Tap to Read ➤

How to Receive the Holy Spirit According to the Bible

Shalu Bhatti
Receiving the Holy Spirit is an experience that every Christian prays for. But you needn't go far to get this prayer answered, it's all in the Holy Scripture!
❝Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.❞
― Acts 2:38, King James Version
The Bible states various instances where the Holy Ghost has been the source of grace, protection, strength, and guidance during the ministry of Jesus. The Spirit was present even before Jesus was born of the Virgin. 
Luke 1:13-15, according to the King James Version, states, "But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John....
...And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb."
There are more than ninety references of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament portion of the Bible. The Holy Spirit is considered one among the Triune God―The Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.
The Spirit of God is so highly regarded, that the Bible clearly states that those who say ill against the Holy Spirit shall never be forgiven. Such is the honor of the Holy Ghost, and without His presence, it is impossible to live a true Christian life.

Bible Verses on Receiving the Holy Ghost

❝In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,❞
― Ephesians 1:13-14, King James Version
❝If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?❞
― Luke 11:13, King James Version
❝But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.❞
― John 14:26, King James Version
Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.❞
― 1 Corinthians 14:1, King James Version
❝ John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:❞
― Luke 3:16, King James Version

What We Need to do to Receive the Holy Spirit

The Bible tells us the dos and don'ts of being true followers of Christ, which is impossible without being one with the Spirit. Romans 8:9, according to the English Standard Version, states, "You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him."
Keeping in mind the Biblical teachings regarding being the recipients of, or, being possessed by, the Holy Spirit, these are the ways through which we can be one with the Spirit of God, and be the light to this world that is filled with the darkness of sin.

Repent for Your Sins

All of us tend to sin, but not many of us realize that. The first and foremost step to draw closer to receiving salvation is realization. Acts 2:38, clearly asks believers to repent first and then be baptized.
This is because unless we don't realize that we are sinners who are lost, unless we don't repent and willingly seek forgiveness from the only Son of God, we can never walk in His path that leads to the grace of the Holy Spirit. Hence, realization and repentance are the very first, and utmost important, steps in this process.

Accept Christ as Your Source of Salvation

Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." It is only when we accept Him as our Savior, acknowledge the sacrifice He gave for us, and trust in His resurrection, that we can truly seek his grace and refuge.
As mentioned earlier, the Bible clearly states that without accepting Christ as our savior, we cannot receive salvation, and it is only at the time of salvation that the Holy Spirit is received by us.
That being said, it is implied that only a true believer in Christ can have the Holy Spirit dwelling in him/her.

Be Baptized

Receiving baptism is marked as the initiation of being a Christian. It is a public proclamation of one who is accepting Christ as his/her savior. Luke 3:16 states that it is Jesus who baptizes us with the Holy Spirit. This ritual calls for the washing of sins by immersing in water.
The early Christians immersed themselves in rivers and seas as a symbol of being renewed in the living water. The practice of laying of hands after baptism, marked for the moment when the Spirit of God ascended on the believers.
Acts 19:6, as per the King James Version (KJV), states, "And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied." Therefore, receiving baptism is a quintessential step towards receiving the Holy Ghost.

Desire Spiritual Gifts

Believe it or not, most Christians, even after baptism, seek more of the worldly desires than the spiritual ones. 1 Corinthians 14:1 clearly states that one should "Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts." For Christ came not to receive but to give.
To be a believer in Christ means to follow His footsteps. He never sought after the riches of the world, nor accumulated wealth for His own glory. Rather He encouraged others to share what they possessed, and never to ask back what has been given away in charity.
The Spirit fills only those hearts that understand the need to serve others. Therefore, our primary aim should not be to seek for ourselves, but to help others see the light of Christ. It is then that the Holy Spirit comes to us and helps us in our ministry through His presence and gifts.

Ask and You Shall Receive

Matthew 7-8, according to the KJV version, states, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."
Once we have found that spiritual aspect of our Christian life, we must ask the Lord in prayer to send His Holy Spirit upon us. John 14:26 states that the Father shall send the Holy Ghost in the name of Jesus Christ.
And that the Spirit comes with the understanding, teachings, and remembrance of Christ's words to obtain salvation. Seeking the Spirit in our prayers with irrevocable trust and faith will definitely help us receive the grace of the Holy Spirit.
Also, Acts 2:1-4 clearly states that when all believers were gathered "with one accord in one place" on the day of Pentecost, they all were filled with the Holy Spirit. The presence of more believers in one place with one goal―to receive the Spirit―makes the prayers all the more powerful.
Jesus clearly said, "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." And where Jesus is, there is also His Spirit.

Do Not Despise

1 Thessalonians 4:8, according to the King James Version (KJV), states, "He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit." This just implies that to be filled with the Holy Spirit is not a one-time act, but an ongoing process in the life of every Christian.
For if we walk through all the aforementioned ways, and end up despising others, we invariably despise the Spirit present in us. Therefore, we must ensure that we don't judge or belittle anyone, for everyone is created by God in His image.

Be an Ideal Christian

An ideal Christian is one who acknowledges the presence of God in all that comes in his/her life. Receiving Christ as our Savior doesn't imply that life would be easy, it means that God will send His Spirit to help us through all the challenges that shall come our way.
Unless we become the true image of Christ, and honor God's presence in all that surrounds us, we cannot be worthy to receive His Spirit. For the Spirit is bestowed on those with a pure, faithful, and selfless heart.
The receiving of the Holy Spirit is known to come along with special gifts, or powers. These gifts include, the gift of speaking in tongues, healing, prophecy, and performing miracles. Many, with the power of the Holy Ghost, have known to heal the sick, change the minds of sinners, and successfully overcome their own infirmities.
Therefore, it is evident that without the presence of the Holy Spirit, we cannot possibly think of being triumphant over sin, for it is the Spirit that forms the Triune God, and completes the Holy Trinity with His presence.
May God grant us the wisdom and understanding to follow His path, and clean our hearts and minds, so that they may be fit for His Holy Spirit to reside within us believers.