what did water baptism mean in the physical sense, as referred to
in the Bible? What did the Greek word for baptism
in the original scripts mean?
I wonder: did the translators dodge the issue by anglicising the Greek
word Baptizo into Baptism and Baptise?
In W.E.Vine's book, 'Expository Dictionary of Bible Words", it says that
the root of the word is 'Bapto', meaning to dip, immerse, 'submerge and
emerge'. The word was used at that time by the Greeks when signifying the dying of a garment: it is
submerged, soaked in the dye. It is also used to mean the
washing of articles to make them 'ceremonially clean', which would have
been a very thorough cleansing. (A definite metaphorical significance
here, I think).
John the Baptist and Water Baptism
If we now look at the pattern of water baptism set by John the Baptist, he 'immersed'
people in a river: the River Jordan, baptising them for the
forgiveness of sins. He
submerged them and raised them up again,
symbolising the act of dying to our sins and being raised to eternal life;
of being washed clean. This would have been a more thorough ceremonial cleansing than the
ceremonial washing that people had to comply with before they were
allowed to enter the Temple.
Was Jesus baptised as an infant? Emphatically no! He was dedicated as an
infant in the Temple, but this is a different matter.
I can find no references to infant baptism in the Bible. Some people
refer to Acts 16:15 "When she and the members of her household were
baptised, she invited us to her home." - and Acts 18:18 "Crispus, the
synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many
of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptised." It does not
say that Crispus and his family were baptised; only that many who heard
him believed and were baptised." Note: "... believed and
were baptised". It would appear to be conjecture to assume that this
refers to infants too.
How was Jesus baptised?
If we take Jesus as our example, he was a 30-year old adult when he was baptised by John the
The Biblical pattern appears to be adult baptism by informed, conscious decision.
Look at the wording in the Bible: in Acts 2:38, Peter said "Repent
and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the
forgiveness of your sins." Note the words "repent and": baptism
goes with belief; faith; repentance.
Powerful symbol, powerful witness
Baptism is a powerful symbol of starting a new life in Jesus Christ; it is
a powerful experience within the individual; it is a powerful witness to
Is it "really necessary"? I think perhaps not. With God, all things are possible.
The repentant thief on the cross next to Jesus had no opportunity to be
baptised, but Jesus told him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be
with me in paradise." (Luke 23:42-44). It was the thief's change of
heart that saved him; the 'baptism' was an inner turn-around, a being born
However, can I tell you something? I did not understand why it was thought
so special, until I witnessed baptism by full immersion in water, at a Baptist Church.
And I just knew it was for me. A few months later, my wife and I were baptised on the same
day, and I bear witness to you that it was a very special and spiritual
blessing, that I will never forget.
Jesus' last instructions
Before Jesus left this earth to return to His Father in heaven, He said to
His disciples, "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in
the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching
them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you
always, to the very end of the age."
If it was good enough for Jesus, then it is good enough for me.
May God be with you in your decision.
In Jesus' name.
Why? Think about it!
Creation: Big Bang or what?
Belief in Jesus Christ
How to be a Christian
What is sin?
God's Gift: Thought
'What I think, is my business'
God's ways are different
Heaven? You choose...
What to pray
Obeying God when he speaks
The Holy Bible
Reading the Bible
Which Bible version?
Quotes from the Bible
Online Bible Commentary
Description of Crucifixion
Statement of Faith
Need help? need to talk?
We reach about
a year. Please support
the work of
providing a link
web site to your favourite
Many thanks, and
every blessing to you.
eThoughts™ is the Trade Mark of