ABOUT BAPTISM ?
can be no doubt that baptism is an important Bible
topic. It is directly mentioned about 100 times in
twelve different books of the New Testament. Jesus
spoke of it after He rose from the dead, telling His
apostles, "Go ye therefore, and teach all
nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" (Matthew
28:19). It is thus Christ's will that His followers
go and teach (make disciples of) all nations,
baptizing those who believe and receive His
teaching of the Bible about water baptism is not
complicated. Unfortunately, throughout history men
have often given conflicting answers to questions
dealing with baptism, such as how does it take
place, who should receive it, and what is its
purpose. This has left a great number of people
confused. We ask you to carefully consider what the
New Testament says about these vital topics. While
it is true that various other kinds of baptism are
mentioned in the Scriptures, in this tract all
references to "baptism" are to water
POURING, OR IMMERSION?
dictionaries of the English language indicate that
baptism can be administered by one of three ways: by
sprinkling water, by pouring water, or by immersion
in water. Today some religious groups accept all
three of these as a valid means of carrying out
baptism, whereas others insist that only one of
these three is acceptable.
is it that sprinkling, pouring and immersion have in
common? Each of them involves the use of water. But
do each of them meet all the Bible criteria for
baptism? Let us turn to the Scriptures and see:
Water is the proper element for baptism (Acts
John the Baptist baptized in Aenon "because
there was much water there" (John 3:23).
Baptism involves coming to a place where there is
water (getting water and the one to be baptized
together, Acts 8:36).
Baptism involves a going down into the water (Acts
Baptism takes place in water (Acts 8:39).
After baptism there is a coming up out of the water
(Matthew 3:16; Acts 8:39).
Baptism involves a burial ("Buried with him in
baptism," Colossians 2:12).
Baptism involves a resurrection (Rom. 6:4,5).
above facts from the Bible clearly point to the
conclusion that baptism is a complete immersion of
the body in water, and not simply sprinkling or
pouring water on someone. The New Testament was
written in the first century in the Koine Greek
language. The Greek word "baptisma," from
which we get our word "baptism," is
defined simply as "immersion, submersion"
(Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New
Testament, page 94).
we recognize that many people in our time consider
sprinkling and pouring to be legitimate
"forms" of baptism. The truth, however, is
that Scriptural baptism is an immersion, and using
sprinkling or pouring as substitutes for immersion
is something that men decided to do long after the
Bible was written. Our obligation is to speak and
act "as the oracles of God" (1 Peter
4:11), not the traditions of men.
SHOULD BE BAPTIZED?
every person is a proper candidate for baptism. That
is, not every person is one who ought to be
baptized. According to the New Testament what kind
of person can be baptized? What must he do or be
able to do before baptism? Consider the example of
the approximately 3000 Jews who were baptized on the
day of Pentecost (Acts 2). Before they were baptized
they first heard the word of God preached, as Peter
said to them, "Hearken to my words" (2:14;
2:37). Before they were baptized they had knowledge
about Jesus Christ, for Peter said to them,
"Therefore let all the house of Israel know
assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus, whom
ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ"
(2:36). Before they were baptized they were pricked
in their heart (2:37). Before they were baptized
they could speak or communicate. They were able to
ask, "Men and brethren what shall we do"
(2:37)? This question also shows that before being
baptized they had a desire to know what one must do
to be saved.
we learn that those who were baptized on that great
day were sinners. We know this is true because Peter
commanded them to repent (2:38), and only sinners
can and need to repent. Those who were baptized
understood the purpose of what they were doing.
Peter said, "Repent and be baptized every one
of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission
of sins …" (2:38). In addition, those who
were baptized did so as a result of having gladly
received the word (2:41).
accounts of baptism in the book of Acts give us the
following additional helpful information: those who
were baptized were men and women (Acts 8:12), they
themselves expressed a desire to be baptized
("What doth hinder me to be baptized,"
8:36), they confessed their faith in Jesus as the
Son of God (8:37), and rejoiced after being baptized
the above references from the Bible make it plain
that the only ones who ought to be baptized are
those people who are sinners, have already heard the
gospel preached, understand and believe the gospel,
are willing to repent of their sins, confess their
faith in Jesus Christ, and truly understand the
purpose of baptism.
ABOUT BAPTIZING BABIES?
infants be baptized? Some believe that they should,
some say that they should not, and yet others think
that it does not really matter. What do the
we have already seen, there are certain things that
a person must be able to understand and do before
being baptized. Babies and small children simply
cannot do these, and thus they are not proper
candidates for baptism.
groups have traditionally practiced what is called
"infant baptism." Is the baptism of babies
found in the Bible? If so, in which book, in which
chapter, and in which verse do we read about it?
Friends, there is no such passage! If in the New
Testament there is no command to baptize infants, no
example of such, or no implication that God allows
it, then we must conclude that infant baptism is not
from God, but from men. Where is the New Testament
authority to baptize infants? There is none!
Therefore, it is not in harmony with God's will to
IS THE PURPOSE OF BAPTISM?
word of God gives such a plain answer to this
question that all who will take the time to honestly
investigate the Scriptures will see the Lord's
truth. Before Paul was baptized, a servant of Jesus
told him, "And now why tarriest thou? arise,
and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on
the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16). According
to this statement, what was the purpose of Paul's
baptism? Was it not to wash away his sins?
chapters before this it is recorded that on the day
of Pentecost the Jews who assembled in Jerusalem
asked the apostles, "Men and brethren, what
shall we do?" What did the Holy Spirit say to
them through the apostle Peter? "Repent and be
baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus
Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall
receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Acts
2:38). Were those people told to be baptized because
they had already received the remission of sins
before they were baptized, or were they told to be
baptized in order to have their sins remitted?
Peter's statement makes it obvious that the purpose
of their baptism was to receive "the remission
about Mark 16:16? Jesus said, "He that
believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he
that believeth not shall be damned." According
to these words of Jesus, who shall be saved? One
that just believes? No. One that just is baptized?
No. Rather, one who believes AND is baptized.
the New Testament there are at least six passages in
which mention is made of both (1) baptism and (2)
salvation or the reception of a blessing from the
Lord. In each case baptism is mentioned first as the
condition of receiving the blessing (or entering a
new relationship). The following chart summarizes
16:16/Baptized/Shall be saved
2:38/Be baptized/Remission of sins
22:16/Be baptized/Wash away sins
6:3,4/Baptized/Into Christ, newness of life
3:27 / Baptized / Into Christ
Peter 3:21/Baptism/Does now save
take a Bible and read all of these passages
yourself. You will see that they do not teach that
baptism in water is the only condition of salvation.
But they do show without a doubt that in God's plan
one must be baptized in water in order to be saved
or to have his sins cleansed.
is significant that baptism is mentioned in each
recorded case of conversion in the book of Acts.
This in no way implies that baptism is more
important than faith or repentance. But, it does
show that, just like faith and repentance, baptism
is an essential condition of salvation.
is not "all" that one must do to please
the Lord. After a person has been baptized in
harmony with what the Scriptures teach, then he is
in Christ (Romans 6:3,4). But as a new creation or
babe in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), he is just
beginning his life as a Christian. After baptism he
has the solemn responsibility to faithfully serve
Jesus all the days of his life.