Christian baptismWho should be baptized (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 11:26)?

All disciples of Jesus Christ (believers who are following Christ in obedience) – Matt. 28:19.

All believers in the Lord Jesus Christ – Acts 2:38, 41; 8:12-13, 35-38 (Acts 10:47-48; 11:14, 17); Acts 16:14-15, 30-33; 18:8.

Why should all believers/Christians be baptized?

Because Jesus implies that it is to be done when He commands His disciples to make disciples and then tells His disciples to tell their disciples to observe all that He commanded them (Matt. 28:19-20).  So it (the implication to baptize) would be passed on down from generation to generation.  Also, Peter ordered it of all the believers in Acts 10:48; 2:38.

Who can do the baptizing?

Apparently any and all disciples of Jesus Christ – Matt. 28:19-20 (future disciples were assumed); Acts 8:39 (Philip); Acts 9:10, 18 (Ananias).

When should a believer/Christian get baptized?

Apparently as soon as possible after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ (i.e., being saved) as exemplified in Acts 2:38, 41; 8:12-13, 35-38; 9:5-18 with Gal. 1:11-12 and Acts 22:8-16 and 26:15-19; Acts 10:43-48 with Acts 11:14, 17; Acts 16:14-15, 30-33; 18:8.

How should a believer/Christian get baptized?

In classical Greek “baptō” and “baptisma” (from which we get the English word “baptize”) meant “to dip in or under”, “to sink”, or to submerge”.  In Koine Greek “baptō” and “baptizō” meant “dipped in or under” or “submerged/immersed”.  The Greek words “rantizo” / “prosraino” meant “to sprinkle” which is different from “baptō” or “baptizō” meaning “to dip under” or “submerge”.  Lev. 4:6 uses both words in the Greek (LXX) translation of the Old Testament, showing the differentiation – Dr. Kenneth Wuest’s Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, vol. 3, “Studies in Vocabulary”, pp. 70-75; Dr. Lawrence Richard’s Expository Dictionary of Bible Words, p. 101.

Therefore, the believer/Christian should be completely submerged when baptized.

Should any specific comments be made prior to or when being baptized?

Apparently the baptizing should be done in “the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19) or in “the name of Jesus Christ”(Acts 10:48; 19:5).

What is the significance of Christian water baptism?

Christian water baptism is different from John the Baptist’s baptism (which signified/symbolized that the person – Israelite – baptized had repented – was turning from sin to God – and was by faith awaiting the coming Messiah’s atonement for sin in the near future – Matt. 3:2-3, 11; Mk. 1:4-5; Acts 19:3-4) and different from the baptism of Jesus (which was “to fulfill all righteousness” – Matt. 3:15 – that is, the ceremonial righteousness of the Mosaic Law appropriate to His public entrance upon His mission as the Christ, which included His threefold office of prophet, priest, and king.  As high priest – Heb. 4:14-15 – Jesus fulfilled the Mosaic law, which required all priests to be consecrated – Ex. 29:1, 4; Lev. 8:5-6 – when they began to be about 30 years old – Num. 4:3; Lk. 3:23.  Jesus was not baptized because He repented of any sins since He was sinless – Heb. 4:15) – Expository Dictionary of Bible Words, p. 101.

Christian baptism looks back to a Savior who has died to atone or pay for sin and is resurrected (Acts 19:5).  Just as circumcision was a visible sign of God’s covenant between Himself and His peo­ple (Gen. 17:10-11), so water baptism is a visible sign (Acts 2:41; 8:12; 10:47) of the believer’s spiritual baptism – identification and union with Christ (Col. 2:11-12; Gal. 3:26-27) and His body of believers through the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13) – Dr. W. Hendriksen’s Gospel of Matthew, p. 1001.

Symbolism is common in Scripture:

  • The tabernacle (for God’s presence – Heb. 9:8-10).
  • The Law or animal sacrifices (for Christ as the lamb – Jn. 1:29 – and high priest – Heb. 9:11).
  • Hagar and Sarah (for the Mosaic, legal Covenant and the Abrahamic, promised Messiah Covenant – Gal. 4:22-26).
  • Leaven (for the Pharisees’ and Sadduccees’ teaching – Matt. 16:6-12).
  • Temple (for Christ’s body – Jn. 2:19-21).
  • Door (for Jesus being the way into salvation – Jn. 10:9)
  • Water (for the Holy Spirit – Jn. 4:14 with Jn. 7:38-39).
  • Light (for Jesus showing the way – Jn. 8:12).
  • Food (for doing God’s will – Jn. 4:32-34).
  • Sleep (for physical death – Jn. 11:11-13).
  • Jesus’ flesh and blood (for coming to and believing in Jesus as Savior – Jn. 6:35).

Water baptism, then, is the visible picture of (symbolical for) the spiritual truth of Spirit bap­tism (i.e., identification with Christ – Rom. 6:3-5; and being placed into Christ’s body – 1 Cor. 12:13).


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