The meaning of the original word ‘baptise’ is very helpful in understanding what the Bible teaches. It means ‘immersion’. And it was sometimes used to describe a ship sinking, clothes being dyed or a person who was overwhelmed by debt.
We’re going to take some time to look at what the Bible says about baptism – why we should be baptised, who should be baptised, and how baptism was conducted.
Read each of these passages from the Bible out loud together. To help get a good understanding of what is being said, try to describe what is happening or what is being said in your own words. Then take a moment to reflect and note down what stands out to you as important or significant, or that’s really meaningful to you. Share together what you’ve got.
Matthew 3:13-1713 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptised by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptised by you, and do you come to me?” 15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. 16 As soon as Jesus was baptised, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
Acts 8:26-3826 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. 29 The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”
30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.
31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
32 This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading:”He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 32 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.”
34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.
36 As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptised?” 38 And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptised him.
Acts 16:31-3431 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptised. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God – he and his whole household.
Romans 6:3-73 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.