How Should One be Baptized?

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How Should One be Baptized?

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Having seen that it is believers who should be baptized, let us now determine how someone should be baptized. Baptism in the New Testament involved immersing the individual under the water and bringing them back up again.  Why should we believe this?

  • First, the English word “baptize” comes from Greek word “baptizo.”   This word means, “to immerse; to plunge or dip” something into water. While there are other ways this word was used in Greek, this is the primary meaning in the New Testament.
  • Second, there are several passages where this definition seems to be the only possible meaning.
  • In Mark 1:10 we read that Jesus “came up out of the water.”  This kind of language would not be used unless he had “gone down into the water.”  Read verses 9 and 10 without the verse division illustrates this clearly: “In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water…”
  • In John 3:23 we read that “John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because water was plentiful there, and people were coming and being baptized.”  This would only be necessary if the people being baptized were being immersed.
  • This is presumably the same reason why we read in Mark 1:5 that the people were going to John the Baptist to be baptized in the Jordan River.  The river would provide enough water for such an immersion as described of Jesus in 1:10.
  • In Acts 8:36-39 we see the Ethiopian eunuch excited to find a body of water large enough to be immersed.  Once again, we read the language of going “down into the water” and coming “up out of the water.”
  • Third, the imagery of being united with Christ in burial and resurrection used by Paul in Romans 6:1-5 and Colossians 2:11-13 seems to demand immersion.
  • We will learn more about this below.  However, it is necessary to make a brief comment concerning Romans 6.  While these verses do reference baptism, their primary focus is not the ceremony with water – but rather, the focus is the implications of baptism.

In summary, then, we may say that when a person is baptized, they should be immersed and raised again from the water.