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Article 03 - Acts 2:38 - An Attempt...

Acts 2:38 - An Attempt to Distort a Plain Passage

Jon Gary Williams

Over the years attempt have been made to distort what Acts 2:38 plainly teaches, that baptism is for the remission of sins. The claim is made that the phrase "remission of sins" relates only to
"repentance" and not to baptism, hence, baptism is not for the removal of sins. But what is the
basis for such an awkward interpretation?

The reasoning for such an rendering runs like this. In the Greek text "repent " and "remission of
" are both plural in number, and link together. However, "be baptized" is singular in number
and does not link with "remission of sins." In other words, this verse would be saying, "Repent
to have the remission of sins, and all of you be baptized.
" Such a distorted translation of this
clear passage betrays either a lack of understanding of the Greek New Testament or an effort to
intentionally deceive. This absurd rendering of Acts 2:38 is easily shown to be false. For

1) Lexicographer, Henry Thayer, says, "hekastos ["every one of you"], when it denotes
individually every one of many, is often added appositively to nouns and pronouns and verbs in
the plural number." This is precisely what we find in Acts 2:38.

2) In the same chapter (Acts 2:3) we find another such passage. When the Holy Spirit descended
on the apostles, this verse reads, "Then there appeared to them (Gr. plural) divided tongues, as
of fire, and one sat upon each of them
(Gr. singular)." Obviously, these are not two different
groups, yet the apostles are referred to in both singular and plural number. This same sentence
structure is also found in John 6:7 and Luke 4:40.

3) The simple fact that since the coordinate conjunction "and" unites repentance and baptism, of
necessity the "remission of sins" must apply equally to both.