This Bible Study on Water Baptism was created to help you understand this important step of faith in the Christian life and to remove some doubts you may have about this topic. Also read: What is Justification by Faith?
The word baptism comes from the Greek baptidzo, meaning “Immerse” or “washing with water”. This washing ritual was used by the Jews and can be seen in Mark 7:4 and Luke 11:38.
What is the Meaning of Water Baptism in the Bible?
The spiritual meaning of water baptism symbolizes repentance and forgiveness. When the Pharisees asked John: “Why baptizest thou then?” (Jn 1:25), he replied: “I baptize with water” (Jn 1:26), referring to the symbolic act of repentance (Mt 3:11, Mk 1:4, 5), “to repent is to change attitude”, which includes a change in behavior in our lives, is turning our backs on sin and living a life for God. In this way, John the Baptist prepared the people of Israel for the arrival of someone who would soon come and forgive their sins, Jesus the Son of God (Mt 9:2, 22; Mk 2:5, 10-12; 1 Jn 1:19).
Baptism in Waters also symbolizes death and resurrection with Christ (Rom. 6:4). At the moment they submerge the new believer in the water, it symbolizes the death of the ancient sinful life. In this way, when coming out of the water it symbolizes the resurrection of a new life with Christ (Col 2:12).
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 (Romans 6:4).
Who can receive Baptism in Water?
Baptism in water is for believers, therefore, everyone who believes in Jesus and receives his word can be baptized. The Bible teaches that before being baptized there must be a conviction in us, that we are sinners and we need Jesus Christ in our lives (Rom 3:23-24).
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 (Acts 2:38).
One of the examples of people baptized recorded in the Bible, was an Ethiopian official eunuch of Queen Candace of Ethiopia in Acts 8: 26-40, who after the gospel was announced to him by Philip, believed in Jesus and received his word.
Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. 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 8:35-38).
Why is Baptism in Water important?
Baptism in Water is important, because it is a step of Faith that confirms that the person has been converted to Christ (Mk 1:4-5, Acts 4:41, 8:12, 36-38). For this reason every Christian who believes in Jesus Christ must be baptized, since Jesus said: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mk 16:16). Therefore, when the person believes in Jesus Christ and understands the gospel, he must be baptized as a sign that we no longer live for ourselves, but that Christ lives in us (Gal 2:20).
Another very important point is that people who receive Baptism in Christ, become part of the Family of God on earth and members of the body of Christ (Gal 3:27-28).
Can a person go to Heaven without being Baptized?
If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your only savior yes. In many cases there were Christians who could not be baptized before they died and they were also saved, because they did not do so voluntarily, but because death came to them at that time. The Bible gives as an example the man who was crucified near Jesus, this person believed in Christ in the last minutes of his life. He did not have time to receive doctrine, nor to be baptized, but even so he was saved and Jesus guaranteed him that he would be with Him in Paradise.
And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise (Luke 23:42-43).
Who can Baptize?
Those who preach and make disciples for Christ. Because it was a command of the Lord Jesus Christ for his disciples (Mt 28:19, Mk 16:15-16). From the book of Acts we see how the disciples fulfill that commandment of the Lord (Acts 2:38, 41, 8:12, 36-38, 9:18, 10:47-48).
How should a person be Baptized?
The Holy Scriptures teach that Biblical Baptism is by immersion, you must immerse the person completely in the water. The Baptism of which the Bible speaks is not watered a little water in the head, nor is name given to people. It is only a step of faith and obedience that the believer takes when he wishes to live in a new life for God (Mt 3:16; Mk 1:9-11).
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 (Matthew 3:16).
In what Name should we be Baptized?
It should be Baptized “in the Name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” or “In the Name of Jesus” (Mt 28:19, Acts 2:38, 8:12, 16, 10:48, 19:5, Ro 6:3). In the same way, both forms are correct according to the Bible, because the expression “in the name of” means “by the authority of”. Therefore, whether in the name of the Trinity or of Jesus Christ the meaning is the same. When the Apostles baptized a new believer they were doing it by the will of God.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:19).
When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus (Acts 19:5).
What does the Bible say about Baptism for children?
In the Bible it is not written anywhere about Baptism for children, they can only be Baptized when they are old enough to understand the step of faith they are taking. In case a child dies without being baptized the Bible says that “of children is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 19:14, Lk 18:16, 2 Sa 12:23), therefore, a child dying goes to heaven, into the presence of God.
On the other hand it has to be very clear that Baptism in Christ has nothing to do with idols, nor with the pagan practices of the Roman church. Because this pagan ritual comes from the ancient Babylonian Empire, where they practiced this ritual gave their children to idols as Molech, passing by fire in exchange for wealth (Lev 18:21; Dt 12:31, 18:10; 2 Ki 21:6, Ps 106:37-38).
And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the Lord (Leviticus 18:21).
Who Baptized Jesus Christ?
The man who was chosen by God from the womb of his mother to carry out this work, was John the Baptist (Lk 1:13-17). God formed him for this call (Lk 1:80), to prepare the people well disposed for the manifestation of the Son of God, to give knowledge of salvation and forgiveness of sins, thanks to the mercy of God (Lk 1:76-77; Jn 1:6-7, 33).
And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Mark 1:9-11).
Other references of the Baptism of Jesus Christ by John in Matthew 3:13-17 and Luke 3: 21-22.
What does the water of Baptism Mean?
Water is a symbol of cleansing and purification (Ps 51:2; Ez 36:25; Za 13:1). The Bronze Laver of the Tabernacle is a typology of Christian Baptism. Through it, God taught the priests who served in the Tabernacle, that before ministering in the holy things they should first wash their hands and feet as a symbol of purification (Ex 30:19-20). Therefore, the Water of Baptism means that we who believe in Christ are clean by the word of God (Jn 15:3, 17:17, Eph 5:26).