Lesson 5 The Mode of Christian Baptism
Reading: Philippians 2:5–12
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
1:4, 5, 9. John did baptize in the wilderness, and
preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. 5And
there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were
all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. 9And
it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was
baptized of John in Jordan.
3:23 John also was baptizing in Aenon
near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were
8:35–39. Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at
the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. 36And 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? 37And 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. 38And he
commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water,
both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. 39And 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.
28:19–20. Go ye therefore, and teach
all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of
the Holy Ghost: 20Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I
have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even
unto the end of the world. Amen.
ON THE LESSON TEXT
1:4. John both preached and practiced
baptism, a good pattern for gospel ministers. V5. His converts were
baptized in the Jordan. This is water baptism and the use of much water. V9.
Jesus sets the example for being baptized in water. He entered the river, was
baptized, then came out of the water.
3:23. John chose a place to baptize where there was much water. This would
be unnecessary were he a sprinkler.
8:35. Philip preached Jesus. This included baptism. Vv 36–39. The
eunuch believed in Christ and asked to be baptized. In the act of baptism both
went into the water, the eunuch was baptized, then both came up out of the
water. There is no question there as to the mode of baptism.
28:19, 20. In this last commission Jesus instructs his apostles to baptize
and to teach their disciples to continue the practice to the end of the world.
The ordinance of baptism is still in force in the church.
TOPIC: THE MODE OF BAPTISM
BAPTISM IS A CHRISTIAN ORDINANCE
An ordinance defined.
An ordinance is an outward symbol representing a spiritual experience or a
relation to God. B) Baptism represents the new condition of life in Christ and
the new birth through which this experience is entered. It is established by
divine command and is for all races and all ages of the church. C) Baptism meets
It is not a Jewish ordinance.
Jewish ceremonial washings were of a different nature and for a different
purpose. B) Baptism connected with repentance and remission of sins began with
the preaching of John and belongs to the gospel.
It was established by Jesus.
He was himself baptized, thus approving the act. The accompanying presence of
the Spirit, and of the Father’s witness is conclusive proof of divine
approval. B) He practiced baptism (by proxy). Those baptized under his ministry
were many (see John 3:22, 26; 4:1, 2). He commanded its observance in his last
commission which is to continue to the end and is for all nations.
It was practiced by the Apostles.
is well established in the Book of Acts . . . It has not been repealed. The last
commission prevents its repeal, and the Apostles never ceased its practice.
BAPTISM IS A DEFINITE ACT
Divine commands are distinct.
Christ’s personal commands were definite. He gave directions as to what he
desired done. The blind man was to go wash in Siloam; the lepers were to show
themselves to the priests. A command to all people should be equally definite.
B) The obligation inhering in a divine command requires that it be definite. God
does not give commands concerning trifles in which he has no choice. C) The fact
that God commands requires that it be distinct that we may know when we have met
The nature of the ordinance requires it.
The proper symbolizing of the spiritual truth to be taught requires a definite
act. Only definite acts portray definite truths. B) Baptism is such a symbol so
it must be definite.
The Bible description is definite.
baptism is described it is represented as a distinct act. No varying modes are
to be found.
THE ACT OF BAPTISM IS IMMERSION
The meaning of the word.
Baptize is not a translation of the original word. The Greek word is but
transferred into English. Some English versions do translate the word and render
it immerse or dip. No one translated it sprinkle or pour. B) The original word
is defined in standard lexicons, to dip, to immerse, to plunge, to wash; but it
is never defined to sprinkle or pour. C) The word, when used without reference
to the ordinance of baptism, is translated to dip, or to wash. Thus the meaning
of the original term is established beyond dispute.
Proved by the Bible examples.
The baptism of Christ. He was baptized in the river Jordan, and after his
baptism he came up out of the water. This agrees perfectly with immersion but
not with sprinkling or pouring, in which cases there would have been no occasion
for going into the river. B) The baptism of the eunuch. Both Philip and the
eunuch went down into the water, then the eunuch was baptized after which both
came up out of the water. This is a clear picture of immersion. All admit that
immersion is correct. Some contend that other modes will do as well but we find
no scriptural ground for their contention. Immersion is continued by the Greek
churches to the present time.
Objections to immersion.
Peter could not have baptized 3,000 on Pentecost by immersion. There is no
reason to think this. Peter did this baptizing, there were others qualified to
help, and there were plenty of pools in which to do it. B) It would not do to
immerse sick people. It may be true that some cannot be immersed. But baptism is
not required where it is not possible. The thief on the cross was not
baptized—not even sprinkled. It is not baptism that saves. If it were, a
substitute could be of no value. The Philippian jailer could not be immersed at
night. Why not? They left the house to be baptized then returned to the house
which would be unnecessary in another mode.
WHAT BAPTISM SYMBOLIZES
The death and resurrection of Christ.
Romans 6 Paul discusses the death and resurrection of Christ and our salvation
in terms of a baptism or a burial. This not only establishes the nature of the
act of baptism but gives to it a ceremonial connection with the death and
resurrection of Christ. In the act of baptism we testify our faith in these
Our salvation from sin.
death to sin and the new life in Christ is connected in this ceremony with the
death and resurrection of Christ which is its procuring causes. Baptism is
likewise a figure of the cleansing wrought in salvation (see 1 Peter 3:21).
The bodily resurrection.
teaches this in the same connection. Only immersion can symbolize these truths;
neither pouring nor sprinkling have any value in teaching the great truth
symbolized by this ordinance.