EXAMPLES OF BAPTISM IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
Day of Pentecost
Pentecost was the day the church began. Notice the first requirements given to those wanting membership into the church and forgiveness for crucifying Christ.
Acts 2:36-41 Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ– this Jesus whom you crucified. Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. “For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God shall call to Himself.” And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
Notice that the natural response to belief in Christ was baptism.
Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike.
Notice that it says Philip began preaching Christ to the Eunuch. The response of the eunuch was to ask for baptism. This indicates that preaching Christ includes baptism.
Acts 8:35-39 And Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him. And as they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?” And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch saw him no more, but went on his way rejoicing.
Cornelius was the first Gentile baptized.
Acts 10:48 And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days.
In this example we see baptism was one of the first things people did when God opened their hearts.
Acts 16:14-15 And a certain woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul. And when she and her household had been baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.
The jailer asked “What must I do to be saved?”. Paul responded, you must believe in Christ. This was the first step for a person who had never heard about Christ. Notice they didn’t waste any time getting baptized. As soon as they believed they were baptized.
Acts 16:26-33 and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s chains were unfastened. And when the jailer had been roused out of sleep and had seen the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here!” And he called for lights and rushed in and, trembling with fear, he fell down before Paul and Silas, and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house. And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household.
Disciples in Ephesus
Holy Spirit is connected with baptism. When the subject of the Holy Spirit came up, and these disciples did not know about it, Paul asks them about their baptism.
Acts 19:1-5 And it came about that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper country came to Ephesus, and found some disciples, and he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.” And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” And when they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Notice again the connection between belief and baptism.
Acts 18:8 And Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, believed in the Lord with all his household, and many of the Corinthians when they heard were believing and being baptized.
Paul believed on Christ, had repented of his sins, was praying and fasting for 3 days and he still had not been forgiven of his sins. It wasn’t until Ananias told him to be baptized was Paul’s sins washed away. Baptism is where one receives forgiveness of sins, and without forgiveness of our sins we are still lost.
Acts 22:6-16 “And it came about that as I was on my way, approaching Damascus about noontime, a very bright light suddenly flashed from heaven all around me, and I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ “And I answered, ‘Who art Thou, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.’ . . .”And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Arise and go on into Damascus; and there you will be told of all that has been appointed for you to do. But since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus.” And a certain Ananias, a man who was devout by the standard of the Law, and well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, came to me, and standing near said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very time I looked up at him. “And he said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will, and to see the Righteous One, and to hear an utterance from His mouth. ‘For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard. ‘And now why do you delay? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’
QUESTIONS CONCERNING BAPTISM
Should I be concerned about Baptism?
Yes. Baptism is a Bible subject that is associated with salvation in the scriptures. The fact that it is in the Bible makes it important. The fact that it is associated with salvation makes it very important.
Mark 16:16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.
If baptism is a command has it always been commanded?
No. There was no such command given in the Old Testament. It was not until the days of John and Jesus that baptism began to be commanded of men.
What is baptism?
It is a ceremony where a person is dipped under water and the raised up again. One person is baptized and one person does the baptizing. A person is put in enough water sufficient to put them completely under.
Mark 1:9-10 And it came about in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him;
Why should I be immersed in water?
The word baptize means to immerse. It comes from a Greek word that literally means to “plunge under, to dip, to immerse.” Men who were baptized in the New Testament times were immersed under water for baptism. This also fits the figure used of baptism as a burial. When you bury a person you put them under the ground. When you bury a person in baptism you put them under water.
Acts 8:38,39 And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch saw him no more, but went on his way rejoicing.
Col 2:12-13 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions,
Is sprinkling baptism?
No. In the Bible there is no instance where sprinkling was commanded or practiced. In the language of the New Testament sprinkling and baptism are different words.
Is it necessary to have witnesses for a baptism to be acceptable?
No. God knows what happens. The Ethiopian nobleman was baptized with just Philip present. Read Acts 8:26-40
If baptism is a command, then who is commanded to be baptized?
Men who need to be saved need baptism. To qualify for baptism one must believe the gospel, repent of his sins, and confess he believes Jesus is God’s Son. The taught, believing repentant person who confesses his faith is ready to be baptized.
Is baptism for infants?
No. Infants have no sins to forgive. Infants cannot believe, repent or confess their faith. They are not lost. Only lost souls need to be baptized to be saved.
Ezek 18:20 “The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself.
Will baptism as an infant be sufficient later on, for adult baptism?
No. Infants are not proper subjects for baptism. Baptism is a personal decision that each individual must make for themselves.
How old should one be to be baptized?
Old enough to be aware one’s sins are against God. Old enough to realize God will hold one accountable. No chronological age can be set for all as this realization does not always come at the same age.
Does baptism put one in the church?
Yes. It puts one into the body of Christ, which is the church. The church is not a building but a group of people who have given their lives to Christ. At the same time a person is baptized, a person automatically becomes a part of the body of Christ, the church.
1 Cor 12:13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
Eph 1:22,23 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
Why was the thief on the cross in Luke 23:39-43 not baptized?
Remember that baptism represent being buried into Christ’s death and rising in the likeness of his resurrection. How could the thief be buried into Christ’s death when Christ himself had not experienced death. And how could he arise in the likeness of his resurrection if Christ had not yet been resurrected.
Rom 6:3,4 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
Is baptism a work?
No. Baptism is a command of God, just as faith is a command of God. We are saved by God’s grace through faith and it is only because of his grace that we can be saved. Baptism is an act of faith and obedience in accepting the grace of God.
Mark 16:16 “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.
John 6:29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”
Are we not saved by faith only?
Saving faith is obedient faith. The faith that saves us is the faith that obeys God. James says that faith alone is not enough, even demons believe but they are not saved. When we are baptized, we are putting our faith into action, we are obeying God, we are accepting God’s grace on his terms.
James 2:24 You see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone.
James 2:19 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.
How many baptisms are there?
There is just one baptism today for the believer. That one baptism is immersion in water to receive Christ.
Eph 4:4-6 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
What do I do about sins I commit after I am baptized?
Repent and pray to God for forgiveness. This is the answer that Peter gave Simon after he was baptized and fell into sin.
Acts 8:22 “Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you.
Will baptism for the wrong reason be of any value?
Merely being put under water is not Bible baptism. Being baptized for a wrong motive, or wrong reason does not make the baptism good.
Mat 3:7,8 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come “Therefore bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance;
What will happen to those who have been deceived about baptism?
This must be left to God. God will be the judge of all mankind not other men or women. If men will learn the truth about baptism their salvation need not be left in doubt.
If there is some question about my baptism should I be immersed again?
This depends on the nature of the question. If you wish to be immersed only because you have learned more since you were baptized then you should be reminded how little the lost on Pentecost knew when they were baptized. It is expected that you grow after obeying the gospel. If there is a more serious question about your baptism you should study further, perhaps asking a Christian friend to study with you. Whether you have been saved should never be left in doubt.
Acts 19:1-5 And it came about that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper country came to Ephesus, and found some disciples, and he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit. And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism. And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus. And when they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.