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What is Baptism & How to Baptize

There is strong evidence in Scripture that it’s right to baptize by immersion in water.  I can’t see how Scriptures like these would fit if that were not the case. It of course does not save someone as it’s an outward sign of of an inward act (repentance of and from sin and faith that Jesus is Lord and Savior), but, it should be one of the very 1st acts of obedience to a Holy God. An unsaved person can’t be filled with the Holy Spirit! So, we clearly see in the following scripture these born-again souls were filled with the SPIRIT….BEFORE…water baptism:

You do not have to be baptized to be filled with the Holy Spirit. To prove this all we have to do is look at the Scriptures where the phrase “filled with the Spirit” is used.

  • Luke 1:15, “For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb.”
  • Luke 1:41, “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.”
  • Luke 1:67, “And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying…”
  • Acts 2:4, “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.
  • Acts 4:8, “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people,”
  • Acts 4:31, “And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.”
  • Acts 9:17, “So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
  • Acts 13:9, “But Saul, who was also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze on him,”
  • Acts 13:52, “And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”
  • Eph 5:18, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,”

So, we can see that Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit while he was in his mother’s womb. Of course, he had not been baptized at that point. In Luke 1:41 we see that Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she had not been baptized either. The same is true with Zacharias inLuke 1:67. In Acts 2:4 people were filled with the Holy Spirit and were not baptized until later on (2:38).

According to Strong’s concordance, the word βαπτίζω, ‘baptizo,’ is translated as . . .

“baptize” 76 times, “wash” twice, “baptist” once, and “baptized once. It means to dip repeatedly, to immerse, to submerge (of vessels sunk). 2 to cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash, to make clean with water, to wash one’s self, bathe.

“After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized.  And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized.” (John 3:22-23)

“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?  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.  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.” (Acts 8:36-38)

If the Apostles baptized by sprinkling, I can’t see why both Philip and the Eunuch would have both went down into the water.  They could have just collected water without getting wet if they baptized by sprinkling.

With that said, if someone has already been baptized by sprinkling and there’s reason to believe that they were truly doing it in obedience to the Lord and confessing before the world that they’ve died to sin to live to God through Jesus Christ, then in my opinion there’s probably not a need to baptize them again- though they may very well want to get baptized again by immersion when they are shown from the Scriptures the evidence that the Apostles baptized by immersion. Perhaps then the Holy Spirit would show them they ought to get baptized by immersion. But perhaps God accepted their initial baptism because their testimony was genuine and they were walking in all the light which they had at the time.  I got baptized twice as a believer because the first time I baptized myself with no one else to witness it; but eventually I saw from the Bible that baptism was always done in public and that no one ever baptized him/herself- and I believe the Holy Spirit was faithful to teach me what I needed to know when I asked for wisdom about that.  In matters that were honestly confused about the Holy Spirit can teach us when we ask in faith like James 1:5-8 says.

And obviously if someone has been baptized by immersion, but it was done as a mere ritual to impress people or some reason other than the biblical reason, than it would be right to say they need to be baptized again for the right reason and to call them to have the repentant, obedient heart that would qualify one for a genuine baptism.

And if someone is just looking for debate so they can prove themselves superior in understanding, then it’s good to emphasize what baptism is supposed to testify and challenge them whether they are really broken and contrite over their sin and submitted to Jesus as Lord.  If they’re walking in intellectual and/or spiritual pride, then they’re certainly in sinm since God resists the proud.  If they won’t listen to and obey the things Scripture clearly teaches, then like 2 Timothy 3:5 says, we should turn away from them.

Since Jesus said in Matthew 28:18-20 to baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit then that is certainly acceptable.  And then in Scriptures like Acts 19:5 we see the Apostles baptizing in the name of the Lord Jesus.  So obviously that’s acceptable too.  Since all authority in heaven and earth is committed to Him like we see also in Matthew 28:18-20, then baptizing in His name should imply the name of the Father and the Holy Spirit as well since the Trinity is always in perfect agreement.  So there’s no good reason for someone to make a big deal about this and say only one of these is right and the other is wrong,

So, we clearly see that the word means to immerse. Therefore, baptism by immersion is obviously Biblical. Compare with Paul’s words:

Romans 6:3-6: “3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 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. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

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.”

Notice that the baptism is equated with being buried with Christ and raised with Him. In baptism, a person is buried under the water by full immersion and then raised up. This represents the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus as well as our dying to sin (Rom. 6:2).

2 Corinthians 7:9-11: Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.”

18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.” (1 Peter 3:18-22)

 The bottom line is that the name/names in which we are baptized is not as important as the recognition that baptism identifies us with the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, our Savior. We are buried with Him and risen to walk with Him in newness of life. However, don’t believe the Godhead deniers like the “oneness Pentecostals”, the “Unitarians”, etc! They deny the Godhead as spelled out in scripture!