There seems to be a distinction between being filled with the Holy Spirit and being indwelt with the Holy Spirit. The book of Acts mentions the filling of the Holy Spirit several times.

What specifically is the evidence that someone is filled with the Holy Spirit? Is there always evidence that can be observed by others or can the filling be indistinguishable sometimes?

  • 4
    Also, how can we tell if someone's faking it?
    – Richard
    Jun 13 '13 at 19:35

Various traditions have different answers on this. There's no consensus. (That may be your answer. The rest may be irrelevant.)

Greg Bala has already addressed the Catholic view. Here are some Protestant ones, ranging from extreme Pentecostal to conservative Christian. None of these are universal. Some groups believe some of them, others think that some of the beliefs are insane, pure guff, or just wrong. I'm not saying which is which, just listing them out.

On the less Charismatic end of the spectrum...

Matthew 7:16 (KJV) Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

Galatians 5:16-25 (KJV) 16This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 19Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

25If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.


From a catholic tradition perspective, there is no immediate or one criteria. "Know them by their fruits", as far as I know, is the only criteria.

Unfortunately, this depends on what you consider good fruit :) So while I will tell you, that a person calling for you to separate from the catholic church is clearly a negative sign, to someone else, may be a good sign :)

  • 2
    Galatians 5:16-26 is a good start.
    – Ryan Frame
    Jun 13 '13 at 19:49
  • @RyanFrame true but this is not how to tell, immediately, that someone is filled with the holy spirit. This is basically, "judge by its fruits", which are not always immediate. Devil may manifest him self as good - many occult sects will tell you first to attend church regularly and do good, first. Jun 13 '13 at 20:07
  • Agreed. But to judge a person by his/her fruits, we have to know what fruits are good. We only know this by Scripture. If we decide for ourselves what fruits are good (which is my understanding of your second paragraph), we end up changing the standard to fit our own desires.
    – Ryan Frame
    Jun 13 '13 at 20:13
  • agreed @RyanFrame. nonetheless, people still interpret what some of these things mean. Certainly, these days "sexual immorality" has many different understandings. So I fully agree that that's the necessary first start, but then your own / your church's interpretation kicks in Jun 13 '13 at 20:16
  • The Catholic Church has an explicit list of said fruits, does it not? (One that might possibly correspond with a biblical list ...)
    – svidgen
    Jun 14 '13 at 2:12

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