Probably the most confusing question anyone can ask in some Charismatic groups is "have you been filled with the Holy Spirit?" Sometimes the one asking and the once answering are talking about two completely different things without realizing it. Even more confusing is the fact that when the New Testament discusses “being filled” or “being full” it uses the same Greek words to describe three completely different aspects of being “filled." 

The three different scriptural ideas of being full or filled with the Holy Spirit are:

1. filled – the seal of sonship via the Holy Spirit upon conversion.

John 14:16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—17the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

Rom. 8:15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 

2 Cor. 1:21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 

1 Cor. 6:19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? 

Rom. 8:9 And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.

2. filled – a supernatural experience with the Spirit for endowment/unlocking of supernatural gifts.

Luke 24:49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

Acts 8:14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. 15When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. 17Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. 

Acts 19:1 While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when£ you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied. 4Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. 6When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. 7There were about twelve men in all.

This can happen one or multiple times in a believers experience , via laying on of hands, or a personal private thing, very often accompanied by speaking in tongues (60% - 100%)

3. filled – engaged for function, a stirring up the Spirit within to function (should happen on a daily basis)

Acts 4:8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people!

Eph. 6:18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Eph. 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.

Gal. 5:16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

Rev. 1:10 On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet