As he said he hoped to do in 18.21, Paul now came to Ephesus. He finds some there described as disciples. Unqualified, this word is almost always taken to mean sincere followers of the Lord Jesus. Asking them about their conversion experience Paul says
“Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They replied, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
(Acts 19.2, NET)
These disciples were baptised with a baptism of repentance (vv.3-4) and with a baptism that looked forward to believing in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus. This group had repented of former sins and lifestyles and had been told that there was one to come who would pay the price for their repented-of sins (John 1.19-34). Now Paul, no doubt, filled in the gaps and explained to them that the prophesied Messiah had come and they were then baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. Paul then prayed and laid his hands on them (cf. v.2) and the Holy Spirit came on them.
If someone asked us the question of v.2, what would we say?
If someone asked if the Holy Spirit lives within you, what would you say?
“Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
David Guzik wrote this, a point to ponder today:
“If someone doesn’t seem to know if they have the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in their life, it’s fair to assume that they don’t have it. If you have it, you should know it. …This isn’t something to hope about; we can know – one can know they are filled with the Holy Spirit.”