Cor, 12:13) and it is ‘dry.’
Paul’s baptism “by one Spirit” is different from what happened at Pentecost, where the Lord Jesus was the Baptizer, baptizing the members of His, “little flock” “with” the Spirit, to endue them with power, enabling them to speak in tongues and certain of them to do miracles. Jesus said this confirming what was to come.
“And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued [Gk. enduo, meaning clothed] with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49)
Note the word “upon” and “endued,” which both speak of the spirit coming upon Jesus’ Messianic believers of early Acts period. The words endued transliterated from the Greek confirms this; Gk. enduo, meaning clothed]. We wear our clothing on the outside, not on the inside. A policeman has authority expressed in the external uniform that he wears on the outside.
What really was happening at the Pentecost Baptism “with the spirit,” coming “upon you” which Jesus and John the Baptist spoke of, is that Jesus’ Apostles and disciples were being “endued [clothed]” with Holy Spirit power and authority to do the miracles we note in early Acts. These external miracles were to be a ‘sign’ for Israel, to witness to the genuineness of “the gospel of the kingdom” that Jesus’ Apostles were offering to Israel’s unbelievers.
This explains why believers today are not able to speak in tongues, which were actual languages of the day, that they had never studied, as they did at Pentecost, for we do not have their baptism. And, if we do not have Israel’s baptism, we must also conclude that at Pentecost Israel did not have our baptism. That is;
- We are not baptized “with” the Spirit as they were at Pentecost.
- They were not baptized “by” the Spirit into the Gentile “Body of Christ.”
I realize this runs contrary to the common teaching among many that the Church began at Pentecost, where it is erroneously said that believers were first baptized into the Body.
We believe the difference in prepositions “with” and “by” as used in these passages is just one of many evidences that “the Body of Christ” began later, with the raising up of Paul…. Not at Pentecost, which was for Israel.