What Is the Gift of the Holy Spirit?

Jarrod Jacobs

On occasion, this author has a chance to answer different Bible questions. This article is written with the hope that it will help others who are asked similar questions concerning the Holy Spirit (I Peter 3:15).

The “gift of the Holy Spirit” is mentioned in Acts 2. It is there on the day of Pentecost, that Peter and “the eleven” (v. 14) stood and preached the gospel to the Jews that had gathered that day (v. 5). Let us begin reading at verse 37. The record states: “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Brothers, what shall we do? And Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is for you, and for your children, and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself” (Acts 2:37-39).

One thing that ought to be understood as we study this subject is that there is a difference between the “gift” of the Holy Spirit, and the “gifts” of the Holy Spirit. The “gifts” of the Holy Spirit are named for us in 1 Corinthians 12:4, 8-10. These were gifts bestowed upon certain ones during the time when God’s written word was not in its completed form. Chapter twelve of 1 Corinthians enumerates these gifts, and chapter thirteen tells us the duration of such gifts (v. 8-10). Yet, the “gift of the Holy Spirit” discussed in Acts 2 is different, for this is something that people receive after they have repented and have been baptized as Peter said on this occasion.

What is “the gift of the Holy Spirit”? It encompasses all the spiritual blessings which belong to those who are in Christ (Ephesians 1:3; Acts 2:47; Romans 8:16-17; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Titus 1:2; etc.). Acts 3:19 is a parallel passage to Acts 2:38 wherein Peter speaks to the crowd gathered after they had healed the lame man. To this crowd, he tells them, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” Therefore, the “times of refreshing” of 3:19 corresponds with “the gift of the Holy Spirit” in 2:38.

Sometimes, people say “the gift of the Holy Spirit” is the Holy Spirit. I disagree with this. The gift of the Holy Spirit is not the person of the Holy Spirit, but it is the Holy Spirit’s gift! This is what is being promised. If one repents and is baptized for the remission of sins, he/she receives the Holy Spirit’s gift (“times of refreshing from the Lord,” salvation from sins, spiritual blessings in Christ, hope of Heaven, fellowship, etc.)

Are you saved? Have you received the Holy Spirit’s gift (Acts 2:38)? If not, why not?