Water baptism is a subject fraught with misunderstanding not least because of the practice of infant baptism by some mainstream churches. It is with the view to dispelling the myth surrounding it that we approach the subject of water baptism. In doing so, we have taken an approach based on Proverbs 3:6:
“In all your ways acknowledge him,and he will make straight your paths.Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.”
It is, in itself, wisdom not to be wise in our own eyes but acknowledge God in everything, making every effort to seek and uphold His view and standard. In other words, to seek His counsel and then hold that in the highest esteem, to factor Him and His views as primary into the equation of our life and the decisions we make.
So too on this important issue of baptism, we must seek to discover God’s take and standard and subject everything else to it.
- What does God say about baptism?
- What do the scriptures teach us regarding this matter?
Throughout the New Testament Baptism is mentioned in the same breath as believing in The Lord Jesus and likewise carried out by the apostles. Faith followed immediately by baptism. We see a clear pattern.
- The right way or standard is set, prescribed by The Lord Himself. Here, we have a clear command which is clearly not a matter for debate or negotiation (Matthew 28:19 & Mark 16:16)
- That same pattern is then diligently and carefully upheld and carefully followed by His disciples. (Acts 2:38 – 41, Acts 22:16 (Ref 9:17 – 18) and Acts 8:35 – 38.
In order to help get a near comprehensive understanding of baptism, we shall take a holistic approach to water baptism in the New Testament under the following sections (key scripture passages associated with them are found beneath):
Section 1 Why get baptised? The case for water baptism.
Matthew 28:19 – 20, Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38-41
Section 2 What is required before baptism? Essential requirement
Acts 2:38-41, Acts 22:16 (Ref 9:17-18), Acts 8:35-38
Section 3 What is baptism foreshadowed or prefigured by in earlier times? Baptism types.
1 Cor. 10:1-4, 1 Peter 3:18 – 22
Section 4 What does baptism do for the believer? Function and role.
Romans 6:1 – 6, 1 Peter 3:18 – 21, 1 Cor. 1:30
All four sections are closely related and seamlessly merge into one another making it impossible to totally compartmentalise them. However, we will still keep to them for the sake of expediency and in order to achieve our objective.