Water Baptism

Water baptism – immersion in water.  (Matthew 3:16; Acts 8:38, 39; Romans 6:3).

The Greek word for baptism “baptizo” comes from “bapto” [βάπτω], which means, “to dip, sink or immerse”. 


Those who have repented and placed their faith in Jesus Christ are to be water baptized (Acts 10:47, 48; Acts 8:35-38; Acts 2:38-41)


Soon after they have placed their faith in Jesus.  (Acts 9:18; Acts 22:16)


The Lord told His disciples to make other disciples, to baptize them, and to teach them to do the same.  (Matthew 28:19)

It’s an outward expression of the salvation which we have in Christ and the resurrection which takes place within our spirit (and the physical resurrection which we will one day experience at Christ’s return).  (1 Peter 3:21; Romans 6:3-6; Colossians 2:12)

  • Luke 3:21-23 – Jesus was baptized at beginning of ministry (30 years old)
  • John 3:22; 4:1-2 – Jesus’ disciples baptized during His earthly ministry
  • Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16 – Jesus commissioned His disciples to baptize after He ascends:
    • Acts 2:37-41 – First Christian converts were baptized
    • Acts 8:35-38 – Ethiopian eunuch immediately baptized after conversion
    • Acts 9:18 – Paul baptized 3 days after Jesus was revealed to him
    • Acts 10:44-48 – Cornelius’ household baptized immediately after receiving the Holy Spirit
    • Acts 16:13-15 – Lydia’s household baptized soon after believing the gospel
    • Acts 16:30-33 – Philippian Jailer and household baptized soon after conversion
    • Acts 19:1-6 – Ephesians baptized soon after receiving instruction concerning baptism
  • Hebrews 6:1 – baptism listed as 3rd foundation of Christian faith


Baptism is an outward expression replacing physical circumcision for the people of God

Baptism is not what causes salvation, since without faith in Christ there is no salvation, but baptism is emphasized as something which those receiving salvation should be led to do.  (Compare Mark 16:16 with John 3:36)

  • Romans 6:1-6 – baptism corresponds to burial of former/sinful self
  • Colossians 2:11-12 – baptism corresponds to circumcision
    • Circumcision = cutting off the flesh
    • Romans 4:11 – circumcision was the “evidence” that Abraham believed
      • Genesis 17:10-11 – circumcision was the sign that one was in covenant with God

Old Testament Pictures

  • 1 Pet. 3:20-21 – the flood is a picture of baptism
    • Water buried the sinfulness of the world
    • “saved through water” = saved out of a world system under God’s judgment
    • “not the removal of the filth of the flesh” – it is not physically cleaning you from filth
    • “the answer of a good conscience toward God” – baptism is the response of a good conscience toward God
  • 1 Cor. 10:1-11 (esp. vv. 1-2) – the Israelites being “baptized” in the Red Sea
    • Exodus 14:28 – The water thoroughly buried Israel’s oppressors
    • This took place after they were covered by the blood of the Lamb and brought into life through Passover (Ex. 12)
    • Heb. 11:29 – this happened “by faith”; those without faith drowned

Water Baptism and Circumcision

While circumcision was done at 8 days old for every male born into natural Israel, baptism is done soon after one is born again (John 3:3) – through faith in Christ – into the Israel of God (cf. Galatians 6:16).

The eighth day was the day in which most male children were circumcised into the camp of the Israelites.  The eighth day would be the first day of their second week of life.  This is symbolic as the beginning of new life.  During the first six days God created the universe and everything in it.  The seventh day was the first full day of life for Adam and Eve, and it was also when God, “rested from all His work,” which He had made (Genesis 2:3).  So, Adam and Eve began their life by entering into God’s rest, and their first week was the beginning of new life in that rest (the 8th day).  The resurrection of Jesus also took place on Sunday, “the first day of the week” – Luke 24:1, (which would be the 8th day of the old week) representing a new beginning and new life.  Jesus is called, “the last Adam,” and, “the second Man,” (1 Corinthians 15:45, 47).  Like, “the 8th day,” Jesus is both the end of the old, and the beginning of the new.  (“the First and the Last” – Revelation 1:11). He brings an end to the, “old order,” and, “makes all things new,” (cf. Revelation 21:4, 5). 

Thus, in a similar fashion, baptism takes the place of circumcision.  Whereas circumcision took place eight days after an Israelite’s physical birth, baptism takes place in the beginning of a believer’s new life in Christ (our spiritual 8th day, so-to-speak). 

Like circumcision, water baptism is an outward mark of Who we belong to.  For the saints of old, they were marked as members of the tribe of Israel.  For the children of God now, we are marked as members of the body of Christ.

Video: Water Baptism Explained (24 min) 

Video: Water Baptism Explained (24 min)