I. The Definition Of “Baptize”
The word ‘baptize’ is a Greek word that has been transliterated into the English language. The English language did not have a word for the Greek word ‘baptize’ so the Greek word was borrowed and put into the English language, retaining its Greek definition. In other words, the translators taught us a Greek word and the Greek words meaning. The root Greek word for ‘baptize’ is ‘bapto’.
A) The Greek Definitions Of The Words ‘Bapto’ and ‘Baptize’
Strong’s Greek Dictionary
βάπτω bapto (báptō): Dip
- 911. βάπτω bapto (báptō)
- a primary verb; to whelm, i.e. cover wholly with a fluid; in the New Testament only in a qualified or special sense, i.e. (literally) to moisten (a part of one’s person), or (by implication) to stain (as with dye):—dip.
We see that there are two definitions for the root word ‘bapto’… one is to ‘cover wholly with a fluid’ and the other definition is to ‘dip’.
There are only three places in the Greek text where the word ‘bapto’ is found and in each case this word was translated into English as ‘dip’ or ‘dipped’.
Luke 16:24 (KJVSL) And kaí autós he cried phōnéō and said épō, Father patḗr Abraham Abraám, have mercy eleéō on me mé, and kaí send pémpō Lazarus Lázaros, that hína he may dip báptō the tip ákron of his autós finger dáktylos in water hýdōr, and kaí cool katapsýchō my moû tongue glōssa; for hóti I am tormented odynáō in en this taútēi flame phlóx.
John 13:26 (KJVSL) Jesus Iēsoûs answered apokrínomai, He ekeînos it is estí, to whom hós I shall give epidídōmi a sop psōmíon, when I egṓ have dipped báptō it. And kaí when he had dipped embáptō the sop psōmíon, he gave dídōmi it to Judas Ioúdas Iscariot Iskariṓtēs, the son of Simon Símōn.
Revelation 19:13 (KJVSL) And kaí he was clothed peribállō with a vesture himátion dipped báptō in blood haîma: and kaí his autós name ónoma is called kaléō The Word lógos of God theós.
βαπτίζω baptizo (baptízō): Immerse, Submerge
- 907. βαπτίζω baptizo (baptízō)
- from a derivative of G911; to immerse, submerge; to make whelmed (i.e. fully wet); used only (in the New Testament) of ceremonial ablution, especially (technically) of the ordinance of Christian baptism:—Baptist, baptize, wash.
Notice something in the definition of the word ‘baptizo’, IT DOES NOT CONTAIN THE WORD ‘DIP’ AS PART OF IT’S DEFINITION! The Greek word ‘baptizo’ does not mean ‘dip’!
Also, the Greek word ‘baptizo’ was not translated… it was transliterated into the words ‘baptize’ and ‘baptized’ and in EVERY case it used as ‘immerse’ or ‘submerge’… ‘cover wholly with fluid’.
‘Bapto’ means ‘dip’.
‘Baptizo’ means ‘immerse’ or ‘submerge’.
The phrase ‘John the Baptist‘ could have correctly been translated ‘John the Immerser‘ or ‘John the Submerger‘.
B) The English Definition Of The Word ‘Baptize’
The word ‘baptize’ as used in English is not the same as it is used in the Greek language. Alternate meanings are attached to the word so to use an English dictionary for the definition will not give as precise a meaning as the Greek dictionary will.
Websters 1828 Dictionary
- BAPTI’ZE, v.t. See Baptism. To administer the sacrament of baptism to; to christen. By some denominations of christians, baptism is performed by plunging, or immersing the whole body in water, and this is done to none but adults. More generally the ceremony is performed by sprinkling water on the face of a person, whether an infant or an adult, and in the case of an infant,by giving him a name, in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, which is called Christening.
So we observe that Greek definition of the word ‘baptize’ is not the same as the English definition of the word ‘baptize.’ However, the Bible was written in Greek and Hebrew and those Greek and Hebrew definitions are what should be used to understand what the Bible means. The English definition of ‘sprinkle’ does not exist in the Greek definition. Therefore, we may correctly conclude that the Bible does not teach sprinkling as the correct method for baptism. Immersion is the correct method for baptism.
II. Baptisms Method: Immersion
A) A Symbol Of Jesus’ Death, Burial, and Resurrection
Baptism is a SYMBOL of Jesus’ Death, Burial, and Resurrection. The symbol is pictured this way:
- A person stands in water… this pictures Jesus death on the cross.
- A person is submerged in the water… this pictures Jesus’ burial.
- A person is brought up out of the water… this pictures Jesus’ resurrection.
If a person is not totally submerged in the water then it is not an accurate symbol (picture) of Jesus’ burial. When Jesus was buried his body was completely inside of Joseph’s tomb (immersed / submerged in the earth), it was not half way in and half way out (dipped) nor did he have a little bit of dirt on his head (sprinkled), Jesus was totally buried (baptized) in earth…
Sprinkling and dipping do not present and accurate symbol (picture) of a death, burial, or resurrection.
We Are Buried With Him
Romans 6:1 (KJV) ¶ What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
Romans 6:2 (KJV) God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
Romans 6:3 (KJV) Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
Romans 6:4 (KJV) 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 6:5 (KJV) For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
Romans 6:6 (KJV) 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.
Buried With Him In Baptism
Colossians 2:10 (KJV) And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
Colossians 2:11 (KJV) In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
Colossians 2:12 (KJV) Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
B) The Way Jesus Was Baptized
Jesus was immersed in water, not sprinkled, and not dipped.
This is shown by following passages that speak of Jesus coming UP, OUT OF THE WATER. It is not possible to come up out of the water by being sprinkled. It is only possible to come up out of the water if you have gone down into the water first. Also, it makes no sense to walk down into the water waist deep and then have someone sprinkle or pour some water on your head.
Up Straightway Out Of The Water
Matthew 3:13 (KJV) ¶ Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.
Matthew 3:14 (KJV) But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?
Matthew 3:15 (KJV) And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.
Matthew 3:16 (KJV) 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 3:17 (KJV) And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Coming Up Out Of The Water
Mark 1:9 (KJV) ¶ And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.
Mark 1:10 (KJV) And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:
Mark 1:11 (KJV) And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
C) Because There Was Much Water
From the above verses, we see that Jesus went to the Jordan RIVER to be baptized. If it was not necessary to submerged under the water there would not have been a need to go to the RIVER. It would have been possible to be baptized anywhere with just a little sprinkle of water. In the text below, the REASON John was baptizing in Aenon is given… THERE WAS MUCH WATER THERE! That means that for someone to be baptized there must be much water! (Sprinkling and dipping do not require much water.)
John 3:22 (KJV) ¶ After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized.
John 3:23 (KJV) And John also was baptizing in AEnon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized.
John 3:24 (KJV) For John was not yet cast into prison.
III. Baptisms Prerequisite: Salvation
The only people that qualify for baptism are those who already believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and have accepted Him as Lord and Saviour. There is no record in the Bible of a baby being baptized by immersion or by sprinkling either. A baby cannot believe, therefore, a baby is not qualified for baptism. Baptism does not save… it is a symbol that you have already believed, had a spiritual birth, and are saved! It is a symbol that you believe that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again the third day.
A) If Thou Believest With All Thine Heart, Thou Mayest
Acts 8:35 (KJV) Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
Acts 8:36 (KJV) 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?
Acts 8:37 (KJV) 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.
Acts 8:38 (KJV) 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 8:39 (KJV) And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.
Acts 8:40 (KJV) But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.
B) Believed, And Were Baptized
Acts 18:7 (KJV) ¶ And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man’s house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue.
Acts 18:8 (KJV) And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.
C) Believe What?
1 Corinthians 15:1 (KJV) ¶ Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
1 Corinthians 15:2 (KJV) By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:3 (KJV) For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
1 Corinthians 15:4 (KJV) And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
1 Corinthians 15:5 (KJV) And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
1 Corinthians 15:6 (KJV) After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
The Lord Jesus – God Hath Raised Him From The Dead
Romans 10:9 (KJV) That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Romans 10:10 (KJV) For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Romans 10:11 (KJV) For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
Romans 10:12 (KJV) ¶ For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
Romans 10:13 (KJV) For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
IV. Baptism Commanded
A) Jesus Commanded The Ordanined Ministers In The Church To Perform The Baptism
Matthew 28:16 (KJV) ¶ Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.
Matthew 28:17 (KJV) And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.
Matthew 28:18 (KJV) And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Matthew 28:19 (KJV) 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 28:20 (KJV) 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. Amen.
The apostles had been baptized by John the Baptist and ordained by Jesus which gave them the authority to perform the duties of a minister, one of which is baptism.
Mark 3:14 (KJV) And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach,
John 15:16 (KJV) Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
Acts 1:22 (KJV) Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.
Acts 14:23 (KJV) And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.
1 Timothy 2:7 (KJV) Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.
B) The Saved Believers In The Congregation Were Commanded Them To Be Baptized
Acts 10:44 (KJV) ¶ While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
Acts 10:45 (KJV) And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Acts 10:46 (KJV) For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
Acts 10:47 (KJV) Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
Acts 10:48 (KJV) And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
C) Repent, And Be Baptized (For = Because Of)
Acts 2:37 (KJV) ¶ Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
Acts 2:38 (KJV) 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.
This is not saying that we need to be baptized in order to get saved but because we are saved we should be baptized.
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
FOR, prep. L. per.; The English, for; to forbid. For corresponds in sense with the L. pro, as fore does with proe, but pro and proe are probably contracted from prod, proed. The Latin por, in composition, as in porrigo, is probably contracted from porro, Gr. which is the English far. The Gr. are from the same root. The radical sense of for is to go, to pass, to advance, to reach or stretch.
14) Because; on account of; by reason of. He cried out for anguish. I cannot go for want of time. For this cause, I cannot believe the report. That which we for our unworthiness are afraid to crave, our prayer is, that God for the worthiness of his son would notwithstanding vouchsafe to grant.
V. Baptism Is The “Door” To Church Membership, It Is NOT The Door To Salvation
A) Were Baptized… Were Added
Acts 2:39 (KJV) 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.
Acts 2:40 (KJV) And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
Acts 2:41 (KJV) Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
B) Baptized Into One Body
1 Corinthians 12:12 (KJV) ¶ For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:13 (KJV) For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
VI. So, What Does It Truly Mean To Be Baptized?
- Baptism is an ordinance that is a picture of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection.
- It is done by immersing a person totally under the water and then bringing the person back up out of the water.
- Baptism has no saving power.
- Only those who have already believed and are saved may be baptized.
- Those who have already believed and are saved are required to be baptized.
- It is the door to church membership, not the door to salvation.
- Only ordained ministers, under the authority of the church, may perform the ordinance of baptism.
So, What Does It Truly Mean To Be Baptized? It means that after a person got saved he was immersed in water in a way that pictures Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection by an ordained minister and added to the church.