3 And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?”
Apollos himself experienced only the baptism of John the Baptist. The 12 may have been his disciples. Paul asked Apollos’s disciples which baptism they had experienced.
So they said, “Into John’s baptism.”
The baptism of John was a pre-Pentecostal baptism. Like Apollos, his disciples knew only of John the Baptist’s baptism. They did not know of baptism in Jesus’ name. It had been over 20 years since the ministry of John the Baptist.
Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance,
Paul now differentiated the baptism of John from Holy Spirit baptism. John’s baptism was for Israel to repent and embrace their Messiah. Holy Spirit baptism did not occur until after the resurrection of Christ.
saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.”
John’s baptism anticipated the coming Messiah Christ, who fulfilled that message. Note that Paul challenged the 12 about Jesus Christ, not the Holy Spirit. There was nothing about a second work of grace or a separate baptism of the Spirit.
When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Having heard Paul’s clarification between the baptism of John and believers’ baptism, Apollos’s disciples were baptized “in the name of the Lord Jesus.” This event is the only occurrence of re-baptism in the New Testament. This baptism of the 12 was not a Christian re-baptism but their first Christian baptism.
The Pentecost in this verse is not a new Pentecost but an extension of the Pentecost of Acts 2.
Baptism by John the Baptist, who proclaimed the coming Messiah, was very different from being baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, who was the Messiah. All believers receive the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation (1 Co 12:13). They are born of the Spirit into the family of God (Jn 3:6). At that time, they are baptized by the Spirit into the body of Christ (1 Co 12:13). Also at that instance they are indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Ro 8:9,11). From the moment of regeneration, the Holy Spirit seals them unto the day of redemption (Eph 1:13; 4:30). All four happenings are simultaneous and instantaneous with salvation.
Subsequent to salvation, Christians can be filled with the Spirit (Eph 5:18).