Paul had encountered some disciples on his journey through Ephesus. From the context we can gather they had responded to John the Baptist’ message at some point. However, this was not enough. Why? Because Jesus Whom they were looking for had already died and rose again. In other words, Johns message was fulfilled- a past event.
19 While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul passed through the interior regions and came to Ephesus, where he found some disciples. 2 He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They replied, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 Then he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They answered, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied— 7 altogether there were about twelve of them.
Some use this to prove that “rebaptism” should be performed on individuals who failed to understand that their baptism was “for remission of sins.”
Those who believe Acts 19:1-7 is proof that rebaptism is essential for those who fail to understand the purpose of baptism greatly error using this section of scripture as “proof text.” For starters, Paul never mentioned being rebaptized on this basis. In fact, his question was not that at all. He ask, “have you received the Holy Ghost since you believed?” Note: these Ephesians were ignorant of Jesus dying and raising from the dead. They still were looking for Whom was to come after John, that is, in Jesus.
What say ye?