What The Bible Says About Baptism

Baptism is an important concept in Christianity, described as a sign of obedience through which a believer publicly announces his or her faith. While different denominations interpret baptism in different ways, many believe that baptism is a sign of one’s repentance and a public demonstration of their commitment to Jesus Christ. However, the fact that many Christians fail to understand the origin of baptism and what the Bible says about it, has been a source of confusion and debate among biblical scholars for centuries.

The practice of baptism is strongly connected to the Old Testament, where it is described as a covenant between God and his people. In the New Testament, it is further established as a sign of repentance, symbolising the momentous significance of rebirth in Jesus Christ.

In the Bible, baptism can be seen in several different contexts. Firstly, it is often mentioned in the context of repentance and the process of conversion to faith. Such interpretations can be found in the book of Acts, where people who repent of their sins and receive forgiveness through Jesus Christ become part of the New Covenant community.

Secondly, baptism is a sign of God’s covenant and his love. This is evidenced throughout the Bible, from the establishment of the Abrahamic covenant and the cleansing of the Israelites in the Red Sea, to the order given to baptise believers in Acts and the passing down of baptism in Matthew 28:19. In each instance, God’s love and commitment to his people is affirmed through the act of baptism.

Thirdly, baptism is a symbol of what Jesus did for us and our commitment to follow him. In the book of Romans, Paul speaks of baptism as a way to identify oneself with Jesus and the cross. Similarly, Peter associates baptism with the Holy Spirit and a new life, and Jesus himself gives us the command to “Go into the world and preach the gospel” (Mark 16:15).

Finally, baptism is seen as a public demonstration of faith and as a testimony of true commitment. Throughout the Bible, it is used to publicly proclaim and solidify one’s faith in Jesus Christ. In the book of Mark, Jesus tells us that “Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved” (Mark 16:16). This points to the important role of baptism in affirming and marking the public declaration of one’s commitment to Christ.

Sacrament of Baptism

Another important concept of baptism is that it is seen as a sacrament. Across Christian denominations, baptism is seen as a spiritual experience that is necessary to become part of the church and experience the fullness of Christ’s grace and mercy. Although the details of the ceremony may vary, the main idea is the same – baptism is a sign of repentance, of initiation into the Christian faith, and of our identity in Christ.

The Catholic Church, in particular, views baptism as one of the seven sacraments and the primary way in which one enters the Catholic faith. Catholics believe that baptism is not only a sign of repentance, but also a spiritual transformation. It is seen as a divine act in which an individual is born of water and the Spirit to become a new creation in Christ.

Baptism is also an act of obedience. By embracing the reality of Jesus’s death and resurrection, believers demonstrate their willingness and commitment to live in accordance with the will of God. Baptism signifies and is a public confession of that faith and commitment. In this way, it serves as both a sign of repentance and a reminder of God’s grace and love.

Baptism of Infants

The question of whether and when to baptise infants has been a source of debate among Christians for centuries. Most denominations now accept the idea that infants may be baptised, and the majority of Protestant churches practice the baptism of infants. Most Christian churches recognise the validity of infant baptism and its importance in initiating a child into the faith and the church. Many families today choose to have their children baptised within a month of birth, while others may wait until they reach the age of reason or beyond.

However, infants are not required to consciously accept their faith in order to be baptised. Rather, the parents or guardians who bring the child for baptism act as the child’s representatives, making the decision to receive baptism on their behalf and bearing responsibility for the child’s spiritual formation and education in the Christian faith.

While some denominations reject the practice of infant baptism, there are also those who believe that it has a place in the church and that it is a valid expression of faith. Baptism does not require conscious faith on the part of the child, but rather a sign of the child’s parents’ faith and commitment to Christianity.

Communion and Baptism

Communion and baptism go hand in hand in Christianity. Communion is a ritual of remembrance, which reminds us of the great sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the cross. In the same way, baptism also reminds us of Jesus’ death and resurrection and is a sign of our commitment and dedication to the Christian faith. Communion and baptism have been closely linked throughout Christian history, and many churches require that new members be baptised before being invited to participate in communion.

In addition to being closely associated in practice, baptism and the Eucharist are linked in the New Testament. In the gospels, baptism is closely connected to the promise of the Holy Spirit and the opportunity to share in the life of Jesus Christ. Similarly, in the book of Corinthians, Paul speaks of our participation in the body of Christ and the importance of being baptised into one body.

Communion and baptism are both powerful reminders of the promises of God and our commitment to him. As we remember Jesus’ sacrifice and accept baptism into the Christian faith, we are reaffirming our trust in God and our acceptance of the grace and mercy he has given us.

Water Baptism

Across Christianity, most denominations accept the concept of water baptism by immersion. This is a practice linked to the New Testament, where it is recorded that John the Baptist baptised people in the river Jordan. The practice of immersion symbolises a number of things, from the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and our union with him in faith, to the spiritual death of our sinful nature and our subsequent rebirth as a follower of Jesus.

Immersion is also seen as a way of demonstrating that we are no longer bound by our sinful nature and that we have been united with Christ in his death, burial and resurrection. As such, it is a powerful symbol of transformation that is deeply rooted in the Christian faith.

In addition, water baptism has often been described as a symbolic act of cleansing. As we are submerged in the water, it is believed that this signifies the washing away of our old life and the beginning of a new life in Christ. As we emerge from the water, we are proclaiming our identity in Christ, renouncing sin and committing ourselves to follow him.

Believer’s Baptism

Believer’s baptism is a practice in which a person only becomes baptised upon making a conscious decision to follow Jesus Christ. It is a common practice for many Protestant churches, who believe that baptism only has spiritual meaning and significance when it is joined with a personal relationship with Christ. Thus, the person must understand and acknowledge Jesus’s death and resurrection, must be willing to renounce their former way of life and must be willing to submit to Jesus’s authority and follow him.

Interestingly, believer’s baptism was also part of the early church, before infant baptism became the norm. In the book of Acts, we can see how converts went through the process of believer’s baptism, and many New Testament churches retain this practice today.

Believer’s baptism is not only a sign of faith, but also a symbol of the commitment to follow Christ. Making a conscious decision to follow him is the best way to demonstrate one’s faith and appreciation, and the presence of this sole discretion gives the spiritual act of baptism immense power and authority.


It is clear from the Bible that baptism is an important part of a Christian’s journey of faith. It is a symbol of repentance, initiation, commitment and spiritual transformation, and is a powerful reminder of Jesus’ death and resurrection, as well as his love and grace. While it is important for Christians to understand what the Bible says about baptism, it is also important to recognise the different ways in which the practice is interpreted and practiced across denominations.

Hilda Scott is an avid explorer of the Bible and inteprator of its gospel. She is passionate about researching and uncovering the mysteries that lie in this sacred book. She hopes to use her knowledge and expertise to bring faith and God closer to people all around the world.

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