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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia


1. The Derivation

2. The Meaning

3. The Application

4. Equivalent Terms


1. The Teaching of Scripture

(1) An Authoritative Command

(2) A Clear Declaration of the Object in View

(3) A Definite Promise

(4) A Plain Indication of the Scope

(5) A Prescribed Formula for Administering the Ordinance

2. The Biblical History of the Ordinance

3. Types of Baptism


1. Are Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 16:15, 16 Genuine?

2. Was the Trinitarian Formula Used in New Testament Times?

3. Was Christian Baptism Really a New Ordinance?

4. Should Infants Be Baptized?

5. Why Did Paul not Baptize?

6. What Is the Baptism for the Dead?

I. The Term.

1. The Derivation:

The word "baptism" is the Anglicized form of the Greek baptisma, or baptismos. These Greek words are verbal nouns derived from baptizo, which, again, is the intensive form of the verb bapto. "Baptismos denotes the action of baptizein (the baptizing), baptisma the result of the action (the baptism)" (Cremer). This distinction differs from, but is not necessarily contrary to, that of Plummer, who infers from Mark 7:4 and Hebrews 9:10 that baptismos usually means lustrations or ceremonial washings, and from Romans 6:4 Ephesians 4:1 1 Peter 3:21 that baptisma denotes baptism proper (Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible (five volumes)).

2. The Meaning:

The Greek words from which our English "baptism" has been formed are used by Greek writers, in classical antiquity, in the Septuagint and in the New Testament, with a great latitude of meaning. It is not possible to exhaust their meaning by any single English term. The action which the Greek words express may be performed by plunging, drenching, staining, dipping, sprinkling. The nouns baptisma and baptismos do not occur in the Septuagint; the verb baptizo occurs only in four places, and in two of them in a figurative sense (2 Kings 5:14; Judith 12:7; Isaiah 21:4; Ecclesiasticus 31 (34): 25). Wherever these words occur in the New Testament, the context or, in the case of quotations, a comparison with the Old Testament will in many instances suggest which of the various renderings noted above should be adopted (compare Mark 7:4 Hebrews 9:10 with Numbers 19:18, 19; Numbers 8:7 Exodus 24:4-6 Acts 2:16, 17, 41 with Joel 2:28). But there are passages in which the particular form of the act of baptizing remains in doubt. "The assertion that the command to baptize is a command to immerse is utterly unauthorized" (Hodge).

3. The Application:

In the majority of Biblical instances the verbs and nouns denoting baptism are used in a lit sense, and signify the application of water to an object or a person for a certain purpose. The ceremonial washings of the Jews, the baptism of proselytes to the Jewish faith, common in the days of Christ, the baptism of John and of the disciples of Christ prior to the Day of Pentecost, and the Christian sacrament of baptism, are literal baptisms (baptismus fluminis, "baptism of the river," i.e. water). But Scripture speaks also of figurative baptisms, without water (Matthew 20:22 Mark 10:38 Luke 12:50 = the sufferings which overwhelmed Christ and His followers, especially the martyrs-baptismus sanguinis, "baptism of blood"; Matthew 3:11 Mark 1:8 Luke 3:16 Acts 1:5; Acts 11:16 = the outpouring of the miraculous gifts of the Holy Ghost, which was a characteristic phenomenon of primitive Christianity-baptismus flaminis, "baptism of wind, breeze," i.e. "spirit"). Some even take Matthew 21:25 Mark 11:30 Acts 18:25 1 Corinthians 10:2 in a synecdochical sense, for doctrine of faith, baptism being a prominent feature of that doctrine (baptismus luminis, "baptism of light").

4. Equivalent Terms:

Scripture occasionally alludes to Christian baptism without employing the regular term. Thus in Titus 3:5, and Ephesians 5:26 we have the term loutron, "washing," instead lent terms of baptisma. From this term the Latin church derived its lavacrum (English "layer") as a designation of baptism. In Hebrews 10:22 we have the verbs rhantizo and louo, "sprinkle" and "wash"; in Ephesians 5:26 the verb katharizo, "cleanse"; in 1 Corinthians 6:11 the verb apolouo, "wash" are evidently synonyms of baptizo, and the act has been so denominated from its prime effect.

II. The Ordinance.

1. The Teaching of Scripture:

Christian baptism, as now practiced, is a sacred ordinance of evangelical grace, solemnly appointed by the risen Christ, prior to His entering into the state of glory by His ascension, and designed to be a means, until His second coming, for admitting men to discipleship with Him. Matthew 28:18-20 and its parallel Mark 16:15, 16 are the principal texts of Scripture on which the church in all ages has based every essential point of her teaching regarding this ordinance. The host of other baptismal texts of Scripture expand and illustrate the contents of these two texts. We have in these texts:

(1) An Authoritative Command

An authoritative (Matthew 28:19) command, issued in plain terms: "Make disciples. baptizing." This command declares (a) speciem actus, i.e. it indicates with sufficient clearness, by the use of the term "baptize," the external element to be employed, namely, water, and the form of the action to be performed by means of water, namely, any dipping, or pouring, or sprinkling, since the word "baptize" signifies any of these modes. On the strength of this command Luther held: "Baptism is not simple water only, but it is the water comprehended in God's command"; and the Westminster Shorter Catechism (Ques. 94) calls baptism "a washing with water." Water is distinctly mentioned as the baptismal element in Acts 8:38; Acts 10:47 Ephesians 5:26 Hebrews 10:22. "There is no mention of any other element" (Plummer). The phraseology of Ephesians 5:26, "the washing of water with the word," shows that not the external element alone, nor the physical action of applying the water, constitutes baptism; but "the word" must be added to the element and the action, in order that there may be a baptism. (Detrahe verbum, et quid est aqua nisi aqua? Accedit verbum ad elementum, et fit sacramentum, "Remove the word and what is water but water? The word is added to the element and it becomes a sacrament" Augustine). "Without the Word of God the water is simple water, and no baptism" (Luther). The command prescribes (b) exercitium actus, i.e. it enjoins a continued exercise of this function of the messengers of Christ for all time.

(2) A Clear Declaration of the Object in View.

The participle "baptizing" qualifies the imperative "make disciples," and expresses that, what the imperative states as the end, is to be attained by what the participle names as a means to that end. The participle "baptizing," again, is qualified by "teaching" (Matthew 28:20). The second participle is not connected by "and" with the first, hence, is subordinate to the first (Meyer). Discipleship is to be obtained by baptizing-teaching. There is no rigid law regarding the order and sequence of these actions laid down in these words; they merely state that Christ desires His disciples to be both baptized and fully informed as to His teaching.

(3) A Definite Promise:

Salvation (Mark 16:16), i.e. complete and final deliverance from all evil, the securing of "the end of faith" (1 Peter 1:9). This is a comprehensive statement, as in 1 Peter 3:21, of the blessing of baptism. Scripture also states, in detail, particular baptismal blessings:

(a) Regeneration, Titus 3:5 John 3:3, 5. Despite Calvin and others, the overwhelming consensus of interpreters still agrees with the ancient church and with Luther in explaining both these texts of baptism.

(b) Remission of sins, or justification (Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16 1 Corinthians 6:11 Ephesians 5:26 Hebrews 10:22). This blessing, no doubt, is also intended in 1 Peter 3:21, where eperotema has been rendered "answer" by the King James Version while the Revised Version (British and American) renders "interrogation." The word denotes a legal claim, which a person has a right to set up (SeeCremer under the word and Romans 8:1).

(c) The establishment of a spiritual union with Christ, and a new relationship with God (Galatians 3:26, 27 Romans 6:3, 4 Colossians 2:12). In this connection the prepositions with which baptizein in the New Testament connects may be noted. Baptizein eis, "to baptize into," always denotes the relation into which the party baptized is placed. The only exception is Mark 1:9. Baptizein en, or baptizein epi, "to baptize in" (Acts 10:48; Acts 2:38), denotes the basis on which the new relation into which the baptized enters, is made to rest (Cremer).

(d) The sanctifying gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13 Titus 3:5). All these blessings Scripture declares to be effects of baptism (Wirkung der Taufe, Riehm, Handworterb.). "Baptism is called `washing of regeneration,' not merely because it symbolizes it, or pledges a man to it, but also, and chiefly, because it effects it" (Holtzmann, Huther, Pfleiderer, Weiss). "Regeneration, or being begotten of God, does not mean merely a new capacity for change in the direction of goodness, but an actual change. The legal washings were actual external purifications. Baptism is actual internal purification" (Plummer). To these modern authorities Luther can be added. He says: "Baptism worketh forgiveness of sin, delivers from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe, as the words and promises of God declare" (Smaller Catech.). In Titus 3:5 the King James Version the force of the preposition dia, "by," deserves to be noted: it declares baptism to be the regenerating, renewing, justifying, glorying medium to the heirs of eternal life. The baptismal promise is supported, not only in a general way, by the veracity and sincerity of the Speaker, who is the Divine Truth incarnate, but also in a special way, by the Author's appeal to His sovereign majesty (Matthew 28:18), and by the significant assurance of His personal ("I" = ego, is emphatic: Meyer) presence with the disciples in their afore-mentioned activity (Matthew 28:20; compare Mark 16:20).

(4) A Plain Indication of the Scope:

"All nations," "the whole creation" (pase te ktisei to be understood as in Colossians 1:23 = "all men"). Baptism is of universal application; it is a cosmopolitan ordinance before which differences such as of nationality, race, age, sex, social or civil status, are leveled (compare Colossians 3:11 with 1 Corinthians 12:13). Accordingly, Christ orders baptism to be practiced "alway" (literally, "all days"), "even unto the end of the world," i.e. unto the consummation of the present age, until the Second Advent of the Lord. For, throughout this period Christ promises His cooperative presence with the efforts of His disciples to make disciples.

(5) A Prescribed Formula for Administering the Ordinance:

"Into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." The belief in the Trinity is fundamental to Christianity; accordingly, the sacred rite by which men are initiated into the Christian religion justly emphasizes this belief. The three Persons are mentioned as distinct from one another, but the baptismal command is issued upon their joint and coequal authority ("in the name," not "names"), thus indicating the Unity in Trinity. This ancient baptismal formula represents "the Father as the Originator, the Son as the Mediator, the Holy Ghost as the Realization, and the vital and vitalizing blessing of the promise and fulfillment," which is extended to men in this ordinance (Cremer).

2. The Biblical History of the Ordinance:

After the Lord had entered into His glory, we find that in the era of the apostles and in the primitive Christian church baptism is the established and universally acknowledged rite by which persons are admitted to communion with the church (Acts 2:38, 41; Acts 8:12, 36, 38; 9:18; 10:47; 16:15, 33; Acts 18:8; Romans 6:3 1 Corinthians 12:13 Galatians 3:27). Even in cases where an outpouring of the special gifts of the Holy Spirit had already taken place, baptism is still administered (Acts 10:44; Acts 11:15 f). "Thus, baptism occupied among the Gentile converts to Christianity, and later among all Christians, the same position as circumcision in the Old Covenant (Colossians 2:11 Galatians 5:2). It is, essentially, part of the foundation on which the unity of the Christian society rested from the beginning (Ephesians 4:5 1 Corinthians 12:13 Galatians 3:27 f)" (Riehm, Handworterb.). 3. Types of Baptism:

In 1 Corinthians 10:1, 2 the apostle states that the Israelites "were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea." Farrar attempts the following solution of this type: "The passing under the cloud (Exodus 14:19) and through the sea, constituting as it did their deliverance from bondage into freedom, their death to Egypt, and their birth to a new covenant, was a general type or dim shadow of Christian baptism (compare our collect, `figuring thereby Thy holy baptism'). But the typology is quite incidental; it is the moral lesson which is paramount. `Unto Moses'; rather, into. By this `baptism' they accepted Moses as their Heavensent guide and teacher" (Pulpit Comm.). In 1 Peter 3:21 the apostle calls baptism the antitupon of the Deluge. Delitzsch (on Hebrews 9:24) suggests that tupos and antitupon in Greek represent the original figure and a copy made therefrom, or a prophetic foretype and its later accomplishment. The point of comparison is the saving power of water in either instance. Water saved Noah and his family by floating the ark which sheltered them, and by removing from them the disobedient generation which had sorely tried their faith, as it had tried God's patience. In like manner the water of baptism bears up the ark of the Christian church and saves its believing members, by separating them from their filthy and doomed fellow-men.

III. Difficulties.

1. Are Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 16:15, 16 Genuine?:

Feine (PER3, XIX, 396) and Kattenbusch (Sch-Herz, I, 435) argue that the Trinitarian formula in Matthew 28:19 is spurious, and that the text in Mark belongs to a section which was added to this Gospel at a later time. The former claim had first been advanced by Conybeare, but later research by Riggenbach has established the genuineness of the Trinitarian formula in Matthew. Feine still maintains his doubts, however, on subjective grounds. As to the concluding section in Mark (16:9-20), Jerome is the first to call attention to its omission in most Greek manuscripts to which he had access. But Jerome himself acknowledged Mark 16:14 as genuine. Gregory of Nyssa reports that, while this section is missing in some manuscripts, in the more accurate ones many manuscripts contain it. No doctrinal scruple can arise on account of this section; for it contains nothing that is contrary to the doctrine of Scripture in other places on the same subject; and it has always been treated as genuine by the Christian church. The question is a purely historical one (see Bengel, Apparatus Criticus, 170).

2. Was the Trinitarian Formula Used in New Testament Times?:

No record of such use can be discovered in the Acts or the epistles of the apostles. The baptisms recorded in the New Testament after the Day of Pentecost are administered "in the name of Jesus Christ" (Acts 2:38), "into the name of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 8:16), "into Christ" (Romans 6:3 Galatians 3:27). This difficulty was considered by the Fathers; Ambrose says: Quod verbo tacitum fuerat, expressum est fide, "What had not been expressed in word, was expressed by faith." On close inspection the difficulty is found to rest on the assumption that the above are records of baptismal formulas used on those occasions. The fact is that these records contain no baptismal formula at all, but "merely state that such persons were baptized as acknowledged Jesus to be the Lord and the Christ" (Plummer). The same can be said of any person baptized in our day with the Trinitarian formula. That this formula was the established usage in the Christian church is proven by records of baptisms in Justin (Apol., I, 61) and Tertullian (Adv. Prax., XXVI). 3. Was Christian Baptism Really a New Ordinance?:

Baptism was practiced among the Jews prior to the solemn inauguration of this ordinance by the risen Christ. The ceremonial washings of the Jews are classed with the transient forms of the Levitical worship (Hebrews 9:9, 10), which had not been intended to endure except "until a time of reformation." They were removed when Christian baptism was erected into an abiding ordinance of the church of God (Colossians 2:11-13). It is erroneous to say that those ancient washings developed into Christian baptism. A shadow does not develop into a substance. Nor do we find the origin of Christian baptism in the baptism of proselytes, which seems to have been a Jewish church custom in the days of Christ. Though the rite of baptism was not by unknown to the Jews, still the baptism of John startled them (John 1:25). Such passages as Isaiah 4:4 (1:16); Ezekiel 36:25; Ezekiel 37:23 Zechariah 13:1 had, no doubt, led them to expect a rite of purification in the days of the Messiah, which would supersede their Levitical purification. The delegation which they sent to John was to determine the Messianic character of John and his preaching and baptizing. Johannic baptism has been a fruitful theme of debate. The question does not affect the personal faith of any Christian at the present time; for there is no person living who has received Johannic baptism (Chemnitz). The entire subject and certain features of it, as the incident recorded Acts 19:1-7, will continue to be debated. It is best to fix in our minds a few essential facts, which will enable us to put the Scriptural estimate on the baptism of John. John had received a Divine commission to preach and baptize (Luke 3:2 John 1:33 Matthew 21:25). He baptized with water (John 3:23). His baptism was honored by a wonderful manifestation of the holy Trinity (Matthew 3:16, 17), and the Redeemer, in His capacity as the Representative of sinful mankind, the sin-bearing Lamb of God, accepting baptism at John's hand (Matthew 3:13 John 1:29). It was of the necessity of receiving John's baptism that Christ spoke to Nicodemus (John 3:3). The Pharisees invited their eternal ruin by refusing John's baptism (Luke 7:30); for John's baptism was to shield them from the wrath to come (Matthew 3:7); it was for the remission of sin (Mark 1:4); it was a washing of regeneration (John 3:5). When Jesus began His public ministry, He took up the preaching and baptism of John, and His disciples practiced it with such success that John rejoiced (John 3:22, 25-36; John 4:1, 2). All this evidence fairly compels the belief that there was no essential difference between the baptism of John and the baptism instituted by Christ; that what the risen Christ did in Matthew 28:18-20 was merely to elevate a rite that had previously been adopted by an order "from above" to a permanent institution of His church, and to proclaim its universal application. The contrast which John himself declares between his baptism and that of Christ is not a contrast between two baptisms with water. The baptism of Christ, which John foretells, is a baptism with the Holy Ghost and with fire, the Pentecostal baptism. But for the general purpose of begetting men unto a new life, sanctifying and saving them, the Spirit was also bestowed through John's baptism (John 3:5). 4. Should Infants Be Baptized?:

The command in Matthew 28:19 Mark 16:16 is all-embracing; so is the statement concerning the necessity of baptism in John 3:5. After reading these statements, one feels inclined, not to ask, Should infants be baptized? but Why should they not be baptized? The onus probandi rests on those who reject infant baptism. The desire to have their infants baptized must have been manifested on the day when the first three thousand were baptized at Jerusalem, assuming that they were all adults. The old covenant had provided for their children; was the new to be inferior to the old in this respect? (SeePlummer in Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible (five volumes).) The baptism of entire households is presumptive evidence that children and infants were baptized in apostolic times (Acts 16:15, 33; Acts 18:8 1 Corinthians 1:16). The arguments against infant baptism imply defective views on the subject of original sin and the efficacy of baptism. Infant faith-for, faith is as necessary to the infant as to the adult-may baffle our attempts at explanation and definition; but God who extends His promises also to children (Acts 2:39), who established His covenant even with beasts (Genesis 9:16, 17); Christ who blessed also little children (Mark 10:13), and spoke of them as believers (Matthew 18:6), certainly does not consider the regeneration of a child or infant a greater task than that of an adult (compare Matthew 18:3, 4).

5. Why Did Paul not Baptize?:

Paul did baptize Crispus, Gaius and Stephanas with his household. These baptisms he performed at Corinth alone; we have no record of his baptisms at other places. What Paul declares in 1 Corinthians 1:14-17 is, that by his baptizing he could not have become the cause of the divisions in the Corinthian congregation, because he had baptized only a few persons at Corinth, and, moreover, he had not baptized in his own name, hence had attached no one to his person. The statement, "Christ sent me not to baptize," is made after the Semitic idiom, and means: "not so much to baptize as to preach" (Farrar in Pulpit Commentary). If they are taken in any other sense, it is impossible to protect Paul against the charge that he did something that he was not authorized to do, when he baptized Crispus, etc.

6. What Is the Baptism for the Dead?:

1 Corinthians 15:29 is sometimes taken to mean that the early Christians practiced baptism by proxy. After they had been converted to Christianity, it is held, they desired to convey the benefits of their faith to their departed friends who had died in paganism, by having themselves baptized "in their behalf," perhaps on their graves. We have no evidence from history that such a practice prevailed in the early Christian churches. Nor does the text suggest it. The Greek preposition huper expresses also the motive that may prompt a person to a certain action. In this case the motive was suggested by the dead, namely, by the dead in so far as they shall rise. The context shows this to be the meaning: If a person has sought baptism in view of the fact that the dead are to rise to be judged, his baptism is valueless, if the dead do not rise.


W. H. T. Dau




1. Baptism of Proselytes

2. Baptism of John

3. Baptism in the Pagan Mysteries


1. The administration of the Rite

2. The Mode of Using the Water

(1) Immersion

(2) Affusion

(3) Aspersion

3. Who May Perform Baptism

4. Who May Receive Baptism

(1) Baptism of Infants

(2) Baptism for the Dead



The Doctrine of Infant Baptism


Baptism (baptisma, baptismos, baptizein) has been from the earliest times the initiatory rite signifying the recognition of entrance into or of presence within the Christian church. We find the earliest mention of the ceremony in the Epistle to the Galatians (Galatians 3:27), written about 20 years after the death of Jesus. There and in 1 Corinthians (1 Corinthians 1:13; 1 Corinthians 12:13) Paul takes for granted that everyone who becomes a Christian (himself included) must be baptized. The rite seems also to have existed among the discipleship of Jesus before His death. We are told (John 4:1, 2) that, although Jesus Himself did not baptize, His disciples did, and that their baptisms were more numerous than those of John.

I. The Scriptural Names for the Rite.

The words commonly used in the New Testament to denote the rite are the verb baptizo, and the nouns baptisma and baptismos; but none are employed in this sense alone. The verb is used to denote the ceremonial purification of the Jews before eating, by pouring water on the hands (Luke 11:38 Mark 7:4); to signify the sufferings of Christ (Mark 10:38, 39 Luke 12:50); and to indicate the sacrament of baptism. It is the intensive form of baptein, "to dip," and takes a wider meaning. The passages Luke 11:38 and Mark 7:4 show conclusively that the word does not invariably signify to immerse the whole body. Some have held that baptismos invariably means ceremonial purification, and that baptisma is reserved for the Christian rite; but the distinction can hardly be maintained. The former certainly means ceremonial purification in Mark 7:4, and in Mark 7:8 (the King James Version); but it probably means the rite of baptism in Hebrews 6:2. Exegetes find other terms applied to Christian baptism. It is called `the Water' in Acts 10:47: "Can any man forbid `the Water,' that these should not be baptized?"; the layer of the water in Ephesians 5:26 the Revised Version, margin (where baptism is compared to the bridal bath taken by the bride before she was handed over to the bridegroom); and perhaps the laver of regeneration in Titus 3:5 the Revised Version, margin (compare 1 Corinthians 6:11), and illumination in Hebrews 6:4; Hebrews 10:32.

II. Pre-Christian Baptism.

1. Baptism of Proselytes:

Converts in the early centuries, whether Jews or Gentiles, could not have found this initiatory rite, in which they expressed their new-born faith, utterly unfamiliar. Water is the element naturally used for cleansing the body and its symbolical use entered into almost every cult; and into none more completely than the Jewish, whose ceremonial washings were proverbial. Besides those the Jew had what would seem to the convert a counterpart of the Christian rite in the baptism of proselytes by which Gentiles entered the circle of Judaism. For the Jews required three things of strangers who declared themselves to be converts to the Law of Moses: circumcision, baptism, and to offer sacrifice if they were men: the two latter if they were women. It is somewhat singular that no baptism of proselytes is forthcoming until about the beginning of the 3rd century; and yet no competent scholar doubts its existence. Schurer is full of contempt for those who insist on the argument from silence. Its presence enables us to see both how Jews accepted readily the baptism of John and to understand the point of objectors who questioned his right to insist that all Jews had to be purified ere they could be ready for the Messianic kingdom, although he was neither the Messiah nor a special prophet (John 1:19-23).

2. Baptism of John:

The baptism of John stood midway between the Jewish baptism of proselytes and Christian baptism. It differed from the former because it was more than a symbol of ceremonial purification; it was a baptism of repentance, a confession of sin, and of the need of moral cleansing, and was a symbol of forgiveness and of moral purity. All men, Jews who were ceremonially pure and Gentiles who were not, had to submit to this baptism of repentance and pardon. It differed from the latter because it only symbolized preparation to receive the salvation, the kingdom of God which John heralded, and did not imply entrance into that kingdom itself. Those who had received it, as well as those who had not, had to enter the Christian community by the door of Christian baptism (Acts 19:3-6). The Jewish custom of baptizing, whether displayed in their frequent ceremonial washings, in the baptism of proselytes or in the baptism of John, made Christian baptism a familiar and even expected rite to Jewish converts in the 1st century.

3. Baptism in the Pagan Mysteries:

Baptism, as an initiatory rite, was no less familiar to Gentileconverts who had no acquaintance with the Jewish religion. The ceremonial washings of the priests of pagan in the religions have been often adduced as something which might familiarize Gentileconverts with the rite which introduced them into the Christian community, but they were not initiations. A more exact parallel is easily found. It is often forgotten that in the earlier centuries when Christianity was slowly making its way in the pagan world pagan piety had deserted the official religions and taken refuge within the Mysteries, and that these Mysteries represented the popular pagan religions of the times. They were all private cults into which men and women were received one by one, and that by rites of initiation which each had to pass through personally. When admitted the converts became members of coteries, large or small, of like-minded persons, who had become initiated because their souls craved something which they believed they would receive in and through the rites of the cult. These initiations were secret, jealously guarded from the knowledge of all outsiders; still enough is known about them for us to be sure that among them baptism took an important place (Apuleius Metamorphoses xi). The rite was therefore as familiar to pagan as to Jewish converts, and it was no unexpected requirement for the convert to know that baptism was the doorway into the church of Christ. These heathen baptisms, like the baptism of proselytes, were for the most part simply ceremonial purifications; for while it is true that both in the cult of the Mysteries and beyond it a mode of purifying after great crimes was baptizing in flowing water (Eurip. Iph. in Tauri 167) or in the sea, yet it would appear that only ceremonial purification was thought of. Nor were ceremonial rites involving the use of water confined to the paganism of the early centuries. Such a ceremony denoted the reception of the newly-born child into pagan Scandinavian households. The father decided whether the infant was to be reared or exposed to perish. If he resolved to preserve the babe, water was poured over it and a name was given to it.

III. Christian Baptism.

1. The Administration of the Rite:

In the administration of the rite of Christian baptism three things have to be looked at: the act of baptizing; those who are entitled to perform it; and the recipients or those entitled to receive it. A complete act of baptizing involves three things: what has been called the materia sacramenti; the method of its use; and the forma sacramenti, the baptismal formula or form of words accompanying the use of the water. The materia sacramenti is water and for this reason baptism is called the Water Sacrament. The oldest ecclesiastical manual of discipline which has descended to us, the Didache, says that the water to be preferred is "living," i.e. running water, water in a stream or river, or fresh flowing from a fountain; "But if thou hast not living water, baptize in other water; and if thou canst not in cold, then in warm" (c. 7). In those directions the prescriptions of the ceremonial for the Jewish baptism of proselytes are closely followed. The earlier canons of the church permit any kind of water, fresh or salt, provided only it be true and natural water (aqua vera et naturalis).

2. The Mode of Using the Water:

(1) Immersion.

The use of the water is called ablutio. According to the rules of by far the largest portion of the Christian church the water may be used in any one of three ways: Immersion, where the recipient enters bodily into the water, and where, during the action, the head is plunged either once or three times beneath the surface; affusion, where water was poured upon the head of the recipient who stood either in water or on dry ground; and aspersion where water was sprinkled on the head or on the face. It has frequently been argued that the word baptizein invariably means "to dip" or immerse, and that therefore Christian baptism must have been performed originally by immersion only, and that the two other forms of affusion and aspersion or sprinkling are invalid-that there can be no real baptism unless the method of immersion be used. But the word which invariably means "to dip" is not baptizein but baptein. Baptizein has a wider signification; and its use to denote the Jewish ceremonial of pouring water on the hands (Luke 11:38 Mark 7:4), as has already been said, proves conclusively that it is impossible to conclude from the word itself that immersion is the only valid method of performing the rite. It may be admitted at once that immersion, where the whole body including the head is plunged into a pool of pure water, gives a more vivid picture of the cleansing of the soul from sin; and that complete surrounding with water suits better the metaphors of burial in Roman 6:4 and Colossians 2:12, and of being surrounded by cloud in 1 Corinthians 10:2.

(2) Affusion.

On the other hand affusion is certainly a more vivid picture of the bestowal of the Holy Spirit which is equally symbolized in baptism. No definite information is given of the mode in which baptism was administered in apostolic times. Such phrases as "coming up out of the water," "went down into the water" (Mark 1:10 Acts 8:38) are as applicable to affusion as to immersion. The earliest account of the mode of baptizing occurs in the Didache (c. 7), where it is said: "Now concerning Baptism, thus baptize ye: having first uttered all these things, baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, in living water. But if thou hast not living water, baptize in other water; and if thou canst not in cold, then in warm. But if thou hast neither, pour water upon the head thrice in the name of Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost." This seems to say that to baptize by immersion was the practice recommended for general use, but that the mode of affusion was also valid and enjoined on occasions. What is here prescribed in the Didache seems to have been the practice usually followed in the early centuries of the Christian church. Immersion was in common use: but affusion was also widely practiced: and both were esteemed usual and valid forms of baptizing. When immersion was used then the head of the recipient was plunged thrice beneath the surface at the mention of each name of the Trinity; when the mode was by affusion the same reference to the Trinity was kept by pouring water thrice upon the head. The two usages which were recognized and prescribed by the beginning of the 2nd century may have been in use throughout the apostolic period although definite information is lacking. When we remember the various pools in Jerusalem, and their use for ceremonial washings it is not impossible to suppose that the 3,000 who were baptized on the day of Pentecost may have been immersed, but, when the furnishing and conditions of Palestinian houses and of oriental jails are taken into account, it is difficult to conceive that at the baptisms of Cornelius and of the jailer, the ceremony was performed otherwise than by affusion. It is a somewhat curious fact that if the evidence from written texts, whether ancient canons or writings of the earlier Fathers, be studied by themselves, the natural conclusion would seem to be that immersion was the almost universal form of administering the rite; but if the witness of the earliest pictorial representation be collected, then we must infer that affusion was the usual method and that immersion was exceptional; for the pictorial representations, almost without exception, display baptism performed by affusion, i.e. the recipient is seen standing in water while the minister pours water on the head. It may therefore be inferred that evidence for the almost universal practice of immersion, drawn from the fact that baptisms took place in river pools (it is more than probable that when we find the names of local saints given to pools in rivers, those places were their favorite places of administering the rite), or from the large size of almost all early medieval baptisteries, is by no means so conclusive as many have supposed, such places being equally applicable to affusion. It is also interesting to remember that when most of the Anabaptists of the 16th century insisted on adult baptism (re-baptism was their name for it) immersion was not the method practiced by them. During the great baptismal scene in the market-place of the city of Munster the ordinance was performed by the ministers pouring three cans of water on the heads of the recipients. They baptized by affusion and not by immersion. This was also the practice among the Mennonites or earliest Baptists. This double mode of administering the sacrament-by immersion or by affusion-prevailed in the churches of the first twelve centuries, and it was not until the 13th that the practice of aspersio or sprinkling was almost universally employed.

(3) Aspersion.

The third method of administering baptism, namely, by aspersio or sprinkling, has a different history from the other two. It was in the early centuries exclusively reserved for sick and infirm persons too weak to be submitted to immersion or affusion. There is evidence to show that those who received the rite in this form were somewhat despised; for the nicknames clinici and grabatorii were, unworthily Cyprian declares, bestowed on them by neighbors. The question was even raised in the middle of the 3rd century, whether baptism by aspersio was a valid baptism and Cyprian was asked for his opinion on the matter. His answer is contained in his lxxvth epistle (lxix Hartel's ed.). There he contends that the ordinance administered this way is perfectly valid, and quotes in support of his opinion various Old Testament texts which assert the purifying effects of water sprinkled (Ezekiel 36:25, 26 Numbers 8:5-7; Numbers 19:8, 9, 12, 13). It is not the amount of the water or the method of its application which can cleanse from sin: "Whence it appears that the sprinkling also of water prevails equally with the washing of salvation. and that where the faith of the giver and receiver is sound, all things hold and may be consummated and perfected by the majesty of God and by the truth of faith." His opinion prevailed. Aspersio was recognized as a valid, though exceptional, form of baptism. But it was long of commending itself to ministers and people, and did not attain to almost general use until the 13th century.

The idea that baptism is valid when practiced in the one method only of immersion can scarcely be looked on as anything else than a ritualistic idea.

3. Who May Perform Baptism:

The Scripture nowhere describes or limits the qualifications of those who are entitled to perform the rite of baptism. We find apostles, wandering preachers (Acts 8:38), a private member of a small and persecuted community (Acts 9:18) performing the rite. So in the sub-apostolic church we find the same liberty of practice. Clement of Alexandria tells us that the services of Christian women were necessary for the work of Christian missions, for they alone could have access to the gynaeceum and carry the message of the gospel there (Strom., III, 6). Such women missionaries did not hesitate to baptize. Whatever credit may be given to the Acts of Paul and Theckla, it is at least historical that Theckla did exist, that she was converted by Paul, that she worked as a missionary and that she baptized her converts. Speaking generally it may be said that as a sacrament has always been looked upon as the recognition of presence within the Christian church, it is an act of the church and not of the individual believer; and therefore no one is entitled to perform the act who is not in some way a representative of the Christian community-the representative character ought to be maintained somehow. As soon as the community had taken regular and organized form the act of baptism was suitably performed by those who, as office-bearers, naturally represented the community. It was recognized that the pastor or bishop (for these terms were synonymous until the 4th century at least) ought to preside at the administration of the sacrament; but in the early church the power of delegation was recognized and practiced, and elders and deacons presided at this and even at the Eucharist. What has been called lay-baptism is not forbidden in the New Testament and has the sanction of the early church. When superstitious views of baptism entered largely into the church and it was held that no unbaptized child could be saved, the practice arose of encouraging the baptism of all weakling infants by nurses. The Reformed church protested against this and was at pains to repudiate the superstitious thought of any mechanical efficacy in the rite by deprecating its exercise by any save approved and ordained ministers of the church. Still, while condemning lay-baptism as irregular, it may be questioned whether they would assert any administration of the rite to be invalid, provided only it had been performed with devout faith on the part of giver and receiver.

4. Who May Receive Baptism:

The recipients of Christian baptism are all those who make a presumably sincere profession of repentance of sin and of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour; together with the children of such believing parents. The requirements are set forth in the accounts given us of the performance of the rite in the New Testament, in which we see how the apostles obeyed the commands of their Master. Jesus had ordered them to "make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19)-to "preach the gospel to the whole creation. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned" (Mark 16:15, 16). The apostle Peter said to the inquirers on the Day of Pentecost, "Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit"; and 3,000 were added to the church through the initiatory rite of baptism. The Samaritans, who believed on Jesus through the preaching of Philip, were admitted to the Christian community through baptism; though in this case one of the baptized, Simon Magus, after his reception, was found to be still in "the bond of iniquity" (Acts 8:12, 23). The jailer and all his, Lydia and her household, at Philippi, were baptized by Paul on his and her profession of faith on Jesus, the Saviour. There is no evidence in any of the accounts we have of apostolic baptisms that any prolonged course of instruction was thought to be necessary; nothing of classes for catechumens such as we find in the early church by the close of the 2nd century, or in modern missionary enterprise. We find no mention of baptismal creeds, declarative or interrogative, in the New Testament accounts of baptisms. The profession of faith in the Lord Jesus, the Saviour, made by the head of the family appears, so far as the New Testament records afford us information, to have been sufficient to secure the baptism of the "household"-a word which in these days included both servants and children.

(1) Baptism of Infants.

This brings us to the much-debated question whether infants are to be recognized as lawful recipients of Christian baptism. The New Testament Scriptures do not in so many words either forbid or command the baptism of children. The question is in this respect on all fours with the change of the holy day from the seventh to the first day of the week. No positive command authorizes the universal usage with regard to the Christian Sabbath day; that the change is authorized must be settled by a weighing of evidence. So it is with the case of infant baptism. It is neither commanded nor forbidden in so many words; and the question cannot be decided on such a basis. The strongest argument against the baptizing of infants lies in the thought that the conditions of the rite are repentance and faith; that these must be exercised by individuals, each one for himself and for herself; and that infants are incapable either of repentance or of faith of this kind. The argument seems weak in its second statement; it is more dogmatic than historical; and will be referred to later when the doctrine lying at the basis of the rite is examined. On the other hand a great deal of evidence supports the view that the baptism of infants, if not commanded, was at least permitted and practiced within the apostolic church. Paul connects baptism with circumcision and implies that under the gospel the former takes the place of the latter (Colossians 2:12); and as children were circumcised on the 8th day after birth, the inference follows naturally that children were also to be baptized. In the Old Testament, promises to parents included their children. In his sermon on the Day of Pentecost Peter declares to his hearers that the gospel promise is "to you and to your children" and connects this with the invitation to baptism (Acts 2:38, 39). It is also noteworthy that children shared in the Jewish baptism of proselytes. Then we find in the New Testament narratives of baptisms that "households" were baptized-of Lydia (Acts 16:15), of the jailer at Philippi (Acts 16:32), of Stephanas (1 Corinthians 1:16). It is never said that the children of the household were exempted from the sacred rite. One has only to remember the position of the head of the household in that ancient world, to recollect how the household was thought to be embodied in its head, to see how the repentance and faith of the head of the household was looked upon as including those of all the members, not merely children but servants, to feel that had the children been excluded from sharing in the rite the exclusion would have seemed such an unusual thing that it would have at least been mentioned and explained. our Lord expressly made very young children the types of those who entered into His kingdom (Mark 10:14-16); and Paul so unites parents with children in the faith of Christ that he does not hesitate to call the children of the believing husband or wife "holy," and to imply that the children had passed from a state of "uncleanness" to a state of "holiness" through the faith of a parent. All these things seem to point to the fact that the rite which was the door of entance into the visible community of the followers of Jesus was shared in by the children of believing parents. Besides evidence for the baptism of children goes back to the earliest times of the sub-apostolic church. Irenaeus was the disciple of Polycarp, who had been the disciple of John, and it is difficult to draw any other conclusion from his statements than that he believed that the baptism of infants had been an established practice in the church long before his days (Adv. Haer., II, 22; compare 39). The witness of Tertullian is specially interesting; for he himself plainly thinks that adult baptism is to be preferred to the baptism of infants. He makes it plain that the custom of baptizing infants existed in his days, and we may be sure from the character and the learning of the man, that had he been able to affirm that infant-baptism had been a recent innovation and had not been a long-established usage descending from apostolic times, he would certainly have had no hesitation in using what would have seemed to him a very convincing way of dealing with his opponents. Tertullian's testimony comes from the end of the 2nd century or the beginning of the 3rd century. Origen, the most learned Christian writer during the first three centuries and who comes a little later than Tertullian, in his 14th Homily on Luke bears witness to the fact that the baptism of infants was usual. He argues that original sin belongs to children because the church baptizes them. At the same time it is plain from a variety of evidence too long to cite that the baptism of infants was not a universal practice in the early church. The church of the early centuries was a mission church. It drew large numbers of its members from heathendom. In every mission church the baptism of adults will naturally take the foremost place and be most in evidence. But is is clear that many Christians were of the opinion of Tertullian and believed that baptism ought not to be administered to children but should be confined to adults. Nor was this a theory only; it was a continuous practice handed down from one generation to another in some Christian families. In the 4th century, few Christian leaders took a more important place than Basil the Great and his brother Gregory of Nyssa. They belonged to a family who had been Christians for some generations; yet neither of the brothers was baptized until after his personal conversion, which does not appear to have come until they had attained the years of manhood. The whole evidence seems to show that in the early church, down to the end of the 4th century at least, infant and adult baptism were open questions and that the two practices existed side by side with each other without disturbing the unity of the churches. In the later Pelagian controversy it became evident that theory and practice of infant baptism had been able to assert itself and that the ordinance was always administered to children of members of the church.

(2) Baptism for the Dead.

Paul refers to a custom of "baptizing for the dead" (1 Corinthians 15:29). What this "vicarious baptism" or "baptism for the dead" was it is impossible to say, even whether it was practiced within the primitive Christian church. The passage is a it very difficult one and has called forth a very large number of explanations, which are mere guesses. Paul neither commends nor disapproves of it; he simply mentions its existence and uses the fact as an argument for the resurrection. SeeBAPTISM FOR THE DEAD.

IV. The Formula of Baptism.

The Formula of Christian baptism, in the mode which prevailed, is given in Matthew 28:19: "I baptize thee in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." But it is curious that the words are not given in any description of Christian baptism until the time of Justin Martyr: and there they are not repeated exactly but in a slightly extended and explanatory form. He says that Christians "receive the washing with water in the name of God, the Ruler and Father of the universe, and of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit" (1 Apol., 61). In every account of the performance of the rite in apostolic times a much shorter formula is in use. The 3,000 believers were baptized on the Day of Pentecost "in the name of Jesus" (Acts 2:38); and the same formula was used at the baptism of Cornelius and those that were with him (Acts 10:48). Indeed it would appear to have been the usual one, from Paul's question to the Corinthians: "Were ye baptized into the name of Paul?" (1 Corinthians 1:13). The Samaritans were baptized "into the name of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 8:16); and the same formula (a common one in acts of devotion) was used in the case of the disciples at Ephesus. In some instances it is recorded that before baptism the converts were asked to make some confession of their faith, which took the form of declaring that Jesus was the Lord or that Jesus Christ was the Son of God. It may be inferred from a phrase in 1 Peter 3:21 that a formal interrogation was made, and that the answer was an acknowledgment that Jesus Christ was Lord. Scholars have exercised a great deal of ingenuity in trying to explain how, with what appear to be the very words of Jesus given in the Gospel of Matthew, another and much shorter formula seems to have been used throughout the apostolic church. Some have imagined that the shorter formula was that used in baptizing disciples during the lifetime of our Lord (John 4:1, 2), and that the apostles having become accustomed to it continued to use it during their lives. Others declare that the phrases "in the name of Jesus Christ" or "of the Lord Jesus" are not meant to give the formula of baptism, but simply to denote that the rite was Christian. Others think that the full formula was always used and that the narratives in the Book of Ac and in the Pauline Epistles are merely brief summaries of what took place-an idea rather difficult to believe in the absence of any single reference to the longer formula. Others, again, insist that baptism in the name of one of the persons of the Trinity implies baptism in the name of the Three.

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1. Terminology

2. Proselyte Baptism

3. Greek Usage

4. New Testament Usage

5. The Didache

6. Baptismal Regeneration




This article is not a discussion of the whole subject, but is merely a presentation of the Baptist interpretation of the ordinance. The origin and history of the ordinance, as a whole, do not come within the range of the present treatment.

I. Meaning of Baptism.

1. Terminology:

The verb used in the New Testament is (baptizo). The substantives baptisma and baptismos occur, though the latter is not used in the New Testament of the ordinance of baptism except by implication (Hebrews 6:2, "the teaching of baptisms") where the reference is to the distinction between the Christian ordinance and the Jewish ceremonial ablutions. Some documents have it also in Colossians 2:12 (compare Hebrews 9:10, "divers washings") for a reference purely to the Jewish purifications (compare the dispute about purifying in John 3:25). The verb baptizo appears in this sense in Luke 11:38 (margin) where the Pharisee marveled that Jesus "had not first bathed himself before breakfast" (noon-day meal). The Mosaic regulations required the bath of the whole body (Leviticus 15:16) for certain uncleannesses. Tertullian (de Baptismo, XV) says that the Jew required almost daily washing. Herodotus (ii.47) says that if an Egyptian "touches a swine in passing with his clothes, he goes to the river and dips himself (bapto) from it" (quoted by Broadus in Commentary on Matthew, 333). See also the Jewish scrupulosity illustrated in Sirach 34:25 and Judith 12:7 where baptizo occurs. The same thing appears in the correct text in Mark 7:4, "And when they come from the market-place, except they bathemselves, they eat not." Here baptizo is the true text. The use of rhantizo ("sprinkle") is due to the difficulty felt by copyists not familiar with Jewish customs. See also the omission of "couches" in the same verse. The couches were "pallets" and could easily be dipped into water. It is noteworthy that here rhantizo is used in contrast with baptizo, showing that baptizo did not mean sprinkle. The term baptismos occurs in Josephus (Ant., XVIII, v, 2) in connection with John's baptism (compare also Irenaeus 686 B about Christ's baptism). In general, however, baptisma is the substantive found for the ordinance. The verb baptizo is in reality a frequentative or intensive of bapto ("dip"). Examples occur where that idea is still appropriate, as in 2 Kings 5:14 (Septuagint) where Naaman is said to have "dipped himself seven times in the Jordan" (ebaptisato). The notion of repetition may occur also in Josephus (Ant., XV, iii, 3) in connection with the death of Aristobulus, brother of Mariamne, for Herod's friends "dipped him as he was swimming, and plunged him under water, in the dark of the evening." But in general the term baptizo, as is common with such forms in the late Greek, is simply equivalent to bapto (compare Luke 16:24) and means "dip," "immerse," just as rhantizo, like rhaino, means simply "sprinkle."

If baptizo never occurred in connection with a disputed ordinance, there would be no controversy on the meaning of the word. There are, indeed, figurative or metaphorical uses of the word as of other words, but the figurative is that of immersion, like our "immersed in cares," "plunged in grief," etc. It remains to consider whether the use of the word for a ceremony or ordinance has changed its significance in the New Testament as compared with ancient Greek

It may be remarked that no Baptist has written a lexicon of the Greek language, and yet the standard lexicons, like that of Liddell and Scott, uniformly give the meaning of baptizo as "dip," "immerse." They do not give "pour" or "sprinkle," nor has anyone ever adduced an instance where this verb means "pour" or "sprinkle." The presumption is therefore in favor of "dip" in the New Testament.

2. Proselyte Baptism:

Before we turn directly to the discussion of the ceremonial usage, a word is called for in regard to Jewish proselyte baptism. It is still a matter of dispute whether this initiatory rite was in existence at the time of John the Baptist or not. Schurer argues ably, if not conclusively, for the idea that this proselyte baptism was in use long before the first mention of it in the 2nd century. (Compare The Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ, Div ii, II, 319; also Edersheim, Life and Times of Jesus, appendix, xii, Baptism of Proselytes). It matters nothing at all to the Baptist contention what is true in this regard. It would not be strange if a bath was required for a Gentile who became a Jew, when the Jews themselves required such frequent ceremonial ablutions. But what was the Jewish initiatory rite called proselyte baptism? Lightfoot (Horae Hebraicae, Matthew 3:7) gives the law for the baptism of proselytes: "As soon as he grows whole of the wound of circumcision, they bring him to Baptism, and being placed in the water they again instruct him in some weightier and in some lighter commands of the Law. Which being heard, he plunges himself and comes up, and, behold, he is an Israelite in all things." To this quotation Marcus Dods (Presbyterian) HDB adds: "To use Pauline language, his old man is dead and buried in the water, and he rises from this cleansing grave a new man. The full significance of the rite would have been lost had immersion not been practiced." Lightfoot says further: "Every person baptized must dip his whole body, now stripped and made naked, at one dipping. And wheresoever in the Law washing of the body or garments is mentioned, it means nothing else than the washing of the whole body." Edersheim (op. cit.) says: "Women were attended by those of their own sex, the rabbis standing at the door outside." Jewish proselyte baptism, an initiatory ceremonial rite, harmonizes exactly with the current meaning of baptizo already seen. There was no peculiar "sacred" sense that changed "dip" to "sprinkle."

3. Greek Usage:

The Greek language has had a continuous history, and baptizo is used today in Greece for baptism. As is well known, not only in Greece, but all over Russia, wherever the Greek church prevails, immersion is the unbroken and universal practice. The Greeks may surely be credited with knowledge of the meaning of their own language. The substitution of pouring or sprinkling for immersion, as the Christian ordinance of baptism, was late and gradual and finally triumphed in the West because of the decree of the Council of Trent. But the Baptist position is that this substitution was unwarranted and subverts the real significance of the ordinance. The Greek church does practice trine immersion, one immersion for each person of the Trinity, an old practice (compare ter mergitamur, Tertullian ii.79 A), but not the Scriptural usage. A word will be needed later concerning the method by which pouring crept in beside immersion in the 2nd and later centuries. Before we turn directly to the New Testament use of bapti zo it is well to quote from the Greek Lexicon of the Roman and Byzantine Periods by Professor E. A. Sophocles, himself a native Greek. He says (p. 297): "There is no evidence that Luke and Paul and the other writers of the New Testament put upon this verb meanings not recognized by the Greeks." We expect therefore to find in the New Testament "dip," as the meaning of this word in the ceremonial sense of an initiatory Christian rite. Thayer's Lexicon likewise defines the word in this ceremonial Christian use to mean "an immersion in water, performed as a sign of the removal of sin."

Baptists could very well afford to rest the matter right here. There is no need to call for the testimony of a single Baptist scholar on this subject. The world of scholarship has rendered its decision with impartiality and force on the side of the Baptists in this matter. A few recent deliverances will suffice. Dr. Alfred Plummer (Church of England) in his new Commentary on Matthew (p. 28) says that the office of John the Baptist was "to bind them to a new life, symbolized by immersion in water." Swete (Church of England) in his Commentary on Mark (p. 7) speaks of "the added thought of immersion, which gives vividness to the scene." The early Greek ecclesiastical writers show that immersion was employed (compare Barnabas, XI, 11): "We go down into the water full of sins and filth, and we come up bearing fruit in the heart." For numerous ecclesiastical examples see Sophocles' Lexicon.

4. New Testament Usage:

But the New Testament itself makes the whole matter perfectly plain. The uniform meaning of "dip" for baptizo and the use of the river Jordan as the place for baptizing by John the Baptist makes inevitable the notion of immersion unless there is some direct contradictory testimony. It is a matter that should be lifted above verbal quibbling or any effort to disprove the obvious facts. The simple narrative in Matthew 3:6 is that "they were baptized of him in the river Jordan." In Mark 1:9, 10 the baptism is sharpened a bit in the use of eis and ek. Jesus "was baptized of John in (eis) the Jordan. And straightway coming up out of (ek) the water, he saw." So in Acts 8:38 we read: "They both went down into (eis) the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they came up out of (ek) the water, the Spirit. caught away Philip." If one could still be in doubt about the matter, Paul sets it at rest by the symbolism used in Romans 6:4, "We were buried therefore with him through bapti sm into death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life." The submergence and emergence of immersion thus, according to Paul, symbolize the death and burial to sin on the one hand and the resurrection to the new life in Christ on the other. Sanday and Headlam (Church of England) put it thus in their Commentary on Romans (p. 153): "It expresses symbolically a series of acts corresponding to the redeeming acts of Christ. Immersion = Death. Submersion = Burial (the ratification of death). Emergence = Resurrection." In Colossians 2:12 Paul again says: "having been buried with him in baptism, wherein ye were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead." The same image is here presented. Lightfoot (Church of England) on Colossians (p. 182) says: "Baptism is the grave of the old man, and the birth of the new. As he sinks beneath the baptismal waters, the believer buries there all his corrupt affections and past sins; as he emerges thence, he rises regenerate, quickened to new hopes and new life."

There is nothing in the New Testament to offset this obvious and inevitable interpretation. There are some things which are brought up, but they vanish on examination. The use of "with" after baptize in the English translation is appealed to as disproving immersion. It is enough to reply that the Committee of the American Standard Revision, which had no Baptist member at the final revision, substituted "in" for "with." Thus: "I indeed baptize you in water unto repentance" (Matthew 3:11; compare also Mark 1:8). The use of both "with" and "in" in Luke 3:16 is a needless stickling for the use of the Greek en with the locative case. In Mark 1:8 en is absent in the best manuscripts, and yet the American Revisers correctly render "in." In Acts 1:5 they seek to draw the distinction between the mere locative and en and the locative. As a matter of fact the locative case alone is amply sufficient in Greek without en for the notion of "in." Thus in John 21:8 the translation is: "But the other disciples came in the little boat." There is no en in the Greek, but "the boat" is simply in the locative case. If it be argued that we have the instrumental case (compare the instrumental case of en as in Revelation 6:8, "kill with sword"), the answer is that the way to use water as an instrument in dipping is to put the subject in the water, as the natural way to use the boat (John 21:8) as an instrument is to get into it. The presence or absence of en with baptizo is wholly immaterial. In either case "dip" is the meaning of the verb The objection that three thousand people could not have been immersed in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost is superficial. Jerusalem was abundantly supplied with pools. There were 120 disciples on hand, most of whom were probably men (compare the 70 sent out before by Jesus). It is not at all necessary to suppose that the 12 (Matthias was now one of them) apostles did all the baptizing. But even so, that would be only 250 apiece. I myself have baptized 42 candidates in a half-hour in a creek where there would be no delay. It would at most be only a matter of four or five hours for each of the twelve. Among the Telugus this record has been far exceeded. It is sometimes objected that Paul could not have immersed the jailer in the prison; but the answer is that Luke does not say so. Indeed Luke implies just the opposite: "And he took (took along in the Greek, para) them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized." He took Paul and Silas along with him and found a place for the baptism, probably, somewhere on the prison grounds. There is absolutely nothing in the New Testament to dispute the unvarying significance of baptizo.

5. The Didache:

Appeal has been made to the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, which may belong to the first half of the 2nd century. Here for the first time pouring is distinctly admitted as an ordinance in place of immersion. Because of this remarkable passage it is argued by some that, though immersion was the normal and regular baptism, yet alongside of it, pouring was allowed, and that in reality it was a matter of indifference which was used even in the 1st century. But that is not the true interpretation of the facts in the case. The passage deserves to be quoted in full and is here given in the translation of Philip Schaff (Presbyterian) in his edition of the Didache (pp. 184): "Now concerning baptism, baptize thus: Having first taught all these things, baptize ye into (eis) the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, in living water. And if thou hast not living water, baptize into other water; and if thou canst not in cold, then in warm (water). But if thou hast neither, pour water thrice upon the head in (eis) the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." There is thus no doubt that early in the 2nd century some Christians felt that baptism was so important that, when the real baptism (immersion) could not be performed because of lack of water, pouring might be used in its place. This is absolutely all that can be deduced from this passage. It is to be noted that for pouring another word (ekcheo) is used, clearly showing that baptizo does not mean "to po ur." The very exception filed proves the Baptist contention concerning baptizo. Now in the New Testament baptizo is the word used for baptism. Ekcheo is never so used. Harnack in a letter to C. E. W. Dobbs, Madison, Ind. (published in The Independent for February 9, 1885), under date of January 16, 1885 says:

(1) Baptizein undoubtedly signifies immersion (eintauchen).

(2) No proof can be found that it signifies anything else in the New Testament and in the most ancient Christian literature. The suggestion regarding `a sacred sense' is out of the question.

This is the whole point of the Baptists admirably stated by Adolph Harnack. There is no thought of denying that pouring early in the 2nd century came to be used in place of immersion in certain extreme cases. The meaning of baptizo is not affected a particle by this fact. The question remains as to why this use of pouring in extreme cases grew up. The answer is that it was due to a mistaken and exaggerated estimate put upon the value of baptism as essential to salvation. Those who died without baptism were felt by some to be lost. Thus arose "clinic" baptisms.

6. Baptismal Regeneration:

(For the doctrine of baptismal regeneration see Justin Martyr, First Apology, 61.) Out of this perversion of the symbolism of baptism grew both pouring as an ordinance and infant baptism. If baptism is necessary to salvation or the means of regeneration, then the sick, the dying, infants, must be baptized, or at any rate something must be done for them if the real baptism (immersion) cannot be performed because of extreme illness or want of water. The Baptist contention is to protest against the perversion of the significance of baptism as the ruin of the symbol. Baptism, as taught in the New Testament, is the picture of death and burial to sin and resurrection to new life, a picture of what has already taken place in the heart, not the means by which spiritual change is wrought. It is a privilege and duty, not a necessity. It is a picture that is lost when something else is substituted in its place.


II. The Subjects of Baptism.

It is significant that even the Teaching of the Twelve apostles with its exaggerated notion of the importance of baptism does not allow baptism of infants. It says: "Having first taught all these things." Instruction precedes baptism. That is a distinct denial of infant baptism. The uniform practice in the New Testament is that baptism follows confession. The people "confessing their sins" were baptized by John (Matthew 3:6). It is frankly admitted by Paedobaptist scholars that the New Testament gives no warrant for infant baptism. Thus Jacobus (Congregationalist) in the Standard Bible Dictionary says: "We have no record in the New Testament of the baptism of infants." Scott (Presbyterian) in the 1-vol HDB says: "The New Testament contains no explicit reference to the baptism of infants or young children." Plummer (Church of England), HDB, says: "The recipients of Christian baptism were required to repent and believe." Marcus Dods (Presbyterian), DCG, says: "A rite wherein by immersion in water the participant symbolizes and signalizes his transition from an impure to a pure life, his death to a past he abandons, and his new birth to a future he desires." It would be hard to state the Baptist interpretation in better terms. Thus no room is found in the New Testament for infant baptism which would symbolize what the infant did not experience or would be understood to cause the regeneration in the child, a form of sacramentalism repugnant to the New Testament teaching as understood by Baptists. The dominant Baptist note is the soul's personal relation to God apart from ordinance, church or priest. The infant who dies unbaptized is saved without baptism. The baptized individual, child (for children are often baptized by Baptists, children who show signs of conversion) or man, is converted before his baptism. The baptism is the symbol of the change already wrought. So clear is this to the Baptist that he bears continual protest against that perversion of this beautiful ordinance by those who treat it as a means of salvation or who make it meaningless when performed before conversion. Baptism is a preacher of the spiritual life. The Baptist contention is for a regenerated church membership, placing the kingdom before the local church. Membership in the kingdom precedes membership in the church. The passages quoted from the New Testament in support of the notion of infant baptism are wholly irrelevant, as, for instance, in Acts 2:39 where there is no such idea as baptism of infants. So in 1 Corinthians 7:14, where note husband and wife. The point is that the marriage relation is sanctified and the children are legitimate, though husband or wife be heathen. The marriage relation is to be maintained. It is begging the question to assume the presence of infants in the various household baptisms in Acts. In the case of the family of Cornelius they all spake with tongues and magnified God (Acts 10:46). The jailer's household "rejoiced greatly" (Acts 16:34). We do not even know that Lydia was married. Her household may have been merely her employes in her business. The New Testament presents no exceptions in this matter.

III. The Present Obligation.

The Baptists make one more point concerning baptism. It is that, since Jesus himself submitted to it and enjoined it upon His disciples, the ordinance is of perpetual obligation. The arguments for the late ecclesiastical origin of Matthew 28:19 are not convincing. If it seem strange that Jesus should mention the three persons of the Trinity in connection with the command to baptize, one should remember that the Father and the Spirit were both manifested to Him at His baptism. It was not a mere ceremonial ablution like the Jewish rites. It was the public and formal avowal of fealty to God, and the names of the Trinity properly occur. The new heart is wrought by the Holy Spirit. Reconciliation with the Father is wrought on the basis of the work of the Son, who has manifested the Father's love in His life and death for sin. The fact that in the acts in the examples of baptism only the name of Jesus occurs does not show that this was the exact formula used. It may be a mere historical summary of the essential fact. The name of Jesus stood for the other two persons of the Trinity. On the other hand the command of Jesus may not have been regarded as a formula for baptism; while in no sense sacramental or redemptive, it is yet obligatory and of perpetual significance. It is not to be dropped as one of the Jewish excrescences on Christianity. The form itself is necessary to the significance of the rite. Hence, Baptists hold that immersion alone is to be practiced, since immersion alone was commanded by Jesus and practiced in the New Testament times. Immersion alone sets forth the death to sin, and burial in the grave the resurrection to new life in Christ. Baptism as taught in the New Testament is "a mould of doctrine," a preacher of the heart of the gospel. Baptists deny the right of disciples of Jesus to break that mould. The point of a symbol is the form in which it is cast. To change the form radically is to destroy the symbolism. Baptists insist on the maintenan ce of primitive New Testament baptism because it alone is baptism, it alone proclaims the death and resurrection of Jesus, the spiritual death and resurrection of the believer, the ultimate resurrection of the believer from the grave. The disciple is not above his Lord, and has no right to destroy this rich and powerful picture for the sake of personal convenience, nor because he is willing to do something else which Jesus did not enjoin and which has no association with Him. The long years of perversion do not justify this wrong to the memory of Jesus, but all the more call upon modern disciples to follow the example of Jesus who himself fulfilled righteousness by going into the waters of the Jordan and receiving immersion at the hands of John the Baptist.


The Greek Lexicons, like Suicer, Liddell and Scott, Sophocles, Thayer, Preuschen; the Biblical Dictionaries; the Critical Commentaries on the New Testament; books of antiquities like Smith's Dictionary of Christian Antiquities; the new Sch-Herz; Binghara's Antiquities of the Christian Church; Schaff's Creeds of Christendom; Neale's History of the Holy Eastern Church; Lives of Christ, like Edersheim's LTJM, or a survey of the customs of the Jews like Schurer's HJP; books on John the Baptist like Reynolds' John the Baptist, Feather's Last of the Prophets, Robertson's John the Loyal; special treatises on Baptism like Wall's History of Infant Baptism, Stanley's Christian Institutions, Dargan's Ecclesiology, Conant's Baptizein, Mozley's Review of the Baptismal Controversy, Christian's Immersion, Broadus' Immersion, Frost's The Moral Dignity of Baptism, Whitsitt's a Question in Baptist History, Lofton's The Baptist Reformation, Lambert's The Sacraments of the New Testament, Dale's Classic Baptism and Christian and Patristic Baptism, Kirtley's Design of Baptism, Forester's The Baptist Position, Frost's Baptist Why and Why Not, Ford's Studies in Baptism.

A. T. Robertson


(baptizomai huper ton nekron).

_1. Paul's Argument:

Some of the Corinthian Christians denied the resurrection of the dead, and Paul advances three arguments to convince them that the dead will be raised:

(1) "If there is no resurrection of the dead, neither hath Christ been raised," but Christ is raised (1 Corinthians 15:13, 20).

(2) If the dead are not raised, why are men being baptized for the dead (1 Corinthians 15:29)?

(3) Why should the apostle himself wage his spiritual warfare (1 Corinthians 15:30)? The first argument rests upon the central fact of Christianity, and the other two are appeals to the consistency of the Corinthians, and of Paul himself. Whatever "baptism for the dead" meant, it was, in Paul's opinion, as real, valid and legitimate a premise from which to conclude that the dead would rise as his own sufferings. The natural meaning of the words is obvious. Men in Corinth, and possibly elsewhere, were being continually baptized on behalf of others who were at the time dead, with a view to benefiting them in the resurrection, but if there be no resurrection, what shall they thus accomplish, and why do they do it? "The only legitimate reference is to a practice. of survivors allowing themselves to be baptized on behalf of (believing?) friends who had died without baptism" (Alford in the place cited.).

2. Patristic Evidence:

Tertullian believed that Paul referred to a custom of vicarious baptism (Res., 48c; Adv. Marc., 5.10). There is evidence that the early church knew such a practice. Epiphanius mentions a tradition that the custom obtained among the Cerinthians (Haer., 28 6). And Chrysostom states that it prevailed among the Marcionites.

3. Modern Views:

But commentators have offered between thirty and forty other interpretations, more or less strained, of the passage. (For a summary of different views see T. C. Edwards and Stanley, Comms., at the place) Two of the most reasonable views from recent commentators are: "What shall they do who receive baptism on account of the dead? i.e. with a view to the resurrection of the dead?" and therefore to sharing in it themselves (Canon Evans, Speaker's Comm., at the place); "that the death of Christians led to the conversion of survivors, who in the first instance `for the sake of the dead' (their beloved dead), and in the hope of reunion, turn to Christ" (Findlay, Expositor's Greek Test., at the place). Both ideas may be true, but they are simply imported into this passage, and the latter also is quite irrelevant to the argument and makes Paul identify conversion with baptism.

4. The Difficulty:

But why is all this ingenuity expended to evade the natural meaning? Because

(1) such a custom would be a superstition involving the principle of opus operarum; and

(2) Paul could not share or even tolerate a contemporary idea which is now regarded as superstition.

To reply (with Alford) that Paul does not approve the custom will not serve the purpose, for he would scarcely base so great an argument, even as an argumentum ad hominem, on a practice which he regarded as wholly false and superstitious. The retort of those who denied the resurrection would be too obvious. But why should it be necessary to suppose that Paul rose above all the limitations of his age? The idea that symbolic acts had a vicarious significance had sunk deeply into the Jewish mind, and it would not be surprising if it took more than twenty years for the leaven of the gospel to work all the Jew out of Paul. At least it serves the apostle's credit ill to make his argument meaningless or absurd in order to save him from sharing at all in the inadequate conceptions of his age. He made for himself no claim of infallibility.

T. Rees


(en pneumati hagio kai puri): This expression is used in Matthew 3:11. The copulative kai requires that the baptism "in the Holy Ghost and in fire," should be regarded as one and the same thing. It does violence to the construction, therefore, to make this statement refer to the fire Of judgment. The difficulty has always been in associating fire with the person of the Holy Ghost. But in the connection of fire with the work or influence of the Holy Ghost the difficulty disappears. The thought of John is that the Saviour would give them the Divine Sanctifier as purifying water to wash away their sins and as a refining fire to consume their dross; to kindle in their hearts the holy flame of Divine love and zeal; to illuminate their souls with heavenly wisdom. The statement, therefore, in this verse indicates the manner in which Christ will admit them to discipleship and prepare them for His service.


Jacob W. Kapp


1. The Biblical Material:

The expression "baptism of the Holy Spirit" is based on a number of predictions found in our four Gospels and in connection with these the record of their fulfillment in the Book of Acts. The passages in the Gospels are as follows: Matthew 3:11: "I indeed baptize you in water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit and in fire." The last clause is autos humas baptisei en pneumati hagio kai puri. In Mark 1:8 and Luke 3:16 we have the declaration in a slightly modified form; and in John 1:33 John the Baptist declares that the descent of the Spirit upon Jesus at the baptism of the latter marked out Jesus as "he that baptizeth in the Holy Spirit." Again in John 7:37, 38 we read: "Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, from within him shall flow rivers of living water." Then the evangelist adds in John 7:39: "But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believed on him were to receive: for the Spirit was not yet given; because Jesus was not yet glorified." These are the specific references in the four Gospels to the baptisms of the Holy Spirit. In Acts we find direct reference by Luke to the promised baptism in the Holy Spirit. In Acts 1:5 Jesus, just before the ascension, contrasts John's baptism in water with the baptism in the Holy Spirit which the disciples are to receive "not many days hence," and in Acts 1:8 power in witnessing for Jesus is predicted as the result of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. On the evening of the resurrection day Jesus appeared to the disciples and "he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit" (John 20:22). This was probably not a wholly symbolic act but an actual communication to the disciples, in some measure, of the gift of the Spirit, preliminary to the later complete bestowal.

We observe next the fulfillment of these predictions as recorded in Acts. The gift of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost and the miraculous manifestations which followed are clearly the chief historical fulfillment of the prediction of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Among the manifestations of the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost were first those which were physical, such as "a sound as of the rushing of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting" (Acts 2:2), and the appearance of "tongues parting asunder, like as of fire; and it sat upon each one of them" (Acts 2:3). Secondly, there were spiritual results: "And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts 2:4). In Acts 2:16 Peter declares that this bestowment of the Holy Spirit is in fulfillment of the prediction made by the prophet Joel and he cites the words in Acts 2:28 of Joel's prophecy.

There is one other important passage in Acts in which reference is made to the baptism of the Holy Spirit. While Peter was speaking to Cornelius (Acts 10:44) the Holy Spirit fell on all that heard the word and they of the circumcision who were with Peter "were amazed" "because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit." When giving the brethren at Jerusalem an account of his visit to Cornelius, Peter declares that this event which he had witnessed was a baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 11:16): "And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit."

2. Significance of Baptism of the Holy Spirit:

We consider next the significance of the baptism of the Holy Spirit from various points of view.

(1) From the Point of View of Old Testament Teaching as to the Gift of the Spirit.

The prophecy of Joel quoted by Peter indicates something extraordinary in the gift of the Spirit at Pentecost. The Spirit now comes in new forms of manifestation and with new power. The various classes mentioned as receiving the Spirit indicate the wide diffusion of the new power. In the Old Testament usually the Spirit was bestowed upon individuals; here the gift is to the group of disciples, the church. Here the gift is permanently bestowed, while in the Old Testament it was usually transient and for a special purpose. Here again the Spirit comes in fullness as contrasted with the partial bestowment in Old Testament times.

(2) From the Point of View of the Ascended Christ.

In Luke 24:49 Jesus commands the disciples to tarry in the city "until ye be clothed with power from on high," and in John 15:26 He speaks of the Comforter "whom I will send unto you from the Father," "he shall bear witness of me"; and in John 16:13 Jesus declares that the Spirit when He comes shall guide the disciples into all truth, and He shall show them things to come. In this verse the Spirit is called the Spirit of truth. It was fitting that the Spirit who was to interpret truth and guide into all truth should come in fullness after, rather than before, the completion of the life-task of the Messiah. The historical manifestation of Divine truth as thus completed made necessary the gift of the Spirit in fullness. Christ Himself was the giver of the Spirit. The Spirit now takes the place of the ascended Christ, or rather takes the things of Christ and shows them to the disciples. The baptism of the Spirit at Pentecost thus becomes the great historic event signalizing the beginning of a new era in the kingdom of God in which the whole movement is lifted to the spiritual plane, and the task of evangelizing the world is formally begun.

(3) The Significance of the Baptism of the Spirit from the Point of View of the Disciples.

It can scarcely be said with truth that Pentecost was the birthday of the church. Jesus had spoken of His church during His earthly ministry. The spiritual relation to Christ which constitutes the basis of the church existed prior to the baptism of the Holy Spirit. But that baptism established the church in several ways. First in unity. The external bond of unity now gives place to an inner spiritual bond of profound significance. Secondly, the church now becomes conscious of a spiritual mission, and theocratic ideals of the kingdom disappear. Thirdly, the church is now endued with power for its work. Among the gifts bestowed were the gift of prophecy in the large sense of speaking for God, and the gift of tongues which enabled disciples to speak in foreign tongues. The account in the second chapter of Acts admits of no other construction. There was also bestowed power in witnessing for Christ. This was indeed one of the most prominent blessings named in connection with the promise of the baptism of the Spirit. The power of working miracles was also bestowed (Acts 3:4; Acts 5:12). Later in the epistles of Paul much emphasis is given to the Spirit as the sanctifying agency in the hearts of believers. In Acts the word of the Spirit is chiefly Messianic, that is, the Spirit's activity is all seen in relation to the extension of the Messianic kingdom. The occasion for the outpouring of the Spirit is Pentecost when men from all nations are assembled in Jerusalem. The symbolic representation of tongues of fire is suggestive of preaching, and the glossolalia, or speaking with tongues which followed, so that men of various nations heard the gospel in their own languages, indicates that the baptism of the Spirit had a very special relation to the task of world-wide evangelization for the bringing in of the kingdom of God.

3. Finality of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit:

The question is often raised whether or not the baptism of the Holy Spirit occurred once for all or is repeated in subsequent baptisms. The evidence seems to point to the former view to the extent at least of being limited to outpourings which took place in connection with events recorded in the early chapters of the Book of Acts. The following considerations favor this view:

(1) In the first chapter of Acts Jesus predicts, according to Luke's account, that the baptism of the Holy Spirit would take place, "not many days hence" (Acts 1:5). This would seem to point to a definite and specific event rather than to a continuous process.

(2) Again, Peter's citation in Acts 2:17-21 of Joel's prophecy shows that in Peter's mind the event which his hearers were then witnessing was the definite fulfillment of the words of Joel.

(3) Notice in the third place that only one other event in the New Testament is described as the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and for special reasons this may be regarded as the completion of the Pentecostal baptism. The passage is that contained in Acts 10:1-11:18 in which the record is given of the following events:

(a) miraculous vision given to Peter on the housetop (Acts 10:11-16) indicating that the things about to occur are of unique importance;

(b) the speaking with tongues (Acts 10:45, 46);

(c) Peter declares to the brethren at Jerusalem that the Holy Ghost fell on the Gentiles in this instance of Cornelius and his household "as on us at the beginning" (Acts 11:15);

(d) Peter also declares that this was a fulfillment of the promise of the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 11:16, 17);

(e) the Jewish Christians who heard Peter's account of the matter acknowledged this as proof that God had also extended the privileges of the gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 11:18). The baptism of the Holy Spirit bestowed upon Cornelius and his household is thus directly linked with the first outpouring at Pentecost, and as the event which signalized the opening of the door of the gospel formally to Gentiles it is in complete harmony with the missionary significance of the first great Pentecostal outpouring. It was a turning point or crisis in the Messianic kingdom and seems designed to complete the Pentecostal gift by showing that Gentiles as well as Jews are to be embraced in all the privileges of the new dispensation.

(4) We observe again that nowhere in the epistles do we find a repetition of the baptism of the Spirit. This would be remarkable if it had been understood by the writers of the epistles that the baptism of the Spirit was frequently to be repeated. There is no evidence outside the Book of Acts that the baptism of the Spirit ever occurred in the later New Testament times. In 1 Corinthians 12:13 Paul says, "For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body,. and were all made to drink of one Spirit." But here the reference is not to the baptism of the Spirit, but rather to a baptism into the church which is the body of Christ. We conclude, therefore, that the Pentecostal baptism taken in conjunction with the baptism of the Spirit in the case of Cornelius completes the baptism of the Holy Spirit according to the New Testament teaching. The baptism of the Spirit as thus bestowed was, however, the definite gift of the Spirit in His fullness for every form of spiritual blessing necessary in the progress of the kingdom and as the permanent and abiding gift of God to His people. In all subsequent New Testament writings there is the assumption of this presence of the Spirit and of His availability for all believers. The various commands and exhortations of the epistles are based on the assumption that the baptism of the Spirit has already taken place, and that, according to the prediction of Jesus to the disciples, the Spirit was to abide with them forever (John 14:16). We should not therefore confound other forms of expression found in the New Testament with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. When Christians are enjoined to "walk by the Spirit" (Galatians 5:16) and "be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18), or when the Spirit is described as an anointing (chrisma) as in 1 John 2:20-27, and as the "earnest of our inheritance" (arrabon). as in Ephesians 1:14, and when various other similar expressions are employed in the epistles of the New Testament, we are not to understand the baptism of the Holy Spirit. These expressions indicate aspects of the Spirit's work in believers or of the believer's appropriation of the gifts and blessings of the Spirit rather than the historical baptism of the Spirit.

4. Relation of Baptism of the Spirit to Other Baptisms:

Three final points require brief attention, namely, the relation of the baptism of the Spirit to the baptism in water, and to the baptism in fire, and to the laying on of hands.

(1) We note that the baptism in fire is coupled with the baptism in the Spirit in Matthew 3:11 and in Luke 3:16. These passages give the word of John the Baptist. John speaks of the coming One who "shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit and in fire" (Luke 3:16). This baptism in fire is often taken as being parallel and synonymous with the baptism in the Spirit. The context however in both Matthew and Luke seems to favor another meaning. Jesus' Messianic work will be both cleansing and destructive. The "you" addressed by John included the people generally and might naturally embrace both classes, those whose attitude to Jesus would be believing and those who would refuse to believe. His action as Messiah would affect all men. Some He would regenerate and purify through the Holy Ghost. Others He would destroy through the fire of punishment. This view is favored by the context in both gospels. In both the destructive energy of Christ is coupled with His saving power in other terms which admit of no doubt. The wheat He gathers into the garner and the chaff He burns with unquenchable fire.

(2) The baptism of the Holy Spirit was not meant to supersede water baptism. This is clear from the whole of the history in the Book of Acts, where water baptism is uniformly administered to converts after the Pentecostal baptism of the Spirit, as well as from the numerous references to water baptisms in the epistles. The evidence here is so abundant that it is unnecessary to develop it in detail. SeeRomans 6:3 1 Corinthians 1:14-17; 1 Corinthians 10:2; 1 Corinthians 12:13; 1 Corinthians 15:29; Galatians 3:27 Ephesians 4:5 Colossians 2:12 1 Peter 3:21.

(3) In Acts 8:17 and 19:6 the Holy Spirit is bestowed in connection with the laying on of the hands of apostles, but these are not to be regarded as instances of the baptism of the Spirit in the strict sense, but rather as instances of the reception by believers of the Spirit which had already been bestowed in fullness at Pentecost.


Arts. on Holy Spirit in Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible (five volumes) and Hastings, Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels; article on "Spiritual Gifts" in Encyclopedia Biblica; Moule, Veni Creator; Smeaton, The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit; Kuyper, The Work of the Holy Spirit.


E. Y. Mullins




See BAPTISM (I), II; (II), III, 3, v; (III), III, 3.






908. baptisma -- (the result of) a dipping or sinking
... Part of Speech: Noun, Neuter Transliteration: baptisma Phonetic Spelling:
(bap'-tis-mah) Short Definition: the rite or ceremony of baptism Definition: the ...
// - 6k

909. baptismos -- (the act of) a dipping or washing
... always in the plural in the NT); (figuratively) ceremonial washings (Mk 7:4; Heb
9:10) or the profound realities of spiritual and water baptism (Heb 6:2). See ...
// - 7k

3067. loutron -- a washing, a bath
... a washing, a bath. Part of Speech: Noun, Neuter Transliteration: loutron Phonetic
Spelling: (loo-tron') Short Definition: a bath, washing, baptism Definition: a ...
// - 6k

907. baptizo -- to dip, sink
... ie Fully wet); used only (in the New Testament) of ceremonial ablution, especially
(technically) of the ordinance of Christian baptism -- Baptist, baptize, wash ...
// - 9k

628. apolouo -- to wash off, wash away
... Transliteration: apolouo Phonetic Spelling: (ap-ol-oo'-o) Short Definition: I wash
off, wash away Definition: I wash off, mid: I wash away (my sins, in baptism ...
// - 7k


On Baptism
On Baptism. <. On Baptism Tertullian. Translated by Rev. S. Thelwall Table
of Contents. Title Page. Chapter I.--Introduction. Origin of the Treatise. ...
// baptism/

... BAPTISM. [182]1. Blessed Jesus, here we stand [183]2. O Father-heart, who
hast created all [184]3. Thy parents' arms now yield thee ...
/.../winkworth/lyra germanica second series the christian life/baptism.htm

The Baptism of Jesus
... ST. MATTHEW Chaps. I to VIII THE BAPTISM OF JESUS. 'Then cometh Jesus from ...
kindle it into flame. What did He mean by seeking baptism? ...
/.../maclaren/expositions of holy scripture a/the baptism of jesus.htm

... 4. THE WAY OF SALVATION 4.4 Baptism. ... What are the sacraments of the New Testament?
Two: Baptism and the Lord's Supper. Are there no more? ...
// ten commandments/4 4 baptism.htm

Baptism of Kallihirua
... Baptism of Kallihirua. We now come to an important event in the history of Kallihirua;
his Baptism, which took place on Advent Sunday, Nov.27th, 1853, in St. ...
/.../murray/kalli the esquimaux christian /baptism of kallihirua.htm

Whether the Baptism of Blood is the Most Excellent of These?
is the most excellent of these? Objection 1: It seems ...
/.../aquinas/summa theologica/whether the baptism of blood.htm

The Baptism in Fire
... ST. MATTHEW Chaps. I to VIII THE BAPTISM IN FIRE. 'He shall baptize you
with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.'"Matthew 3:11 There ...
/.../maclaren/expositions of holy scripture a/the baptism in fire.htm

From the Office for Baptism
... MEDITATIONS From the Office for Baptism. tr., John Brownlie From the
Office for Baptism. I. Bear to the font the child of grace,. ...
/.../brownlie/hymns of the apostolic church/from the office for baptism.htm

On the Baptism of Christ.
... V."Oratorical Works. On the Baptism of Christ. ... For these things, and all that follow
from them, the grace of Baptism secures and conveys to us. ...
/.../gregory/gregory of nyssa dogmatic treatises etc/on the baptism of christ.htm

Whether Grace was Given in the Baptism of John?
... OF THE BAPTISM OF JOHN (SIX ARTICLES) Whether grace was given in the baptism of
John? Objection 1: It would seem that grace was given in the baptism of John. ...
/...// theologica/whether grace was given in.htm

Smith's Bible Dictionary

It is well known that ablution or bathing was common in most ancient nations as a preparation for prayers and sacrifice or as expiatory of sin. In warm countries this connection is probably even closer than in colder climates; and hence the frequency of ablution in the religious rites throughout the East. Baptism in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost is the rite or ordinance by which persons are admitted into the Church of Christ. It is the public profession of faith and discipleship. Baptism signifies--

  1. A confession of faith in Christ;
  2. A cleansing or washing of the soul from sin;
  3. A death to sin and a new life in righteousness. The mode and subjects of baptism being much-controverted subjects, each one can best study them in the works devoted to those questions. The command to baptize was co-extensive with the command to preach the gospel. All nations were to be evangelized; and they were to be made disciples, admitted into the fellowship of Christ's religion, by baptism. (Matthew 28:19) It appears to have been a kind of transition from the Jewish baptism to the Christian. The distinction between John's baptism and Christian baptism appears in the case of Apollos, (Acts 18:26,27) and of the disciples at Ephesus mentioned (Acts 19:1-6) We cannot but draw from this history the inference that in Christian baptism there was a deeper spiritual significance.
ATS Bible Dictionary

The holy ordinance by which persons are admitted as members of the Christian community. It is administered in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and is a visible and public profession of faith in Christ and his salvation, of vital union with him, of the obligation to live a new life according to his precepts and in his service, and of the expectation of sharing in his glorious and heavenly immortality. It is not by any means to be regarded as a regenerating ordinance, though significant of regeneration. It was established in the Christian church by Christ and his apostles, and is binding on his followers to the end of time. The use of water in this ordinance is grounded in part on its qualities as the great element of purification, and on the rites of the ancient dispensation, in which "water and blood: were the divinely appointed symbols of moral renovation and atonement.

Easton's Bible Dictionary
Baptism, Christian

An ordinance immediately instituted by Christ (Matthew 28:19, 20), and designed to be observed in the church, like that of the Supper, "till he come." The words "baptize" and "baptism" are simply Greek words transferred into English. This was necessarily done by the translators of the Scriptures, for no literal translation could properly express all that is implied in them.

The mode of baptism can in no way be determined from the Greek word rendered "baptize." Baptists say that it means "to dip," and nothing else. That is an incorrect view of the meaning of the word. It means both (1) to dip a thing into an element or liquid, and (2) to put an element or liquid over or on it. Nothing therefore as to the mode of baptism can be concluded from the mere word used. The word has a wide latitude of meaning, not only in the New Testament, but also in the LXX. Version of the Old Testament, where it is used of the ablutions and baptisms required by the Mosaic law. These were effected by immersion, and by affusion and sprinkling; and the same word, "washings" (Hebrews 9:10, 13, 19, 21) or "baptisms," designates them all. In the New Testament there cannot be found a single well-authenticated instance of the occurrence of the word where it necessarily means immersion. Moreover, none of the instances of baptism recorded in the Acts of the Apostles (2:38-41; 8:26-39; 9:17, 18; 22:12-16; 10:44-48; 16:32-34) favours the idea that it was by dipping the person baptized, or by immersion, while in some of them such a mode was highly improbable.

The gospel and its ordinances are designed for the whole world, and it cannot be supposed that a form for the administration of baptism would have been prescribed which would in any place (as in a tropical country or in polar regions) or under any circumstances be inapplicable or injurious or impossible.

Baptism and the Lord's Supper are the two symbolical ordinances of the New Testament. The Supper represents the work of Christ, and Baptism the work of the Spirit. As in the Supper a small amount of bread and wine used in this ordinance exhibits in symbol the great work of Christ, so in Baptism the work of the Holy Spirit is fully seen in the water poured or sprinkled on the person in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. That which is essential in baptism is only "washing with water," no mode being specified and none being necessary or essential to the symbolism of the ordinance.

The apostles of our Lord were baptized with the Holy Ghost (Matthew 3:11) by his coming upon them (Acts 1:8). The fire also with which they were baptized sat upon them. The extraordinary event of Pentecost was explained by Peter as a fulfilment of the ancient promise that the Spirit would be poured out in the last days (2:17). He uses also with the same reference the expression shed forth as descriptive of the baptism of the Spirit (33). In the Pentecostal baptism "the apostles were not dipped into the Spirit, nor plunged into the Spirit; but the Spirit was shed forth, poured out, fell on them (11:15), came upon them, sat on them." That was a real and true baptism. We are warranted from such language to conclude that in like manner when water is poured out, falls, comes upon or rests upon a person when this ordinance is administered, that person is baptized. Baptism is therefore, in view of all these arguments "rightly administered by pouring or sprinkling water upon the person."

The subjects of baptism. This raises questions of greater importance than those relating to its mode.

1. The controversy here is not about "believers' baptism," for that is common to all parties. Believers were baptized in apostolic times, and they have been baptized in all time by all the branches of the church. It is altogether a misrepresentation to allege, as is sometimes done by Baptists, that their doctrine is "believers' baptism." Every instance of adult baptism, or of "believers' baptism," recorded in the New Testament (Acts 2:41; 8:37; 9:17, 18; 10:47; 16:15; 19:5, etc.) is just such as would be dealt with in precisely the same way by all branches of the Protestant Church, a profession of faith or of their being "believers" would be required from every one of them before baptism. The point in dispute is not the baptism of believers, but whether the infant children of believers, i.e., of members of the church, ought to be baptized.

2. In support of the doctrine of infant baptism, i.e., of the baptism of the infants, or rather the "children," of believing parents, the following considerations may be adduced:

The Church of Christ exists as a divinely organized community. It is the "kingdom of God," one historic kingdom under all dispensations. The commonwealth of Israel was the "church" (Acts 7:38; Romans 9:4) under the Mosaic dispensation. The New Testament church is not a new and different church, but one with that of the Old Testament. The terms of admission into the church have always been the same viz., a profession of faith and a promise of subjection to the laws of the kingdom. Now it is a fact beyond dispute that the children of God's people under the old dispensation were recognized as members of the church. Circumcision was the sign and seal of their membership. It was not because of carnal descent from Abraham, but as being the children of God's professing people, that this rite was administered (Romans 4:11). If children were members of the church under the old dispensation, which they undoubtedly were, then they are members of the church now by the same right, unless it can be shown that they have been expressly excluded. Under the Old Testament parents acted for their children and represented them. (See Genesis 9:9; 17:10; Exodus 24:7, 8; Deuteronomy 29:9-13.) When parents entered into covenant with God, they brought their children with them. This was a law in the Hebrew Church. When a proselyte was received into membership, he could not enter without bringing his children with him. The New Testament does not exclude the children of believers from the church. It does not deprive them of any privilege they enjoyed under the Old Testament. There is no command or statement of any kind, that can be interpreted as giving any countenance to such an idea, anywhere to be found in the New Testament. The church membership of infants has never been set aside. The ancient practice, orginally appointed by God himself, must remain a law of his kingdom till repealed by the same divine authority. There are lambs in the fold of the Good Shepherd (John 21:15; Comp. Luke 1:15; Matthew 19:14; 1 Corinthians 7:14).

"In a company of converts applying for admission into Christ's house there are likely to be some heads of families. How is their case to be treated? How, for example, are Lydia and her neighbour the keeper of the city prison to be treated? Both have been converted. Both are heads of families. They desire to be received into the infant church of Philippi. What is Christ's direction to them? Shall we say that it is to this effect: 'Arise, and wash away your sins, and come into my house. But you must come in by yourselves. These babes in your arms, you must leave them outside. They cannot believe yet, and so they cannot come in. Those other little ones by your side, their hearts may perhaps have been touched with the love of God; still, they are not old enough to make a personal profession, so they too must be left outside...For the present you must leave them where they are and come in by yourselves.' One may reasonably demand very stringent proofs before accepting this as a fair representation of the sort of welcome Christ offers to parents who come to his door bringing their children with them. Surely it is more consonant with all we know about him to suppose that his welcome will be more ample in its scope, and will breathe a more gracious tone. Surely it would be more like the Good Shepherd to say, `Come in, and bring your little ones along with you. The youngest needs my salvation; and the youngest is accessible to my salvation. You may be unable as yet to deal with them about either sin or salvation, but my gracious power can find its way into their hearts even now. I can impart to them pardon and a new life. From Adam they have inherited sin and death; and I can so unite them to myself that in me they shall be heirs of righteousness and life. You may without misgiving bring them to me. And the law of my house requires that the same day which witnesses your reception into it by baptism must witness their reception also'" (The Church, by Professor Binnie, D.D.).

Baptism for the dead

Only mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:29. This expression as used by the apostle may be equivalent to saying, "He who goes through a baptism of blood in order to join a glorified church which has no existence [i.e., if the dead rise not] is a fool." Some also regard the statement here as an allusion to the strange practice which began, it is said, to prevail at Corinth, in which a person was baptized in the stead of others who had died before being baptized, to whom it was hoped some of the benefits of that rite would be extended. This they think may have been one of the erroneous customs which Paul went to Corinth to "set in order."

Baptism, John's

Was not Christian baptism, nor was that which was practised by the disciples previous to our Lord's crucifixion. Till then the New Testament economy did not exist. John's baptism bound its subjects to repentance, and not to the faith of Christ. It was not administered in the name of the Trinity, and those whom John baptized were rebaptized by Paul (Acts 18:24; 19:7).

Baptism of Christ

Christ had to be formally inaugurated into the public discharge of his offices. For this purpose he came to John, who was the representative of the law and the prophets, that by him he might be introduced into his offices, and thus be publicly recognized as the Messiah of whose coming the prophecies and types had for many ages borne witness.

John refused at first to confer his baptism on Christ, for he understood not what he had to do with the "baptism of repentance." But Christ said, "`Suffer it to be so now,' NOW as suited to my state of humiliation, my state as a substitute in the room of sinners." His reception of baptism was not necessary on his own account. It was a voluntary act, the same as his act of becoming incarnate. Yet if the work he had engaged to accomplish was to be completed, then it became him to take on him the likeness of a sinner, and to fulfil all righteousness (Matthew 3:15).

The official duty of Christ and the sinless person of Christ are to be distinguished. It was in his official capacity that he submitted to baptism. In coming to John our Lord virtually said, "Though sinless, and without any personal taint, yet in my public or official capacity as the Sent of God, I stand in the room of many, and bring with me the sin of the world, for which I am the propitiation." Christ was not made under the law on his own account. It was as surety of his people, a position which he spontaneously assumed. The administration of the rite of baptism was also a symbol of the baptism of suffering before him in this official capacity (Luke 12:50). In thus presenting himself he in effect dedicated or consecrated himself to the work of fulfilling all righteousness.

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
(n.) The act of baptizing; the application of water to a person, as a sacrament or religious ceremony, by which he is initiated into the visible church of Christ. This is performed by immersion, sprinkling, or pouring.
Topical Bible Verses
1 Peter 3:21
The like figure whereunto even baptism does also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

Acts 2:38
Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Matthew 3:16
And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, see, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting on him:

Mark 16:16
He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned.

Acts 1:5
For John truly baptized with water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

Matthew 3:11
I indeed baptize you with water to repentance. but he that comes after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:

Romans 6:4
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Romans 6:3
Know you not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

Colossians 2:12
Buried with him in baptism, wherein also you are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who has raised him from the dead.

1 Corinthians 12:13
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

Baptism (76 Occurrences)
... Easton's Bible Dictionary Baptism, Christian. ... Nothing therefore as to the
mode of baptism can be concluded from the mere word used. ...
/b/baptism.htm - 101k

John's (27 Occurrences)
... (WEY NIV). Matthew 21:25 John's Baptism, whence was it? ... (WEY NIV). Mark 11:30 John's
Baptism--was it of Heavenly or of human origin? Answer me." (WEY NIV). ...
/j/john's.htm - 13k

... 2. (n.) Submersion in water for the purpose of Christian baptism, as, practiced
by the Baptists. ... Triune immersion is the symbol of baptism into the Triune God. ...
/i/immersion.htm - 14k

... Triune immersion is the symbol of baptism into the Triune God. ... Triune immersion
is the only symbol that symbolizes all that baptism stands for. ...
/t/triune.htm - 13k

... Triune immersion is the symbol of baptism into the Triune God. ... Triune immersion
is the only symbol that symbolizes all that baptism stands for. ...
/t/trine.htm - 14k

Changed (177 Occurrences)
... Matthew 3:11 Truly, I give baptism with water to those of you whose hearts are changed;
but he who comes after me is greater than I, whose shoes I am not good ...
/c/changed.htm - 36k

Baptized (52 Occurrences)
... Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the
baptism that I am baptized with?" They said to him, "We are able." (WEB KJV ...
/b/baptized.htm - 21k

Baptismal (1 Occurrence)
... Noah Webster's Dictionary (a.) Pertaining to baptism; as, baptismal vows.
Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia. BAPTISMAL REGENERATION. ...
/b/baptismal.htm - 24k

Baptised (46 Occurrences)
... Are ye able to drink the cup which I drink, or be baptised with the baptism that
I am baptised with? (DBY). Mark 10:39 And they said to him, We are able. ...
/b/baptised.htm - 18k

... or to something set apart for a sacred purpose, it is evident that sacramentum would
readily lend itself to describe such ordinances as Baptism and the Lord's ...
/s/sacraments.htm - 19k

Bible Concordance
Baptism (76 Occurrences)

Matthew 3:6 And they were given baptism by him in the river Jordan, saying openly that they had done wrong.

Matthew 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for his baptism, he said to them, "You offspring of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

Matthew 3:11 Truly, I give baptism with water to those of you whose hearts are changed; but he who comes after me is greater than I, whose shoes I am not good enough to take up: he will give you baptism with the Holy Spirit and with fire:

Matthew 3:13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be given baptism by him.

Matthew 3:14 But John would have kept him back, saying, It is I who have need of baptism from you, and do you come to me?

Matthew 3:15 But Jesus made answer, saying to him, Let it be so now: because so it is right for us to make righteousness complete. Then he gave him baptism.

Matthew 3:16 And Jesus, having been given baptism, straight away went up from the water; and, the heavens opening, he saw the Spirit of God coming down on him as a dove;

Matthew 20:22 But Jesus answered, "You don't know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" They said to him, "We are able."

Matthew 20:23 He said to them, "You will indeed drink my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with, but to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it is for whom it has been prepared by my Father."

Matthew 21:25 The baptism of John, where was it from? From heaven or from men?" They reasoned with themselves, saying, "If we say,'From heaven,' he will ask us,'Why then did you not believe him?'

Matthew 28:19 Go then, and make disciples of all the nations, giving them baptism in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit:

Mark 1:4 John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching the baptism of repentance for forgiveness of sins.

Mark 1:5 And there went out to him all the people of Judaea, and all those of Jerusalem, and they were given baptism by him in the river Jordan, saying that they were sinners.

Mark 1:8 I have given you baptism with water, but he will give you baptism with the Holy Spirit.

Mark 1:9 And it came about in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was given baptism by John in the Jordan.

Mark 10:38 But Jesus said to them, "You don't know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?"

Mark 10:39 They said to him, "We are able." Jesus said to them, "You shall indeed drink the cup that I drink, and you shall be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with;

Mark 11:30 The baptism of John-was it from heaven, or from men? Answer me."

Mark 16:16 He who has faith and is given baptism will get salvation; but he who has not faith will be judged.

Luke 3:3 He came into all the region around the Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for remission of sins.

Luke 3:7 So he said to the people who went out to him for baptism: You offspring of snakes, at whose word are you going in flight from the wrath to come?

Luke 3:12 Then tax-farmers came to him for baptism and said to him, Master, what have we to do?

Luke 3:16 John made answer, saying to them all, Truly, I give you baptism with water, but one is coming who is greater than I, whose shoes I am not good enough to undo: he will give you baptism with the Holy Spirit, and with fire:

Luke 3:21 Now it came about that when all the people had been given baptism, Jesus, having had baptism with them, was in prayer, when, the heaven being open,

Luke 7:29 When all the people and the tax collectors heard this, they declared God to be just, having been baptized with John's baptism.

Luke 7:30 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law were against the purpose of God for themselves, not having had his baptism.)

Luke 12:50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished!

Luke 20:4 the baptism of John, was it from heaven, or from men?"

John 1:25 And they put this question to him, saying, Why then are you giving baptism if you are not the Christ, or Elijah, or the prophet?

John 1:26 John's answer was: I give baptism with water; but there is one among you of whom you have no knowledge;

John 1:28 These things took place at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was giving baptism.

John 1:31 I myself had no knowledge of him, but I came giving baptism with water so that he might be seen openly by Israel.

John 1:33 I had no knowledge who he was, but he who sent me to give baptism with water said to me, The one on whom you see the Spirit coming down and resting, it is he who gives baptism with the Holy Spirit.

John 3:22 After these things Jesus and his disciples went into the land of Judaea, and there he was with them for some time, giving baptism.

John 3:23 And John too was baptizing at Aenon, near Salim, because there were many pools of water there; and people came and received baptism.

John 3:26 And they went to John and said to him, Rabbi, the man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan, the man to whom you gave witness, is now giving baptism, and everyone is going to him.

John 4:1 Now when it was clear to the Lord that word had come to the ears of the Pharisees that Jesus was making more disciples than John and was giving them baptism

John 4:2 (Though, in fact, it was his disciples who gave baptism, not Jesus himself),

John 10:40 And he went again to the other side of the Jordan, to the place where John first gave baptism; and he was there for a time.

Acts 1:5 For the baptism of John was with water, but you will have baptism with the Holy Spirit, after a little time.

Acts 1:22 beginning from the baptism of John, to the day that he was received up from us, of these one must become a witness with us of his resurrection."

Acts 2:38 And Peter said, Let your hearts be changed, every one of you, and have baptism in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will have the Holy Spirit given to you.

Acts 2:41 Then those who gave hearing to his words had baptism: and about three thousand souls were joined to them that day.

Acts 8:12 But when they had faith in the good news given by Philip about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, a number of men and women had baptism.

Acts 8:13 And Simon himself had faith and, having had baptism, he went with Philip and, seeing the signs and the great wonders which he did, he was full of surprise.

Acts 8:16 For up to that time he had not come on any of them; only baptism had been given to them in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Acts 8:36 And while they were going on their way, they came to some water, and the Ethiopian said, See, here is water; why may I not have baptism?

Acts 8:38 And he gave orders for the carriage to be stopped, and the two of them went down into the water, and Philip gave him baptism.

Acts 9:18 Instantly there dropped from his eyes what seemed to be scales, and he could see once more. Upon this he rose and received baptism;

Acts 10:37 that spoken word you yourselves know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;

Acts 10:47 Will any man say that these may not have baptism who have been given the Holy Spirit as we have?

Acts 10:48 And he gave orders for them to have baptism in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they kept him with them for some days.

Acts 11:16 And the words of the Lord came into my mind, how he said, The baptism of John was with water, but you will have baptism with the Holy Spirit.

Acts 13:24 before his coming, when John had first preached the baptism of repentance to Israel.

Acts 16:15 And when she and her family had had baptism, she made a request to us, saying, If it seems to you that I am true to the Lord, come into my house and be my guests. And she made us come.

Acts 16:33 And that same hour of the night, he took them, and when he had given attention to their wounds, he and all his family had baptism straight away.

Acts 18:8 And Crispus, the Warden of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, and so did all his household; and from time to time many of the Corinthians who heard Paul believed and received baptism.

Acts 18:25 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, although he knew only the baptism of John.

Acts 19:3 He said, "Into what then were you baptized?" They said, "Into John's baptism."

Acts 19:4 Paul said, "John indeed baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe in the one who would come after him, that is, in Jesus."

Acts 19:5 And hearing this, they had baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Acts 22:16 And now, why are you waiting? get up, and have baptism, for the washing away of your sins, giving worship to his name.

Romans 6:3 Or are you without the knowledge that all we who had baptism into Christ Jesus, had baptism into his death?

Romans 6:4 We were buried therefore with him through baptism to death, that just like Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life.

1 Corinthians 1:13 Is there a division in Christ? was Paul nailed to the cross for you? or were you given baptism in the name of Paul?

1 Corinthians 1:14 I give praise to God that not one of you had baptism from me, but Crispus and Gaius;

1 Corinthians 1:15 So that no one may be able to say that you had baptism in my name.

1 Corinthians 1:16 And I gave baptism to the house of Stephanas; but I am not certain that any others had baptism from me.

1 Corinthians 1:17 For Christ sent me, not to give baptism, but to be a preacher of the good news: not with wise words, for fear that the cross of Christ might be made of no value.

1 Corinthians 10:2 And they all had baptism from Moses in the cloud and in the sea;

1 Corinthians 12:13 For through the baptism of the one Spirit we were all formed into one body, Jews or Greeks, servants or free men, and were all made full of the same Spirit.

1 Corinthians 15:29 Again, what will they do who are given baptism for the dead? if the dead do not come back at all, why are people given baptism for them?

Galatians 3:27 For all those of you who were given baptism into Christ did put on Christ.

Ephesians 4:5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism,

Colossians 2:12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.

1 Peter 3:21 This is a symbol of baptism, which now saves you-not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,



Baptism For the Dead

Baptism of Fire

Baptism of the Holy Spirit

Baptism With the Holy Ghost and With Fire

Baptism With the Holy Spirit is Through Christ

Baptism With the Holy Spirit: All Saints Partake of

Baptism With the Holy Spirit: Christ Administered

Baptism With the Holy Spirit: Foretold

Baptism With the Holy Spirit: Necessity For

Baptism With the Holy Spirit: Promised to Saints

Baptism With the Holy Spirit: Renews and Cleanses the Soul

Baptism With the Holy Spirit: The Word of God Instrumental To

Baptism With the Holy Spirit: Typified

Baptism: Administered by Immersing the Whole Body of the Person In

Baptism: Administered to Households

Baptism: Administered to Individuals

Baptism: Administered to Only to Professing Believers

Baptism: Administered to Scriptures Supporting Infant Baptism

Baptism: Adopted by Christ

Baptism: Appointed an Ordinance of the Christian Church

Baptism: As Administered by John

Baptism: Christian

Baptism: Confession of Sin Necessary To

Baptism: Emblematic of the Influences of the Holy Spirit

Baptism: Faith Necessary To

Baptism: John's

Baptism: Regeneration, the Inward and Spiritual Grace of

Baptism: Remission of Sins, Signified By

Baptism: Repentance Necessary To

Baptism: Sanctioned by Christ's Submission to It

Baptism: There is But One

Baptism: To be Administered in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy

Baptism: Typified

Baptism: Unity of the Church Effected By

Baptism: Water, the Outward and Visible Sign In

Related Terms

John's (27 Occurrences)




Changed (177 Occurrences)

Baptized (52 Occurrences)

Baptismal (1 Occurrence)

Baptised (46 Occurrences)


Reformation (24 Occurrences)

Baptize (19 Occurrences)

Greater (219 Occurrences)

Spirit (706 Occurrences)


Doctrine (52 Occurrences)

Feet (2931 Occurrences)

Giving (611 Occurrences)

Interpretation (45 Occurrences)

Undergo (91 Occurrences)

Origin (25 Occurrences)

Infant (14 Occurrences)

Interrogation (1 Occurrence)

Holy (1097 Occurrences)

Water (4571 Occurrences)

Washing (56 Occurrences)

Preached (75 Occurrences)


Figure (19 Occurrences)


Fire (602 Occurrences)

View (86 Occurrences)

Cup (86 Occurrences)

Justification (6 Occurrences)

Temptation (22 Occurrences)

Flame (61 Occurrences)

Sign (181 Occurrences)

Ethiopian (11 Occurrences)

Drink (414 Occurrences)

Heavenly (51 Occurrences)

Son (25967 Occurrences)

Repentance (28 Occurrences)

Obedience (61 Occurrences)

Undo (9 Occurrences)

Illumination (2 Occurrences)

Flight (325 Occurrences)

Blood (435 Occurrences)

Tax-farmers (14 Occurrences)

Resting (117 Occurrences)

Remission (18 Occurrences)

Eunuch (20 Occurrences)

Proclaimed (114 Occurrences)

Plenty (43 Occurrences)

Penitent (7 Occurrences)

Proclaiming (63 Occurrences)

Baptising (6 Occurrences)

Buried (125 Occurrences)

Baptizing (16 Occurrences)

Confirmation (3 Occurrences)

Complete (246 Occurrences)

Apollos (11 Occurrences)

Saying (2162 Occurrences)

Snakes (25 Occurrences)

Starting (34 Occurrences)

Seal (47 Occurrences)

Sort (143 Occurrences)

Truly (468 Occurrences)

Waste (668 Occurrences)

Proselyte (2 Occurrences)

Asking (111 Occurrences)

Baptist (16 Occurrences)


Church (110 Occurrences)

Regeneration (2 Occurrences)

Indeed (628 Occurrences)

Region (96 Occurrences)



Able (730 Occurrences)

Sins (351 Occurrences)

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