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THE BIBLE AND BAPTISM

By Curtis Pugh

Almost every group that is identified as Christian practices something they call baptism. But the variations in practices is not our concern. Let us consider some things that the Bible says about baptism. We read in John 1:6 that “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.” That man whom we know as John the Baptist said that God sent him to baptize: that is, to initiate baptism. His words were: “...he [God] that sent me to baptize...” (John 1:33). So then we may conclude that baptism is ordained of God. The Bible indicates that Jesus and His apostles were baptized by John. The Bible also makes it clear that having John's baptism was a requirement for the man who replaced Judas as an apostle (see Acts 1:22).

In the last of Acts chapter 18 we find a group of men lacking scriptural baptism, having been immersed, probably, by Apollos before he was a believer. When Paul found these men, he taught them the truth and administered scriptural baptism to them (see the first part of Acts chapter 19). Which brings us to this question: what is scriptural baptism as opposed to an unscriptural man-made ritual of no value? For baptism to meet the scriptural requirements it must have a scriptural candidate (a believer), it must have a scriptural mode (immersion or dipping in water), it must have a scriptural motive (not to save, but to display the believer's identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection), and a scriptural administrator (a scriptural congregation acting through one of her ordained or set aside male members).

Here are four things we know about every person who administered scriptural baptism in the New Testament. First, all those who administered scriptural baptism were men: no women or children. Second, all who administered scriptural baptism were baptized men. Three, all were members in good standing of an existing scripturally organized congregation: no renegade or free-lance preachers administered valid baptism. Four, all who administered scriptural baptism in the New Testament were ordained men: that is they were teachers set aside by their congregation for the work of the Gospel ministry.

This brings us to just what baptism is. It is the dipping in water of a disciple of Jesus Christ: a believer. That the proper candidate must be a disciple already is made clear in the following statement: “... Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,” (John 4:1). First disciples were “made” and then they were “baptized.”

That scriptural baptism is a dipping in water is everywhere evident in the New Testament. The Greek word “baptizo” means to dip. The Greek word “rhantizo” means to sprinkle and is never used in the Bible of putting water on a human body. There are other proofs as well; such as John baptizing in a certain place, “...because there was much water there...” (John 3:23). Because of it's importance in a Christian's obedience, the Bible has much more to say about baptism. You are urged to study the subject in your Bible.


Grace Bible Baptist Church
26080 Wax Road
Denham Springs, LA 70726

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