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The Who, When, How, & Why

Of Baptism







Holy, holy, holy
Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come!





 The reader is encouraged to search God’s word for the

answers to the Who? When? How? And Why?  Of  baptism.


The following is a complete list of all the references to baptism in the New Testament.

These should be read before reading the rest of this paper.


Matt 3:6,7,11,16           Mark 1:4,5,8,9            Luke 3:3,7,12,16,21            John 1:25-33

Matt 21:25                     Mark 10:38,39            Luke 7:29                           John 3:22,23,26

Matt 28:19                    Mark 11:30                 Luke 12:50                          John 4:1

                                       Mark 16:16                 Luke 20:4                            John 10:40



Acts 1:5,22                                     Rom 6:3-5

Acts 2:38,41                                   1 Cor 1:13-17

Acts 8:12,13,16,36-39                    1 Cor 10:2

Acts 9:18                                        1 Cor 12:13

Acts 10:37,47,48                            1 Cor 15:29

Acts 11:16                                      Gal 3:2       

Acts 13:24                                      Eph 4:5

Acts 16:14,15,33,34                       Col 2:12    

Acts 18:8,25                                   1 Peter 3:21

                                          Acts 19:3,5                                 Acts 22:16                                         






From the foregoing passages it will be discovered that in every case those who came for baptism were believers - believers in a coming ONE, or in THE ONE who came - Jesus Christ.  The only exception that could be found would be the “households.”  Of these there are five:


  1. Cornelius, In Acts 10.  Compare verse 44 with verses 47, 48 and you will learn that they “all heard the word;” the “Holy Ghost fell on all,” and of these Peter says, “Can any forbid…be baptized.”  

  2. Lydia, in Acts 16:14,15.  Note here that the apostle preached “to the women,”

and amongst them was Lydia, a business woman, a seller of purple cloth from

Thyatira,  who had come to Philippi. Were there children too young in her “household” to believe?The term may or may not include children.


  1. The jailor, Acts 16:32-34.  This instance is plain.  He was “believing” with “all his house,” and then he “was baptized, he and all his straightway.”


  1. Crispus, Acts 18:8.  “And Crispus…believed on the Lord with all his house…baptized.”


  1. Stephanas.  1 Cor 1:18.  The apostle says, “I baptized also the household of Stephanas.”  Did they believe, all of them?  Let the apostle answer.  1 Cor 16:15 reads, “The house of Stephanas…have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints.”  They were evidently “workers,” the whole family, in the church of Corinth.


Moreover, this understanding of the persons baptized in Apostolic days accords with that the apostle always preached.  His message always rang true on “Repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts  20:21; 2:38; 16:31; Romans 10:8-10). 


            See the order in Acts 2:41,42:

  1. received the word

  2. baptized

  3. added unto them i.e., to the church verse 47.

And, therefore, the answer to the question; Whom shall we baptize? Is this – Those

who give evidence of the work of the Spirit of God, who are genuine believers

in the Lord Jesus Christ.



When Did They Baptize?


The first followers of Jesus were baptized

immediately after they believed.  There was no long interval, no probation of any kind.  The 3,000 converted on the day of the Pentecostal outpouring were baptized “the same day.”  (Acts 2:41).  Philip, the evangelist, baptized immediately the Ethiopian eunuch. (Acts 8:36,37


Why Did They Baptize?


Before Pentecost, those baptized by John the Baptist were committed to “repentance,” anticipating the work of the coming One.Their baptism was “unto remission of sins” (Mark 1:4).That remission would be actualized when they exercised personal faith in the Christ (see Acts 19:1-5).


In Acts 22:16  we read of the apostle Paul, “Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins.


In Gal 3:27, a second purpose is given.“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Acts 19:5 shows this to be an allusion to baptism in water. We “put on Christ” in baptism. What does the believer put on? What is the garment? It is the atoning work of the Son of God, His death, His burial, His resurrection. By comparing 1 Cor 15:1-4 with Rom 6:3-5, the reader will learn that “the gospel,” the believing of which saves men (Rom 1:16), is that “Christ died for our sins” and “rose again the third day.” That death and resurrection the believer enacts in baptism before the world, thus giving men to know that he now dies to his old life (with Jesus): he is buried to it with Him. See what we have lost when we try to observe this beautiful, suggestive, truth-telling ordinance in some other way than Jesus meant it to be taught.


 Rom 6:3-5.  Briefly, it teaches:


  1. Christ’ death, burial and resurrection historically;

  2. Out of these literal facts develop the evangelical truths;

  3. Mystical union with Christ in them;

  4. Their actualization in Christian experience.

  5. Setting forth these profound facts, truths, union, and experience in the marvelous symbolizing ordinance of baptism.  Hence in this passage there is woven and interwoven the death and burial and resurrection historically, evangelically, mystically, experimentally, symbolically.



Shall I obey Him?  “Repent and be baptized every one of you,” was said to 3,000 men and women in all conditions of life.  But tell them to HIM.  The sole reason one would urge is, Jesus asks it of us who own his Lordship.  He said, He who needed it not for Himself, “Thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.”  And this same One also said, “Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”  At another time He said, “No man having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit to the kingdom of God.”  And just before He went to His death for us He revealed His heart-desire for His disciples: “I have called you (to be) friends,” to be My intimates, to enter My fullest companionship, to know My hear-love. 


Adapted from:

Carey Press (Baptist Publishers)

P.O. Box 3595, Reading, Pa.  1960






Baptism Study Guide


The Greek word for Baptism is “Baptizo.”  It means to dip, to immerse, to submerge, or overwhelm in the water.  The only kind of baptism found in the New Testament involves a complete submerging of the baptismal candidate in water.


  1. When Jesus went to John to be baptized, he (John) tried to prevent the baptism.

  1. WHY? (Matthew3:14)________________________________________________



  1. What kind of baptism was John administering? (Mark 1:4)






  1. What is repentance? _________________________________________________



Was John correct in not wanting to baptize Jesus?

(Look carefully at Hebrews 4:14 -15)                                                                         



YES / NO          WHY? _______________________________________________________




  1. What reason did Jesus give John for baptism to be administered to him (Jesus)? (Matthew 3:15)






  1. What does righteousness mean and who determines what qualifies as righteousness?








  1. What was the evidence showing that God was pleased with Jesus’ baptism? (Matthew 3:16-17)


  • (see also, Mark 1:10-11)




  1. God told John to baptize those who would repent of their sins and turn to God.  He was to watch for a sign from the Lord.  What was going to happen to a certain person whom John would baptize? (John 1:33)




  1. What terms are used to describe this Person that John would discover?

  1. (John 1:29) ________________________

  2. (John 1:30,31) ______________________

  3. (John 1:33) ________________________

  4. (John 1:34 _________________________


  1. Did Jesus himself baptize anyone with or in water? (John 4:1-2)

                YES / NO        WHY?








  1. Is baptism among the instructions that Jesus left for his disciples to continue to practice? (Matthew 28:18-20)           YES  /  NO


  1. On Pentecost Sunday, what things happened before people were baptized? (note: these two things form a pattern for what should happen in a person’s life before he/she is baptized.)

  1. Acts 2:38


  2. Acts 2:41






  1. From the following verses, describe what had happened before the mentioned baptisms were administered:


  1. Acts 8:12


  1. Acts 8:30-38


  3. Acts 9:1-6; 15-18


  5. Acts 10:47,48


  7. Acts 16:14,15


  9. Acts 16:31-34


  11. Acts 18:8


  13. Acts 19:3-5



  1. Baptism symbolizes what occurred in, and following, the death of Christ at Calvary.  Name the three things mentioned in Romans 6:2-10 which baptism is meant to picture:

a. ______________________________________________________________________

b. ______________________________________________________________________

c. ______________________________________________________________________


  1. What symbolism does baptism convey in Galatians 3:27?






  1. Is it your desire to be baptized?



  1. Have you met the requirements for baptism, i.e., repentance and faith (belief) in the Lord Jesus Christ?



On the attached sheet, please explain how God brought you to repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. (This is your personal testimony)








Preparing Your Personal Testimony

(How you came to Repentance and Faith in Christ)


  1. Read Acts 26:1-29.  Note how Paul relates his own experience.






Now that you’ve seen how Paul gave his story, how would you give



relatives and close friends – usually the most difficult people to witness



In sharing the story of your experience, here are some suggestions:


  1. Make it personal – don’t preach.  Tell what Christ has done for you.

Use “I” and “me” and “my” - not “you.”

  1. Make it short.  Three or four minutes should be enough time to

cover the essential facts.

  1. Keep Christ Central.  Always highlight What He Has Done.

  2. Use the Word of God.  A verse or two of Scripture will add power

to your story.Remember the Word of God has a keen cutting edge.

(Ephesians 6:17)



  1. My Life before I came to faith in Christ.

  2. How I came to faith in Christ.

  3. Since I came to faith in Christ, my life has changed in these ways:


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