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Article 09 - Baptisms of the Bible

Baptisms of the Bible

Jon Gary Williams

The word "baptism" (or its equivalent) appears about 100 times in the Bible. The word derives from the root "bapto" which means "to dip." It is defined:  immerse, submerge, emerge, overwhelm and engulf. There are six different types of baptisms mentioned in the scriptures. Each of these baptisms have the same attributes:  an administrator, subjects, an element, a purpose and a duration. Viewing baptism in this way helps one to better understand its meaning and significance.

I. The baptism of Moses (Red Sea) -- I Cor. 10:2
Administrator? God (Ex. 14:21,22)
Subjects? the Jews (I Cor. 10:1)
Element? cloud/sea (I Cor. 10:1,2)
Purpose? freedom (Ex. 14:30)
Duration? accomplished that day (Ex. 14:30)

II. The baptism of John (Repentance)
-- Acts 19:3
Administrator? John (Mk. 1:4) 
Subjects? penitent Jews (Mk. 1:5)
Element? water (Jn. 1:26; 3:23)
Purpose? preparing for the Messiah (Jn. 1:31; Lk. 3:3-6)
Duration? ceased with the baptism of the great commission (Acts 19:3-5)

III. The baptism of suffering
-- Mk. 10:38
Administrator? wicked men (Acts 2:23)
Subjects? Christ and his followers (Mk. 10:35-39)
Element? persecution (Jn. 15:20, Lk. 24:46)
- for Christ -- to bring salvation (I Pet. 2:21-24)
- for his followers -- for their glory (II Tim. 2:12)
- for Christ -- ended at the cross (Matt. 27:50)
- for his followers -- until Christ returns (II Tim. 3:12)

IV. The baptism of the Holy Spirit -- Matt. 3:11
Administrator? Christ (Matt. 3:11; Jn. 1:33)
- the apostles (Acts 2:1-4)
- Cornelius (Acts 11:15)
Element? the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8)
- for the apostles -- to miraculously guide them (Jn. 14:26; 16:13)
- for Cornelius -- to reveal the Gentiles' acceptance (Acts 11:17,18)
Duration? occurred only in these two instances (Acts 2,10,11)

V. The baptism of fire -- Matt. 3:11
Administrator?  Christ (Matt. 3:11)
Subjects? wicked people (Matt. 13:49,50)
Element? fire (Matt. 3:11)
Purpose? punishment (II Pet.2:9)
Duration? everlasting (Matt. 25:41,46)

VI. The baptism of Christ (Great Commission)
-- Matt. 28:18,19
Administrator? Jesus' disciples (Matt. 28:19)
Subjects? penitent believers (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38)
Element? water (Acts 8:36)    
Purpose? salvation (Mk. 16:16; I Pet. 3:21)
Duration? until the end (Matt. 28:19,20)