Matthew 28:18-20 (KJV)
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Mark 16:15-16 (KJV)
15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
Jesus tells His disciples that they are to teach and preach to the nations, then baptize them, followed by additional teaching which includes obeying YHWH’s commandments. He says that if you believe and are baptized you will be saved, but if you don’t believe you won’t be saved. So there are basically three situations involved here. Jesus mentions the first and third situation and the second situation is implied. The second situation still results in salvation. This can be seen in situations like the thief on the cross who believed but wasn’t baptized.
Acts 1:4-5 (KJV)
4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. 5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
Jesus talks about John’s baptism which was with water and the Holy Spirit’s baptism which John referred to as with fire. These baptisms are the same but different. Same in that they both take you from one state of being to the next, and different in that one is physically and one is spiritual. This baptism that Jesus spoke of literally occurred on the Day of Pentecost in the next chapter.
Acts 2:1-11 (KJV)
1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. 7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? 8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? 9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, 10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
These men were celebrating the Feast of Weeks when the Holy Spirit did descend upon them with fire. They became filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking with other languages. This is evident by the various Jews who came from other countries who spoke with their native tongues. These men began speaking in other people’s native tongue without having been taught it. As we enter into the rest of the acts of the apostles, we’ll notice that there are times when the Holy Spirit indwells into individuals and they will begin speaking in tongues, or other languages. There are other times when they will not. It really just depends on the situation. The point that needs to be made here is that speaking in tongues is equivalent to speaking another language. Now let’s look at a series of Scriptures in the acts of the apostles.
Acts 2:38-41 (KJV)
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. 40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. 41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. 42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
So Peter preaches the same form of baptism that John preached. The person is to repent from their current lifestyle, believe in Jesus Christ, and begin walking with God. That transition period is marked by the outward expression of baptism. So the prerequisites for baptism are as follows:
- Repent of your current sinful lifestyle
- Believe in Jesus Christ
We see this practiced in the next passage.
Acts 8:12-17 (KJV)
12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. 14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: 15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: 16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) 17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
Here we see Philip preaching and baptizing people. Again, we see Philip preaching the same as John who said, “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” It’s interesting that these people did not receive the Holy Spirit at baptism. It happened later when the disciples laid their hands on them.
Acts 8:26-40 (KJV)
26 And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. 27 And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, 28 Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. 29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. 30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? 31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. 32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: 33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. 34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. 36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. 39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.
Here Philip uses the Old Testament to preach Jesus to the Ethiopian eunuch. This is the only text that they had to go by. We can actually do the same. Philip told him how important baptism was before telling him how to get saved. When prompted, Philip told him that he must believe and when the eunuch did, he was fully immersed in the water that was nearby.
Acts 9:17-20 (KJV)
17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. 18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. 19 And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. 20 And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.
This is the story of how Paul was converted. Jesus Himself came to him and told him what to do. Once he met Ananias, he received his sight, was baptized, and received the Holy Spirit. He then began preaching to others that Jesus was the Son of God.
Acts 10:34-48 (KJV)
34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. 36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all: ) 37 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; 38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. 39 And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: 40 Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; 41 Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. 42 And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. 43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. 44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, 47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
YHWH teaches Peter a lesson concerning people who may be unclean. Just because they are, doesn’t mean that you can’t associate with them at all. Also, just because someone is unclean, doesn’t mean that it is impossible for them to be saved. Once Peter learns this, he begins preaching about how God saves us through Jesus Christ. Everyone who was there received the Holy Spirit. These Gentiles began speaking in other languages and Peter commanded that they be baptized.
Acts 16:13-15 (KJV)
13 And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither. 14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. 15 And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.
Paul was sent to Macedonia through a vision and when he was there for a few days, he decided to go to a river. There he met Lydia who already worshipped God, but probably hadn’t heard about Jesus. Paul spoke to her and she and her household were compelled to be baptized. We need to remember that the prerequisites to baptism are repentance and belief in Jesus. When it says that her whole household was baptized, this would exclude anyone who couldn’t repent and believe, like babies and small children. Later on, Paul and Silas were put in prison.
Acts 16:23-34 (KJV)
23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: 24 Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. 25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. 26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. 27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. 29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. 32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. 34 And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.
Even though Paul and Silas were in prison, they prayed and sang to YHWH. YHWH responded by setting them free from their cells and shackles. The jailor was about to commit suicide when Paul interrupted him. The jailor wanted to know what he must do in order to be saved. He was told just to believe and he did. Then they went to his family and they were saved too. His whole household was baptized, but again, only those who were able to repent and believe in Jesus Christ were saved and baptized.
Acts 18:7-8 (KJV)
7 And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man’s house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue. 8 And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.
Paul later is compelled to preach to the Gentiles. He stayed at a man’s house that lived next to the local synagogue. The chief ruler of the synagogue, his household, and many other Corinthians believed Paul’s message of repentance and were baptized.
Acts 19:1-7 (KJV)
1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, 2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. 3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. 4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. 7 And all the men were about twelve.
Paul comes to Ephesus and finds 12 disciples of John the Baptist. He asked them if they had received the Holy Spirit to which they told him that they had not. Paul explained that when John was preaching and baptizing, that he spoke of Jesus Christ who would come after him and that they should follow Him. They understood and agreed, were baptized, received the Holy Spirit, and spoke in other languages while prophesying.
So to recap, there are several baptisms mentioned in the book of Acts. The people who are ready to be baptized must first repent and then believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. There are times when people received the Holy Spirit before, during, and after baptism. Sometimes people even began speaking in other languages. What needs to be noted here is that there were no babies or small children baptized, there were no instances of baptism by pouring or sprinkling, and there were no baptisms by any other means but by water. This is why Paul says in Ephesians 4:5 “5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” The reason that the writer of Hebrews 6:2 can say that there is a doctrine of baptisms is because of what happens physically and what happens spiritually. Let’s now transition into Paul’s teachings on baptism.
Romans 6:1-7 (KJV)
1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.
Paul takes the physical form of baptism and explains it in a spiritual sense. He says that when we were baptized into Jesus Christ, that we were actually baptized into his death. This makes sense because when we are fully immersed under water, we have to hold our breath. Also, it seems as if we are ‘buried’ under the water which is similar to being buried in a grave. Then when we rise up again, it seems like a resurrection has occurred and we can breathe again. This outward expression is a kind of evidence that there has been an inward change. It means that we used to be sinners and are now set free from the hold sin has on us. The curse has been broken and like Paul says, ‘henceforth we should not serve sin.’ If a person is sprinkled or poured upon, how can this analogy make sense?
Colossians 2:10-13 (KJV)
10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: 11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
Again, Paul likens baptism to the death and resurrection of Christ. When we become fully immersed in the water, we too die to ourselves and rise up with newness of life in service to Him.
So there you have it. This study on baptisms has been insightful and amazing. Depending on your background, you may have had a different view on baptism than what was presented in these two blogs. That’s okay though. This is why we as astute Bereans must look at Sola Scriptura in order to come to our doctrinal conclusions.
Did you enjoy this study? Do you have further questions? You can send me a message using the form here or post comments to the group below. Thank you for studying the Bible with me verse by verse on the topic of baptism.