“While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2 and 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.’ 3 So Paul asked, ‘Then what baptism did you receive?’ ‘John’s baptism,’ they replied. 4 Paul 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.’ 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.”
When Paul encountered these believers, it appears he may have been given spiritual discernment to notice something different about them. Perhaps he sensed something, or Someone, was missing.
Apparently, he did not doubt whether they were believers based on how he asked this most important first question. Perhaps he was both shocked and excited that they “had not even heard there is a Holy Spirit.”
Learning they had indeed repented of their sins, they were again baptized in water to demonstrate their decision to follow Jesus. Paul must have been filled with joy to be able to be used of God to then also empower these young believers with His Holy Spirit. Spiritual gifts were immediately manifested with this baptism of fire and power.
There is always more to receive of His Presence for those who sincerely seek to know God better. Tell the Father you are longing for more of Him, and be ready to receive.
Dive Deeper: Study Acts 19; Luke 11:9-13; Acts 1:4-5, 8.