The word "baptism" means:
Original Word : βαπτίζω
Transliterated Word : baptizo
Phonetic Spelling : bap-tid'-zo
- to dip repeatedly, to immerse, to submerge (of vessels sunk)
- to cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash, to make clean with water, to wash one's self, bathe
- to overwhelm
As you can see the English word "baptize" has a very broad meaning. This should not to be confused with the "Baptism with Fire" which is a concept that refers to the trail and judgement that everyone will receive .
In this article, I refer to "Baptism of Repentance" (Acts 13:24, 19:4), also known as the "Water Baptism". There is only one baptism into repentance and therefore there is one way to get saved (Ephesians 4:4-6).
- It is a requirement to enter the kingdom of God. (Mark 16:16; John 3:5)
- The water is one of the witnesses that testifies that believers' sins are forgiven. (1 John 5:6-7)
- It is a physical sign of salvation for good conscience. (1 Peter 3:21)
- It releases believers from the legal requirements of the laws (like circumcision). (Colossians 2:11-23; Romans 6:14)
- It releases believers from sin by the burial of the old life or washing from sin (Acts 2:38, 22:16; Colossians 3:3-4)
- It converts believers into new people by giving them a new life (Colossians 2:12-14; Romans 6:3-14; Acts 19:4)
- It restores righteousness with God. (Matthew 3:15)
- It renews the knowledge of the image of the Creator (Colossians 3:9-10)
- It makes one part of the body of Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:13)
It is the example set by Christ Himself:
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. -- Romans 6:4 (ESV)
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. -- Mark 16:16 (ESV), Romans 1:16
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?”
And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.”
And he replied, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him.
-- Acts 8:36-39
- You should be completely submerged in water. This is how Jesus (Matthew 3:16) was baptised and also how it was understood to be done by the first believers (Mark 1:5, Romans 6:3-4).
- Baptism should take place in the name (authority) of the Son (Acts 2:38, 8:16, 10:46, 19:5, 22:14-16; Galatians 3:27). However, some also believe that the name of the Father and the Holy Spirit should also be included based on a single verse of Matthew 28:19.
Do not get baptized in any other name or authority. Some "church" leaders idolize themselves by baptizing people in their own name or in their church's name. Paul also had to address this issue in his lifetime when people started to idolize him.
I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. -- 1 Corinthians 1:10-13 (ESV)
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.
-- 1 Corinthians 12:13 (ESV)
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,
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. -- Matthew 28:19 (ESV)
There is a great debate on how God should be addressed, what is the correct translations of His names and how to pronounce or spell His names. This is a huge problem to some since salvation is dependant of the name(s) of God.
Some churches claim that to sprinkle a few drops of water on a baby's forehead counts as baptism.
However, according to the original Greek meaning of the word "baptism" is "to submerge", "to cleanse by dipping", "bathe", "to overwhelm". The tradition of water sprinkling is not recorded in the Bible. Instead, we read that Jesus' went "up from the water":
When Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water -- Matthew 3:16 (ESV)
Paul also wrote:
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 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. -- Romans 6:3-4 (ESV)
Water sprinkling is not a very effective burial.
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 1:5 (ESV)
Some will Christians claim that Baptism is optional, but Jesus said that Baptism is God's will:
But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him. -- Luke 7:28
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you,
‘You must be born again.’
The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” -- John 3:5-8 (ESV)
This is the definition of a true "born-again believer", phrase used in many Christian communities.
Some people would claim that you need an expert with a pastoral university degree or approval from some priest or church or something before you are allowed to baptize people. However, the bible does not mention any such special requirements. People should baptize in Jesus' authority (name) and not in their own name, qualifications, reputation or in their church's name.
Some examples of people who baptized in the Bible:
- John the baptist (Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16)
- Jesus' disciples (Matthew 28:19)
- Philip the apostle (Acts 6:5; Acts 8:12)
- Ananias the disciple who was not one of the 11 disciples close to Jesus (Acts 9)
- Paul (1 Corinthians 1:14,16)
If the man doing the baptism needed some particular qualifications in order for baptism to be valid, then we would likewise need to be sure that he in turn had been baptized by one who had the proper qualifications. In this way we would need to somehow trace the qualifications of people who did the baptizing back through history to make sure they all had the proper qualifications. If anyone in the chain was not properly qualified to do a baptism, but they did it anyway, then the person they baptized would not be saved. Then anyone that person baptized would not be saved, etc. So we would need to know that the person who baptized us was baptized by someone who had the proper qualifications, etc., back through history. This would seem to make it almost impossible to know if our baptism was valid. Such a tracing of qualifications is unnecessary, however, because the validity of the baptism depends on what is done, not on the character or spiritual standing of the man who does the baptism. -- The Gospel Way
If you do not know any believers in your area who can or is willing to baptize you with water into repentance, then you could use The Last Reformation's map to locate believers in your area.
(Note we are not affiliated with the Last Reformation movement. We cannot guarantee or take responsibility for any of these contacts' advise or behaviour, but we do hope and pray that you will be able to get into contact with a believer who is able to assist in your request.)
Believers are supposed to get baptized only once, however if the first "baptism" was incomplete or incorrect, they should get baptized the proper way, according to the example recorded in Acts 18:24-19:6
Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. 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. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. And when he wished to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.
And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them,
“Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” (Romans 8:9)
So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”
And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?”
So they said, “Into John’s baptism.”
Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance (Mark 1:4), saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.”
When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.