Please note that throughout this document, “Gk.” indicates a Greek word and/or a definition for a Greek word. Greek is the original language of the Bible’s New Testament. Also, all Scripture quoted in this study is from the Authorized King James Version of the Bible.
Matthew 28:18-20: “And Jesus came and spake unto them [Jesus’ 11 disciples], saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing [Gk. “baptizo,” a derivative of “bapto” = to immerse, submerge, dip, wash, to make overwhelmed (fully wet)] them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world [age]. Amen.”
The “Great Commission” given by Jesus includes teaching and baptizing new disciples. Thus, God places a high value on baptism. (Note: The Greek words for baptism [“baptizo,” from “bapto,” also “baptisma”] basically settle how a person should be baptized: by immersion [completely submerged below the water’s surface], not by sprinkling or pouring.)
John 3:22-23: “After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized. 23 And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized.”
—John baptized where there was much water. Emphasis on this fact is consistent with baptism by immersion.
Acts 8:27-38: “And he [Philip] arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, 28 Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias [Isaiah] the prophet. 29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. 30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? 31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. 32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: 33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.
34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. 36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.”
—The eunuch was studying from the Old Testament. Prompted by the eunuch’s question, Philip preached about Jesus to the eunuch. The eunuch confessed his belief in Jesus and was baptized (immersed) “down in the water.”
Mark 1:1-5: “The beginning [Gk. “arche” = beginning, origin, commencement] of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; 2 As it is written in the prophets [see Malachi 3:1], Behold, I [the Lord] send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. 3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. 5 And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.”
—Baptism is linked with repentance and remission of sins. Baptism (obviously by immersion) was performed IN the river Jordan.
Matthew 3:13-17: “Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 14 But John forbad [Gk. “diakoluo” = hinder, vigorously prevent] him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? 15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer [Gk. “aphiemi” = permit, let] it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. 16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Jesus went UP, out of the water, after He was baptized by immersion. Why else would you first go DOWN into a body of water? Note how all the three members of the triune Godhead were involved in Jesus’ baptism. God the Father said He was “well pleased” with Jesus, while the Spirit came down on Jesus.
Acts 2:36-41: “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye [men and brethren] have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked [Gk. “katanusso” = pierce thoroughly, metaphorically: deeply moved or greatly pained] in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. 40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward [Gk. “skolios” = perverse, bent, crooked, evil] generation. 41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”
—Repentance and baptism link together for the pardon of sins. People who are baptized are first to be instructed regarding the specifics of salvation.
Acts 22:6-16: “And it came to pass, that, as I [Saul] made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me. 7 And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 8 And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest. 9 And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me. 10 And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do. 11 And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus.
12 And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there, 13 Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him. 14 And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. 15 For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. 16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”
—Saul (just before he became Paul and became a great witness for Jesus) was directed by Ananias to be baptized to have his sins washed away.
Acts 16:26-34: “And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. 27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. 29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. 32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes [Gk. “plege” = wound caused by a blow which causes great suffering, stripe]; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. 34 And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat [Gk. “trapeza” = a dining table] before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.”
—When the jailer asked how he could be saved, this is what happened: 1) he was told to believe on Jesus, 2) he received instruction regarding the word of the Lord, 3) he was baptized, along with his household.
Romans 6:1-8: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:”
—We are to be baptized into Christ’s death. Thus, we are to die to sin and walk in newness of life.
Ephesians 4:1-5: “I [Paul] therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation [Gk. “klesis” = calling, invitation] wherewith ye are called, 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,”
—Within the unity of the Spirit, there is just one type of baptism.
If you want to clean a sink full of dirty dishes really well, would you merely sprinkle the dishes with soapy water? Or simply pour a little soap water on the dishes? Or would you immerse (and scrub) the dishes?
The clear mode of water baptism is immersion, since the main Greek words – “bapto,” “baptizo,” and “baptisma” – that are translated “baptize” and “baptism,” mean to immerse, submerge, dip, or wash. These definitions coincide with the descriptions of baptism, detailed in the New Testament, occurring where there was much water or down in a river. Baptism is linked to confession of sins; repentance; pardon or remission (washing away) of sins; all leading to a transformed (new) life.
Please feel free to direct comments and questions regarding this study to Andrew Manthe by email at email@example.com.