Baptism of Jesus


To us the Scriptures clearly teach that:

I.  Baptism is a complex doctrine because the term is used for:

(a) Jewish ceremonial washings;

(b) Johnís baptism which was strictly for Jews under the Law Covenant; 

(c) Christian water baptism which is purely symbolic;

(d) True Christian baptism which has nothing to do with water;

(e) Historic events (the flood and the passing through the Red Sea) which typify other things.

II.   Infant baptism is not Scripturally justifiable.

III. True Christian baptism is an immersion into the Will of God and into a life of sacrifice with Christ.


 Following is a five part presentation of details and the relevant Scriptures concerning the doctrine of baptisms.

ó PART I lists some general references.

ó PART II shows texts regarding water baptisms (both Johnís and Christian baptisms).

ó PART III lists texts showing the real or true meaning of Christian baptism.

ó PART IV lists cardinal points regarding this doctrine.

ó PART V is a complete listing of all Scriptures on the subject categorized into logical groupings and having brief explanatory notes.


References to all baptisms:

Hebrews 6:2

References to non-baptism baptisms:

Matthew 3:11 (see parallel passages in Mk. 1:8; Lu. 3:16; John 1:33; Acts 1:5; and Acts 11:16.)

Mark 7:4 (Trans. Wash & Washings)

Luke 11:38

Hebrews 9:10

References to typical baptisms:

I Cor. 10:1,2

I Peter 3:8ó21



I. Johnís Water Baptism

Matt. 3:6-8 shows (1) confession and (2) repentance.

Mark 1:4 shows (3) remission of sins. (Cf. Rom. 5:13 -- no imputation of sin where there is no law.)

Luke 3:3, 12-14 shows (4) righteous living (as law demanded).

Luke 7:29, 30 shows (5) it was not fruitless.

John 1:25-28, 29-33 shows (6) there would be a change from Johnís baptism.

John 3:23 shows (7) total immersion.

Acts 13:24 shows (8) Johnís baptism was for Israel

Acts 18:25 shows (9) Apollosí ignorance of the change of dispensation.

Acts 19:2-6 shows (10) a change of purpose.

II. Christian Water Baptism

Matt. 28:19-21 shows (1) the authority and (2) the responsibility to Jesusí commands.

John. 3:22-30 shows (3) the phasing out of Johnís baptism; therefore, it was being practiced at the same time but not for the same purpose.

Acts 2:36-39 shows (4) that to Jews, Jesusí baptism accomplished the work of Johnís baptism (sin-remission) as well as the induction into the body of Christ (receiving the Holy spirit) This is valid only until the end of Daniel 9ís 70 weeks.

Acts 10:47 shows (5) the end of the 70 weeks with Gentile acceptance into the body. It also shows (6) that the receiving of the Holy spirit is not dependent on water immersion (which in this case followed). It also shows (7) that the formula of Matt. 28:19 was not always stipulated.

Acts 19:1-7 shows that (8) Johnís baptism was invalid after the end of the 70 weeks.

Acts 22:16 shows that (9) Paulís baptism (before the end of the 70 weeks) combined the benefits of remission of sins with receipt of the Holy spirit. (Cf. Acts 2:36-39 above.)

I Peter 3:21 shows (10) that water baptism does not really remove sin from us.



Rom. 6:3-5 shows that (1) real baptism is into sacrificial death, not water, and that it (2) implies a new life with the same dedication as Jesusí life.

I Cor. 12:13 shows that we (3) are immersed into one body ó a cooperative effort among those of like precious faith

I Cor. 15:29 shows that we are (4) immersed into the work of Christ for the specific objective of the ultimate raising and restoring of the dead world.

Gal. 3:27-29 shows that (5) we are immersed in Christ, not into water, and that this (6) makes us a part of the promised "seed of Abraham" with its purpose of blessing all the families of the earth.

Eph. 4:5 shows that, as far as Christians are concerned, there is (7) only ONE baptism ó the REAL one into Christ ó even though the Bible mentions others

Col. 2:12 shows that water baptism is (8) a symbol of burial of our old lives in favor of service to Christ and His purposes. (Cf. 3:1)

I Peter 3:21 shows that (9) though true baptism begins a new life, it does not actually remove sin from our lives while we are in the flesh.



 Never in Church history has the information concerning baptism been made so clear as now. It has been made it plain from Scriptural comparison that in Christian baptism:

1. Water baptism is a symbol with no inherent merit.

2. Baptism is correctly immersion, not sprinkling.

3. Baptism is to be performed only upon those who have made an intelligent, personal and unreserved consecration to do Godís will.

4. Immersion represents participation in Christís death.

Perhaps most unique is recent insight into the meaning and purpose and limits of John the Baptistís baptism. To summarize:

1. Johnís baptism was only for Jews.

2. Johnís baptism and its privileges expired at the end of the 70 weeks of the prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27 (i.e., 36 AD).

3. Jesusí disciples administered Johnís baptism up to that date.

4. Prior to AD 36, all baptisms (except Jesusí in Jordan) were Johnís baptism.

Johnís baptism was for the purpose of returning Jews to favor under the yet-functioning Law Covenant so that they could receive Messiah (the greater-than-Moses) and be transferred into him (with no additional baptism).
Additional truths made plain are:

1. The "baptism of the Holy Spirit" is a phenomenon reserved for only two occasions:

a) Pentecost;

b) The house of Cornelius.

Its purpose was to demonstrate Godís acceptance of both Jews and Gentiles into the body of Christ. At other times, the gifts of the Spirit could be conferred only by the hands of the Apostles.

2. The "baptism of fire" was a symbol for the destruction of that part of the Jewish nation which rejected Messiah. It was not personal, but a national judgment or destruction ("fire").

3. The "REMISSION OF SINS" was an integral part of Johnís baptism. It was not a part of Christian baptism. Gentiles and post-36 AD Jewish converts D1D have their sins remitted by their faith in the blood, but not by baptism. (Acts 10:43) This is a subtle but Scripturally sound distinction.

4. Johnís and Jesusí disciples, baptizing at the same time, were not in competition. They both were administering the same rite which was actually beginning the work of the new age. (John 1:31; Acts 10:36, 37; Acts 13:23-25; Acts 19:4)

5. Baptism "in Jesusí name" before AD 36 was yet Johnís baptism. The addition of this phrase simply intensified the concept of transfer from Moses into Christ.

 Following is an exhaustive list of texts containing the various forms of the word baptism. This list has been divided into the appropriate categories for the wordís usage and contains helpful summary notes.


1. Reference to ALL Baptism:

Acts 19:3; (first occurrence) This questions which (Johnís or Christian) baptism had been administered.

Hebrews 6:2; (trans. "washings" in NAS)

2. References to Typical "Baptisms" or Washings:

I Cor. 10:2; This immersion into Moses by the figurative covering of cloud and sea prepared the nation for the transfer into the greater-than-Moses by Johnís baptism which brought them BACK into this original Mosesí baptism. Verse 4 clearly shows the aim to be the eventual transfer to Christ.

Heb. 9:10; translated "washings"

(I Pet. 3:20; This verse does not contain the word "baptism." but verse 21 calls it a "figure" of baptism. See notes in Section 8 under I Pet. 3:2 1.)

3. References to the Word Used To Mean Bathing or Washing:

Mark 7:4; ("wash" in KJV; "cleanse" in NAS)

Mark 7:4; ("washing" in KJV and in NAS)

Mark 7:8; ("washing") NOT in NAS. This is a spurious entry in KJV.

Luke 11:38; ("washed" in KJV; "ceremonially washed" in NAS)

4. References to the Word Used as Part of John the Baptistís Name:

Matt. 3:1 Mark 6: 14
Matt. 11:11 Mark 6:24
Matt. 11:12 Mark 6:25
Matt. 14:2 Mark 8:28
Matt. 14:8 Luke 7:20
Matt. 16:14 Luke 7:28 ("the Baptist" is spurious)
Matt. 17:13 Luke 7:33
(Mark 1:4; only such in NAS; KJV is accurate)
Luke 9:19

5. References to Johnís Baptism as Administered by John:

Matt. 3:6; shows sin-confession was a requisite

Matt. 3:7 (8); shows repentance was included in confession and that fruitage (not only repentant words) was needed

Matt. 3:11; (first occurrence); shows that water was a symbol of repentance

(Matt. 3:13); shows that John did not comprehend that, in this case, John was administering something different from what his baptizing usually signified. (i.e., while John administered Jesusí baptism, this was NOT Johnís baptism.)

Matt. 3:14; John acknowledges his imperfections, though (since he was Godís prophet) he was NOT in need of baptism.

Matt. 21:25; shows that Jesus wanted the priests and elders to acknowledge the need for Johnís baptism

Mark 1:4; (first occurrence) shows place of Johnís workóperhaps symbolizing his rejection by the existing powers

Mark 1:4; (second occurrence) shows Johnís baptism involved repentance resulting in the remission (NAS = forgiveness) of sins

Mark 1:5; shows how widespread Johnís message was

Mark 1:8; (first occurrence) same as Matt. 3:11

Mark 11:30; same as Matt. 21:25

Luke 3:3; same as Mark 1:4

Luke 3:7, (8); same as Matt. 3:7, 8

Luke 3:12 (-14); shows that repentance symbolized by Johnís baptism would result in fairness, compassion, gentleness and contentment

Luke 3:16; (first occurrence) shows that water is a symbol of being immersed into a condition (by) comparison to fire and Holy spirit)

Luke 3:21; (first occurrence = the people) the rest of the verse shows that Jesus. though his baptism was different, conducted it as part of the general movement of reform in Israel

Luke 7:29; shows that sincere Israelites were convinced (in part by Jesusí preaching) of Johnís place as a prophet and, therefore, joined the repentance movement. (NAS  "having been baptized" seems less accurate than KJV "being baptized.")

Luke 7:30; "rejected the counsel of God" seems the opposite of verse 19ís "justified God."

Luke 20:4; same as Matt. 21:25

John 1:25; shows that the Pharisees were unwilling to accept another prophet, righteously claiming that they will accept a message of repentance only from Elijah, Messiah, or "that prophet"

John 1:26; same as Matt. 3:11

John 1:28; NAS says "in Bethany"

John 1:31; John shows the primary purpose of his work: pointing to Messiah

John 1:33; (first occurrence) John shows that God Himself authorized the baptismal work of John. This text also shows that a more significant baptism would follow Johnís.

John 3:23; shows (by statement of quantity of water) that sprinkling is most unlikely.

John 10:40;

Acts 1:5; (first occurrence) same as Luke 3:16 EXCEPT now uttered by Jesus instead of by John

Acts 10:37; shows Johnís baptism was the BEGINNING (in a sense) of the work of a new age

Acts 11:16; (first occurrence) same as Acts 1:15 except it shows Peterís remembrance was of Jesusí statement rather than of Johnís

Acts 13:24; Paul shows that Johnís baptismís purpose was to prepare the way for Messiah. This text also shows that Johnís baptism was for Israel.

Acts 19:4; This text is the proof of the expiration of Johnís baptism (of repentance) and the need for a new, non-transference, baptism for Jews or for Gentiles. This text vibrantly shows to point of Johnís baptism: "to believe in him who was coming after"

6. References to Baptism of "Fire" and of "Holy Spirit":

Matt. 3:11; (second occurrence) John points forward to the change coming ó a change that will result in things more real than the symbolism of water ó i.e., either spirit begettal or destructive power. (Cf vs. 12 and Matt. 22:7.) Water immersion and permitting ourselves to be immersed into Christís death are matters for us to attend to. Immersion of the Holy Spirit or of fire are Godís doing.

Mark 1:8; (second occurrence) same as Matt. 3:11, except omits "fire"

Luke 3:16; (second occurrence) same as Matt. 3:11

Acts 1:5; (second occurrence) Jesus picks up Johnís prophecy and applies it to himself

Acts 11:16; (second occurrence) Peter remembers Jesusí words in Acts 1:5

7. References to Johnís Baptism Administered BY Jesusí Disciples:

John 3:22, 26; Only John (of the Gospel writers) mentions this. The context (while it can easily be misinterpreted by surface reading) does not say that these are different baptisms - only that administration by Jesusí disciples was overtaking that administered by John. The baptisms were the same, not competitive. If a different baptism were being carried out, it would nullify Johnís which (John 1:33) was ordained by God. (The next text shows that John 3:22 did NOT mean that Jesus, himself, did any immersing. This MAY be significant. Jesusí baptizing could imply to some minds that there was an alternative immersion.)

John 4:1, 2; See above. Please note that (verses 3 and 4) Jesus purposely LEFT lest his immersing be misinterpreted.

Acts 2:38; This text could be misunderstood because of the phrase "in the name of Jesus Christ." This is still Johnís baptism with the ADDED information that the TRANSFER into Messiah will be affected. Note verses 36 and 37. These Jewish "brethren" want to know how to escape their sins under the Law as well as their part in the national sin of crucifying Jesus. Peter suggests baptism as the sign of THEIR REPENTANCE of their SINS (imputed under the Law). Verse 39 intensifies this NATIONAL application.

Acts 2:4 1; This is yet Johnís baptism for Jews with the transfer now happening into the "greater than Moses"

Acts 8:12; This, being still before the expiration of the 70 weeks, is yet baptism of John with transfer into Christ.

Acts 8:13; Simonís baptism. The gifts of the spirit are, of course, Christian. But all pre-70 week baptisms are Johnís. They result in spirit begettal subsequent to Pentecost.

Acts 8:16; Gifts of the spirit did not come from baptism (of any sort). They came only from the Apostles or from the "baptism of the Holy Spirit" at Pentecost and in Corneliusí home at the end of the 70 weeks.

Acts 8:36, 38; (verse 37 is spurious) The eunuch was a Jewish proselyte. No Gentile was received before Cornelius. Acts 8:27 confirms his Jewish status.

Acts 9:18; Here Paul (who had been sinning against the Law in fervent ignorance) repents and receives Johnís baptism, putting him back under the covenant and ready for immediate transference into the antitypical Moses.

Acts 18:25; This is now POST-CORNELIUS. The 70-week promise to Israel was over. Apollos was not aware that Johnís baptism was EXPIRED.

Acts 22:16; Here is Paulís recollection of the events of his baptism (Johnís baptism; cf John 19:5) which allowed him to be immediately transferred into Christ.

 8. References to Christian Baptism (Post-70th-Week for Both Jews and Gentiles). Both Literal (in Water) and Symbolic (into Christís Death):

Matt. 3:13, 16; Here we have the only instance of Johnís administering something other than Johnís baptism. This act (purely Christian baptism) will have no repetition until the end of the 70 weeks.

(Matt. 20:22, 23); same as Mark 10:38, 39, which please see. ALL References to baptism in these verses are spurious!

Matt. 28:19; This formula is nowhere repeated. Even the mention of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is found nowhere else in the Bible (although Revelation 1:4 and 5 contains its equivalent). It is an interesting fact that ALL early church fathers when referring to this verse refer to Baptism in Jesusí name. Is it possible that this verse is a corruption of the early MS even though no alternative has yet been discovered?

Mark 1:9; same as Matt. 3:13

Mark 10:3 8, 39; These verses clearly show that the symbols of water (and even of Holy Spirit gifts) are not the true baptism into Christ. This speaks of the immersion of the will into Godís Will with all of its attendant experiences.

Luke 3:21; (second occurrence) same as Matt. 3:13

Luke 12:50; same as Mark 10:38, 39, but Luke continues in verses 51-53 to show some of the possible consequences of this baptism.

(second occurrence in NAS is translated "undergo")

Acts 1:22; same instance as Matt. 3:13

Acts 10:47, 48; Here is the FIRST PURELY CHRISTIAN (not John the Baptistís) water immersion recorded in the Bible (save that of Jesus in Matt. 3:13). Note that it followed the gifts of the spirit. No doubt, through this example, God wanted to show that water immersion only symbolizes what has already taken place. Verse 44 is the second "baptism of the spirit," the first having occurred at Pentecost. By these two, it was made manifest that both Jews and Gentiles were accepted into the body of Christ. (Verse 43 points out AN IMPORTANT SUBTLETY necessary to understanding. On the surface verse 43 might seem in contradiction to this. But the point is: Johnís baptism was for the POINT of remission of sins ó a return to righteousness under the Law so that transfer into the greater-than-Moses could occur. Christian baptism is NOT FOR that reason. However, as verse 43 says, remission of sins DOES OCCUR to all, Jews or Gentiles who believe.) [See the next text for an added lesson which also applies to time Cornelius event.]

Acts 16:15; Lydia and family. It is thrilling to note a difference which is recorded beginning with the Cornelius baptism (Acts 10:47-48) and which is repeated here and also with the jailer (Acts 16:33), and again with Crispus (Acts 18:8) - in other words, to EVERY instance recorded in Acts after the 70-week expiration except the Ephesian ecclesia in Acts 19:5 (where the details are not clear). This thrilling item is that, unlike anything specified under Johnís baptism, FAMILIES or HOUSEHOLDS are received as units!!

Acts 16:33; The Jailer and family

Acts 18:8; Crispus and family (with other Corinthians)

Acts 19:5; The Ephesus Ecclesia. [See note in section 5 under Acts 19:4.]

Johnís baptism was invalid by this time for Jews, and never applied to Gentiles. God apparently withheld the Holy spirit in this instance until AFTER WATER BAPTISM to enforce this understanding. [Contrast note on Acts 10:47, 48.1

Romans 6:3, 4; Here is the clearest Bible statement on the true Christian baptism. It is saying that we die for the same reason He died ó not for a ransom, but for an offering for sin. Baptism is here stated to be a Burial ó the burial of the old will in favor of the new, spirit-begotten will.

I Cor. 1:13; Baptism is not factional. PLEASE NOTE THIS IMPERATIVE POINT!

I Cor. 1:14-16; Our allegiance is not to the one who immerses us.

I Cor. 1:17; Paul is not ignoring Matt. 28:10, but is trying to show that the reality supersedes the symbol.

I Cor. 12:13; This is not water immersion. This is the Holy Spirit directing our immersion into one corpus (body) with one purpose, though the bodyís various parts provide various functions.

I Cor. 15:29; This is not the Mormon concept of vicarious immersion. This, rather, shows the purpose of our incorporation into the body of Christ: that we might ultimately raise and bless the dead.

Gal.3:27; This is another statement in different words of Romans 6 and I Cor. 12:13. Verse 29 shows the result ó blessing all the families of the earth as part of Abrahamís seed. This re-states I Cor. 15:29.

Eph. 4:5; The ONE baptism is into Christ ó something which even Johnís baptism effected for faithful Jews whose covenant allegiance would be transferred. The "one" baptism is part of the "doctrine of baptisms" (Heb. 6:2).

Col. 2:12; Here Paul clearly echoes his Romans 6 teaching.

I Pet. 3:21; The immersion into Christ is shown to be a mechanism of DELIVERANCE (cf. Col. 1:14 and Eph. 1:7.) Even though Peter mentions water in verse 20, THAT is not the point of comparison! The baptism that saves us is the real baptism in Christ, NOT the water immersion. Peter also clearly cautions that, unlike Johnís, this baptism is not for the cleansing of the flesh, but for a relationship with God based on faith in Jesusí redemptive work.

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