There are two terms in Scripture used for filling that uniquely describe how something or someone is filled. The differences between these two concepts for filling are very important to understand concerning the Christian life and how the Holy Spirit interacts with us today compared to saints prior to the dispensation of grace.

Pimplemi (πίμπλημι) describes filling in a way that controls or saturates. It is used of the sponge filled with wine given to Christ on the cross, Matthew 27:48, of a King having his servants fill his wedding hall with guests, Matthew 22:10, a woman’s time for giving birth, Luke 1:57, and even the completion of days of service for a Levitical priest, Luke 1:23. All of these occurrences are describing a permeating of what is filled. It is this type of filling that describes how the Holy Spirit interacted with Old Testament saints, such as John the Baptist was mentally controlled by the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb, Luke 1:15; however, once his ministry had finished the Holy Spirit no longer filled him, which can be seen with him questioning Jesus if He is the One coming, Luke 7:18-20. In the upper room, on the day of Pentecost when the Church began, the Holy Spirit filled (πίμπλημι), mentally controlled, the disciples making it possible for them to speak in other dialects the wonders of God, Acts 2:4. This is not the Spiritual gift of speaking in tongues, which was given to the early Church as a sign to the unbelieving Jews along with other gifts for signs, wonders, confirmation, and edification of the body of the Christ, 1 Corinthians 12:10. The gifts given to the Church are not from a filling of the Holy Spirit, but placement in the body of the Christ and are controlled by the one having the gift, 1 Corinthians 14:32. Rather, what happened in the upper room was a filling that controlled the minds of the disciples to give a sign to Israel. And there is no indication that they all continued to speak in tongues after this event. This sign was prophesied of in Joel concerning Israel and the tribulation period, Joel 2:28, which would have come about if Israel had accepted Christ as the Messiah, Daniel 9:26. However, upon their rejection, the dispensation of grace paused the prophetic calendar while the Church is being built up to completion. Therefore, this was an Old Testament type of filling that was signifying to Israel that God is doing something new, not for the Church. In the beginning of the Church the Holy Spirit uses this type of filling with the Apostles, namely with Paul on a few occasions such as when Ananias was sent to give Paul back his sight, Paul was mentally controlled by the Holy Spirit so that he would go out to Arabia to meet with Christ and be trained by Him, Galatians 1:17, and when Elymas the sorcerer apposed Paul and Barnabas on the island of Paphos, the Holy Spirit blinded Elymas, Acts 13:7-11. However, this type of filling transitions to a different type of filling for those who are members of the Church, going from a mental control or saturation to a filling up where lacking.

Pleroo (πληρόω) is a type of filling that describes the filling up of something where it lacks. It is used of the fulfillment of Scripture, Matthew 1:22, and of righteousness, Matthew 3:15, concerning Christ’s ministry. Christ did not come to destroy the Mosaic law and the Prophets, but to fill up where lacking, Matthew 5:17, fully complying with the law and the Prophets. Unlike Pimplemi (πίμπλημι), which completely takes over, Pleroo (πληρόω) fills up where something is missing, such as with grief filling (πληρόω) the minds, but not such a grief that overwhelms (πίμπλημι) the mind, John 16:6, like the Jews losing (πίμπλημι) their mind because of envy against Paul, Acts 13:45. Pleroo (πληρόω) is how a Christian is filled by the Holy Spirit today, Ephesians 5:18. As members of the body of the Christ we do not live by law; rather, the righteous requirements of the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus are fulfilled (πληρόω) in us when we walk by the Spirit, Romans 8:4. As we seek to fulfill the desires we now have from the Holy Spirit indwelling us, He manifests fruit in our lives that produces righteousness, filling us in a way that makes up for our lack in ability to manifest a quality of the Divine nature that we now have because we are born of God and are in the body of the Christ, yet do not have our complete redemption until our bodies are resurrected and our soul is saved, 2 Peter 1:2-5; 1 Peter 1:9. One who walks by the Spirit can then be filled up where lacking in joy and peace, Romans 15:13, goodness and knowledge, Romans 15:14, and the fruits of righteousness, Philippians 1:11, while knowing the love of Christ so that we are filled up where lacking with the fullness of God, Ephesians 3:19, for it is in Christ where we are filled up where we lack, Colossians 2:10.