Water Baptism of Believer

Tod Kennedy, Last edit March 2020

I. Summary of water baptism

  1. Water baptism is the church age ritual that publicly identifies a believer with Jesus Christ as savior and with the new eternal kind of life in Christ Jesus.
  2. The Greek word “to baptize” is βαπτιζο, which means to dip, immerse, plunge, overwhelm, and so to identify with something. Israel, during the Exodus, was baptized into Moses, which means that the nation was identified with Moses, their leader (1 Corinthians 10.2).
  3. Water baptism is not necessary for salvation.
  4. It points to relationship with Christ, not to the person administering the ritual.
  5. It ought to be done reasonably soon after receiving eternal life by faith in Christ.
  6. The ritual is performed by immersion in water and in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  7. Water baptism is of secondary importance to the gospel and to the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
  8. Any believer can baptize another believer, though usually pastor and teacher or evangelist administers the ritual (Matthew 28.19-20; Acts 16.33; 1 Corinthians 1.13-17).

II. Scripture about water baptism

  1. Matthew 28.19,  Believer baptism after salvation was commanded as part of the ministry for the inter-advent period.  Baptism was in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  2. Mark 16.16, Baptism after faith was the norm.
  3. Acts 2.38, Baptism was commanded to those individuals that repented.  It was related to the fact that sins are forgiven by God.  Baptism was in the name of Jesus Christ.
  4. Acts 2.41, Baptism was performed the same day that they believed in Christ, therefore it is doubtful that intense doctrinal training was a prerequisite.
  5. Acts 8.12,  Baptism came after right faith.  Both men and women were included.
  6. Acts 8.13,  Baptism came right after faith.
  7. Acts 8.16, Baptism was in the name of the Lord Jesus.
  8. Acts 8.36-38. Baptism was in water (Note that the word “to baptize,” baptizw indicates immersion.  Also, the gospels record that baptisms occurred in bodies of water [ie Matthew 3.6, the Jordan].).  It was right after hearing the gospel, was desired by the new believer, and was spontaneous.
  9. Acts 9.18.  Baptism was closely associated with faith, but did not always occur on the same day.
  10. Acts 10.47-48,  Baptism was performed after faith in Christ, and after other believers recognized that God had accepted these new believers into the church. Baptism was in the name of Jesus Christ.
  11. Acts 16.33,  Baptism followed (in the same night) evangelism, salvation, and introductory instruction in the Word.  All of this was done within the same visit.
  12. Acts 18.8,  Believing in Christ and baptism went together.
  13. Acts 19.5,  Baptism was in the name of the Lord Jesus.
  14. Acts 22.16,  Baptism was closely associated with the time of faith in Christ. It was commanded. It was a ritual expressing the washing away (cleansing) of sins.
  15. 1 Corinthians 1.13,  Baptism is not in the name of great believers.
  16. 1 Corinthians 1.14,  Paul baptized believers. But, he was glad that he had only baptized a few in Corinth (others had done the baptizing) because the church was occupied with men instead of Christ and he did not want to give added reason for them to follow him as a man.
  17. 1 Corinthians 1.15,  Believers are not to focus on the person performing the baptism, but on Christ the goal and reason for the baptism.
  18. 1 Corinthians 1.16-17,  Paul baptized believers, but it was not the purpose of his ministry.  Baptism was secondary to communicating the gospel and starting believers out.  Others could do the baptizing.
  19. The following passages seem to refer to the baptism of the Holy Spirit and not to believer baptism:  Romans 6.3-4; 1 Corinthians 12.13; Galatians 3.27; Ephesians 4.5; Colossians 2.12.