To Live the Biblical Narratives

Pentecostal Autobiographies and the Baptism in the Spirit


  • Greger Andersson Örebro University, Örebro Theological Seminary



Baptism in the Spirit, narrative, Pentecostal hermeneutics, Charles Finney, T. B. Barratt, Lewi Pethrus, Dennis Bennett


When early Pentecostal leaders tried to understand certain religious experiences they referred to the narratives of Acts. Yet the narratives of these leaders came also to function as interpretations of the biblical narratives. In this process narrative patterns were shaped that have been important, yet also problematic, to Pentecostalism. In this essay two such features are discussed: Spirit baptism as a moment of crisis that leads to a passage from one level in the life of a Christian to a new and higher level, and the traits that should characterize the experience and confirm that it really is a baptism in the Spirit.

Author Biography

Greger Andersson, Örebro University, Örebro Theological Seminary

Greger Andersson (born 1958) has been a lecturer in Old Testament Studies at Örebro Theological Seminary since 1987. His PhD in comparative literature (2001) is a narratological study in which he discusses literary approaches to the book of Judges. He has also published a book-length study on the books of Samuel, titled Untamable Texts (T&T Clark, 2009). Since 2012, Andersson has been Professor in Comparative Literature at Örebro University. He is a member of the theological network of the Swedish Pentecostal Movement. This network publishes short books about issues relevant to the Pentecostal movement.


Anderson, A. 2004. An Introduction to Pentecostalism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Andersson, G. 2009. “Theology on the Borderline of Narrative”. In P.K. Hansen (ed.), Borderliners: Searching the Boundaries of Narrativity and Narratology. Copenhagen: Medusa: 197–219.

Archer, K.J. 2009 [2005]. A Pentecostal Hermeneutic. Spirit, Scripture and Community. Cleveland, OH: CPT Press.

Barratt, T. B. 1927. When the Fire Fell and an Outline of My Life. Oslo: Alfons Hansen & Sønner.

—. Erindringer [Memories]. Oslo: Filadelfiaforlaget.

Bennett, D.J. 1970. Nine O’Clock in the Morning. Alachua, FL: Bridge-Logos.

Dunn, J.D.G. 1970. Baptism in the Holy Spirit: A Re-examination of the New Testament Teaching of the Gift of the Spirit in Relation to Pentecostalism Today. Philadelphia, PA: Westminster.

—. 1993. “Baptism in the Spirit: A Response to Pentecostal Scholarship on Luke-Acts”. Journal of Pentecostal Theology 3: 3–27.

Fee, G. and D. Stuart. 1981. How to Read the Bible for All its Worth. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Hollenweger, W.J. 1972. The Pentecostals. London: SCM.

Malmgren, L.-G. 1986. Den konstiga konsten: en genomgång av några aktuella teorier om litteraturreception [Strange Art: A Survey of Some Current Theories of Reading]. Lund: Stundentlitteraturen.

Menzies, R.P. 1994. “Luke and the Spirit: A Reply to James Dunn”. Journal of Pentecostal Theology 4: 115–38.

Pethrus, L. [1953] 1974. Medan du stjärnorna räknar: vallpojken och vår Herre [While You are Counting the Stars: The Shepherd Boy and Our Lord]. Bromma: Filadelfia.

Rosell, G. and R.A.G. Dupuis. 1989. The Memoirs of Charles G. Finney. The Complete Restored Text. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Teologiska Nätverket i Pingst. 2007. Andedopet [Baptism in the Spirit]: Örebro: Libris.

Turner, M. 2003. “Double-scope Stories”. In D. Herman (ed.), Narrative Theory and the Cognitive Sciences. Stanford, CA: Center for the Study of Language and Information: 117–42.

Wahlström, M. (ed.). 2012. Forskning och självreflektion i Pingströrelsen 1973–2008 [Research and Self-Reflection in the Pentecostal Movement 1973–2008]. Stockholm: Pingst.



How to Cite

Andersson, G. (2014). To Live the Biblical Narratives: Pentecostal Autobiographies and the Baptism in the Spirit. PentecoStudies, 13(1), 112–127.