The English word baptize is a copy of the New Testament (Greek) word baptizein, which literally means “to immerse, to dip, to submerge” under water.
To be baptizedmeans to be immersed in water and raised up out of the water.These Bible verses show that this is what baptism means.
-Matt. – “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water.”
-Acts -39 – “Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.When they came up out of the water . . .”
These verses show that those who were baptized first waded out into the water, and afterwards they came up out of the water.This implies immersion.
The Bible also compares baptism with a burial.
-Colossians – “Having been buried with Him in baptism…”
-Romans 6:4 – “We were therefore buried with him through baptism.”
The only use of physical water that involves a true burial is immersion into the water.
II.What is the Significance of Baptism?
Romans 6:3-4 explains what happens in baptism: “Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”* * See also Colossians 2:12.
What does this text say is happening in the moment of baptism?
-In baptism we enter into a saving relationship with Jesus.We are “baptized into Christ Jesus.”We become “clothed . . . with Christ” (Galatians ).
-In baptism we receive the saving benefits of the death of Christ.We are “baptized into His death,” and His atoning blood now covers our sins.Here we are justified, or forgiven.This is why Peter says in Acts 2:38 that you are baptized “for the forgiveness of your sins.”
-In baptism we are “raised from the dead” and begin to “live a new life.”Here we are born again (John 3:5), and are made new by the power of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5).This is why Peter says in Acts 2:38 that in your baptism “you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
What an experience this is!
III.Why Should I Be Baptized?
Because baptism is where God has promised to bestow upon us the blessings of salvation.* * See the previous column.* * See also Acts 22:16; I Corinthians 12:13; I Peter 3:21.
Because Jesus set an example for us.Sometimes it is said that we should be baptized because Jesus was baptized.There is some truth in this, since Jesus set a general example for us by doing everything that was right for Him to do.In the same way, like Jesus, we should do everything that is right for us to do.
-One thing that was right for Jesus was to be baptized with John’s baptism (Matt. -17).This was part of Jesus’ righteousness (v 15).Likewise, one thing that is right for sinners today is to be baptized with Christian baptism, which began on the Day of Pentecost (Acts ).This is part of our righteousness.
-We should be careful, however, NOT to equate Jesus’ (or John’s) baptism with Christian baptism.They do NOT have the same significance.
Because Jesus commanded baptism.Just before His ascension into heaven, Jesus commanded His followers to bring sinners to Him by “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son ad of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19).* * See also Mark 16:15-16.
-Jesus’ followers, led by the Apostles, began to do this on the Day of Pentecost, as recorded in Acts 2:38-41.Baptism iw what Jesus has commanded.How can we consider ourselves to be disciples of Jesus if we have not been baptized?
Because baptism was the climactic part of every conversion recorded in the book of Acts.Acts tells us how the first Christians carried out Jesus’ Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20).Baptism was always involved, as the following examples show:
oBaptism of Groups (Acts ; ; -15).
oBaptism of the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts -39).
oBaptism of Paul (Acts ; ).
oBaptism of Cornelius (Acts -48).
oBaptism of the Philippian jailer (Acts , 34).
-Note that though each situation was different in details, in each case, all who came to belief in Jesus were baptized immediately.These Scriptural examples show that baptism is meant to be part of one’s conversion experience.
IV.Frequently Asked Questions
1.How Will I Know When I Am Ready to Be Baptized?
When you are ready to put your past behind you, and put your life in Jesus’ hands.Read Acts 2:38, Colossians 3:5-10, John 1:12, 13.
2.What if I Was “Sprinkled” as a Child or as an Adult?
Because of the clear meaning of the Biblical word for “baptism” is immersion, this is the only way to be truly baptized.Thus we must ask those who have only been sprinkled to submit to immersion into Christ.Those who sprinkle certainly do so with good intentions and good motives, but these cannot take the place of right actions.
3.When is Someone Old Enough to Get Baptized?
A child is ready for baptism when he or she begins to understand the need for salvation from sin and is able to make a personal decision to believe and repent.
4.Who Should Baptize Me?
Any Christian can have the privilege of baptizing a convert.We encourage you to have the person who led you to Christ perform the baptism.There is no Scriptural distinction between “clergy” and “laity.”Of course, our staff is available to perform baptism for any convert at any time.
Visit the Tree of Life Child Development Center website: