Read the Bible about “Baptism”
The Bible is the standard for truth. God has written His word by inspired men and has always preserved it for His people. We can trust that God wants us to know, and that the Bible tells us, how to be saved. If you agree, then keep reading.
You will find on this page a citation of every Bible passage that mentions “baptism” directly (in English or Greek) and the related passages that refer to baptism without using the word “baptism” itself.
Use your Bible and look up the passages that are quoted. Read the verses before and after so you'll be confident that nothing is taken out of context. Brief comments and questions have been included to help you toward a Scriptural understanding. God bless you as you read the Bible about baptism.
1. The Israelites' “baptism” into Moses
1 Cor. 10:2 ... in the cloud and in the sea.
Water was all around them and above them when they crossed the Red Sea . (Exodus 14:21-31)
2. The baptism of suffering
This term is only used in reference to Jesus. Matt. 20:22-23/Mark 10:38-39/Luke 12:50.
3. Baptism “for the dead”
1 Cor. 15:29 What will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why then are they baptized for the dead?
4. The baptism which John preached
It was “a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” Matt. 3:6-11/Mark 1:4-8/Luke 3:1-16/John 1:25-28, 31. Acts 13:24 . It's also mentioned in John 10:40 and Acts 10:37.
It was authorized by God. Matt. 21:25/Mark 11:30/Luke 20:4. Also, Luke 7:29-30.
Jesus was baptized by John "to fulfill all righteousness." Matt. 3:13-16/Mark 1:9-11/Luke 3:21-22/John 1:33. (Also mentioned in Acts 1:22.)
John's baptism was replaced.
Both John and Jesus baptized their followers (John 3:22 - 4:3), but they were not in competition. John said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30)
Acts 18:25 [Apollos] had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.
Q: Is the baptism of John the complete and accurate way of God?
Acts 19:2 [Paul] said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John's baptism.” 4 Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Q: Is one baptism as good as another?
Q: Should some people be re-baptized?
5. Baptism with fire
This is only mentioned in connection with God's punishment, and as a contrast to baptism with the Holy Spirit. Matt. 3:11-12/Luke 3:16-17.
6. Baptism with the Holy Spirit
John said that it would be performed by Jesus.
Matt. 3:11/Mark 1:8/Luke 3:16/John 1:33.
Acts 1:2 . . . After [Jesus] through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, 3 to whom He also presented Himself alive . . ., being seen by them during forty days . . . . 4 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem , but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; 5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
Q: To whom did Jesus make this promise?
The apostles (who were Jews) stayed together in Jerusalem and were filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4). The crowd's reaction is described in verses 5-13, and then Peter explains (in verses 14-21):
Acts 2:16 “This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. 18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy.
Later, Cornelius (a Gentile, or non-Jew) and his household received the baptism of the Holy Spirit:
Acts 10:44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.
At this point, “all flesh” (that is, some Jews and some Gentiles) had received Holy Spirit baptism. Peter later connected the two events
Acts 11:15 “The Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. 16 “Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.' 17 “If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?”
Holy Spirit baptism only happened twice. It was God's way of “acknowledging” godly men (Acts 15:7-9), but was never assigned the function of washing away or remitting sins. Notice that Peter (who had been sent with saving words - Acts 11:!4) still had a command for Cornelius:
Acts 10:46 . . . Then Peter answered, 47 “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.
Q: Is receiving the Holy Spirit the same as being baptized in the name of the Lord?
Q: Is baptism in the Holy Spirit a substitute for being baptized in the name of the Lord?
Q: Which baptism was commanded, Holy Spirit baptism, or water baptism?
7. Baptism in water in the name of Jesus
Instructions given to the apostles:
Mark 16:16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
Q: Who made the statement in Mark 16:16?
Q: Who will be saved?
Q: Does salvation come before or after baptism?
Matt. 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Q: How are disciples made?
Examples of conversion:
Acts 2:36 “Let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” 37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” 38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. . . . 40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” 41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.
Q: How is the people's belief described in verse 37?
Q: What were those believers told to do “for the remission of sins”?
Q: When Peter exhorted them to “be saved” (verse 40), what did they do (verse 41)?
Acts 8:35 Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. 36 Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” 37 Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” 38 So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.
Q: What belief is necessary before being baptized?
Q: How long (in days) did the eunuch wait between believing and being baptized?
Acts 10:47 “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.
Acts 16:33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.
Q: Is baptism urgent, or can it wait?
Acts 22:16 And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord. [Acts 9:18 Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized. ]
Q: You must “arise and be __________ to “wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”
Acts 8:12 When they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. [Mentioned again in verse 16.] 13 Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.
Acts 16:15 And when [ Lydia ] and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” So she persuaded us.
Acts 18:8 Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized.
A Pattern of Conversion
There are 10 detailed examples of conversion in the book of Acts. ( Jews in Acts 2; Samaritans in Acts 8:5-12; Simon in Acts 8:13; an Ethiopian in Acts 8:26-40; Saul in Acts 9:1-18/22:1-16; Cornelius in Acts 10:1 - 11:18; Lydia in Acts 16:14-15; the jailer in Acts 16:25-34; the Corinthians in Acts 18:8; and the Ephesians in Acts 19:1-7)
There is no pattern of circumstance (preacher, place, time of day, religious background, etc.). In other words, everyone had a unique experience in coming to believe in Jesus. But there is a very clear pattern of conversion . In every case, people heard God's word, believed it, and were (immediately) baptized.
This pattern, given 10 times, fits exactly what Jesus said in Mark 16:16 and teaches very clearly how people become Christians.
Explanations to people already baptized:
Romans 6:3 Do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Q: What two things are people baptized into?
Q: Would baptism mean anything without Christ dying and being raised by the glory of the Father?
Q: What does the action of baptism portray, or act out, from Jesus' life?
Q: What do those who are baptized rise to walk in?
Q: Does the new life come before or after baptism?
1 Cor. 12:13 By one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
Q: How does someone get into the “one body”?
Gal. 3:27 As many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Q: How does someone get “into Christ”?
Q: How does someone “put on Christ”?
Colossians 2:11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses.
Q: Are we dead or alive in “trespasses and the uncircumcision of [our] flesh”?
Q: What does the circumcision of Christ put off?
Q: What is “the circumcision of Christ”?
1 Peter 3:20 . . . In the days of Noah . . . the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. 21 There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Q: Noah acted by faith (Heb. 11:7) but “eight souls were saved through __________.”
Q: Does baptism now save us?
Q: What action of Jesus Christ gives baptism its power?
Ephesians 4:4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is abov e all, and through all, and in you all.
Q: How many baptisms are there?
Q: This brochure lists several “baptisms” mentioned in the Bible. In what sense is there only one?
1 Cor. 1:13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 lest anyone should say that I had baptized in my own name. 16 Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas. Besides, I do not know whether I baptized any other. 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.
Q: From a preacher's perspective, is baptizing people more important than preaching to them?
Q: In whose name are we to be baptized? John's? Paul's? Peter's? Apollos'? The preacher's? The church's? [Hint: Who was crucified for us?]
Passages about baptism that use the analogy of a new birth.
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God .” 4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God .
Q: Being born again consists of being born of __________ and the __________ to enter God's kingdom.
1 Peter 1:22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever. . .
Q: People who have been born again through God's incorruptible word have __________ their souls in __________ the truth.
Passages about baptism that use the word “washing.”
Hebrews 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
Q: We must have full assurance of __________ when we “wash our bodies with pure water.”
Q: Faith and baptism help us draw near to whom?
Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word , 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
Q: The church is sanctified and cleansed “with the washing of __________ by the __________.”
1 Corinthians 6:9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God ? . . . 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.
Passages about washing which use the word “baptize.”[Note: The word “baptismos” is translated “washings” on 3 of its 4 occurrences in the Bible. Luke 7:4, 8; Heb. 9:10. This passage is the exception.]
Mark 7:2 When they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is, with unwashed (Greek: “aniptos”) hands, they found fault. 3 For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash (Greek: “nipto”) their hands in a special way, holding the tradition of the elders. 4 When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash . (Greek: “baptizo”) And there are many other things which they have received and hold, like the washing (Greek: “baptismos”) of cups, pitchers, copper vessels, and couches. (Also verse 8.)
Luke 11:38 When the Pharisee saw it, he marveled that He had not first washed (Greek: “baptizo”) before dinner.
Hebrews 9:10 concerned only with foods and drinks, various washings , (Greek: “baptismos”) and fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of reformation.
Hebrews 6:1 Leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of the doctrine of baptisms (Greek: “baptismos”) . . .
Written by Ink Man
Quotes are from the New King James Version of the Bible.