One of the most confusing subjects to most people is the subject of baptism. The Bible is very clear as to what baptism is. The word “baptize” is not translated in most Bibles. The word is instead transliterated, or an English letter is used in place of the original Greek letter. If the word baptize were to be translated the word “immersed” would be the best English word used. To test this, you can take passages with the word “baptize” in it and insert the word “immerse” in its place. Mark 16:16 would then read this way: “If you believe and are immersed, you shall be saved.” Or Acts 2:38 would read: “Then Peter said to them, “Repent and let every one of you be immersed in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
We know that baptism requires much water. We are told in John 3:23, “Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there. And they came and were baptized.” John needed much water to baptize because they were immersed in water. Not much water is needed if it is a sprinkling or pouring. John’s baptism is no longer valid (read Acts 19:1-5). In the New Testament under God’s new covenant as recorded in Acts 8:38, “both Phillip and the eunuch went down into the water and he baptized him.”
We are also told that baptism is for the forgiveness of sins. Acts 2:38 says: “Let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission (forgiveness) of sins.” We are told of Saul’s conversion in Acts 22:16, “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” In the waters of baptism, we contact the blood of Christ which is the cleansing agent to forgive sins. In Romans 6:2-3, this is made clear by stating: “Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?”
Jesus commanded that all people be baptized. He said it in Matthew 28:18-20, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” He also said it in Mark 16:16, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved.” The apostles followed Jesus’ commandment and did baptize people. Peter did (see Acts 3:38, Acts 10:48), Paul did (see Acts 16:33, 1 Corinthians 1:14). Phillip the evangelist baptized (see Acts 8:12-13), as does anyone who preaches the true Gospel of Jesus the Christ today.
You see nothing has changed from the time Jesus declared His disciples would be made by obeying His Gospel of which a part of it is forgiveness of sins in the waters of baptism. Baptism then, is very clear in the Bible. It is an immersion in water for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus commanded it, the apostles practiced it, and the evangelists and all Christians up to and including today follow their example. (All Bible verses used are in the New King James Version)