If you read every Bible verse about baptism, you will have read sixty-two verses in the New Testament. The word “baptism” and its derivations can sometimes appear multiple times in a single verse numbering seventy-seven times in those sixty-two verses.
The fact that there are so many verses about baptism tells me that this is an important subject that God wants us to understand.
The word “baptism” literally means “immersion.” One of the most well respected Greek scholars defines it as “consisting of the process of immersion, submersion, and emergence”
Every time you find a Bible verse about baptism, it is important to read it with this definition in mind.
If we study every Bible verse about baptism, we will find six different kinds of baptism referenced. Each of these different kinds of baptism describe an immersion of some kind.
Instead of spending a little time briefly looking at a Bible verse for each kind of baptism described in the Bible, we will give attention to only one specific baptism. We will look at Bible verses about baptism in reference to salvation.
What does Jesus say about baptism? If we want to understand baptism, the Bible verse about baptism we should consider is the one spoken by Jesus. If Jesus has something to say about baptism, we need to sit up and take notice.
In this passage, Jesus had already been crucified, buried, and raised from the dead. Now the resurrected Christ is talking with His disciples and instructing them to take the gospel out to the world. Paul defines the gospel as the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (1 Cor. 15.1-4).
As they preach the gospel telling the world about the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, Jesus tells them that salvation comes if two conditions are met.
Those who believe in Jesus as the Christ and are immersed in water will be saved. Notice what Jesus did not say.
This Bible verse about baptism is in the same context as the previous verse. Jesus is instructing His disciples to go out and share the good news about salvation.
Instead of salvation being the topic, Jesus phrases it a little differently. He tells His disciples to go and make disciples of all nations.
It is of great interest to me that the word “baptizing” is a participle. Without getting too deeply into English lessons, a participle is a word that tells you how something is done. It explains the verb.
Jesus tells His disciples to go and make disciples. He then explains how to do it. You make disciples by baptizing them.
If you want to be a disciple of Jesus, the only way to be a disciple is to be immersed in water.
As the disciples of Jesus went out into the world and preached the gospel, they told their audience the same thing that Jesus told them.
Consider what the apostle Peter had to say about baptism.
If you study the first chapter of Acts, you will discover that the apostles were in Jerusalem waiting for the promise of the Holy Spirit. Specifically, they were to wait for the promise of being baptized by the Holy Spirit (Acts 1.4,5)
When you come to Acts 2, that promise is realized. In Acts 2.1-4, the apostles were baptized by the Holy Spirit. As a result, they were able to speak in other languages which they had not previously studied.
The crowd of Jews which came from all over the world to celebrate Pentecost heard these apostles speaking in their own language and were confused (Acts 2.5-13).
Peter stands up and explains what is happening and begins a Christ-centered sermon.
The audience just learned that they were responsible for putting the Lord and Christ to death. How do you suppose you would have reacted if you suddenly learned that you killed God’s Son?
It says that they were “cut to the heart” and asked, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2.37). This audience was deeply wounded by the realization of what they had done, and they wanted to know how to get back in God's favor.
That is where we come to our Bible verse about baptism. Peter answered by saying that they needed to “repent and let every one of you be baptized for the remission of sins” (Acts 2.38).
There are three points of interest in this verse.
The apostle Peter was among those who were told by Jesus to preach the gospel.
He was among those who were told by Jesus that those who believe and are baptized will be saved.
He was among those who were told by Jesus to make disciples by baptizing them.
Peter was the one who preached on the day of Pentecost that they need to repent and be baptized to receive the remission of sins.
This same Peter wrote the book of 1 Peter. It is in that book that we find this Bible verse about baptism.
In this verse, there is a comparison being made. If you study the context, Peter makes reference to the days of Noah and the flood. Peter says in verse 20 that Noah and his family was saved by water.
How is that possible? I thought that Noah and his family were saved by the ark. Were they not saved from water? So what does it mean that they were saved by water?
If I go back to Genesis chapters six through nine, I will read about the flood. From those chapters, I learn that the world was an extremely wicked place. With the exception of Noah, I am told that “the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6.5).
What happened when the flood waters came? Genesis 7.21-24 tells us that all of humanity died. All the wickedness that was in the heart of man was washed away by the flood waters saving Noah and his family.
Take that thought back to our Bible verse about baptism. 1 Peter 3.21 tells us that baptism is compared to the flood waters. In what way are the alike? Just as the flood waters washed away all the wickedness of the earth, so does the waters of baptism wash away all the wickedness and sin in our lives.
No wonder our verse tells us that “there is also an antitype which now saves us – baptism.”
Before he was known as the apostle Paul, he was known as Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9.11; 13.9).
In Acts 9, we read about his being transformed from a hostile and violent unbeliever to a believer and follower of Jesus.
Three times in the book of Acts, we can read about his conversion. We can read about it in Acts 9, Acts 22, and in Acts 26. This tells me that his conversion is important and significant (1 Tim. 1.16).
It is of interest to me that in Acts 9, Jesus told him on that road to Damascus, “Arise and go to the city, and you will be told what you must do” (Acts 9.6). As he gets to the city, Acts 22 tells us that he met a man named Ananias who told him what he must do.
Verse 16 tells us that Ananias told him to “arise and be baptized.”
There are two points of interest in reference to his being baptized.
How do you get into Christ? That is the question that is answered by this Bible verse about baptism.
If you put this back into the context and study the surrounding verses, you will find two connecting ideas.
If you put those two thoughts together, the Holy Spirit is guiding the hand of the apostle Paul to teach us how to become followers of Christ.
You must have a faith in Jesus that moves you be baptized. It is the combination of faith and baptism that makes you a child of God and places you into Christ.
Isn’t that what Jesus Himself told his disciples to preach? Did He not tell them to go into all world and preach the gospel? And did He not tell them that “He who believed and is baptized shall be saved?”
This is exactly the message that was preached by Peter and Paul. To be a follower of Christ, one of His disciples, you must believe in Jesus and be baptized.
The religious world is filled with theories and theologies on the subject of baptism. There seems to be as many doctrines on baptism as there are churches. We should not be interested in what scholars, preachers, pastors, and others tell us about baptism. Study each Bible verse about baptism and learn what God has to say.