Introduction

Interview with Apostle Paul - The Holy Spirit
St. Paul the Apostle

Today I speak with the Apostle Paul in an interview on the subject The Holy Spirit

Matzo:
Paul, I think it’s really cool that you joined us today. You’re the first person to grant me an interview in my newly established newsroom. So I might as well ask you a few questions that have been burning on my mind for a long time.

Paul:
Well, go ahead. What’s the trouble?

Matzo:
So, I had a heated discussion with some buddies the other day. And that was about how to get the Holy Spirit. Then I said that one can only receive the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands of an apostle. That’s right, isn’t it?

Paul:
So I myself, for example, received the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands of a simple disciple. His name was Ananias, and he was not an apostle, if I remember correctly.

Matzo:
What? I never heard that before.

Paul:
You can read about that in Acts chapter 9, 10.

Matzo:
But you, as an apostle, laid hands on the disciples of John, whereby they received the Holy Spirit. That’s what I read from you in Acts 19:1-7.

Paul:
Yeah, that’s right. I saw myself led by the Lord Jesus in this one situation like this. But in another situation, God acted very differently.

Matzo:
Which one, for example?

Paul:
For example, with our dear brother Peter. He was sent by the Lord to the house of a Roman centurion. There he preached the message of salvation from eternal lostness through faith in Jesus. And while Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who came to believe in Jesus through his preaching.

Matzo:
While Peter was still talking? That is, they received the Spirit without the laying on of hands.

Paul:
Yes, that’s exactly how Peter reported it to me. You can read about that in Acts 10:44.

Matzo:
That’s strong. But Peter was an apostle, after all.

Paul:
As I told you earlier, Ananias was not an apostle, and I still received the Holy Spirit through the laying on of his hands.

Matzo:
But you can’t do it without the laying on of hands, apparently, I see.

Paul:
You can’t say it like that either. Think about what I just told you about Peter. Peter had not laid hands on them. In another case, he had. This was in Samaria, I believe. There was also Johannes.

Matzo:
Paul, if I understand you correctly, you are telling me that God never acts according to a set pattern, but always differently from situation to situation.

Paul:
Exactly that, Matzo. The reason God does it this way is so that we will always be totally dependent on Him. If we could just lay hands on someone for people to receive the Holy Spirit, we wouldn’t need to wait and listen for God’s instructions. To come back to the situation in Samaria: I learned from John and Peter that they had to ask God in prayer for the Holy Spirit with the laying on of hands so that the Samaritans would receive the Holy Spirit.

Matzo:
So you couldn’t just officially donate the spirit?

Paul:
The apostleship has the task to preach the gospel of Jesus. I also clearly wrote that to the Colossians at the time. It’s not in the business of dispensing the Spirit, and certainly not of ‘officialdom’. Who said anything about that?

Matzo:
Our church!

Paul:
Well, give your church a love from me, and tell them to study the Scriptures better. The apostle John states unequivocally that only One gives the Holy Spirit. And that is Jesus himself. You can read that in his gospel chapter 1:33, and Matthew also says the exact same thing in 3:11, I believe.

Matzo:
In other words, the apostles do not give the Holy Spirit at all.

Paul:
We apostles are not givers of the Holy Spirit, none of us apostles said that either, or have you ever read such a statement from me or the other apostles in the Scriptures?

Matzo:
Nah, never really.

Paul:
There you go. The apostleship, which we apostles have received from God, has the task of proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. The message we have to say officially is: Jesus died for you on the cross, and paid with his life your debt before God. If you believe this and accept Jesus into your life as your Lord, then you have come from darkness to light, from death to life. And then God’s response to your faith is the gift of the Holy Spirit. How you then receive His Spirit is left to the Lord Jesus Himself alone.

Matzo:
And Jesus then does not do it according to a ‘pattern’, but according to his wisdom in each situation just as he sees fit.

Paul:
That’s right. Because God alone knows what is best for us in every single situation. And besides, God is God. That is, he alone disposes of his Spirit, nor has he placed it in the hands of us apostles as a kind of merchandise to be distributed. If this were so, Peter and John would not have had to ask God in prayer for the Holy Spirit for the Samaritans to receive Him.

Matzo:
Then they could have just donated it by ‘officialdom’.

Paul:
Right. But you see they didn’t have that authority. Only the Lord Jesus Himself has this authority. And he alone gives us his spirit. Not according to a set pattern, and not just through apostles, as you saw with Ananias. Nor only by the laying on of hands, as we saw with Cornelius the centurion, but also by simple faith in the Lord Jesus.

Matzo:
Gee, Paul, I think I’ve figured some things out now. God does not make the gift of His Spirit dependent, in the first place, on the external circumstances by which we receive the Holy Spirit. But in the first place it depends on whether we believe the message of salvation through Jesus or not.

Paul:
That’s it. The circumstances of how we receive the Holy Spirit are secondary with God. The decisive thing is that you believe in Jesus and follow him faithfully, then he will take care of the filling with his spirit. However he does it then, God’s ways are perfect. Faith in Jesus is the all-important thing. I also wrote it to the Galatians at that time that they are all God’s children through faith in Jesus.

And another thing, Matze: the fact that you can believe in Jesus as the Son of God is itself already an effect of the Holy Spirit. For no one can of his own accord recognize Jesus as the Son of God without the Holy Spirit having first worked this knowledge in him. It is always God who makes the beginning with us, never us.

Matzo:
Paul, that’s really cool what you said to me today. According to this, it is possible that my buddies who are not in the NAC also have the Holy Spirit. Because I know that they also genuinely believe in Jesus and follow Him.

Paul:
Then be happy about it Matze. It’s nice to have real brothers in the faith.

Matzo:
I do now, and hugely.

Paul:
One more thing matzo, remember to always take scripture as your standard for truth. And check everything against the New Testament.

Matzo:
I’ll do that, Paul. Thank you for your advice. It was really great having you with us today. God bless you.

Paul:
You too, Matze.


Bibliography:
We recommend the translation of the Bible by Franz Eugen Schlachter in the 2000 version

Photo credits:
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paulus_von_Tarsus