Saul in Damascus

The third mention in the book of Acts of someone receiving the Holy Spirit is the case of Saul of Tarsus, later known as the apostle Paul. He had been saved on the road to Damascus, where he had also been temporarily blinded. Three days after his conversion, a man named Ananias was divinely sent to him:

So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he arose and was baptized (Acts 9:17-18).

There is no doubt that Saul was born again before Ananias arrived to pray for him. He believed in the Lord Jesus when he was still on the road to Damascus, and he immediately obeyed his new Lord’s instructions. Additionally, when Ananias first met Saul, he called him “brother Saul.” Note that Ananias told Saul that he had come so that he would regain his sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Thus for Saul, being filled with, or baptized in, the Holy Spirit occurred three days after his salvation.

The Scriptures don’t record the actual incident of Saul’s being baptized in the Holy Spirit, but it must have happened shortly after Ananias arrived at where Saul was staying. There is no doubt that Saul spoke with other tongues at some point, because he later stated in 1 Corinthians 14:18, “I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all.”