Paul encounters some who claimed to be disciples, so Paul asked them if they received the Holy Spirit when you believed. Paul question seems to be in connection with spiritual gifts that were given by the laying on of the apostle’s hands. Theses gifts had to be imparted (Rom. 1:11) and Paul made it a practice of sharing these gifts with other Christians. The response to Paul’s question caused him to realize that something was not right. For it was clearly taught that one receives the Spirit when you obey the gospel by being baptized into the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. So Paul questioned their baptism and they told him that they had only received John’s baptism. There is a good chance these disciples were taught by Apollos before he was taught the way of the Lord more accurately. So standing before Paul were those who professed to believe in Jesus (for Apollos taught accurately about Jesus) and had repented of their sins (for John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance) but had not obeyed the gospel! What made their obedience incomplete was their baptism! So if they were going to be true disciples of Jesus they needed to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins they would receive the indwelling of the Spirit as a seal of their salvation. They obeyed the gospel by being baptized into Christ! Paul then laid his hands on them and imparted to them some spiritual gifts.