Baptism According to the Bible


Strong's Concordance

907. baptizo
baptizw baptizo bap-tid'-zo

from a derivative of 911; to immerse, submerge; to make whelmed (i.e. fully wet); used only (in the New Testament) of ceremonial ablution, especially (technically) of the ordinance of Christian baptism:--Baptist, baptize, wash.


There are probably as many views concerning baptism in the church of today as there are denominations. Some churches believe baptism is an option, and not really required, some believe it is a requirement. Still others believe baptism is both a requirement and necessary. There are those who say baptism is only by total immersion in water and others believe it is not necessary to be completely submerged. Some baptize infants and small children, others reject the very idea. Some believe in being baptized a second time, others call it damnable to believe that.

Just what is the truth about baptism? Where can we find the answers? How can we know it is the RIGHT answer. After all, IF baptism is a requirement, we would certainly want to be right in following it wouldn't we?

The answer to all of our questions lies in the Word of God alone. No other doctrine, explanation, book, dogma, church teaching, tradition, etc is needed. The Word of God gives us everything we need to find our answer!

Why the controversy? Why are there so many people who hold different beliefs concerning baptism? I thought there was a "common" salvation (Read Jude...he spoke of it) that all men were required to abide by.

So why, then, are there so many viewpoints and why do some "Christians" get extremely angered over this? Only God Himself knows.

Perhaps it is because people are ignorant of what the Bible teaches about baptism. (Remember, the word 'ignorant' is not really a bad word ... it simply means you DON'T KNOW).

Perhaps people have not really been instructed according to the bible, but have rather been taught from some church doctrine, or other book, letter, etc.

Perhaps people are indifferent toward baptism. Maybe they have no beliefs concerning it one way or another.

It could be that they are afraid to come forward and admit that they have never been baptized even though they know they should.

Perhaps they are just being stubborn and rebellious against God. (Surely there is no one in the church today who would act that way !)

In any case, let's study (as instructed to do in 2 Timothy 2:15) the subject of baptism to see what the bible has to say about it.

What is Baptism?

From Webster's Dictionary we get:

Main Entry: bapĚtism
Pronunciation: 'bap-"ti-z&m, (esp Southern 'bab-)
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English baptisme
Date: 14th century
1 a : a Christian sacrament marked by ritual use of water and admitting the recipient to the Christian community b : a non-Christian rite using water for ritual purification c Christian Science : purification by or submergence in Spirit
2 : an act, experience, or ordeal by which one is purified, sanctified, initiated, or named

Well, that doesn't give us a whole lot, so let's look at the word as it is used in the bible. In the passages dealing with the (as described above in Webster's), "ritual" of baptism, we will quickly find that we get the word BAPTIZO from the Greek.

Look at the Strong's definition of (907) BAPTIZO:

907. baptizo
baptizw baptizo bap-tid'-zo

from a derivative of 911; to immerse, submerge; to make whelmed (i.e. fully wet); used only (in the New Testament) of ceremonial ablution, especially (technically) of the ordinance of Christian baptism:--Baptist, baptize, wash.

See Greek 911

So we see that the word Baptize means TO MAKE FULLY WET, to SUBMERGE, to IMMERSE. Since the BIBLE is the final authority in all scriptural matters, we must conclude that baptism is by IMMERSION ONLY... by making FULLY WET ... or SUBMERGING the one being baptized. From this point forward, when the subject of baptism is being discussed, you should automatically think "SUBMERGED".

"Sprinkling" as used in some churches today is not a valid means of baptism according to the Word of God. Basically put ... If you were not 'baptized' by being fully submerged under the water, friend, you were NOT BAPTIZED at all according to the Bible.

As we continue in the study, we will quickly see that there are NO examples of "sprinkling" with water, but there are examples of immersion.

Now that we know what Baptism is let's discuss it's purpose.

What is the Purpose of Baptism?

From the first time we see baptism (I'm not referring to "figures, shadows, or fore types" of baptism as found in many old testament passages), is during the days of John The Baptist (or the Baptizer, if you prefer). Let's look at Matthew chapter 3 and verses 1-11. (We'll cover the rest of the verses dealing with this matter a little later).

In verse 2 and again in verse 6, we see that John's message was one of REPENTANCE. We see something in verse 6, though, that baptism and repentance seemed to go hand in hand. Verse 6 states "And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins."

Verse 7 gets interesting: We have a prophet, John by name, who is clearly acting according to the will of God and under direction of God. He is doing something that appears to be a new thing. Here he is commanding people to repent and to be baptized, BUT, as we will soon see, it wasn't meant for all people.

Let's continue this on the next page.




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