what is water baptism according to the Bible?

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This Bible Study on Water Baptism was created to help you understand this important step of faith in the Christian life and to remove any doubts you may have about this topic. What is Baptism in Water? 

What is Baptism in Water According to the Bible?

The spiritual meaning of Baptism in Water symbolizes repentance and forgiveness. When the Pharisees asked John: “ Why then do you baptize? ” (Jn 1:25), he replied: “I baptize with water” (Jn 1:26), referring to the symbolic act of repentance (Mt 3:11, Mr 1:4, 5), “ to repent is to change attitude ”, which includes a change of conduct in our lives, is to turn our backs on sin and live a life for God. In this way, John the Baptist prepared the people of Israel for the arrival of the one who would soon come and forgive his sins, Jesus the Son of God (Mt 9:2, 22; Mr 2:5, 10-12; 1 Jn 1:19).

Water Baptism also symbolizes death and resurrection with Christ (Rom 6:4). As the new believer is immersed in the water, it symbolizes the death and burial of the old sinful way of life.

In this same way, coming out of the water symbolizes the resurrection to a new life with Christ (Col 2:12).

“Therefore we were buried with him through baptism into death so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the power of the Father, we too might have newness of life (Romans 6:4) NIV.”

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 that we need Christ in our lives to be saved (Rom 3:23-24).

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“Peter said to them: Repent, and be baptized each one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38)”.

One of the examples of people recorded in the Bible who were Baptized was an Ethiopian eunuch, an official 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, opening his mouth, and beginning from this scripture, preached to him the gospel of Jesus. And going along the way, they came to a certain water, and the eunuch said: Here is water; What prevents me from being baptized? Felipe said: If you believe with all your heart, well you can. And answering, he said: I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he ordered the car to stop; and they both went down into the water, 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 converted to Christ (Mr 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 who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mr 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 saviour, yes. In many cases, there were Christians who could not be baptized before they died and were saved in the same way, because they did not do it of their own free will, but because death came to them at that moment. The Bible gives as an example the thief 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 that he would be with Him in Paradise.

“And he said to Jesus: Remember me when you come into your kingdom. Then Jesus said to him: Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise (Luke 23:42-43).”

Who can Baptize?

How should one be baptized?

The Holy Scriptures teach that Biblical Baptism is by immersion, the person must be completely immersed in the water. The Baptism of which the Bible speaks is not sprinkled with a little water on the head, nor is a person given a name. It is only a step of faith and obedience that the believer takes when he wishes to live a new life for God (Mt 3:16; Mk 1: 9-11).

“And Jesus, after he was baptized, went up immediately out of the water; And behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming upon him. And there was a voice from heaven, saying: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Matthew 3:16).

In what name should be baptized?

You must 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, Rom 6:3). Likewise, both forms are correct according to the Bible, since 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.

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (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 infants?

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 the event that a child dies without being baptized, the Bible says that “theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 19:14; Lk 18:16; 2 Sa 12:23), therefore, he will go to the presence of the Lord.

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On the other hand, it must be made 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 those who practised this ritual gave their children to idols like Moloch, passing them through fire in exchange for riches (Lev 18:21; De 12:31, 18:10; 2 Kings 21:6; Ps 106:37-38).

“You shall not profane the name of your God by handing over your children to be burned as a sacrifice to Moloch. I am the LORD (Lev 18:21).”

Who Baptized Jesus Christ?

The man who was chosen by God from his mother’s womb 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 well-disposed people 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; John 1:6-7, 33).

“It came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And then, as he came up out of the water, he saw the heavens open, and the Spirit like a dove descending on him. And a voice came from heaven saying: You are my beloved Son; I am well pleased with you (Mark 1:911)”.

Other references to the Baptism of Jesus Christ by John in Matthew 3:13-17 and Luke 3:21-22.


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What does Baptism by the water mean?

Water is a symbol of cleansing and purification (Ps 51:2; Ez 36:25; Ze 13:1). The Tabernacle’s Bronze Laver is a typology of Christian Baptism. Through her, God taught the priests who served in the Tabernacle, that before ministering in holy things they must first wash their hands and feet as a symbol of purification (Ex 30:19-20). Therefore, the Water of Baptism means that those of us who believe in Christ are cleansed by the word of God (Jn 15:3, 17:17; Eph 5:26).