Regarding Baptism


Scripturally, what is it? I know that we have many traditions, and coming into this I have a minor annoyance and a conviction that I have personally been part of the same (partly due to convenience) of following certain unscriptural traditions such as: baptizing after some time, only seeing baptism as something to be done at an established church building and by an ordained minister, and seeing baptism as a sacrament, being a symbol without power. I also need clarity on how baptism sets one free (I think the Word tells us something about this, but certainly this is the case with people with whom I’ve spoken), and also the work of the Holy Spirit and whether this baptism in water ought to be viewed as necessarily connected to the work of the Holy Spirit (doing a work separate from the one-time salvation act of making the dead sinner alive as a saint in Christ) or to welcome a separate baptism of the Holy Spirit second to the baptism in water.

How is baptism to be taught, and with which Scriptures should I present it? Which are the most relevant passages to show what baptism means to us today, and what does that mean to those in conservative traditions, vis. whether they baptize or be found in rebellion.

To investigate:

Biblical context: What does the Bible say in English about baptism’s practice (persons baptizing and baptized, location, time after repentance, ubiquity), power (demonstration in receiving HS or freeing from sin), purpose, ,

Historical context: original language word(s) as well as practice by both Jews and Gentiles.

Current context: how are people today working with the Scripture, and how are they practicing or rejecting the commands of Jesus as presented in the New Testament?

Conservatives (“Evangelical”)

Generally only ordained pastors baptize, else one must be in water with the one doing (according to Jeff Amann’s experience pre-ordination by men)

Various Baptist

John Piper set it synonymous with a wedding ring: “With this ring, I thee wed.” Is a ring necessary for a marriage? Is a ring necessary if that’s what the rules are? Then yes. (my notes)


Ev Free




Assemblies of God

Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, State Church, Lutherans…

Infant baptism (all?)

Priests only baptize?

The Last Reformation

Don Blizzard “proof of repentance”

Same day or very soon, necessary- maybe not salvation, but a definite command

Anyone can baptize, generally having been baptized first themselves

Current Sayings:

“Buried with Christ in baptism, raised to walk a new life” (Rom6:4)

“In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit”

“In the Name of Jesus”

“Die with Christ, raised with Christ” (Rom6:4, 1P3:18)

“It’s God wanting you to feel on the outside what has already happened on the inside” (none?)

“Following Jesus in Baptism” / “Step of obedience”

“Bringing proof of repentance” (none that I can find, A26:20,M3:8 deeds in keeping with R)

“Both a bath and a burial” (H6 washings, R6:4 burial)


Does the Scripture state that baptism saves, and is that baptism that saves the act of immersion in water that we would refer to as baptism, or symbolic of Christ’s death and resurrection (L12:50) without reference to water baptism? (Mk 16:16, 1P3:21)

Interesting question. Many would differ on this particular issue, and clearly the water itself cannot save, just like the gold of the wedding ring alone cannot make someone married. The passage in 1 Peter is already “wet”, having been just discussing the flood narrative. The context is one of righteous living, and along with this 1P3:21b, “an appeal to God for a good conscience”

Big question: is there any scripture that states that a NT believer can be saved without, or while rejecting, baptism, or anything in soteriology that implies the same?

Scripture is fairly silent on the subject. There’s no explicit, “if one is not baptized they are not saved,” but the explicit is in the form of, “the one who believes and is baptized will be saved,” in Mark 16:16.

Is baptism powerful or sacramental?

  • The evidence in the text is that there’s more going on than merely a dip in the water to show people that there is an intention of a life-change. A2:38 seems to state that it is for the putting away of sins, or the forgiveness of sins, or living free from sins. This comes from the Greek.

Is there any record of words spoken at baptisms in Scripture?

  • M 3:7 is an example of John the Baptist: “You brood of vipers…”
  • M28:19 implies the name of trinity
  • Acts 2:38, 8:16, 10:48, 19:5, Romans 6:3, (?Mk10:38-9) implies name of Jesus
  • The Name of the Lord, the name of the Lord Jesus, in the name of Jesus Christ…

Was baptism practiced by other religions, Jews for Hellenists (define) becoming Jews, or for some other commitment of the Jew to perform certain vows?

Is it appropriate to “baptize someone on their own faith”? (define)

E 4:5 and C2:12 may be relevant

Not the profession of faith, but “bringing proof of repentance” so that they die with Christ, not having the old man hold their breath and come back out of the water, but the old man die and the new one being free to live for Christ. and Acts 26:20, M3:8 “deeds in keeping with repentance”

In M3:11, Mk1:8, Lk3:16, J1:33 Jesus is said to be baptizing with the Holy Spirit (and fire in M, L). When did this happen, in his ministry on earth, or after the ascension at Pentecost, and is that continual to mankind or the believer?

Why did Jesus not baptize, and did he always not baptize, favoring to rather have his disciples do so, or did he baptize at some other point? J4:1-3

I’m guessing that Jesus may have been careful not to appear to fulfill John’s prophecy with the water baptism, having favored to have his disciples baptize (J4:2, L3:16); this was just as he had told Mary that his time had not yet come in John 2:3-4, referencing prophecy at Amos 9:13-15.

John is baptizing in all four Gospel accounts.

How did John’s baptisms reveal Jesus to Israel (J1:33)?

Jesus came to be baptized by John

The harvest was prepared through repentance from sin and the people were made ready to receive

How scriptural is it to be literally burying sin in the water? (Rom6:4?, In light of 1C5:21, our sin is already buried, and baptism is a turning away from the verb as Acts 2:38, as evidence or cause that the noun be dead as Christ died to sin, R6:4)

On how many occasions were people baptized in Acts?

Is there any evidence for a believer being saved without being baptized in NT times?

Does baptism set one free in scripture? (Acts 2:38)

The word is “αφεσιν”, which means release or forgiving, possibly turning away from “αμαρτιων” (sin), seems to be in a transitive sense, where the sinner turns from the sin rather than having it be a passive removing of sin by God or the water– it’s more of an intentional burying.

The heavens were opened to Jesus in M3:16. Does this imply that the same happens for each believer at baptism, or that the heavens are now opened, not to be closed again?

Acts 7:55-56 Steven saw the heavens opened and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. This brings up the question, “were there any such occurrences in the OT?

Came short (M3:7) or long distance (Jesus in M3:13, Mk1:9)

Confessing (think of TLR burying sin in water)

M21:25,Mk11:30,L20:4 Jesus implies that the baptism of John was from heaven… God sent him

Mk 1:4 John proclaimed a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins

Confessing Mk1:5

Mk 1:8 states that water and HS baptism were different then. Are they separate now?

J1:25 John’s baptism was less than Jesus’ baptism with HS and fire

Mk10:38,L12:50 Jesus’ baptism likely his death and resurrection

maybe we’re baptized into his baptism

Mk16:16 baptism saves?

Luke 3:3,12 baptism of repentance

baptism of water/ baptism of repentance/ baptism of HS/ baptism of fire

L7:29-30 defines groups as those baptized by John and those not, aligning righteous and unrighteous

John 1:25 The Christ, Elijah, or the Prophet were expected to baptize, but John wasn’t expected. I guess in a way he was Elijah who was to come

The rest of the references in John may apply, skipping for the moment.

A1:22 Baptism of John was seen as important to Peter pre-Pentecost

A2:38 comes the command after the HS was poured out, “be baptized”

A 2:41 “those who received his word were baptized” without any exceptions noted

References for baptism, baptized, baptize, baptizes, or baptizing (73 verses, all NT):

Matthew 3:6:

and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

Matthew 3:7:

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?

Matthew 3:11:

I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

Matthew 3:13:

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him.

Matthew 3:14:

John would have prevented him, saying, I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?

Matthew 3:16:

And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him;

Matthew 21:25:

The baptism of John, from where did it come? From heaven or from man? And they discussed it among themselves, saying, If we say, From heaven, he will say to us, Why then did you not believe him?

Matthew 28:19:

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,

Mark 1:4:

John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Mark 1:5:

And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

Mark 1:8:

I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.

Mark 1:9:

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.

Mark 10:38:

Jesus said to them, You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?

Mark 10:39:

And they said to him, We are able. And Jesus said to them, The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized,

Mark 11:30:

Was the baptism of John from heaven or from man? Answer me.

Mark 16:16:

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

Luke 3:3:

And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Luke 3:7:

He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

Luke 3:12:

Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, Teacher, what shall we do?

Luke 3:16:

John answered them all, saying, I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

Luke 3:21:

Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened,

Luke 7:29:

(When all the people heard this, and the tax collectors too, they declared God just, having been baptized with the baptism of John,

Luke 7:30:

but the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the purpose of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.)

Luke 12:50:

I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished!

Luke 20:4:

Was the baptism of John from heaven or from man?

John 1:25:

They asked him, Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?

John 1:26:

John answered them, I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know,

John 1:28:

These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

John 1:31:

I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.

John 1:33:

I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.

John 3:22:

After this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he remained there with them and was baptizing.

John 3:23:

John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because water was plentiful there, and people were coming and being baptized

John 3:25:

Now a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification.

John 3:26:

And they came to John and said to him, Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.

John 4:1:

Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John

John 4:2:

(although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples),

John 10:40:

He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing at first, and there he remained.

Acts 1:5:

for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.

Acts 1:22:

beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.

Acts 2:38:

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.

Acts 2:41:

So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

Acts 8:12:

But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

Acts 8:13:

Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed.

Acts 8:16:

for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Acts 8:36:

And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?

Acts 8:38:

And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him.

Acts 9:18:

And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized;

Acts 10:37:

you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed:

Acts 10:47:

Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?

Acts 10:48:

And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.

Acts 11:16:

And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.

Acts 13:24:

Before his coming, John had proclaimed a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.

Acts 16:15:

And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay. And she prevailed upon us.

Acts 16:33:

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.

Acts 18:8:

Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with his entire household. And many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized.

Acts 18:25:

He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John.

Acts 19:3:

And he said, Into what then were you baptized? They said, Into John’s baptism.

Acts 19:4:

And Paul said, John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.

Acts 19:5:

On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Acts 22:16:

And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.

Romans 6:3:

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?

Romans 6:4:

We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

I Corinthians 1:13:

Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

I Corinthians 1:14:

I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius,

I Corinthians 1:15:

so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name.

I Corinthians 1:16:

(I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.)

I Corinthians 1:17:

For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

I Corinthians 10:2:

and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,

I 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.

I Corinthians 15:29:

Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf?

Galatians 3:27:

For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Ephesians 4:5:

one Lord, one faith, one baptism,

Colossians 2:12:

having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.

I Peter 3:21:

Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,


2K 5:10 speaks of Naaman the Syrian, told to “wash” in the Jordan 7 times

Is the “washing of regeneration” referring to baptism in Titus 3:5?

he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,”

Ephesians 5:26:

that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,

Hebrews 6:1-2

1 Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,

2 and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.

2 Peter 2:22:

What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”

I’d like to elaborate on John 3:5 in the context of John 3:6, so that it doesn’t sound like the verse is referring to baptism in water, but rather the birth of flesh, that is, of the water of natural birth.

Torben points out that God didn’t tell Abraham to be baptized but something else [circumcision].

Concern after all this I’ve studied is that others may see that they know less than I do on baptism, and rather than seek the knowledge for themselves, their ministry will be untouched and their blessing unreceived, assuming rather that I would do all the work. This would namely in this case be baptism, so they would say, “I don’t know how to baptize someone like a pastor, or like Timothy, or …” Yes, they should learn the biblical history behind the practice, but it’s not all about teaching in the sense that we know teaching. Yes, it is written, “For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians” in Acts 11:26, but let’s remember that the command of Jesus in “The Great Commission” was not merely to teach, but to teach “them to obey everything that I have commanded you.” There’s a difference here, and it’s an important one. In one case we are inside a school, inside a room, inside a church where there is a person giving instruction, but with neither impetus nor stimulus to walk out of the class and do the command, but rather to merely understand the command; but understanding is not obedience.

This could logically be followed with a how-to on baptism, which would go along the lines of, make sure that they state that they desire to repent of their sins and be free from them, find water available at the soonest time possible, and baptize them in the Name of the Lord, and specific words are not important. Next, teach them to do the same and get them plugged into a place where they will be spurred on to drink of the Living Water that Jesus offers.

Previous to baptizing I might want to give a short summary message on Romans, explaining what faith is and what …

Hear it from Hebrews:

Hebrews 1:3-4 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

Jesus already made the purification for sins, and that was before he sat down at the right hand of God!

And again John 3:25-30 says, Now a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification. 26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness[who is Jesus]—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” 27 John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ 29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”

Jesus has his bride! This is the purification for the marriage of Revelation 19:7!

Jesus’ blood is the purifying force in Hebrews 9:21, and it is THAT BLOOD with which he entered into the heavenly temple, and that BLOOD which purifies US!


Born of water and the Spirit (John 3)

Believe and baptized (Mk 16)



baptized rise up with Christ

What God does and what baptism is all about

Testimonies of baptism changing lives:

Anorexia freedom

n-So do we follow results?

Heal the sick and preach the Gospel

n-That includes baptism

Define “enough”

“Does baptism save you? Yes and no”

Adam sinned

Noah was a restart

Noah sinned, and God said “I will put my law in their hearts” in Jeremiah 31:33

Israel forgot God and after 400 years God rescued them from slavery through the water of the Red Sea

Jesus left us with the instructions, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved”

Will we eat of the tree of life?

It mattered to reformation Christians to death, but we do so little today about the real baptism

John 3

I see where he’s coming from using the context of the whole of Scripture in the NT, but the immediate context of the next verse shows us that we’re speaking of being born in the flesh.

Works vs faith alone / faith works

put on Christ / baptized into Christ

If you abide in me you will be free (j8) sinner is a slave to sin

law of gravity/ law of sin/ the law of Moses

R7:14 no longer I who do it, but sin dwelling in me

No longer a slave J8 / There’s a conflict here

Sin shall no longer have dominion over you. You were a slave, but are now free and a slave of righteousness

freedom experienced: oh, it’s sin. I don’t need to do that any more.

Pedobaptism: there’s no need to baptize those with no knowledge of sin

Baptism is a command; not only be baptized, but also to baptize others

Name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (not a name! WOW.) always to Jesus

July 2 @ 17:32 on one of Torben’s posts:

If they are dying to the evil ways of the flesh through baptism, then they are raised with Christ to walk a new life. If they are dying to the flesh through physical death, they will be raised to life in the presence of God apart from the body. The danger I see is one who lives in the body without having buried the dead works of sin, for that death and corruption, as with a decaying corpse, will kill the new life in the person as this person will fall back into the sin, not having buried through baptism the old ways of evil and been raised with Christ’s life as we see in Romans 6.


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