I recently saw this being used on a church website, where they describe themselves as "a regional, Spirit-filled, Word-based church led by Pastors Keith and Margie Nix."

Now, I understand "Word-based". They hold to sola scriptura. That's easy.

But it kind of threw me to see "Spirit-filled" as a kind of "proper noun" description of a denomination. What exactly should this tell me about their theology? Or is there no one definition?

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    One could readily make the distinction between 'spirit filled' and the 'gift of the spirit' (or deposit) which in this age is all most have. They may well be spirit-led, but spirit filled - I don't think so and the bible would concur.
    – steveowen
    Mar 31, 2022 at 0:47

2 Answers 2


The term "Spirit Filled" is a Pentecostal / Charismatic term or idiom. It means that the church practices the various activities associated with that movement as far as "praying in tongues", Faith Healing, and sometimes some of the other alleged miraculous "gifts of the Spirit", aka charisms of the Bible mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12: 7-10.

This term is also applied to individuals, specifically people who have "received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit". This is basically the ability "to pray in tongues" (this is what academics refer to as glossolalia).


The idiom "spirit filled" (person or church) tends to be linked to the term "Baptism of the Holy Spirit". This term refers to a practice or church service where the person receives the gift of tongues by prayer and also sometimes the laying on of hands from another "spirit filled" believer or minister.

  • The term "Spirit Filled" is a Pentecostal / Charismatic term or idiom. Rather it is a biblical term (or derivative of) that the Pentecostal / Charismatic movement has made their own with their own peculiar definition - not necessarily aligned with the intention of the NT.
    – steveowen
    Mar 30, 2022 at 22:39
  • I made the definition based on my own experience with that movement, as well as my knowledge of Church history. The term seems unique to Christians coming from movements like the Azuza Street revival and other similar events that launched the Pentecostal movement in the US, and eventually around the world. This terms is contrasted to what Pentecostals believe about other Christians. Basically they acknowledge that they "have the Holy Spirit" (because they believe in Jesus as savior etc.) but they nevertheless do not pray in tongues etc. Mar 31, 2022 at 0:33

They were all filled with the Holy Spirit. None was not filled.

And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. [Acts 4:31 KJV]

To be one of these people, one must also be filled. It is experienced.

The 'definition' is the experience . . . which is the consequence (not the cause) of faith. Faith comes first. And repentance before faith.

The penitent, shall, eventually, experience the infilling. Therefore one must needs learn repentance . . . . . . first.

The words 'filled with the Spirit' mean just what they say. There is no difficulty to understanding the wording. The exercise . . . .. . is to experience what the wording says.

(And to avoid the mimicry of the experience, but to wait - in faith and in patience - for the reality.)

Matthew 5:1-12 is very relevant to this enquiry.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. [Matthew 5:3 KJV]

The poor in spirit realise that they are such, poor (in spirit). They have not what they wish for. But they do not pretend to have what they do not have.

They also 'hunger and thirst after righteousness' for they have none of their own. And they admit they have none of their own.

They mourn (blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted - with a Comforter).

This is the pathway of the penitent who seek righteousness (not their own) who mourn, grieving for One who is absent, who admit they are poor, having not spirit.

In time, with patience and with faith and with endurance, they shall inherit the world to come. For theirs is the kingdom (not of earth, but) of heaven.

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