The Bible teaches you need to be baptized? The questions are though: What does that mean, and by whom should it be done?

We all want simple and concise answers to our questions, and baptism is an important matter to understand. To arrive at a sensible [and scriptural] understanding of baptism, you will need to take time to consider several scriptures. Most any religious group that claims faith in the Bible will assert your need, not only to be baptized, but baptized by them. Many believe baptism by anyone besides their little group is useless at best. Some will even suggest you must renounce your ties to any other groups you might have previously been baptized by. As in all matters, our concern should be to understand what the Bible teaches. The answer which the Bible will make clear is this: You must have personal scriptural faith which will allow you to address the issue of Baptism in your own heart, and then before anyone who raises the question. (1 Peter 3:15 ; Romans 2:15) What scriptures though, will grant you such personal faith? Let us consider what the Bible says about baptism.

One of the earliest mentions of baptism in the Bible was in connection with John the Baptist [the immerser]. Let us start then, with considering what John had to say on the matter of Baptism as recorded in Matthew the 3rd chapter.

Matthew 3:1-17 BBE
(1) And in those days John the Baptist came preaching in the waste land of Judaea, (2) Saying, Let your hearts be turned from sin; for the kingdom of heaven is near. (3) For this is he of whom Isaiah the prophet said, The voice of one crying in the waste land, Make ready the way of the [LORD], make his roads straight. (This is referenced by most study Bibles as a quote from Isaiah 40:3.) (4) Now John was clothed in camel's hair, with a leather band about him; and his food was locusts and honey. (5) Then Jerusalem and all Judaea went out to him, and all the people from near Jordan; (6) And they were given baptism by him in the river Jordan, saying openly that they had done wrong. (7) But when he saw a number of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, Offspring of snakes, at whose word are you going in flight from the wrath to come? (8) Let your change of heart be seen in your works: (9) And say not to yourselves, We have Abraham for our father; because I say to you that God is able from these stones to make children for Abraham. (10) And even now the axe is put to the root of the trees; every tree then which does not give good fruit is cut down, and put into the fire. (11) Truly, I give baptism with water to those of you whose hearts are changed; but he who comes after me is greater than I, whose shoes I am not good enough to take up: he will give you baptism with the Holy Spirit and with fire: (12) In whose hand is the instrument [winnowing shovel] with which he will make clean his grain; he will put the good grain in his store, but the waste will be burned up in the fire which will never be put out. (13) Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be given baptism by him. (14) But John would have kept him back, saying, It is I who have need of baptism from you, and do you come to me? (15) But Jesus made answer, saying to him, Let it be so now: because so it is right for us to make righteousness complete. Then he gave him baptism. (16) And Jesus, having been given baptism, straight away went up from the water; and, the heavens opening, he saw the Spirit of God coming down on him as a dove; (17) And a voice came out of heaven, saying, This is my dearly loved Son, with whom I am well pleased.

We need to meditate on what John said? [Read and re-read, and think about it.] He first said his baptism by water was so those who came to him could demonstrate they were repentant: That they recognized they had done wrong and were sorry. Coming to be baptized meant they had a change of heart and were trying to do better. John also said Jesus would bring a new baptism, by holy spirit and fire. John then explained what he meant about the baptism by Jesus, as he likened Jesus to a farmer cleaning his grain. In those days, farmers had a threshing floor built where there would be a frequent strong breeze. At a suitable time, the farmer would take his winnowing shovel and toss his grain into the breeze over and over. The grain would quickly fall back to the threshing floor, but the chaff [or husk of the grain which was useless waste] would be carried off with the breeze; the chaff falling to earth off to the side of the threshing floor. That refuse would continue to accumulate and get in the way, so the farmer would move it off and burn it. That was the baptism John said Jesus came to perform. John was giving witness to everyone to place faith in coming separating work by Christ Jesus. John is recorded by Mark as saying:

Mark 1:7-8 NWT - 7 And he would preach, saying: "After me someone stronger than I am is coming; I am not fit to stoop and untie the laces of his sandals. 8 I baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with holy spirit."

That leads to the reasonable question then: Do Christians in our day want the baptism of John, or the baptism of Jesus Christ? Does the Bible more clearly explain what the baptism into Christ is? Yes it does! Even though Jesus himself was baptized with the baptism of John, Jesus said he had another baptism which was yet to come:

Luke 12:49-50 NWT - 49 "I came to start a fire on the earth, and what more is there for me to wish if it has already been lighted? 50 Indeed, I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and how I am being distressed until it is finished!

That was the baptism Jesus came to bring his followers: Knowledge of the Truth! That knowledge would impel them to manifest a change of heart, and then to judge themselves based on what he taught them. (Romans 2:15-16 ; John 12:48)

The baptism Jesus brought was not water immersion, but the receipt of holy spirit. Water immersion was a first century precursor to the baptism by holy spirit. Even receiving water baptism in the name of Jesus rather than John was not the same as receiving the baptism of holy spirit. It seemed, generally speaking, the gift of holy spirit was given or transferred to others by those who already had holy spirit and water immersion was an outward sign to others that was happening.
     Acts 8:14-17 - 14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they dispatched Peter and John to them; 15 and these went down and prayed for them to get holy spirit. 16 For it had not yet fallen upon any one of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they went laying their hands upon them, and they began to receive holy spirit.

Those men and women had been baptized in water in the name of Jesus, but had not yet received the holy spirit. In some cases, they were baptized with holy spirit, and then later were baptized with water immersion.
     (Acts 10:44-48 NWT) 44 While Peter was yet speaking about these matters the holy spirit fell upon all those hearing the word. 45 And the faithful ones that had come with Peter who were of those circumcised were amazed, because the free gift of the holy spirit was being poured out also upon people of the nations. 46 For they heard them speaking with tongues and magnifying God. Then Peter responded: 47 "Can anyone forbid water so that these might not be baptized who have received the holy spirit even as we have?" 48 With that he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they requested him to remain for some days.

Those individuals received holy spirit [which was the baptism Jesus brought] but were then water baptized [received the baptism of John]. Their water baptism provided a witness to their neighbors they were not following the Jews, but had joined the Christian movement Jesus started. Jesus himself actually did no water baptizing. (John 4:1-2) His followers no doubt did so in following the pattern of John the Baptist, so as to help others have faith in the newly arrived Messiah.

It is important to remember as we consider what baptism means for our day: The Bible has specific meaning based on when we live in it's record of time. God's arrangement for salvation has been moving forward over time: When Moses gave the Jewish nation the Law Code some 3500 years ago, he performed miracles to show Moses had God's power to give them Law. The nation vowed to keep that Law, and were judged from it for 1500 years. They could be put to death for breaking the law. The Jewish Law code, with it's priesthood arrangement, was the one and only acceptable way to serve God at that time. That was the Bible teaching for their day. To have a form of worship approved by God, they had to be born a Jew, or become a Jewish proselyte. The purpose of the Law was then fulfilled in Christ, as he was born from that Jewish nation which had been protected under Law. (Galatians 3:23-25) Jesus replaced the Jewish Law with the Kingly Law of Love. (Galatians 5:14 ; James 2:8) After Jesus Christ then, the Bible message changed: Everyone needed to express faith in Christ as the anointed one, and any persons who continued to try and live by Law were rejected by Jesus's Father. (Galatians 5:4 ; For a through consideration of these matters, please read Paul's letter to the Galatians.) As Jesus replaced the Law code given by Moses, he too performed miracles to show he had God's authority to make change. His first century followers performed miracles as well: Holy spirit helped them raise the dead and heal the sick. (1 Corinthians 12:1-11) After Jesus day, with the established inspired Bible record of what Jesus taught; mankind started to live by faith and not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7) Those miracles by his followers ceased. (1 Corinthians 13:8) Jesus said he would show them a better way. (1 Corinthians 12:31) Holy spirit would still be a gift of the faithful followers of Christ Jesus, just helping them in a different way than performing miracles. Jesus Father would send Jesus's followers a helper: The spirit of truth; to help them recall what Jesus taught them.
      (John 14:15-17 NWT) 15 "If YOU love me, YOU will observe my commandments; 16 and I will request the Father and he will give YOU another helper to be with YOU forever, 17 the spirit of the truth, which the world cannot receive, because it neither beholds it nor knows it. YOU know it, because it remains with YOU and is in YOU. (John 14:25-26) 25 "While remaining with YOU I have spoken these things to YOU. 26 But the helper, the holy spirit, which the Father will send in my name, that one will teach YOU all things and bring back to YOUR minds all the things I told YOU.

That helper, the holy spirit, would aid Jesus's later day followers to recall and understand what he taught them, so as to build their faith. That faith would then preserve them alive.

This is the truth concerning Baptism: All must become footstep followers of Christ Jesus. You must be determined that even your very life in this old system is worthless compared with that hope in Christ. (Luke 14:25-33) We must all be determined to remain obedient to our Father whether it means we are to receive protection now, or receive our reward later through a resurrection. We must recognize the value of faith, and be determined to remain faithful to the teachings of Christ Jesus at any and all cost. You should clearly understand: It is by means of that resolute decision you are baptized into Christ. Figuratively speaking, with that decision you give up your life, and start to live for him. (1 Peter 4:1-8) That seems to be what the Bible teaches being baptized by holy spirit is! You must be fully resolved in your heart that you are acceptable to God through your faith in Christ Jesus. (John 17:3) That applies to baptism, and every other Bible teaching as well. Do not allow any group of men to define truth for you. Learn what your Bible teaches and it will set you free of fear of judgmental men. (John 8:31-32)

You see then, stating the faith of those who support this website has limited value. It is the Bible knowledge of each of us YOU personally, that can form the basis of faith to deliver you through the destruction of this old system of things. You should be able to defend from the Bible what baptism means, and whether you are baptized. You can use something like this webpage to help you learn what the Bible says of course, but if your hope is to be reliable, the scriptures must form the basis of your faith. If you made effort to learn what the Bible teaches, the helper Jesus left us will aid you in learning and understanding what it means. You will gain a solid faith that can not be moved by the opinions of men.

The scriptural answer then, as to whether we should be baptized, is a resounding yes! The definition of what baptism implies for our day however, is not as simple and is highly personal. In the Bible accounts about baptism, we find the water immersion by John was very quickly replaced by the baptism of Christ and his followers. That Baptism included the passing on of the gift of the holy spirit. Persons who received that baptism of the gift of holy spirit in the first century were identified by miracles. Raising the dead, healing the sick, and all those other miracles however, disappeared when those first century men who could perform them died. It seems likely the miracle of passing on holy spirit stopped with them as well. Assigning [or recognizing] authority to someone to do baptizing in our day would seem to carry considerable danger. The Bible writers seemed to believe the modern day baptism is simply the professing of faith in Christ Jesus. If individuals choose to be immersed in water as an outward manifestation of their decision to serve our savior, that is for them to decide. It would seem a real danger to allow imperfect men to baptize you into membership in some club they have convened. If you throw in your lot with such a group, you become responsible for their actions. It would seem the course of wisdom to accompany any public display of water immersion with a clear statement of just what the person is allowing themselves to baptized into. Any group sentiment would probably not be wise. Become a member of the group Jesus Christ started, while recognizing none of us are judges of who are sincere Christians. Clearly the real baptism is the dedication of our lives to the service of Grand Creator through faith in our Lord Christ Jesus. The manifestation of love for others such a dedication will create in us, that is the witness of our being footstep followers of Jesus. Jesus and his first century followers demonstrated what the gift of holy spirit was doing for them in their day, and they recorded that for us in the Bible. It is documented how they raised the dead and healed the sick. Holy spirit gave them that power, because that was what they needed to give a witness for their day. Jesus gave them those gifts of holy spirit so they, and those of us who follow, could have faith. Jesus was also very clear about what the gift of holy spirit would be like for our day. John 14:15-26 Jesus told us in John 14 the helper was the spirit of truth, which his Father would send to his followers, and which would call to mind all the things Jesus had taught them. Today then, if we have baptized ourselves into being students and followers of Christ Jesus, the holy spirit in the form of our helper will call to mind the things Jesus taught us. (John 15:26-27) [This obviously implies we must have studied what Jesus taught. The spirit is our helper, not one to speak what we have no knowledge of.] As we call too mind the promises of Jesus Father, which promises Jesus taught us, we should see salvation for ourselves in those promises. It will then come to pass for us just as we have faith. (John 11:26 ; Matthew 8:13) All this happens while the world [without faith] perishes in darkness and ignorance: (John 8:24) By their own choice to refuse to learn the truth. (John 16:7 & 16:8-11) May we live forever through our hope in Christ Jesus, doing so by means of our faith in the promises of Jah Jehovah! (John 8:42-51 ; Isaiah 9:6-7 ; Isaiah 11:1-12) The earth will then be filled with the [adopted] sons and daughters of Abraham, made so by means of their being baptized into Christ Jesus by means of faith in him. (Galatians 3:26-29 ; Galatians 3:5-9)

With regard to baptism then, we can say scripturally: John baptized with water, Jesus with holy spirit.

(Acts 11:16 NWT) 16 At this I called to mind the saying of the Lord, how he used to say, 'John, for his part, baptized with water, but YOU will be baptized in holy spirit.'

Faithful first century Christians were baptized in water by John to help them put faith in the Christ. Christ then baptized in holy spirit which in turn granted the miracles of holy spirit.

(Acts 19:1-7) 19 In the course of events, while Apollos was in Corinth, Paul went through the inland parts and came down to Ephesus, and found some disciples; 2 and he said to them: "Did you receive holy spirit when YOU became believers?" They said to him: "Why, we have never heard whether there is a holy spirit." 3 And he said: "In what, then, were YOU baptized?" They said: "In John's baptism." 4 Paul said: "John baptized with the baptism [in symbol] of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus." 5 On hearing this, they got baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul laid his hands upon them, the holy spirit came upon them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. 7 All together, there were about twelve men.

The spiritual baptism of the washing away of sins was accomplished by calling on name of Jesus.
     (Acts 22:16) 16 And now why are you delaying? Rise, get baptized and wash your sins away by your calling upon his name.' Acts 22:16 ALT (16) 'And now, why are you delaying? Having gotten up, get yourself baptized, and get yourself washed [or, purified] [of] your sins by you yourself calling on the name of the Lord.' [cp. Acts 2:21] Acts 2:21 ALT (21) 'And it will be [that] every [one] who himself shall call on the name of [the] LORD will be saved!'

Being baptized into Christ then, means a conscious decision to put selfishness to death. We realize God's ways are perfect (Deuteronomy 32:4) and become determined to live by his standards as taught us by Christ. (John 8:31-32) Being baptized into Christ means giving using our life in pursuit and support of truth. (John 14:10-17) It is not about our goodness, but about what is right! We must fight against being followers of men, even when those men assert [or we imagine] their own righteousness. (Colossians 3:23-25)
      (Romans 6:3-13) 3 Or do YOU not know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we were buried with him through our baptism into his death, in order that, just as Christ was raised up from the dead through the glory of the Father, we also should likewise walk in a newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we shall certainly also be [united with him in the likeness] of his resurrection; 6 because we know that our old personality was impaled with [him], that our sinful body might be made inactive, that we should no longer go on being slaves to sin. 7 For he who has died has been acquitted from [his] sin. 8 Moreover, if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. 9 For we know that Christ, now that he has been raised up from the dead, dies no more; death is master over him no more. 10 For [the death] that he died, he died with reference to sin once for all time; but [the life] that he lives, he lives with reference to God. 11 Likewise also YOU: reckon yourselves to be dead indeed with reference to sin but living with reference to God by Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin continue to rule as king in YOUR mortal bodies that YOU should obey their desires. 13 Neither go on presenting YOUR members to sin as weapons of unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, also YOUR members to God as weapons of righteousness.

Christ dispatched Paul, not to go baptizing, but to go declaring the good news.
      (1 Corinthians 1:10-31) 10 Now I exhort YOU, brothers, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that YOU should all speak in agreement, and that there should not be divisions among YOU, but that YOU may be fitly united in the same mind and in the same line of thought. 11 For the disclosure was made to me about YOU, my brothers, by those of [the house of] Chloe, that dissensions exist among YOU. 12 What I mean is this, that each one of YOU says: "I belong to Paul," "But I to Apollos," "But I to Cephas," "But I to Christ." 13 The Christ exists divided. Paul was not impaled for YOU, was he? Or were YOU baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I am thankful I baptized none of YOU except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one may say that YOU were baptized in my name. 16 Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas. As for the rest, I do not know whether I baptized anybody else. 17 For Christ dispatched me, not to go baptizing, but to go declaring the good news, not with wisdom of speech, that the torture stake of the Christ should not be made useless. 18 For the speech about the torture stake is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is God's power. 19 For it is written: "I will make the wisdom of the wise [men] perish, and the intelligence of the intellectual [men] I will shove aside." 20 Where is the wise man? Where the scribe? Where the debater of this system of things? Did not God make the wisdom of the world foolish? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not get to know God, God saw good through the foolishness of what is preached to save those believing. 22 For both the Jews ask for signs and the Greeks look for wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ impaled, to the Jews a cause for stumbling but to the nations foolishness; 24 however, to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because a foolish thing of God is wiser than men, and a weak thing of God is stronger than men. 26 For YOU behold his calling of YOU, brothers, that not many wise in a fleshly way were called, not many powerful, not many of noble birth; 27 but God chose the foolish things of the world, that he might put the wise men to shame; and God chose the weak things of the world, that he might put the strong things to shame; 28 and God chose the ignoble things of the world and the things looked down upon, the things that are not, that he might bring to nothing the things that are, 29 in order that no flesh might boast in the sight of God. 30 But it is due to him that YOU are in union with Christ Jesus, who has become to us wisdom from God, also righteousness and sanctification and release by ransom; 31 that it may be just as it is written: "He that boasts, let him boast in Jehovah."

It is the Bible based faith in Christ by each one of us which transforms us into sons and daughters of God.

(Galatians 3:26-29) 26 YOU are all, in fact, sons of God through YOUR faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of YOU who were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor freeman, there is neither male nor female; for YOU are all one [person] in union with Christ Jesus. 29 Moreover, if YOU belong to Christ, YOU are really Abraham's seed, heirs with reference to a promise.

Those determined to be disobedient [and useless] will be burned up [destroyed], just as was the chaff from the threshing floor. (Matthew 3:12)
      (John 15:1-10) 15 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the cultivator. 2 Every branch in me not bearing fruit he takes away, and every one bearing fruit he cleans, that it may bear more fruit. 3 YOU are already clean because of the word that I have spoken to YOU. 4 Remain in union with me, and I in union with YOU. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it remains in the vine, in the same way neither can YOU, unless YOU remain in union with me. 5 I am the vine, YOU are the branches. He that remains in union with me, and I in union with him, this one bears much fruit; because apart from me YOU can do nothing at all. 6 If anyone does not remain in union with me, he is cast out as a branch and is dried up; and men gather those branches up and pitch them into the fire and they are burned. 7 If YOU remain in union with me and my sayings remain in YOU, ask whatever YOU wish and it will take place for YOU. 8 My Father is glorified in this, that YOU keep bearing much fruit and prove yourselves my disciples. 9 Just as the Father has loved me and I have loved YOU, remain in my love. 10 If YOU observe my commandments, YOU will remain in my love, just as I have observed the commandments of the Father and remain in his love.

Become baptized in Christ Jesus, therefore, by expressing faith [built on Bible knowledge] that he is the ransom sacrifice for our sins, provided us by his Father Jehovah. (John 3:16-18 ; John 17:3 ; 1 Peter 3:21-22)

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