What is Baptism?

There are many questions & interpretations that come up in regards to Baptism. The word itself seems to have different meanings throughout various denominations & it can get confusing whether you are a believer or not.

What is Baptism - Someone being Baptized

“A man who knows that he is saved by believing in Christ does not, when he is baptized, lift his baptism into a saving ordinance. In fact, he is the very best protester against that mistake, because he holds that he has no right to be baptized until he is saved.” – Charles Spurgeon

Scripture is clear on many levels of what Baptism is and what Baptism is not and it would be best to stick with the Bible to define it.

What Baptism Is Not

It is not the means by which we are saved. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

What Baptism Is

It is the picture of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)

Why Should I Be Baptized?

To follow the example set by Jesus. (Mark 1:9)

Because Christ commands it. (Matthew 28:19)

It is a public demonstration that I am a follower of Christ. (Acts 2:41; 8:36-38; 18:8)

Why Be Baptized By Immersion?

The word “baptize” means to dip or immerse in water.

Because Jesus was baptized that way. (Matthew 3:16)

The New Testament practice was by immersion. (Acts 8:38-39)

Who Should Be Baptized?

Every person who has believed in Christ. (Acts 2:41)

When Should I Be Baptized?

As soon as you have believed. (Acts 2:41)

Here is what else the Bible has to say about Baptism:

Acts 2:38-41 – And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

Acts 16:30-33 – Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to besaved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family.

Mark 16:16 – Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Matthew 28:18-20 – And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

1 Corinthians 12:13 – For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

Galatians 3:23-28 – Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Here are other Frequently Asked Questions and how the Bible answers them.

*Additional Resources from 121cc

Saved by Grace through Faith. In love with Jesus, His Glory, and obviously my beautiful wife Joelle, daughter Peyton, and son Matthew! Seeking Him in everything to glorify Him and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Pastor at Austin Life Church.

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3 Comments on "What is Baptism?"

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Which Christian denomination today is closest to the Early Church of the Apostles? I would suggest that you consider taking the following approach to answer the above question. Look at the doctrinal statement of each Christian denomination and ask these questions: 1. Do the beliefs/doctrines of this Church seem compatible with the plain, simple rendering of Scripture? Any belief or doctrine that requires that the plain, simple rendering of multiple passages of Scripture be twisted/contorted and re-interpreted to fit with the Church’s doctrine, is suspect. 2. Any Church which claims that multiple passages of Holy Scripture were poorly translated, in… Read more »
Wow! It sure would have been nice if God had written the Bible in less confusing language! After reading your article, I now understand what God really meant to say. “Repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins” sure sounds like sins are forgiven in baptism, but you explained very well why of course that can’t be true. Thank the Lord we have educated churchmen like yourself who can explain to us what God failed to clearly express. It is obvious to me, after reading your article, that the Christian layperson is incapable of reading the Bible and understanding… Read more »