The Baptisms of the New Testament

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As we continue our study of Matthew, and our study of John the Baptist in particular, we learned yesterday that Christian baptism did not originate with John the Baptist, but had immersing in water had been part of several types of Jewish religious cleansing rituals.

The word Baptism however, is not a Hebrew word, but came from a Greek word bapto meaning “to dip”. in the New Testament there are seven different ways that the word baptism has been used and by understanding the context of each of these meanings, helps us to understand what baptism is and what it  isn’t.

1. 2. I Corinthians 10:2-11  Speaks of the Baptism of the cloud and in the sea where the children of Israel was more than just a type of our relationship with Christ.

2.  As studied yesterday, there is the baptism of John. His baptism is mentioned in many passages in the New Testament. Besides Matthew 3 there is also Mark 1, Luke 3:, 7:29-30, John 1:31-33; 3:23-26: 10:40, Acts 1:5; 11:16; 19:3.

3.    There was baptism of suffering as noted in Luke 12:50 where Jesus spoke of being dipped or experiencing for a short time the experience of death. In this passage Jesus also expressed that he was not looking forward to the occasion, but that he would be glad when the bapto was accomplished.

4.  In John 3:22 and 4:1-2 it speaks about Christ’s baptism in water. It is significant that Jesus was not the one who actually carried out the baptisms, but it was his disciples who did the actual baptizing. It is our duty as disciples of Jesus to immerse new converts in the good news of our Lord and Savior.

5. Christian baptism in water and the Baptism into Christ and His Body  (Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38-41,:8:12-16; 9:18; 10:47-48; 16:15,33; 18:8; 19:5; 22:16; Romans 6:3-7; 1 Corinthians 1:13-17; 12: 13; Galatians 3:27; Colossians 2:12;  Peter 3:21) is one of the cornerstones of Christian faith. This baptism brings the new believer into his body at repentance and the new birth. It is called “one baptism (Ephesians 4:5), because it is the only baptism that saves the soul and brings into the body of Christ. The immersion in water is not what saves a person, but the confession of the faith that precedes the immersion in water. The immersion in water is a symbol of the death of the old life and the Resurrection into becoming a new creation in Christ.

6. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a controversial subject in Christendom. (Matthew 3:11, 14:20-23; Mark 1:8; 10:38-39, Luke 3:16, John 1:33, 7:37-39; Acts 1:5; 11:16, 19:2-3.) Some say that the baptism of the Holy Spirit occurs at the new birth, others say that it is a separate experience. For now, we will leave  the decision of when this occurs between you and your Creator.

I hope this study of the Gospels is helpful to you. This study, of course, I am not the final authority of the truth that Christ has for us as believers. I would not be so bold as to suggest that I were. What I would hope though, is that this study would help to open your eyes to how great our God is and how much he loves you. Please comment! Maybe you have a question I can help you with. Perhaps you have insights I don’t and we can learn together!

  1. I read an interesting article on baptism versus the sinners’ prayer by Frank Viola. He stated that the early church only baptized people who were convinced Jesus was Lord and the baptism was the statement to God, the world, and themselves that Jesus was Lord of their lives. D. W. Moody and Billy Graham placed the emphasis on the sinners’ prayer for people to make their confessions that Jesus was Lord of their lives. Thus baptisms are not really emphasized in Western Cultures.

  2. I know what you mean Larry. Much of what we as American Christians believe about the Bible come from Methodist and Baptist teachings. Circuit riders came through isolated frontier settlements, would preach a sermon that scared the participants into “believing”. Converts were anyone who as you put it “said the sinners prayer”. Moravians on the other hand moved into an area, set up “compounds” and used scripture to persuade the population of the truth of God’s word and who Jesus Christ is before attempting to convert anyone.

  3. I believe when someone follows Christ, Holy Spirit begins work in their life. As Dr. Graham put it, the Holy Spirit makes the sinner’s heart tender toward the Word and leads to repentance. In Genesis we see God the father say “My spirit will not strive with man forever” and that lead to the flood. But thru Jesus Holy Spirit strives against the evil desires within us. Now I think there is a infilling of the Holy Spirit for his work, and that is separate, like it says in the Gospels, “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit was led into the desert by the spirit”. Additionally, Jesus tells his disciples to wait in Jerusalem until Holy Spirit comes in power. Yet he had also told his disciples “I am with you always, even unto the very end of the age”. Here we see the differentiating work of the three personalities.

  4. Stanley, thank you for your comment. The point of this article was to simply point out that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is another baptism mentioned in God’s word,. I will no doubt be delving into the subject further as he is a very important subject.

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