Filled With the Holy Ghost Vs. Full of the Holy Ghost

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What Does It Mean to be Filled With the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Bible uses two different terms to explain an identical state, for, it utilizes filled with the Holy Ghost and full of the Holy Ghost to explain the condition of a Believer being pregnant with the Holy Spirit.

Both these terms refer to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

But, why, in each case, “filled” is in the past tense?

The biblical answer will surprise you. Join me as I explore Scriptures.

A List of be Filled With the Holy Spirit Verses

Why Filled Is Past Tense?

First, here is a list of all these occurrences. Later, I will explain it.

  1. 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” (Luke 1:15).
  2. “…It came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost” (Luke 1:41).
  3. “…His father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying” (Luke 1:67).
  4. “…They were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4).
  5. “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel” (Acts 4:8),
  6. “…When they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, … they spake the word of God with boldness” (Acts Acts 4:31).
  7. “…Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost” (Acts 9:17).
  8. Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him” (Acts 13:9).
  9. “And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost” (Acts 13:52).
  10. “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18).

Full of The Holy Ghost

Similar to the first list, all these references convey past tense for they say “full of”.

I have explained full of the Holy Spirit in another Bible Study, so click the link to read about it!

“Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness” (Luke 4:1).

The usage of these phrases in Scripture is deliberate. The Lord wants us to understand Him!

Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business” (Luke 6:3).

But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55).

“For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord” (Acts 11:24).

What Is The Main Reason the Bible Says Filled With the Holy Ghost?

You may say that is obvious. Because the writer in each case was reporting an incident that happened, thus he used the past tense.

This is true! But it’s not the main reason for the occurrence of all these phrases in the Scriptures.

What must happen first?

For example, if we have no joy we cannot be filled with joy. Similarly, if we have no peace we cannot be replete with it.

So, you don’t expect a person who is unhappy to be filled with happiness? No!

To be filled with joy, happiness, or peace first, we need to possess these attributes of God before we could be filled with any of them.

Therefore, how could a person who has not received the Holy Ghost be filled with Him?

In order for all those people talked about in the Bible to be filled with the Holy Ghost or full of the Holy Ghost, first, they must receive Him!

Then, after they have received Him, He filled them up with His Spirit!

Have you received the Holy Ghost since you believed?

How to be Filled With the Holy Spirit?

Note, above that, you believe that Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten Son of God then, you receive the Holy Ghost, not before! (Acts 19:2).

The teachings that you receive the Holy Ghost when you accept Jesus Christ as Lord are diabolical.

Satan inspires it!

If you accept and believe it you will be as far away from heaven as he is. Reject it!

It’s is not biblical but opinionated and fueled by the spirit of the Devil!

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

(Hosea 4:6)


Thus, the Spirit of the Lord God uses “filled with” or “full of the Holy Ghost” to indicate to us that we NEED to receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost first before He fills us up later.

If we are not filled with the Spirit of God when we meet people nothing happens.

You see, we must be filled to run over, or spill.

Is He Spilling Over?

Consequently, we must be replete with the Holy Ghost to the extent that He spills over on the people we come in contact with.

This experience is so tangible that they will feel Him! Others will know that they made contact with the Spirit of God in you.

Additionally, this is only when the power of God will manifest, when we are full of Him (Acts 1:8).

In closing, if we are not filled with the Holy Ghost we are in trouble.

It’s not a light matter!

Possessing Him determines where we spend eternity; with the Lord or with the Deceiver?

Leroy A. Daley

Leroy A. Daley is an author, blogger, YouTuber, and Bible teacher. Globally, he's helped hundreds of Christians understand the Bible better. He has been studying and teaching the Bible for more than forty years. He is passionate about the Lord and spends quality time with the Word of God every day. His Books are available for purchase wherever books are sold.

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