Contrary to popular Pentecostal and Charismatic belief, the laying on of hands is not necessary for one to receive holy spirit. Throughout the Book of Acts there was great concern about manifesting the holy spirit, and what they usually looked for was speaking in tongues or prophesying.
Sometimes the laying on of hands is needed. So why lay on hands? Because most often, a new believer will not know about his new abilities, so he or she would need some help and instruction.
In a few recorded cases where the new Christian believer didn't immediately manifest the spirit they (the disciples or apostles) sometimes laid hands upon them to assess the problem, lend support, or focus attention... Probably as directed to do so by the holy spirit. This is also known as "stretching forth their hands".
Scriptural Proof the Laying on of Hands is Not Always Necessary when Receiving the Holy Spirit
There are many scriptures where people got born again and manifested holy spirit without laying on of hands. Such as in Acts 2:4 “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Note that nobody touched them.
In Acts 10:44 “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.”
And in Acts 11:15 “And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.” Referring to Acts 2:4 where they all manifested by speaking in tongues without laying on of hands.
When we read “the holy spirit fell”, or “was fallen upon them”, know this is a figure of speech. This expression is often applied to the Holy Spirit, like we just read in Acts 8:16, Acts 10:44; Acts 11:15. It means that it came from above, in these cases figuratively in power and authority; and this figure of speech applies more to its influence upon the receiver rather than its origin or direction.
Watch a related video on How Holy Spirit Works.
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