Know Your Bible Course


"...Baptism Doth Also Now Save Us...." - I Pet. 3:21

It seems strange that anyone would ever question the necessity of baptism in becoming a Christian. So much is said concerning this subject in the New Testament. Jesus said, "all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 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 28:18,19. Why should anyone deny this universal commandment? Yet, countless thousands of religious people do just that.

It is true that a number of questions regarding baptism may perplex the student. Such questions as "Who should be baptized?" "How is baptism accomplished?" "Why should one be baptized?" will all present themselves to the thoughtful person. And, the answers are not difficult to find if we go to the right source - the Bible. Confusion concerning baptism has come about because of the conflicting, erroneous answers given by denominationalism over the years. Let us turn our backs on the babel of human tradition and seek guidance only from the Word of God.

A. WHO SHOULD BE BAPTIZED?

Certainly it is important to know who is a proper subject for baptism. The student should understand that the Bible gives several prerequisites to be met before one can be scripturally baptized. In the commission Jesus said, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them." Teaching must precede baptism. Therefore, the untaught, or those incapable of being taught, should not be baptized.

Again, man must believe in Christ before baptism. Mark's account of the commission says, "He who believes and is baptized will be saved" (16:16). Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Thus, to baptize one without faith or before faith is in clear violation of the commandment and renders the act null and void.

Repentance must precede baptism. Peter's words are, "Repent and be baptized" (Acts 2:38). The individual who hears the gospel and believes it wants to turn away from his sins. It is only when such a change of mind takes place that one is truly subject to baptism. He who wants to be baptized and then continue in his sinful practices understands neither the meaning of Christianity nor the purpose of baptism.

What about "infant baptism?" Most arguments in favor of such would be stopped before they started if the above divine prerequisites were considered. Babies cannot be taught to understand the gospel. They are too young to believe in Jesus and are incapable of repentance. Hence, little children are not subjects of Bible baptism. They have no need of it. Baptism is for sinners, but babies are in a state of innocence. Jesus affirms this when he says of little children, "for such is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 19:14). Surely He would not have said this if children were polluted with sin - inherited or otherwise. There is not a single case of infant baptism found in Scripture. This means that infant baptism is without divine approval - a tradition of men that seeks to make of none effect God's command that one first be taught, believe, and repent of sins before baptism (See Matthew 15:6, 9).

QUESTIONS:
  1. Not everyone is a proper subject for baptism.
    True
    False
  2. The Bible gives no prerequisites before baptism.
    True
    False
  3. An infant meets all of the Bible prerequisites for baptism.
    True
    False
  4. A person should be baptized before repentance.
    True
    False
  5. Babies are in a state of innocence.
    True
    False
  6. It is important to know who is a proper subject for baptism.
    True
    False
  7. Babies can be taught to understand the Gospel.
    True
    False
  8. "He that ______ and ______ will be saved." (Mark 16:16)
    prays; attends church
    confesses Jesus; prays
    believes; prays
    believes; is baptized
  9. _______ are not subjects of Bible baptism.
    Adults
    Women
    Little children
    Men
  10. There is not a single case of ________ found in scripture.
    repentance
    confession
    infant baptism
    immersion
  11. Teaching must precede baptism.
    True
    False
  12. A person can be scripturally baptized before he believes.
    True
    False
  13. There are examples of infant baptism in the New Testament.
    True
    False
  14. Infant baptism is a human tradition.
    True
    False
  15. Jesus taught in Matthew 19:14 that little children are innocent.
    True
    False
II. HOW TO BE BAPTIZED

Some say that baptism is sprinkling of water. Others say that it is an immersion. Some feel that it makes no difference. But it is clear that baptism cannot mean both "sprinkling" and "immersion." Which of these meanings is the correct one? The Greek dictionaries teach that baptism means immersion. Thayer says concerning baptism: "A word peculiar to N.T. and eccl. writ., immersion, submersion" (Greek-English Lexicon of the N.T., p. 94). The Greek word for sprinkle is "rantizo" - a different word entirely.

The New Testament clearly teaches that baptism is an immersion. John's baptism required much water (read John 3:23). Jesus went into the water to be baptized (Matthew 3:16). The eunuch's baptism is most helpful. We read that the chariot was stopped and that both he and Philip went down into the water in order to be baptized (See Acts 8:38, also lesson 3).

The Bible calls baptism a burial. Colossians 2:12 says, "Buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead." Notice the action of baptism as graphically described in Romans 6:3-6: "Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin."

Baptism, then, is a true likeness of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. Our old man of sin is to be crucified; we are to be buried in a watery grave of baptism; we are to be raised to walk in newness of life. Only immersion will fit this beautiful description of the new birth.

Notice what others have said about these passages:

  • John Calvin - Presbyterian: "The word baptize signifies to immerse. It is certain that immersion was the practice of the primitive church."
  • John Wesley - Methodist: "Buried with him in baptism - alluding to the ancient manner of baptizing by immersion."
  • Brenner - Catholic: "For thirteen hundred years was baptism an immersion of the person under water."
  • Conybeare & Howson - Anglican: "This passage cannot be understood unless it be borne in mind that the primitive baptism was by immersion."

QUESTIONS:
For the first five questions, indicate whether "sprinkling" or "immersion" is indicated.
  1. John 3:23 - "much water"
    sprinkling
    immersion
  2. Acts 8:38 - "into the water"
    sprinkling
    immersion
  3. Acts 8:39 - "out of the water"
    sprinkling
    immersion
  4. Romans 6:4 - "buried by baptism"
    sprinkling
    immersion
  5. Romans 6:5 - "likeness of resurrection"
    sprinkling
    immersion
  6. The Greek dictionaries teach that baptism means "sprinkling."
    True
    False
  7. The Bible calls baptism a burial.
    True
    False
  8. John's baptism required "much water."
    True
    False
  9. Baptism should be in the likeness of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection.
    True
    False
  10. Both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water.
    True
    False
III. WHY BE BAPTIZED?

Certainly this is our most important question. If baptism is not essential to salvation, it matters little who is baptized, how it is done, or if one is baptized at all. On the other hand, if baptism is essential to salvation, all need to know about its requirements.

The New Testament teaches that one must be baptized to become a Christian. It ranks with faith and repentance in the commandments of Christ. If one can become a Christian without baptism, then he may become a Christian without faith or repentance.

Notice why God commands baptism (please study each scripture reference):

  1. To obey Christ our Savior (Matthew 28:18, 19; John 14:15).
  2. To be born again (John 3:3, 5).
  3. To enter the kingdom, the church (John 3:5; 1 Corinthians 12:13).
  4. To put on Christ (Galatians 3:27).
  5. To have sins washed away (Acts 22:16).
  6. For remission of sins (Acts 2:38).
  7. To be saved (Mark 16:16).

"There is also an antitype which now saves us - baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 3:21).

QUESTIONS:
  1. Baptism is not essential to salvation.
    True
    False
  2. Baptism is a Bible commandment.
    True
    False
  3. Faith and repentance are more important than baptism.
    True
    False
  4. Faith, repentance, and baptism are all commandments of Christ.
    True
    False
  5. People became Christians in New Testament times without being baptized.
    True
    False
  6. "Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter _______." (John 3:5)
    the church building
    the tabernacle
    the temple
    the kingdom of God
  7. "For as many of you as were ______ into Christ have put on Christ." (Galatians 3:27)
    sprinkled
    baptized
    elected
    voted
  8. "And now why are you waiting? Arise, and be baptized, and ______, calling on the name of the Lord." (Acts 22:16)
    wash away your sins
    join a denomination
    rejoice
    witness your salvation
  9. "Repent and let everyone of you _______ in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins."
    be sprinkled
    witness
    rejoice
    be baptized
  10. "There is also an antitype which now saves us - ________." (1 Peter 3:21)
    repentance
    confession
    sprinkling
    baptism
IV. WHAT OF YOUR BAPTISM?

As can be seen from this study of the Bible, three things are necessary to scriptural baptism: the right subject, the right action, and the right purpose. An infant is not a scriptural subject for baptism. Sprinkling with water is not Bible baptism. Those being baptized, thinking they are already saved before baptism, are not scripturally baptized.

What of your baptism? Were you christened as a baby? Were you sprinkled upon rather than being immersed into water? Were you misinformed as to baptism's purpose, being told that "baptism does NOT save us"? If so, your baptism is not the one commanded by the Son of God and you have yet to submit yourself to it.

The Bible teaches an individual responsibility in this matter. Jesus said, "He who believes and is baptized will be saved" (Mark 16:16). Peter said, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized" (Acts 2:38). "He who has ears to hear, let him hear" (Matthew 11:15). So, it is up to you whether you obey the command to be baptized or not. If you are no longer a babe, you have the ability to study God's Word and to distinguish between false doctrine and Bible doctrine, between human tradition and divine commandment.

It is not overstating the case to say that your eternal salvation depends on your attitude toward this divine command. Re-examine your baptism again. Compare it with all the scriptures given in this lesson. Then, if your baptism is not exactly like the one commanded by Christ in the New Testament, do not hesitate one moment to submit yourself to the Lord's command. We will be happy to assist you in your obedience to the gospel. We will be delighted to discuss with you in person Bible baptism, the Christian life, and the church of Christ. Why not contact us today?

BAPTISM STANDS BETWEEN THE SINNER AND ALL OF THE BLESSINGS LISTED IN THE RIGHT HAND COLUMN

SINNER

 

 

 
  W
   A
     T
       E
         R

 B
   A
     P
       T
         I
           S
             M

 

    Salvation — Mark 16:16.
    Remission of sins — Acts 2:38.
    Washing away of sins — Acts 22:16.
    Death of Christ — Romans 6:3.
    Blood of Christ — John 19:34, Romans 6:3-4.
    Being a new creature — Romans 6:5, 2 Corinthians 5:17.
    Putting on Christ — Galatians 3:26, 27.
    Cleansing — Ephesians 5:26.
    Sanctification — Ephesians 5:26.
    Putting off the body of sins — Colossians 2:11-13.
    Forgiveness — Colossians 2:13.
    Kingdom — John 3:5.
    Good conscience — 1 Peter 3:21.
    Holy Spirit — Acts 2:38, 5:32.
    Body (church) of Christ — 1 Corinthians 12:13, Ephesians 1:22-23.
    Being a child of God — Galatians 3:26, 27.
    Wearing the name of Christ — 1 Corinthians 1:12-17.

QUESTIONS:
  1. God will accept a person who is unscripturally baptized.
    True
    False
  2. Infant christening is found in the Bible.
    True
    False
  3. Infant christening is scriptural baptism.
    True
    False
  4. A person is saved before baptism.
    True
    False
  5. You are personally responsible for ensuring that you are scripturally baptized.
    True
    False
What We Have Learned From This Lesson
  • Baptism saves us.
  • Baptism is a burial (complete immersion of the penitent believer for the forgiveness of sins).
  • My responsibility is to be sure I am scripturally baptized.

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Copyright (c) Know Your Bible Course 2011