I hate to disappoint you, but the NKJV is used for the majority of the quotes. However, it does more closely resemble the NASB than some older versions, like KJV or ASV.
In regards to baptism and the Holy Spirit, the Bible teaches that there were only 2 occurrence of Holy Spirit baptism (the apostles, Acts 1:2-8; 2:1-4
; and the household of Cornelius, Acts 10:44-48; 11:15-17
). During the first century, miraculous gifts from the Holy Spirit were bestowed by the apostles' hands to help educate and direct the church in its infancy (Acts 8:12-19; Romans 1:11; I John 2:20-27
). However, once revelation was completed and culminated in the Bible, the need for those gifts ceased (I Corinthians 13:8-11
). Once the apostles died, the ability to transfer the gift died with them, as foretold by the prophets (Zechariah 13:1-6
Many people claim to work miracles today. Speaking in tongues and faith healings are two common examples. However, these claims do not stand the test of divine power, since they can be recreated by atheists. For example, ask someone speaking in tongues to write down a translation of what they have said, and then ask another
tongue speaker to translate. If the translation is conducted independently, you will find they almost always differ. If they are similar, the language will be very simple and repetitive, like "Praise Jesus. Hallelujah, Praise Jesus!".
Compare this repetitive language to the praise of the the Psalms! Now, that is inspiration! Plus, we are to avoid repetitious speech (Matthew 6:7-8
If they fail to comply to a test, then you have your answer, because truly inspired people are always willing to verify and glorify their source:
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. ... We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. (I John 4:1, 6)
If they cannot find a translator, you again have your answer, because New Testament tongue speakers either always had a translator or spoke in the native language of the listener, which would have been foreign to the speaker (I Corinthians 14:22-33; Acts 2:4-11
). If they continue to speak in tongues without a translator or more than 1 at a time, then they are in violation of God's command (I Corinthians 14:29-33, 37-40
), and you again have your answer.
The universal blessing of the Holy Spirit, which extends beyond the first century, pertains to the ongoing regeneration of the soul and moral thinking, which begins at baptism (Titus 3:5; Acts 2:37-38
). It is the opposite
of the process vividly described in Romans 1:18-32
, where God "gave them up"
to vile sins and a "reprobate mind"
, because they did not like to consider God, much less obey Him. The Holy Spirit indirectly performs this regeneration through the agency of the Word, the Bible (II Timothy 3:16-17; 2:15
), just as He used the agency of the apostles to transfer miraculous gifts in the first century.
The topic of the Holy Spirit is an incredible source of confusion and misunderstanding among those who wear the name of Christ today. This is a profound shame, because His work is to unify and produce harmony through knowledge (Ephesians 4:1-6
). However, I do not believe for a second that He has failed in that task. Rather, we must understand first what Paul said here, and then the resolution becomes clear:
But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel... (Romans 9:6)
I look forward to hearing from you again. Thank you so much for the kind thoughts and encouragement. I pray that the web-site will continue to be source of spiritual profit for you.
May God help us to have a sincere love of the truth,