We have studied that it is necessary to repent of our sins and then to be born again (or from above). When we feel that God has forgiven our sins and that He has changed our lives, then we desire to dispose of the old man (the carnal man). The Bible tells us this is done through a spiritual death and baptism. Baptism is a symbol of burying the old man and arising to walk in the newness of life (the life of Christ).

Yet baptism is a controversial subject. Some believe it is not necessary, some feel it makes no difference how it is done, some think it should be done as soon as a child is born, and others feel one should be old enough to understand the life of Christ. We hope to answer these questions as we pursue the subject.

1. The great commission. Matthew 28:19

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Matthew 28:19

Not only did Jesus tell His followers to go and teach, He said to go and baptize. It was Christ’s command that a person be baptized. It was a part of the commission that they were to carry out. We have strong information to assume the ordinance of baptism is important and necessary.

2. He that believeth and is baptized. Mark 16:15-16

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Mark 16:15-16

Here, Jesus gives added proof as to the necessity of being baptized. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved…” May we not minimize the Word of God. What Jesus said, He meant.

3. Should we baptize just anyone? Matthew 3:5-8

Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,

And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:

Matthew 3:5-8

John the Baptist clearly informed the Pharisees and the Sadducees to produce evidence (fruit that they had accepted the life of Christ). In the natural life, it would be a tragedy to bury a person before he had died. So it is in the Spiritual life. We should bury (baptize) the individual only after he has died to sin.

4. Repent and be baptized. Acts 2:37-38, 41

When the people realized what they had done, they asked what they should do. Peter told them to repent (ask forgiveness) of their wrongs, and then be baptized.

Before one can be baptized, he must repent of his sins. An infant baby can hardly do this, so this shows us that babies should not be baptized. A baby does not know or understand what sin is. We must be old enough to understand the life of Christ.

5. Jesus was baptized. Matthew 3:13-15

Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.

But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?

And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

Matthew 3:13-15

Perhaps we could ask why was Jesus baptized? Was it because He was sinful? No, for He was perfect and without sin. Why then was He baptized?

He tells us Himself, “…for thus it becometh us to fulfill…” all that is required of us by the Word of God. Before we can become a part of Christ, we must (step #l) repent, (step #2) be converted or born again, and (step #3) be baptized. Jesus is our example, He was baptized, therefore we know it is important.

6. The eunuch baptized. Acts 8:26-38

And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.

And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,

Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.

Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.

And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?

And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.

The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:

In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.

And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?

Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.

And 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?

And 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.

And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

Acts 8:26-38

The eunuch must have been a very sincere man. After he understood the Scriptures, he asked, “What hindereth me from being baptized?” Phillip answered in essence, If you believe, there is no reason you shouldn’t. Then the Scripture says, “…they went down both into the water...” (verse 38). Phillip did not sprinkle just a few drops of water on the eunuch, but they both went down into the water.

This also was the way Christ was baptized, again our example. He showed us the manner in which it should be done. To baptize means to plunge, cover wholly, etc. You cannot cover wholly anyone with a few drops of water. If you were just sprinkled, then you were not baptized. It would be wise for you to consider having it done the right way.

7. Jesus’ death and resurrection is our example. Romans 6:3-5, 8-13

Just as Jesus died, was buried, and came forth with a new life, so we must die (to sin), bury the old man (by baptism), and rise to live anew in Christ. By this, we can understand what baptism means.

Verse 4 speaks of baptism as a burial. One would have to be completely covered before he could be buried.

Verses 12-13 very clearly reveal that one cannot continue to live in or practice sin. We are to live in obedience and dedication to God.

8. Why must we live righteously? Galatians 3:27

For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Galatians 3:27

Because Christ lives within us, our lives will be a witness of His saving power to others and they may find the way through our witness. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19).

9. Why was John baptizing in Aenon? John 3:23

And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized.
John 3:23

If only a little water was needed to baptize a person, then John would not have needed to baptize the people at Aenon.

We can see that some churches have deviated from the examples we find in the Bible. Man has no right to change or deviate from the examples that Christ and the apostles gave us.

10. They rejected the counsel. Luke 7:29-30

And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.

But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.

Luke 7:29-30

The Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God concerning baptism. I hope this will not be said of us. The Word is important and explicit concerning what we should do and how we should live. May God give us grace to follow HIS Word.


Baptism is important; it is commanded by God. Babies cannot be baptized because they can neither repent nor understand the Word of God. The only biblical mode of baptism is by immersion.

Material from the book Answers to Your Bible Questions by Wesley Walker.

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Answers to Your Bible Questions